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One New Fave, Plus Some Classics: Sunday Book Review

May 14th, 2023



In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month:

The new favorite on the shelf is “The Infinite Questions of Dottie Bing,” by Molly B. Burnham, with illustrations by Fanny Liem. (Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Random House, 2023, grades 3 and up, 199 pages, $17.99.) Thoughtful book about the death of a family member (Dottie’s grandma, Ima) and the difficulty her grandfather is having, processing the grief. (Or not processing, as the case may be. He seems perfectly happy carrying Ima’s ashes around in a Chock full o’ Nuts coffee can, enjoying his time with her, playing cards and hanging out.) Reminds me of Judy Blume’s writing — thoughtful, respectful of kids, and deals with serious family stuff in a considerate, humorous and loving way.

I found my copy of “The Silver Crown” by Robert C. O’Brien on the shelf the other day. Most readers are more familiar with O’Brien’s more well-known book, “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH,” but Silver Crown is equally brilliant. Family trauma, a huge adventure, and a fearless young girl and her companion.

“The Hundred Dresses,” by Eleanor Estes, with drawings by Louis Slobodkin, was written in 1944 and stands the test of time. When people tell you, oh bullying is a new thing, we never had issues with that when I was in school, sensitive little snowflakes, etc… hand them a copy of this book. Stays with you forever. Beautiful and strong.

“Chanticleer and the Fox,” adapted from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and illustrated by Barbara Cooney. Because, you know. Hens and roosters and foxes.

“Linnea in Monet’s Garden,” with text by Christina Bjork and art by Lena Anderson. Lovely, thoughtful way to introduce kids to the French impressionist and the world he painted.

Lazy Sunday Afternoon Book Review

May 7th, 2023

Emmy and Lizzy

(“Gleneden Beach,” photo by Steven Pings Rawley, all rights reserved, plz do not use without permission)

Do you know how I first started reviewing books? Yeah, neither do I. I do remember, many moons ago when I worked for the Oregonian, someone asked if I’d be interested in writing book reviews for the paper? It was the book review editor, I believe, lol. Yeah, no. Because a few of my friends had written reviews and the kvetching, it never ended. Book reviews, which should be easy and fun, are more difficult than they appear. I was pretty happy to stick with restaurant reviews, bar reviews, answering the phones and typing up the wedding announcements.

Then blogs came along, and some of us bloggers started getting swag in the mail. That was cool. But Thee O was swag central so I was used to that already. I remember getting a boatload of supplies from Swiffer, and toys for the kids, but the main thing was books. The swag dwindled, but the books kept arriving, and that was (and is) fine with me. I review what I can, keep a few copies, and give the rest away to students, neighbors, friends, and Little Free Libraries. Kismet!

It doesn’t pay, but I like it.

But now I have about eighty books I’m overdue to review, so enough chatting. Bon appetit, babies!

“Helga’s Dowry: A Troll Love Story,” by Tomie de Paola (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1977, ages 4 and up, $8). Did you know that ol’ one-eyed Odin, such a bad dude, cursed unmarried troll maidens to wander the Earth forever? Wait. What’s so bad about that? You could see some interesting stuff, out wandering around. I love de Paola, and this one was new to me. I snagged it from the free box at the school where I was subbing last week. Again, kismet! It’s cute and funny and I think we can all learn something here. Starting with: You don’t have to get married, y’know? You have choices and options in this life.

“Dad and the Recycling-Bin Roller Coaster,” was written by Taylor Calmus (“Dude Dad” from the Magnolia Network DIY show, “Super Dad”) (wow that was a big intro, huh?). The fun, goofy art is from illustrator/character designer Eda Kaban, who has designed for some of my favorites, including Marvel and Disney. (WaterBrook, 2023, $14.99.) A well-meaning dad spends the afternoon trying, and failing, to entertain his three young children with his kooky inventions. Cute book.

Nic Yulo’s debut picture book, “Patch of Sky” made my heart full. (Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Random House, 2023, all ages, $17.99.) Pia is a determined little girl; Patches is her pig. When Pia finds out that pigs can’t look up to see the sky (design flaw) she decides to remedy the situation. Yulo is a delightful artist and I know the kids will love this sweet, kindhearted book. (She grew up hearing stories about her father’s pet pig, Eggman, and this gave her the idea for the book.) (PS — this one won’t be released until this summer, please add to your list!)

