• Our Monthly Homeschool Library Haul - lots of fun math and science books!
    book lists,  library haul

    APRIL HOMESCHOOL LIBRARY HAUL đź“š we hit the jackpot!

    We got some great books in our homeschool library haul this month!

    I may have gone a little overboard requesting all (okay, almost all) the DK Smithsonian books . . .

    Check out the video to hear my thoughts and get a peek inside the books.

    I’ll link the books below incase you want to check them out!

     

    Our Monthly Homeschool Library Haul - lots of fun math and science books!

     

     

    APRIL HOMESCHOOL LIBRARY HAUL

    We got a lot of books out from the library this month and so many good ones!

    In the video I show you inside each of the books but for your reference, here is a list of the books mentioned:

    Princess Pulverizer

    The World Needs Who You Were Made to Be

    How Many Mice Make an Elephant?

    All the Science You Need to Know By Age 7

    I’m Just Not Good at Rhyming

    Science Comics – Plagues

    The Curious Book of Lists

    Curious Lists for Kids – Animals

    The Bird Atlas

    The Know-Nonsense Guide to Money

    The Know-Nonsense Guide to Measurements

    The Know-Nonsense Guide to Grammar

    Marsha is Magnetic

    The Lost Words

     

    Our Monthly Homeschool Library Haul - lots of fun math and science books!

     

    DK Smithsonian History

    DK Smithsonian Ocean!

    DK Smithsonian Picturepedia

    DK Smithsonian Explorers

    DK Smithsonian Inventions

    DK Smithsonian Cars, Trains, Ships and Planes

    DK Smithsonian Human Body

     

    What have you been getting out from the library recently?

  • WHAT WE READ IN MARCH - our homeschool read alouds, what the kids are reading & what mom is reading!
    book lists,  books,  mother culture,  reading lately

    WHAT WE READ IN MARCH – our homeschool read alouds, what the kids are reading & what mom is reading!

    Today Raeca and I are sharing a wrap up of our reading from the month of March!

    We are chatting about our read alouds and what we read on our own as well.

    There was a combination of some pretty mediocre books and some really great ones.

    We would love to hear what you have been reading lately and if you have any book suggestions for us for future months!

     

    WHAT WE READ IN MARCH - our homeschool read alouds, what the kids are reading & what mom is reading!

     

     

    WHAT WE READ IN MARCH

     

    Here are all the books we read in March, be sure to watch the video to hear our thoughts on them!

     

    Flat Stanley’s Worldwide Adventures: The African Safari Discovery

    When a flat skull is discovered in Africa, Stanley Lambchop decides to travel there with his brother, Arthur, and their father, George. Maybe studying the skull will give them clues to Stanley’s flatness. But once in Africa, the Lambchops are in for more adventure than they bargained for. From lions to zebras to elephants, it’s the safari of a lifetime!

     

     

    Case Closed – Mystery in the Mansion

    Carlos Serrano has never solved a mystery in his life. But when Carlos’s mom gets sick with a flu on the morning of an investigation that could save her failing detective agency, Carlos takes on the case.

    With the help of his best friend, Eliza, and her wild little brother, Frank, Carlos must uncover a mystery involving an eccentric local millionaire, anonymous death threats, and a buried treasure. But with tricky riddles, cagey suspects, hidden secrets, and dozens of impossible choices, they need your help!

    Can you help Carlos and his friends find the culprit and save Las Pistas Detective Agency? Or will it be case closed?

     

     

    Enola Holmes – The Case of The Missing Marquess

    Meet Enola Holmes, teenaged girl turned detective and the younger sister to Sherlock Holmes.

    When Enola Holmes, sister to the detective Sherlock Holmes, discovers her mother has disappeared, she quickly embarks on a journey to London in search of her. But nothing can prepare her for what awaits. Because when she arrives, she finds herself involved in the kidnapping of a young marquess, fleeing murderous villains, and trying to elude her shrewd older brothers—all while attempting to piece together clues to her mother’s strange disappearance. Amid all the mayhem, will Enola be able to decode the necessary clues and find her mother?

     

    The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone

    Bronte Mettlestone is ten years old when her parents are killed by pirates. This does not bother her particularly: her parents ran away to have adventures when she was a baby. She has been raised by her Aunt Isabelle, with assistance from the Butler, and has spent a pleasant childhood of afternoon teas and riding lessons. Now, however, her parents have left detailed instructions for Bronte in their will. (Instructions that, annoyingly, have been reinforced with faery cross-stitch, which means that if she doesn’t complete them, terrible things could happen!) She travels the kingdoms, perfectly alone, delivering gifts to ten other aunts: a farmer aunt who owns an orange orchard, a veterinarian aunt who specializes in dragon care, a pair of aunts who captain a cruise ship, and a former rock star aunt who is now the reigning monarch of a small kingdom. But as she travels from aunt to aunt, Bronte suspects there might be more to this journey than the simple delivery of treasure.

     

    Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls

    A girl discovers her boarding school is actually an elite spy-training program, and she must learn the skills of the trade in order to find her mother in this action-packed middle grade debut that’s perfect for fans of Stu Gibbs.

