Browse our regularly updated lists of staff picks, bestsellers, reading recommendations by grade, award winners, and more.
Butterflies, Bees, and Other Garden Friends
In her clear and kid-friendly style, nonfiction master Gail Gibbons introduces young scientists to these beautiful beetles: their life cycles, what they eat, how they protect themselves, and lots more.
Presents facts about earthworms, covering their body structure, how they move, how they replenish the soil, how they mate, and who their predators are.
Wiggling Worms at Work
Deep underground and on the surface, worms are hard at work! Worms work like little plows, burrowing through soil by swallowing it. As they make their way through the dirt, worms loosen the soil so roots can spread and grow. Worms eat the bits of leaves and plants mixed with the dirt and leave behind castings that feed the plants. Find out how worms help us as they wiggle their way underground.
The Bee Book
The Bee Book shows you step-by-step how to create a bee-friendly garden, get started in beekeeping, and harness the power of honey for well-being.
Fully illustrated with full-color photographs throughout, this beautiful guide covers everything you need to know to start your own backyard hive, from setup to harvest. Practical beekeeping techniques are explained with clear step-by-step sequences, photos, and diagrams so you'll be prepared to establish your own colony, deal with diseases, collect a swarm, and much more.
A comprehensive gardening chapter features planting plans to fill container and border gardens, bee "hotel" and habitat projects, and an at-a-glance flower gallery of bees' favorite plants. The Bee Book also shows you how to harvest honey, beeswax, and propolis from the hive and use these ingredients in 38 recipes for home remedies, beauty treatments, and candle-making.
Discover the wonder of bees in nature, in your garden, and in the hive with The Bee Book.
The Magic School Bus Inside a Beehive
The latest buzz in Ms. Frizzle's class is bees! On a class trip to a beekeeper at his hive, the bus mysteriously vibrates, shrinks, and its passengers journey inside a beehive. Inside, the Friz calls out for everyone to "be a bee", and the adventure begins! There are 14 million copies of Cole and Degen's Magic School Bus books in print. Full color.
Bees: A Honeyed History
One part science, one part cultural history, and countless parts fascination, Bees celebrates the important role that these intriguing insects have played in our ecosystem throughout the ages. From Athena to Alexander the Great and from Egypt to Ethiopia, Bees explores different methods of beekeeping and uncovers the debt that humans owe this vital species. With beautifully accessible illustrations depicting everything from bee anatomy to the essentials of honey making, readers will be captivated by the endless wonders of this seemingly small speck of the animal kingdom.
A Butterfly Is Patient
The creators of the award-winning An Egg Is Quiet and A Seed Is Sleepy have teamed up again to create this gorgeous and informative introduction to the world of butterflies. From iridescent blue swallowtails and brilliant orange monarchs to the worlds tiniest butterfly (Western Pygmy Blue) and the largest (Queen Alexandra's Birdwing), an incredible variety of butterflies are celebrated here in all of their beauty and wonder. Perfect for a child's bedroom bookshelf or for a classroom reading circle!
Presents facts about butterflies, covering how they lay their eggs, what happens after their eggs are hatched, how young caterpillars transform into butterflies, and how they assist in the pollination of flowers.
We Dig Worms!
What do worms do all day? How do they see? And why are they so cold and squishy? Find out by going on an underground tour through the hidden world of earthworms. Kevin McCloskey's book even shows readers what's happening inside a worm's bodybrain, crop, gizzard, and more. The book takes young readers from "ew!" to "wow!" as they learn about the different ways worms work hard to help the earth. Kids may pick up many of the life science lessons contained here on their first read, but they'll return toWe Dig Worms! again and again to rediscover its story. Deceptively simple, humble yet charming, this little book reaches surprising depths . . . just like, well, a worm!
Learn everything there is know about bees in Amazing Bees! From buzzing to different flowers to being a vital part of the earth's ecosystem, bees are very busy creatures.
Discover what makes bees so special and find out how we can help them in Amazing Bees.
