More Upcoming Books I Love

I’m a huge fan of these titles coming to bookshelves in Spring of 2023 from Penguin Random House Canada and Tundra Books! I highly recommend them all.

Title: Banana
Author: Zoey Abbott

Zoey Abbott’s hilarious and heartwarming tale of a child whose father becomes obsessed with a banana and shirks all of his previously beloved fatherly behaviors is sure to please. A stand-in for technology (or a relationship with anything that gets in the way of father-child interactions), the banana slowly takes over the father’s attention until the child has no choice but to get rid of it with the funniest of means and reclaim her father’s affections. Coming March 2023!

Title: The Care and Keeping of Grandmas
Author: Jennifer Mook-Sang
Illustrator: Yong Ling Kang

Jennifer Mook-Sang and illustrator Yong Ling Sang have created a stunning picture book about caring for grandmas as they experience change. With language usually reserved for plants, our protagonist tells about how they cared for their grandma when she came to live with their family. The story and illustrations are charming and unexpected in the best of ways. Coming April 2023!

Title: What Does Little Crocodile Say at the Beach?
Author: Eva Montanari

Who needs all of the Little Crocodile books? We all do! Sure thrill, this latest Eva Montanari tale (What Does Little Crocodile Say and What Does Little Crocodile Say at the Park) takes Little Crocodile to the beach and camping. It’s full of delightful read-aloud noises and sounds and engaging illustrations. This storylady laughed right out loud when she discovered what Little Crocodile finally says at the beach! Coming March 2023.

Title: The Song That Called Them Home
Author: David A. Robertson
Illustrator: Maya McKibbin

Another stunning example of David A. Robertson’s powerful storytelling and yet another reason to own everything he writes. With engaging illustrations from Maya McKibbin, this intriguing and compelling tale pulls the reader into the world of two grandchildren who find themselves lost and at the mercy of the Memekwesewak (“little people”) after their Moshom falls asleep at the water’s edge. Will they be forever lost in the music of the Memekwesewak or will their Grandfather call them home with a more alluring song? Coming April 2023 from Penguin Random House Canada/Tundra straight to your local storylady’s bookshelf.

ARCs from NetGalley.

Lending Library Update – 2021

2021 was the first “official” year for the Lightbulb Heart Lending Library. Pandemic meant very few in-person storytimes (and then only with single families), a few online gatherings with Rock Reachout (Burlington, ON) and other groups, and Iots of lending!


Book cover of La Catrina: Emociones, by Patty Rodriguez

Board Book: La Catrina: Emociones, by Patty Rodríguez – so much fun! Día de los Muertos inspired illustrations about emotions by Ariana Stein.

Book cover of A Map Into the World, by Kao Kalia Yang

Picture Book: A Map Into the World, by Kao Kalia Yang – this was a Very Hard Decision, as so many beautiful books came into my world this year. Gorgeous illustrations bring this story of loss, art, and neighborliness to life.

Book cover of Dear Treefrog, by Joyce Sidman

Poem/Poetry Collection: Dear Treefrog, by Joyce Sidman – Minnesota legend Sidman strikes again with this charming collection of nature poetry, lovingly illustrated by Diana Sudyka.

Book cover for Speaking Our Truth, by Monique Gray Smith

Middle Grade/YA: Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation, by Monique Gray Smith – a brilliant and sensitive look at the legacy of residential schools in Canada, appropriate for grade school readers.

A complete list of 2021 acquisitions

While many titles were found used in thrift stores, yard sales, and tiny libraries, it certainly helped to be working for a bookshop for the first quarter of the year…a gigantic THANK YOU to Jaime Krakowski at Epic Books in Hamilton, ON for the generous staff discount! 🙂

I am also so very thankful to my generous donors! In addition to physical donations, $88 was re-donated to the Conscious Kid Anti-Racist Children’s Book Fund.

