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Indie Crushes - January 11, 2019

January 11, 2019

Happy New Year! I'm so excited to continue to share favorites from small and independent presses as we start into the new year. This week I thought I'd intentionally focus on beautifully illustrated picture books. Each approaches its subject matter in a different medium or style, but in each book the illustrations have something clear to say. Some of the most unique and enduring stories come from small, independent publishers in my experience. I often don't read these book on their release day or month (or sometimes even year. But as these stories find their way to me a few will inevitably take root and that's when I know it's my responsibility to share those stories with others. 

 

That being said, here's what I've been crushing on this week from small, independent publishers. 

 

Check out previous Indie Crushes HERE.

 

 

INDIE CRUSHES - January 10th, 2019

 

Little Whale

by Jo Weaver (PEACHTREE PUBLISHING COMPANY)

 

AMAZON  |  INDIEBOUND

 

Voyage through the warm, southern seas with a new whale calf and its mother.

 

Together, Little Whale and Gray Whale swim under midnight skies and through coral reefs teeming with life as they migrate to the cool, rich waters of the north to feed. Gray Whale gently guides her baby along the way, keeping Little Whale safe from passing ships and dangerous predators. At long last, the echo of a whale song calls to them through icy water and they know . . . they are home. With gentle text and stunning monochromatic illustrations, Jo Weaver reveals the wonder of nature, the excitement of discovery, and the strength of parental love.

 

 

Under the Same Sky

by Britta Teckentrup (TIGER TALES)

 

AMAZON  |  INDIEBOUND

 

Endearing animal artwork and lyrical text combine in a peek-through picture book celebration of emotions that describes how everyone lives under the same sky and shares many of the same hopes and dreams.

 

 

A Drop of the Sea

by Ingrid Chabbert and Raúl Nieto Guridi (KIDS CAN PRESS)

 

AMAZON  |  INDIEBOUND

 

Ali lives with his great-grandmother in a tiny clay house at the edge of the desert. Just her and him. Just him and her. They don't need anything more to be happy. But lately, Ali has begun to notice how his great-grandmother has aged. And one day, he asks if her life's dreams have come true. All except one, she tells him. She had a dream to see the sea, but now she is too old to go. So, the next morning, Ali sets off with a pail in hand. He is going to make his great-grandmother's final dream come true. He is going to bring the sea to her.

 

The much-loved duo Ingrid Chabbert and Guridi have created a gorgeous intergenerational tale about devotion and dreams coming true at any age. The love Ali feels for his great-grandmother is universal, and children everywhere will recognize their own best selves in Ali's heroic act of kindness. With the makings of a classic, this is one of those quiet stories that will stay with readers, young and old, long after they've put it down. Set in North Africa, it would make an excellent choice for a social studies lesson on exploring global cultures. It also works perfectly for character education lessons on compassion or courage.

 

 

Door

by Jihyeon Lee (CHRONICLE BOOKS)

 

AMAZON  |  INDIEBOUND

 

What's on the other side of the door? There's only one way to find out: You'll have to go through it.

 

JiHyeon Lee's debut book, Pool, was lauded as a wordless masterpiece. Here she takes readers on another journey into an unexpected world. Delicate drawings transform from grays to vivid color as a curious child goes through a mysterious door and discovers that open-mindedness is the key to adventure and friendship.

 

 

A Web

by Isabelle Simler (PETER PAUPER PRESS)

 

AMAZON  |  INDIEBOUND

 

In nature, there is much to see. Look closely as a spider -- both a collector and an artist -- skillfully crafts a masterpiece from all that falls into her path. Patient and observant, she appreciates all the wonders that make up her landscape -- from ferns and feathers to bugs and butterflies. Readers will come back again and again to the luscious and intricate illustrations, soaking up all of Simler's delicate details.

 

 

Middle Bear

by Susanna Isern and Manon Gauthier (Kids Can Press)

 

AMAZON  |  INDIEBOUND

 

He was the second of three brothers. ?He was not big, but he was not small, either. Neither strong nor weak, neither tall nor short, neither a lot nor a little ... He was the middle one.? Everything about life with his brothers was middle-sized. And when you're always in the middle, sometimes it's hard to feel special. But then, one day the cubs' parents fell ill, and their mother asked them to fetch some medicinal bark from a willow tree on the top of a mountain. When it turned out that this very important task could only be done by a cub of his middle size, he finally realized how special it was to be the middle one.

 

Author Susanna Isern's lovely, melodic picture book tale --- with a delightful use of repetition throughout --- offers an upbeat and positive message to middle children everywhere. It's a subject that is not often addressed in this format. With its hero's quest theme, the story has the feel of a modern-day fairy tale. Manon Gauthier's spare artwork and understated palette perfectly capture the poignancy of the bear cub's emotional journey. Though the book focuses on the role of middle children, it really celebrates every child's efforts toward self-discovery, as they seek out their own special place in the world. It also offers a wonderful opportunity to highlight the character education subject of perseverance or a lesson on empathy.

*This post contains affiliate links. Any purchases made through these links will support the costs of maintaining the podcast, webcomic, and other materials associated with this site. 

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