We Are Water Protectors (Carole Lindstrom)

Hello, friends! Our book today is We Are Water Protectors, written by Carole Lindstrom and illustrated by Michaela Goade, a conservational call to action and celebration of Indigenous pride.

A young girl of Ojibwe descent recounts a lesson her grandmother imparted to her: “Water is the first medicine.” She points out that we come from water, from the earliest days in our mothers’ wombs; once born, the planet we all share nurtures us with water in the same way. Her people talk of a black snake that will spoil the water and destroy the land, and in the form of high-volume oil pipelines, the black snake has arrived. So the girl and her people make a stand, fighting for their rights… and protecting the sacred safety of the water.

Beautiful. This deeply passionate and original tale, written and illustrated by Indigenous creators, is part historical account, part rallying cry, and part unabashed expression of cultural pride. Drawing inspiration from the Standing Rock protests and ongoing fight to prevent oil pipelines from being built on tribal nations’ lands and waterways, the text reads like flowing, free-form poetry, yet manages to incorporate themes like stewardship of nature, community, and heritage throughout. The dreamy, rich artwork is absolutely stunning, and JJ and I found ourselves marveling at every page. This length is great for any storytime, and the message within is a critical one for right now and always: we must rise to protect life and what sustains it from those who would destroy it – it is our responsibility to the planet, and to each other. A fantastic title, and we adored it. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

You Matter (Christian Robinson)

Hello, friends! Our book today is You Matter by Christian Robinson, a book of self-esteem that reminds us of the preciousness of life.

As the book begins with a little girl peering at microorganisms through her microscope, the unadorned text lists a number of beings in our world; from the “small stuff too small to see”, to the “first to go and the last”, to the ones who “feel lost and alone”. For each of these descriptions, the text assures us: you matter. It doesn’t make a difference how small or seemingly unimportant, how different or unique, how old or how young, or our feelings of sadness, worthlessness, or pain. All life has value, each and every one of us upon this ball of blue floating through space.

Wonderful. Combining Robinson’s distinctive and always-charming art style with a message that is so desperately needed now and always, this simple message of self-respect and compassion towards others is another heartwarming title from the creator. The concept of each illustration being connected in some way to the ones preceding and following it are also a lovely touch, further impressing the importance of connection and empathy as well as giving the book a clever and often moving visual story all its own (I particularly liked the visual comparison of a colony of ants to a human city viewed from an airplane window). And in troubling times like this, the subtle inclusions of children of color, in hijab, and in wheelchairs is particularly important; these kids are often the ones who need this reminder most. The length is perfect for any storytime, and JJ loved the artwork. A beautiful story for a difficult time, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved.

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Izzy Gizmo and the Invention Convention (Pip Jones)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Izzy Gizmo and the Invention Convention, written by Pip Jones and illustrated by Sara Ogilvie, a clever tale of one ingenious girl.

Izzy Gizmo and her pet bird Fixer are working on her newest invention one day (a So-Sew to mend clothes), when an invitation arrives in the mail. Izzy has been invited to the Invention Convention, a contest amongst young inventors held on the ingeniously-engineered Technoff Isle. The Professor and Mick Marvel challenge Izzy and her four competitors to come up with an impressive invention, and while Izzy is gung-ho, her quests for tools and supplies are thwarted at every turn by the pompous and unsportsmanlike Abi von Lavish. Her frustrations lead to a string of failed inventions and engineering hurdles, and she even gets so frustrated that she lashes out at Fixer. But with sage advice from her Grandpa, an apology to her friend, and a spark of inspiration, Izzy’s gizmo may just win the day.

Very cute. While this title is a follow-up to Izzy’s 2017 debut, this is our first encounter with the young inventor, and we enjoyed it immensely. Much like Andrea Beaty’s Rosie Revere – a perennial favorite in our household- Izzy is both admirably brilliant yet emotionally relatable (in fact, Ogilvie’s exuberant artwork, filled with madcap energy and meticulous details, also shares a spirit with Rosie’s other creator, David Roberts; the girls would be good friends, I imagine). What’s more, Izzy wants to do well and play fair, and facing adversity on her efforts, she redirects and perseveres without compromising her beliefs – a great lesson for kiddos. The rhymes can occasionally have a tricky rhythm, but are mostly fun to read aloud, and JJ enjoyed the colorful and detailed artwork. This is a sweet story with a myriad of themes, and we liked it a lot! Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Prairie Days (Patricia MacLachlan)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Prairie Days, written by Patricia MacLachlan and illustrated by Micha Archer, a sweet summery ode to simple farm life.

A girl reminisces of the place “where I was born”, seeing herself as a elementary aged-child on a pastoral farm on the prairie. She vividly describes moments and scenes of this quiet country home: the scent of cattle and wildflowers as she lies down in a field to ponder the clouds; swimming in underclothes in a cool pond; riding horses and playing with farm dogs; cold bottles of soda from a metal tank; reading under homemade quilts as summer night air breezes through the curtains. It’s a life of simplicity and a fair bit of nostalgia, quiet and cozy and carefree.

Lovely. Told from the point of view of the single protagonist, this remembrance of endless skies and playful summers has a wonderfully soothing quality in both prose and visuals (the timeline is undefined, though machines and a shop’s wares indicate early mid-century). The text is has the rhythm and structure of cowboy poetry, as well as the simple yet ardent language of the same. The mixed-media art is standout, creating sumptuous two-page spreads filled with details, colors, and emotion. It’s a fairly insular look at one person’s childhood memories, yet made grand and sweeping by the illustrations and words. The length was great, and JJ was fascinated with the art. A soothing, sunny read, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Prairie Days (Patricia MacLachlan)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Prairie Days, written by Patricia MacLachlan and illustrated by Micha Archer, a sweet summery ode to simple farm life.

A girl reminisces of the place “where I was born”, seeing herself as a elementary aged-child on a pastoral farm on the prairie. She vividly describes moments and scenes of this quiet country home: the scent of cattle and wildflowers as she lies down in a field to ponder the clouds; swimming in underclothes in a cool pond; riding horses and playing with farm dogs; cold bottles of soda from a metal tank; reading under homemade quilts as summer night air breezes through the curtains. It’s a life of simplicity and a fair bit of nostalgia, quiet and cozy and carefree.

Lovely. Told from the point of view of the single protagonist, this remembrance of endless skies and playful summers has a wonderfully soothing quality in both prose and visuals (the timeline is undefined, though machines and a shop’s wares indicate early mid-century). The text is has the rhythm and structure of cowboy poetry, as well as the simple yet ardent language of the same. The mixed-media art is standout, creating sumptuous two-page spreads filled with details, colors, and emotion. It’s a fairly insular look at one person’s childhood memories, yet made grand and sweeping by the illustrations and words. The length was great, and JJ was fascinated with the art. A soothing, sunny read, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)