Text by Diane Slocum

T

he American Society for the Positive Care of Children’s National Read a Book Day was earlier this month, but it’s never too late to celebrate by reading to children. The society says reading to and with children is one of the most important things we can do for them.

One of Scholastic’s best children’s books of the year is “Roy Digs Dirt,” written and illustrated by David Shannon. Roy is a dog who loves to dig and get dirty, but hates baths. His infectious, child-like joy erupts when he is making a mess.

The American Library Association’s Association for Library Service to Children has a long list of Notable Children’s Books for 2021 at the website ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/notalists/ncb. The books are listed in categories by age, including a category for all ages.

One of the books in the latter category is “Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom” by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Michele Wood Candlewick. This Newberry Honor Book tells the true story of Henry shipping himself out of slavery. It is told in poems that resonate through history into our time. 

Suggested for middle-grade readers, “Prairie Lotus” by Linda Sue Park is a story of a Chinese American girl who moves with her father, after her mother’s death, to an unwelcoming 1880s Dakota Territory. Hanna is determined to follow her dreams despite prejudices of her community.

VALLEY WRITERS

Springville author Marilyn Meredith’s latest Tempe Crabtree novel (number 19), “The Trash Harem,” was published in June. In the story, even though she is retired from her job as a deputy in the Sierra foothill community of Bear Creek, Tempe travels to Temecula to help a friend who is a suspect in what might be a murder case. 

Among Tempe’s other most recent adventures are “A Cold Death” (number 16), “Spirit Wind” (number 17) and “End of the Trail” (number 18). In that order, they deal with a murder in a lodge where Tempe is trapped by a snowstorm, a ghost hunter who sends Tempe to a haunted house in Tehachapi, and a search for a missing hiker in the Sierra that includes a murder. 

Meredith also writes the Rocky Bluff PD crime series, historical fiction and horror stories. 

THE LAST WORD

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” — Nelson Mandela (1918-2013), former president of South Africa