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her right foot

At a substantial one hundred and four pages, Her Right Foot is not just a smart and insightful source of history and symbolism about the Statue of Liberty.  Dave Eggers considers an often overlooked detail — Lady Liberty's right foot, "the foot that is so obviously in mid-stride."  What does it mean?  "If the Statue of Liberty is the symbol of freedom, and has welcomed millions of immigrants to the US, then how can she stand still?"

We find in Her Right Foot a message of acceptance and a timely reminder of the principles of hope and compassion that our country was built on.  When I first read it, I was overwhelmed in a good, almost tearful way.  It's a book not just for children, but for all of us.

Written and illustrated with humor, wit and a tremendous amount of heart by Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris and published by Chronicle Books. Out on September 19.  Click here to watch the book trailer.


frida and her animalitos

In Frida and Her Animalitos, we learn about Frida Kahlo's childhood and the cherished pets in her life, her special relationship with each of them and how they inspired her work.  Her menagerie included two monkeys, a parrot, three dogs, two turkeys, an eagle, a black cat and a fawn.  And their names!  Her pair of monkeys were called Fulang Chang and Caimito Del Guayabal.  Bonito, her parrot, would do tricks at the dinner table for pats of butter.

Despite experiencing major difficulties early on in life, she had an independent and indomitable spirit, a healthy curiosity and participated in her fair share of mischief.  Frida's animalitos were a big part of her life and were a source of joy and companionship, in good times and bad.

Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos was written by Monica Brown, illustrated by John Parra and published by North South Books.  It will be published in English and Spanish editions on September 5.  You can watch a book trailer here and a Frida Kahlo discussion guide is available here on North South Books' website.  


pocket full of colors: the magical world of mary blair

Mary Blair is most well known for designing It’s a Small World, but the scope of her work encompasses much more than that magical iconic Disneyland ride.  She was an illustrator, designer and animator for Walt Disney Studios at a time when the field was dominated by men whose work was formulaic and predictable.  Many of Mary's ideas were rejected because her work was considered  unconventional and too modern.  But she never let go of her brilliant color stories.  Her intrinsic understanding of color and charming, child-like sensibilities made her one of Walt Disney’s favorite artists.  And she left an indelible mark on the art world.

Brigette Barrager's bold colors, energy and vibrant illustrations are mesmerizing, and bring to life Mary's spirit, determination and perseverance.  An informative author's note about Mary's life is included in the back matter of the book.  Children will learn about her life, from her joyful childhood to her prolific career as a celebrated artist, learn color names they never knew existed and leave with pocketfuls of inspiration.  Click here for a preview of the interior.

Pocket Full of Colors was co-written by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville, illustrated by Brigette Barrager  and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers.  Out on August 29!


goodbye autumn, hello winter

An incredibly lovely ode to the changing of the seasons and a follow-up to Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn.  We join a pair of siblings on an amble through their town as they engage in conversation with its animal inhabitants and the environment.  Kenard Pak's textured, layered and otherworldly landscapes are filled with quietly beautiful and nostalgic details.  Color plays such a significant role in the art of Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter.  It's almost like another character and is the one that you'll think about when you close this sublime book.

Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter was written and illustrated by Kenard Pak and published by Henry Holt and Co.  Out on September 5.


when's my birthday?

"When's my birthday?"  Is there a more oft-asked question from children?  That seemingly long wait and frenzied anticipation for one's birthday is a yearly  rite of passage in early childhood, producing simultaneous anguish and joy.  And when the day finally arrives, oh, happy day!  Julie Fogliano's words are lovely and exuberant and Christian Robinson's work is, as always, an absolute delight.  Click here for a preview of the interior.

When’s My Birthday? was written by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Christian Robinson and published by Roaring Brook Press.  Out soon on September 5.