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Globally Inspired Back to School Books from  @presteljunior #Partner

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***Disclosure: I received complimentary samples and info to facilitate my post. All opinions are 100% honest and have not been influenced in any way.***

Back to school time is officially here! My kids do Remote Learning and have for years, so we’re free of a lot of the worries parents have to face this year. Times are weird, and I am just grateful to be able to have them learning here at home. I’m even more grateful that they excel with remote learning. 

One way we keep our brains fresh and ready to learn is by reading. It seems we’re constantly reading something, whether it be novels, shorter story books, poetry, and even things like Almanacs and Encyclopedias.

If a book is written in a way that makes learning FUN? Even better! 

I’d love to share some of my favorite Fall books from the folks at Prestel Junior. This company is amazing, and offers beautiful, globally inspired books from authors and artists all over the world! 

The Weather Pop-Up Book by Maike Biederstaedt (September 2021; ISBN: 978-3-7913-7393-5; Hardcover $25; Ages 5+; 15 pages)

In her hugely successful books Creatures of the Deep and What’s in the Egg?, as well as her enormously popular series of greeting cards for the Museum of Modern Art, Maike Biederstaedt has established herself as one of the preeminent paper artists working today. Now Biederstaedt takes book engineering to new heights as she immerses readers in five electrifying weather scenarios. As each spread unfolds, a meticulously designed landscape emerges—a freighter balances like a nutshell between high waves in the sea; a tornado takes terrifying aim at a truck trying to outrun it; a rain-spewing storm cloud towers like a skyscraper over a farm house. Nature’s delicate beauty emerges in the intricate shapes of a snowflake and in the luminous arc of a rainbow. Each page features an informative description of its weather event and the book closes with sobering commentary on the effects of climate change. A wondrous introduction to weather for budding climatologists, this is also an artistic tour de force that collectors will treasure.

When I See Red by Britta Teckentrup (September 2021; ISBN: 978-3-7913-7494-9; Hardcover $14.95; Ages 4+; 40 pages)

The heroine of this beautifully illustrated story feels her anger like a storm in a dark forest. It sweeps her away, and she thunders and howls. She pours down her emotions like sheets of rain; rage surges like a wind whipping angry waves. Her anger takes her on a wild ride.

Appropriate for a wide variety of ages, this book illustrates many aspects of anger that are often hard to articulate— how overwhelming it is, how isolating, even scary. But it also shows anger to be a source of power and an agent for change. Teckentrup’s impactful, boldly colored paintings skillfully evoke the way intense anger can take us on an emotional journey, one that can be both exhausting and affirming. This beautiful tribute to one girl’s experience of anger offers readers the opportunity to make sense of, and talk about their own feelings of rage in a time when that kind of understanding is more important than ever.

Where is Everyone? by Tom Schamp (September 2021; ISBN: 978-3-7913-7450-5; Hardcover $14.95; Ages 2+; 14 pages)

A toaster, a refrigerator, a sink, a bed, a car. Most kids can recognize these and other things that are part of their everyday lives. Leave it to Tom Schamp to imagine a different way of seeing them. As kids pore over these brightly colored and highly detailed pictures they’ll be delighted to discover a monkey on a surfboard and an elephant in a bowler hat— all inhabiting the same shapes they recognize in their homes. Each whimsical illustration offers a chance to explore, discuss, and giggle at the unexpected. Every page will encourage kids to think creatively and differently about the world around them and the possibilities that lie hidden in the things we see everyday.
I Saw a Beautiful Woodpecker by Michał Skibiński and illustrated by Ala Bankroft (October 2021; ISBN: 978-3-7913-7486-4; Hardcover: $16.95; Ages 6+; 128 pages)

