February Book Reviews: Hearts and History
Author Mary Quattlebaum reviews a variety of books to celebrate Valentine’s Day and Black History Month. Read one or more with your kids in February.
– Mary Quattlebaum
You’re My Little Baby By Eric Carle Simon & Schuster, 2020, $7.99
The author/illustrator of the classic “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” has created a charming paean to the parent-child bond in this interactive touch-and-feel board book. The lilting rhyme proves both soothing and educational, as little ones learn about different animals – elephants, bears, birds – even as they snuggle with the family member who is reading the book aloud.
ages 3 to 9
The Song for Everyone By Lucy Morris Bloomsbury, 2020, $18.99
A lonely boy, a tired old woman and a stray cat hear a sweet melody drifting from the window of a house they pass, and a small jolt of happiness begins to transform their lives. Over time, the wordless song inspires the townspeople to share “food and stories and kindnesses” with one another. When the “magical music” abruptly stops one day, everyone mobilizes to help the silenced singer whose identity has heretofore remained a mystery. This tender tale of quiet joy and community is a perfect read-aloud for Valentine’s Day.
Flibbertigibbety Words By Donna Guthrie Illustrated by Asa Gilland Page Street Kids, 2020, $18.99
What a Valentine to the English language! Readers can follow young William Shakespeare as he chases through Elizabethan England trying to grasp words that constantly dip, flip and elude him. The twist: these are words and phrases that he actually coined in his famous works when he was older. Shakespeare’s wit and genius wordsmithing are delightfully evident as we learn that his made-up words are commonly used today, including “gust,” “humble,” “coldhearted,” “lonely” and “madcap.”
William Still and His Freedom Stories By Don Tate Peachtree, 2020, $18.99
Acclaimed author/illustrator Don Tate tells the true story of a little-known American hero: William Still, known as the Father of the Underground Railroad. Working for the American Anti-Slavery Society in Philadelphia, in the decades before the Civil War. Still helped enslaved people as they traveled north to freedom, and he wrote down their descriptions and stories as a way of helping them to reunite with family members in other parts of the country. Share this riveting picture biography during Black History Month in February – and throughout the year as well.
Jenny Heinbaugh has a recommendation for National Girls and Women in Sports Day.
PLAY LIKE A GIRL: Life Lessons from the Soccer Field By Kate T. Parker
With National Girls and Women in Sports Day on February 3rd, “PLAY LIKE A GIRL” is a must read. It is a powerful collection of color and black-and-white photographs that captures girls just learning to kick the ball alongside players from the 2019 Women’s World Cup championship team, such as Megan Rapinoe and Carly Lloyd. With chapters organized around ten life lessons learned on the field, “PLAY LIKE A GIRL” reveals how sports, and soccer in particular, challenge girls and women to become their best selves. Available wherever books are sold.