As the home stretch of the school year comes into view, make sure to keep some fun reading material in your routine. Books of good pictures, fascinating slices of historical life, and hefty concepts made simple feature in this edition of Endpapers. Enjoy!
Books Made Mostly of Pictures
I’ve praised Peter Spier before and I’ll gladly do it again. Rain and Fast-Slow High-Low both promise many re-“reads” – quite a feat for a set of word-less picture books! Rain tells the visual story of a rainy day, from its sudden onslaught, to its splashy pleasures, to the glistening and drippy aftermath. Fast-Slow High-Low is an illustrated feast. Each page explores a pair of opposites with a collection of drawings. My four-year-old has enjoyed this book many days in a row and never tires of the details.
Mice feature frequently as fictional adventure heroes and this German collection by Torben Kulhmann is yet another mouse-hero tale. We enjoyed Lindburgh and Edison, each of which tells the story of a scientifically-minded mouse and his brave explorations. Beautiful illustrations (a non-negotiable for me) pair with short chapters to make for a picture book with a sense of maturity. The series also includes Armstrong and Einstein.
Sophie Blackall is a personal favorite illustrator. Her Finding Winnie and Hello Lighthouse aren’t even two of my kids’ favorite books; they’re just two of my own favorites. I was delighted to find that Blackall’s brand-new picture book, Farmhouse, did not disappoint. Based on research of a real farmhouse, the book imagines what the historical family who owned the home was like: their hopes, dreams, joys, sorrows, ups, downs, and all the experiences in between. Reminding us that all of life sifts down through the generations in scraps and pieces, the story still honors the significance of those untold ordinary moments. It’s beautifully done. Highly recommended.
Journey by Aaron Becker tells a story without words. In drawings of simple elegance, a lonely afternoon gives way to a magical world, a valiant mission, and a new friend. This sweet word-less book (yes, another one!) is suitable for littles to enjoy alone, or perfect for families to explore together. If you love it, find the sequel, Quest!
Books Made Mostly of Fascinating Information
The story of American immigration is often handled from the western edge of the Atlantic, the Ellis Island edge. Black Potatoes by Susan Campbell Bartoletti looks at immigration, at least the Irish immigration, from the other side. From the first arrival of the potato blight through the ill-devised aid efforts and the fallout among the Irish people, the book explores mid-nineteenth century Ireland without sparing the gritty details. The book is middle grade nonfiction, an eye-opening read. Highly recommended for middle or high school.
Bud & Me by Alta Abernathy is the unbelievable true story of two brothers who crisscrossed the nation alone several times on horseback, motorcycle, and car – all before either of them turned 12 years old. It’s pretty impressive. I won’t say more. You’ll have to read it for yourself. Our family did the audiobook, which was a fun way to experience the story.
Books Made of Fascinating Information Told through Pictures
Difficult concepts made simple. Millions, Billions, and Trillions and Prices! Prices! Prices! by David Adler and Edward Miller put the ideas of huge numbers and price inflation into words – and pictures – that children can begin to grasp. We spent time with both of these books and they led to good discussion. The author/illustrator team also publish others, mostly math and number-related. Perfect for upper elementary grades.
curated by Brittany Mountz
English major and unsuspecting English educator at ALC