At the risk of being late to the party for these books about love and kindness, I want to share them here because, let’s face it, the world needs all love and kindness we can give.
Last August I had a terrible time choosing a theme for my Picture Book 10 for 10 list. I had two or three ideas, and over thirty books to choose from. One that didn’t make my list of books that feed our imaginations was Best Frints in the Whole Universe (Roaring Brook Press) by Antoinette Portis. This book is on Betsy Bird’s list of “The Best Picture Books of 2016” and was chosen as a Kirkus Reviews Best Picture Book of 2016. Last summer their reviewer called it “cosmically delightful” and I whole-heartedly agree.
“Yelfred and Omek have been best frints since they were little blobbies.” But, as anyone who’s ever had a best frint knows, the course of true friendship, like love, never does run smooth. Of course Yelfred and Omek work out their difficulties and discover that “best frints are the best thing of all.”
Portis’s joyfully wacky planet Boborp language will entertain all PreK-first grade readers, but why should they have all the fun? I’d share this book with second grade and beyond both for pure enjoyment and for the theme.
A Hat for Mrs. Goldman: A Story About Knitting and Love (Schwartz & Wade, 2016) by Michelle Edwards and illustrated by G. Brian Karas stole my heart. This book is also on Betsy Bird’s list, and I would have included this on the list of knitting books I shared early in December, except I hadn’t read it yet. Mrs. Goldman knits hats for “the tiniest babies” and “Hats for small, medium, and large friends and neighbors.” Her young friend Sophia makes pom-poms for all of these hats. One day, while they’re walking Mrs. Goldman’s dog, Sophia notices and worries about Mrs. Goldman’s bare head. She decides to “make Mrs. Goldman the most special hat in the world.” What follows is as much a story of perseverance and inspiration as it about love and friendship.
This story of intergenerational friendship reminded me of Eileen Spinelli’s Sophie’s Masterpiece and A Gift for Tia Rosa, by Karen T. Taha. Be warned that reading Edwards’s heartwarming tale may inspire young knitters to try their hand at creating their own “Sophia Hat”. Thankfully, Edwards and knitter Theresa Gaffney have teamed up to design a pattern that novice knitters should be able to knit without too much trouble.