Picture Books that Inspire Reading
Take a look at this month’s recommended reading. These books are sure to inspire a love for reading!
Are You Sitting Comfortably? by Leigh Hodgkinson
A book asks a little boy, “Have you found the perfect snuggle-up-and-lose-yourself-in-a-book-place?” Unfortunately, the book lover in this story cannot, even after searching high and low for the perfect place to read his book. After his frustrating search, he decides the best way to read the book is to share it
Biblioburro: A True Story from Colombia by Jeanette Winter
In this true story, Luis, an enthusiastic reader, dreams up a way to share his collection with “faraway villages” in Columbia. He starts with two burros—one for himself, one for books—and heads off. Tough terrain and menacing bandits challenge him along the way, but at last he reaches a remote town, where he holds a story hour and loans titles to eager kids before returning home to his wife and reading late into the night.
The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth, & Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
In 1930s Harlem, Lewis Michaux Sr. opened the National Memorial African Bookstore. The shop became a hub for fostering new ideas and empowering people to make changes.
Dreamers by Yuyi Morales
Moving easily from English to Spanish and back, Caldecott Honor artist Yuyi Morales traces the journey that she and her small son took in 1994, when they immigrated from Mexico to the United States.
The Hard-Times Jar by Ethel Footman Smothers
Based on the author’s childhood, this inspirational story stands as a tribute to a strong family facing hard times. Emma and her family are migrant workers who follow the crops to make a living. Passionate about books, the girl longs for a store-bought book, but knows that the few coins her mother saves in a jar are for no-money days. Arriving in Pennsylvania, Emma, her parents, and younger siblings pick apples together, but then Mama tells her that she is to attend school now that she is eight. Nervous because she is the only “chocolate-brown” child in the class, which could not have happened in her still-segregated Florida home, Emma soon discovers the riches of the school library.
How to Read a Book by Kwame Alexander
Award-winning poet Kwame Alexander compares reading a book to peeling the gentle skin of a clementine, digging into its juiciness, enjoying it “piece by piece, part by part,” until you can “watch a novel world unfurl right before your eyes.”
Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile by Gloria Houston
As a young girl, Dorothy Thomas knew she would become a librarian and planned to be in charge of a “fine brick library” like the one in her small Massachusetts town. However, after getting her library degree, she married and moved to rural North Carolina, where she operated a bookmobile for many years until a library was established. As the years passed, her library-on-wheels blossomed, and Dorothy profoundly affected many lives through her love of books.
The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita L. Hubbard
Mary Walker was born in the South eight years before the Emancipation Proclamation. She always contributed to the household, from her youth of enslavement to her time as a sharecropper. Mary longed to read, but marriage, child-rearing, and work kept her so busy that she couldn’t fulfill her dream until she was a centenarian. When, at age 116, she was finally able to read her favorite book, the Bible, she was declared the oldest student in the nation.
Up the Learning Tree by Marcia K. Vaughan
Henry Bell walks young Master Simon to and from school every day. Education is forbidden to the Grismore slaves, but Henry finishes his work early and rushes back to the schoolhouse, where he climbs a tree and eavesdrops on the lessons. The other children write their work on slates, but Henry uses the branches of his tree instead, carving letters and words into the bark. Simon’s teacher notices Henry’s efforts and risks everything to help him study, eventually losing her job and getting run out of town. But by then, Henry knows enough to continue his education on his own.
We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell
In Cherokee culture, the expression of gratitude is part of daily life. The book is organized by seasons, beginning with the fall. Each season section starts with the name of the season in Cherokee, an expression of gratitude for the change in nature
Duck for Turkey Day by Jacqueline Jules
For Thanksgiving–which her teacher calls “Turkey Day”–Tuyet’s Vietnamese American family shares a meal of duck. Tuyet worries that her family hasn’t celebrated correctly until her classmates talk about their families’ untraditional menus.
Molly’s Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen
First published in 1983, this story tells of a Russian immigrant girl whose mother makes a Pilgrim doll (modeled on herself, a modern pilgrim who came to America seeking religious freedom) for the class model of the first Plymouth Thanksgiving.
Thanks a Million by Nikki Grimes
Sixteen thoughtful poems about being thankful for everyday things. A child thanks his teacher for helping him “hate math 1/2 as much as he used to;” a new boy in school shares his pie with a classmate who welcomes him; a mother sends her daughter an appreciative lunchbox love note; and a young girl writes to an author expressing her appreciation for a book that touched her heart.