Do, Anh. Ninja Kid: From Nerd to Ninja! Scholastic, 2021. 978-1-338-58523-0. $6.99. 192 p. Grades 2-5.
This illustrated novel for younger readers tells the story of Nelson, a nerd from Duck Creek. Nelson wakes up on his tenth birthday and discovers that he’s a ninja! The last ninja on earth! With the help of his grandmother’s inventions, Nelson finds a way to save the day from giant hairy spiders invading his town. He even learns of family secrets about his father’s ninja past and disappearance. This is the first book in a new series.
THOUGHTS: This illustrated novel is action packed and will appeal to reluctant readers. The humor and common theme of not fitting in will resonate.
Early Chapter Book Krista Fitzpatrick, Wissahickon Charter School
Reynolds, Peter H. Our Table. Orchard Books, 2021. 978-1-338-57232-2. $17.99. 48 p. Grades Pre K-3.
This sweet story is about a young girl who notices that her family is spending less time together, being pulled in various directions and being lured away from each other by technology. The dining room table represents the family being pulled apart by slowly shrinking, and eventually disappearing all together. So the little girl uses technology to bring her family together, by building a new table as a family.
THOUGHTS: Peter H. Reynolds never disappoints. This sweet story is a reminder of what is truly important.
Picture Book Krista Fitzpatrick, Wissahickon Charter School
Coelho, Joseph. Luna Loves Art. Kane Miller, 2020. 978-1-684-64046-1. Unpaged. $12.99. Grades PreK-2.
Luna’s class takes a field trip to the art gallery. There, they view works by many of the masters, including Vincent Van Gogh, Andy Warhol, Henri Matisse, and more. When they see Henry Moore’s Family Group, a bronze statue of a traditional family, Luna learns an important lesson–namely, that like art, all families look different. A lovely celebration of art, family, and friendship, this is a solid addition to any collection serving young readers.
THOUGHTS: I love the underlying message in this book about differences being beautiful (like art). This celebration of diversity is very relevant and timely in today’s world. I also like that both the front and back inside covers display images of art that are labelled with the artist and year of creation. This creates a beautiful connection to any elementary art curriculum and could prompt further research about these artists and works of art by older students and/or art lovers.
Picture Book Julie Ritter, PSLA Member