Four President’s Day Books to Read

President’s Day is just around the corner! Our current political climate has kids (and adults) asking questions, so why not spend the day off school curled up with a book (or two) about the leaders of our country. From how a campaign works to important moments in history, our collection of presidential books has a fun and educational selection!

1. If I Ran for President

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With one of the most talked-about election seasons in recent history just wrapped up, If I Ran for President explains the process of presidential campaigns to little ones. Through the imagination of a multicultural cast of children, this picture book shares the fun parts of running for an election, but also the hard work that is a part of the process.

2. How Kate Warne Saved President Lincoln

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Told with colorful collage-style illustrations, this historical book shares the story of the first female detective, Kate Warne, as she thwarts a plan to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln on his Inauguration Day. A great choice for girls in particular, this fun picture book surely educate your little one!

3. If I Were President

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Children from all over America imagine what it would be like if they became President of the United States. From having a personal chef make desserts to being sworn in at the Inauguration, the cast of If I Were President depicts both the fun and the serious parts of this important job. Interspersed with facts about the White House and American history, this picture book is as informative as it is imaginative.

4.  Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

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Introduce your child to one of the most famous speeches in American history with this picture book. The actual text of the Gettysburg Address is accompanied by beautiful illustrations depicting historical moments from the early years of America. In our tense political climate, Lincoln’s unforgettable words are relevant in today’s world and current political climate. Complete with an introduction by scholar Gabor S. Boritt, this book is a perfect choice for a child’s first history book.

 

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Four President’s Day Books to Read

8 Valentine’s Day Books for Kids (and Teens too!)

Inspire a love for reading this Valentine’s Day with Albert Whitman books about love, kisses, hearts, and everything in between. From sweet picture books to somewhat steamy romance novels, we have something for readers for all ages. Take a look at our list below to check out some of our favorites for February 14th!

1. It’s Valentine’s Day, Chloe Zoe!

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Follow Chloe Zoe on an adventure as she makes valentines for all her classmates, including her extra-special friend George. This familiar character and cute story are bound to have young readers excited for a class party of their own. Crafty kids will also enjoy the activity kit on our website! Scroll to the bottom and click on the link to make valentines of your own!

2. Next to You

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Full of adorable illustrations of piglets in sweaters, baby monkeys in trees, a basket full of chicks and all sorts of other baby animals, this easy-to-read book is a delight for kids and adults. Available at Target and at other retailers, this book makes a great gift for your own little valentine or a mom-to-be. What’s cuter than that?

3. A Kiss Means I Love You

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This fun book teaches little ones how say “hello” with a wave, “I love you” with a kiss and “let’s go!” with a tug. Photographs of real children show the ways we communicate without using words, and the rhyming text makes it a great pick for read-aloud story time. Available as a picture book and as a board book, A Kiss Means I Love You is a great choice for preschool and early elementary readers.


If you’re looking for something for older readers with crushes of their own, check out some of our AW Teen romance novels. Follow a variety of characters, including edgy former rock star Adam and sweet yet shy Kaycee, as they encounter first kisses, heart-pounding crushes, and tough decisions.

1. All the Forever Things

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Gabriella has grown up helping with the family business—running a funeral home. She knows that not everything lasts forever, but she’s surprised when her best friend, Bree, begins acting distant because of her new boyfriend. Then, a love interest of her own comes into the picture. After a strange prom night, Gabe thinks her friendship with Bree might truly be over. Teen of all ages will be captivated by this story of changing friendships and new romances.

2. Resurrecting Sunshine

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For teens who aren’t going gaga over Valentine’s Day, Resurrecting Sunshine is a perfect pick! This edgy love-story-meets-sci-fi plot follows Adam Rhodes as he deals with the loss of the first girl he loved. Just when all hope is lost, Dr. Elloran comes to him with an interesting proposal—one that might be able to bring his lost love back to life. The plot thickens as Adam learns more about this new technology and the family who runs the mysterious lab.

3. Has to Be Love

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Clara has a tough decision to make. Does she accept her admission to a writing program at Columbia University? Or, does she commit to her boyfriend, the only person in her town who doesn’t look at her differently because of the bear attack scars on her face? Set in a small town in Alaska, Clara’s choice becomes even more difficult when a new student teacher comes into her English class. Confusion, new feelings, and fears build as Clara keeps her secret and tries to make a choice.