More reviews this week, stay tuned!


Kids’ Books for Monday: Grandmas, Marketplaces, Camping & Baking

March 27th, 2023


“Friends” (photo by Nancy Ellen Row; use with permission only, please)

Before you start reading these books with a friend, you’ll need some items and some plans: Clothes for dress-up, ingredients for baking cookies, plans for a hike or a camping trip. Ready?

“Nana the Great Goes Camping,” by Lisa Tawn Bergren, illustrated by David Hohn (WaterBrook/Penguin Random House, 2023, all ages, $12.99). The latest in the Nana the Great series. Nana swings by and takes the grandkids camping. Too much fun! And now I want to try breakfast s’mores. (Add peanut butter and bananas, Nana suggests. Protein and potassium!) Fun read, and bright, happy art.

“My Paati’s Saris,” written by Jyoti Rajan Gopal, with art by Art Twink (Kokila/Penguin Random House, 2022, all ages, $18.99). I cannot praise this exquisite book enough, the art, the story, the tight relationship and love between our hero, a young Tamil boy, and his sweet grandmother, his paati, and her acceptance and love of him. The images… peacocks strutting, lotus blooms and elephants; the intensity of the marketplace; the scents of jasmine and musky rose; the smells of turmeric, cumin and sambar cooking in the kitchen. This book is a dream. Gopal is a kinder teacher and mommy, in addition to being a writer. She grew up in Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, India and China. Now? She lives in Yonkers. Art Twink is a “gender-expansive Bengali-American multidisciplinary creative.” Find their art at arttwink.com

There is another active marketplace, this one in Taipei, Taiwan, in the center of “Night Market Rescue.” Charlotte Cheng wrote the story, with illustrations by Amber Ren (Rocky Pond Books/Penguin Random House, scheduled for spring 2023 release, $18.99). A little stray dog named GoGo finds the local marketplace comforting, especially after he rescues a lost girl. Will he find a home, at last? Warm, rich colors, and a nice story about reaching out to help others.

How about another dog story? Sure! I happen to have the perfect book right here… “José and El Perro” is a new chapter book by Susan Rose and Silvia López, with illustrations by Gloria Félix. (Penguin Workshop/Penguin Random House, all ages, $12.99.) José, our hero, hopes and hopes to adopt a dog, and one day, his dad says yes! Thanks, pops! And off they go to the shelter. Written in conversational Spanish and English, this book is ideal for language learners, and includes a glossary in the back. (While we’re on the subject: Could we please, pronto, make Spanish the official second language of America? ?Por favor? It’s time. Gracias.)

Speaking of comfort and love… how about some cookies? Gibson Frazier (writer) and Micah Player (artist) bring us “Stop and Smell the Cookies” (G.P. Putnam’s Sons/Penguin Random House, all ages, $17.99). How should you deal with your feelings, especially when they’re big, maybe out-of-control feelings? You know the kind… your chest might feel warm and fuzzy, maybe your toes dance… or your fingers might start moving, or your hands could clench into fists? Give this book a read and find some good tips on how to cope in a variety of situations.

(Check this review for additional titles, if you like these books.)

Happy almost April, happy spring reading!


More Kids’ Books: How to Thrive

March 25th, 2023

Winter 2021-2022

“Still Snowing” (photo by Nancy Ellen Row)

That’s an old photo, but you know what? It really did snow yesterday, to kick off spring break with a flourish. Yeah global warming, hi, you’re kicking all of our behinds.

“Here: I Can Be Mindful,” by Ally Condie, with illustrations by Jaime Kim (Viking/Penguin Random House, 2023, all ages, $18.99). I’m glad for today’s children that they’re able to learn about mindfulness, focus on breathing, meditate, do yoga. It’s part of the air we breathe now, and it’s a blessing. “Here: I Can Be Mindful” is a golden, sweet book that gives kids the tools to know when and how to inhale/exhale, ask for what they need, stay close, go far away. The pink bunny sidekick is a nice touch. It’s nice to see a book that is ethereal and grounded at the same time. The kids will be able to relate to this one, for sure.

“Even Superheroes Get Scared,” by Shelly Becker, illustrated by Eda Kaban (Union Square Kids/Sterling Publishing Co., 2022, ages 4 and up, $18.99). Superheroes! Beastie, Zing, Thrash and Laserman, at your service, along with Maqnifique, Screecher, Typhoon and Icky.