    After a botched escape plan from her boarding school, Abigail is stunned to discover the school is actually a cover for an elite spy ring called The Center, along with being training grounds for future spies. Even more shocking? Abigail’s mother is a top agent for The Center and she has gone MIA, with valuable information that many people would like to have—at any cost. Along with a former nemesis and charming boy from her grade, Abigail goes through a crash course in Spy Training 101, often with hilarious—and sometimes painful—results.

    But Abigail realizes she might be a better spy-in-training than she thought—and the answers to her mother’s whereabouts are a lot closer than she thinks…

     

    Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls: Power Play

    After discovering the truth about her spy school/boarding school—and her super-spy mom—Abby Hunter is ready for her next adventure, but what’s about to happen is something she never would have guessed…

    Everyone at The Smith School is obsessed with Monster Mayhem, the latest reality video game craze. But when Drexel Caine, the mastermind behind the game, is suddenly kidnapped, it becomes clear that the kidnappers are playing for more than just special badges.

    After Drexel’s son—who is Abby’s friend, Toby—receives a cryptic message, Abby and her friends discover the kidnapping is part of a bigger scheme that could take down The Center for good.

    With the help of Abby’s frenemy (and reluctant mentor), Veronica Brooks, the group tackles their first official Center Mission. They tangle with the world’s most notorious hacker, get in trouble for the possible theft of the Mona Lisa, and prepare for the ultimate showdown in London. But not before they have to contend with one more hurdle: the agonizing Smith School Spring Formal. Along the way, they discover they are much stronger as a team than they can ever be alone.

    And with a little luck, they might just save the world.

     

    Keeper of the Lost Cities – Legacy

    Sophie Foster wants answers. But after a lifetime of lies, sometimes the truth is the most dangerous discovery. Even the smallest secret comes with terrifying new responsibilities.

    And Sophie’s not the only one with blank spots in her past, or mysteries surrounding her family. She and her friends are part of something much bigger than they imagined—and their roles have already been chosen for them.

    Every clue drags them deeper into the conspiracy. Every memory forces them to question everything—especially one another. And the harder they fight, the more the lines blur between friend and enemy.

     

    The Great Cake Mystery

    Have you ever said to yourself, Wouldn’t it be nice to be a detective?
     
    This is the story of an African girl who says just that. Her name is Precious.
     
    When a piece of cake goes missing from her classroom, a traditionally built young boy is tagged as the culprit. Precious, however, is not convinced. She sets out to find the real thief. Along the way she learns that your first guess isn’t always right. She also learns how to be a detective.

     

     

    The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child

    Donalyn Miller says she has yet to meet a child she couldn’t turn into a reader. No matter how far behind Miller’s students might be when they reach her 6th grade classroom, they end up reading an average of 40 to 50 books a year. Miller’s unconventional approach dispenses with drills and worksheets that make reading a chore. Instead, she helps students navigate the world of literature and gives them time to read books they pick out themselves. Her love of books and teaching is both infectious and inspiring. The book includes a dynamite list of recommended “kid lit” that helps parents and teachers find the books that students really like to read.

     

    Love-Centered Parenting: The No-Fail Guide to Launching Your Kids

    Do you worry that you’re messing up your kids? Do you get stressed when you think about their futures? New York Times bestselling author Crystal Paine knows how you feel. A mom of four, Crystal has struggled with anxiety over parenting. She wanted to parent with grace, instead of a system of rules where kids are expected to do all the right things. She wanted to be a safe place for her children, and she definitely didn’t want to be remembered as the sort of mom who yelled, wounded her kids with words, or worse, cared more about her reputation than her kids’ hearts. 

     

    Awaking Wonder: Opening Your Child’s Heart to the Beauty of Learning

    Sally, what is your secret?

    For years, parents worldwide have asked beloved author Sally Clarkson how she and her husband have ignited a love for learning and a deep faith in their children. They want to know how the Clarksons launched their children to live such vibrant, flourishing lives as adults.

    Awaking Wonder is Sally’s answer to those questions. This book is thirty-six years in the making and provides a deep dive into Sally’s most profound legacy: nurturing and guiding her four children into a wonder-filled life.

    If you are idealistic and hopeful about the process of raising your children to be healthy and vibrant, you will find encouragement through the Clarksons’ story. If you are exhausted, confused, ill equipped, or unsupported in your journey as a parent, you will find relief through the countless ideas in this book.

    Awaking Wonder will inspire you, delight you, provide laughter, and bring tears through the heartfelt stories of four lively children and the wondrous life they grew up in together. 

    Journey with Sally toward

    · cultivating wonder all around you, alongside your children
    · understanding how to open your children’s hearts and minds to the grand design, beauty, and goodness scattered throughout the universe
    · laying a foundation for spiritual formation and a robust faith in God
    · nurturing your children to live into their capacity in intellect, faith, and relationships 

    If you long for a holistic, spiritually foundational approach to parenting and education, this is the book you’ve been waiting for.

     

    We would love to hear what you have been reading lately and if you have any book suggestions for us for future months!

  • 12 of the best middle grade books being released in 2021 from March through to June
    anticipated releases,  book lists,  middle grades

    12 of the Best Middle Grade Releases 2021: March – June

    There are so many good sounding books coming out this year!

    I keep thinking I’ve heard of them all when new ones are announced.

    There are lots of middle grade books being released from March through to June but these are ones that I’ve heard about and are currently on my radar. It’s not an exhaustive list by any means.