4. South of Sunshine

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Kaycee Jean McCoy has grown up in conservative Sunshine, Tennessee. She would rather kiss a boy than let anyone know about her true feelings. Then a new girl, Bren Dawson, moves into town and Kaycee can’t help but fall for her. But will she risk the approval of her friends and family for a new love? This book celebrates finding a balance between loving your roots and loving yourself.

5. Hurricane Kiss

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When natural disaster strikes her hometown, Jillian McKay evacuates and ends up with unexpected company. River Daughtry, the former star of her high school football team, hasn’t been seen since he was admitted to the West Texas juvenile detention center. Once arrogant and flirtatious, River is now quiet and moody. The unlikely pair confront the storm and their pasts while learning what it really means to survive. This dramatic romance will have teens hooked from the start.

For more teen romance novels from Albert Whitman, click here.

Happy Valentine’s Day to readers young and old!

8 Valentine’s Day Books for Kids (and Teens too!)

Authors in the Wild

by author Alison Ashley Formento

Writing about nature is fun, especially when it comes to research. Long before sitting at the computer to compile my notes to write, I’ve met dozens of wonderful scientists such as apiarists, biologists, botanists, and geologists, who love nature as much as I do. Thanks to these experts, I’ve climbed many trees, surveyed the seas, and met a million or so buzzing bees, too.

AFormento Bee pic 1

Alison Formento Star Wars

I’ve found that it’s good to go little wild in the natural world, which helps me write a stronger story from what I’ve learned in my extensive research. Authors research and learn from other authors, too. We compare notes, writing tips, plotting techniques, and even share educator guide advice and bookmark designs, which we hope will help sell our books.

I’ve been fortunate as an author to meet friends who also have books published by Albert Whitman. My publishing mates Nancy Viau and Jacqueline Jules also research the topics they write about and they both share my passion for meeting young readers.

Nancy Viau with student
Nancy Viau reading her book to a student.

Jacqueline Jules speaking

We’ve appeared at educator conferences, book festivals, libraries, bookstores, and shared our unique author journeys at our favorite outings—schools visits. As in any job, sometimes there are down days for authors, such as an educator event with low attendance or the huge outdoor festival that had to be quickly moved indoors because of whipping winds and rain due to an approaching hurricane. These down days are few, and my author friends agree that it only takes one young reader, one smiling face to change a less-than-perfect event into a great author day.

Alison Formento with kids
Alison at a school visit.

In the wild, sometimes authors climb trees and sometimes we meet a storm trooper who is interested in bees. Sometimes we get a group hug. Most authors I know agree—if people are reading our books, we’re smiling.

Who changed your perspective on reading?

Authors in the Wild

Memories: Changing of the seasons

by author Felicia Sanzari Chernesky

I write this on the eve of the autumnal equinox. The early morning air wafting through the open windows is softly crisp. The front lawn, an aging green, is littered with large curled sepia sycamore leaves. The house sits blissfully quiet, everyone else having left for school and work, except for “Autumn Music” playing on Pandora.

me, younger, burjan's maze
Felicia at Burjan’s Maze

For me, the first day of fall heralds the decorating cycle—Halloween, Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, Winter (snowmen!), Valentine’s Day, Lent, St. Patrick’s Day (family birthdays/wedding anniversary), and Easter—that will culminate with growing season next spring, when I’ll display my father’s collection of roosters in the bay window as it overlooks a young green yard carpeted with tiny purple violets and welcomes a symphony of birdsong into the house.

As a child, I learned about the changing year—bolstering what I learned in school—through the lens of what was happening in our yard. This became linked with the cultural holidays and religious feasts taking place in each season. For example, I remember crunching through crystalline snow in rubber boots to see if the fragile gold and amethyst crocus were blooming in the icy cold beneath the birdbath near the brook that divided our front lawn. No matter how miraculous this seemed, I learned it was a sign that spring and Easter were coming.

