Staff Reads: February 2020
What has the Children’s Book Council’s staff been reading this month?
This Way Charlie, by Caron Levis; illustrated by Charles Santoso (Abrams Books for Young Readers, April 2020)
Based on a true animal friendship, this heartfelt picture book takes us through the lives of Jack the Goat and Charlie the Horse. They didn’t like each other at first, but when Jack learns of Charlie’s blindness and his similar love for honeysuckles and meadows, Jack easily falls into the role of being Charlie’s eyes. If that wasn’t wholesome enough, the book also covers important issues like respecting someone’s differences even if you don’t fully understand where they’re coming from. It normalizes disability in a compassionate, supportive light that will surely be a big takeaway for any little reader (or parent) that picks up this book.
Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World, written and illustrated by Pénélope Bagieu, translated by Montana Kane (Macmillan / First Second Books, 2018)
This Eisner Award winning collection of biographical comics could only be by Pénélope Bagieu. They’re ferocious and funny. The 30 powerful her-stories are brief, but steeped in truth and brilliant color. Recommended for high school readers, especially those taken by Persepolis.
What Would You Wish For?, by David Sable & Emma Yarlett (Zonderkidz, March 2020)
A cute and wholesome read! Whether a wish grants a child something quirky or sweet, this story shows the power of childrens’ imaginations while promoting a hopeful, positive message.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Vol. 01, by Jordie Bellaire & Dan Mora (BOOM! Studios, May 2019)
Simultaneously a reboot to capture new fans and a comfort for existing fans, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Vol 01 sets the stage for our beloved Scooby gang to step foot into the modern world and watch the amazing drama unfold around them. Writer Jordie Bellaire and Artist Dan Mora bring Sunnydale to life as Buffy tries to manage the pressure of high school with her growing responsibilities as a Slayer.
The Ocean: Exploring Our Blue Planet, by Miranda Krestovnikoff; illustrated by Jill Calder (Bloomsbury, February 2020)
Beautifully drawn, this book takes children on a knowledgeable journey about the differences of water habitats and animals. Bright seascapes and bold colors illustrate a mystical world of life under the sea. This book is perfect for kids and adults who love everything ocean.
Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: The Graphic Novel, by Rey Terciero; illustrated by Bre Indigo (Little, Brown Young Readers, February 2019)
The comfort of visiting old friends! This modern retelling of Little Women intersperses visual storytelling with letters the girls write to their father. Through the diverse family and the underlying love they show for each other, it was reassuring to see the portrayal of the problems they face as universal. I could identify in some way with each character, making it the most satisfying read.
Eunice and Kate, by Mariana Llano, illustrated by Elana Napoli (Penny Candy Books, February 2020)
Two friends share their dreams but misunderstand how each one sees the other’s path. Feelings are hurt, but how they restore their friendship is a joy to see.