    I shared a list of books coming out from January through to March already. And then I saw more March releases so I have added them to this list.

    Are there some middle grade books you know of coming out in the next few months that sound good? Let me know so I can read them!

    If you are interested in picture books, I’ve been making monthly lists of anticipated releases:

     

    12 of the best middle grade books being released in 2021 from March through to June

     

    12 of the Best Middle Grade Releases 2021: March – June

     

    The Elephant in the Room

    March 2nd

    It’s been almost a year since Sila’s mother traveled halfway around the world to Turkey, hoping to secure the immigration paperwork that would allow her to return to her family in the United States.

    The long separation is almost impossible for Sila to withstand. But things change when Sila accompanies her father (who is a mechanic) outside their Oregon town to fix a truck. There, behind an enormous stone wall, she meets a grandfatherly man who only months before won the state lottery. Their new alliance leads to the rescue of a circus elephant named Veda, and then to a friendship with an unusual boy named Mateo, proving that comfort and hope come in the most unlikely of places.

     

    Houdini and Me

    March 2nd

    Eleven-year-old Harry Mancini is NOT Harry Houdini–the famous escape artist who died in 1926. But Harry DOES live in Houdini’s old New York City home, and he definitely knows everything there is to know about Houdini’s life. What is he supposed to do, then, when someone starts texting him claiming that they’re Houdini, communicating from beyond the grave? Respond, of course.

    It’s hard for Harry to believe that Houdini is really contacting him, but this Houdini texts the secrets to all of the escape tricks the dead Houdini used to do. What’s more, Houdini’s offering Harry a chance to go back in time and experience it for himself. Should Harry ignore what must be a hoax? Or should he give it a try and take Houdini up on this death-defying offer?

    Dan Gutman is the award-winning author of series including My Weird SchoolThe Genius Files, and the baseball card series, including Honus & Me. He uses his writing powers for good once again in this exciting new middle grade novel.

     

    Across the Pond

    March 16th

    Callie can’t wait for her new life to start. After a major friendship breakup in San Diego, moving overseas to Scotland gives her the perfect chance to reinvent herself. On top of that, she’s going to live in a real-life castle!

    But as romantic as life in a castle sounds, the reality is a little less comfortable: it’s run-down, freezing, and crawling with critters. Plus, starting off on the wrong foot with the gardener’s granddaughter doesn’t help her nerves about making new friends. So she comes up with the perfect solution: she’ll be homeschooled. Her parents agree, on one condition: she has to participate in a social activity.

    Inspired by a journal that she finds hidden in her bedroom, Callie decides to join a birding club. Sure, it sounds unusual, but at least it’s not sports or performing. But when she clashes with the club leader, she risks losing a set of friends all over again. Will she ever be able to find her flock and make this strange new place feel like home?

     

     

    Wicked Epic Adventures: Another Wallace the Brave Collection (Volume 3)

    March 23rd

    The world of Wallace The Brave is one of imagination, discovery, and wonder, as Wallace and his friends explore the coastal surroundings of Snug Harbor, Rhode Island, uncovering new mysteries, adventure, and mischief wherever they turn. Brought to life by the wonderfully detailed ink-and-watercolor art of Will Henry, Wallace The Brave (named the 2018 Newspaper Comic Strip of the Year) will delight young readers as well as their parents, who will recognize a camaraderie and heart similar to classic strips like Calvin & Hobbes.

     

    Science Comics: The Digestive System: A Tour Through Your Guts

    March 23rd

    In Science Comics: The Digestive System, visit the inside of your mouth, stomach, liver, intestines, and other organs that make up the gastrointestinal tract! Your guide to the gut is a friendly bacterium who will take you on a journey beyond imagination. Uncover how food is transformed into nutrients! Explore strange and dangerous glands! Behold the wonders of saliva, mucus, and vomit! Writer Jason Viola and illustrator Andy Ristaino provide a trip to the toilet you will never forget!

    Every volume of Science Comics offers a complete introduction to a particular topic―dinosaurs, the solar system, volcanoes, bats, robots, and more! Whether you’re a fourth grader doing a natural science unit at school or a thirty-year-old with a secret passion for airplanes, these graphic novels are for you!

     

    This is a new series that sounds really good!

    The Case of the Missing Cheetah (Secret Spy Society)

    March 23rd

    The first book in a highly illustrated new chapter book series about three delightfully mischievous young girls and some of the most enigmatic women in history who worked as spies.

    It’s a dark and stormy night when three sleuthing little girls get pulled into a web of mystery. They have mistakenly uncovered a secret society of some of the most famous female spies in history. A glamorous spy named Josephine Baker enlists the girls to find out who has kidnapped Chiquita, her precious pet cheetah. Do the girls have what it takes to become spies themselves?

    Debut author-illustrator Veronica Mang has created a playful pastiche full of masters of disguise, martial artists, codebreakers, and double agents in the first of this new illustrated chapter book series. Secret Spy Society: The Case of the Missing Cheetah introduces young readers to three delightfully mischievous girls and some of the most enigmatic and unforgettable women in history.