A Home for Honeybees
In this springtime adventure based on the Emmy Award–winning PBS TV show, George and Steve find themselves in a sticky situation when they accidentally eat all of Betsy's delicious honeycomb for her Earth Day presentation about bees. Now they need to find a way to replace the honeycomb before Betsy gets back from dance class. They head to an Earth Day fair in the park, where they learn all about bees, beehives, and how bees make honey. All they need to do is make their own beehive and they'll have plenty of homemade honeycomb! But will they be able to attract enough bees in time for Betsy's presentation? Includes two activities that reinforce the concepts in the story.
For more monkey fun, check out www.curiousgeorge.comand discover all the latest books, promotions, games, activities, and more!
My, Oh My--A Butterfly!
With a little help from the Cat in the Hat, Sally and Dick observe a small miracle in their own backyard—the metamorphosis of an egg into a caterpillar into a chrysalis into a bright new butterfly! Along the way, beginning readers will find out how butterflies see thousands of images at once, drink nectar from flowers, avoid predators, and can be identified by size, shape, and color. Readers will also follow the amazing migration of millions of monarchs.
Wiggle and Waggle
"We wiggle and waggle, squiggle and squirm,
Digging in the dirt is the life of a worm.
We dig and we sing all day long,
Our wiggly, waggly, gardening song."
Follow Wiggle and Waggle, two wormy best friends, through five wormy chapters as they dig in the dirt, work hard, and have fun swimming and singing.
Beginning readers will dig the simple science facts included at the end of this charming book.
The Butterfly Alphabet
Like magic, the stunning close-up photographs in this book reveal, in the delicate wings of butterflies and moths from around the world, an exquisite alphabet written in nature's own hand. Playful, fanciful verse serves as a guide through this celebration of the wondrously colorful world of butterflies and the secret delights of the natural world that beckon us all.
A captivating and child-friendly look at the extraordinary journey that monarch butterflies take each year from Canada to Mexico; with a text in both English and Spanish.
Rhyming text and lively illustrations showcase the epic trip taken by the monarch butterflies. At the end of each summer, these international travelers leave Canada to fly south to Mexico for the winter--and now readers can come along for the ride! Over mountains capped with snow, to the deserts down below.Children will be delighted to share in the fascinating journey of the monarchs and be introduced to the people and places they pass before they finally arrive in the forests that their ancestors called home.
Waiting for Wings
Every spring, butterflies emerge and dazzle the world with their vibrant beauty. But where do butterflies come from? How are they born? What do they eat--and how?
With a simple, rhyming text and glorious color-drenched collage, Lois Ehlert provides clear answers to these and other questions as she follows the life cycle of four common butterflies, from their beginnings as tiny hidden eggs and hungry caterpillars to their transformation into full-grown butterflies. Complete with butterfly and flower facts and identification tips, as well as a guide to planting a butterfly garden, this butterfly book is like no other.
These Bees Count!
How do bees count? The bees at the Busy Bee Farm buzz through the sky as one big swarm, fly over two waving dandelions, find three wild strawberries dripping tasty nectar... As the children in Mr. Tate's class listen, they learn how bees work to produce honey and make food and flowers grow. Bees count--they're important to us all. Alison Formento's gentle message is illustrated with Sarah Snow's bright, realistic papercuts.
In the Trees, Honey Bees
This inside-the-hive view of a wild colony of honeybees offers close-up views of the queen, the cells, even bee eggs. The reader is left with admiration for the remarkable lives of honeybees, whether in the hive or in the field.
Butterfly Colors and Counting
In this board book by Jerry Pallotta, award-winning author of several alphabet and counting books for young children, readers will learn how to count to ten while learning the colors of the rainbow--plus some fun patterns as a bonus. Shennen Bersani's realistic and colorful art depicts ten real butterfly species, both common and rare, from around the world.
This book is good for your brain because:
Counting, number identification, colors, patterns
That's Not My Bee
Meet five busy bees in this adorable addition to the much-loved That's not my ... series. Babies and toddlers will love touching the textured patches as they meet bees with sparkly wings, fuzzy tummies and shiny eyes. The bright pictures and textures to stroke are designed to help develop sensory and language awareness.
Biographies: True Stories of Real People
An inspiring picture-book biography of Louis Braille--a blind boy so determined to read that he invented his own alphabet.
Louis Braille was just five years old when he lost his sight. He was a clever boy, determined to live like everyone else, and what he wanted more than anything was to be able to read.
