Art copyright Elizabet Vuković, 2019
Be A Maker
written by Katey Howes
March 5, 2019
How many things can you make in a day? A tower, a friend, a change? Rhyme, repetition, and a few seemingly straightforward questions engage young readers in a discussion about the many things we make - and the ways we can make a difference in the world. This simple, layered story celebrates creativity through beautiful rhyming verse and vibrant illustrations with a timely message.
*by Teach Outside the Box
#1 Makerspace Read Aloud of 2019*
"Children are natural 'makers,' and this timely picture book reinforces the importance of creativity and exuberant play. A...girl wakes up and considers a world of possibilities. Obvious clues reveal her interest in astronomy and space travel: a portrait of Mae Jemison, star chart curtains, and a rocket ship in a bottle. Pictures and rhyming text show her writing plans, building a tower, creating a telescope, and constructing a spaceship. Once outside: 'Make a map to journey's end. . ./ on the way, you make a friend.' That friend, a red-headed boy, likes boats, water, and exploring the ocean depths.. The two friends are part of the diverse community that makes the playground a reality as they 'Make a difference, / shine a light, / Make your town a team tonight.' Detailed illustrations in watercolor, gouache, and colored pencils show numerous creative projects, while a little spider observes the activities indoors and out. Inspirational on many levels."―Booklist
"The book asks, 'In a world of possibilities, today, what will you make?' From there, we see a young girl of color, armed with an imagination and a drive to build, create one thing after another, from small towers of toys to a playground that everyone can share. The words are written in rhyme, providing a satisfying flow throughout the book. The illustrations are full of details and beautiful colors, including the girl's bedroom covered in posters and books of famous people in history who are known for their innovations. Each creation the girl builds is made more elaborate through her imagination. Together, the words and the illustrations provide an encouraging story that one is capable of anything they set their mind to. VERDICT While the idea of children creating is not new, this book stands out. With the subtle odes to famous makers and innovators in the illustrations, and the rhythm of the words, this book is an inspiring choice for story time or one-on-one sharing."―School Library Journal
Magnolia Mudd and the Super Jumptastic
written by Katey Howes
illustrated by Valerio Fabbretti
published by Sterling Publishing, 2018
Meet Magnolia Mudd: an inventive girl who’d rather tighten a nut and a bolt than tie a ribbon or bow.
For Magnolia Mudd, her Uncle Jamie is the very best grown-up. He always invents cool things with her . . . until the day he and Miss Emily announce their engagement. That’s bad enough—but even worse, Miss Emily wants Magnolia to be a FLOWER GIRL! No way is Magnolia tossing petals. She’ll have to engineer the perfect way to be part of his special day using her favorite source of energy – Mudd Power!
"Howes’ text has just the right tone and is highly relatable, while Fabbretti’s illustrations are comic book bold, funny, and capture myriad emotions. VERDICT: A girl who loves inventing finds an unexpected ally in her uncle’s bride-to-be. Fun text meets spot-on illustrations with a little learning thrown in—it’s a winning combo." —School Library Journal
written by Katey Howes
illustrated by Rebecca Hahn
published by Ripple Grove Press, 2017
Grandmother Thorn treasures her garden, where not a leaf, twig or pebble is allowed out of place.
But when a persistent plant sprouts without her permission, Grandmother begins to unravel.
“Her hair became as tangled as the vines on her fence. Her garden fell into disrepair. One morning, she did not rake the path.”
A dear friend, the passage of seasons, and a gift only nature can offer help Grandmother Thorn discover that some things are beyond our control, and that sweetness can blossom in unexpected places.
Named a 2018 Anna Dewdney Read-Together Honor Book by the Children's Book Council!
“This well-crafted tale offers a gentle lesson of stewardship and living in peace with nature.” – School Library Journal
“Lovely.” – Kirkus Reviews
“A visually arresting reminder that compromise has its benefits.”
– Publishers Weekly