“Imagine superheroes, afraid of bugs!… Would that prevent them from chasing thugs?”

Comical rhyming book with a smart lesson, and vivid, likable characters.

“The Planet We Call Home,” written by Aimee Isaac, with pictures by Jaime Kim (Philomel/Penguin Random House, 2023, ages 3 and up, $18.99). More stunning work from Kim, and a friendly story by Isaac.

“This is our Earth, the planet we call home. These are the mountains stretching from Earth, the planet we call home.”

“Chasing God’s Glory,” written by Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young, with art by Alyssa de Asis (WaterBrook, 2023, ages 3 and up, $12.99). “Rise and shine/and give God the glory/glory/rise and shine…” Another sweet book (which begins with one of my favorite happy songs) about faith from our friends at WaterBrook publishing house. De Asis, an artist from Manila, Philippines, did a lovely job on the picture book’s sweet and inviting art.

“Who Will U Be?” with words and pictures by Jessica Hische (Penguin Workshop/Penguin Random House, 2023, ages 3-7, $18.99). Awwww, this one is set in my old neighborhood, Alphabet City on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Introducing our new friend U, who attends Ms. Bracket’s School for Little Letters. Bright candy colors will grab the reader’s attention and U is a great narrator. The students from the school, who are actually little letters themselves, are heading out for the annual Find Yourself Field Trip. They explore the city, including Times Square and the New York Public Library, and discover loads of letters along the way. Clever, captivating way to teach children more about letters, typography and writing.

Bon appetit, and have a lovely week, everyone.


Sunday Book Review and how are you?

March 19th, 2023

Winter 2021-2022

“The Light,” by Nancy Ellen Row Rawley

Why would I be posting this photo, now that spring is almost here? Because it’s still snowing up and down the west coast, that’s why. #globalwarming and we’re all confused. It will be OK. We had sunshine and warmth the past few days, it was much needed.

I found these awesome picture books in my mailbox, wanna hear about them? They’re going to make some kids happy, they’re pretty sweet.

Presenting… “Moms Can Do It All!” and “Dads Can Do It All!” a pair of titles written by Ted Maass and illustrated by Ekaterina Trukan (Grosset & Dunlap, 2023, $8.99 apiece.) Well. OK. Sure, we can, but constantly? Because what about the times when we’re so tired we beg the babies to just watch Elmo or Spongebob on loop, while we nap next to them on the couch? What about the times when you serve mac n cheese, applesauce and toast, again and again, because it’s all they will eat?

No, we can’t do it all, and we shouldn’t hafta. We’re not superheroes, only we are? It’s confusing. Yeah, we are superheroes, it’s true. You’ll see when you grow up, kiddos. In the meantime, these cool little ’60s-style board books, with their primary colors, Fisher-Price type peeps and pets, along with the positive messages they share, will leave you feeling… happy. They’re right! We absolutely can do it all. (But you don’t have to, mommies and daddies. Just do your best. Ay-ay, captain! Elmo and his goldfish Dorothy loooooove naps!)

Here comes a new book from Mr. G (Ben Gundersheimer) and illustrator Dow Phumiruk, “We’ll Make Things Better Together” (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House, out this spring, 2023, $18.99). Cheerful, playful book about all the ways communities can work together to make the world better. Only, where’s the music? Because the words sound like lyrics. Sweet illustrations, too.

“How to Get Your Octopus to School,” with words by Becky Scharnhorst and ptictures by Jaclyn Sinquett (Flamingo Books/Penguin Random House, scheduled for release spring of 2023, ages 4 and up, $18.99). Hey, octopus! Ready for school? You’ll need school supplies, buddy. And a backpack, lunch, a new outfit… don’t be shy, you’ve got this! No need to throw ink around. Cute book that will help ease reluctant students into the classroom.

And now, my new favorite: “Can We Please Give the Police Department to the Grandmothers?” Yes, please. Make it happen, please. This beautifully illustrated, lovely book, was given to us by illustrator Kristen Uroda and written by Junauda Petrus. (Dutton Children’s Books/Penguin Random House, scheduled for release April 2023, all ages, $18.99.) Petrus, a resident of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and a Coretta Scott King honoree, has done an outstanding job with this picture book, which reads like a gorgeous, lyrical poem. I’d like to live in a world run by the grandmothers. (Bonus: the playlist that is included on the flyleaf.)

