Friday, March 5, 2021

ReFoReMo Day 5: Literary Advocate Susannah Richards Finds Books for Everyone

There is no secret formula to making picture books and each of the featured books in today’s post illustrate that the picture book format is a vehicle to a destination unknown for the reader and the listener (and sometimes for the creators themselves). The picture book is about potential and that potential knows no boundaries. As you write or illustrate, periodically remind yourself about the audience. Who are you writing for and why? The two questions I want answered in a picture book are: So What? What if? The following books answer these two questions in ways that interest me.

 

A New Green Day

In A New Green Day, Caldecott Honor winning Antoinette Portis combines poetry, a sense of place (and being), and a love of nature with the playfulness of a riddles that will engage the reader with every page turn. Both listeners and readers (young and older), may delight in the language of the poetic riddles that lead to common elements of nature and how we explore and enjoy.

 


Do I Have to Wear a Coat?

Moving beyond one day to a year of seasons, Caldecott Honor winning picture book creator Rachel Isadora uses a universal childhood question to frame the characteristics of seasons in Do I Have to Wear a Coat? The illustrations and text include city and county scenes, Isadora’s use of vignette illustrations and straightforward descriptive text is welcome in the large canon of picture books about the seasons. A very small added bonus is how the season is named on each page spread. 

 

The Camping Trip

Jennifer K. Mann combines so many different techniques to describe Ernestine’s overnight outdoor experience in The Camping Trip. While the cover suggests the trip is a success, it is not without its complications. The endpapers are perfectly pitched with camping supplies (don’t forget to look at the case cover for a night view). Ernestine can’t wait to go camping with her aunt Jackie and cousin Samantha and she is sure that she will love it. She quickly finds that camping has lots of good moments but that parts of it are hard and at times, even scary. Mann’s use of panels, full bleed art, and just the right amount of text masterfully sets the tone of this book about new experiences and risk taking. Readers and listeners will be motivated to take on the joys and realities of camping.

 

Lift

In a very different kind of adventure, Minh Lê and Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat pair up again (Drawn Together was their previous collaboration) to create Lift. This picture book adventure shows that the balance between text and images is not often 50/50. The story would not work without either element and together they make this graphic novel picture book lift off to adventure.

 

Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea

Kids can make a difference and Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea written by Vice President Harris’s niece and illustrated by Ana Ramîrez Gonzalez is based on a true story of the two sister’s ingenuity. This can-do story is well balanced in terms of problems and solutions. The focus is on community and how to navigate reaching a goal which creates a great model for contemporary young people who may be trying to find their way to make the world a better place, one community at a time. The two-page back matter provides context for how the author was inspired to write about her mom and aunt, and tell one of the stories from their childhood. While not a biography, this is an example of how a book may lead a reader to take action. 

 

Mabel: A Mermaid Fable

If you missed Rowboat WatkinsPete with No Pants and Most Marshmallows, find those backlist titles. There are few picture book creators who hit all the sweet spots with clever humor, human insight, and entertaining details. His latest book Mabel: A Mermaid Fable is no exception in the Watkins’ canon of hit-the-spot picture books. The text and illustrations are well balanced and together they create a story that reminds readers that they may not be missing anything at all by being themselves.

 

Chicken Little: The Real and Totally True Tale

While chickens have been protagonists in picture books for a long time, comic artist Sam Wedelich manages to update and refresh Chicken Little’s adventures while reminding readers that fact checking is a good habit. Chicken Little: The Real and Totally True Tale is a clever comic-delivered tale with “utter hen-demonium” in which Chicken Little has to check the facts to determine why she was bonked on the head. Taking on a classic tale is always a tall task and Wedelich proves that you can update a well-known tale with a contemporary twist. To find out how this inquisitive and thoughtful chicken approaches other famous protagonists, Chicken Little and the Big Bad Wolf just published.

 

Catch That Chicken

In another chicken tale, Catch That Chicken by Atinuke, illustrated by Angela Brooksbank, Lami is the best chicken catcher in her village. This is her greatest skill and a big part of her identity, But, when she hurts her ankle and can no longer run after the chickens, she has to figure out how to make the chickens come to her. Atinuke’s background as a traditional storyteller translates beautifully into the picture book storytelling format that is enhanced by the dynamic, energetic illustrations. I want more of Lami and her adventures.

