Keep Your Head Up (Aliya King Neil)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Keep Your Head Up, written by Aliya King Neil and illustrated by Charly Palmer, a beautiful story about dealing with bad days.

D’s morning is not starting off well. No one greeted him when he woke up, his sister used up all his favorite toothpaste, and he forgot his gym uniform and couldn’t play kickball. From there, no matter how hard he tries to keep his head up, he feels his frustration building as things keep going wrong. His “bad day face” goes to feeling “scrunchy” until finally, he has a full-on meltdown. His understanding principal lets D calm down in the office and calls his parents. As he leaves school, D’s day doesn’t look like it’s going to get much better, but even though he doesn’t feel like it, he decides to keep his head up anyway – the important thing is that he wants to try.

Gorgeous in every way. From Palmer’s incredibly expressive impressionist painting-like illustrations to Neil’s lyrical, emotional text, each page is a masterpiece in telling a universally-relatable story in a unique and moving way. Readers of all ages will recognize the feeling of having a day go from bad to worse, and feeling powerless against the frustrations and sorrows that can inspire. Neil chooses to end the book perfectly, showing that sometimes, a bad day is just a bad day to its end, and all we can do is try our best to get through it with grace. Equally affecting is her metaphor for vinyl LPs as people, which honestly brought a tear to my eye. Palmer’s artwork is simply gorgeous, rich in color and tone, and each page could hang framed in a gallery. The length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ and I both loved it. This is an absolute stunner with a powerful message, and we absolutely recommend it – Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

The Day I Ran Away (Holly L. Niner)

Hello, friends! Our book today is The Day I Ran Away, written by Holly L. Niner and illustrated by Isabella Ongaro, a delightful tale of a little girl’s eventful day.

Catching up with her daddy before bedtime, Grace relates some surprising news: she ran away today. Naturally, her father is curious as to why, so Grace unpacks the trials and tribulations of her difficult day. First, her favorite purple shirt was dirty, so she had to wear a white one instead. Then, they were out of her favorite cereal. After she gets sent to her room for coloring WAY outside the lines, she decides she’s had enough: she’s going to run away. Just one problem – she’s not allowed to cross the street by herself. So her mommy makes a suggestion: how about they set up her pop-up tent in the backyard, and she can run away to there. Brilliant! Grace enjoys her freedom right up until dinner time, when she decides to UN-run away… until tomorrow, that is.

Positively charming. I love when authors tell a story from a child’s point of view, and this one was so representative of actual child logic that it was hilarious. The dialogue-exclusive text is great for reading aloud, and encourages fun voices and creative emphases. Grace and her mom’s tumultuous day will strike a chord with any stay-at-home parent, and kids will laugh at the familiar antics of one of their own. The illustrations are adorable, colorful and sweet and filled with clever little details, such as Grace and her dad’s yoga poses as they chat (though I wish this cute detail had been highlighted more – I wouldn’t have even noticed had a glossary not been included in my review packet). The length was great, and JJ and I definitely had fun with it. A lovely little slice-of-life story, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the author in exchange for an honest review.)

Even Superheroes Have Bad Days (Shelly Becker)

Hello, everyone! Today’s book is Even Superheroes Have Bad Days, written by Shelly Becker and illustrated by Eda Kaban, a fantastically super-powered book about positivity.

It’s true! Even superheroes can have bad days: they can get sad or mad or disappointed just like you. And they COULD throw super-powered tantrums: hurl cars, let loose sonic screams, or stomp and stamp and make the whole world shake. Or they could just stop being good, do bad things or let the criminals get away with their dastardly deeds. But superheroes would not, they could not, so they don’t, instead choosing to channel their sadness or frustrations into kindness and courage. Even superheroes have bad days, and that’s okay, because it’s the way they chose to handle them that counts.

This book was so awesome! First, the theme is perfect: bad days happen to everybody, no matter how big or powerful or strong. And the book stresses that it’s okay to cry or feel sad or mad, but it’s how a person chooses to channel those feelings afterwards that can make a difference for them and for others. There’s also a great message in there about how our attitudes and actions can affect other people. But the story still makes room for young readers to have fun watching superheroes throw some hilariously over-the-top tantrums before learning how to positively deal with their emotions. The illustrations are wonderful: colorful, full of action and detail, and I loved that women/people of color were depicted as superheroes, too. The rhyming text has perfect rhythm and pacing, and it was a joy to read aloud. Length was great, and JJ loved it. This one would be a phenomenal addition to any library. Emphatically Baby Bookworm approved!