[The “Book Blogs” are my love letter to children’s books. My hope is to encourage parents to find joy in reading to their children. I also want to promote the wonderful collection available through the Southborough Library. These articles were my foray into My Southborough. I’m still writing them for the Southborough Library website, and reprinting here with their permission. For more of my book recommendations, click here.]
It’s been a while since I wrote a new “book blog” post. The truth is after 20 posts, I was having trouble coming up with a new topic to focus on.
(I’d love to get some reader feedback. If you have any book topic/slant you’d like me to cover, let me know.)
For inspiration this week, I was looking through my VERY long list of books that I’ve checked out over the years. In comparing it to what I’ve covered in the past articles, I noticed some authors were woefully neglected.
I tend to write about funny or educational books. Some wonderful authors don’t fit easily in those categories.
Here are some authors with a knack for spinning stories worth spending time with. Find a comfortable couch and curl up with books from the following storytellers:
- Holly Hobbie: It’s hard to believe that the only time I wrote about Toot & Puddle books is a brief mention in a list of Christmas stories. I loved these thoughtful pigs before the best friends made it onto TV. (Actually, like many of my favorite book series, I wish it never did make it to TV.) Reading these original books to my kids gives me a warm feeling: Toot & Puddle, A Present for Toot, You Are My Sunshine, Top of the World, and Charming Opal (and many more). (Note: If you are wondering about the familiar name. Yes, this is the same Holly Hobbie famous in the 60’s and 70’s for her images of girls in bonnets. I still have, and occasionally use, one of those coloring books.)
- Tomie DePaola: This local author and illustrator is probably best known for his Strega Nona books. Kids do enjoy them. His books I appreciate the most are the reminiscences of his childhood. His stories capturing the young boys’ relationships with this grandparents are especially touching. I often find my voice catching as I read these stories aloud: Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs, Tom, Now One Foot and Now the Other* and The Baby Sister. The Art Lesson is another good one, focusing on his early love of drawing.
- Carrie Best: Her stories are about characters with character. Sarah shares stories of her cheerful immigrant grandmother in Three Cheers for Catherine the Great and When Catherine the Great and I were Eight. Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen is a very different story. What all three stories have in common is plucky characters with a generous spirit.
- Bob Graham: This quirky author and illustrator often writes about unconventional families, pets or communities. Some that we’ve enjoyed are: First There Was Frances, A Bus Called Heaven, “Let’s Get a Pup! Said Kate, “The Trouble With Dogs,” Said Dad*, This is Our House, Queenie, One of the Family*and How to Heal a Broken Wing. For the fairy lovers or superhero fans in your family, there’s also: April and Esme, tooth fairies and Max.
- Kevin Henkes: My favorite books from this prolific author are centered around his mouse characters. Each has its own voice from timid to bold. Most of these are also great for talking about complicated emotions and behavior. We loved: Sheila Rae, the Brave, Chester’s Way, Chrysanthemum, Owen, Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse, and Penny and Her Marble.
- Patricia Polacco: For some children (and maybe some parents, too) these books can be a bit long. If you have the time and patience, the stories are of the feel good variety. Ones we enjoyed include: For the Love of Autumn, Something about Hensley’s, The Blessing Cup, and When Lightening Comes in a Jar.
Feel free to share your own favorites or any questions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit the post on My Southborough to post a public comment.