A Stone for Sascha by Aaron BeckerWhat it is: a wordless story about grief and cycles of change.
What happens: After the death of her beloved dog Sascha, a little girl finds a stone on the beach, and readers glimpse how the stone's epic, centuries-long journey brought it to her...and to its new resting place on Sascha's grave.
About the author: Switching from his trademarked watercolors to lush, layered pastels, Aaron Becker offers a moving follow-up to his popular Journey trilogy.
Ocean Meets Sky by The Fan BrothersWhat it's about: In honor of his grandfather's stories about the place "where ocean meets sky," young Finn builds a tiny boat and sets sail into a dreamscape filled with outlandish creatures and fantastic vessels gliding through the sea and air.
Art alert: Readers young and old will want to pore over every fanciful detail in the sweeping, full-page illustrations.
Kids might also like: the nautical whimsy of David Wiesner's Flotsam or David Soman's Three Bears in a Boat.
A House That Once Was by Julie Fogliano; illustrated by Lane SmithWhat it is: an illustrated poem about two curious kids exploring an abandoned house in a forest.
Why kids might like it: The poem's gentle rhythm combines with scratchy, mottled artwork to create a lived-in atmosphere with an edge of quiet mystery.
Want a taste?: "Deep in the woods is a house, just a house, that once was but now isn't a home."
Drawn Together by Minh Lê; illustrated by Dan SantatStarring: an English-speaking boy and his Thai-speaking grandfather, both frustrated by the language barrier between them.
What happens: As each discovers that the other can draw, grandfather and grandson begin an artistic duet, both adding distinctive touches to their multi-colored, multi-layered world of imagination.
Who it's for: aspiring artists and families in search of inclusive intergenerational reads.
New Shoes by Chris RaschkaWhat it is: a cheerful, colorful, child's-eye view of what happens when it's time for new shoes -- perfect for preschoolers and reassuring for kids who are reluctant to relinquish their beat-up old kicks.
Reviewers say: "It’s the kind of book that might become a battered, dog-eared favorite -- like a well-worn pair of shoes" (Publishers Weekly).
The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman; illustrated by Ros AsquithWhat it's about: all of the ways in which families can be different, and all of the ways they're the same. With a good-natured, matter-of-fact style, the book explores a broad spectrum of family configurations, as well as aspects of family life such as homes, schools, jobs, food, and holidays.
Want a taste?: "Families can be big, small, happy, sad, rich, poor, loud, quiet, mad, good-tempered, worried, or happy-go-lucky. Most families are all of these things some of time."
Happy in Our Skin by Fran Manushkin; illustrated by Lauren TobiaWhat it is: a joyful celebration of human skin and human relationships.
What happens: Though it focuses on one particular family (a baby with doting parents), this expansive book about the things skin can do -- such as itching, healing, and growing -- takes place during a boisterous block party filled with families of various ages, genders, abilities, and (of course) skin colors.
A Family is a Family is a Family by Sara O'Leary; illustrated by Qin LengWhat it's about: When the teacher asks each student to describe what makes their family special, one girl stays quiet, because her family "is not like everybody else's." It's only after she hears her classmates' honest, wide-ranging stories that she finds the confidence to open up about her caring foster family.
Try this next: Miriam B. Schiffer's Stella Brings the Family, another feel-good story in which a classroom activity reveals the diversity of students' families.
The Family Book by Todd ParrFeaturing: humans, animals, and extraterrestrials in an upbeat exploration of family situations, emphasizing the ways in which all families can love, support, and celebrate each other.
Art alert: the bold lines and brilliant neon hues of The Family Book's illustrations will appeal to even the youngest readers.
Try this next: Fans of this modern classic should be sure to check out Todd Parr's other books about families, including The Mommy Book, The Daddy Book, and We Belong Together.
One Family by George Shannon; illustrated by Blanca Gómez What it is: an interactive book that asks kids to consider "just how many things can 'one' be?"
What's inside: Here, "one" can be a single family unit, or "one" can be many (such as five people in a family); both concepts are reinforced by chunky, winsome illustrations portraying diverse families alongside groups of items for kids to find and count.
Reviewers say: Destined for repeated readings, One Family "sends the message that everyone counts" (Kirkus Reviews).
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 0-8!
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