Even at the school for the blind in Paris, there were no books for him.
And so he invented his own alphabet--a whole new system for writing that could be read by touch. A system so ingenious that it is still used by the blind community today.
Award-winning writer Jen Bryant tells Braille's inspiring story with a lively and accessible text, filled with the sounds, the smells, and the touch of Louis's world. Boris Kulikov's inspired paintings help readers to understand what Louis lost, and what he was determined to gain back through books.
An author's note and additional resources at the end of the book complement the simple story and offer more information for parents and teachers.
**Winner of a Schneider Family Book Award!**
Praise for Six Dots:
"An inspiring look at a child inventor whose drive and intelligence changed to world--for the blind and sighted alike."--Kirkus Reviews
"Even in a crowded field, Bryant's tightly focused work, cast in the fictionalized voice of Braille himself, is particularly distinguished."--Bulletin, starred review
"This picture book biography strikes a perfect balance between the seriousness of Braille's life and the exuberance he projected out into the world." -- School Library Journal, starred review
Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio
In a riveting story of courage and hope, Peg Kehret writes about months spent in a hospital when she was twelve, first struggling to survive a severe case of polio, then slowly learning to walk again.
At first paralyzed and terrified, she fought her way to recovery, aided by doctors and therapists, a loving family, supportive roommates fighting their own battles with the disease, and plenty of grit and luck. With the humor and suspense that are her trademarks, acclaimed author Peg Kehret vividly recreates the true story of her year of heartbreak and triumph.
Before She Was Harriet
An evocative poem and stunning watercolors come together to honor an American heroine in a Coretta Scott King Honor and Christopher Award-winning picture book.
We know her today as Harriet Tubman, but in her lifetime she was called by many names. As General Tubman she was a Union spy. As Moses she led hundreds to freedom on the Underground Railroad. As Minty she was a slave whose spirit could not be broken. As Araminta she was a young girl whose father showed her the stars and the first steps on the path to freedom.
This lush, lyrical biography in verse begins with a glimpse of Harriet Tubman as an old woman, and travels back in time through the many roles she played through her life: spy, liberator, suggragist and more. Illustrated by James Ransome, whose paintings for The Creation won a Coretta Scott King medal, this is a riveting introduction to an American hero.
* A Junior Library Guild Selection
* A Coretta Scott King Honor Book
* A Christopher Award winner
* A Jane Addams Children's Honor Book
Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker
In exuberant verse and stirring pictures, Patricia Hruby Powell and Christian Robinson create an extraordinary portrait for young people of the passionate performer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker, the woman who worked her way from the slums of St. Louis to the grandest stages in the world. Meticulously researched by both author and artist, Josephine's powerful story of struggle and triumph is an inspiration and a spectacle, just like the legend herself.
Coretta Scott King Book Award, Illustrator, Honor
Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award, Honor
Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, Nonfiction Honor
Parent's Choice Award
Wall Street Journal's 10 Best Children's Books of the Year List
Bologna Ragazzi Nonfiction Honor 2014
Esquivel!: Space-Age Sound Artist
A playful picture-book biography of the father of space-age bachelor-pad lounge music.
Gorgeously illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh, this lively biography follows Juan Garcia Esquivel from Mexico to New York City. Juan grew up to the sounds of mariachi bands; he loved music and became a musical explorer. Defying convention, he created music that made people laugh and planted images in their minds. His musical dreams brought him from Mexico to America and gained him worldwide renown. Juan's space-age lounge music--popular in the fifties and sixties--has found a new generation of listeners. This account honors Esquivel as one of the great composers of the 20th century.
My Family Divided: One Girl's Journey of Home, Loss, and Hope
Before landing a spot on the megahit Netflix show Orange is the New Black; before wow-ing audiences as Lina on Jane the Virgin; and before her incredible activism and work on immigration reform, Diane Guerrero was a young girl living in Boston. One day, while Guerrero was at school, her undocumented immigrant parents were taken from their home, detained, and deported. Guerrero's life, which had been full of the support of a loving family, was turned upside down.
Reflective of the experiences of millions of undocumented immigrant families in the United States, Guerrero's story for Young Raders in My Family Divided, written with Erica Moroz, is at once heartbreaking and hopeful.
