By Bobbie Combs and Laurina Cashin
21st Century Media News Service
“I Pledge Allegiance,” written by Pat Mora and Libby Martinez and illustrated by Patrice Barton, Random House, $16.99 hardcover, ages 4-8.
Independence Day is our annual chance to celebrate our country’s independence and recognize the freedoms we all share as citizens. A new picture book by Pat Mora and her daughter, Libby Martinez, is perfect for sharing with kids as part of the celebration. Narrator Libby’s great aunt, Lobo, is from Mexico, but the United States has been her home for many years, and she wants to become a U.S. citizen.
At the end of the week, Lobo will say the Pledge of Allegiance at a special ceremony. Libby is also learning the Pledge this week, at school — at the end of the week, she will stand up in front of everyone and lead the class in the Pledge. Libby and Lobo practice together — asking questions and sharing stories and memories—until they both stand tall and proud, with their hands over their hearts. The pencil and watercolor illustrations reinforce the warmth of this family and personal story.
“Bigger Than Me: Kids Explore Philadelphia,” by students from the Russell Byers Charter School in Philadelphia, Powerful Voices for Kids Press, $9.95 paperback, ages 4-9.
When you live in Philly, you can always count on having summer visitors; at some point, everyone wants to bring their kids to our town for a Liberty Bell/Independence Hall visit.
When this year’s group arrives, introduce them to this great picture book, which began as a student project at Philadelphia’s Russell Byers Charter School. The students painted the city’s great landmarks and wove a story around the paintings — a story about big ideas and big accomplishments as they played out in the city. Readers will also find fun facts about each landmark and a map of how to find them.
“Mr. Ferris and His Wheel,” written by Gibbs Davis and illustrated by Gilbert Ford, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99 hardcover, ages 4-8.
Summer should always bring a ride on the Ferris wheel! This enjoyable picture book spins the story of George Washington Gale Ferris Jr., the engineer who built the first one, for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.
It’s an American story of ingenuity and national pride, illustrated with soft-but-realistic pictures and lots of interesting tidbits. For kids who might want to know more, there’s a bibliography and website recommendations in the back.
Bobbie Combs and her partner Laurina Cashin are the cofounders of We Love Children’s Books, a consulting agency for the children’s book industry. Collectively they have 40 years varied experience in the industry.
Visit their website at www.welovechildrensbooks.com.