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“A POEM FOR PETER” stars Ezra Jack Keats, alongside his most beloved character – Peter. In 1963, Keats' “The Snowy Day,” won the Caldecott medal and broke ground with its main character, Peter, an African American. The book inspired countless African-American authors and illustrators, who saw themselves reflected on page for the first time. In “A POEM FOR PETER,” author Andrea Davis Pinkney celebrates Keats' legacy, whose stories are inspirational and reflect our multicultural world. Available wherever books are sold for $18.99.

We Stood Up: Reflections on the Civil Rights Movement

  Explore “We Stood Up,” a new informative anthology album for kids about the Civil Rights Movement. It offers a wealth of recordings to inspire children, including interviews with Shirley Franklin and the late Julian Bond, as well as poems by Maya Angelou and Sonia Sanchez. With songs like “Love,” “No More Us & Them,” and “Free to Be,” this album is educational and entertaining. Available via Amazon, iTunes and other music services. Proceeds from the album ($9.99) benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Philadelphia.

— Jenny L. Heinbaugh

Book Reviews

Books That Celebrate Love

By Mary Quattlebaum

babies / tots

A Greyhound, A Groundhog

Frolicsome critters race, chase and cuddle in this rollicking read-aloud by Emily Jenkins. A round hound and a brown hog romp through the pages, clearly delighting in their nascent friendship even as a little reader or listener giggles at the rambunctious words. According to recent studies, repetition, rhythm, rhyme and sound-play (alliteration, onomatopoeia) help to create the rich pre-literacy environment so important to a child’s later “reading readiness.” Chris Apelhans’ lively watercolors capture the colors, shapes and antics of this pair of very di erent pals. This is a perfect book to celebrate Groundhog Day on February 2 or wordplay throughout the year.

ages 3 – 7

Everywhere, Wonder

Illustrations awash with color and light accompany a lyrical text that gently guides the child reader to notice things big (the canyons of Arizona) and small (“a doorknob that makes rainbows when the reading lamp clicks on”). A boy and his dog wonder at things both never seen and easily overlooked, such as the one X-shaped noodle in a bowl full of round ones. The facing pages on each double-page spread are paired to contrast loosely with one another. My favorite was the surprise juxtaposition of a “tractor mechanic named Shirley” in Sheboygan, with her 37 friends, against a “cold and lonesome bear” in the North Pole. This beautiful book by Maryland husband-and-wife team Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr is sure to inspire a child’s musing on the wonders that surround her.

ages 8 and up

Like a Bird

Through her stunning artwork, Michele Wood interprets 13 spirituals, including “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen,”“Steal Away” and “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho.” Cynthia Grady researched and wrote the short descriptions and history of each, noting their genesis in the slave experience. The whole is a moving compilation of image, history, music and a testimony to the power of song to give voice and o er hope. This new volume proves as stunning as Wood and Grady’s earlier creation, the award-winning book of slave poems and quilts, “I Lay My Stitches Down.”

Mary Quattlebaum is the author of 24 award-winning children’s books, most recently “Together Forever: True Tales of Amazing Animal Friendships,” and a popular school/conference speaker.