All for now, talk soon!


Friday Night Book Round-up: What’s New on My Nightstand?

March 10th, 2023


“Woof!” by Nancy Ellen Row Rawley

Hi, grownup readers and researchers, how about some book suggestions?

“Teaching with Fire: Poetry That Sustains the Courage to Teach,” Sam M. Intrator & Megan Scribner, editors, with an introduction by Parker J. Palmer & Tom Vander Ark (Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Company, 2003, 225 pages). I have one shelf full of poetry books, daily affirmation guides, my Bibles, meditation guides, workbooks, and any other books I find useful. “Teaching with Fire” was gifted to me and the rest of the staff by my first principal, sixteen years ago, and I go back to it frequently. So technically, it’s not on my nightstand, but it’s always within reach. Highly recommend. 

“The Librarian Spy,” by Madeline Martin (author of “The Last Bookshop in London,” Hanover Square Press, 2022, 355 pages, $28.99). Spent some time browsing the new releases section at my local library yesterday, and came across this title. It looks fun and entertaining; starting it this weekend, along with…

Elin Hilderbrand’s “The Hotel Nantucket” (Little, Brown and Company, 2022, 368 pages, $29.00). Hilderbrand also wrote “Golden Girl” and 26, yes, twenty-six other novels.

A self-help/community read book showed up in my mailbox, “How to Human: Three Ways to Share Life Beyond What Distracts, Divides, and Disconnects Us,” by Carlos Whitaker, with a foreword by Sharon McMahon  (WaterBrook/Multnomah, 2023, 206 pages, $18.00). I’ve begun this one, too, because why limit yourself to one or two books when you can read thirty? It’s a good read. Whittaker refers to himself as a “hope dealer,” which is pretty great.

“The Davenports” is a new release from Krystal Marquis (Dial Books/Penguin Random House, 2023, 379 pages, $19.99). This is a delicious, golden, romantic novel, set in 1910 Chicago, and yes, I am a sucker for books set in that era (“A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” “Sula,” “The Sound and the Fury,” etc.). This would be a good book club pick.

Kristen R. Lee’s “Sun Keep Rising” is a compassionate and clear-eyed novel about the joys and challenges in the life of teen mom B’onca, her sweet baby Mia, and their extended family. (Crown New York, 2023, 227 pages, $18.99.)

Joan Bauer’s “Tell Me” (Scholastic, 2014, 259 pages, $7.99) is another great young adult book. This one introduces us to Anna, who has been sent out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to stay with her grandma, Mim, while her parents figure out what they’re doing. Anna thinks she sees another young girl who could be in trouble. Instead of dismissing her doubts, she says something. The grown-ups? They actually listen. Great story about a serious situation. Bauer is a long-time favorite of mine.  Please check out “Hope Was Here” and let me know what you think.

Speaking of families… “The Wreck: A Daughter’s Memoir of Becoming a Mother,” is an intense read about a daughter from a secretive family, and how her sleuthing helps her unravel her relatives’ past. (Released scheduled for spring 2023, Viking, $27.00.)

Bon appetit, babies, and have a great weekend.


Friday Fun Day: What’s On My Nightstand

March 3rd, 2023


(Solar Eclipse, in the path of totality, 8/21/2017, photo by Nancy E. Row Rawley)

Pretty, huh? Yeah, you had to be there, I think. That was a cool day, though, Eclipse Day 2017. Some of our friends came to town and we headed to the neighborhood park with lawn chairs, blankets and all of the other neighbors. (Except B., who headed to Marys Peak because Reporting for the Newspaper.) Corvallis was in the path of totality which was amazing. OK, okay, moving on.

What’s on my nightstand? Grown-up books and books for teens. Get ready…

“Be the Difference: Serve Others and Change the World,” a monthly planner. OK, I think I mentioned this one already, but it is pretty cool. (WaterBrook/Ink & Willow, 2021, $16.99.) Not just a journal, not just a planner — you can turn it into a bullet journal, a place to set goals, a sketchbook or whatever you want. Go for it and change the world, and yourself, along the way.

