by Bryan Patrick Avery
This past week, magicians from around the world gathered for the 66th Blackpool Magic Convention. I was not among them. Instead, like many magicians, I followed along online, living vicariously through my fellow compeers who had made the journey. One of the most exciting aspects of the convention is the unveiling of the newest magical effects. In honor of Blackpool, and the new magic that comes with it, I’ve decided to take a look at three brand-new picture books. First up, a beautifully retold folk tale.
How the Finch Got His Colors, written by Annemarie Riley Guertin and beautifully illustrated by Helena Peréz García, is the retelling of a Belgian folktale. After a major rain, Rainbow appeared and bestowed her colors upon the animals of the land, leaving them vibrant and colorful. Looking down on all the colors below them, the birds, ask for colors of their own.
One by one, the birds are granted their colors until only one is left, Gouldian Finch. But Rainbow is out of colors. The other birds, who had previously pushed their way forward in order to get the best colors, all feel bad. Rainbow’s solution to the problem yields a beautiful result and this retelling of this timeless story is sure to become a classic.
If you believe in the power of words, Peter H. Reynolds’ The Word Collector is sure to find a special place in your heart. It’s the story of Jerome, who collects words. Long and short, funny or sad, he writes them down and stores them in his scrapbooks. But when he accidently jumbles the words, Jerome begins to see his collection differently.
As he discovers the power the right words can have, he continues to grow his collection, and uses it to express himself. Eventually, Jerome finds a fantastic way to share his words with the world. The Word Collector is brilliant in its simplicity, and it’s message on the power of words is accessible to all, no matter the age.
Words, of course, aren’t our only source of power. Sometimes, that power comes from within. That message is the theme of Daria Peoples-Riley’s This Is It. This is the story of a young girl preparing for a dance audition. She may be nervous, but she’s not alone. Her shadow takes her hand and, whispering words of encouragement, guides her through the city, reminding her of who she is and what she’s capable of.
By the end, our dancer is ready, and so are we. This book is a perfect reminder that what we might be looking for is inside us all along. This beautifully illustrated and inspiring book belongs on every child’s bookshelf.
That’s all for this month. I’m off to see what else I missed at Blackpool and do some writing of my own. Have a magical month!
We are so excited to be mixing things up at the Children's Book Academy, beginning with some delicious additions to the Blogfish. Meet our awesome new bloggers!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays begin with Clear Fork/Spork editor/art director, former agent and former kidlit professor Mira Reisberg PhD who is also the Director of the Children's Book Academy.
2nd Mondays will feature super smart Melissa Stoller whose career is taking off with several new books.
3rd Mondays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer, man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
4th Mondays will feature the fabulous debut author/illustrator Sarah Momo Romero.
And 5th Mondays will feature awesomely irreverent and super funny Aussie author Brydie Wright.
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