Saturday, February 6, 2010

3 New Books for Baby ...

In general, I love childrens books and have always collected them ... which at this point in my life is a wonderful thing ... I have a great collection of books that I can't wait to pass on to my daughter ... recently, I came across three books to add to my growing collection ...

Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat

Hip Hop Speaks to Children provides readers with 51 selections from 42 poets and performers, and 30 performances on the audio CD, many recorded especially for this collection. Some tracks on the CD are performed by the artists who created them, others are unique interpretations by admiring poets and artists.

This anthology highlights the use of rhythm and vernacular in hip-hop, rap, and African-American poetry. The 51 pieces—which also include a passage from Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech—use gospel rhythms, "hambone" rhythms (which Giovanni explains in her informative introduction), jazz and blues rhythms, and language from the fields and the city streets. Artists range from Langston Hughes to Kanye West, from Eloise Greenfield to Queen Latifah. Much of the subject matter focuses on hope, self-esteem, respect for the past, and determination to make a better future. A few selections are more playful.

The accompanying CD enables readers to hear many of the pieces spoken or performed by the artists. Meanwhile, a team of five illustrators provides colorful, lively pictures that add atmosphere and personality. The fact that an important historical writer like James Weldon Johnson appears in the same book as contemporary musician Lauryn Hill may help some kids see the older writers with a fresh eye.

Might I add that the book is a New York Times bestseller! I love it and can't wait to read and listen along with my daughter.

Peekaboo Morning

This adorable picture book features a cheerful African-American toddler playing peekaboo with parents, grandparents, amiable animals, a friend, and even readers. Each sentence begins with "Peekaboo! I see-," and will have young listeners chiming along in no time. Clues in the pictures encourage children to guess just who is being peeked at on each following page. Endpapers show a house on a big green lawn, while inside the book mommy hugs, daddy plays, grandma is busy in the garden, and grandpa relaxes in a deck chair. Whether children live in the city or the country, they'll be able to relate to this simple game. Great for baby lap-sits and toddler storytimes.

Homemade Love

"My mama calls me girlpie," begins this tender riff on the ties that bind. "Daddy's honey bun chocolate dew drop." When the winsome girl at the story's center breaks a dish ("Everything I do cannot be right. 'Cause there is no all the time right"), her parents are quick to forgive her. Here, the tale makes an abrupt transition, and girlpie is in bed. The book ends with her drifting off to sleep, embraced by the warmth of her family's love ("No need to fear the dark place. 'Cause everywhere is home"). Definitely a book about comfort and safety with feel-good phrases and images.

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