Grace Goes To Washington (Kelly DiPucchio)

Hello friends, and happy International Women’s Day! To celebrate, we’re reviewing Grace Goes To Washington, written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by LeUyen Pham, the sequel to one of our all-time favorite titles, Grace For President.

The school trip to Washington, D.C. is coming up, and Grace – the aspiring government leader who already has a successful run for class president under her belt – could not be more excited. For now, however, she must work in congress with her fellow class representatives to decided what to do with the proceeds from the school bake sale. Different contingents propose different needs: new athletic equipment, new band instruments, or new library books? Grace isn’t sure how to vote, as all are worthy causes. The class trip to D.C. provides a break from the debate, and Grace is deeply inspired by what she sees. Yet when she returns to school, all she sees is unrest – the fighting over how the bake sale money should be spent has reached a fever pitch, and friends are arguing on the playground. But in the melee, Grace notices a lonely new student, and inspiration strikes. Perhaps what the school needs most of all is a reminder of what people can accomplish when they work together.

Lovely. Just as Grace challenged the ideas that only men could lead in her previous book, she’s back to encourage teamwork and cooperation over partisanship (doesn’t that sound nice?). And like the previous title worked in a wonderful explanation of how the electoral college functions, this one provides a lesson in the branches of government, the executive and legislative in particular. Pham’s art features diverse characters that are alive with emotion and personality, and the text is earnest and impactful. The length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ and I were both so pleased to see Grace inspiring other kids to take the lead and do what’s right once again. A worthy sequel, and a reminder for readers big and small that by working together despite our differences, we can achieve great and lasting things. Baby Bookworm approved!

Stop That Yawn! (Caron Levis)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Stop That Yawn!, written by Caron Levis and illustrated by LeUyen Pham, a wonderfully unique bedtime fairytale.

Gabby is plumb tired of being, well, tired. All the pajamas, storytimes, and lullabies are simply too humdrum, and she’s ready for a change of pace. So one night, she convinces her Granny to take her to Never Sleeping City, arriving on her flying bed. Here is a place where there are no bedtimes, no sweet dreams, and nothing to do but stay up all night at carnivals, shows, and parties. But as Gabby and Granny are enjoying the ferris wheel, it happens: a yawn! Escaping from Granny’s mouth, the yawn quickly spreads through the city, overtaking the human and anthropomorphic animal citizens alike. Gabby tries to keep the partiers, the marching band, the mayor and even the reader from spreading the yawn and drifting off to sleep, but to no avail – once a yawn is passed on, there’s no stopping it. At last, Gabby accepts that a little sleep isn’t the worst thing, and settles in to bed with Granny – to keep the party going in her dreams.

Strange, delightful, and fabulously creative. Launching from the idea of the contagious yawn – a phenomena we’re all familiar with – the story ties into timeless imaginings of kids at bedtime: a place where they can stay up as late as they want, and the fight to stay awake even as sleep overtakes them. The Never Sleeping City, even in a half-muted palette, is a treasure trove of detail and character, and was a joy to explore along with Gabby. And the story balances the excitement of an adventure with the tone of a bedtime story nicely, gently concluding that sleep may not be as fun, but it’s necessary and inevitable. The length was great and JJ loved the vivid illustrations. A fresh and fun bedtime story, 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.)

Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed The World (Susan Hood)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed The World, written by Susan Hood and illustrated by 13 female artists, a collection of poetry that celebrates fourteen trailblazing women.

Each poem introduces us to the life and work of a remarkable young woman: Molly Williams, the first known female firefighter in the US; Maya Lin, the architect who, at only 21 years old, designed the Vietnam War Memorial amid great controversy; Pura Belpré, the NY public librarian who broke the race barrier for children in libraries; and many more. Familiar heroes like Frida Kahlo, Malala Yousafzai, and Nellie Bly share the spotlight with lesser-known heroines like Angela Zhang, Annette Kellerman, and the Nearne sisters, and leave readers with an inspiring truth: courage and brilliance know no race, age, or gender.

