The Spelling Bee Before Recess

Written by Deborah Lee Rose and illustrated by Carey F. Armstrong-Ellis

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5.8

The students were squirming but none made a sound, as the spelling bee entered its championship round. It’s right before recess, and the annual school spelling bee is down to just three spellers: Cornelius the Genius, Smart Ruby, and The Slugger, who never strikes out. Round after round, the words whizz at them, but with one minute left until recess, there’s still no winner. Who will triumph? It all comes down to one final word, and a curveball that no one sees coming! Deborah Lee Rose’s clever rhyming text packs a laugh-out-loud wallop with words that young readers will enjoy spelling and reading aloud again and again. Fun and whimsical illustrations by Carey F. Armstrong-Ellis provide the perfect balance of humor and suspense as readers find out whether The Slugger will hit a grand slam or finally strike out. The book includes three spelling lists that can be used for spelling bees at home, in school, at the library, or for community events. An author’s note describes why and how words were chosen.

Can't Sleep Without Sheep

Written by Susanna Leonard Hill and illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka

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5.4

Whenever Ava can't sleep, she counts sheep. But Ava takes so long to fall asleep, it's the sheep that are growing tired-until finally, they quit! When the sheep promise to find a replacement that Ava can count on, chaos ensues as chickens, cows, pigs, hippos, and more try their hand at jumping over Ava's fence. Finding the perfectly peaceful replacement for sheep might not be so easy after all. With irresistibly adorable art, this delightful take on a familiar sleep tactic is sure to become a bedtime favorite.

Those Magnificent Sheep In Their Flying Machines

Written by Peter Bently and illustrated by David Roberts

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5.3

The sheep on the hillside were munching away, much as they always did, day after day, when suddenly something went ZOOM overhead! "Let's go and see what it is!" they all said. And so begins a ripping, round-the-world adventure as the magnificent sheep take to skies in their spiffing, yellow flying machine...

Yes We Are

Written and illustrated by Michael Genhart

A boy confides in a friend that he doesn t know what to say when he's teased for having two dads, and when kids say that they're not a real family. In their conversation, his friend helps him see how her family (with a mom and a dad) isn't all that different from his: they both have parents who love them, and they both love their parents. And it's love that makes a family.

Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code

Written by Joseph Bruchac and illustrated by Liz Amini-Holmes

As a young Navajo boy, Chester Nez had to leave the reservation and attend boarding school, where he was taught that his native language and culture were useless. But Chester refused to give up his heritage. Years later, during World War II, Chester—and other Navajo men like him—was recruited by the US Marines to use the Navajo language to create an unbreakable military code. Suddenly the language he had been told to forget was needed to fight a war. This powerful picture book biography contains backmatter including a timeline and a portion of the Navajo code, and also depicts the life of an original Navajo code talker while capturing the importance of heritage.

Gordon Parks

Written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Jamey Christoph

His white teacher tells her all-black class, You’ll all wind up porters and waiters. What did she know? Gordon Parks is most famous for being the first black director in Hollywood. But before he made movies and wrote books, he was a poor African American looking for work. When he bought a camera, his life changed forever. He taught himself how to take pictures and before long, people noticed. His success as a fashion photographer landed him a job working for the government. In Washington DC, Gordon went looking for a subject, but what he found was segregation. He and others were treated differently because of the color of their skin. Gordon wanted to take a stand against the racism he observed. With his camera in hand, he found a way. Told through lyrical verse and atmospheric art, this is the story of how, with a single photograph, a self-taught artist got America to take notice.

We're All Works of Art

Written by Mark Sperring and illustrated by Rose Blake

There is no single masterpiece in art galleries or with people--we're all works of art in our own special way! Our skin tones might all vary; we're every shade and hue. Some people think we look surreal, and frankly, yes, we do! But we can make you tilt your head, and see the world anew. Pairing bright and engaging illustrations with relatable rhymes, this beautiful hardbound book celebrates diversity while teaching kids about different styles of art: from prehistoric cave art to surrealism, cubism, pop art, and contemporary art. Includes an appendix that provides brief descriptions of different art styles along with mentions of their most significant works and practitioners to encourage further exploration, including: Stonehenge the bust of Nefertiti Leonardo da Vinci Henri Matisse Joan Miró Rene Magritte Roy Lichtenstein Pauline Boty Rachel Whiteread Steve McQueen Mark Sperring works as a children's bookseller in Bristol, England. He's the author of the children's picture books The Naughty Naughty Baddies, I'll Love You Always, The Shape of My Heart, and How Many Sleeps Till Christmas. Rose Blake has an MA in communication art from the Royal College of Art. She's done illustration work for a variety of clients, including Disney, the Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood, and Cartoon Network.

Sugar Hill

Written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by R Gregory Christie

Take a walk through Harlem's Sugar Hill and meet all the amazing people who made this neighborhood legendary. With upbeat rhyming, read-aloud text, Sugar Hill celebrates the Harlem neighborhood that successful African Americans first called home during the 1920s. Children raised in Sugar Hill not only looked up to these achievers but also experienced art and culture at home, at church, and in the community. Books, music lessons, and art classes expanded their horizons beyond the narrow limits of segregation. Includes brief biographies of jazz greats Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Sonny Rollins, and Miles Davis; artists Aaron Douglas and Faith Ringgold; entertainers Lena Horne and the Nicholas Brothers; writer Zora Neale Hurston; civil rights leader W. E. B. DuBois and lawyer Thurgood Marshall.

Touch the Sky

Written by Ann Malaspina and illustrated by Eric Velasquez

A biography of the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal, from her childhood in segregated Albany, Georgia, in the 1930s, through her recognition at the 1996 Olympics as one of the hundred best athletes in Olympic history. Includes bibliographical references.

Fania's Heart

Written by Anne Renaud and illustrated by Richard Rudnicki

Ten-year-old Sorale discovers a tiny heart-shaped book among her mother’s belongings. Its pages are shaped like four-petaled flowers, upon which are written words in languages Sorale does not understand. Who wrote these words? Where did the heart come from? Why has her mother never mentioned this tiny book before? Fania’s Heart reveals the story of the crafting of the heart, against all odds, within the confines of Auschwitz, and of the women of immeasurable resilience, courage and loyalty who risked their lives for Sorale’s mother, their friend.

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