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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!


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