In observance of Children’s Book Day today, April 2, I’m sharing my three favorites.
My first favorite children’s book is Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel (who happened to be named Maryann) by Virginia Lee Burton. It was first published in 1939, but I came to know it through a children’s program called Captain Kangaroo. Yes, I’m dating myself big time, but it was a forerunner of Sesame Street, The Muppets, and the like. What was really cool was, as the story was being told, they made the pages of the book flip. Awesome! Mike Mulligan loved his steam shovel and only as an adult did I consider theirs to be a rather unusual relationship. Still, its message about unconditional friendship always stuck with me. Today there are several film versions of the story available on YouTube.
I didn’t discover my second choice until the late 1990s while shopping with my mom on the Miracle Mile in Chicago. At a local bookstore, we discovered No David! by David Shannon. The book is hilarious, chronicling the adventures of David, who is constantly doing things he shouldn’t. Author David Shannon apparently wrote and illustrated the first version when he was five years old. My youngest brother is of course named David and has heard plenty of “No, David!” throughout his life, so we bought the book for him and it became one of his favorites. Shannon is an award-winning artist and has written a series of David books, as well as numerous others.
My last children’s book is Justice Makes a Difference: The Story of Miss Freedom Fighter, Esquire, co-written by Dr. Artika Tyner and her mother, Jacklyn Milton. This gorgeously illustrated book gives a history lesson on prominent African American figures, whom Justice discovers through reading books given to her by her grandmother. It is also a true story, as Justice grows up to be the civil rights lawyer, Dr. Artika Tyner. The book makes learning fun, and the figures Justice learns about are not the typically famous African Americans one might expect.
What are some of your favorite children’s books?