children’s books

by MHK Library staff MHK Library staff No Comments

New Children’s Books in Bloom

New Children’s Books in Bloom

by Laura Ransom, Children’s Program Coordinator

I am looking forward to seeing spring flowers pop up around our city. Some beautiful, new children’s books at the library have inspired me to keep on waiting for spring to bloom.

Have You Ever Seen a Flower?” by Shawn Harris was chosen as a 2022 Caldecott Honor Book. This distinguished award honors some of the best illustrated picture books from the previous year. Harris asks the reader if they have seen a flower, but also if they have ever been a flower. The girl in the story grows along with the flowers around her, and the book offers a unique way to think about our relationship to the natural world. I am also drawn to the bright orange and pink hues Harris features in his illustrations.

No Bunnies Here!” by Tammi Sauer is a hilarious story set in Bunnyville, the Land of a Thousand Bunnies. One day a very big wolf comes to town, and a fearful bunny quickly tries to convince him to leave. All of the bunnies somehow transform into unicorns, comfy pillows, lamps, and puppies. The wolf finally gets a chance to explain why he’s searching for bunnies, and it turns out he is in desperate need of a friend! This funny twist makes the story even more fun to read together.

Kids can learn facts about flowers, seeds, and animals in “Outside, You Notice” by Erin Alladin. This picture book shows kids and families walking near a stream in a forest, picking strawberries from their own backyard garden, and discovering colorful produce at the farmer’s market. Facts about nature are included on each page. I learned that broccoli is actually a flower!

If you like the nonfiction series “You Wouldn’t Want to Be…”, you will probably enjoy “How Would You Survive as a Bee?” by David Stewart. Other books in the series feature polar bears, lions, and killer whales. The text challenges the reader to imagine their life as a bee, buzzing from flower to flower, living in a colony, and watching out for predators along the way. Real-life photographs of beekeepers and a “bee quiz” about the book’s content are fun features near the end of the book.

Small but Mighty: Why Earth’s Tiny Creatures Matter” by Kendra Brown highlights small animals that make a big difference in the environment. Leafcutter ants are titled “Fungus Farmers” because they use leaves to make fungus gardens in tropical rain forests. Termites are “Nature’s Engineers” that build giant mounds filled with soil-enriching nutrients. The mounds can reach a height of 17 feet. Brown also talks about cookie cutter sharks, millipedes, krill, and more tiny creatures.

My favorite new picture book is “She Heard the Birds: The Story of Florence Merriam Bailey” by Andrea D’Aquino. Florence explored the outdoor world with her family throughout her childhood in the 1860s. She loved listening to bird songs and learning each of their names. While she was in college, a fashion trend swept through the United States and Europe: wearing hats decorated with exotic bird feathers. This was so disturbing to Florence that she and her classmates decided to do something about it. They encouraged people to boycott bird-decorated hats and fought for the preservation of birds in the wild. Florence went on to become the first woman fellow of the American Ornithologists’ Union in 1929 and author ten books. I appreciate her pioneering spirit in a field that wasn’t very welcoming to women. Florence’s concern for the life of birds is very inspiring because I enjoy bird-watching as well!

For more great children’s book recommendations, stop by the library, give us a call at 785-776-4741 ext. 400, or email

by MHK Library staff MHK Library staff No Comments

Picture Books of 2021

Picture Books of 2021

By Jennifer Bergen, Program and Youth Services Manager

Title of the Littlest Yak by Lu Fraser - featuring a group of Yak's standing in the snow with colorful hats. One in the front is very small. So many wonderful children’s picture books came out this year, some of them light-hearted, some serious, and some with amazing illustrations – all of them begging to be shared with a young person. Pre-readers depend on their grown-ups to spend time reading stories and delighting in them together, and reading aloud forms a strong bond as well. Here are some new books at the top of my list to share:

Change Sings” by Amanda Gorman is just a beautiful book, from the colorful flowing illustrations by Loren Long to the lyrical poetry of the text. It follows one girl with a guitar who befriends a boy while they pick up trash in the neighborhood. With each page turn, more children are added. Each child is given an instrument to play along as they find ways to positively impact their environment and people around them. Gorman’s remarkable talents for composing poetry and inspiring others are both evident in this book which reminds us all that we can change our world.

Chez Bob” by Bob Shea (we see what you did there, Bob!) will have your kids giggling from the start as a very lazy alligator named Bob plans to get his dinner without having to put in any work. How can he get delectable birdies to come to him? He decides to open a bird restaurant on his snout! This plan actually works, as birds flock to Chez Bob, “which is a real restaurant and not a trick,” Bob assures them. But, as Bob Shea says, this is “not a European picture book.” Violence is averted, and Bob is sure to steal your heart by the end.

It Was Supposed to Be Sunny” by Samantha Cotterill is an important book to share with children about the strong emotions that come from disappointment. Part of the “Little Senses” series, Cotterill’s stories are helpful for “wonderfully sensitive kids,” including those on the autism spectrum. When Laila planned her birthday party, she had very distinct ideas about how it would go, including being outside in the sunshine and having a unicorn cake. She and her mother planned activities that suited Laila’s sensibilities, like not having balloons or a loud birthday song, and instead planning a sparkly craft and a “wish jar.” The book begins with a loud thunder boom, and Laila’s party doesn’t look like it will go right. She and her mother have to keep adjusting and finding solutions. This book is every bit as important for the parents as it is for the child to see how to work through frustrations and sadness, and find ways to still have fun!

The Littlest Yak” by Lu Fraser and Kate Hindley is the perfect pick for the child who feels too small, too young, and too left out. Hindley’s extremely adorable-looking yaks do not make fun of little Gertie, but she feels left out just the same. “I’m a yak at the back who is stuck in her smallness, I want to grow UP and have greatness and tallness!” When an even tinier yak is stuck at the end of a narrow mountain ledge, only Gertie is small enough to climb up and save him. As Gertie’s mummy has said, bigness comes in different shapes and sizes. Being small is not so bad after all.

It Fell from the Sky” by brothers Terry and Eric Fan will delight kids and adults with black and white detailed drawings of insects looking like they dropped out of Alice’s Wonderland. The only color is from a magical object that has dropped down from the sky for the ladybug, walking stick and grasshopper to analyze. What could this amazing, round, yellow and green object be? When the finely accessorized spider decides to take it as his own, he creates an exhibit where bugs must pay for a rare glimpse of the Wonder from the Sky. Part cautionary tale, part magical fantasy, the art and story will entice young listeners.

For more great recommendations, visit the library’s ReadMHK website ( for book lists of new titles from 2021.