FAN. TASTIC. The poems are brief, use clear language for little readers, but do a phenomenal job of encapsulating each woman’s obstacles, her accomplishments, and her spirit (the Ruby Bridges entry caused me to openly weep). The art is a treasure trove, with each artist bringing their own style to their individual subject, their passion for which explodes from the page. And while these collections often neglect feminist icons of color, this one does not, including role models of Asian, Middle-Eastern, Latina, and African-American descent. It might be a little long to cover in one sitting with smaller bookworms, but could easily be put down and continued another time. And needless to say, JJ and I loved it. This is a powerful book that would be welcome on any little one’s bookshelf. Baby Bookworm approved!

Top 5: Girl Power!

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Hello, friends! This Top 5 is coming to you a day late, as JJ’s daddy graduated from college yesterday (yay!) and we were a bit busy. But not to fret, this one is chock full of awesome books about Girl Power! As the mother of a daughter in a world that can be scary for girls and women, books that celebrate girls and all the things they can do and be are essential. So in no particular order, here are The Baby Bookworm’s Top 5 Girl Power books of 2016:

1.  Not All Princesses Dress In Pink (Jane Yolen & Heidi E.Y. Stemple)

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A great rhyming story about how princesses can come in all shapes, sizes and colors. This book features a multicultural cast of princesses who play sports, get mucky caring for animals, build treehouses together, and never judge one another on how a princess should look or act. Fantastic for showing girls that getting their hands dirty doesn’t mean they can’t be royalty, and the importance of supporting their fellow females.

2. Grace For President (Kelly DiPucchio)

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Yes, another Kelly DiPucchio book! What can I say? She’s one of our favorites, and this book is a very good reason why. The story of a determined little girl who runs for class president, Grace shows that politics isn’t just about popularity – it’s about hard work, dedication, and being the best girl for the job. Grace is a fantastic role model for young readers, and should be a staple of any little girl’s library.

3. My First Book Of Girl Power (DC Comics)

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An awesome board book for little superheroes! Covering some of the best and brightest heroines of the DC Universe, each page describes a female superhero and how she uses her powers (described simply as wisdom, strength, courage, kindness, etc.) to help others. It shows that girls can be powerful and fierce, and is perfect for beginning readers.

4. I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark (Debbie Levy)

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A picture book biography of feminist icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg, this book is a fabulous story of a real-life female superhero. Ginsburg faces discrimination from all sides as she pursues her dream of becoming a lawyer and helping people, and her journey is absolutely inspirational. With phenomenal illustrations and a heaping helping of positive messages for young girls about bravery and self-respect, this book is a slightly longer read that is well worth it.

5. Rosie Revere, Engineer / Ada Twist, Scientist (Andrea Beaty)

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Okay, okay, so we’re sort of cheating here with two books, and technically this makes it a Top 6, but it’s impossible to pick between these two outstanding tales of little girls pursuing their passion for the STEM sciences. Both Rosie and Ada are brilliant ladies with the need to build, explore and understand, through engineering inventions and scientific study respectively. Both face setbacks (though, pleasantly, not related to their gender) and people who don’t understand, but both find the inner drive and courage to let their beautiful minds do great things. Wonderful additions to any little future STEM-er’s library.

That’s it! Our five favorite Girl Power book reviews from 2016! Did we leave any out? Tell us what you think! What were your favorite books about awesome girls this year? And be sure to join us next Saturday (Christmas Eve!) for another Top 5 list. See you tomorrow!

Freckleface Strawberry (Julianne Moore)


Hello everyone! Our book today is Freckleface Strawberry, written by Julianne Moore and illustrated by LeUyen Pham, the story of a little girl learning to love her freckles.

Freckleface Strawberry is a girl who is just like everyone else, except for her red hair and freckles, the latter of which she is rather self-conscious, as people comment on them all the time. She tries to hide her freckles, to varying degrees of success, until she finds she can cover up all her freckles at once… by wearing a ski mask! However, this keeps her friends from recognizing her. Can she ever accept her freckles as part of who she is?

This was such a sweet book. I think Freckleface’s embarrassment of her appearance is something that most adult readers can identify with, and I love that this book teaches younger readers to be confident in their bodies (even in its unique qualities), and know that it is much more important to accept yourself for who you are, and to surround yourself with people who do the same. Furthermore, the book is funny, and the text is enjoyable to read. It’s a fine length for baby bookworms, and the illustrations by Pham (who also drew one of our favorites, Grace For President), are adorable. Overall, a great book for littles that teaches them to embrace the skin they’re in. Baby Bookworm approved!