Review by Donna McCrohan Rosenthal

… and some with stickers that stick.

We like books that make “great reads.” These do, but add wonderful enhancements, two with sound chips and two with stickers.

“She Spoke” (by Kathy MacMillan and Manuela Bernardi, illus. Kathrin Honesta, ages 5-7, full color, 32 pgs., hardcover, Familius, 2019, $24.99) introduces, as the subtitle says, “14 Women Who Raised Their Voices.” They include advocates and activists such as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who entered law inspired by her favorite TV character, Perry Mason; Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, descended from slaves, who started a school for African American girls and eventually served as a top advisor on minority affairs in the Roosevelt Administration; Malala Yousafzai who, shot in the head by the Taliban, went on to promote every young girl’s right to free, safe, quality education, and who at age 17 became the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize; as well as Dr. Maya Angelou, Dr Jane Goodall, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and many others. The sounds of these women’s own voices complement biographies, boxes of Quick Facts and challenges to Speak Up.

About listening not speaking, “Welcome to Jazz” (Carolyn Sloan, illus, Jessica Gibson, ages 4-8, full color, 32 pgs., hardcover, Workman Publishing, 2019, $24.95) uses sound chips for banjo, drum, improvisation, scatting, and more, along with helpful text, to create and explain the fascinating world of this musical form: “The bass kept us grounded. The drums kept time. Pianos gave us harmony” and “Jazz imitates life. Through jazz, kids learn about group dynamics and working well with others. They learn how to improvise and express their thoughts, and how to leave space for other to express their thoughts, too.” Cartoon cats discovering jazz, accompanied by blocks of definitions and historical notes, show what the different instruments look like and roles they play.

Also from Workman, the Peel & Discover 8 ½ x 11 paperback series (ages 6 and up, full color, 26 pgs., 2020, $9.95) offers hundreds of stickers and facts hidden underneath (remove the turtle and learn “green sea turtles can hold their breath underwater for 5 hours”). Titles ranging from “Oceans” to “Cars! Trucks! Trains and more!” provide scenes, mazes, charts, and loads of revelations.

You’ll keep children busy with these delightful experiences, and the fun won’t end.

This monthly column is written by members of Ridge Writers, the East Sierra Branch of the California Writers Club. Other than during the Coovid-19 crisis, meetings are held the first Thursday evening of each month at Ridgecrest Presbyterian Church and free programs are offered throughout the year.

Story First Published: 2021-03-26