28 February 2018

30 Books about African Americans

Callie Ann and Mistah Bear
written by Robert D. San Souci, images by Don Daily

Come On, Rain!
written by Karen Hesse, images by Jon J. Muth

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut
written by Derrick Barnes, images by Gordon C. James

Dancing In the Wings
written by Debbie Allen, images by Kadir Nelson

David Gets His Drum
written by David (Panama) Francis and Bob Reiser, images by Eric Velasquez

Don't Call Me Grandma
written by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, images by Elizabeth Zunon

Drumbeat In Our Feet
written by Patricia A. Keeler and Julio T. Leitão, images by Patricia A. Keeler

Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite
written by Anna Harwell Celenza, images by Don Tate

Earth Mother
written by Ellen Jackson, images by Leo and Diane Dillon

Emma and Julia Love Ballet
written and illustrated by Barbara McClintock

Tea Cakes for Tosh
written by Kelly Starling Lyons, images by E.B. Lewis

Ten Nine Eight
written and illustrated by Molly Bang

The Bake Shop Ghost
written by Jacqueline K. Ogburn, images by Marjorie Priceman

The Gospel Cinderella
written by Joyce Carol Oates, images by David Diaz

The Hula-Hoopin' Queen
written by Thelma Lynne Godin, images by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

The New Small Person
written and illustrated by Lauren Child

The Six Fools
written by Zora Neale Hurston, adapted by Joyce Carol Oates, images by Ann Tanksley

This Jazz Man
written by Karen Ehrhardt, images by R.G. Roth

Thunder Rose
written by Jerdine Nolen, images by Kadir Nelson

Tickle, Tickle
written by Dakari Hru, images by Ken Wilson-Max

Two Old Potatoes and Me
written by John Coy, images by Carolyn Fisher

Violet's Music
written by Angela Johnson, images by Laura Huliska-Beith

Which Puppy?
written by Kate Feiffer, images by Jules Feiffer

Windows
written by Julia Dennos, images by E.B. Goodale

Yesterday I Had the Blues
written by Jeron Ashford Frame, images by R. Gregory Christie

You and Me and Home Sweet Home
written by George Ella Lyon, images by Stephanie Anderson

Hank's Big Day: The Story of a Bug
written by Evan Kuhlman, images by Chuck Groenink

Have You Seen Elephant?
written and illustrated by David Barrow

I Won a What?
written by Audrey Vernick, images by Robert Neubecker

A Young Dancer: The Life of an Ailey Student
written by Valerie Gladstone, images by José Ivey

21 February 2018

35 Years Later

Papaw at his 40th wedding anniversary.
Photographer unknown
Thirty-five years ago today, the world lost a good man -- Papaw, my grandfather.

I've written about my grandmother, Nana, and her final days, but Papaw died when I was six years old. Long before blogs. Long before hybrid cars. Long before smart phones and tablets. Long before so many things.

Thirty-five years is a long time. It's a long time to miss someone. It's a long time to cling to memories. And it's a long time for memories to fade.

For years, I had a cassette tape that had Papaw's voice on it. Sadly, I've lost that tape somewhere along the way. I don't really remember his voice anymore. I recall the voice on the tape being somewhat deep, but I no longer know if that's true.

Here's what I do remember about Papaw.

He read to me almost every night. I know he read more books than these, but I especially remember him reading Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss; Go, Dog, Go! by P.D. Eastman; and The Astrosmurf by Peyo. I knew Green Eggs and Ham so well that I could tell Papaw when he messed up reading.

Papaw hated reading The Astrosmurf. It's a comic book, so the text is in bubbles. He had a hard time with those. But I must have thought he was wonderful because I wanted him to read that book over and over (or maybe I knew he hated it and wanted to torture him).

Nana knew he couldn't stand reading The Astrosmurf and every so often, she would "lose" the book. Then a few weeks later, while she was cleaning or something, she would "find" it. "Why don't you ask Papaw to read this to you tonight?" I would delightedly hand him the beloved book, and he would shoot Nana the dirtiest look he could muster, knowing she was responsible. Nana would only smile.

Papaw used to wrap me in a blanket on cold mornings before school and carry me over to Mom's house (I usually stayed at Nana's and Papaw's overnight). Then he would start Mom's truck for us, so it would be warm when we left. Once I moved to Indiana, I wished he were here to do this all again, although I wouldn't have needed to be carried.

While Mom took me to school, I rode the bus home when I was in kindergarten. Papaw met me at the end of the driveway in his golf cart or the truck (weather dependent) every day and drove me back to the house.

Nana, Papaw and me.
Photographer unknown
Papaw drank milk. Once, he was sitting in his chair with his supper on the TV tray in front of him and a big glass of milk beside his plate. Being about five at the time, I grabbed the glass and took a swig. Unfortunately for me, it was buttermilk. I don't remember if I kept that drink down or spit it back in Papaw's glass, but every time I saw him with a glass of milk after that, I would ask if it was "good milk" or "bad milk."

