Nope – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: Nope, A Tale of First Flight

Author & Illustrator: Drew Sheneman

Publisher: Viking, 2017

Ages: 3-5

Themes: baby birds, first flight, trying new things, courage




Nope tells the nearly wordless story of a baby bird who isn’t so sure it’s a good idea to leave the nest, and Don’t Eat That! is about a misguided bear looking for a post-hibernation snack. (Goodreads)

Why I like this Book:

Imagine all the terrifying things you face when you are a baby bird peering out of the nest contemplating your first flight. Wouldn’t your response to Mama Bird be, “Nope?” The cartoonish Mama and baby bluebirds and the lead up to and moment of baby’s first solo flight are full of childish exaggeration and fear and Mama’s sneaky wisdom. Sure to be a winner for the young set. Basically two words and some fab, bright suspenseful illustrations.


Question for young readers: What was your big scary solo flight?

Find more “Perfect Picture Book Friday” reviews at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog HERE.

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The March Against Fear – Book Recommendation

Title: The March Against Fear – The Last Great Walk of the Civil Rights Movement and the Emergence of Black Power

Author: Ann Bausum

Publisher: National Geographic

Ages: 11-18

Themes: civil rights movement, protesting, marching, black power, march against fear, James Meredith, Mississippi, 1966



“There is nothing
more powerful to dramatize
an injustice like the
tramp tramp,
of marching feet.”

Martin Luther King Jnr., June 7, 1966, at a rally in Memphis, Tennessee, during the March Against Fear


James Meredith’s 1966 march in Mississippi began as one man’s peaceful protest for voter registration and became one of the South’s most important demonstrations of the civil rights movement. It brought together leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Stokely Carmichael, who formed an unlikely alliance that resulted in the Black Power movement, which ushered in a new era in the fight for equality.

The retelling of Meredith’s story opens on the day of his assassination attempt and goes back in time to recount the moments leading up to that event and its aftermath. Readers learn about the powerful figures and emerging leaders who joined the over 200-mile walk that became known as the “March Against Fear.” 

Thoughtfully presented by award-winning author Ann Bausum, this book helps readers understand the complex issues of fear, injustice, and the challenges of change. It is a history lesson that’s as important and relevant today as it was 50 years ago. (Goodreads)

Why I like this book:

I love what I learn from children’s books, both fiction and nonfiction. If you had asked me a month ago, I would have told you I had never heard of James Meredith, but that was before I read and reviewed, Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry, which creatively addresses issues of racism in part through flashbacks and a novel written about Meredith as the first black student to integrate into Ole Miss. In The March Against Fear, this creative nonfiction book picks up Meredith’s story a decade later when he initiates possibly the greatest and certainly the last march of protest of the civil rights movement from Memphis TN to Jackson MS in 1966. Three weeks after the march began, 15,000 people-including Meredith-completed it!

Meredith’s personal march to try and break the fear hold in the black community, and to promote voter registration is somewhat sidetracked after his being shot on day 2 and sidelined until almost the end of the march. The civil rights leaders who took over did not fully share Meredith’s military and individualistic approach, nor were they united amongst themselves. The author shows how this march was not only significant in its duration, size and numbers of voters who registered in Mississippi alone, but how it also signaled how the divisions and conflicting goals/messages between the key groups hinted that the decade long movement as it had been known was coming to an end. Other groups like the Black Panthers would emerge, much in response to the controversial call for Black Power of leader Stokely Carmichael during the March Against Fear.

This is so timely, too, in both the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, and I believe in the some of the present gerrymandering and societal divisions we are experiencing.  When people are viewed as others, they stop being seen as fellow human beings and are judged by their differences instead of their commonalities. 

The narrative presentation of the facts is gripping, and this is the sort of book I would like to see in classrooms in every state in the nation, rectifying the myths of the Lost Cause that even if diluted, still sometimes make their way into history lessons. 

The black and white photos throughout and quotes from leader & supporters of the march, and the whites that felt threatened by it, add urgency to the message.


The back of the book has the Author’s Note which gives readers more insight about why the author felt burdened to tell this story.

Parents and teachers can use this book as a guide to open dialogue regarding present day racial (and other societal) tensions.

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Little Miss, Big Sis – Perfect Picture Book Friday

I had a different review planned for today, but as with the rest of the children’s book community, I am reeling  with the premature loss of one of our best. A year younger than me, Amy Krouse Rosenthal died of cancer this week. She  wrote 28 children’s books, including “Duck! Rabbit!”, “Little Pea,” “I Wish You More,” “Plant a Kiss,” “Spoon,” “Exclamation Mark!” and most recently, “Holy Cow, I Sure Do Love You!” Every single one had a  message of hope: be yourself, try new things, follow your imagination….

She was an inspiration to so many of us and I felt today’s review should be a recommendation of on of her picture books.

Author: Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Illustrator: Peter H. Reynolds

Publisher: Harper Collins, 2015

Ages: 4-8

Themes: sisters, babies, stories in rhyme, family




The big news is this:

Little Miss

will be a big siss.


The life-changing exciting moment of the arrival and first months of a little girl’s baby brother–all told in simple rhymes, often of only one or two words.

Why I like this Book:

It is an issue book, therefore the audience is limited but as there’s no shortage of older brothers and sisters and baby arrivals, this will not lack a readership. Indeed the short rhymes are at times very funny and emotive, and will appeal to adults as well as kids. Peter Reynold’s  Illustrations are as adorable and  expressive as ever.

The simplicity of the text more than allows for a full range of older sibling emotions such as the bit of disappointment when you discover a newborn baby isn’t exactly able to be a real playmate. And while the story remains completely upbeat, Big sis takes her evolving role seriously and with panache.

It’s a great example of a perennial topic presented in a fresh and charming way, and a great celebration of the connection of siblings.



This is  great for a preschool story time about family. Or for a parent to read to a soon to be older sibling.

Amy Krauss Rosenthal dies age 51.

Find more “Perfect Picture Book Friday” reviews at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog HERE.

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