While contemplating returning our often read set of books including Dem Bones, I Need My Monster, and Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher, I realized I’d have to replace them with something. I want to get a little more predictable outcome from visits to the library mixed in with the opportunity for my children to go select books. This time, I looked up books on Goodreads and on Amazon to find a few that seemed good.
One Love is by Cedella Marley who has adapted a few of her father’s songs into children’s books. One Love is beautiful. As the lyrics carry a beautiful message to my kids and dredge up good memories from high school, the art tells the story of a diverse neighborhood coming together to clean up a junked lot and turn it into a gardening and gathering place. Lots to love here with age, race, and other diversity well represented. Very engaging art by Vanessa Brantley-Newton.
I also picked up Every Little Thing also by Cedella Marley. In this book, the song Three Little Birds forms the backbone of the story also illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton. This story follows a very up-beat kid through his day as three little birds form a friendship with a cat along the way. Also a very nice book.
The Rajah’s Rice spoke to me for many reasons. It features India–a country my daughter does not know much about, a country that has been important to me through friendships and playing cricket, and a country that is a major part of our world’s community. It also features a smart, caring, clever girl protagonist who uses the doubling rice on a chess board to outwit the rajah. This mathematics made me happy and was also chosen because my wife is a math teacher. The protagonist also cures the elephants when many wise doctors couldn’t. What my daughter won’t understand, at five, is that this represents the history of India and not its present. It is important to also show her modern India and when ready a deeper view of its history to counter the romanticized version presented here and in many other places.
Lastly, I dipped into an old favorite author. Linda Smith wrote The Inside Tree, and when we had it from the library my daughter had us read it incessantly. This time I chose Mrs. Biddlebox, a cute story of a witch who bakes a bad day into a pie and then goes to sleep happy.
My daughter has loved all of them, and we read them daily to her.