It is the summer of 1939 in Warsaw, Poland and Michal is an eight- year-old boy just finishing his school year. In order to improve his handwriting, Michal’s teacher gives him a simple assignment: keep a journal, writing one sentence a day. Eighty years later, Michal’s diary has been gorgeously illustrated with beautifully atmospheric paintings. Eloquent in its simplicity, the journal is a remarkable artifact that captures the innocence of childhood and the trauma of war. The journal starts out with a typical boy’s observations: “July 15: I went to a stream with my brother and teacher.” “July 23: I found a caterpillar.” However over the course of weeks, menacing details emerge. “July 27: A plane was circling over Anin.” “September 1: The war has begun.” “September 3: I hid from planes.” “September 14: Warsaw is bravely defending itself.” These haunting entries are interspersed with visits from relatives, a soccer game, a trip to a park, an ice cream cone. Photographs of pages from Michal’s diary enhance the poignancy of this simple record—an ordinary holiday interrupted by war; a life changed forever by an extraordinary moment in history.

MICHAŁ SKIBIŃSKI was 8 years old and a schoolboy at Warsaw Primary school when he wrote this diary in the summer 1939. Today he lives in a retirement house for elderly priests. ALA BANKROFT is a painter, photographer and film animator living in Warsaw, Poland.

The Book of Labyrinths and Mazes by Silke Vry and illustrated by Finn Dean (September 2021; ISBN: 978-3-7913-7474-1; Hardcover $19.95; Ages 7+; 96 pages)

This brilliant book on mazes and labyrinths in history and the modern world encourages young readers to really think about why these puzzles are so appealing. Filled with photographs, drawings, artwork, illustrations, and puzzles, it takes a thematic approach to these enigmatic works. Why are we sometimes afraid to get lost—and why does the idea excite us? How do mazes and labyrinths figure in history and mythology? What can nature tell us about humankind’s obsession with lines, spirals, and patterns? Along the way children will learn about the labyrinth designed by Daedalus for King Minos in the ancient city of Crete; the mystery of the Hemet Maze Stone in southern California; and the magnificent labyrinth at the Cathedral of Chartres. They are encouraged to trace their fingers along a labyrinth to experience its soothing effect, to solve maze-related number puzzles, and to create their own mazes and labyrinths. Packed with fun facts and engaging ideas, this book will help children understand why mazes and labyrinths are so popular, while inspiring them to identify and create these fascinating puzzles in their own world.

Is There Life on Your Nose? by Christian Bortslap (September 2021; ISBN: 978-3-7913-7497-0; Hardcover $17.95; Ages 6+; 56 pages)

Germs, microbes, bacteria—these days those words are fraught with fear and uncertainty. But they’re not all bad. In fact, most of them make life and nature possible. Christian Borstlap’s playful, boldly colored illustrations and cheerful text will help kids understand that microbes are everywhere—in our noses and tummies, in the food we eat, in the air we breathe. From the world’s largest organism in Oregon’s Blue Mountains, to the bacteria that started life on earth; from microbes that help recycle plastic, to yeast that makes bread taste good—this book shows the incredible diversity of these tiny beings and how they affect every aspect of our lives. Borstlap uses both science and humor to demystify a potentially scary subject, and closes with double-page spreads that are packed with information to satisfy the most curious readers.
The Day Time Stopped by Flavia Ruotolo (October 2021; ISBN: 978-3-7913-7489-5; Hardcover $14.95; Ages 5+; 48 pages)

One afternoon in Italy, a little girl is about to take a bite of her delicious popsicle when time . . . stops. At that very moment, across the planet, people and animals are frozen in action— captured by this book’s warm, quirky illustrations and clever, time-stamped captions. A penguin hatches in South Georgia; a little girl gets a haircut in Brazil; a family sits down to breakfast in California; a tiger falls asleep in Bangladesh; a boy’s football ball gets stuck in a tree in Cape Verde. The sheer enormity of planet Earth can be impossible for young kids to grasp. Here, in this playful introduction to time zones, hemispheres, and life in different climates, kids will identify with all the ordinary things going on at the same time in our extraordinary world.

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