Dangerous Jane: The Life and Times of Jane Addams, Crusader for Peace
Jane's heart ached for the world, but what could she do to stop a war?
This energetic and inspiring picture book biography of activist Jane Addams focuses on the peace work that won her the Nobel Peace Prize. From the time she was a child, Jane's heart ached for others. At first the focus of her efforts was on poverty, and lead to the creation of Hull House, the settlement house she built in Chicago. For twenty-five years, she'd helped people from different countries live in peace at Hull House. But when war broke out, Jane decided to take on the world and become a dangerous woman for the sake of peace.
Suzanne Slade's powerful text written in free verse illuminates the life of this inspiring figure while Alice Ratterree's stunning illustrations bring Jane Addam's and her world to life.
Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement
"I am sick and tired of being sick and tired."
Despite fierce prejudice and abuse, even being beaten to within an inch of her life, Fannie Lou Hamer was a champion of civil rights from the 1950s until her death in 1977. Integral to the Freedom Summer of 1964, Ms. Hamer gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention that, despite President Johnson's interference, aired on national TV news and spurred the nation to support the Freedom Democrats. Featuring vibrant mixed-media art full of intricate detail, Voice of Freedom celebrates Fannie Lou Hamer's life and legacy with a message of hope, determination, and strength.
A 2016 Caldecott Honor Book
A 2016 Robert F. Sibert Honor Book
A 2016 John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award Winner
Stirring poems and stunning collage illustrations combine to celebrate the life of Fannie Lou Hamer, a champion of equal voting rights.
On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein
A boy rides a bicycle down a dusty road. But in his mind, he envisions himself traveling at a speed beyond imagining, on a beam of light. This brilliant mind will one day offer up some of the most revolutionary ideas ever conceived. From a boy endlessly fascinated by the wonders around him, Albert Einstein ultimately grows into a man of genius recognized the world over for profoundly illuminating our understanding of the universe. Jennifer Berne and Vladimir Radunsky invite the reader to travel along with Einstein on a journey full of curiosity, laughter, and scientific discovery. Parents and children alike will appreciate this moving story of the powerful difference imagination can make in any life.
Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré
When she came to America in 1921, Pura Belpré carried the cuentos folklóricos of her Puerto Rican homeland. Finding a new home at the New York Public Library as a bilingual assistant, she turned her popular retellings into libros and spread story seeds across the land. Today, these seeds have grown into a lush landscape as generations of children and storytellers continue to share her tales and celebrate Pura’s legacy.
Brought to colorful life by Paola Escobar’s elegant and exuberant illustrations and Anika Aldamuy Denise’s lyrical text, this gorgeous book is perfect for the pioneers in your life.
Informative backmatter and suggested further reading included.
A Spanish-language edition, Sembrando historias: Pura Belpré: bibliotecaria y narradora de cuentos, is also available.
Proud: Living My American Dream
The inspiring and critically acclaimed all-American story of faith, family, hard work, and perseverance by Olympic fencer, activist, New York Times bestselling author, and Time "100 Most Influential People" honoree Ibtihaj Muhammad.
At the 2016 Olympic Games, Ibtihaj Muhammad smashed barriers as the first American to compete wearing hijab, and she made history as the first Muslim American woman to win a medal. But before she was an Olympian, activist, and entrepreneur, Ibtihaj was a young outsider trying to find her place.
Growing up in suburban New Jersey, Ibtihaj was often the only African American Muslim student in her class. When she discovered and fell in love with fencing, a sport most popular with affluent young white people, she stood out even more. Rivals and teammates often pointed out Ibtihaj's differences, telling her she would never succeed. Yet she powered on, rising above bigotry and other obstacles on the path to pursue her dream.
Ibtihaj's inspiring journey from humble beginnings to the international stage is told in her own words and enhanced with helpful advice and never-before-published photographs. Proud is an all-American tale of faith, family, hard work, and self-reliance.
Highlighting Black Voices
Brown Girl Dreaming
Jacqueline Woodson, the acclaimed author of Another Brooklyn, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse.
Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.