 

Nana Akua Goes to School

Nana Akua Goes to School is the story that has stayed on my mind since it was published last year. Tricia Elam Walker and April Harrison’s universal picture book about a child’s embarrassment about a relative is poignant and sensitive. Zura loves her Nana Akua but worries that her grandmother’s tribal marks might scare other kids. When Nana goes to school she shares the West African tradition of her face markings and uses face paint to paint washable markings on everyone while explaining their meaning. This picture book is an exemplar of a sensitive and respectful book about affirming people for who they are.

 

Your Name Is A Song

For so many of us, our names are tied to stories. A few years ago, Juana Martinez Neal’s 2019 Caldecott Honor book Alma and How She Got Her Name added to the well-loved older picture books about kids and their names such as Name Jar (Yangsook Choi) and Chrysanthemum (Kevin Henkes). Names are personal and part of our identity and Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow wrote a book, Your Name Is A Song, that honors the differences in names and how important it is to pronounce them correctly and respectfully. The emotional setting, poetic text, and pragmatic approach is set by both the text and the illustrations by Luisa Uribe. Even the color palette is evocative of a song and the freedom that comes when you feel seen and heard.

 

Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away

Change is inevitable and it can also be hard and sad. This past year has been a lot about change for many people around the world and for so many of them books have provided stories with worlds and comforts that they needed. Newbery Medalist’s Meg Medina’s most recent picture, Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away, illustrated by Sonia Sánchez, is a realistic picture book that is comforting and loving while being so universal in appeal.  

 

The Wanderer

My pre COVID-19 life used to be about wondering and wandering and while that has changed in the last year, there are still parts that wonder and wander, often falling into (or over a book). The Wanderer by Peter Van den Ende is an epic visual tale, with no words, about a paper boat and its 96-page journey (yes, there are 96-page picture books). Comfort. Fear. Fairytale. Stormy weather. Imagination. Wonder. Wander. The journey and the destination are worth the pages.

 

Wishing you a great month filled with piles and piles of picture book reading. As you read and explore the stories, the structures, the word choice, the pagination, and your emotional and intellectual response to each book, remember that people bring their own experiences to the picture books they create. And, no two readers will respond in the same way. Here’s to hoping this list will add to your exploration of the word of picture books and that your journey docks in a place that you may not have anticipated. 

 


Susannah is giving away a 15-30-minute consultation on an idea or unpublished manuscript or marketing ideas for a published picture book to one lucky U.S. winner! To be eligible for prizes throughout the challenge, you must be registered by March 1, comment on each post, consistently read mentor texts, and enter the Rafflecopter drawing at the conclusion of ReFoReMo.


Susannah Richards is an associate professor of education at Eastern Connecticut State University where she teaches courses in English Language Arts methods and Children's and Young Adult Literature. She was a member of the 2013 John Newbery Award Committee, 2017 Geisel Award Committee, the inaugural Anna Dewdney Read Together Award, the Excellence in Graphic Literature Award (Children's Fiction), and other awards committees. She is an active advocate for books for youth and those who create them. She is a frequent speaker at state, national and international conferences where she has moderated panels and conversations with Norton Juster, Sophie Blackall, Sean Qualls, Brian Floca, Kevin Henkes, Lesa Cline and James Ransome Candace Fleming, Eric Rohmann, Brian Lies, Linda Sue Park, Laura Amy Schlitz, Sharon Creech, Vera Brosgol, Chris Van Allsburg, Hervé Tullet, Angela Dominguez, Melissa Sweet, Andrea Davis Pinkney, Christina Soontornvat, Jane Yolen, Katherine Applegate, Jason Chin, Ed Emberley and others. She coordinates many literature related events including the Rhode Island Festival of Children's Books and Authors, the Silent Art Auction at BEA, and almost always says yes to bookety, bookety related projects. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @SussingOutBooks.