     

    We Belong

    March 30th

    Stella and Luna know that their mama, Elsie, came from the Philippines when she was a child, but they don’t know much else. So one night they ask her to tell them her story. As they get ready for bed, their mama spins two tales: that of her youth as a strong-willed middle child and immigrant; and that of the young life of Mayari, the mythical daughter of a god. Both are tales of sisterhood and motherhood, and of the difficult experience of trying to fit into a new culture, and having to fight for a home and acceptance. Glorious and layered, this is a portrait of family and strength for the ages.

     

    I read the first book in this series last month and plan on reading the second this month so I can be ready for book three when it’s out!

    The Messengers (Greystone Secrets #3)

    April 6th

    As book three of the Greystone Secrets series opens, the Greystone kids have their mother back from the evil alternate world, and so does their friend Natalie. But no one believes the danger is past.

    Then mysterious coins begin falling from unexpected places. They are inscribed with codes that look just like what the Greystones’ father was working on before he died. And with the right touch, those symbols transform into words: PLEASE LISTEN. And FIND US, SEE US, HELP US. . . .

    The coins are messengers, telling the Greystones and their allies that their friends in the alternate world are under attack—and that the cruel, mind-controlling forces are now invading the better world, too.

    After another spinning, sliding journey across worlds, the Greystone kids must solve mysteries that have haunted them since the beginning: what happened when the Gustanos were kidnapped, what created the alternate world, and how a group of mismatched kids can triumph once and for all against an evil force that seems to have total control.

     

    How did I not know that the author of one of my favorite picture books, Extra Yarn, had a history mystery series??? I need to read these asap.

    Mac B.: Kid Spy – Mac Saves the World

    May 4th

    The Queen of England calls on her trusty spy, Mac B., once again. This time, Mac must navigate secret tunnels beneath the Berlin Wall in order to retrieve cheat codes from a Soviet scientist. Floppy disk in hand, our hero finds himself trapped in East Germany, stuck between the wall and the Stasi. How will he escape? Well it is 1989, and walls do fall down.

     

    Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Boy

    May 4th

    Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Boy is an accessible book for children to learn about systemic racism and racist behavior. For the awkward questions white and non-black parents don’t know how to answer, this book is an essential guide to help support communication on how to dismantle racism amongst our youngest generation.

    Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Boy creates a safe, judgment-free space for curious children to ask questions they’ve long been afraid to verbalize. How can I have white privilege if I’m not wealthy? Why do Black people protest against the police? If Black people can say the N-word, why can’t I? And many, many more.

    Young people have the power to affect sweeping change, and the key to mending the racial divide in America lies in giving them the tools to ask honest questions and take in the difficult answers. Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Boy is just one way young readers can begin to short circuit racism within their own lives and communities.

     

    Sunshine

    May 18th

    Set in the northern Minnesota wilderness, a timeless novel about a boy and his imaginary dog explores the legacy of guilt and blame—and what really constitutes a family.

    Newbery Honoree Marion Dane Bauer evokes the “summer that changed everything” in the life of a boy growing up without a mother. Since as far back as Ben can remember, it’s been him, his devoted dad, and Sunshine—Ben’s little dog, who rarely leaves Ben’s side. It was Mom who did the leaving, and Ben’s about to spend a whole week with his suddenly present mother in the wilds of northern Minnesota. On the remote island she calls home, Ben will learn to camp, canoe, weather the elements, and weigh a burning question: when will she come back to where she belongs? A must-read for dog lovers, children of divorce, and the imaginative and outdoorsy, Sunshine is a poignant, ultimately hopeful story about self-discovery, facing big realities, and finally, forgiving the things—and people—you can’t forget.

     

    I enjoyed book one of this series and need to continue on!

    The Map of Stories (Pages & Co. #3)

    June 1st

    Tilly and Oskar embark on an impromptu trip to the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, in search of an elusive group of bookwanderers called the Archivists, who they believe are the key to restoring the balance and saving the British Underlibrary.

    Along the way, the friends realize that something strange is happening in the world of bookwandering: books are disappearing, people are forgetting their favorite stories, and stories are trying to drag Tilly into them.

    With a mysterious set of clues and some surprising new faces, Tilly and Oskar will need the help of some of their dearest fictional friends to be able to solve the mystery . . . and save bookwandering forever.

     

    If you are looking for similar lists, here are some to check out:

  • New Picture Books Released March 2021 - great new picture book releases
    anticipated releases,  book lists,  picture books

    New Picture Book Releases We Want to Read: March 2021

    March is another great month for new picture book releases!

    I have enjoyed making these monthly lists again this year. In case you missed it, you can see the picture books I have been excited to read with my kids from previous months:

    And if you have kids that read middle grade (or are an adult that reads middle grade, I am!) here are some new releases for middle grade books as well.

    If you know of any good books being published this year I would love it if you would let me know, I would like to check them out!

     

    New Picture Books Released March 2021 - great new picture book releases

     

    New Picture Book Releases We Want to Read: March 2021

     

    You Were Created

    March 1st

    When Justice approaches her teacher, Ms. DoWright, with tears in her eyes, upset about a recent argument with friends, an important conversation about kindness and acceptance is immediately underway in this faith-based children’s book, You Were CreatedYou Were Created, by Alicia Kennedy, shares the heartfelt story about a group of children who discover that their differences embody special qualities God has created in them to make them unique. Readers will learn the valuable lesson that they were created with purpose, especially for this world, and will be encouraged to embrace one another’s differences, a timeless lesson all children deserve to uncover.

