Our list of book recommendations this month highlights Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, and springtime. With the longer days and warmer weather, why not try reading one of these books outside?
Five books for Cinco de Mayo
Marco’s Cinco de Mayo by Lisa Bullard (Grades K-2)
Marco, a Mexican American boy, explains his family’s Cinco de Mayo traditions. As Marco worries about performing his dance steps during his city’s celebration, his older cousin, Diego, tells him the story of how Mexico’s small army defeated mighty French soldiers on May 5, 1862, which is now remembered as Cinco de Mayo.
Cinco de Mouse-O! (Adventures of Mouse) by Judy Cox (Grades K-2)
On the fifth of May, Mouse wakes to the smell of delicious foods and follows his nose until he discovers a festive scene: bright flags, children playing, mariachis, and people shouting, “Viva Mexico!” After being stalked by a cat and nearly trampled by enthusiastic children, Mouse still ends the day triumphantly, having experienced the fun of Cinco de Mayo.
Mañana, Iguana by Ann Whitford Paul (Grades K-3)
An industrious iguana and her fun-loving but lazy friends do the “Little Red Hen” with a Latin beat and a positive spin. On Monday, Iguana announces her plans for a Saturday party. Her pals–a rabbit, a turtle, and a snake–greet each invitation to work with excuses. A running joke throughout is the snake’s promise to help if he grows arms by manana.
The Great Eggscape! By Jory John (Grades K-3)
Shel (an egg) isn’t a huge fan of group activities, especially when he’s made to be “It” for a game of hide-and-seek. Nevertheless, Shel doesn’t want to let his friends down, so he reluctantly plays, anyway. But after a morning of hiding and seeking, somebody’s still missing. Will the dozen egg friends ever be reunited?
Chicks and Salsa by Aaron Reynolds (Grades K-2)
Tired of the same old food, the rooster leads the other animals of Nuthatcher Farm in making southwestern-themed dishes. They plan a fiesta, but then the farmer’s wife uses up the vegetables in her tamales, and the rooster has to re-group. Recipes are included!
Let Me Help! By Alma Flor Ada (Grades K-3)
Perico the pet parrot knows how to say “Let me help!” He repeats this statement as his (human) family members prepare for the San Antonio Cinco de Mayo festival. They shoo him away, but to everyone’s surprise he eventually finds a way to help.
Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner (Grades K-3)
Beneath every garden lies a secret world down in the dirt. This year-long adventure begins early in spring, with a young girl learning from her grandmother that the soil is still too cold and wet to begin planting. The pair make plans while earthworms and insects work in the dirt. As the year goes by, they tend to the garden, weeding, watering, and keeping away pests, and later harvesting vegetables.
A Nest is Noisy by Dianna Hutts Aston (Grades K-3)
From tiny bee hummingbird nests to orangutan nests high in the rainforest canopy, an incredible variety of nests are showcased here in all their splendor.
Love Grows Everywhere by Barry Timms (Grades K-2)
Connecting the love that nurtures plants with the love that nurtures our relationships, this heartfelt story follows a gardener’s daughter as she gathers the courage to extend the love in their community to a new kid.
Diana’s White House Garden by Elisa Carbone (Grades K-3)
Based on a true story, this book follows ten-year-old Diana, who lived in the White House while her father, Harry Hopkins, was President Franklin Roosevelt’s chief advisor. Diana gets into mischief until, anxious to help the war effort, she volunteers to tend the White House Victory Garden; her efforts inspire the nation.
Ojiichan’s Gift by Chieri Uegaki (Grades K-2)
When Mayumi visits her grandfather in Japan, she helps him tend to his garden of stones and shrubs. But one year, it’s clear that Ojiichan can no longer tend to his home. As her parents pack up Ojiichan’s belongings, Mayumi angrily kicks a rock in the garden, making a mess. But then “a tiny idea took root.” She makes her grandfather a small rock garden in a bento box and makes one for herself, too.
Grandma’s Purse by Vanessa Brantley-Newton (Grades K-2)
A little girl eagerly awaits her grandma Mimi’s arrival, because when Grandma comes, there is always a treasure in her purse! With each item she removes from the purse comes an explanation from Grandma about how that item will come in handy (“You never know what you’ll want to have with you!”) or a bit about its sentimental value (“This coin purse holds my coins, of course, but it also holds memories”).
Mommy’s Khimar by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow (Grades K-3)
The star of this picture book is a young girl who finds joy in wearing her mother’s khimar, imagining it transforms her into a queen, a star, a mama bird, a superhero.
The Best Mother by Cynthia Surrisi (Grades K-2)
Frustrated with following her daily rules and routines, Maxine decides to look for a new mother in the park, at the toy store, and at the zoo-but in the end, she discovers her “old” mother is the best.
Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B Schiffer (Grades K-3)
Every other child in Stella’s class knows who to invite to the Mother’s Day party, but all week long, Stella worries. When the other kids learn that she has no mother to bring, they ask who packs her lunch (Daddy), who reads her bedtime stories (Daddy and Papa), and who kisses her when she is hurt (“Papa or Daddy or Nonna or Aunt Gloria or Uncle Bruno or Cousin Lucy”). In the end, Stella invites them all, but she promises her teacher that on Father’s Day she will bring just her two dads
My Two Moms by Claudia Harrington (Grades K-3)
This is the story of a normal day in Elsie’s life. When Lenny the class reporter visits her home, he discovers that Elsie has two moms. Who gets her splinters out? Mommy! Who gets her cat out of the tree? Mom! Who reads to her? Mommy and Mom! Lenny realizes love is what makes a family..
Toad on the Road : Mama and Me by Stephen Shaskan (Grades K-2)
As Mama and Toad travel along the road, they encounter friends who have a variety of problems (Goat out of gas, Fox with a flat, Moose in the muck) and are able to help everyone. In return, they are thanked by all of their friends with a party. Mama and Toad spread goodwill to all they meet.