Staff Picks for Children
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Recommended by Melinda at the Kendale Lakes Branch
The Most Magnificent Thing
By Ashley Spires
An inspiring story of a young girl on a journey to build the “most magnificent thing” that she can envision, along with the help of her adorable canine assistant. But turning her dream plans into reality proves far harder than she thought—she builds and rebuilds and rebuilds but cannot seem to get it just right. Each failure leads to more frustration, until finally, she explodes. Will she and her assistant really give up?
Ashley Spires’s delightful illustrations use the bright red of the girl’s dress to keep the focus on the invention process. The fierce dedication of this plucky heroine is a salute to anyone who wants to make a magnificent thing of their own, and may inspire children to dream and create.Check Availability
Lucía the Luchadora
By Cynthia Leonor Garza
Lucía plays a superhero on the playground wearing her red cape. Even though she can do a flying leap off the monkey bars that no one else can do, the twins Mick and Nick tell her that “Girls can’t be superheroes!” Lucía is angry but doesn’t know what to do until her abuela, Abu, tells her about her secret life as a luchadora, one of the stars of lucha libre. Abu gives her silver costume and mask to Lucía and tells her that as a luchadora, “she is brave and full of heart and isn’t afraid to fight for what is right.” Lucía returns to the playground and discovers that real heroism means standing up for herself and others.
Lucía’s growing confidence in her abilities and the advice and support of her abuela make this empowering book shine. Alyssa Bermudez’s illustrations burst from the page with color and action, particularly the leaps and jumps of the luchadora. The endpapers provide more insight into Abu, and the author’s note provides information about the world of lucha libre.Check Availability
Grace for President
By Kelly DiPucchio
Grace’s teacher puts up a poster with pictures of all the presidents, leading Grace to ask, “Where are all the girls?” After her teacher explains that there are no girls, Grace declares she wants to be president, and her teacher offers to let her run for president of the class. No other student wants the job and Grace thinks that winning the election will be easy. But the next day someone else has decided to run: Thomas, a popular student from the class next door. As the hard‑fought campaign begins, each student is assigned a state, and both candidates must calculate which states and their Electoral College votes they need to win. Though Thomas is confident he will be victorious due to more boys voting than girls, it is Grace who wins, thanks to the support of a boy representing Wyoming. Grace decides she wants to grow up to be the president of the United States, and observant readers will find a picture of a grown‑up Grace at her inauguration at the book’s end.
A smart and fun introduction to presidential politics and the Electoral College that shows how a real election works. LeUyen Pham’s illustrations use lively fonts and patriotic colors to add drama to the story, and her depictions of the children are a delight. The author's note includes information on the Electoral College and presidential elections.Check Availability
Charlotte the Scientist is Squished
By Camille Andros
Charlotte is an earnest scientist who lives with her much loved and large family. With so many brothers and sisters, space for her experiments is hard to come by, so Charlotte uses the scientific method to find a solution. After much experimentation, Charlotte’s conclusion is to move to the moon and live all by herself. But Charlotte’s dedication to science does not stop her from missing her family. She continues to experiment until she finds the perfect solution to her scientific and family dilemmas.
Brianne Farley’s colorful illustrations are full of humor and warmth showing Charlotte’s frustrations, loneliness and joy. The endpapers even provide cutaway diagrams of Charlotte’s carrot‑shaped rocket ship. Charlotte’s commitment to be the best scientist possible will inspire budding scientists and offers a fun introduction to the scientific method.Check Availability
Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride
By Pam Muñoz Ryan
This luminous picture book depicts the actual friendship of the great aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart and the groundbreaking first lady of the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt. On the evening of April 20, 1933, Amelia Earhart and her husband are invited to the White House for dinner with the first lady. Amelia is the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean and Eleanor Roosevelt is a visionary first lady as well as a fan of cars and airplanes. During dinner, Amelia describes the beauty of the sky at night and suggests that she and Eleanor go flying, right then and there. Over the objections of the Secret Service, the two fast friends swoop over Washington, D.C., and into the starlit sky. After the plane lands, Eleanor drives her friend Amelia back to the White House for a serving of her favorite dessert, pink clouds on angel food cake.
Pam Muñoz Ryan meticulously researched this forgotten event, even finding press interviews with the two women, and she successfully captures the charisma and charm of these American icons. Brian Selznick's illustrations are fantastic, using graphite and colored pencils to bring to life the glamour of the past and recreate the dramatic panoramic views of the flight over our nation’s capital. The author’s note includes a photograph of Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt taken on the plane.Check Availability