Kadir Nelson

Need a gift idea for your niece’s fifth birthday (that you RSVPed for last year)? Or maybe looking at picture books helps you relax? Either way, here are three children’s titles, all out in June, that caught my eye in the mail pile: 

Life by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Brendan Wenzel

Life offers advice to children from animals – the wild geese, the rabbit in the field  –  who have weathered good times and bad.

Blue Sky White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus, illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Just in time for the Fourth of July, Blue Sky White Stars explores symbols of America, from a sunny baseball game to a spaceship blasting off at Cape Canaveral.

Renato and The Lion by Barbara DiLorenzo

Set in World War II Florence, Italy, Renato and The Lion tells the story of a boy, his favorite piazza and the stone lion statue there that makes him feel safe. His family is forced to flee to America because of the war, but decades later, when he finally makes it back, the statue is still standing.

- Intern Sydnee

Life images courtesy of Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Images; Blue Sky, White Stars images courtesy of Penguin Random House; Renato and The Lion images courtesy of Viking Books for Young Readers.

COVER REVEAL OF MILDRED D. TAYLOR’S ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY (CELEBRATES 40th ANNIVERSARY IN 2016)

ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY was first published in January 1976, and was followed by eight additional novels to form the Logan family saga. These titles – Let the Circle be Unbroken, The Road to Memphis, Mississippi Bridge, Song of the Trees, The Friendship, The Land, The Well, The Gold Cadillac. The hardcover anniversary rejacketed edition will publish January 5, 2016 with the complete backlist to follow in paperback in April. The final book in the Logan family saga will be released by Viking in 2017.

Ms. Taylor says, “ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY was created from a story my father and my uncle told me while we sat at the dining room table. From the time I was a child, I heard family stories and family history. I have woven all those stories and all that history into ten books, including the book I am now writing, LOGAN, the concluding book of the Logan family saga. I consider my books a legacy to my family, and I believe all those who shared the stories and who lived the history would be as proud as I of the 40th anniversary of ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY, a book begun with a story told around the dining room table.”

“I’m so thrilled to have the opportunity to create new covers for this powerful series by Mildred Taylor,” says Kadir Nelson. “The ROLL OF THUNDER series resonates so deeply with me and I’m very proud to help introduce this saga to a new generation of readers.”

Mildred D. Taylor is the author of nine books including The Road to Memphis, Let the Circle Be Unbroken, The Land, The Well and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Her books have won numerous awards, among them a Newbery Medal and Germany’s Buxtehude Bulle Award (both for Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry), four Coretta Scott King Awards, and a Boston Globe—Horn Book Award. Her book The Land was awarded the L.A. Times Book Prize and the PEN Award for Children’s Literature. In 2003, Ms. Taylor was named the First Laureate of the NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature. In 2004, Mississippi celebrated a Mildred D. Taylor Day, and Mildred Taylor returned to her roots to address several hundred school children and adults at The University of Mississippi.

Mildred Taylor was born in Jackson, Mississippi, and grew up in Toledo, Ohio. After graduating from the University of Toledo, she served in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia for two years and then spent the next year traveling throughout the United States, working and recruiting for the Peace Corps. At the University of Colorado’s School of Journalism, she helped created a Black Studies program and taught in the program for two years. Ms. Taylor has worked as a proofreader-editor and as program coordinator for an international house and a community free school. She now devotes her time to her family, writing, and what she terms “the family ranch” in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

Kadir Nelson is a two-time Caldecott Honor Award recipient. He has received an NAACP Image Award, a CASEY Award, the 2009 and 2014 Coretta Scott King Author Award, and the 2009 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award. Among Mr. Nelson’s other awards are gold and silver medals from the Society of Illustrators. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, and The New Yorker. He lives in Los Angeles.