Indian Boyhood by Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa) would come high on my list. It's beautifully illustrated with images that add to the story, inviting readers (small or otherwise) to look deeper. The simple text is bracketed with informative start and end sections that help me "read" the pictures and know the author. The message is nicely lowkey. The history is fascinating and relevant. And the language is simple and clear. Enjoy this beautifully balanced story with some equally well-balanced, smooth, full-flavored three-star coffee.
Also high on my list is Playmates for Puppies by Roz Silva. Again, the pictures add to the story, rather than just serving as bright-colored background images. And again, there's more to the story than told on the surface. A nicely natural walk around an ordinary neighborhood ends with dogs playing in the park, while parents read the rules of dog-park etiquette. But there's more when the story's done--a map, inviting critical thinking, and all those fascinating questions behind each scene. A fun rhyming story, this easy-reading tale is one to enjoy with a lively easy-drinking two-star coffee.
Then there's Rona Writes A Story by Bat Oren--more words, fewer images, and an intriguing collection of first-sentence story-starts for kids who want to write their own tales. The idea of a child who loves reading, then decides she wants to write, is one that many (my childhood self included) will relate to, making this the sort of book I'd probably want to share with a child. Enjoy this not-quite-easy-reading tale with some elegant, slightly complex four-star coffee.
And finally, here are Oliver and Jumpy 43-45, riding again in another bright picture book. If your kids love series and bright pictures, the Oliver and Jumpy collection will keep them inspired as more stories are added as fast as they can read. The writing's a little awkward at times. There may be occasional typos. But the pictures are simple and clear, each tale with a different style, and the stories are fun. Enjoy these light crisp tales with some light crisp one-star coffee.
- series for kids - I'm not sure; knowing my own penchant for getting addicted to books, I'd want to know the series had an end.
- cultural lessons for kids - yes, they're high on my list. We live in a multi-cultural world and books are the perfect way to experience the unknown.
- social lessons - always a good idea, especially if couched in a good story
- pictures that tell their own story - definitely! I'd use them to encourage children to add to what they've read
- which would take them to the same place as Rona in that third book.