Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: Picks by Amy S.

Are you an echo?: The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko illustrated by Toshikado Hajiri, narrative by David Jacobson

Cover image for Are you an echo? : the lost poetry of Misuzu KanekoIn early 1900’s Japan, Misuzu Kaneko became a beloved children’s poet. Her life ended prematurely, her poetry was soon forgotten. After the Japanese tsunami in 2011, her poetry was rediscovered, and this beautiful book tells Misuzu Kaneko’s life story, which ends tragically and which the book describes sensitively.  The book includes many of her poems in both English and the original Japanese. The illustrations are stunning and depict both the poet’s life and her beautiful poems. The poems show Misuzu’s unique way of looking at the world, and this lovely picture book is an introduction to this little known Japanese poet. Because of the sensitive nature of the poet’s death, this book is best enjoyed by older readers (grade 5 and up).

Book reviewed by Amy S., Youth Outreach and Programming Assistant

Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan

Cover image for Big red lollipopThis wonderful picture book tells the story of Pakistani sisters and their first experience with a birthday party invitation. When oldest sister Rabina receives her first invitation to a birthday party, her younger sister begs to go along and the girls’ mother insists that Rabina take her sister to the party.  This, of course, has the disastrous results that Rabina believes it will. This book so perfectly illustrates the universal challenges of sibling relationships right to the sweet and surprising end.  Big Red Lollipop is a delight.

Book reviewed by Amy S., Youth Outreach and Programming Assistant

The 50 States: Explore the U.S.A. with 50 Fact-Filled Maps! by Gabrielle Balkan

Cover image for The 50 states : explore the U.S.A. with 50 fact-filled maps!This over-sized gem is so much more than an atlas. Each of the 50 states is featured and the beautifully illustrated pages include key facts about the states  and moments to remember from each state’s history. Inspiring people from all the states are included, some well-known, others that may be new to young readers. Did you know that the Jackson, MS Children’s Museum has a giant Scrabble Board or that there is a Rattlesnake Museum in Albuquerque, NM? Take a picture book road trip through the United States with this fantastic book.

Book reviewed by Amy S., Youth Outreach and Programming Assistant

Enormous Smallness: A Story of E.E. Cummings by Matthew Burgess

Cover image for Enormous smallness : a story of E. E. CummingsThis sweet picture book biography tells the story of poet E.E. Cummings.  Edward Estlin Cummings grew up in Cambridge, MA and had an idyllic childhood, perfect for inspiring creativity and poetry.  Edward saw beauty in his surroundings and with support from his teachers and family, he created poems at a young age and continued creating poetry his whole life. This beautifully illustrated biography takes the reader through the life of E.E. Cummings and intersperses his poems throughout the book.  It is a lovely book to read for anyone looking to see the beauty around them.

Book reviewed by Amy S., Youth Outreach and Programming Assistant

The Truth about Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh

Cover image for The truth about Twinkie PieThe Truth About Twinkie Pie unfolds as GiGi begins 7th grade at a new school and learns more about herself, her mother and her sister. This is a heartwarming story of love, loss, sacrifice, and what it means to be a family. Each chapter begins with a recipe from mama’s cookbook which adds to the charm of this middle grade novel. Readers who like character driven stories with a bit of mystery are sure to enjoy The Truth about Twinkie Pie.

Book reviewed by Amy S., Youth Outreach and Programming Assistant