If I Built A Car

  • Title: If I Built A Car
  • Author: Chris Van Dusen
  • Illustrator: Chris Van Dusen
  • Publisher: Puffin Books, a division of the Penguin Group
  • Publication year: 2005
  • Brief Summary: From Penguin Random House-“Young Jack is giving an eye-opening tour of the car he’d like to build. There’s a snack bar, a pool, and even a robot named Robert to act as chauffeur. With Jack’s soaring imagination in the driver’s seat, we’re deep-sea diving one minute and flying high above traffic the next in this whimsical, tantalizing take on the car of the future. Illustrations packed with witty detail, bright colors, and chrome recall the fabulous fifties and an era of classic American automobiles.”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library – I found this lesson guide from BiblioGarden’s website that suggests using this book to activate children’s imagination by getting them to make their own car, with supplies. So, I think this could be used for a art class as well. Like some of the other books I have covered in this 100, I think this is another one that can be added for pry children’s imaginations, this time with specifically mechanics.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it –I really like Van Dusen’s illustrations which are reminiscent of mid-century art and décor. His artwork is very reminiscent of The Jetson’s, although younger generations may not get that reference.

Du Iz Tak?

  • Title: Du Iz Tak?
  • Author: Carson Ellis
  • Illustrator: Carson Ellis
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication year: 2016
  • Brief Summary: From Candlewick Press-“Du iz tak? What is that? As a tiny shoot unfurls, two damselflies peer at it in wonder. When the plant grows taller and sprouts leaves, some young beetles arrive to gander, and soon—with the help of a pill bug named Icky—they wrangle a ladder and build a tree fort. But this is the wild world, after all, and something horrible is waiting to swoop down—booby voobeck!—only to be carried off in turn. Su! With exquisitely detailed illustrations and tragicomic flair, Carson Ellis invites readers to imagine the dramatic possibilities to be found in even the humblest backyard. Su!
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library –I found this resource from the blog Book Nerd Mommy which has an extensive activity guide on how to use this book for children to develop their decoding and inferring skills (something I did not consider but wholeheartedly believe this book would help with that after reading her article).
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it –Ellis’s illustrations all are done on two pages with the text of the insects corresponding to which insect is talking. This set up allows for the passage of time to be shown with each turn of the page (thereby letting children infer that time has moved).

Waiting

  • Title: Waiting
  • Author: Kevin Henkes
  • Illustrator: Kevin Henkes
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication year: 2015
  • Brief Summary: From HarperCollins-“Five friends sit happily on a windowsill, waiting for something amazing to happen. The owl is waiting for the moon. The pig is waiting for the rain. The bear is waiting for the wind. The puppy is waiting for the snow. And the rabbit is just looking out the window because he likes to wait! What will happen? Will patience win in the end? Or someday will the friends stop waiting and do something unexpected? Waiting is a big part of childhood—waiting in line, waiting to grow up, waiting for something special to happen—but in this book, a child sets the stage and pulls the strings. Timeless, beautiful, and deeply heartfelt, this picture book about imaginative play, the seasons, friendship, and surprises is a Caldecott Honor and Geisel Honor Book.”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library –I think this book would resonate best with young children as its main characters are knicknacks or toys that children might see or play with themselves at home. I found this article from The Prindle Institute for Ethics that discusses how children can examine happiness and the meaning of happiness within this book.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it –What I like most about this book is the subdued, calming illustrations in light blues, baby pinks and moss green. My favorite illustration is of the “cat with patches” that turns out to be a nesting doll and the flip of the page reveals this with all the cats lined up together.

The Man Who Walked Between The Towers

  • Title: The Man Who Walked Between The Towers
  • Author: Mordicai Gerstein
  • Illustrator: Mordicai Gerstein
  • Publisher: Square Fish, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers
  • Publication year: 2003
  • Brief Summary: From Macmillan Publishers-“In 1974, French aerialist Philippe Petit threw a tightrope between the two towers of the World Trade Center and spent an hour walking, dancing, and performing high-wire tricks a quarter mile in the sky. This picture book captures the poetry and magic of the event with a poetry of its own: lyrical words and lovely paintings that present the detail, daring, and–in two dramatic foldout spreads– the vertiginous drama of Petit’s feat.”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library –This book is a little more subtle in it’s mention of 9/11. But by giving this reader the delightfully daring account of Philippe Petit tight-ropping the two towers, it leaves room to mention that the towers are now gone. I found this teacher’s blog called Laura Candler’s Teaching Resources where she mentions that she uses this book on 9/11 as a read aloud. Part of her blog also gives some great discussion questions that can be used after the reading.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it –One of my favorite aspects of this book is the fold-out pages in it. The most powerful is the fold-out page of the towers, showing a small line that is Philippe Petit walking across

When Clay Sings

  • Title: When Clay Sings
  • Author: Byrd Baylor
  • Illustrator: Tom Bahti
  • Publisher: Aladdin Books, an imprint of Macmillan Publishing
  • Publication year: 1972
  • Brief Summary: From Simon & Schuster-“Pieces of broken pots are scattered over the desert hillsides of the Southwest. The Indians there treat them with respect — “Every piece of clay is a piece of someone’s life,” they say. And the children try to imagine those lives that took place in the desert they think of as their own. Clay has its own small voice, and sings. Its song has lasted for thousands of years. And Byrd Baylor’s prose-poem as simple and powerful as the clay pots, sings too.”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library – Like many of the early Native American children’s books I have covered so far, including Baylor’s other book The Desert Is Theirs, I do not think this would be in circulation in a school library setting. Not only for the fact that this book was from 1972, but also Baylor assumes too much of the Native American voice, though she was not Native American.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it – As I said with some of my other posts, I think there are other books out there written by and for Native American tribes, like The Water Protectors and Fry Bread. Like her other book, Baylor gives no references or even a mention of an oral storyteller as giving her this content. While the illustrations are interesting as Bahti gives a map and a tribe name to each illustration type, I do not think this book merits in the top 50.

