Spring is Here!

April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.  ~William Shakespeare

I love spring!  The green, the blooms, the fresh air, the new beginnings.  Here are a couple of recent reads that celebrate the special spirit of spring:

 And Then It's Spring
by Julie Fogliano
Illustrated by Erin Stead

In this charming picture book, a young boy eagerly awaits the green of spring after the brown of winter.  He plants some seeds, and with the help of some furry friends, cares and protects them as the seeds as they "try" to find their way.  The long wait is finally rewarded with the first signs of spring. 

This simple yet lovely book celebrates the hope of spring and the sweet reward that comes after a long wait.  The gentle illustrations of Caldecott-winning artist Erin Stead beautifully complement Fogliano's tight text.  


Esperanza Rising
by Ram Munoz Ryan

The little gardener in And Then It's Spring putting his ear to the ground to listen for "the greenish hum" of beginning life reminded me of Esperanza doing the same thing - that she first learned from her father - in Esperanza Rising. So, I decided to "read" this old favorite again on audio. 

After living like a princess on a beautiful ranch in Mexico, Esperanza's life is changed overnight when tragedy hits the family.  She and her mother must move to California and work as migrant workers.  This change and the new life of long, hard-working days under the steaming sun is difficult for Esperanza.  But through this "winter", she learns and grows and eventually experiences a new "spring."  This inspirational novel is based on the true life of Pam Munoz Ryan's grandmother as explained in a lovely author's note at the end. 

The Boy on Cinnamon Street
by Phoebe Stone

Another character going through a dark season in her life is Louise "Thumbelina" Terrace.  She is a 4'7" seventh grader struggling to fit in at school as well as trying to escape her past.  Sudden notes from an anonymous admirer help her begin to deal with things and finally reach a new season.  

Through strong characters and graceful writing, Phoebe Stone tells an uplifting story that reminds the reader of the light at the end of the tunnel, the sweetness of a spring after a long, dark winter.   

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