Big Mooncake for Little Star

Grace Lin. Little, Brown, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-40448-8

A beautifully illustrated book that portraits a vision of how mother and child live in harmony. It also provides a playful explanation about why the moon waxes and wanes.

The story shows the sky in velvety black when Mama and Little Star enjoy baking special Asian treats. Mama takes out the moon cake from the oven. She lays them all across the night sky to cool down. Little Star is dressed in black night clothes that are sprinkled with golden stars. Each night Little Star takes a nibble from the moon cake as it wanes each night. The story is about a cozy home life. 

Grace Lin. Little, Brown, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-40448-8



The Day You Begin

Jacqueline Woodson, illus. by Rafael López. Penguin/Paulsen, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-24653-1

Jacqueline Woodson initially impressed her fans with Brown Girl Dreaming and she does it again. Rafael López, beautifully illustrated this story. His fans of the book Drum Dream Girl will be delighted to see a real world portrait of today's American class room. There are kids from every race and style. Jacqueline Woodson tells the story of a child who feels like an outsider, who is not familiar with all the trends and experiences the rest of the kids have previously shared.

The story is about a girl who didn't have a holiday because she was taking care of her sister all summer. As a result she cannot participate in the prevailing stories about the kids holidays. She feels like an outsider because she has an accent(1). This mature young girls has a strong voice that is getting stronger as the story goes on: “Even though we were right on our block it was like/ we got to go EVERYWHERE.”

The girl brings food from home that are exotic to her peers. Yet, as they kids speak they learn that they have more in common that they first realized. The authors story telling styel is gentle, yet strong. He is able to create stirring portrait, underscored by the wonderful illustrations by Rafael López. The illustrations are up-to-date and still have a classic feel to them.

The story build up to this wonderful resolution: “There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you until the day you begin/ to share your stories.” Just a wonderful, empowering and timely book.

Ages 5–8. Author’s agent: Kathleen Nishimoto, William Morris Endeavor. Illustrator’s agent: Stefanie Von Borstel, Full Circle. (Aug.)

In fall 2015, the percentage of public school students who were ELLs ranged from 1.0 percent in West Virginia to 21.0 percent in California. Source: https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_cgf.asp