210 comments:

  1. Beautiful list of beautiful books. Thanks, Susannah.

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  2. Thank you for the insightful post.

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  3. Love the thread through this post, of accepting and loving your identity. So looking forward to reading Wanderer.

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  4. Looking forward to this list of potential! Thank you for offering up a wonderful variety of books to explore today!

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  5. Thank you for introducing me to these great books!

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  6. You certainly have found books for everyone today! Thanks for this varied selection! It's a list that has me eager to add more books to my wishlist.

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  7. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on why these books stand out, Susannah.

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  8. Such a wonderful list of books to explore. Thank you for the thoughtful suggestions and your impressions of these books.

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  9. Susannah, I like how you said that "people bring their own experiences to the picture books they create" and how each reader interprets a text differently. Thank you for sharing such a diverse list of books! Posted by Dina Austin

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  10. I love the thought to put my manuscripts to the test of, what if and so what, they force me to use a different lens. Thank you.

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  11. Thank you for reminding me to check the So what? and What if? questions as I write my stories.
    Your book list is wonderful My favorites today are A New Green Day and Mabel: A Mermaid Fable.

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  12. Fantastic list of books! I’ll be picking up a few of them later today & I can’t wait to read! I’ll also be reviewing my own manuscripts to see if they answer the questions, So What? & What if? Thanks for the post!

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  13. A fantastic selection! Evelyn del Ray is Moving Away is one of my absolute favorite new picture books. The language, the emotion, the childlike perspective that feels so right and so true, plus the final illustration-LOVE!

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  14. I like the idea of having 'so what?' and 'what if?'in my mind while writing.
    I love the list of books - KAMALA AND MAYA'S BIG IDEA is so inspiring and EVELYN DEL REY IS MOVING AWAY so moving. Thank you!

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  15. So many wonderful stories but Nana Akua Goes to School really answers the "so what" for me.

    I also had a grandmother with tribal facial tattoos and when I was brought to America, my classmates taught me to be ashamed of her.

    Having a story like this when I was a kid would have made a huge difference in being proud of who I was.

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  16. This is a great list for me, as I've only read two! I love the idea of "So what?" and "What if?" as well.

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  17. I really love the artwork for "The Camping Trip"! Interesting variety of books here!

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  18. Oh, Susannah Richards! I once heard you on a NESCBWI panel with Jane Yolen and Heidi Semple. YOU are such a great interviewer! Ty for this list. I admire you succinct, spot-on reviews of these books. TY

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  19. What a diverse group of books. Thank you!

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  20. So many titles I haven't yet read on this list. Thanks so much for your insights, Susannah!

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  21. Such a lovely assortment of books with such varying structures. I fell in love with Nana.

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  22. thank you for these great mentor text suggestions!

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  23. Beautiful books!I really loved Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away and look forward to reading the others when available.

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  24. I've just written 'so what' and 'what if' on a notecard that will stay on my desk. Thank you!

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  25. Thanks for these delightful books! I love the idea of asking "so what?"

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  26. Wonderful post. I have written down, 'so what?' and 'what if?' to be placed on my desk as I write. The selections are perfect for these questions.

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  27. I love your sentence "The picture book is about potential and that potential knows no boundaries." Ah, the limitlessness.
    Thank you for each of your recommendations.

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  28. Great post, Susannah. Thank you for all the examples.

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  29. Mabel! So great. Can't wait for Evelyn and the Camping Trip to come in to my library. Thank you-now following you!

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  30. This is helpful and great set of books. I have only read a few of these and looking forward to the others.

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  31. I love the "So what? What if?" line of questioning, and I think it emulates how kids feel when they read the picture book (which is the whole point, right?). I'd love to pair Kamala and Maya's Big Idea with No Voice Too Small to illuminate activism and encourage kids to look around their own communities and ask "So what? What if?"

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  32. What strikes me about these books is the strong voice of each author. Despite the variety, there is a compelling presence in each of these remarkable books.

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  33. Jennifer Mann's The Camping Trip was excellent. Her use of sparse text conveyed a lot of emotion! Great addition to this list.

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  34. Thanks for this helpful post, Susannah!

