The Red Balloon Bookshops Recommended Reads for April 2013

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These recommended reads come via The Red Balloon Bookshop’s April 2013 Newsletter. 

The World Is Waiting For You by Barbara Kerley
Published: National Geographic Children’s Books, March 2013 Pages: 42; Recommended Age: 0+


I’m at a loss for words–this is the most beautiful, awe-inspiring book I’ve seen in a long time!  The photos are stunning and bring home the message that we all need to get out and explore the world.  This will be my new go-to book for graduations, parting gifts, even baptisms.  No kidding — you must see this book to fully appreciate it! — Barb (RBB Staff)
Open This Little Book by Jessie Klausmeier, illus. by Suzy Lee

Published: Chronicle Books, Feb 2013; Pages: 40; Recommended Age: 2-5

If you do as the title bids, you will find a little book containing a littler book containing a …well, you can guess. The story follows creatures reading these books, beginning with a ladybug and ending with a giant with a small problem. This is a lovely tribute to readers and books of all sizes, and the unusual format will intrigue picture book lovers of all ages. Joan (RBB Staff)
If You Hold a Seed by Elly MacKay
Published: Running Press Kids, April 2013 Pages: 32; Recommended Age: 3+

A tiny seed becoming an great tree never ceases to inspire wonder. In Elly MacKay’s debut picture book she captures the awe of a little boy who throughout his childhood nurtures a sprout, seeding and after many seasons, a grown tree. Delicate paper illustrations play with light and shadow allowing the simple text, like memory, to impress on the reader a sense of time passing.  Perfect for spring or any time of growth. — Jillian (RBB staff)
When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky by Lauren Stringer 

Published: Harcourt Children’s Books, March 2013 Pages: 32; Recommended Age: 4-8
This is the inspiring and true story of famed ballet dancer, Vaslav Nijinsky, and renowned composer, Igor Stravinsky, two artists who each dreamed of creating dance and music that was new and different.   
I love learning through children’s books and this is a story I didn’t know.  It’s very inspiring–think risk-taking and courage and beauty and change…all of that.  The author’s notes at the end (wonderful essays, really) are enlightening without overwhelming with too much information.
Lauren Stringer is both author and illustrator of this book, and the illustrations are fabulous, full of music, movement, and magic.  The text is fun and alliterative. The story, combined with the illustrations, creates an artful world, illuminating an important piece of history.  — Susan (RBB staff)

A is Amazing: Poems About Feelings edited by Wendy Cooling, illus. by Piet Grobler 

Published: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, Mar 2013 Pages: 45; Recommended Age: 5+
What a fabulous poetry collection! Some poets are familiar (e.e. cummings, Jack Prelutsky, and Robert Louis Stevenson), while most are just waiting for us to discover them (James Berry, Naoshi Koriyama, and Ann Ziety). The poems are funny and quirky, yet touching, and the illustrations are a perfect match.  I especially love “Unfolding Bud” — it sets the tone for the rest of the book. Each poem is an amazing, one-of-a-kind creation that is ”… Revealing its rich inner self, As one reads it / Again / And over again.” — Barb (RBB Staff)

Make Magic! Do Good! by Dallas Clayton
Published: Candlewick, Nov 2012 Pages: 112; Recommended Age: 7+

Dallas Clayton is at it again! Poems that ask “what if?” and encourage kindness are always on my list! These poems are silly, but they entertain big ideas–like empathy, self-love, and wanderlust. Dallas encourages his readers to be proud of who they are and to be supportive of others. The illustrations that complement each poem are quintessentially Dallas Clayton. His unique style of art and his positive outlook promotes self-confidence in readers of all ages. If you enjoy Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss, you will love this book! Follow your dreams! Keep trying! Make a wish! Think positive! — Stephanie (RBB Staff)

I, Too, Am America by Langston Hughes, illus. by Bryan Collier

Published: Simon & Schuster, May 2012; Pages: 40; Recommended Age: 8+
Pullman porters become the specific lives through which Langston Hughes’s words come to life.  Bryan Collier’s beautiful watercolor and collage illustrations gradually build from translucence to solidity, as black Americans claim their visibility and place in American life. Hughes’s spare words are prophetic, yet still necessary today. — Joan (RBB staff)
Slated by Teri Terry

Published: Nancy Paulsen Books (imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group), Jan 2012; Pages: 346; Recommended Age: 14+
The year is 2054, and we’re in the United Kingdom, outside London.  After the teenage riots of the 20s, anyone between 13 and 16 who takes a step out-of-line is slated.  Their memories are erased and they start all over again, just like newborn babies.  The story is narrated by Kyla, a young girl who has been slated.  One thing we learn right off is that Kyla is different from the other slated kids.  Of course, this makes the story so very interesting and exciting.  A lot of twists and turns, and who can we trust?  I highly recommend this for kids 14 and up. — Julie (RBB staff)

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

Published: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, April 2013; Pages: 400; Recommended Age: 14+
Dark Triumph, the second in LaFever’s “Assasin Nuns” trilogy, is every bit as thrilling and expertly written as the first, Grave Mercy.  This book follows Sybella, another of Mortain’s Handmaids of Death, who is assigned to replant herself within the walls of her powerful, ruthless family.  After breaking the Duchess’s mighty warrior out of her father’s prison, Sybella begins her journey to safety, as well as her personal journey of justice, healing, and, of course, love.  Sybella is a ruthless, smart, and passionate heroine whom readers will love for her faults as much as her strengths.  LaFevers’ incredibly researched and expertly written books are proof that she is one of the best writers of today.  You can meet Robin LaFevers (aka “Assassin Mother Superior”) at the store this Saturday, April 6, 4:00 pm.  Come early for games and prizes! — Amy (RBB Staff)

Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier

Published: Henry Holt & Co, June 2012; Pages: 362; Recommended Age: 14+
This is the second in the Ruby Red trilogy.  We continue on with Gwen and Gideon going back in time looking for Paul and Lucy.   Gwen knows that everyone in the secret circle is keeping something from her.  They don’t seem to trust her.  Including Gideon.  And, is she really falling in love with him?  Why they seem to all hold her at arms length is finally revealed, leaving us with wanting more.  Emerald Green due out in October!! — Julie (RBB staff)

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About the author

Joy Peters

Joy Peters - co-creator and writer for

Besides Family Fun Twin Cities, I spend my 9 to 5 at a day job pursuing my weird passion for calendars and organizing things as a legal secretary. When I get home I spend my time with my four kids, 10, 6, 4 and 1. My amazing husband is both a full-time musician and full-time stay-at-home dad. Together we run a small radio empire — SiaNet Radio — playing, promoting and enjoying the wide variety of local music and art in the Twin Cities. I juggle all this while writing about exploring the Twin Cities with kids. I couldn’t be happier.

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