“Remedies for Sorrow: An Extraordinary Child, a Secret Kept from Pregnant Women, and A Mother’s Pursuit of the Truth,” by Megan Nix (Penguin Random House/Doubleday, upcoming release 2023, $28). This is an intense read, so I’m attaching a trigger warning here. Please proceed with caution. This is a well-written, compassionate book about CMV (cytomegalovirus). Nix, who lives in both Colorado and Alaska with her family, is not just a talented writer, but a thoughtful reporter, too.

“The Emotional Lives of Teenagers: Raising Connected, Capable, and Compassionate Adolescents” (Ballantine Books/Penguin Random House, 2023, 226 pages, $28). This one was written by Lisa Damour, Ph.D., author of “Untangled” and co-host of the “Ask Lisa” podcast. Loads of tips and thoughts on dealing with teen mental health issues, anxiety, moods and emotions. Sometimes those difficult conversations are needed.

The Young Reader’s Edition of “Mission Possible: Go Create a Life That Counts,” by athlete Tim Tebow (with A.J. Gregory) is also new on the shelves. This faith-based book is from WaterBrook/Penguin Random House. (2023, 145 pages, $18.00.)

“Carry Strong: An Empowered Approach to Navigating Pregnancy and Work,” by Stephanie Kramer, is scheduled for release this spring. (Penguin Life, 352 pages, $20.00.) Kramer did her work interviewing CEOs, working moms (all moms, may I say, are working moms), Olympic athletes and others to glean information on what to consider and what to look out for while transitioning/seguing, and adding to life with family and work.

Enjoy your spring, and here’s to reading.


Hello hello… and here’s another book reviews: Zara, plus Insects! and Animals

February 15th, 2023


(Photo of Mae-Mae by my son, Kid Rawley)

You know who loves bugs and insects? That chicken, right there. She keeps the place tidy. Also? Did you know… 

Entomology (think “ant”) is the study of bugs and insects, but etymology is the study of words? It’s good to remember that one. 

Did you know that spiders are not insects! Yes, yes I did. (Did you know that we have Black Widow Spiders in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, where I live? I did not know that until we moved here but wow, I do now!)

Did you know that the fossils of the first dragonflies date back to the Carboniferous Period? That was almost 360 million years ago. Whoa.

“Amazing Insects Around the World,” from DGPH Studio, will give you all kinds of cool information about buggy bugs. (Penguin Workshop/Penguin Random House, 2023, all ages, $17.99.) Stellar little encyclopedia.

Its companion book, also from DGPH Studios, “Amazing Animals Around the World” is awesome, too. (Penguin Workshop/Penguin Random House, 2023, all ages, $17.99.)

Zara (from “Zara’s Rules for Record-Breaking Fun” and “Zara’s Rules for Finding Hidden Treasure”) is back, in “Zara’s Rules for Living Your Best Life.” (Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster, scheduled for release 4/19/2023, grades 2-5, $17.99.) This is a great series by Hena Khan (“Amina’s Voice”), with a spunky, not-too-sweet main character. In this chapter book, Zara has spring break plans — fun plans! — with her friends. But things tend to change, and now Z and her brother, also Z (Zayd) have to hang out with their grandparents. How will this go?

“I Am Temple Grandin,” by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos, is from the Ordinary People Change the World Series. (Rocky Pond Books/Penguin Random House, 2023, all ages, $16.99.) Great biography (in a graphic novel format for younger readers) about the scientist/animal behaviorist/neurodiversity advocate who has autism.


Sunday Book Review

February 12th, 2023


Oregon Coast (photo by Nancy Ellen Row Rawley)

Today I’m reviewing three awesome picture books about kids and their families:

“Ramen for Everyone,” written by Patricia Tanumihardja, with illustrations by Shiho Pate (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster, 2023, all ages, $18.99). This sweet picture book tells the story of Hiro and his dad, who makes the most perfect ramen, every Sunday. Nori seaweed, nitamago egg, savory broth, yummy chashu pork… and noodles. (Yes, cooking tips, a recipe, and some history on ramen are included.) Hiro is ready to tackle the recipe himself, but it’s a little trickier than he thought it would be. Luckily, his dad, mom and sister are there to help and lend some support. This lively book reads like an anime — the illustrations are fun and colorful.

“The Best Worst Day Ever,” by Mark Batterson & Summer Batterson Dailey, illustrated by Benedetta Capriotti (Multnomah/Penguin Random House, 2023, $12.99). Capriotti’s illustrations give a cartoon-style flair to this picture book about a son and his father.