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  35. Piles and piles of picture books would be wonderful. I still haven't found a few of these titles. Moving some up on the TBR. Thanks, Susannah.

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  36. Thanks, I hope to find these. Rhonda

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  37. What a treat it was to read such wonderful books and your insight into their appeal. Such great mentor texts. Thank you.

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  38. Just wrote What if?...on a post it note on my writing desk. I also love the reminder of who I am writing for. Thank you!

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  39. What a wonderful list of books! Thanks for sharing this––"So what?" and "What if?" These questions are so helpful when writing and critiquing!

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  40. Thank you for introducing me to some books I may not have picked up otherwise. I enjoyed the variety.

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  41. Wonderful titles, Susannah! Thanks for sharing and for the reminder to always think about audience and the so what.

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  42. Great questions to keep in mind. Thanks for sharing.

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  43. Thank you for sharing this great list and great questions!

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  44. Love this list and these questions!

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  45. Susannah, Your blog post speak to me. I love this quote, "The picturebook is about potential and that potential knows no boundaries." Beautiful post and books! Thank you!

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  46. What a wonderful list of books to research! Thank you for your insightful comments!

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  47. What a great set of books. Thank you for sharing, Susannah!

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  48. Such a wonderful list of books! I can only find 3 at my library, so I'm sad. I'm going to keep looking though.

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  49. Great article and list of books. Thank you, Susannah. Given your field, I'm wondering if you can recommend PhD programs that might focus on Children's & Young Adult Literature?

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  50. Susannah thank you for a beautiful reminder, “As you read and explore the stories, the structures, the word choice, the pagination, and your emotional and intellectual response to each book, remember that people bring their own experiences to the picture books they create. And no two readers will respond in the same way.” Well said!
    Excited to wonder and wander in 2021, celebrating my journey as an aspiring picture book writer. Thank you for sharing a list of very inspirational picture books to explore.

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  51. Thanks, Susannah! Enjoyed reading your take on this selection of books. I especially related to your closing words: “people bring their own experiences to the picture books they create. And, no two readers will respond in the same way.”

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  52. Lovely examples! I also like the reminder that picture books are about potential, without boundaries.

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  53. Thank you for posing important questions to ask as we review books and prepare our own!

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  54. So What? and What If? Good questions to keep in mind. I love April Harrison's illos (Nana Akua...)and Chicken Little has silliness for the child reader and plenty of social commentary for the adults, including the fact checking snipes that no one listens to! Thank you, Susannah for today's wonderful picks.

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  55. Fantastic assortment of books to explore! Thank you!

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  56. Each one of these books had one thing in common: they made me want to explore more! Even if we walk away from this week NOT writing Non-fiction, surely we walk away with tools in our writing box to expand our thinking to raise the bar on our fiction.

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  57. Great post and examples of how authors' approach writing books! Thanks for sharing, Susannah!

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  58. I enjoyed reading about the "So what" and "What if" in the books you selected.

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  59. Wonderful suggestions! I appreciate the reminder to ask "So what?" and "What if?" when we read - and write.

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  60. I'm thinking about how, as a writer, we need to know the beginning, middle, and ending of our stories, yet also leave room for the unexpected and unknown journey the reader is on! Thanks, Susannah!

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  61. Thank you for sharing this fabulous list of books, Susannah!

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  62. Wow, I love what you wrote about the picture book being a vehicle to a destination unknown, and being about potential, which knows no boundaries. How inspiring! And daunting (!) as a relative newcomer to the world of books for children. Really encourages me to stretch myself. So excited to read all of these recommendations! Thank you!

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  63. Ooh! I love "Who are you writing for and why?" That really resonates with me. Thank you for centering the purpose of what we do.

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  64. Great variety and several favorites in your list and an important reminder to consider the variety of readers out there as we write. Thank you, Susannah!

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  65. These are all so great! Thank you for bringing them to my attention, Susannah.

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  66. I've only read two of these. Thanks for the tips!

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  67. I actually came to the opposite conclusion about LIFT -- I thought it could have been told without words. I'll have to reconsider.

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  68. Thank you for the lists and questions to ask as we read.