The Stars Beneath Our Feet
It’s Christmas Eve in Harlem, but twelve-year-old Lolly Rachpaul and his mom aren’t celebrating. They’re still reeling from his older brother’s death in a gang-related shooting just a few months earlier. Then Lolly’s mother’s girlfriend brings him a gift that will change everything: two enormous bags filled with Legos. Lolly’s always loved Legos, and he prides himself on following the kit instructions exactly. Now, faced with a pile of building blocks and no instructions, Lolly must find his own way forward.
His path isn’t clear—and the pressure to join a “crew,” as his brother did, is always there. When Lolly and his friend are beaten up and robbed, joining a crew almost seems like the safe choice. But building a fantastical Lego city at the community center provides Lolly with an escape—and an unexpected bridge back to the world.
David Barclay Moore paints a powerful portrait of a boy teetering on the edge—of adolescence, of grief, of violence—and shows how Lolly’s inventive spirit helps him build a life with firm foundations and open doors.
I Have a Dream
From Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s daughter, Dr. Bernice A. King: “My father’s dream continues to live on from generation to generation, and this beautiful and powerful illustrated edition of his world-changing "I Have a Dream" speech brings his inspiring message of freedom, equality, and peace to the youngest among us—those who will one day carry his dream forward for everyone.”
On August 28, 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, Martin Luther King gave one of the most powerful and memorable speeches in our nation's history. His words, paired with Caldecott Honor winner Kadir Nelson's magificent paintings, make for a picture book certain to be treasured by children and adults alike. The themes of equality and freedom for all are not only relevant today, 50 years later, but also provide young readers with an important introduction to our nation's past.
Twelve-year-old Hoodoo Hatcher was born into a family with a rich tradition of practicing folk magic: hoodoo, as most people call it. But even though his name is Hoodoo, he can't seem to cast a simple spell.
Then a mysterious man called the Stranger comes to town, and Hoodoo starts dreaming of the dead rising from their graves. Even worse, he soon learns the Stranger is looking for a boy. Not just any boy. A boy named Hoodoo. The entire town is at risk from the Stranger’s black magic, and only Hoodoo can defeat him. He’ll just need to learn how to conjure first.
Set amid the swamps, red soil, and sweltering heat of small town Alabama in the 1930s, Hoodoo is infused with a big dose of creepiness leavened with gentle humor.
Shadows of Sherwood
The night her parents disappear, twelve-year-old Robyn Loxley must learn to fend for herself. Her home, Nott City, has been taken over by a harsh governor, Ignomus Crown. After fleeing for her life, Robyn has no choice but to join a band of strangers--misfit kids, each with their own special talent for mischief. Setting out to right the wrongs of Crown's merciless government, they take their outlaw status in stride. But Robyn can't rest until she finds her parents. As she pieces together clues from the night they disappeared, Robyn learns that her destiny is tied to the future of Nott City in ways she never expected.
Kicking off a new series with an unforgettable heroine and a diverse band of characters, readers will be treated to feats of courage and daring deeds as Robyn and her band find their way in this cruel, new world.
A Poem for Peter
A celebration of the extraordinary life of Ezra Jack Keats, creator of The Snowy Day.
The story of The Snowy Day begins more than one hundred years ago, when Ezra Jack Keats was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. The family were struggling Polish immigrants, and despite Keats’s obvious talent, his father worried that Ezra’s dream of being an artist was an unrealistic one. But Ezra was determined. By high school he was winning prizes and scholarships. Later, jobs followed with the WPA and Marvel comics. But it was many years before Keats’s greatest dream was realized and he had the opportunity to write and illustrate his own book.
For more than two decades, Ezra had kept pinned to his wall a series of photographs of an adorable African American child. In Keats’s hands, the boy morphed into Peter, a boy in a red snowsuit, out enjoying the pristine snow; the book became The Snowy Day, winner of the Caldecott Medal, the first mainstream book to feature an African American child. It was also the first of many books featuring Peter and the children of his — and Keats’s — neighborhood.
Andrea Davis Pinkney’s lyrical narrative tells the inspiring story of a boy who pursued a dream, and who, in turn, inspired generations of other dreamers.
Only the living can make the world better. Live and make it better.
Twelve-year-old Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat. As a ghost, he observes the devastation that's been unleashed on his family and community in the wake of what they see as an unjust and brutal killing.