    Allergic: A Graphic Novel

    March 2nd

    A coming-of-age middle-grade graphic novel featuring a girl with severe allergies who just wants to find the perfect pet!

     

    At home, Maggie is the odd one out. Her parents are preoccupied with the new baby they’re expecting, and her younger brothers are twins and always in their own world. Maggie thinks a new puppy is the answer, but when she goes to select one on her birthday, she breaks out in hives and rashes. She’s severely allergic to anything with fur!

    Can Maggie outsmart her allergies and find the perfect pet?

     

     

    If You Give a Girl a Bike

    March 8th

    If you give a girl a bike, she will ride and ride and ride. She may also ask for a skateboard, climbing shoes, and a surfboard!

    Follow these adventurous girls as they learn new sports. They may fall every now and then, but they aren’t afraid of a few scrapes or bruises!

     

    The Story of Anne Frank: A Biography Book for New Readers

    March 9th

    Anne Frank was a young Jewish girl who lived during World War II, when people like her were killed just for being Jewish. Anne and her family were forced to hide in a tiny, secret space to try and survive, and Anne began keeping a diary to practice her love of writing and pass the time.

    In her writing, she described what life was like as a Jewish person during the war. She also wrote about her hopes, dreams, and the future she wanted when she could live a normal life again. Even though she was scared, Anne believed in the goodness of people and never gave up hope that life would get better again.

     

    Kafka and the Doll

    March 9th

    Inspired by a true story, Kafka and the Doll recounts a remarkable gesture of kindness from one of the world’s most bewildering and iconic writers. In the fall of 1923, Franz Kafka encountered a distraught little girl on a walk in the park. She’d lost her doll and was inconsolable. Kafka told her the doll wasn’t lost, but instead, traveling the world and having grand adventures! And to reassure her, Kafka began delivering letters from the doll to the girl for weeks.

    The legend of Kafka and the doll has captivated imaginations for decades as it reveals the playful and compassionate side of a man known for his dark and brooding tales. Kafka and the Doll is a testament to living life to the fullest and to the life-changing power of storytelling.

     

    Cartwheels: Finding Your Special Kind of Smart

    March 9th

    Lively Sloane loves to make up dances, put on shows, and do art. But as she heads into first grade, nothing frustrates her more than reading. In math, the numbers go together right in her brain, but no matter how hard she looks at letters, and no matter how many times her teacher and parents say “focus,” she would much rather do cartwheels. She feels sad that she isn’t keeping up with her class and isn’t reading the “right way.” Then, she finds out that she has dyslexia. Join Sloane on her journey to learn to read, gain confidence, and find her own special kind of smart.

     

    I grew up on the Highlights Hidden Picture pages and I want to get this book for nostalgia’s sake but also because I think my kids would really like it!

    The Hardest Hidden Pictures Book Ever

    March 9th

    Hidden Pictures puzzles just got even harder! This collection includes all types of challenging Hidden Pictures puzzles, including photo puzzles, puzzles without clues, unscrambles, and more. Find more than 1,500 objects hidden in 125+ pages of puzzles. A great gift for anyone who loves a puzzle challenge!

     

    Little Dandelion Seeds the World

    March 15th

    Did you know dandelions thrive on all seven continents? The cheery blooms are among the most resilient and adaptable in the world. In this lyrical book, learn how the crafty plant travels on the wind and hitches rides in all manner of ways in order to spread far and wide. Includes a map and backmatter on dandelions.

     

    Busy Spring: Nature Wakes Up

    March 16th

    After a long sleepy winter, the trees, flowers, and animals are getting ready for a busy spring. Discover all the different ways nature wakes up when spring arrives in this fresh and fun story of a family exploring their garden. 

    With further non-fiction information about animals and plants at the back, this picture book is the perfect introduction to the science behind spring.

     

    CoquĂ­ in the City

    March 16th

    Miguel’s pet frog, CoquĂ­, is always with him: as he greets his neighbors in San Juan, buys quesitos from the panaderĂ­a, and listens to his abuelo’s story about meeting baseball legend Roberto Clemente. Then Miguel learns that he and his parents are moving to the U.S. mainland, which means leaving his beloved grandparents, home in Puerto Rico, and even CoquĂ­ behind. Life in New York City is overwhelming, with unfamiliar buildings, foods, and people. But when he and Mamá go exploring, they find a few familiar sights that remind them of home, and Miguel realizes there might be a way to keep a little bit of Puerto Rico with him–including the love he has for CoquĂ­–wherever he goes.

    A heartfelt picture book based on the author-illustrator’s own experiences, about a boy who moves to the U.S. mainland from Puerto Rico and realizes that New York City might have more in common with San Juan than he initially thought.

     

    My Little Brave Girl

    March 23rd

    The world is big, my little brave girl.
    It’s all here for you.
     
    A poetic text encourages girls to reach higher, dream bigger, and approach the world with their hearts wide open. This love letter to little girls was inspired by Hilary Duff’s own experience as a mother as she considered all the ways her daughter had to be brave even as an infant. With lush illustrations and an empowering message, My Little Brave Girl is the perfect gift for baby showers, birthdays, Mother’s Day, graduation, and any time a girl—or woman—is embarking on a new chapter of her life!