Board Books

  • Egg Board Book, Kevin Henkes          
  • La Catrina: Emotions – Emociones, Patty Rodríguez
  • The Story of Hanukkah, David A. Adler         
  • Together, Mona Damluji*

Picture Books

  • A Different Pond, Bao Phi*    
  • A Map into the World, Kao Kalia Yang          
  • A Stone for Sascha, Aaron Becker     
  • Aaron Slater, Illustrator, Andrea Beaty*                                            –          
  • All Because You Matter, Tami Charles          
  • Amy Wu and the Patchwork Dragon, Kat Zhang*     
  • Another, Christian Robinson 
  • Bright Star, Yuyi Morales
  • Can Bears Ski?, Raymond Antrobus   
  • Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem, Amanda Gorman         
  • Cicada, Shaun Tan*   
  • Dear Treefrog, Joyce Sidman 
  • Divorce Is the Worst, Anastasia Higginbotham         
  • Dog Loves Drawing, Louise Yates   
  • Fairy Tales and Fables, Gyo Fujikawa
  • Fairy Tales for Fearless Girls, Anita Ganeri    
  • Franklin’s Flying Bookshop, Jen Campbell     
  • Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas, Natasha Yim*
  • Grandad’s Camper, Harry Woodgate
  • Hand Over Hand, Alma Fullerton*    
  • Hear My Voice/Escucha mi voz: The Testimonies of Children Detained at the Southern Border of the United States, Warren Binford   
  • Her Stories: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales, Virginia Hamilton        
  • How to Find a Fox, Nilah Magruder  
  • Hush Hush, Forest, Mary Casanova   
  • I Dream of Popo, Livia Blackburne    
  • I Sang You Down from the Stars, Tasha Spillett-Sumner      
  • I Want to Be, Thylias Moss  
  • I’m Bored, Michael Ian Black
  • Ida, Always, Caron Levis        
  • It Fell from the Sky, Fan Brothers      
  • Jayden’s Impossible Garden, Mélina Mangal
  • Ladder to the Moon, Maya Soetoro-Ng        
  • Lovable Lyle, Bernard Waber*          
  • Lyle Finds His Mother, Bernard Waber*                   
  • Lyle, Lyle, crocodile, Bernard Waber*           
  • Mightier Than the Sword: World Folktales for Strong Boys, Jane Yolen      
  • My Hair is Magic!, M. L. Marroquin  
  • My Two Border Towns, David Bowles           
  • Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness, Anastasia Higginbotham   
  • Not One Damsel in Distress: Heroic Girls from World Folklore, Jane Yolen 
  • Ohana Means Family, Ilima Loomis* 
  • Old Turtle, Douglas Wood*   
  • Oscar Otter, Nathaniel Benchley
  • Our Favorite Day, Joowon Oh*         
  • Over and Under the Canyon, Kate Messner  
  • Playing at the Border: A Story of Yo-Yo Ma, Joanna Ho        
  • Rhoda’s Rock Hunt, Molly Beth Griffin          
  • Running The Road To ABC, Denizé Lauture   
  • School’s First Day of School, Adam Rex         
  • Something Happened in Our Town (A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice), Marianne Celano       
  • Sootface, Robert D. San Souci
  • Spring Stinks: A Little Bruce Book, Ryan T. Higgins   
  • Ten Beautiful Things, Molly Griffin    
  • Ten ways to hear snow, Cathy Camper                                             
  • Téo’s Tutu, Maryann Jacob Macias   
  • The ABCs of Black History, Rio Cortez
  • The Bare Naked Book, Kathy Stinson
  • The Eight Knights of Hanukkah, Leslie Kimmelman  
  • The Fog, Kyo Maclear*                                              
  • The Heart and the Bottle, Oliver Jeffers        
  • The Huge Bag of Worries, Virginia Ironside  
  • The Most Beautiful Thing, Kao Kalia Yang*         
  • The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read, Rita Lorraine Hubbard   
  • The Rough Patch, Brian Lies  
  • The Rough-Face Girl, Rafe Martin     
  • The Serpent Slayer: and Other Stories of Strong Women, Katrin Tchana    
  • The Wind and the Trees, Todd Stewart         
  • Treaty Words: For As Long As the Rivers Flow, Aimée Craft
  • Viola Desmond Won’t Be Budged!, Jody Nyasha Warner     
  • Waiting for the Biblioburro, Monica Brown*                                                
  • Watercress, Andrea Wang*  
  • What Happened to You?, James Catchpole  
  • What Will You Be?, Yamile Saied Méndez
  • Where Are You From?, Yamile Saied Méndez          
  • Where Happiness Begins, Eva Eland 
  • William’s Doll, Charlotte Zolotow      
  • Wishes, Muon Thi Van*         
  • Your Name Is a Song, Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow   
  • Zonia’s Rain Forest, Juana Martinez-Neal     

