Children’s Books for Fun Summer Reading

One of my favorite parts of the American Library Association conferences is browsing through the seemingly never-ending aisles of vendors. I often skip right to the book vendors to see what treasures they are giving away. I usually mail home boxes of free books and my suitcase still tips dangerously close to 50 pounds!book-112117_1280
This week I will review a few of my favorite finds in new children’s literature.
Each ALA conference, I seek out the author Kathryn Otoshi who wrote Zero, One, and Two. These simple and beautiful picture books use numbers to introduce young children to ideas themes like bullying, friendship, and the importance of every individual. Her newest book is titled Beautiful Hands. This book was a collaborative effort between Otoshi and her friend Bret Baumgarten. It honors a tradition in Bret’s family, asking, “What will your beautiful hands do today?” The colorful illustrations are made entirely of the handprints of Otoshi’s and Baumgarten’s family members. It is a beautiful tribute and labor of love. Otoshi’s works and ideas for using some of her books can be found on her website at
I have a new favorite picture book character: Max the Brave. This book was first published in 2014, but it was new to me. Max is a brave, mouse-chasing kitten with a problem. He is not quite sure what a mouse looks like. This is a great story for predictions: what animal do you think Max will find next. It would also be fun to have a class create an animal picture encyclopedia to help Max. Or, tell the story using a different animal as the brave one: what if Max was a cat? What animals would be in his story. This would be a great story to act out. Have the students be different animals and put on a play. While you are at it, have them make simple masks or costumes. This is a fun read-aloud that your young students will surely love. Be on the lookout this September for a new book about Max!
That is just a taste of the hundreds of advanced reader copies of books that were given out at the ALA conference. It is so fun to have a sneak peak of great books coming out later this year!
Check back on this blog in a few days. I will review a few new curriculum-related picture books and give you ideas for using them with your students.

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