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  69. This is such a great round up of books. Thank you!

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  70. Asking "so what" and/or "what if" are such important questions. Loved this selection of books.

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  71. These are so good! I can't wait to dive in deeper to some of these. I see some possible mentor texts here for my own work. Thank you!

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  72. Thank you, thank you! Can't wait to read some of these.

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  73. Great book suggestions. Thanks for the ideas!

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  74. I loved Nana too! Thanks for sharing this excellent list of books.

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  75. Thank you for helping me become more attuned to the author's choice of words and the illustrator's drawings and choice of colors. This will also me with my writing as I need to slow down and be more selective to find the right word in every sentence. These are all great books! I have read some and am looking forward to the rest.

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  76. Lift surprised and delighted me--I went into it "blind" and was so happy I did because I enjoyed the imagination. I am studying picture books to find that balance for text and illustration.

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  77. Thank you, Susannah, for this inspiring list of mentor books. Chicken Little totally appealed to my sense of humor. Your thoughts about PBs taking us to unknown destinations resonated with me, as did your two questions. "So what?" speaks to the heart of the story, and "What if?" to imagining possibilities.

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  78. Thank you for sharing these wonderful books and a great prize! So much to learn from these. Best, Lynne Marie

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  79. Thanks for alerting me to books I missed in 2020. Each one offered me a taste of something different.

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  80. What great questions for picture book creators to ask themselves, So what? and What if? Thank you for providing mentor texts that answer these two questions.

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  81. I just read many of these last night. Thank you

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  82. This was another great collection of stories to read as mentor texts. I loved the lyrical riddles in A New Green Day by Antoinette Perry. My favorite line was "I am a comma in the long sentence of a stream to describe a tadpole-beautiful and creative. Do I have to Wear A Coat by Rachel Isadora gave a great look at the seasons through the appropriate clothing needed to do activities in each. I also really liked Kamala and Maya's Big Idea by Meena Harris which gave readers an excellent example of how to turn no into yes. My favorite book of this group was Chicken Little:The Real and Totally True Tale by Sam Wedelich. It is such a fun twist on the tale with adorable illustrations and a great voice. All of the book in this group gave me ideas to incorporate in my projects. Thank you!

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  83. I love your two questions: So What? What if? If a picture book can answer those questions in new ways, I'm hooked also. Thank you for this post of mentor texts that do this for you. Great selection.

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  84. I love "So what?" and "What if?" as a guide to help me stay on track. Thank you for your choices and analysis.

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  85. Your 2 questions are front and center as I mull over new ideas. Great list to study and spark more possibilities.

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  86. Thank you Susannah! These are all wonderful. Your Name is a Song grabbed onto me as soon as I read it - and hasn't let go! Love the So What? What If? questions!

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  87. Such interesting books, many of which I probably never would have picked up myself. Thank you for expanding my horizons!

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  88. Inspiring post with great questions to ask ourselves. Thank you, Susannah, for these titles--so many wonderful stories to explore.

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  89. Susannah, thanks for the great list. I've loved the ones I've read so far and can't wait until the rest of the ones on hold arrive at the library.

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  90. What a great and diverse list. I haven't even made a dent. Thank goodness I have the weekend to catch up. This list shows that not every PB has to have tension or a story arc. Thanks

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  91. This is the first time I have tried this and I am having a blast. I am noting patterns, phrases, opening lines. Our little library is closed so I am listening to every book on the list that I can find. Many of the posts allow me to read along. I even had a fellow ReFoReMo participant read a book to me that I couldn't find. Thank you for this! This firehose of PB's is allowing me to see and note things like never before.

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  92. Thank you for the list of books and your helpful suggestions!

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  93. Susannah, I love your enthusiasm and love of picture books!

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  94. Love Lift, and the beautifully illustrated Your Name is a Song. All of these books are just so good for the soul.

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  95. Linda Kay ChavezMarch 5, 2021 at 6:26 PM

    I've been looking for the secret to picture book writing. Thanks for the reminder that every picture book is unique! Am going to have to own some of these titles!