Papaw loved working in his garden. We have some old home movies where I'm following in his footsteps while he's tilling the earth. I remember doing that more than once. I thought he couldn't see me because I was directly behind him and wanted to scare him when he turned off the tiller. I do not remember whether or not I was ever successful.

On the back of this photo, Nana wrote "the day before
he left us."
Photographer unknown
When he got sick and was in the hospital, I had special permission to visit him in his room. This was back when children under the age of twelve weren't allowed to visit patients. I don't know why twelve was chosen as the magic age, but I was only six. As I understand it, Mom and/or Nana spoke with the staff, and I was able to visit Papaw any time I was there. Maybe Papaw did this; I don't know.

It seems like we went to see him in the hospital every day after school. I was in first grade, and Mom would pick me up. We would drive an hour to the hospital in Victoria and stay there for a while before coming home. Nana was already there.

I know that he explained the cancer to me, but I don't recall the words he used. I know he told me he was going to die and what that meant, but I don't remember how he did that either. I do remember that he told me not to cry when he died.

When that happened, I honored that request.

19 February 2018

19 Books About Presidents

It's Presidents Day, and here are some books featuring those who were -- and those who wished to be -- President.

A Woman for President: The Story of Victoria Woodhull
written by Kathleen Krull, images by Jane Dyer

All-American Girl
written by Meg Cabot

Bloody Times: The Funeral of Abraham Lincoln and the Manhunt for Jefferson Davis
written by James L. Swanson

Camping With the President
written by Ginger Wadsworth, images by Karen Dugan

Dear Mr. Washington
written by Lynn Cullen, images by Nancy Carpenter

Diana's White House Garden
written by Elisa Carbone, images by Jen Hill

Don't Know Much About the Presidents
written by Kenneth C. Davis, images by Pedro Martin

Duck for President
written by Doreen Cronin, images by Betsy Lewin

FDR's Alphabet Soup: New Deal America, 1932-1939
written by Tonya Bolden

Madam President
written and illustrated by Lane Smith

Master George's People: George Washington, His Slaves, and His Revolutionary Transformation
written by Marfe Ferguson Delano, images by Lori Epstein

President Squid
written by Aaron Reynolds, images by Sara Varon

President Taft Is Stuck In the Bath
written by Mac Barnett, images by Chris Van Dusen

The Revolutionary John Adams
written and illustrated by Cheryl Harness

Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library
written by Barb Rosenstock, images by John O'Brien

Which Puppy?
written by Kate Feiffer, images by Jules Feiffer

A Picture Book of Dolley and James Madison
written by David A. Adler & Michael S. Adler, images by Ronald Himler

Lincoln's Spymaster: Allan Pinkerton, America's First Private Eye
written by Samantha Seiple

Teedie: The Story of Young Teddy Roosevelt
written and illustrated by Don Brown

13 February 2018

13 Books About Religion

All God's Critters
written by Bill Staines, images by Kadir Nelson

The Animals and the Ark
written by Karla Kuskin, images by Michael Grejniec

Anne Hutchinson's Way
written by Jeannine Atkins, images by Michael Dooling

Beautiful Moon: A Child's Prayer
written by Tonya Bolden, images by Eric Velasquez

The Beautiful World That God Made
written by Rhonda Gowler Greene, images by Anne Wilson

The Best Kind of Gift
written by Kathi Appelt, images by Paul Brett Johnson

The Flame Tree
written by Richard Lewis

Big Momma Makes the World
written by Phyllis Root, images by Helen Oxenbury

Changing Woman and Her Sisters
written by Katrin Hyman Tchana, images by Trina Schart Hyman

Gated
written by Amy Christine Parker

Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith
written by Deborah Heiligman

Dancing the Ring Shout!
written by Kim L. Siegelson, images by Lisa Cohen

Everyone Prays: Celebrating Faith Around the World
written by Alexis York Lombard, images by Alireza Sadeghian

06 February 2018

6 Books About Friends

Today is my dearest friend's birthday, and to celebrate, here are some books about friends.

A Handful of Stars
written by Cynthia Lord

Hello, My Name Is Ruby
written by Philip C. Stead

Best Friends At School: A Hunter and Stripe Story
written by Laura Malone Elliott, images by Lynn Munsinger

I Kill the Mockingbird
written by Paul Acampora

Ivy + Bean Break the Fossil Record
written by Annie Barrows, images by Sophie Blackall

Jasper & Joop
written and illustrated by Olivier Dunrea

02 February 2018

2 Books About Shadows

It's Groundhog Day! I, for one, am hoping that critter doesn't see his shadow.

Yeti, Turn Out the Light!
written by Greg Long and Chris Edmundson, images by Wednesday Kirwan

Shadows
written by April Pulley Sayre, illustrated by Harvey Stevenson