Pumpkinheaded
Felicia at a pumpkin patch

My parents and sisters populate these memories. My dad loved decorating the house for holidays and tended the yard with my grandfathers. In the kitchen, my mom turned garden peppers and eggplant into glorious feasts. Everyone wanted to eat at our house! Though my children find this bizarre, some of my happiest family memories involve raking leaves and shoveling snow together, talking and laughing while washing dinner dishes, and picking and canning endless pounds of plum tomatoes in late summer to jar for gravy (tomato sauce) for Sunday macaroni in the coming months.

In my developing mind, this exciting and inspiring cycle of seasons and holidays and feasts seemed to begin, not on January 1, but with the return to school and apple picking in September. It’s no wonder my first picture books are seasonal!

Today, while decorating the house for holidays, I display a variety of seasonal picture books. The most weathered copies are mine from childhood, some belong to my children, others I’ve collected since commencing my journey as a picture book author. I love them all, but the fall and Halloween picture books are especially dear. A favorite among favorites is Pumpkin Pumpkin, by Jeanne Titherington. The simple text and amazing textured illustrations distill the story of the seasonal year down to six amazing pumpkin seeds. It’s poetry.

pumpkin pumpkin

It also represents everything I aspire to in my own writing—capturing the essence of an unfolding story in vivid and efficient text, and delighting in the privilege of watching as illustrators such as Susan Swan and Julia Patton elaborate in color, texture, and image.

What are your favorite seasonal books?

Memories: Changing of the seasons

Seasonal books for kids

by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky

The early morning air wafting through the open windows was softly crisp on the eve of the autumnal equinox. The front lawn, an aging green, was littered with large curled sepia sycamore leaves. The house sat blissfully quiet, everyone else having left for school and work, except for “Autumn Music” playing on Pandora.

9780807536322_SunAboveBloomsBelow

For me, the first day of fall heralds the decorating cycle—Halloween, Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, Winter (snowmen!), Valentine’s Day, Lent, St. Patrick’s Day (family birthdays/wedding anniversary), and Easter—that will culminate with growing season next spring. I’ll display my father’s collection of roosters in the bay window as it overlooks a young green yard carpeted with purple violets and welcomes a symphony of birdsong into the house.

Pumpkinheaded[1]

As a child I learned about the changing year—bolstering what I learned in school—through the lens of what was happening in our yard. This became linked with the cultural holidays and religious feasts taking place in each season. For example, I remember crunching through crystalline snow in rubber boots to see if the fragile gold and amethyst crocus were blooming in the icy cold beneath the birdbath near the brook that divided our front lawn. No matter how miraculous this seemed, I learned it was a sign that spring and Easter were coming.

9780807511305_Cheers

My parents and sisters populate these memories. My dad loved decorating the house for holidays and tended the yard with my grandfathers. In the kitchen, my mom turned garden peppers and eggplant into glorious feasts. Everyone wanted to eat at our house! Though my children find this bizarre, some of my happiest family memories involve raking leaves and shoveling snow together, talking and laughing while washing dinner dishes, and picking and canning endless pounds of plum tomatoes in late summer to jar for gravy (tomato sauce) for Sunday macaroni in the coming months.

In my developing mind, this exciting and inspiring cycle of seasons and holidays and feasts seemed to begin, not on January 1, but with the return to school and apple picking in September. It’s no wonder my first picture books are seasonal!

9780807565131_FromAppleTreestoCiderPlease

Today, while decorating the house for holidays, I display a variety of seasonal picture books. The most weathered copies are mine from childhood, some belong to my children, others I’ve collected since commencing my journey as a picture book author. I love them all, but the fall and Halloween picture books are especially dear. A favorite among favorites is Pumpkin Pumpkin, by Jeanne Titherington. The simple text and amazing textured illustrations distill the story of the seasonal year down to six amazing pumpkin seeds. It’s poetry.

pumpkin pumpkin

It also represents everything I aspire to in my own writing—capturing the essence of an unfolding story in vivid and efficient text, and delighting in the privilege of watching as illustrators such as Susan Swan and Julia Patton elaborate in color, texture, and image.

What are your favorite seasonal books for kids? 

Seasonal books for kids

7 reasons I love Brazil

by author Ana Crespo

Considered by many to be the most beautiful word in the Portuguese language, Saudade has no literal translation to English. Saudade is what you feel when you miss someone or something. Saudade is what I feel for Brazil.

