Book Title: Going Down Home with Daddy Author: Kelly Starling Lyons Illustrator: Daniel Minter Publisher: Peachtree Publishing Age Range: 4 to 8 years
As summer approaches, so does a yearly tradition practiced by many families: The Family Reunion. It’s a commemoration that brings generations together to celebrate the roots of the Family Tree, to acknowledge generations and ancestors past, and to pay tribute to the history of the important moments that keeps the family united.
This is the powerful message Lyons and Minter capture in their new book, Going Down Home with Daddy.
It’s reunion morning, and Lil Alan and Sis sleepily climb into the car as their daddy packs up to go down home. But Lil Alan’s excitement fades as he realizes he still doesn’t have something to share at the anniversary celebration.
As everyone gathers together, Lil Alan is reminded of all the things that symbolize his family history: the land they own that stretches so far you can’t see its end, the cotton grown on it that Granny used to make quilts to keep her children warm, the pecan trees Pa planted that the grandkids now climb.
As the anniversary celebration nears, Lil Alan starts to panic. But when Daddy tells him to “think with his heart,” he learns that the simple act of remembering can be the best family tribute of all.
When I first saw the cover of this book, I was awestruck; and that feeling didn’t stop once I began turning the pages. Minter’s use of rich, warm colors and dazzling prints – which are the perfect stylings for Lyon’s sublime storytelling – pull you into the story like a warm embrace. Going Down Home with Daddy is a wonderful homage to family and tradition.
Book Title: Pilar’s Worries Author: Victoria M. Sanchez Illustrator: Jess Golden Publisher: Albert Whitman & Co. Age Range: 4 to 8 years
Pilar worries about everything. Whether it’s being called on in class or messing up in PE, just about anything can cause her to panic. Especially the thought of having to perform in front of people.
Luckily, she has the help of her friend Sebastian who reminds her to “breathe.”
The one thing that eases all her worries is ballet class. The warmth of the barre and her toes pressing down on the studio floor can make all her troubles melt away. But when Pilar realizes that auditions for her favorite ballet are happening the next day, she has to decide if she’s going to let her worries keep her from doing the thing she loves the most, dancing.
This is a wonderfully gentle and inspiring book for anxious children and their parents looking for ways to talk about and to cope with anxiety. Sanchez’s Author’s Note shares her personal journey with her daughter, whom Pilar is based on. She also provides helpful resources for more information on the subject.