Guide reward concepts to move youngsters to new worlds this vacation season

“You are important!” Christian Robinson says cheerfully “You Matter” (Atheneum, 32 pages, $ 23.99, ages 3-6), a book to encourage any child oppressed by a pandemic. From “things too small to see” to an astronaut looking at the earth from space, in Robinson’s words and his diverse, collage-bright art, the boost to self-esteem is calming. This also contains a message about the vital connections of the earth.

A great antidote to lockdown fever is Jairo Buitrago’s futurism “Cave Paintings,” illustrated by Rafael Yockteng (Groundwood, 32 pages, $ 21.95, ages 4-7). A boy from the space age travels to the “most distant planet” – Earth – to go on vacation with his grandmother. She shows him the wilderness of the earth and its ancient cave paintings. Both art and text are reminiscent of the wondrous size of time, space and their “extraterrestrials”, but also of the down-to-earth love in a grandmother’s hug and on vacation.

Cave Paintings Illustrated by Rafael Yockteng, Groundwood, 32 pages, $ 21.95, ages 4-7

“When You Come To Earth”, Written and Illustrated by Sophie Blackall (Chronicle, 80 Pages, $ 26.99, Age 4-8) is also great for unlocking the lock. It spans the globe and space itself and is full of people, animals and unusual ways of looking at the world. A boy writes to a “visitor from outer space” describing the land, the sea, the school, the food, American sign language, the ability of birds to walk, fly and swim. A vibrant, thought-provoking look at planet Earth with abundant illustrated illustrations.

When You Come To Earth, Written and Illustrated by Sophie Blackall, Chronicle, 80 Pages, $ 26.99, Age 4-8

For younger kids with an earthy sense of fun, try “Animals Brag about Their Bums,” written and illustrated by Maki Saito (Greystone, 32 pages, $ 21.95, ages 3-5). With the frisson of the forbidden, it focuses on the astonishingly stylish rear legs of the animals – from fluffy to striped to prickly. With humorous charm and elegant illustrations.

Animals Brag about Their Bums, Written and Illustrated by Maki Saito, Greystone, 32 pages, $ 21.95, ages 3-5

Humming humor reigns in Elise Gravel’s graphic spring “Arlo and Pips: King of the Birds” (Harper Alley, 64 pages, $ 9.99, ages 4-9). A gloriously large ego crow brags about its greatness at imitating sounds, faking other birds, and eating pretty much anything. It has the subtlety of a squeaky tween (“OMG … I LOVE SHINY THINGS!”). Kies turns a handful of facts about crows into an entertainingly ridiculous drama.

Arlo and Pips: King of the Birds, Elise Gravel, HarperAlley, 64 pages, $ 9.99, ages 4-9

My choice for human tweens is “Everything is happy, it ends happily ”by Rose Lagercrantz, illustrated by Eva Erikson (Gecko, 220 pages, $ 27.99, ages 6-9), the seventh in this outstanding Swedish series not to be missed. Here Dani survives tonsillitis and her father’s wedding and then saves her best friend from the misfortune. Lagercrantz has a real sense of the passion and perspective of their young protagonists, and Erikson’s line drawings are wonderfully characteristic.

Everything's Happy, That Ends Happy, Rose Lagercrantz, illustrated by Eva Erikson, Gecko, 220 pages, $ 27.99, ages 6-9

Robert McFarlane’s “The Lost Spells”, created with artist Jackie Morris (Anansi, 60 pages, USD 31.00, 9 adults)makes a rich gift book for all ages. Every natural poem in itself is an immersive world in itself. Swifts, goldfinches, mountain hare – in McFarlane’s charged words and Morris’ paintings, these things seem to correspond to the imagination and bring “the wild world into our eyes, our voice, our heart”.

The Lost Spells, Robert McFarlane, Jackie Morris, Anansi, 60 pages, $ 31.00, 9 adults

Darcie Little Badgers “Elatsoe” (Levine Querido, 360 pages, $ 26.99, ages 11+) is perhaps the most refreshing, interesting new fantasy this season. Lipan Apache Teen Ellie investigates a murder and calls on the knowledge and powers of her people to rid a city of evil. Little Badger’s style is smart and bright, fun and attentive: this is not just a paranormal yarn, but a political, environmentally conscious vision of a new, strangely supernatural America.

Elatsoe, by Darcie Little Badger, Levine Querido, 360 pages, $ 26.99, ages 11+

The best time to start a series is when the last book is finished Megan Whalen Turner’s “Return of the Thief” (Greenwillow, 464 pages, $ 23.99, ages 11+), sixth and last of the epic, quasi-classic “Queen’s Thief” novels. For followers of malicious, daring, and romantic eugenids: this is a satisfying, triumphant conclusion. For those who have not yet discovered it: what a great gift! Make your own box set with all six.

Return of the Thief, Megan Whalen Turner, Greenwillow, 464 pages, $ 23.99, 11+

In historical fiction, Ann Clare LeZotte takes us to Martha’s Vineyard, 1805, in “Show Me a Sign” (Scholastic, 279 pages, $ 25.99, ages 10-14). Mary grew up in a mixed deaf and listening community where everyone speaks sign language. She is surprised when a researcher arrives to investigate what he calls a local “disease”. This gives readers rare insights into deaf culture and makes for engaging, engaging read.



Deirdre BakerDeirdre Baker teaches children’s literature at the University of Toronto.

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