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  96. Thanks for sharing this beautiful list of books.

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  97. I admire your passionate, energetic advocacy for great books!

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  98. Thank you Susannah, I loved THE CAMPING TRIP and LIFT, too. I'm so glad to see some picture books that are intriguing on your list that I can become enthralled by next.

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  99. So many outstanding picture book titles that answer the two questions: So what? What if?

    Thank you, Susannah.

    Suzy Leopold

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  100. So many great books on this list. But I noticed a new one by Rowboat Watkins that I haven't read yet. I loved his previous books!

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  101. Great list of titles! There are a few I still have to read.

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  102. Your list of recommendations sounds dynamic. I am continually amazed at the topics authors choose and how they develop well crafted stories about them.

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  103. Excellent picks with A New Green Day and Mavel! I was only able to read these 2 from your list, but I'm trying to get the Wanderer and also Dan Santat's book, can't wait! ...thank you! :-)

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  104. Catch that Chicken was the first of this group that I read and got me out of the gate to catch all of the other books. Your Name is a Song reminded me of a pre-service lesson we had one year before school started where we discussed this very topic. As someone who a name that is often mispronounced I love the message of this book. Lastly, I have no words for The Wanderer ... loved it so much I bought myself a copy the same day. Really enjoyed today's books and this whole week of reading.

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  105. Such wonderful books! I've been waiting for a book to read to my students about camping. So happy to discover THE CAMPING TRIP!

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  106. Great list of comp books. I especially liked - Chicken Little The Real and Totally True Tale and Nana Akua Goes to School. I need to keep in mind - 'so what?' and 'what if?' when I'm writing my stories.

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  107. Another great day of books. Hard to pick a favorite.

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  108. Great questions to ask when reading and writing!

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  109. Nana Akua Goes to School is a book I will be able to use as comps. for a manuscript I am currently revising. My main character is a Nigerian child new to the U.S. The story helped me to reconsider how to incorporate cultural reference using a child’s perspective. The word choice for Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away makes me want to rewrite everything 🙂.

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  110. SUSANNA: OH, HOW I WISH I could be a student in your classroom! THANK YOU for the opportunity to do so today! I LEARNED SO MUCH!!! THANK YOU for the INSPIRATION to allow our writing and research to be "a vehicle to a destination unknown" to our readers--and ourselves. I often find my story ideas lead me on unexpected ADVENTURES. WHAT A JOY! I also TRULY APPRECIATE your reminder to "remind yourself about the audience. Who are you writing for and why?" I am writing that down and posting it above my desk so I NEVER forget to keep my audience in mind. It's SO IMPORTANT to "invite" the readers along on our writing journey, so we can experience it together! I CAN'T WAIT to dig into these WONDERFUL mentor books you have suggested, many of which I haven't read. I am SO READY for the unexpected ADVENTURES they will take me on--THANK YOU!!!

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  111. These were very different books and though I couldn't find them all I was wowed by so many different viewpoints and ways to write a picture book. I was inspired to start new ideas and get them down. Thank you.

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  112. Thanks for the great post, Susannah! So many wonderful books

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  113. I'm so happy NOT to have missed a single one of these titles, thanks to you Susannah! I thought this is my favorite, and then the next book was my favorite, and then the next . . . Lovely.

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  115. Thank you, Susannah, for this wonderful compilation. "A New Green Day" and "Nana Atua" have stayed in my heart for weeks.

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  116. Such a pleasure to read today's selections. I was especially pleased and surprised by The Camping Trip. So much goodness between those covers! Thanks

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  117. I got lost in A New Green Day! I loved how it invites the reader to participate by possibly making a guess of what in nature this could be before you turn the page. Loved the titles too. Thank you for sharing!

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  118. Such a lot of great books today. And all so different from each other. Graphic novel, wordless book, riddles, retelling of an old tale, and on and on. I loved seeing all these different types of picture books in one day.

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  119. Wow, what an incredible list- awesome points of view and ways to tell stories, I know I've got great take-aways from these, plus more to study on weekend(s)!

