More inanimate empathy arrives in Michael Hallâs âRed: A Crayonâs Story.â Though his wrapper reads âRed,â the bookâs hero is an erroneously labeled blue crayon who canât color a fire engine or a stoplight with any kind of verisimilitude. When a new purple friend asks for his help with an art project, Redâs friends and family finally see his true color.
Iâm O.K., Youâre O.K.
Jewel tones and childlike drawings add to the joy quotient in âThe Okay Book,â Todd Parrâs relentlessly affirmative, warmly oddball book. âItâs okay to have no hair,â reads one page. âItâs okay to wear what you like,â reads another. I wish my favorite line from the book, âItâs okay to put a fish in your hair,â could replace the banal phrase, âIt takes all kinds,â as an offbeat expression of acceptance.
Itâs All Relative
Two books about families tell stories about belonging, in very different styles. The flying squirrel in Zachariah OHoraâs antic âMy Cousin Momoâ doesnât fit in with the cousins heâs visiting: He thinks hide-and-seek is an opportunity to find mushrooms; he wears a giant muffin costume when his cousins dress as more recognizable superheroes. Heartache comes before acceptance for the saucer-eyed Momo.
An interspecies separated-at-birth story with plot twists and a happy ending, âStellalunaâ by Janell Cannon shows the joy and freedom felt when someone â in this case a bat raised by a family of birds â is allowed to be herself.
Hidden talents are uncovered in two empowering school stories. In âI Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Bensonâs Blackboard,âJennifer K. Mannâs sympathetic and stellar portrait of Rose, who struggles in school yet longs for recognition, reveals a girl who feels like a misfit yet eventually discovers herself as an artist.
The cleverly rhyming âThe Smallest Girl in the Smallest Gradeâ written by Justin Roberts and illustrated by Christian Robinson tells the story of the unobtrusive, uncommonly observant Sally McCabe who finds her voice when she speaks up for compassion and unites her school.
Two sensitive books about outsiders learning to make friends show kids the way in. Dennis, a silent boy who mimes in âBe a Friendâ by Salina Yoon, prefers pretending to tangible play. His style is smart and creative, but it can be lonely when other children climb trees while you prefer to act like one. One day, though, Dennis kicks an imaginary ball. When a girl named Joy catches it, a friendship takes shape.
In Jack and Michael Foremanâs simple, spare story âSay Hello,â a lonely, disconsolate boy on the sidelines is unsure how to break into a game. A serendipitous moment with a dog and red ball helps the boy to join in the fun and understand that he is not alone.
Do you need book recommendations? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out Match Bookâs earlier recommendations here.