Monday, July 29, 2019

Two "Boy" Picture Books--for Boys and Girls + Two Giveaways!


Not so long ago, writers were encouraged to write "boy books"--books that would appeal to young males who were less likely to be readers than girls. Many authors have taken up the challenge to create books that would engage boys. Here are two picture books that boys will like, as well as girls. 

A Boy Like You





Frank Murphy, the author of A Boy like You (Sleeping Bear Press, 2019), has a message he wants to share with boys (both young and old):

"The world needs a boy--a strong and brave and kind boy--now more than ever."

This sentiment pervades every page of this picture book that will be a great curriculum resource for the preschool-second grade crowd. 

The opening spread shows boys enthusiastically playing a variety of sports but ends with the admonition that a strong boy will,  "Play hard, but play fair. Be a great teammate. Say 'Nice goal!' and 'Good try!' Don't say 'You throw like a girl.' Ever. And, remember, there's so much more than sports..."

The pages which follow show a Black boy (with a White father and Black mother) working in the garden, baking, reading, and playing music which are all wonderful activities in addition to sports. This character is encouraged to discover other people's stories from a diverse cast which are skillfully and artistically portrayed by illustrator Kayla Harren

My favorite pages are when Murphy uses a play on words and instructs the reader to,  "Oh boy, be curious." And, "Oh boy, be thoughtful." I also really enjoyed the page of the little boy being scared to jump off the diving board. The text reads, "Here's a secret that not many people know. Fear and bravery are partners. You can't be brave without first being afraid."

Although the text may seem a tad didactic to adult readers, boys and girls will get the message loud and clear: 

"You are original. And that's a wonderful thing."


A Fist for Joe Louis and Me



In the author's note Trinka Hakes Noble writes that she first saw Joe Lewis's bronzed boxing glove in plexiglass in Cobo Center in Detroit. It inspired her to write this book, just as Joe Louis's knock out fight with Max Schmeling gave hope "during the dark days of the Great Depression and the coming of World War II with Nazi Germany." This book is coming out soon from Sleeping Bear Press and beautifully illustrated by Nicole Tadgell.

This sweet story highlights an unlikely friendship between the young Black boy Gordy Williams, and his Jewish friend, Ira Rubenstein. Gordy's father has been teaching him how to box and afterwards they listen to radio broadcasts of boxing fights--especially when Joe Louis is fighting. 

The Depression hits Detroit hard and his father--along with many others--loses his job at a car manufacturing plant. But Gordy thinks, "But we still had Joe Louis in our corner." 

Gordy meets Ira who's family just immigrated from Germany and they bond over boxing matches and Gordy teaches Ira how to "put up his dukes". They come up with boxing names  and become "Gordy Steel" and "Iron Ira" and joke how they are iron and steel--tough and strong, just like Detroit. 

Their friendship is solidified when Gordy sticks up for Ira against a bully, and their father's friendship is solidified when they discover their joint interest in boxing. In a conversation about Joe's upcoming fight against German Max Schmeling, Mr. Rubinstein says,

"My people and your people, we have much in common, Mr. Williams. This fight is for us too."
I didn't know what Mr. Rubinstien was talking about, but my father did.
"It's for all of us," he said as he stood and reached out his big hand. Mr. Rubenstien reached out his hand, too.
I wasn't sure why, but their handshake felt important, like reaching across something far greater than our kitchen table.

Giveaway

I am giving book picture books away so please tell me which one you want in the comments. Make sure you leave me your email address if you are new to my blog! Giveaway ends August 1. Follow my blog or share this on social media for an extra chance to win. 

22 comments:

Frank Murphy said...

Thank you, Carol! Thank you for spreading the word about A Boy Like You! Your words mean a lot!!!

Carol Baldwin said...

You're welcome, Frank!

Diane B said...

"A Boy Like You" sounds exciting and encouraging! This one would make a great gift for any young guy. Thanks for the review.

Carol Baldwin said...

I'll start the list with your name, Diane. Thanks!

Unknown said...

I would love to have A Boy Like You for my school library! I know my boys there would really enjoy it. And my birthday is July 31--great present for me and my collection!

Gwen Porter

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Gwen. great to hear from you! I'll add your name.

hvn101 said...

I would love to win a book for our Library, A Boy Like You. hreed@brev.org Heather Reed

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Heather. You're in!

Gail Cartee said...

I like A first for Joe Lewis and Me. It sounds like a book my class would enjoy. Thanks for sharing these great books.

Carol Baldwin said...

Your name is on the list! thanks, Gail

Danielle H. said...

I am a native Michigander and am excited to read A Fist For Joe Lewis and Me and learn more about this inspiring man. I shared on tumblr: https://yesreaderwriterpoetmusician.tumblr.com/post/186634824857/two-boy-picture-books-for-boys-and-girls-two

Trinka Hakes Noble said...

Thanks for these great comments on my new book, A Fist for Joe Louis and Me! Thanks, Danielle H. for sharing Carol Baldwin's supportive review! Trinka Hakes Noble

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks for sharing it Danielle, you're in twice. Glad you liked there reviews Trinka and Frank. Posted them on Goodreads also.

Linda Townsend said...

Hi Carol! This is great! I would love to win A Fist for Joe Louis and Me for my local public library! I know they'd gladly add it to their collection! It's so nice to see books that will appeal to boys ... and girls too.

Connie Porter Saunders said...

It is hard to choose because both of these look like great additions to a library collection or a grandmother's collection but I prefer A Fist for Joe Louis and Me. Thank you Carol for continuing to showcase Children's lit.
Connie
cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks Connie and LInda. You are now "fighting over" Joe Louis's book!

Rosi said...

Thanks for telling me about these. They both look great. I will pass on the drawing.

Unknown said...

Oh boy. Very cool tales, Carol. Good to see diversity in picture books. BRAVO for the message of first being afraid in order to be brave! My two nephews would love two boys.

(fyi tried to share direct from this post on twitter but received an error message "no content to post."

Carol Baldwin said...

I'd love to enter your name, "Unknown" But I have no idea who you are or how to contact you if you win! Please leave me your name and email address! Thanks for commenting, Rosi.

Young Authors Program said...

Both books look greaf! Can’t wait to read them. I’ll RT on Twitter.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Dorothy. Your RT earned you a spot on each list!

Jean said...

These look amazing! I would love to have A Boy Like You for my grandsons! Thanks, Carol.

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