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"Every Voice"

Award-winning songwriter, author and kids' yoga expert Kira Willey has a new album out entitled, "Every Voice." From the first tune, "Brand New Day," an up-tempo power pop song, the momentum and positivity grow from track to track. The sweet and simple ukulele tune "Dream It Up" opens the mind's door to wide possibilities, while "Real Girl" and "The Leader in Me" encourage kids to extend open-heartedness into empowerment. $13.99 Available wherever music is sold.

Reading and Doing Kindness

help children learn how simple acts of kindness can make the world a better place, and to develop their sense of empowerment to help others through their own kind acts. This children's book series by Capitol Hill resident Wendi Littlefield inspires young readers to perform Acts of Kindness in their own communities. Each book and the website includes "AOK Challenges" in the form of badges that kids can earn. $17.99 Available at A book+cape+helping hand wristbands package is also available for $39.99.

— Jenny L. Heinbaugh

Book Reviews

Travel with Books

By Mary Quattlebaum

babies / tots

The Goodnight Train Rolls On!

Chugga! Chugga! The Goodnight Train is off on a winsome journey with a bevy of snoozing young passengers. With its smooth rhythm, exact rhymes and train-sound refrain, this is the perfect book to help soothe little ones into sleep. Tots will enjoy examining the illustrations for bedtime motifs as the train passes a large flock of curious sheep, climbs Midnight Mountain and pillow fights with a giant teddy bear before steaming into Dreamland. Look for the gentle piggy porter throughout, as well as the busy octopus in a bubble bath, the playful kitten, the skunk and the occasional ewe in fuzzy slippers.

ages 3 – 6

Inky the Octopus

Inky is a great companion for family trips to the beach or aquarium. In jaunty rhyming verse, Inky relays his tale, which is based on the true story of an octopus that escaped from the National Aquarium in New Zealand in 2016. Inky lives in a "world of see-through walls" and dines like a king on lobster, shrimp and squid, but he yearns to be free in the open sea. The intrepid marine creature squeezes, schemes and slips from his tank and through a tiny drain hole to drop to the ocean below, where he exuberantly exclaims, "I'll follow my heart wherever it leads. I'll travel far and wide." The back matter includes fascinating facts about octopi and brief stories about other eight-tentacle wonders.

ages 7 – 10

Polly Diamond and the Magic Book

If you have an emerging reader or want a read-aloud that will connect with tots, tweens and ages in between, share this book! Polly Diamond is a bespectacled youngster with a big imagination and a little sister named Anna. The hijinks begin when her parents rush to the hospital so her mom can give birth. Polly has discovered a magic book that brings into being the things she writes into it. She becomes invisible to escape the bored eye of her babysitter, and she turns Anna into a banana. When she writes that she wants a bigger house, their tiny home becomes palatial. The absurdist fun encourages kids to voice or pen their own fantasies -- and imagine the ramifications of such changes.

Mary Quattlebaum is the author of 25 award-winning children’s books, most recently “Hero Dogs,” a National Geographic nonfiction chapter book about amazing animal heroes. Mary is a popular school and conference