Reading Rainbow

Local librarians share their favorite books to feed young minds and spark imaginations.

BY April 1, 2021

What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada, Illustrated by Mae Besom

“It is a beautifully written and illustrated story with a simple message about nurturing one’s ideas with patience and perseverance,” says Suzanne Bailey, the director of media resources at Community School of Naples, about The New York Times bestseller. “As the idea and story start to unfold, so do the illustrations.” The first pages are in pencil, then color becomes more abundant as things progress. $16.95; Compendium, Inc.


Kondo & Kezumi Visit Giant Island by David Goodner, Illustrated by Andrea Tsurumi

Kristy Kilfoyle, the director of libraries at Canterbury School in Fort Myers, serves on the selection committee for one of the most prestigious awards in children’s literature: the John Newbery Medal. She says Kondo & Kezumi is her favorite at the moment. A good transitional read from picture books to chapter books, the story follows the adventures of two island-dwelling creatures that discover an intriguing message in a bottle: “We are not alone.” $15.99; Little, Brown and Company


Dandy by Ame Dyckman, Illustrated by Charles Santoso

This adorable book comes from the 2020-21 Sunshine State Young Readers Award Jr. list for grades K-2. “I enjoy Dandy because it’s a fun story about a dad really, really trying to do right by his daughter,” Seacrest Country Day School librarian assistant Naomi Walden says. The father fusses over his perfectly manicured lawn, but his daughter falls in love with a dandelion, and she’ll stop at nothing to save it. She has a catch phrase, ‘Hi, Daddy!’ “The kids really love that,” she says. $17.99; Little, Brown and Company


It’s a Tiger! by David LaRochelle, Illustrated by Jeremy Tankard

This is a favorite book to read aloud, says Amy-Jane McWilliam, youth services coordinator for the Lee County Library System, which hosts bestselling authors at the annual Southwest Florida Reading Festival. “What starts out as a fun walk in the jungle turns into a race to get away from an enormous tiger that seems to be one step ahead of the reader,” she says. “There is a lot of movement and action in this book, as well as a few screams!” $16.99; Chronicle Books


Jenny’s First Catch by Susan Levine, Illustrated by Irene Bofill

As our editors’ pick, we select this sweet title by Ohio-transplant Susan Levine. Published in November and illustrated by Spain-based Irene Bofill, the book deals with finding one’s unique strengths through a young roseate spoonbill’s hard-learned feeding lessons. Short sidebars give readers insight into different birds’ lives. “I try to make everything educational to make sure the kids are learning even when they don’t think they’re learning,” Levine says. Printables and birding activities are available on Levine’s website. $19.95; Mascot Books

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