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Last Stop on Market Street, by Matt de la Peña
         
Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don't own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.
 
This energetic ride through a bustling city highlights the wonderful perspective only grandparent and grandchild can share, and comes to life through Matt de la Pena’s vibrant text and Christian Robinson’s radiant illustrations.




The Whisper, by Pamela Zagarenski
         
Step inside the pages of a little girl's magical book as she discovers the profound and inspiring notion that we each bring something different to the same story. Two-time Caldecott Honor artist Pamela Zagarenski debuts as an author in this tender picture book about the joy of reading.



Foxtrot, by Becka Moor
      
A charming picture book about a fox who loves to dance.

Meet the fox who tangos with his toast and mambos with his marmalade! Foxtrot loves to whirl and twirl, but not everyone is happy about his dancing feet, and they land him in a lot of trouble. Will he be able to dance his way out of it?




Here Comes the Valentine Cat, by Deborah Underwood
         
The New York Times bestselling Cat is back just in time for Valentine’s Day—but he’s not interested in giving a valentine to any old dog. This homage to classic comic strips is perfect for fans of Pete the CatBad Kitty, Mo Willems’s Pigeon books, and of course, Cat’s two previous capers, Here Comes the Easter Cat and Here Comes Santa Cat.
 
Cat does NOT like Valentine's Day. It's much too mushy, and no way is he making anyone a valentine—especially not his new neighbor, Dog. Dog refuses to respect the fence: He keeps tossing over old bones and hitting Cat in the head! But just as Cat’s about to send Dog an angry "valentine" telling him exactly what he can do with his bones, Dog throws a ball over the fence. What is Dog playing at? Cat is in for a hilarious—and heartwarming—surprise in this story about being perhaps too quick to judge.




School's First Day of School, by Adam Rex
         

It's the first day of school at Frederick Douglass Elementary and everyone's just a little bit nervous, especially the school itself. What will the children do once they come? Will they like the school? Will they be nice to him?

The school has a rough start, but as the day goes on, he soon recovers when he sees that he's not the only one going through first-day jitters.





The Evil Wizard Smallbone, by Delia Sherman
   
In a hilarious tale reminiscent of T. H. White, a lost boy finds himself an unlikely apprentice to the very old, vaguely evil, mostly just grumpy Wizard Smallbone.

When twelve-year-old Nick runs away from his uncle’s in the middle of a blizzard, he stumbles onto a very opinionated bookstore. He also meets its guardian, the self-proclaimed Evil Wizard Smallbone, who calls Nick his apprentice and won’t let him leave, but won’t teach him magic, either. It’s a good thing the bookstore takes Nick’s magical education in hand, because Smallbone’s nemesis—the Evil Wizard Fidelou—and his pack of shape-shifting bikers are howling at the borders. Smallbone might call himself evil, but compared to Fidelou, he’s practically a puppy. And he can’t handle Fidelou alone.  

Wildly funny and cozily heartfelt, Delia Sherman’s latest is an eccentric fantasy adventure featuring dueling wizards, enchanted animals, and one stray boy.




Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! The Cookie Fiasco, by Mo Willems
         
Four friends. Three cookies. One problem.

Hippo, Croc, and the Squirrels are determined to have equal cookies for all! But how? There are only three cookies . . . and four of them! They need to act fast before nervous Hippo breaks all the cookies into crumbs!





Unspoken: A Story From the Underground Railroad, by Henry Cole
         
A young girl's courage is tested in this haunting, wordless story.

When a farm girl discovers a runaway slave 
hiding in the barn, she is at once 
startled and frightened. 

But the stranger's fearful eyes 
weigh upon her conscience, 
and she must make a difficult choice.
Will she have the courage to help him?

Unspoken gifts of humanity unite the girl 
and the runaway as they each face a journey: 
one following the North Star, 
the other following her heart.

Henry Cole's unusual and original rendering 
of the Underground Railroad 
speaks directly to our deepest sense 
of compassion.




I Want My Hat Back, by Jon Klassen
         
New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book of 2011!

A picture-book delight by a rising talent tells a cumulative tale with a mischievous twist.


The bear's hat is gone, and he wants it back. Patiently and politely, he asks the animals he comes across, one by one, whether they have seen it. Each animal says no, some more elaborately than others. But just as the bear begins to despond, a deer comes by and asks a simple question that sparks the bear's memory and renews his search with a vengeance. Told completely in dialogue, this delicious take on the classic repetitive tale plays out in sly illustrations laced with visual humor-- and winks at the reader with a wry irreverence that will have kids of all ages thrilled to be in on the joke.




Madeline Finn and the Library Dog, by Lisa Papp
         
Madeline Finn DOES NOT like to read.
Not books.
Not magazines.
Not even the menu on the ice cream truck.
But Madeline Finn DOES want a gold star from her teacher.
Stars are for good readers.
Stars are for understanding words.
And saying them out loud.
Fortunately, Madeline Finn meets Bonnie, a library dog. Reading out loud to Bonnie isn't so bad. When Madeline Finn gets stuck, Bonnie doesn't mind. Madeline Finn can pet her until she figures the word out.
As it turns out, it's fun to read when you're not afraid of making mistakes. Bonnie teaches Madeline Finn that it s okay to go slow. And to keep trying. Just like the sticker says.



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Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille, by Jen Bryant
         
An inspiring picture-book biography of Louis Braille—a blind boy so determined to read that he invented his own alphabet.
 
Louis Braille was just five years old when he lost his sight. He was a clever boy, determined to live like everyone else, and what he wanted more than anything was to be able to read. 
 
Even at the school for the blind in Paris, there were no books for him.
 
And so he invented his own alphabet—a whole new system for writing that could be read by touch. A system so ingenious that it is still used by the blind community today.
 
Award-winning writer Jen Bryant tells Braille’s inspiring story with a lively and accessible text, filled with the sounds, the smells, and the touch of Louis’s world. Boris Kulikov’s inspired paintings help readers to understand what Louis lost, and what he was determined to gain back through books.
 
An author’s note and additional resources at the end of the book complement the simple story and offer more information for parents and teachers. 

Praise for Six Dots: 
"An inspiring look at a child inventor whose drive and intelligence changed to world—for the blind and sighted alike."—Kirkus Reviews

"Even in a crowded field, Bryant’s tightly focused work, cast in the fictionalized voice of Braille himself, is particularly distinguished."—Bulletin, starred review

"This picture book biography strikes a perfect balance between the seriousness of Braille’s life and the exuberance he projected out into the world." — School Library Journal, starred review