Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged children's book

Where Do Birds Live?

There are few things in life better than large, hardcover, richly-illustrated children’s books. As a child, these were the books I most often pulled from the library shelves. Beautiful visuals invite the eye to stay for a while, while skilled writing engages and challenges the mind.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth

My ten-year-old son, Elliott, has several distinct laughs in his repertoire, each precisely tuned to the subtleties of the situation. An under-the-breath snicker connotes mild amusement, like the punchline to a Laffy Taffy joke; a nasal, high-pitched giggle is a response to inspired silliness, like a Calvin & Hobbes comic strip; a deep, hiccuping guffaw from his lower belly signifies his highest level of appreciation, and is usually reserved for gags involving bodily functions. I heard all three laughs, and a few new ones, in the sixty minutes it took him to devour Jeff Kinney's The Ugly Truth, the fifth installment in his Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

Our Earth: How Kids are Saving the Planet

Warm colours cover this book of global children’s experiences of how they are changing the world. Janet Wilson’s Our Earth is a brightly illustrated compact collection worth reading. The core message is simple: all people need to come together to heal the Earth.

Do Something!: A Handbook for Young Activists

Got kids? Do they have time and energy? Do they care about something? Anything? Then get them Do Something!: A Handbook for Young Activists. Buy it, give it to them, sit back, and feel good about having made a difference in the world. Or at least planting the seed. Do Something! is a very smart book.

A Chanukah Noel: A True Story

A Chanukah Noel is a welcome addition to the limited but much-needed canon of interfaith children’s books, and it has the particular additional benefit of being entirely secular. This combination of qualities already sets it apart from most Christmas picture books. The story is about a young Jewish girl named Charlotte who moves to rural France and struggles to fit in.

The Hole in the Wall

I don’t generally read a lot of children’s literature, but I’m glad I stepped outside my normal routine and read The Hole in the Wall. Sebby and his sister Barbie live in a town that is practically deserted after Stanley Odum starts buying up the land to mine it. Their parents are constantly fighting, their older brother ran off a while back, and they’re pretty much opposites even though they’re twins.

Patrick's Wish

Patrick's Wish is a true story told from the perspective of a young girl whose brother had a serious illness. It is evident from page one that there was some serious hero worship going on when it came to her older brother, Patrick. The book itself has an almost scrapbook feel to it, with alternating pages of text and photographs from Patrick and Lyanne’s childhood, and it details Lyanne’s eventual discovery that her brother’s illness is terminal.

Signed, Abiah Rose

I love picture books and have particular respect for anyone who can both write and illustrate them engagingly. Artist and illustrator Diane Browning has done exactly that. Signed, Abiah Rose chronicles, in a confident first person narrative, a young woman’s determination to become a professional artist despite the conventions and taboos of her time.

Nothing But a Dog

Timmy and Lassie. Henry and Ribsy. Henry and Mudge. Shiloh, Sounder, Old Yeller. All great, classic stories. All beautiful illustrations of the so-called timeless bond between boy and dog. But where are the stories about girl and dog? There’s Because of Winn-Dixie and it, too, is a deservedly award-winning classic. But where is the rest of the canon?

Sandy's Incredible Shrinking Footprint

Struggling with the idea of how to teach your child about the concept of his or her environmental footprint? Who isn't! With young children being so literal, it's hard for them to think about how a footprint could be anything other than, well, a footprint.

That's Why We Don't Eat Animals: A Book About Vegans, Vegetarians, and All Living Things

If you are planning on raising a vegetarian child who will be well-prepared to explain his or her beliefs to inquiring peers, teachers, and friends’ parents, That's Why We Don't Eat Animals is a great start. Did you know that turkeys blush? Or that newborn quail start walking the moment they are hatched from their eggs?

Amy and Gully with Aliens

Amy and Gully with Aliens looks promising from the title, and the immediate jump into action makes this Buddhist children’s book a breeze.


A first day in a new school. Stomach butterflies, lunchroom trades, art projects. Kids asking why you’re not the same color as your dad. This is the story of Violet, a children’s picture book by Tania Duprey Stehlik with edgy illustrations by Vanja Vuleta Jovanovic. Violet’s mom is red, her dad is blue, and Violet is, well, violet. Back home at the kitchen table after school, Violet asks her mother to explain.

All in a Day

All in a Day is a children's book by Cynthia Rylant that helps kids understand time is fleeting without being dark or frightening. The book urges readers to make the most of each day because "a day is all you have to be, it's all you get to keep." Rylant, who has written over 100 children's books and has received such honors as the Newbery Medal, does this quite effectively.

Quietly Sure - Like the Keeper of a Great Secret

If I could clap for a book, I would without a doubt for Jo Dery’s newest release, Quietly Sure - Like the Keeper of a Great Secret. (Come to think of it, there’s nothing stopping me, is there?) For a book with such few words, it’s surely good at captivating your attention from the get-go.

Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa

Wangari’s Trees of Peace is a beautifully imagined account, designed for young readers, of the life and career of Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan scholar, activist, and environmentalist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her leadership of the Green Belt Movement and her resistance to deforestation. Often, “message books” like these underestimate kids’ level of sophistication and come across as preachy or cloying.

Max's Moving Adventure: A Coloring Book for Kids on the Move

Max’s Moving Adventure is a coloring book for kids who are dealing with moving from their home to a new place. This book is long overdue. I know from experience, as both a child and as a parent, what trauma this change can cause. But I decided to do something a little different with this review. I handed it off to my seven year old daughter, Ella. I asked her to read the book and tell me what she thought. The next day we had a fallen tree that uprooted us.

Ecocrafts: Dream Bedroom

Are you looking for craft projects to fill the summer months? Do you love rescuing discarded items from the trash or recycling bin and creating useful artwork with them? Look no further than Ecocrafts! Chock full of twelve project ideas ranging from a ketchup-bottle piggybank to a stool made of old magazines, this book is a sure winner with kids and adults alike.

When I Met the Wolf Girls

The title of this children’s book caught my eye since my family supports Wolf Park, a local wolf education and research facility located in Battle Ground, Indiana. This delicate story of family and friendship, set in picture-book format, recants the ordeal of two feral sisters discovered in Midnapore, India in the 1920s.

The Higher Power of Lucky

Censorship advocates have a lot to dislike in Susan Patron’s Newbery Medal children’s book The Higher Power of Lucky. Aside from the “scrotum” controversy (the word appears on the first page and prompted a flurry of “how dare she put this is a children’s book!”), there are Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, a mother in jail for dealing marijuana, a delinquent father and surplus U.S.

And Tango Makes Three

And Tango Makes Three is a simply but beautifully told illustrated children’s book about the real-life story of two male penguins at the New York Central Park Zoo, Roy and Silo, who form a partnership and are given a fertile egg to hatch. And Tango is born. The book doesn’t shy away from using the words “family,” “love,” “daddies” and “couple” to describe Roy and Silo’s pairing and their relationship with their baby chick.