A beautiful cat climbed fences and dodged screaming kids to enter the library seven times on a cold February day. Three months later she needed a home – and was pregnant. So we are a cat family now, drawn to all things feline.
Around that same time, I found Dianna Wilson Sirkovsky’s book, James’ Reading Rescue. With scenes of sadness juxtaposed with joy, this cat book is a wonderful read aloud. An added bonus is that Sara Casilda’s illustrations cause the kids to “awwwww, so cute” in unison when I turn a particular page. Like many of my students, James needs encouragement to read out loud. And, like many cats, Shadow needs socialization. This book is perfect for emergent readers, stimulating in depth conversations about which animals at home (or stuffed animals) could help us better practice our reading.
Although cats are my new favorite animal, giraffe books still catch my eye.
Imara’s Tiara is so much more than just a giraffe book; scientific facts and sparkles are involved. It includes two distinct voices: Imara the giraffe and Naomi the future zoologist. And, Imara’s Tiara’s back matter even includes the name for Ross Burach’s “Whatever these things are…” at the top of a giraffe’s head! (Spoiler – they are called ossicones.) Susan R. Stoltz and Melissa Bailey co-wrote this book with Melissa Bailey as the illustrator.
After spending an excessive amount of time on a cargo ship off the California coast, The Butterfly Pig is now available! Seeing (and hearing) the kids’ reactions to the beautiful artwork brings joy. They are as mesmerized as I am by its vibrant colors and unexpected animals. Billie, a pig born with butterfly wings, meets others with genetic anomalies and realizes that fitting in is overrated. Both the author, Mary Jenner, and the illustrator, Ilona Sula were at the book launch party; it’s a treasure for the library to have copies with two creators’ signatures!
I met Mary Jenner at a SCBWI get together earlier in the year and have been fascinated by her focus on helping all children feel included. In addition to the book, TheButterflyPig.com sells inclusive accessories for dolls and stuffed animals. I do not own a doll, but it feels like my Kohls Cares character collection might suddenly develop health conditions to earn the right to utilize a porta Cath, hearing aid, and/or white cane. Someday picture book fiction characters will better represent these conditions kids face, but until that day happens, I hope that Clifford isn’t too crushed when his vision begins slipping; he will look most dapper with a white cane.