There’s no denying that children who are surrounded by books have a significant advantage as they enter school. In fact, some studies have indicated that young children whose parents read them five books a day enter kindergarten having heard about 1.4 million more words than kids who were never read to. For me it’s hard to imagine not reading to my daughter, in fact, if there are no books around my toddler will demand I make up a story on the spot, which is quite a bit more challenging. So you can understand why I am always, always on the lookout for new books
Recently I came across a new group of children’s book authors and illustrators called Kidlit Carousel on Instagram. Started by S.E. Richey, author of the upcoming picture book, Lulu and the Missing Tooth Fairy,(which I will be pre-ordering as soon as I can), the group has really taken off. So far I have read through the books they have on offer and I’m truly impressed.
The first book we picked up was called Butternut by author Jill Dana and brightly illustrated by Rachel Tan-Hwee. Butternut is squash in the supermarket and is on a journey to find out who he is and where he belongs. Full of great messages and beautiful art, this one is a favorite in our house.
In the same week, I ordered the book, I have a Secret/Tengo un Secreto by Maritere Rodriguez Bellas, the story follows a bilingual boy starting school who feels different because of his culture and bilingual background. It’s written in English and Spanish and I am amazed at how quickly my daughter is picking up the Spanish words!
On that note, another author in the group, Judy Li, has a wonderful bilingual board book that introduces Mandarin words for non-native speakers. Baby Snack Time is full of charming illustrations by Grace Kelly Zhang depicting some incredible-looking Asian snacks. We had to go try some of these tasty treats!
Next year my daughter will be starting preschool and I found these next two books to be invaluable for this. The Not-So-Friendly Friend: How To Set Boundaries for Healthy Friendships is a debut book by author Christine Furnival with wonderful art by Katie Dwyer. A little girl learns that when your heart is open and you are kind you will make friends, but not everyone else is kind. The message is one every child will learn and learning it through a beautiful picture book like this is the best way. The other book, Learning Together With Sally and Kate (The Adventures of Sally and Kate Book 1) by Sarah Taber is a really excellent activity book that has kept my daughter deeply engaged. It encourages counting and learning shapes and colors with really colorful art throughout.
As autumn rolled in we picked up Andy and the Mask of the Dead by prolific author/ illustrator, Carolyn Watson Dubisch and Hall-O-ween by Arizona author/illustrator, Tia Perkin (who also has some other great books I’m looking into). My daughter loves the ghosts and flowers in the Andy and the Mask of the Dead book, and I love introducing her to the Mexican holiday of The Day of The Dead. Hall-O-ween brings together everything children love about this holiday in one fabulous book and it’s truly fantastic for getting my daughter excited about trick-or-treating!
Now that it’s Christmas and I’m out shopping for my niece who’s in grade school I looked through what Kidlit Carousel had to offer for older kids. I found a book called Louie and The Dictator by Lisa Bournelis. She’s a health care professional and has been promoting a TEDX talk she gave recently. I was so intrigued that I started reading her book. It’s about an average kid named Louie who is living through the COVID pandemic (aren’t we all!), but struggles with a voice in his head he calls “The Dictator”. It’s slowly revealed that Louie has OCD. It was really engaging, and now I have read the book I intended to give to my niece!
These are all just the first of many books coming out from this group and I’m really impressed so far. To keep up with Kidlit Carousel and learn more, check out their website, and give the gift of reading this holiday season!