Positive Change

Books About Play and Positive Change

In this STEM-filled summer you must listen to this Jenn Cleary album and explore these books about play, positive change, acts of kindness and a connection to the earth we all share.


Soccer Baby

By Diane Adams Illustrated by Charlene Chua | Viking, 2022, $7.99

In rhyming verse as dynamic as a pint-sized soccer team, a ponytailed tot and her friends dribble and pass a soccer ball on a sunny day. This board book’s cheery illustrations emphasize the joy of physical exercise and connection with teammates that are at the core of sports for kids.

ages 3 – 8

positive changePigeon & Cat

By Edward Hemingway | Little, Brown, 2022, $17.99

A suspicious cat lives alone in an urban alley – until proximity to a baby pigeon catapults him into a caretaking role and then a friendship. When Pigeon goes missing, Cat seeks her in the big, scary city and discovers beauty and community in places he never imagined. Soon he is contributing his own bit to creating a more welcoming world. Through vivid, stylized art and spare text, Edward Hemingway – the youngest grandson of iconic novelist Ernest Hemingway – creates a paean to unlikely friendships and the rippling effect of small acts of kindness.

positive change

The Poem Forest

By Carrie Fountain Illustrated by Chris Turnham | Candlewick, 2022, $18.99

Lyrical prose depicts the life of two-time Pulitzer Prize winner W.S. Merwin, who devoted his adulthood to poetry and to healing a worn-out, chemical-laced tract of land in Hawaii. Merwin and his wife Paula planted and tended palm trees there for decades, and the lush forest that grew bears witness to their diligence. This is a beautiful tribute to a life in daily service to art and the earth we all share.

ages 9 and up

positive changeHigh Flyers: 15 Inspiring Women Aviators and Astronauts By Ann McCallum Staats | Chicago Review Press, 2022, $15.80

Ann McCallum Staats brings to vibrant life 15 women who have changed the way humans navigate air and space. Brooke Roman chased by an Alaskan grizzly bear, Mae Jemison avidly viewing the 1969 moon landing and “Star Trek” as a child – young readers will relate to the dreams, thrills and challenges of these women and be gripped by how they overcame obstacles to do valuable work in what still are mostly male-dominated fields.

positive change“Happy Day” By Jenn Cleary

“Happy Day” by award-winning folk-rock singer-songwriter Jenn Cleary offers an infectious array of tunes with positive messages of happiness and appreciation for the environment. The title track sets the album’s good-times mood. “Plant a Garden” is a fun, energetic tune with a Louisiana zydeco sound and “I Like Candy” spreads happiness while encouraging self-care and balance. Kids need to listen to “Take a Walk in the Woods,” which reminds listeners to not abandon the natural base of their environment for the enticements of a video screen. Available on Amazon and at jenncleary.com.


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