     

    Watercress

    March 30, 2021

    Driving through Ohio in an old Pontiac, a young girl’s parents stop suddenly when they spot watercress growing wild in a ditch by the side of the road. Grabbing an old paper bag and some rusty scissors, the whole family wades into the muck to collect as much of the muddy, snail covered watercress as they can.

    At first, she’s embarrassed. Why can’t her family get food from the grocery store? But when her mother shares a story of her family’s time in China, the girl learns to appreciate the fresh food they foraged. Together, they make a new memory of watercress.

     

    Hugo and the Impossible Thing

    March 30th

    Hugo has one goal – to conquer the Impossible Thing.

    At the edge of the forest stood the Impossible Thing. All the animals in the forest often wondered what was beyond the Impossible Thing, but since everyone said getting through it would be impossible, no animal ever tried.
     
    Until a brave little dog named Hugo decides he just might be up to the challenge. With determination and some unexpected help from his friends, Hugo learns that what may seem impossible might just be possible after all.

     


     

    Once again, here are some more great lists of books being released this year:

  • The Best Picture Books of 2020 - the best picture books for kids published in 2020
    book lists,  elementary,  picture books

    The Best Picture Books Published in 2020

    It’s time for one of my favorite book lists of the year:

    The Best Picture Books Published in 2020!

    Well, okay, this is my first time every writing this particular post but I’ve made lists for the past number of years and it’s a fun annual one to write. In case you are curious, here are are favorites from previous years:

     

    The Best Picture Books of 2020 - the best picture books for kids published in 2020

     

    I also like to do a mid-year version of this post, here’s The Best Picture Books of 2020 (so far) from a few months ago.

     

    The Best Picture Books Published in 2020

     

    I actually got a copy of this beautiful book sent to me by the author and illustrator but that’s not why it’s on this list, it’s on here because it is a gorgeous book with a wonderful message.

    Also, I just mentioned this book in my recent Homeschool Day in the Life post, with it’s great rhyme and rhythm we used it in our poetry tea time.

    Oh, The Beautiful Things He Makes

    It’s a question we all wrestle with. Why do bad things happen? But it’s not just adults asking this question. Children want to know too. Oh! The Beautiful Things He Makes! follows a sweet, yet candid dialogue between a mother and her adoptive panda cub about life’s tough subjects. Written specifically for children, this book has a repetitive, resounding message–that God makes beautiful things out of any circumstance. If children grow up embracing this truth, they will be able to face these challenges with confidence, and come out stronger on the other side.

    Oh! The Beautiful Things He Makes! touches on topics such as selfishness, bullying, prejudice, grief and loss, among others. The end of the book has 7 supplemental origami crafts meant to inspire further creativity and connection.

     

    There are a few books on this list that while they are picture books they aren’t storybooks, this is a beautifully illustrated book about flowers. I’ve enjoyed this author’s entire series.

    The Big Book of Blooms

    In The Big Book of Blooms, the next installment in the wildly successful Big Book series, Yuval Zommer’s charming illustrations bring to life some of the most colorful, flamboyant, and unusual flowers from across the globe.

    In the opening pages, readers will learn all about botany, including how to recognize different types of flowers. Subsequent pages illustrate the various habitats that are home to flora such as pitcher plants, the giant water lily, and the weirdly wonderful corpse flower. Readers will discover which flowers are endangered and why some blooms are fragrant or colorful, not to mention grisly details about carnivorous and poisonous flowers.

     

    This is a funny little story/spin off from Captain Marvel all about the Flerken, my kids loved it.

    Beware the Flerken

    Hello! I am Goose.
    I look like a cat.
    But I am not a cat.
    I am a Flerken!
     
    In this adorable picture book told from Goose”s point of view, our favorite Flerken embarks on an adventure alongside Captain Marvel that leads them to Louisiana, where Goose SLORPS some alligators and finds a new friend in Monica Rambeau!
     
     

    Rita and Ralph’s Rotten Day

    In two little houses,
    on two little hills,
    lived two best friends…

    So begins the story of Rita and Ralph. Every day they meet to play beneath the apple tree. It’s always fun and games — until one roundly rotten day when a new game means someone ends up crying. Who knew it could be so hard to say “I’m sorry”?

    Just when it seems nothing will ever be right again, a surprising thing happens. The old friends try something new, that isn’t new at all. Something they’ve done a hundred times…

     

    Are You a Cat?

    Dogs chase cats. Everyone knows this, especially cats.

    When Dog wants to chase Cat, he politely asks, “are you a cat?”

    To outrun and outsmart Dog, Cat pretends to be other animals that dogs wouldn’t ordinarily want to chase. It’s a masterful plan indeed. But when an unexpected creature walks by, it’s impossible for Cat to play pretend for much longer.

    In a charming picture book filled with pleasing banter and hilarious quips, rising talent Coll Muir creates the perfect story about staying true to yourself.

     

    Mable: A Mermaid Fable

    Mabel isn’t like the other mermaids. Lucky isn’t like the other octopuses. But when they find each other, they discover that true friendship isn’t about how you look, and that sometimes what we are searching for is right under our noses.

    The inimitable Rowboat Watkins is back with another humorous tale about being true to yourself.

     

    I didn’t do a very good job keeping up with picture books in 2020, in large part because the library was closed for a number of months, I’m hoping to do better in 2021 and have a longer list!