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  120. What a fabulous list! I had loved Atinuke's ANNA HIBISCUS books, and was thrilled to have a picture book of hers brought to my attention. But, like you, it will be NANA AKUA that really stays with me. Powerful.

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  121. I am especially excited to look for THE WANDERER - new to me! Thanks Susannah.

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  122. This is a really lovely list...lots of different techniques and themes to explore. Thank you!

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  123. Thank you for the this thoughtful collection and the comments that accompany them. The questions, "What if?" and "So What?" are wonderful prompts to carry around with me.

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  124. Fantastic-looking books! Thank you so much. Just wrote a book about a forced name change so I am going to read Your Name is A Song asap!

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  125. Thank you for this lovely variety of recommended books!

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  126. This list is a lovely group of books, and I am so glad to have read each one. A New Green Day is brilliantly skillful and a pleasure to read. Lift made me laugh out loud in the early scenes and smile in the closing ones.

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  127. Amazing how much I learn every day. Thank you for today's list of books.
    It must have been very challenging the connection between writer and illustrator in Lift. I understand that the Editor worked constantly in this difficult connection and also allowed the illustrator use more pages than previously agreed. WOW

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    1. I still don't know how to appear as Eva Felder and not Uknown

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  128. I still don't know how to appear as Eva Felder and not Unknown

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  129. I have loved the books on your list that I have read and I’m looking forward to the others. LIFT is an especially wonderful book.

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  130. The ones I have read on this list are beautiful, and I look forward to reading the rest. Thanks for these great recommendations!

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  131. My favourites today are A New Green Day for its poetry, Nana Akua Goes to School for its heart, & Evelyn Del Ray for its sadness & love.

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  132. This set of books was wonderful to read.I loved "Mabel: A Mermaid Fable" by Rowboat Watkins....it was very creative. I loved it so much I went and found other books he wrote..."Rude Cakes", Monster Bunny" and "Marshmellows..." were all awesome too.

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  133. This set of books was wonderful to read.I loved "Mabel: A Mermaid Fable" by Rowboat Watkins....it was very creative. I loved it so much I went and found other books he wrote..."Rude Cakes", Monster Bunny" and "Marshmellows..." were all awesome too.

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  134. Oh gosh, that last book looks stunning. Putting it on my holds list!

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  135. You have chosen such beautiful books to share covering a range of topics and emotions but each full of heart. Thank you for this post.

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  136. I've been asking myself "so what" when writing my PB's and find it helps keep the focus on the heart of the story.

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  137. I know picture books are written for children, but I must be a kid at heart, because I get excited like a little kid when I read a well written story that pulls me into the story right away and leaves me wishing there was more.

    Great list of books and great post!

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  138. Thank you for so many wonderful titles to explore the essence of ‘so what’. I’m diving in now to as many as I can:)

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  139. I love the questions you are asking and the examples you provide. Thank you!

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  140. Many of these stories hit home for me. Now I have a better sense of why. Thank you.

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  141. I didn't know some of these titles before...so thanks for the suggestions!

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  142. What a great list! I had many before.

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  143. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on these great books.

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  144. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on these great books. Whoops, forgot to leave my name. Doh!

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  145. Thanks for a great post with excellent examples!

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  146. Thank you for including poetic texts in these examples!

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  147. Thanks for this great list of books.

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  148. Catch that Chicken was a wonderful communal romp!

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  149. Love the questions, "who am I writing for and why?" and "So what? What if?" Thanks for the great titles.

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  150. Thank you for this interesting post!

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  151. Thank you for these recommendations. Evelyn Del Rey really got to me!

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  152. I’m excited to discover some of these titles so thank you! I’m especially excited about Catch That Chicken as I’m a big Atinuke fan! The “so what? What if?” Reflection is wonderful.

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  153. I loved the warmth and heart of the PB Nana Akua Goes to School. My favorite. Thank you for your book choices :)

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  154. I'm a fan of the amazing PB team - Minh Lê and Dan Santat. LIFT is perfect! I'm also a fan of Meg Medina’s Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away. Thanks for sharing.

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  155. I love the frame you use for looking that the PBs in this post. "So What? and What if?" I think these could be applied to my own WIPs. Thank you, Susannah!

