New Picture Books that Teach Various Lessons


Disclosure: I was sent copies of these books in exchange for honest reviews. All opinions are my own.

This week there are some great picture books coming out. I am sharing three of them today. Each has its own message/lesson. We will start with The Boy Who Said Wow by Todd Boss and illustrated by Rashin Kheiriyeh. It is recommended for ages 3 to 8. 

From the Publisher:

Inspired by the beautiful true story of a nonverbal boy moved to speech at his first Mozart concert, this picture book is a testament to the power of art and the boundless joy it can bring.

When Grandfather comes to take his grandson to a concert, Ronan is quiet as they leave the house, quiet in the car, and quiet at the concert hall. But when the performance is over and the beautiful music fades out at last, Ronan opens his mouth…and lets out a great big WOW!

Not any old WOW, but Ronan’s very first WOW! That one word fills up the hearts of Ronan’s family, the musicians, the audience, and—when the recording goes viral—the world.

From Me:

I love that this book! I love that someone is sharing such a special moment in a nonverbal child's life. It was a huge moment for both the boy and the family. Can you imagine being Ronan's grandfather and hearing the Wow? When reading this book it will be important to discuss that Ronan is nonverbal and what that means. It is how the kids will be able to understand the importance of his wow. 

The words in this book are easy to read and the illustrations are sweet. I love how you can see the love within the family. At the end of the book there is a page explaining that this is based on an actual event. It is a wonderful book and a great way to introduce kids to the existence of nonverbal people.

Our next book is also based on a true story. It shares one boy and his family's fight for him to attend school. The book is Free to Learn: How Alfredo Lopez Fought for the Right to Go to School by Cynthia Levinson and illustrated by Mirelle Ortega. This book is recommended for ages 4 to 8.

From the Publisher:

From the author of the award-winning The Youngest Marcher comes a picture book about the true story of Alfredo Lopez, an undocumented boy involved in a landmark Supreme Court case that still ensures children’s right to education today.

Alfredo Lopez has so many questions before starting second grade! Will his friends be in his class? Will his teacher speak Spanish? But then his parents tell him that he has to stay home, and Alfredo’s questions change. Why can’t he go to school with the other kids? And why is his family going to the courthouse?

In 1977, the school district of Tyler, Texas, informed parents that, unless they could provide proof of citizenship, they would have to pay for their children to attend public school. Four undocumented families fought back in a legal battle that went all the way to the Supreme Court. Alfredo was one of the students involved in Plyler v. Doe, which made a difference for children all over the country for years to come.

From Me:

We have all heard the story of Ruby Bridges, but did you realize there were kids being denied education in 1977? Alfredo Lopez was being denied an education because he was an illegal immigrant. His parents moved from Mexico to Texas because they couldn't find work in Mexico. Later his uncle snuck him over the border to join the family. He met his new younger brother when he arrived and discovered school for a year. The following year a new law passed that would not let Mexican illegal immigrants go to school. He watched his friends go to school and kept asking why he couldn't go. 

This book shares the fight that Alfredo and his family went through to fight the prejudices against illegal immigrants. It seems that it is still timely with all the discussions in our society and politics about the borders and the immigrants. It is an interesting story and younger kids may feel just like Alfredo and want to go to school. I can see them relating to him not wanting to be home with nothing to do all day when his friends are at school. The book is well written and definitely will start conversations about civil rights and prejudices. 

Our final book is Akash and Mila and the Big Jump by Anthony C. Delauney and illustrated by Chiara Civati. It is part of the Kids' Money Book Series however this book does not talk about money. Anthony made the decision to talk about the fear of being judged without relating it to money as that may cause more harm in kids than good. The book is recommended for ages 4 to 8. 

From the Publisher:

‟Join children of all ages, looks, shapes, and sizes in their new world of fun, excitement, and prizes."

Akash and Mila are excited to attend their first gymnastics class. Together they'll learn a valuable lesson that will empower them for the rest of their lives.

From Me:

As a high school consumer math teacher, I am always interested to see what is out there for any age about finances. I was intrigued to check out this series of books. I am always looking for great ways to talk about money with my students. In this story Akash and Mila are going to their first gymnastics class at the recommendation of their friend, Dash. Akash was excited to try the first activity, but Mila was nervous. Then Akash tries and falls. After that they both just want to leave. They are afraid they will be teased. However, Dash comes over explains how the group is like a family and there to support one another and not tease. It is such a sweet book. 

This book has a wonderful message to help kids deal with the fear that we all experience at some point and time. It teaches the important lesson of picking yourself up and trying again. It is done in a fun way that I think kids will love. The gymnastics class/studio is also full of very diverse people making this book a wonderful multicultural book. There is a section for educators on the Owning the Dash (book series) website, but I couldn't access it currently.