Soon Jerome meets another ghost: Emmett Till, a boy from a very different time but similar circumstances. Emmett helps Jerome process what has happened, on a journey towards recognizing how historical racism may have led to the events that ended his life. Jerome also meets Sarah, the daughter of the police officer, who grapples with her father's actions.
Once again Jewell Parker Rhodes deftly weaves historical and socio-political layers into a gripping and poignant story about how children and families face the complexities of today's world, and how one boy grows to understand American blackness in the aftermath of his own death.
One Crazy Summer
Eleven-year-old Delphine is like a mother to her two younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern. She's had to be, ever since their mother, Cecile, left them seven years ago for a radical new life in California. But when the sisters arrive from Brooklyn to spend the summer with their mother, Cecile is nothing like they imagined.
While the girls hope to go to Disneyland and meet Tinker Bell, their mother sends them to a day camp run by the Black Panthers. Unexpectedly, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern learn much about their family, their country, and themselves during one truly crazy summer.
Readers who enjoy Christopher Paul Curtis's The Watsons Go to Birmingham and Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming will find much to love in One Crazy Summer.
This novel was the first featured title for Marley D’s Reading Party, launched after the success of #1000BlackGirlBooks. Maria Russo, in a New York Times list of "great kids' books with diverse characters," called it "witty and original."
"With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I’m delivering," announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he's got mad beats, too, that tell his family's story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood from Kwame Alexander.
Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story's heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family.
Jean-Michel Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings rocketed to fame in the 1980s as a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the art world had ever seen. But before that, he was a little boy who saw art everywhere: in poetry books and museums, in games and in the words that we speak, and in the pulsing energy of New York City. Now, award-winning illustrator Javaka Steptoe's vivid text and bold artwork echoing Basquiat's own introduce young readers to the powerful message that art doesn't always have to be neat or clean--and definitely not inside the lines--to be beautiful.
A Good Kind of Trouble
Twelve-year-old Shayla is allergic to trouble. All she wants to do is to follow the rules. (Oh, and she’d also like to make it through seventh grade with her best friendships intact, learn to run track, and have a cute boy see past her giant forehead.)
But in junior high, it’s like all the rules have changed. Now she’s suddenly questioning who her best friends are and some people at school are saying she’s not black enough. Wait, what?
Shay’s sister, Hana, is involved in Black Lives Matter, but Shay doesn't think that's for her. After experiencing a powerful protest, though, Shay decides some rules are worth breaking. She starts wearing an armband to school in support of the Black Lives movement. Soon everyone is taking sides. And she is given an ultimatum.
Shay is scared to do the wrong thing (and even more scared to do the right thing), but if she doesn't face her fear, she'll be forever tripping over the next hurdle. Now that’s trouble, for real.
As Brave As You
Genie’s summer is full of surprises. The first is that he and his big brother, Ernie, are leaving Brooklyn for the very first time to spend the summer with their grandparents all the way in Virginia—in the COUNTRY! The second surprise comes when Genie figures out that their grandfather is blind. Thunderstruck, Genie peppers Grandpop with questions about how he hides it so well (besides wearing way cool Ray-Bans).
How does he match his clothes? Know where to walk? Cook with a gas stove? Pour a glass of sweet tea without spilling it? Genie thinks Grandpop must be the bravest guy he’s ever known, but he starts to notice that his grandfather never leaves the house—as in NEVER. And when he finds the secret room that Grandpop is always disappearing into—a room so full of songbirds and plants that it’s almost as if it’s been pulled inside-out—he begins to wonder if his grandfather is really so brave after all.
Then Ernie lets him down in the bravery department. It’s his fourteenth birthday, and, Grandpop says to become a man, you have to learn how to shoot a gun. Genie thinks that is AWESOME until he realizes Ernie has no interest in learning how to shoot. None. Nada. Dumbfounded by Ernie’s reluctance, Genie is left to wonder—is bravery and becoming a man only about proving something, or is it just as important to own up to what you won’t do?
The Day You Begin
There will be times when you walk into a room
and no one there is quite like you.
There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it's how you look or talk, or where you're from; maybe it's what you eat, or something just as random. It's not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it.
Jacqueline Woodson's lyrical text and Rafael López's dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.
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