Rio, Brazil

(Photo: Rio seen from Corcovado by Ana Crespo)

I love the United States. Every year we travel to many U.S. states, having visited 34 of them by car, plus Hawaii. The United States is a beautiful country with wonderful people. However, there are certain aspects about the place you grew up that always bring you comfort.


 

Ipanema and Leblon Beach

(Photo: Leblon and Ipanema Beach seen from Mirante Dois Irmaos by Ana Crespo)

For me, it’s the cold waters of Ipanema beach. The refreshing breeze of the ocean as you walk on the calçadão. The coconut water. The Brazilian rodízio restaurant right after a morning under the hot sun. The bits of samba and bossa nova on the streets. The Feira Hippie. And, most of all, the family and friends.


 

Sock Thief

It’s Saudade, more than any educational reason, that encourages me to share the culture and traditions of the place I come from with my kids. That makes me search everywhere for the right ingredients to make pão de queijo. That makes me drive over an hour to eat coxinha. That makes me listen to Brazilian music in the car. That makes me read Brazilian children’s books. It was Saudade that motivated me to write The Sock Thief. Saudade is a big part of who I am.


 

Sugar Loaf seen from Corcovado

(Photo: Sugar Loaf seen from Corcovado by Ana Crespo)

September 7 is Brazil’s Independence Day. I imagine Saudade has a hand on the many Brazilian Day celebrations happening this month everywhere around the world.

Author Ana Crespo is originally from Brazil and has lived in the United States for 15 years. She lives in Colorado with her husband and two kids. Her two latest picture books, which are part of a new series, My Emotions and Me,  published on September 1: J.P. and the Giant Octopus and J.P. and the Polka-Dotted Aliens.

What is it about your hometown – in the US or not – that makes you feel Saudade?

7 reasons I love Brazil

Kids Books: My childhood adventures

By Barbara Reid, illustrator and author

Madeline coverstuart little

As a child, my travels took place between the covers of books. I read and re-read kids books until I knew the landscapes like the back of my hand. While I haven’t been able to get to Narnia or Through the Looking Glass (yet!), I have visited the Paris of Madeline, the Central Park pond sailed by Stuart Little, the highlands of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped and other storied places. Traveling to a book setting is a journey of discovery and a homecoming at the same time.

where the forest meets the sea

When our daughters were young we spent hours pouring over the pages of Jeannie Baker’s Where the Forest meets the Sea. In simple words, a young boy describes a day trip with his father to the Daintree Rainforest in North Queensland, Australia. The real story is in the illustrations. Using modeling clay, papers, textured materials, natural materials and paint, Baker has created stunning relief collages that draw the reader into each page. Along with the narrator, our eyes adjust to the light filtering through the trees and more details appear. The richness of plants, animals and insects is astounding; double exposures hint at creatures and people from the forest’s past, and the boy’s imagination adds to the sense of adventure.

Where the Forest meets the Sea encourages readers to slow down, explore, observe and ask questions, perfectly mirroring the way the boy in the book experiences the forest. The attention to detail and child’s eye view influenced and inspired my own work in creating kids books.

BarbAusTreeDaintree trees[1]

Recently, we followed one of our now grown-up daughters to Australia where we had the opportunity to visit the real Daintree wet rainforest, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The forest was so exactly like Jeannie Baker’s illustrations I thought my head would explode. I couldn’t stop leaping around, pointing and exclaiming. Buttress roots! It’s those ferns! Oh the vines! Look at the butterfly! Oh my gosh, look at the stream! Much to the relief of my family, I eventually was able to slow down, observe and absorb the spirit of the place.

Having read Where the Forest meets the Sea enriched my experience in the rainforest, and experiencing the rainforest heightened my appreciation of the book. This back and forth exchange between art and life is magic—almost like stepping through the looking glass.

Picture A Tree

Author and illustrator Barbara Reid lives in downtown Toronto with her husband and two daughters. At the Ontario College of Art and Design, her focus was illustration, and it was for a class assignment that she first experimented with plasticine artwork. While she likes working with authors and enjoys writing her own stories, she still loves making pictures best of all.

Kids Books: My childhood adventures