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Rosanne's Staff Favorites
Rosanne writes books for children. She is a frequent visiting author in schools across the country and a presentor at writer's conferences. Her newest books are The Last of the Name, historical fiction about Irish immigrants during the American civil war, and the NY Times Best Selling A Wolf Called Wander and A Whale of the Wild. She lives with her family in an old farmhouse in Portland and writes in a treehouse in her back yard. She joined our staff in November of 2014.
Every baby should have this jewel among counting books. Not only is it an homage to the ecosystem of the Salish Sea, it's a clear and kid-friendly introduction to the creatures who live there. I confess I'm partial to the page with "9 orcas hunting together". But it's when McClure takes us beyond ten that the book really shines. 100 sculpins, 500 dunlins, 10,000 plankton--readers of all ages are invited to contemplate the magnitude of the ecosystem both it's immensity and it's fragility. McClure's trademark cut paper work, here beautifully paired with delicate watercolors, will delight the newborn drawn to the high contrast art, and satisfy the older reader with Its intricate design and satisfying composition.
Many of our school children this month are having their first day of school outside their homes. At last! What better way to celebrate than reading this book about the first day of school. Our hero sets out alone early in the morning in a boat on "the great river, the Mother Mekong." The paintings are luminous, and convey the child's pride in being big enough to make this journey, his nervousness about the creatures watching from the mangrove forest, and his wonder at the beauty of the birds and fish around him. Best of all (and I'm sure this will resonate deeply with our own children) he is delighted to see his friends, the other boys and girls who have paddled to school. The text of the story is gorgeous too, spare but rich in metaphor. This book is sheer joy.
So many of us have spent our Covid days pouring our hearts into our gardens. Here is the perfect book for your budding botanist. Ignotofky covers the life cycle of a flower with enough detail to appeal to children as old as 10. But the text is arranged so that a child as young as 2 or 3 could skip over the details about stamens and pistils and simply enjoy the narrative of the life of a flower. And readers will want to return to it again and again lingering over the distinctive and vivid illustrations.
Here is a tender and thougtful story about Maisie, a girl recovering from a dance injury that threatens not her life but her whole sense of her self as a dancer and her circle of close friends from the studio. Her family tries to help her navigate her changing sense of her self and her future by leaning on their Makah/Piscataway heritage. Maisie's story is memorably set right here in the Salish Sea
Linda Sue Park has brought a welcome addition to the canon of westward expansion stories. Prarie Lotus offers a broader view of those difficult years in the mid 1800s. This story is from the point of view of a Chinese American teenager who migrates eastward from California to the Dakota Territory. With only her father and the memory of her mother and her skills as a seamstress she struggles to make a place for herself and her father and complete her education in a new town.
Local author Melissa Wiley has created a charming and fast paced story about the very early days of American film making and a girl brave enough--and perhaps foolish enough--to volunteer for stunt work. An appealing look at a seldom examined era in American history.
Looking for something uplifting to no matter your political point of view? We Are the Change is a beautiful collaboration between 16 picture book artists and the words of 16 people who worked for justice. Some quotes are well known like the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. quote: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that." Others are less well known but just as powerful, such as Queen Lili'uokalani's quote: "You must remember never to cease to act because you fear you may fail." Each artist has offered a short reflection on their art. Caring people of all ages, take a page a day to soothe your heart.
In a year full of weighty political tomes, each more grim than the last, I find myself in need of inspiration more than information. The Faithful Spy is both a salve for the weary soul and a much needed encouragement to brave action in dark times. In this slim volume, John Hendrix chronicles Dietrich Bonhoeffer's life, from the comfort and privilege of his childhood to his spiritual influences including the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. Through image and text, direct quotations and summaries, The Faithful Spy shows how Hitler and his Nazi party took hold of a nation no more innately racist than any other. How Hitler manipulated their media and their political processes to pin the economic suffering of the depression on "the other." It shows how a man no more innately heroic than any other chose to ally himself with "the other" that the Nazis so despised. It illustrates his growing faith and growing conviction that Hitler must be stopped at all costs. There is no happy ending for Bonhoeffer and yet this is not a bleak book, but rather a testament to how one man found the courage to act in the face of great evil.
Here is the perfect grandparent story. It's about a child who doesn't speak the same language as his grandparent but uses the power of drawing to communicate. It's an affirmation of cultural bonds that go beyond words and an action packed adventure in vibrant color.