Must Reads for Young Readers - Melting Pot
It’s the Holiday Season…
I love my December holidays! Like every December since NOR was kind enough to give me this column, here are some of the books that made my short list of must reads for young readers. Give the gift of learning, understanding, and empathy to the young people in your life this holiday season.
Give the gift of a great book!
Let’s add the sweet flavors of peace, love, and kindness to The Melting Pot.
Ada Twist Scientist is brought to you by the same author and illustrator who created Rosie Revere Engineer and Iggy Peck Architect. In fact, Rosie, Iggy, and Ada are all in the same second grade class. I love the illustrations, but mostly I enjoyed how her family rallied to encourage Ada’s scientific pursuits. (Things do tend to get a bit messy around Ada’s house, though.)
I could personally relate to Ada’s story. Ada didn’t speak a word until she turned three. I didn’t talk until I turned four. Like Ada, I was a curious child who ended up becoming an engineer. I hope that this book nurtures the little scientist in your life.
Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty (Author) and David Roberts (Illustrator)
Like her classmates, builder Iggy and inventor Rosie, scientist Ada, a character of color, has a boundless imagination and has always been hopelessly curious. Why are there pointy things stuck to a rose? Why are there hairs growing inside your nose? When her house fills with a horrific, toe-curling smell, Ada knows it’s up to her to find the source. What would you do with a problem like this? Not afraid of failure, Ada embarks on a fact-finding mission and conducts scientific experiments, all in the name of discovery. But, this time, her experiments lead to even more stink and get her into trouble!
Inspired by real-life makers such as Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie, Ada Twist, Scientist champions girl power and women scientists, and brings welcome diversity to picture books about girls in science. Touching on themes of never giving up and problem solving, Ada comes to learn that her questions might not always lead to answers, but rather to more questions. She may never find the source of the stink, but with a supportive family and the space to figure it out, she’ll be able to feed her curiosity in the ways a young scientist should.
Iggy Peck and Rosie Revere have earned their places among the most beloved children’s characters, and they have inspired countless kids and adults to follow their dreams and passions. Now in her own charming and witty picture book, determined Ada Twist, with her boundless curiosity for science and love of the question “Why?,” is destined to join these two favorites. The book is the perfect tool to remind both young girls and women that they have the intelligence and perseverance to achieve their dreams.
We all played dress up in our parent’s clothes when we were little. Mama’s Saris explores this same experience through the lens of an Indian family with Hindi traditions. The colors and illustrations are vibrant and almost jump off the page. A glossary of the Hindi words used throughout the text provides an additional level of cultural insight. Mama’s Saris is a story we to which we can all relate.
Mama’s Saris by Pooja Makhijani (Author) and Elena Gomez (Illustrator)
When a young girl eyes her mother's suitcase full of gorgeous silk, cotton and embroidered saris, she decides that she, too, should wear one, even though she is too young for such clothing. When the mother finally realizes how important it is for her little girl to feel like a big girl on her seventh birthday, she dresses up her daughter in the folds of a blue sari. Feeling grown-up and very pretty, the daughter is thrilled to look just like her mother, even if only for a day. Mama's Saris captures an elegant snapshot of every girl's wish to play dress
Every Year On Your Birthday is the celebration of the love between a mother and her daughter (who happens to be adopted from China). The story showcases a wonderful mix of Chinese and American culture. From kite flying to dragon boats to Chinese New Year red envelopes, the moments and celebrations that knit together a family once separated by continents and oceans are all lovingly explored. Each book contains a birthday card made from the cover illustration – BONUS!
Every Year On Your Birthday by Rose Lewis (Author) and Jane Dyer (Illustrator)
In I Love You Like Crazy Cakes, Rose Lewis and Jane Dyer told the heartfelt story of one woman's adoption a baby girl from China. These sentiments are brought to life again in this touching portrait of birthday celebrations and unforgettable moments between a mother and her little girl: from joyous hugs for a new puppy, to quiet nights gazing at the stars remembering a faraway family. Capturing the richness of both Chinese and American cultures, Every Year on Your Birthday is a poignant tribute to the growing bond of love only a parent and child can know.
And now a book for older young readers…
I have to admit that it was the cover of Futhermore that originally attracted my attention at the bookstore. The cover made me think of Alice in Wonderland. When I read the cover copy and learned that the main character was named Alice and she goes on an amazing adventure to find her father, I had to buy it.
You all know from previous columns that I’m a sucker for great world building. Ms. Mafi created a world absolutely saturated with rich color, the scent of flowers, and the sweetness of honey. With the help of her friend, Oliver, Alice embarks on a grand adventure that takes her to new places both internally and externally. Truly a great read for the holidays.
Futhermore by Tahereh Mafi
Inspired by her childhood love of books like A Secret Garden and The Chronicles of Narnia, bestselling author Tahereh Mafi crafts a spellbinding new world where color is currency, adventure is inevitable, and friendship is found in the most unexpected places.
There are only three things that matter to twelve-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow: Mother, who wouldn’t miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. The day Father disappears from Ferenwood he takes nothing but a ruler with him. But it’s been almost three years since then, and Alice is determined to find him. She loves her father even more than she loves adventure, and she’s about to embark on one to find the other.
But bringing Father home is no small matter. In order to find him she’ll have to travel through the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, where down can be up, paper is alive, and left can be both right and very, very wrong. It will take all of Alice's wits (and every limb she's got) to find Father and return home to Ferenwood in one piece. On her quest to find Father, Alice must first find herself—and hold fast to the magic of love in the face of loss.
Columnist: C. Morgan Kennedy
I have a confession to make. I’m a time traveler. I love flinging myself into the future, then hurtling fast to an alternative past. In my usual time-space-dimension, I’m a mechanical engineer and business woman. So, I have a natural penchant for hover cars and steam or aether powered engines. Though I was born in the wrong era, I’m actually a child of the sixties – 1860, 1960, 2060.
My stories feature strong women, who know how to wield their minds like weapons. Their men are smart and often controlling….but, rest assured, my female leads give them a run for their money. They strive to follow their hearts and dreams for the betterment of themselves and their loved ones. Like my life, all of my stories feature a diverse cast of characters.
With my business partner, Therese Patrick, I work to demystify marketing principles for my author friends. Our first book, Author Marketing 101 Guide & Journal, was published by Gazebo Gardens Publishing and released in October 2013.
Steampunk, futurist, blerd, artist, author, and marketing maven…a real creative force of nature – that’s me in a nutshell.
Keep tabs on my adventures via my blog, Morgan’s Mix Tape, on my website: http://www.cmorgankennedy.com.