Thanksgiving and that long (looonnngggg) weekend of family togetherness is right around the corner. There are alot of wonderful stories about families to fill up the holiday displays or to pull out for a program, but two new titles are especially nice. All the Way to America: The Story of a Big Italian Family and a Little Shovel, by Dan Yaccarino and Blackout by John Rocco.
All the Way to America: The Story of a Big Italian Family and a Little Shovel, by Dan Yaccarino (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2011)
Brightly illustrated and clearly told, this may be the story of Yaccarino's family in New York, but it will ring true for a lot of Pittsburgh families, be they big or little, Italian or not. Yaccarino’s book does a concise and neat job of illustrating the passage of time, and showing those family relationships that can puzzle very young minds: grandparents, great-grandparents, great great grandparents?!?! Are you planning a family storytime for the holidays? All the Way to America will make a good read aloud for multiple age groups, and will spin off nicely into a “Draw your family” art activity. Is a patron working on a family tree this holiday season? Definitely recommend this book. It will be a great way to involve young family members in the project.
Blackout by John Rocco (Hyperion Book, 2011) is set in New York on a hot summer night. The power fails and a family (a whole neighborhood actually) finds themselves enjoying some simple pleasures. Told mostly through dramatic and provocative illustrations, you’ll have to picture walk through most of Blackout. But your audience probably won’t mind taking in this artwork. Blackout is a perfect tool to inspire questions about what children would do for a weekend without electricity. What would they do if the power went out over Thanksgiving? How could they cook? What would they do for fun? Children can ask grandparents and older relatives what they did during Thanksgivings of yore (What did people do before 24 hours of major league football? I can’t imagine.) z reminds us to not only turn off the distractions, but to tune into family time...time we often take for granted...and to get to know each other a little bit better. You never know, this title just might make someone’s holiday a little slower, a littler quieter, a little more memorable.