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  156. I've been waiting for Wanderer - long hold list at my library - since the list was announced. Now, I'm I'm even more antsy to get it. Thanks for such a thoughtful and thought provoking post.

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  157. My library didn't have The Wanderer, but after reading your description I will try harder to find a copy.

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  158. Incredible gems here, Susannah. Great guiding questions. Thank you.

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  159. So many fabulous books in this post!

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  160. I love these well-rounded titles! I read Your Name is a Song with my 2nd grade students this year after Alma and How She Got Her Name (another beauty) as we learned about the origin of our names. Gorgeous storytelling.

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  161. All beautiful examples (LIFT is such a gorgeous example of WHAT IF!!)

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  162. Still waiting to get some of these but those I've read so far are wonderful. Thank you for sharing these great finds!

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  163. Wonderful list of books! “Your Name Is A Song,” “Do I Have To Wear A Coat?” & “A New Green Day” we’re my favs!

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  164. Thank you for introducing us to A New Green Day--an exemplary example of creative, lyrical work that I personally, would read & reread to my kiddo if she were younger, LOL!

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  165. Several of these books are new to me. Thank you for sharing these examples.

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  166. That "So What?" is so important. I'm going to review my manuscripts and think about the answer for each.

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  167. What an amazing prize you are offering!!! And thank you for the list of books to check out! I am looking forward to reading them!

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  168. Some are new titles to me and some I read. Rowboat Watkins in a favorite author. I cannot wait to read his newest.

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  169. Thank you for this selection - I especially loved reading Nana Akua Goes to School.

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  170. Susannah,
    I look forward to reading these books because you are right I did miss them! . Id' love to share my PB ideas with you.

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  171. Thank you! LiFt is one of the most original things I've read in a while.

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  172. I hope it's in the right space-- Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away this story brought tears to my eyes. I know exactly how she and her friend feel. When I was growing up I moved so many times and we were not military. I was in 4 elementary schools, 2 middle schools and 1 high school. Each time I was there just long enough to have developed a close relationship with some girl friends- (We're moving) don't worry you'll make new friends. Yes I did and some are still friends as of today and I'm 67. This book shares the love of friends and in the end a special bond still there, too.
    Rhonda Kay1 Sorry I put in the wrong place

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  173. These are great questions to ponder during brainstorming, drafting and revising:
    Who are you writing for and why? And: So What? What if?

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  174. I didn't know A NEW GREEN DAY and I think it's masterful. Lyrical without being excessively poetic. Thank you!

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  175. The questions: “Who are you writing for and why?” “So what?” and “What if?” are going up on the bulletin board in my study today. Thank you for enticing me with these mentor texts.

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  176. Thank you for these books. Thank you for these questions! I continue to learn so much, it is sometimes overwhelming, but these mentor texts serve as inspirations!

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  177. Thanks, Susannah. I loved "The Camping Trip" because my husband is a camper and I am not, so I identified strongly with Ernestine. :) And the case cover is breathtaking.

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  178. Thank you for "Who are your writing for and why? and "So what? What if?" and all the mentor texts to study and enjoy.

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  179. Thanks, Susannah for this list of thought provoking books.

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  180. What an amazing list, thank you!

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  181. I see some new-to-me books on this wonderful list. Thanks for sharing!

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  182. This list of books contained multiple titles that were new to me. These pieces, even though fiction, were all relatable, and all left me feeling and thinking well beyond the readings. Thank you!

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  183. Susannah, I just loved this post. Your thoughtful reviews of these mentor texts are spot on. Thank you very much!

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  184. Thank you for your thought-provoking post and this list of books!

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  185. Wow, a great variety of beautiful stories, some new to me. Thanks for sharing this list!

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  186. This has been the greatest selection of books yet. I could spend a lot making purchases.

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  187. These books left me feeling and thinking well beyond the readings. Thank you!

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  188. Asking the questions So What? What if? Who are you writing for and why? Thanks for the insight!

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  189. Thank you for these recommendations. I was not able to get my hands on all of them but have featured a few on my Facebook Group for Parents and Grandparents.

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