Book Title: Another Author/Illustrator: Christian Robinson Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers Age Range: 4 to 8 years
What if, one night, a portal appeared in your bedroom? And, when you stepped through it, you found…another you. Christian Robinson’s debut children’s book, Another, is a magical exploration of that premise.
Told only in pictures, the story follows a young girl who awakes to the light of a portal that appears in her bedroom.
When her cat chases what looks to be its twin, the girl follows and enters a bright and colorful world.
Soon, she stumbles upon other children in this mysterious world; and, quickly realizes that they are playing with alternate version of themselves. One little girl wears a red hair tie, and her opposite sports a blue one. Two boys chase each other, one has a pink cast and the other a yellow one. But the girl can’t seem to find anyone who looks like her.
And then, she does.
Throughout the book, Robinson moves the reader through the book with fun illustrations and portals leading to other places. Every character we’re introduced to has an equally fun opposite. There are also quirky surprises hidden throughout, so it feels like a new experience with every read.
In a recent interview on Matthew Winner’s podcast, The Children’s Book Podcast, Robinson explained his motivation for creating the book:
“I knew it was important for me to create a picture book in which as many kids as possible saw themselves on the page…And I thought, well what if they literally saw themselves, like in a parallel universe?”
This book is a captivating read that little ones (and adults!) will get lost in for hours.
Book Title: We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga Author: Traci Sorell Illustrator: Frane Lessac (need to accent the e) Publisher: Charlesbridge Age Range: 3 to 7 years
OSIYO! Pronounced OH-see-yo, this is how you say “Hello” in Cherokee. This is one of many vocabulary words to be learned in Traci Sorell’s exceptional debut book, and 2019 Sibert Medal Honor Book, We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga.
Otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) is the word for gratitude used by people of the Cherokee Nation and also the theme of this beautiful exploration of modern Native life. Set against the backdrop of the changing seasons, the narrator invites us to learn about the blessings and ceremonies celebrated throughout the year.
“When cool breezes blow and leaves fall, we say otsaliheliga as shell shakers dance all night around the fire, and burnt cedar’s scent drifts upward during the Great New Moon Ceremony.”
The narrator also reminds us of the monumental roles and contributions Cherokee citizens continue to provide this country.
“When showers fill streams and shoots spring up, we say otsaliheliga as we embrace a clan relative heading off to serve our country.”
The book is filled with wonderful vocabulary, cultural and history lessons; and, Lessac’s vibrant illustrations makes time spent with each page a truly absorbing experience. Above all, it serves as an important reminder that life is to be lived with gratitude.