In My Mother’s House

  • Title: In My Mother’s House
  • Author: Ann Nolan Clark
  • Illustrator: Velino Herrera
  • Publisher: Puffin Books, published by the Penguin Group
  • Publication year: 1941
  • Brief Summary-From Amazon-“A young Tewa Indian describes the homes, customs, work, and strong communal spirit of his people.”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library – Like so many of the Caldecott Honor Books I have read, this one I do not think would be in circulation in a school library. It was published in 1941, and now in 2021, I think we need Native American authors and illustrators creating works depicting Native American life now. I did find this interesting PDF on the web from an exhibition called Native American Picture Books of Change: The Art of Historic Children’s Books.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it – While I have some issues with this book too, the illustrations done by Herrera, who was a Zia Pueblo Native American, are more authentic than anything from Peter Parnell. I did find the black and white illustrations alternating with color illustrations an interesting choice.

Hildilid’s Night

  • Title: Hildilid’s Night
  • Author: Cheli Duran Ryan
  • Illustrator: Arnold Lobel
  • Publisher: MacMillan Publishing Company
  • Publication year: 1971
  • Brief Summary: From Amazon-“An elderly woman who hates the night tries everything she can think of to get rid of it–from burning it, to drowning it, to feeding it to the hounds.”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library – While I don’t know of a way this could be used in any sort of curriculum, this book could be used in a public library setting, in a read aloud.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it –I think this book would resonate with young children as many children have a strong fear of the dark. This absurd take on fighting the dark might help children to see that there is no reason to fear it, indeed instead they can think of Hildilid hilariously wielding everything in her power to get the dark away. My favorite set of illustrations is at the end of the book when the black and white drawings are touched by color with the rising sun.

I Have Heard of a Land

  • Title: I Have Heard of a Land
  • Author: Joyce Carol Thomas
  • Illustrator: Floyd Cooper
  • Publisher: Joanna Cotler Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication year: 1998
  • Brief Summary: From HarperCollins-“In the late 1880s, signs went up all around America – land was free in the Oklahoma territory. And it was free to everyone: Whites, Blacks, men and women alike. All one needed to stake a claim was hope and courage, strength and perseverance. Thousands of pioneers, many of them African-Americans newly freed from slavery, headed west to carve out a new life in the Oklahoma soil.”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library –This book is great to bring up and use when a class is in the midst of a social studies lesson on the migration of African Americans out of the South post-Civil War, and on the Oklahoma land runs of the late 1880s.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it –The vivid, detialed illustrations pair well with Thomas’s lyrical text. Probably my favorite illustrations is of the pioneer woman’s family huddled in their dwelling while she trudges back toward them in the cold snow, her hands clutched around her frail shawl but a smile on her face.

Annie and the Old One

  • Title: Annie and the Old One
  • Author: Miska Miles
  • Illustrator: Peter Parnall
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication year: 1971
  • Brief Summary: From Amazon-“Annie is a young Navajo girl who refuses to believe that her grandmother, the Old One, will die. Sadly, Annie learns that she cannot change the course of life.”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library – Again, much like The Desert Is Theirs (of which, Parnall was also the illustrator and author) there is some stereotypical Native American ideology and costuming present in this book. This, combined with the date of publication, makes this a book that would probably not be present in a school library.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it– Though I couldn’t find it referenced on American Indians in Children’s Literature, I do not doubt that this is not an accurate representation of the Native American Navajo tribe and life. The first fact being that Miles was not an Indigenous person and the only thing that is mentioned is that she was born and lived in Kansas and “on a Navajo reservation.” And while Parnall’s illustrations can be captivating, Parnall is already an issue on his own, as I talked about on The Desert is Theirs.

In The Night Kitchen

  • Title: In the Night Kitchen
  • Author: Maurice Sendak
  • Illustrator: Maurice Sendak
  • Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
  • Publication year: 1970
  • Brief Summary: From Scholastic-“Sendak’s classic comic fantasy of Mickey’s adventures in the night kitchen tells us how we get our morning cake.”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library – This book would be great to use as a read-aloud but I am not sure of any particular curriculum need this could fulfill. Additionally, this book might not even be in circulation in a school library because of the year of publication, depending on that school’s weeding policy.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it – This is a fantastical, dream voyage of one little boy as he navigates the night kitchen and as such, could help a child expand their own imagination. Or children could simply laugh at the absurdity that Mickey finds himself in. The illustrations are done in comic panels, and even have conversation bubbles in some scenes, allowing for a quick read.