Tuesday, March 6, 2018

New Picture Books to Celebrate Family and Home

I've got quite a busy week ahead, full of all kinds of wonderment, so I thought I would leave you with a pair of books! And if you haven't already signed up, there are just a few spots left for this year's Progressive Poem! Sign up here. Now, the books:

MEET MY FAMILY! Animal Babies and Their Families by Laura Purdie Salas, illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman (Millbrook/Lerner)


A PLACE TO START A FAMILY:  Poems About Creatures that Build by David L. Harrison, illustrated by Giles Laroche (Charlesbridge)
I love MEET MY FAMILY! for the way it includes a ton of nonfiction info -- and yet ultimately is about celebrating ALL families, whatever they look like. A variety of animal babies tell us something about their families, like "My parents both take care of me" (tundra swan cygnets) and "I've never met my dad" (raccoon kits). Even adopted kids are represented, which pleases me, as the big sister of three adopted siblings.

This book is a great example of "layers" -- rhyming text! additional nonfiction prose! animal baby names! global! words in different languages! inclusivity/acceptance! If you are looking to write nonfiction picture books, this is a great mentor. Plus it's just plain adorable and will leave you smarter -- and happier about the world.

A PLACE TO START A FAMILY contains poems about animal architects and is divided into sections: Builders Underground, On Land, In Water, In Air -- plus a bonus poem about "A Different Kind of Builder" (Sun Coral).

My favorite is the stork poem, in part, because as a kid I loved THE WHEEL ON THE SCHOOL by Meindert DeJong, which features storks building their nest (on the wheel on the school). This fascinated me -- still does. And now here is David Harrison's poem:

White Stork

When high on chimney top you nest,
legend tells us those who dwell
within the house are surely blessed.

How old your nest no one can tell,
you keep it in such good repair.
Your ancestors placed it well.

With sturdy sticks they built it there,
where now you cast your lucky spell
and raise your baby storks with care.

- David L. Harrison

Back matter includes additional info about each animal builder and "Learn More!" links.

Here's the text related to the above poem:

"White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)

Folklore says that storks bring good luck and deliver babies, but the only babies they deal with hatch from the eggs they lay in enormous nests on rooftops, church spires, and other high places. Some nests are used for many generations of storks and can be seven feel across and ten feet deep. Both parents take care of the chicks until they leave the nest, which happens when they are about two months old. Juveniles aren't very colorful, but adults are nearly four feet all, with brown eyes, a red bill and legs, a white body, black wing tips and wings that stretch up to seven feet from tip to top."

I hope you'll give these a read!


  1. I love both books, Irene, and it's fun to hear about your love of The Wheel on The School. I haven't thought of that in a long time! Happy Tuesday!

  2. Thank you, Irene! I can't wait to read David's new book, and I'm so appreciative for your sharing of Meet My Family!

  3. Thank you for spotlighting these books, Irene. Both sound wonderful. Adding to my Wish List!

  4. Such a wonderful collection of poetry, and I am fascinated by storks.

  5. A nest that's seven feel across and ten feet deep?!! Whoa. Thanks for sharing both of these books today, Irene. Laura and David sure do NF well!

  6. Thanks for sharing, Irene. I'd love to spot a copy of both these books! (I've snagged some of Laura's titles in our local library, so I'm hopeful. :) )

  7. Oh, these both tug at my animal-loving heart. Congrats to Laura and David - can't wait to see these in person. Thanks for the sneak peeks, Irene! (And for the sign-up reminder, which I might have been too late to. Or, if not, might have gotten the last line, in which case that will teach me to pay better attention...;0) )

  8. Thanks, Irene! These look fabulous!

  9. These look wonderful for kids - and adult!

  10. I have to say that I'm partial to Meet My Family....but that stork poem. I'm going to have to get my hands on that book too! Thank you for the introduction.

  11. Thanks for sharing all these new critter books, I can never get enough of them. I love the back story about the stork and how big it's nest is, amazing–but then animals usually are, thanks for all Irene!

  12. This is a great pair of books!

  13. I love Laura's new book and have been looking forward to seeing David's book. Thank you for highlighting these books, Irene!


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