Tag Archives: problem-solving

Reading Beauty

Written by: Deborah Underwood

Illustrated by: Meg Hunt

For ages: 3-6 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: POC-Centric Narratives, Literacy, Fairy Tale, Problem-Solving, Feminist, Independent Thought, Kindness, Family, Love, Pets, Space, Rhyming. 

Summary: This is the next book from the pair that brought you Interstellar Cinderella, which we loved very much!  Both of us are so excited to get this one, we’ve been waiting with bated breath for it to arrive at our local library.

Princess Lex loves to read!  On the morning of her 15th birthday she wakes up to find that all the books in the kingdom are gone, removed because of a curse that was put upon Lex at her birth.  In order to get her beloved books back, she sets off to find the fairy that cursed her.

This book is great, not only do we see a princess and kingdom that is predominantly POC,  but Lex herself takes initiative to solve the problem of the kingdom’s curse-and uses books to do it! When she does find the fairy that cursed her, Lex treats her with kindness.  A lovely book, with a feminist twist of true love’s kiss!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

60356-2Deborah Underwood has worked as a street musician and at an accounting firm but for years has been a full-time writer who occasionally plays the ukulele. She is the author of several picture books, including New York TimesbestsellersThe Quiet Book and Here Comes the Easter Cat, as well as Monster & Mouse Go Camping, Interstellar Cinderella, and Bad Bye Good By





megbio-2Meg Hunt is an illustrator, educator and maker of things. She lives and works in the wooded city of Portland, OR. Her goal is to fill the world with my creations, and make people happy in the process. Her first picture book Interstellar Cinderella was published by Chronicle Books in 2015 and has been given starred reviews from Booklist and Publisher’s Weekly, who also listed it as one of their best summer books of the year. She was featured as one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Flying Starts for Summer 2015 as well. In 2015, she received a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators for Illustrators 58, Uncommissioned category. Currently, her focus is creating charming and colorful character-based illustrations, lettering and patterns for editorial/publishing/product markets.

Awâsis and the World-Famous Bannock

Written by: Dallas Hunt

Illustrated by: Amanda Strong

For ages: 3-8 years

Language: English & Cree

Topics Covered: First Nations, Indigenous Voices, Family, Problem-Solving, Accountability, Love, Animals, Nature, Natural World, Bilingual Stories, Social-Emotional Learning, Own Voices. 

Summary: More skills we wish to take into the new year are found in this book, and they are: accountability and problem-solving!  We really enjoyed how Awâsis knew she had to fix the issue of losing the bannock, and didn’t try to pass blame onto someone or something else, or make excuses.  We strive for accountability, and it’s exemplified beautifully in this story!

Awâsis loves spending Sunday with her Kôhkum (grandmother).  One day she asks Awâsis to deliver some of her world-famous bannock to a relative, and Awâsis is happy to do so, skipping and hopping her way through the woods.  Unfortunately, she drops the bannock into the river. Awâsis decides to continue her walk through the woods and ask her animal friends for help.  They can provide single ingredients, but none have anymore bannock.  Will Awâsis be able to make bannock to deliver to Kôhkum’s relative?

This is a very sweet and simple story. Awâsis remains positive and wants to solve the problem of having no bannock by taking responsibility to fix it herself.  The book introduces a lot of great introductory Cree vocabulary words and has a pronunciation guide in the back!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

Dallas_Hunt-e1568993042384DALLAS HUNT (he/him/his) is a teacher, writer, and member of Wapisewsipi (Swan River First Nation) in Treaty 8 territory in Northern Alberta, Canada. As a proponent of language revitalization, his debut book for children, Awâsis and the World-Famous Bannock, includes words in Cree. Dallas teaches at UBC and enjoys reading great books to his nieces and nephews.


Amanda_Strong-e1541180498767AMANDA STRONG is a Michif, Indigenous filmmaker, media artist, and stop motion director currently based out of the unceded Coast Salish territory also known as Vancouver, British Columbia. She has exhibited work and screened films worldwide, including at the Cannes Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival, and the Ottawa International Animation Festival. Check her out at: www.spottedfawnproductions.com

The Shofar Must Go On…

Written by: Lina Schwarz

Illustrated by: Yong Chen

For ages: 4 years and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: Family, Love, Religion, Jewish Culture & Traditions, Problem-Solving, Community. 

Summary: It is almost Rosh Hashanah and Harry is missing his mother, a talented trumpeter, who is out of town playing a concert. Even more unfortunate is Harry’s father, who always blows the shofar at their synagogue, is sick and can’t play it this year.

When Harry’s mother returns, he gets an idea. She is the one that blows the shofar at their temple to ring in the new year, and Harry thinks maybe it is time for him to start to practice the shofar as well!

This book, much like Sky-High Sukkah is an introduction to a Jewish holiday. It explains the importance of the holiday and the ram’s horn shofar as a significant piece of that. While Harry’s mom is not named in the book and several other adult male characters are, having a female character be able to perform an important honor for the holiday proceedings is a breath of fresh air.

Reflection Questions:

  • How do you think Harry feels when his mom is out of town?
  • Would you feel proud if one of your family members were so good at doing something that they got invited lots of different places?
  • Blowing the shofar at synagogue seems like a very special event, how would you feel if you were asked to do so?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Is there a large Jewish population in your community?  If so, the shofar might be a well-known object to you!  If so, how can you use your knowledge to help others that might be unfamiliar with Rosh Hashanah?  If you’re the unfamiliar one, where can you find out more information?
  • Learn about other musical instruments that are used for either holidays or other special occasions.  How are they made and when are they used during special events?  If possible, take a field trip to a local instrument shop and learn more in-depth about how instruments are made.

About the Author & the Illustrator:

Author Lina Schwarz keeps a very low profile online and we can’t find anything out them!  If you have any leads, let us know!

yong_2018Yong Chen is the illustrator for this book! Before Yong Chen immigrated to the United States, he was a high school art instructor and science teacher. After immigrating to the United States in 1989, Yong studied graphic design, painting and illustration in Boston, and earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Hartford.

Yong is a published author, illustrator and painter. He has illustrated/authored children’s books and children’s magazines. His oil and watercolor paintings have been exhibited in art galleries and museums both in China and United States. He is also a pioneer of teaching painting using online technology for college students and through his website EnjoyingArt.com.