By Jan Pease
Local author Jolene McDonald stopped by at the library to read her book, “I Will Not Go To Sleep Tonight!” Jolene, who lives in Litchfield, wrote this sweet book which was illustrated by her brother, Gary Davis. The children enjoyed hearing her read, in her own words, the story of a little pig that won’t go to sleep. Most of the children identified with the stubborn pig, but one adorable little girl told me, very seriously, that she just closes her eyes and goes to sleep. I assured her that I absolutely believe her. Jolene’s book is available locally and online through Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com
On a more serious note, two lovely picture books explore the experience of Black American slaves before Emancipation. “Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass,” was written by Lesa Cline-Ransome and illustrated by her husband, James E. Ransome. Frederick Douglass published his “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass” in 1845. Ms. Cline-Ransome used his own words to describe Douglass’s early life as the rejected son of his master, forced to live apart from his slave mother. Education changed and saved his life, and his story is told simply and directly by this talented pair.
“Never Forgotten,” by Patricia C. McKissack, goes farther back, to West Africa to tell the story about a young black boy who is kidnapped and sold into slavery. This beautiful book will remind children that their slave ancestors should never be forgotten, and that family is more important than anything else. This book was given the 2012 Coretta Scott King Honor, recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults.
Another picture book based on a real event has a very happy ending. “Little Dog Lost: The True Story of a Brave Dog Named Baltic,” was written by a librarian and illustrator named Monica Carnesi. Ms. Carnesi heard the story of the little dog swept out into the Baltic Sea on a sheet of ice. She knew she had to share his story with young children. He was rescued by a ship 75 miles from where he started and named Baltic, in honor of his adventure and the ship that rescued him. The seaman who rescued him is now the owner of this brave dog.
Picture books are great fun, and I enjoy reading them each week at story time. I hope you will take a few minutes and share a great book with a child you love. See you at the library!