    Actually, this year I am writing monthly book lists with picture books that are being released that sound really good, you can check out January’s list and February’s list so far.

  • 2021 New Picture Book Releases - great sounding picture books that are being released February 2021
    anticipated releases,  book lists,  elementary,  picture books

    New Picture Book Releases We Want to Read: February 2021

    I’m excited to share a list of books that are coming out in February that sound really good!

    In case you missed it, I recently shared a post that had January’s new picture book releases as well as middle grade novels that are being released in the first few months of 2021.

    Once again, I’ve spent quite a bit of time sifting through picture books that are being released and I think I’ve found some really good winners! Obviously, I haven’t actually been able to read these books yet so I can’t promise they are going to be amazing but I hope so.

    I hope to read as many of these as I can so that throughout the year I can share which books have been our favorites.

     

    2021 New Picture Book Releases - great sounding picture books that are being released February 2021

     

    New Picture Book Releases We Want to Read: February 2021

     

    Sadie Sprocket Builds a Rocket

    February 1st

    Sadie Sprocket is a girl with a big dream—to go to Mars! No one has been to Mars (yet!), so of course that’s where Sadie sets her sights. She learns everything she can about the planet and space, then assembles her crew of trusty stuffed animals. Together they build a rocket and prepare for the historic journey. And then finally—blastoff!

    Sadie and her team make it to Mars, but what will they encounter when they leave the ship? And will they travel home safely as the world watches?

    With cheery rhyming text and quirky artwork, this is a story about dreaming big and reaching for the stars. The book includes facts about Mars and women in space to inspire budding explorers everywhere.

     

    I loved Miracle Man by this author and am excited to get my hands on this one!

    Go and Do Likewise!: The Parables and Wisdom of Jesus

    February 2nd

    But Jesus was going somewhere.
    His journey to find those most in need of him began anew each morning.
    Jesus walked . . . and ever since, people have followed him.
     
    Through parables of the good Samaritan and the prodigal son, the lost sheep and the beatitudes, Jesus taught his disciples the redeeming power of sacrificial love and showed mercy to everyone around him—especially the sick, the poor, and the downtrodden.
     
    In this inspirational and richly illustrated book, John Hendrix brings to life the wisdom of Jesus. Interweaving hand lettering with his signature, award-winning art style, Hendrix captures the spirit of Jesus’s timeless message that will resonate with readers of any Christian faith.

     

    Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre

    February 2nd

    Celebrated author Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrator Floyd Cooper provide a powerful look at the Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the worst incidents of racial violence in our nation’s history. The book traces the history of African Americans in Tulsa’s Greenwood district and chronicles the devastation that occurred in 1921 when a white mob attacked the Black community.

    News of what happened was largely suppressed, and no official investigation occurred for seventy-five years. This picture book sensitively introduces young readers to this tragedy and concludes with a call for a better future.

     

    Love Gave: A Story of God’s Greatest Gift

    February 2nd

    From author and spoken word artist Quina Aragon comes this one-of-a-kind poetic picture book for children. Love Gave tells the story of the incarnation and the good news of Jesus Christ in language kids can understand.

    Children will hear how God created us to be His friends, but because of sin, we were separated from Him. Out of love, God gave us Jesus who died and rose again to solve our sin problem and restore our friendship with God.

    The final page provides a clear explanation of the gospel and an invitation for children to trust their heart to God and accept His gift of eternal fellowship. This is a book your whole family will enjoy and is sure to become a favorite for years to come.

     

    What’s Inside A Flower?: And Other Questions About Science & Nature

    February 2nd

    Budding backyard scientists can start exploring their world with this stunning introduction to these flowery show-stoppers–from seeds to roots to blooms. Learning how flowers grow gives kids beautiful building blocks of science and inquiry.

    In the launch of a new nonfiction picture book series, Rachel Ignotofsky’s distinctive art style and engaging, informative text clearly answers any questions a child (or adult) could have about flowers.

     

    Goodnight, Astronaut

    February 2nd

    Scott Kelly was born for adventure. But exploring takes a lot of enery–and sleep is the super fuel to turbocharge dreams. Luckily, sleeping can be exciting if you’re drifting off in the right place.

    Scott has fallen asleep at the bottom of the ocean, in the cockpit of an F-14 fighter jet, in a yurt on Mount Everest, and of course in space! Join Scott on his many adventures, and maybe they’ll inspire dreams of your own!

     

    The Secret Fawn

    February 2nd

    A little girl is always missing out on the wonderful things her family gets to see and do, just because she is the youngest and smallest. She misses seeing shooting stars because she goes to bed too early; she can’t pick the first apple of autumn because she’s too short; and, this morning, everyone else got to see a deer . . . except her. She goes into her backyard in search of the deer, a sugar cube tucked in her pocket. She sees a flick of brown in the orchard — is that the deer? No, it’s just the neighbor’s friendly dog (Shhhhh, Nala!). Is that it by the pond? No, that’s just a bird, playing in the water. Just when she’s about to give up, she spots a fawn, beautiful, quiet and small . . . just like her.

     

    Flashlight Night: An Adventure in Trusting God

    February 2nd

    Flashlight Night is narrated by a boy whose parents have used chalkboard paint to create a wall where he and his siblings can write out all their fears, cares, and concerns: Will I learn to blow a bubble? Tie my shoes? Stay out of trouble? Be the friend they choose?

