Olu & Greta by Diana EjaitaStarring: cousins Olu and Greta, who've never met in person because Olu lives in Lagos, Nigeria, and Greta lives in Milan, Italy.
What it's about: Despite the distance that can't be bridged by walking, dancing, skating, or spaceship, Olu and Greta bond through video calls, packages, and the activities they both love.
Art alert: Created with textured pastel drawings on black paper, the illustrations are striking yet cozy, and filled with details gleaned from the author's own Nigerian-Italian heritage.
Room for Everyone by Naaz Khan; illustrated by Mercè LópezAll aboard! Tanzanian siblings Musa and Dada are taking the daladala (minibus) to the beach.
What happens: More passengers pile on -- one goatherd, two goats, three fruit vendors, and so on -- causing a wary Musa, a welcoming Dada, and everyone else aboard to shuffle, squirm, and squeeze to make room.
Kids might also like: Elizabeth Dale's Off to Market, another book with an East African setting and a sense of joyful chaos.
A Sari for Ammi by Mamta Nainy; illustrated by Sandhya PrabhatWelcome to: the village of Kaithoon, where weavers make some of the most beautiful saris in India.
What happens: After noticing that her Ammi weaves gorgeous saris to sell but never keeps any for herself, a resourceful little girl and her sister band together to earn enough money to buy Ammi a sari of her own.
Read it for: a sweet family story and a vibrant look at a specific community.
Snow Angel, Sand Angel by Lois-Ann Yamanaka; illustrated by Ashley LukashevskyWhat it's about: Longing to see real snow, Hawaiian Claire and her family head up the mountain Mauna Kea. But the icy, chunky, snow there is nothing like Claire imagined, leaving her frustrated and dreaming of travel.
Who it's for: A visit to Hapuna Beach restores helps Claire reconnect with her island home, making this story a good fit for adventure-seeking kids and content homebodies alike.
Don't miss: the final pages, filled with further details about Native Hawaiian culture and language.
The Bear and the Moon by Matthew Burgess; illustrated by Catia ChienWhat it's about: A young bear shares a charmed friendship with a wondrous red balloon...until an enthusiastic hug causes a sudden pop!, filling the once-playful bear with sorrow and self-blame.
Don't worry: another floating orb -- this one celestial -- reassures the fuzzy cub that he isn't a "bad bear," and that he can find comfort in his memories.
Reviewers say: that the dreamy artwork and gentle emotion make this "a bedtime book to snuggle into" (Booklist).
Out the Door by Christy HaleWhat it is: a busy, rhythmic exploration of an NYC kid's journey to school, told entirely through prepositional phrases.
Why kids might like it: Far more than a simple grammar lesson, this book also offers dynamic, detailed collage art bursting with seek-and-find opportunities. Routine-loving readers will especially appreciate the book's final, paneled pages, which show the whole journey in reverse.
The Cat Man of Aleppo by Irene Latham and Karim Shamsi-Basha; illustrated by Yuko ShimizuWhat it's about: As the Syrian civil war ravages Aleppo, one kindhearted ambulance driver begins caring for the city's many abandoned cats, leading to a larger effort to protect the small and vulnerable.
Did you know? This moving tale is inspired by the real life of Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel, who provides an introductory note.
Is it for you? While the images of wartime destruction may cause sadness or distress, this is ultimately a story of hope and resilience.
Our Little Kitchen by Jillian TamakiWhat it's about: Every Wednesday, a diverse group of neighbors gather at the community kitchen to make a meal for their community using whatever ingredients are available.
Read it for: the cheerfully frenetic art; the improvisational cooking; and the onomatopoeia of the characters as they chop, splash, sizzle, squish, and eventually sssssslllllluuuurrrrrpppp!
Try this next: Oge Mora's Thank You, Omu! and Brian Floca's Keeping the City Going, two other upbeat books about the importance of communities working together.
Outside In by Deborah Underwood; illustrated by Cindy DerbyWhat it's about: the omnipresence of nature -- Outside -- and the way it supports, surrounds, and beckons to Inside-focused humans.
What's inside: poetic text (Outside smells "sunbaked, fresh, and mysterious") and watercolor-washed, mixed-media art rife with the raw, organic beauty of nature.
Kids might also like: Brendan Wenzel's Inside Cat, another intriguing, gently philosophical book about perception and attention.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 0-8!
Santa Clarita Public Library
23743 Valencia Blvd.
Santa Clarita, California 91355