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.
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.