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Fifteen minutes a day is hardly enough time to share great books with your favorite children!  But, we love these books & we hope you'll give them a read.  Every book recommended by is one we are delighted to share with our favorite children.  The blue butterfly is our version of a blue ribbon, given for outstanding accomplishment in children's books!

Tar Beach, Faith Ringgold.  Crown Publishers, Inc., 1991, $18.00; paperback 1996, $6.99.  In Tar Beach, Cassie Louise Lightfoot, an eight-year-old third grader, lies beside her brother on the flat asphalt roof of their apartment building. Cassie looks up at the stars while her parents and neighbors play cards. She sees herself flying up and over the George Washington Bridge and, magically, it becomes hers. In her vision, she is liberated and free to rescue herself and her family from the oppression of racism and poverty. Exuberant from her spiritual flight, Cassie inspires readers with the message that anyone can fly. Ringgold continues to contribute heroic and inspiring girls to our library bookshelves. The fact that the girls are black, or African-American, fills a void in children’s literature and enriches all readers.

Holding Ringgold’s book is almost as delicious as being allowed to touch original art work. Ringgold repainted scenes from her original Tar Beach story quilt, made in 1988, and added new images. The translation into print permits the sensation of getting in closer to Ringgold’s vision. Tar Beach was her first book and was both a Caldecott Honor Book and winner of the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration. You can view the original art work at: .

From a Distance, Julie Gold, Illustrated by Jane Ray, Dutton Children's Books, New York, 1998.
 Specially detailed, gilded illustrations by Jane Ray bring Julie Gold's touching song into focus.  The song was recorded by Nancy Griffith in 1986 and has since been recorded in many languages.  The words and pictures help describe a grand perspective to your favorite children and invite a discussion about war, tolerance, peace and hope.  The book is more appropriate for older children, or children who have a sensitive reader to guide them through the illustrations, which include the most difficult realities -- war.  Everything is drawn with a sensitive hand and the story presents and ends with a hope and optimism.  (Hardcover retail: $17.99)

The Sense of Wonder, Rachel Carson, HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 1998.  Photographs by Nick Kelsh.  Rachel Carson, one of the pioneers of environmental awareness, first wrote this extended essay in 1956 as an article called "Help Your Child to Wonder" for Woman's Home Companion.  Carson was inspired by walks and times spent with one of her favorite children.  Her words are as inspiring today as sunlight after a rainy day.  If you endeavor to help your child share a deep appreciation for the beauties of nature & our important role in preserving and understanding the environment, try to reward yourself with the chance to read Carson's beautiful words.  (Hardback, 110 pages, $20.00.)

Dance, Bill T. Jones, Susan Kuklin, photographed by Susan Kuklin, Hyperion Books for Children, New York, 1998.
As the warm air and sunshine make it more inviting to spend time outside, many of us feel a renewed joy in moving our bodies! Dance is a collection of Susan Kuklin's photographs of the inspiring dancer Bill T. Jones fully enjoying expression through dance. I recommend the book for children of all ages. It is especially wonderful to see such a great depiction of the joy of movement featuring a strong male dancer. His dance poses are creative and fun to try with your children.

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