    When the boy worries that God isn’t responding to his prayers, he and his mom climb the stairs and visit the chalkboard wall at nighttime with a flashlight. She shines the light on some prayers and turns it off at other times, pointing out that the prayer (and his faith) is still there, and in God’s hands.

    “Sometimes we see His yes,” Mom says.
    “And sometimes we just don’t.
    But just because it hasn’t happened,
    doesn’t mean it won’t.”

    Even when it’s dark and dim
    and when I cannot see,
    I choose to place my trust in Him
    And I know God’s close to me.

     

    How to Promenade with a Python (and Not Get Eaten): A Polite Predators Book

    February 2nd

    Celeste is a cockroach, and everyone knows that cockroaches are survivors, so who better to give advice on surviving an encounter with a polite predator? Everyone also knows that taking a moonlit promenade with a deadly reticulated python (named Frank) is a very bad idea. But Celeste loves very bad ideas, and she is willing to put your life on the line to prove herself right! Need to stop a python from swallowing you head-first? Wear a lamp shade as a hat! Want to speed up a three-hundred-pound snake? Try roller skates! What’s the perfect light snack for a python? A chicken! Using her superior pythonine knowledge, Celeste comes up with various strategies and solutions — many dangerous, most absurd, but all based on the biology of pythons. Meanwhile, Frank is hatching his own plans.

     

    Milo Imagines the World

    February 2nd

    Milo is on a long subway ride with his older sister. To pass the time, he studies the faces around him and makes pictures of their lives. There’s the whiskered man with the crossword puzzle; Milo imagines him playing solitaire in a cluttered apartment full of pets. There’s the wedding-dressed woman with a little dog peeking out of her handbag; Milo imagines her in a grand cathedral ceremony. And then there’s the boy in the suit with the bright white sneakers; Milo imagines him arriving home to a castle with a drawbridge and a butler. But when the boy in the suit gets off on the same stop as Milo–walking the same path, going to the exact same place–Milo realizes that you can’t really know anyone just by looking at them.

     

    The Owl Who Asks Why

    February 2nd

    Little Owl and Little Wolf have so many questions for their parents. “Why can’t we move our eyes?” “When will I no longer be a pup?” But owls don’t ask “Why?” They ask â€śWhooo?” And wolves don’t ask “When?” They ask â€śHoooow?” Mom and Dad say it’s silly to even consider asking those sorts of questions.

    Feeling teased and misunderstood, Little Owl and Little Wolf decide to run away from home for good. After straying too far from the path, the pair discovers that they’re lost in the forest and begin to wonder if they’ve made the right decision by leaving the pack. Little Owl and Little Wolf realize that the only way to make it back to their families is to not be afraid to ask the right questions, their own way.

     

     

    Paris by Phone

    February 9th

    When Josephine Harris decides that Paris is where she really belongs, all it takes is a quick call on her magical phone to whisk her away. The city of lights has fancy cafĂ©s, baguettes under every arm, the Eiffel Tower, and a fabulous new family who can’t wait to show her around.

    The city is a feast for the senses, but each new discovery brings a pang of melancholy. There’s something missing here. Could it be the person who loves Josephine’s best–her own mother?

     

    Headstrong Hallie!: The story of Hallie Morse Daggett, the First Female “Fire Guard”

    February 15, 2021

    Hallie Morse Daggett loved spending time outdoors, hiking among the tall trees of the forests in California’s Siskiyou Mountains. She wasn’t afraid of the bears, coyotes, and wildcats. But Hallie was afraid of fire and understood the threat it posed to the forests, wildlife, and people. And more than anything, she wanted to devote her life to protecting her beloved outdoors; she decided she would work for the US Forest Service. But in the 1880s the Forest Service didn’t hire women, thinking they couldn’t handle the physical challenges of the work or the isolation. But the Forest Service didn’t know Hallie or how determined she could be.

    This picture-book biography tells the story of Hallie Morse Daggett, the first woman “fire guard” hired by the US Forest Service, whose hard work and dedication led the way for other women to join the Forest Service.

     

    Shy Willow

    February 16th

    Willow is shy. VERY shy.

    Her home is in an abandoned mailbox, and she’d rather stay put. Outside kids scream and soccer balls collide, trees look like monsters, and rain is noisy in a scary kind of way. It’s much nicer to stay inside, drawing. But then a young boy drops a letter in Willow’s mailbox: it’s a note to the moon asking for a special favor. Willow knows that if she doesn’t brave the world outside, the letter will never be delivered, and the boy will be heartbroken. Should she try? Can she?

    Cat Min delivers a breathtakingly illustrated story about shyness, the power of empathy, and what it means to make a friend.

     

    Mars! Earthlings Welcome

    February 23rd

    Meet Mars! The red planet. Planet Marvelous. Favorite sibling of Earth (or so he claims). Sometimes they’re close (just 34.5 million miles apart). Sometimes they need space (250 million miles apart)! Earth and Mars have a lot in common―clouds, mountains, polar icecaps. And while Earth has Earthlings, Mars makes a persuasive case for why people should make the journey to spend time with him. His day is 7 minutes longer! He is home to the largest volcano in the whole solar system. He’s, well, marvelous.