My new favorite book is called "The Girl Who Could Not Dream" by Sarah Beth Durst. It starts with a seminal event, Sophie is 6 and she decides to take a dream and dream it herself. She dreams a monster (6 tentacles, 4 scaly claws, black iridescent fur, 3 rows of razor sharp teeth) but the monster turns out to be friendly and smart and hilarious. The story flashes forward to when Sophie is 12. You then find out that her parents have a book store and they also distill and sell dreams. Sophie does not dream and really, really wants to. Monster has become her friend and protector but a complete secret from everyone except her mom and dad, which limits her opportunities to have other friends. One day Sophie goes down into the store with Monster (she's not supposed to go there during business hours for safety reasons) and runs into a customer, Mr. Nightmare, who gives her the creeps. He turns out to be an evil villain and Sophie has to go on a rescue mission. The dream creatures in this book are both hilarious and terrifying. If you like fantasy fiction, you are going to love this one. It was awesome.
The next one is non fiction and I think kids are going to love this one. It's called "Be A Survivor" by Chris Oxlade. It's filled with tips about how to survive if you are faced with an emergency situation. It has ways to make shelter and fire, ways to get water if you didn't bring enough, how to signal for help. The graphics are bright and colorful and easy to understand. I used to love stuff like this and I know my students will too. I'd better make sure I order several of these.
The last one is also non fiction. It's a biography of Lewis Michaux called "The Book Itch". Lewis Michaux started a book store in Harlem called "The African Memorial Bookstore". Although Mr. Michaux did not have many opportunities for advanced schooling, he believed mightily in the power of the word and the power of reading. He started the book store on a cart and eventually moved into a building where he attracted large numbers of people, including famous Civil Rights leaders like Malcolm X. The pictures are strong and warm and there is lots of Michaux's wisdom throughout the book. I liked this one a lot.