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: 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.