Invited and Inspired to Learn

Read FeedPalisades Library

Invited and Inspired to Learn

For young and younger learners, with lots of visual elements

It may be back to, or the start of, school for your young learners, so here are a few creatively presented and beautifully illustrated books which enhance the presentation of content in appealing ways. They present messages and information using awe-inspiring visual images, and one of them offers twenty one hands-on activities. All of the topics are about enthusiastically accepting diversity.

Say Hello Like This by Mary Murphy celebrates its listening audience with each page, or half page, a different animal sound begs to be intoned, eventually turning into a cacophony of sounds at its end. The last page invites the human response “hello." All of the illustrations include lively animal movements, with expressive eyes and a spare, clear text. You can almost hear listeners participating.

I am a Cat by Galia Bernstein teaches recognition of essential similarity in apparent difference. Cat lovers, beware – there is a particularly scary page spread showing cats’ heads and eyes, done almost entirely in black. Cheers for illustrations that show teeth, claws and tails to full effect!

Where Are My Books? by Debbie Ridpath Ohi is an ode to book sharing. Determined to launch a search and rescue operation when his favorite books mysteriously disappear, a young boy questions all his family members, including a creeping baby sister who claims her innocence. When, finally, the ‘’thief” is identified, a sharing circle, with reading at center stage, ends the quest.

Do You Know Dewey? Exploring the Dewey Decimal System by Brian P. Cleary is a delightful book bringing together poetic expression, rhyming couplets, and the Dewey Decimal system. There is a rich diversity of skin hue in each illustration, making for a very high inclusive appeal factor. All the pages have backgrounds with library book shelves, while the book is itself tabbed with Dewey Decimal numbering on the top left corner of each. What a useful tool for introducing how books are housed on library shelves!

Under Earth Under Water by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski draws its readers down under, immersing us under-the-ground and under-the-water. Information on systems and objects, both man made and natural, makes for a “reference” book to delight in, hour after hour. Presented, for example: roots that are edible, and roots go deep! This gargantuan book (fifteen inches by eleven inches) is a treasure trove of facts. A welcome book for visual learners of all ages!

Unplugged, authored and illustrated by Steve Antony, has as its message the importance of turning away from the digitized screen to seek time spent outdoors instead. Readers will see a black and white, world at the beginning, and then contrast it with the landscapes at the end. Credit goes to illustrator Steve Antony, who is red-green colorblind, for an interestingly presented and powerful message.

A Frog’s Life by Irene Kelly, an author named by the National Science Association as Outstanding for her Science Trade Books, collaborates with native Italian illustrator Margherita Borin in this beautiful, well researched, description of frogs-from-tadpoles the world over. From showing us a section through frog skin with its gaseous exchange to presenting us with a very graphic representation of the effects of polluting factory runoff. This book will absorb the reader with its content as it teaches.

Journeys for Freedom: A New Look at America’s Story by Susan Buckley and Elspeth Leacock presents stories, maps and facts to bring geography and history alive. In the book, which is written by a traveler who is also a game designer, in collaboration with an educator, covers twenty significant journeys taken by different groups of immigrants to the United States. Absorbing visual detail by illustrator Rodica Prato, who studied architecture rather than art, include three dimensional-like features on every page.

America’s Black Founders: Revolutionary Heroes and Early Leaders by Nancy I. Sanders has in its introductory pages a timeline marking 1760 at the start, and ending with 1837. This is the period of time taken to “find” America. With its focus on biography of both enslaved and freeborn African American people living in the earliest years and the earliest states, it reveals history using a crucial, different lens. Additionally, twenty-one activities - including instructions on how to stuff a straw mattress, and on how to make pepper pot soup – sets out to make the journey an engaging, and interesting one.

Great Migrations: Whales, Wildebeests, Butterflies, Elephants and other Amazing Animals on the Move by Elizabeth Carney is a National Geographic Kids book. It is an invitation to learn about animals moving together, from herds of elephants to the flight paths of monarch butterflies.  The motivation for movement is an important highlight of the text. There are also  scale drawings of distances involved in the migrations, and color photography to captivate the senses of the reader. Such visual clarity begs us to join in movement ourselves!