You know when it’s one of those days? Your cereal is soggy, your fave shirt is in the wash, you’re still sleepy and you have to go to work? That’s Bert’s story. He’d rather run and play, but he has to head to the flower shop to work with his dad. But when the clouds roll in, and the rain starts, his dad hollers, “You can’t ruin my day, no way!” at the sky. And Bert starts to look at the world a little differently.

“Babajoon’s Treasure,” written by Farnaz Esnaashari, illustrated by Nabi H. Ali (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2023, ages 4 and up, $18.99). Miriam loves spending part of her summer every year with her Babajoon and Mamajoon. The family, originally from Iran, lives for adventures. When Miriam spies a gold coin that is different from her Babjoon’s other coins, she becomes convinced that he’s… a pirate? Maybe the other language he speaks is pirate code? Lovely illustrations and a fun story. Nice way to learn about non-American cultural traditions.

Have a great week, everyone! Hope your adventures bring you magic and joy.


Black History Month: Thursday Book Review

February 9th, 2023

New books

“My Red, White, and Blue,” written by Alana Tyson, with illustrations by London Ladd (Philomel/Penguin Random House, 2023, all ages, $18.99). The art in this book… I don’t even know where to start. It’s gripping, beautiful, warm, inviting, solid, and standing back a little way, by itself, assessing everything. The topic, too, is serious: What about the American flag? What does it mean to you? Does it represent all of us, or just some of us? What about its history? 

A profoundly moving, important, timely book.

Ladd’s art is outstanding — he uses acrylic paint, cut paper and tissue paper, and the impact is something else. As the author says, plainly and clearly, in a note in the back, “For as long as there has been a United States of America, there has been inequality for Black people within it.” 

I ask, Isn’t it time for our country to get this one right? Isn’t that long overdue?  

New books

“Justice Rising: 12 Amazing Black Women in the Civil Rights Movement,” by Katheryn Russell-Brown, illustrated by Kim Holt (Viking/Penguin Random House, 2023, ages 4 and older, $18.99). Read and learn about Ella Baker, Ruby Bridges, Claudette Colvin, Dorothy Cotton, Fannie Lou Hamer, Coretta Scott King, Diane Nash, Rosa Parks, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Gloria Richardson, Jo Ann Robinson, Sheyann Webb and the Freedom Marchers. Say their names.

The art is beautiful, just like these Queens, and the quotes and reference materials are useful. I am honored to be reviewing this book, and the others mentioned today. I just wanted to say that it is an honor.

New books

“What Does Being Brown Mean to You?” written and illustrated by Ron Grady (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House, 2023, all ages, $18.99). Beautiful picture book inspired by the author’s preschool students. This is a keeper of a book and one to be passed down to the grandkids, and purchased for classrooms and libraries.

A cool new autobiography (in picture book format) by Raphael G. Warnock, “Put Your Shoes on & Get Ready!” illustrated by TeMika Grooms, is next on my list. Georgia’s first black senator has an amazing story to tell. Speak it, sir! Glad to see this splendid book arrive. In addition to serving the people of Georgia, Warnock also serves as the senior pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church of Atlanta. (Philomel/Penguin Random House, 2023, all ages, $19.99.)

“Dear Yesteryear,” by Kimberly Annece Henderson (author/photographer) and Ciara LeRoy (letterer) (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2023, all ages, $18.99). Extremely cool photography book, compiled by Henderson, a historical researcher, curator and librarian based in New York City.

Henderson focuses on geneaology and Black American lineages. From her bio: “She has facilitated digital projects for the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, in Harlem.” Her work is impressive, and the images she has gathered are stunning, captivating, incredible. We are blessed to have them. “To my dear yesteryears,” the book begins, “Stony the road, you’ve walked this earth and paved the way I now call home.”

“My Fade Is Fresh,” by Shauntay Grant, illustrated by Kitt Thomas (Penguin Workshop/Penguin Random House, 2022, ages 3 and up, $17.99). We used to joke, It’s better to look good than to feel good. But looking good and feeling good? That’s the best. The star of this picture book knows exactly how she wants her hair cut and styled, even when everyone around her is shouting out their opinions on the subject. Vibrant art and a great story.

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