Chapter Books/Middle Grade/YA

  • A Boy Called Bat, Elana K. Arnold      
  • Bat and the End of Everything, Elana K. Arnold        
  • Bat and the Waiting Game, Elana K. Arnold  
  • Blood Brother: Jonathan Daniels and His Sacrifice for Civil Rights, Rich Wallace
  • Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson 
  • Chasing Bats and Tracking Rats: Urban Ecology, Community Science, and How We Share Our Cities, Cylita Guy, PhD*
  • Song for a Whale, Lynne Kelly *
  • Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation, Monique Gray Smith
  • The Beatryce Prophecy, Kate DiCamillo        

* = gifted to the library

Much love to everyone who has supported Lightbulb Heart in 2021 – here’s to staying safe and getting back to in-person storytimes when it’s once again wise to do so! If you’re in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area, the Lending Library is here for you!

Why I Wear Red – updated for 2021

A red construction paper dress with stripes in a window to raise awareness for Missing and Murdered Women, Girls, and 2-Spirit People.

May 5th is Canada’s National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (Red Dress Day), and the Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls National Day of Action in the U.S.

A call to action for a U.S. National Day of Awareness is here.

“How can we help?”

When we don’t know how to start helping someone, listening to their stories is a very good place to start. In this video, I talk about my favourite books written and illustrated by, with, or about Indigenous Women and Girls.


I recognize talking about MMIWG2S with kids is not easy. Here are some resources for learning, art projects, books, and tips for getting started. Please note that these resources are for caregivers and educators, as the content may not be appropriate for all ages.

Books in the video

2021 Update

Amber, a white woman with dark curly hair sits in front of a cinderblock wall. She wears red glasses and a red apron over a navy tee shirt.

I also wear red…because I have participated in the erasure of Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit persons. I was taught that my Great Great Grandmother was a “Choctaw Indian Princess.” I learned in June, 2020 that she was Scottish and born in Indian Territory, Oklahoma. The name of the region speaks to the rich heritage of Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole nations who have lived there and who were forcibly removed from those lands by the U.S. government. My generational wealth increased when my family received those lands. “I can’t be racist, I’ve got an Indian princess in my family tree” is yet another false narrative white body supremacy uses to cognitively distance white people from our racist behaviours and beliefs, and the ways we benefit from the peril of others. It kept me from leaning into and learning from my family’s past, from being silent when I should listen, and from speaking up when I see the truth. It erased my sense of rage over what was happening to MMIWG2S and left me with a sense of sadness that was more palatable to my whiteness. I’m done with my sweet tea. This year, I wear red with more purpose, more rage, and a (for now) better understanding of my place in raising awareness.

Books I Love: Stories About Bedtime

Do you have a bedtime routine? If you do, it might include stories. Most of my books are good stories for bedtime, but some of my favourite books are stories about bedtime! However you might get ready for bed, what we all have in common is wanting a good night’s sleep. That way, as author Nancy Redd says in Bedtime Bonnet, “we’re all ready for a brand-new day!”

Books in this video:

Sleepytime Playlist

The deep work of Tricia Hersey and The Nap Ministry led me to create a week of videos dedicated to helping our young ones rest so their caregivers can find some rest. The sleepytime playlist currently contains two poems about The Sandman by Paul Laurence Dunbar, two lullabies (one with an art project, one with images from the Hubble Space Telescope images), and the above Books I Love segment. I am grateful for the message of radical rest The Nap Ministry is birthing in the world and I am proud to support this work on Patreon.

Books I Love! Books That Centre BIPOC Characters

I continue to be encouraged by the books being published by BIPOC authors and illustrators and more books centring BIPOC characters. Make no mistake – there need to be more.

Before our days moved pandemically, Bernadette Arthur at A Shared Table asked me to compile a list of picture books by BIPOC authors/illustrators and others that centre BIPOC characters. The family event she was gearing up for was around the theme of raising socially conscious kids. I’m making these resources available in hopes they might be helpful. Please let me know if you find that to be the case. I know I have growth edges and I’m happy to receive constructive criticism on both documents.

Booklist: Great Read-Aloud Books by BIPOC Authors/Illustrators and Others that Centre BIPOC Characters

Raising Socially Conscious Kids: Choosing Picture Books (tips for caregivers who are racialized as white)

Related: In our pandemic times, Bernadette’s currently working with En Conjunto to provide a series of Digital Dine-Ins. I heartily recommend these! The one I attended last night was about raising children to be aware and active changemakers and picture books came up a few times. No surprise, the Digital Dine-In Sue Littleton and I are co-hosting in June is about children’s books.