Hawk Rising

Kemie Nix ©2018 Parents’ Choice

Kemie Nix is Chairman of Children’s Literature for Children (CLC), a non-profit, tax-exempt, educational organization dedicated to bringing children and books together. Mrs. Nix, a senior book editor for Parents’ Choice, has a remarkable sense of selecting books children love to read.

Small But Mighty

Noted Canadian singer/songwriter Ginalina (Gina Lam) welcomes children into a happy space of affirmation and celebration, framed by her lovely vocals, an expressive chorus, and catchy folk/pop melodies performed by deft musicians (on guitar, drums, piano, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, cello, and more). In “I’m Brave,” children find the “courage in my heart” to overcome a fear of flying, to perform on stage, to go sailing, mountain climbing, and to tell the truth. The title track offers a message of empowerment (“every spark can be a flame…everyone can play a part”), “Shine Like the Northern Lights,” with striking harmonic layers, encourages children to stand tall, try something new, and express themselves; and all are welcome in the fast-moving, zydeco-flavored “Everyone On the Passenger Train.” Ginalina incorporates some French lyrics and pays tribute to her Asian heritage with Mandarin lyrics in the final track, Yi Shan Yi Shan Liang Jing Jing” and the trilingual “Vou Chamar O Sol.”

 

Lynne Heffley ©2020 Parents’ Choice

A freelance writer and editor for the arts and non-profit organizations, Lynne is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she established the paper’s first weekly children’s arts and entertainment beat.

Turing Tumble: Build Marble-Powered Computers

Emily Crawford ©2018 Parents’ Choice

Emily holds a BSE in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University and a Master’s in computer engineering from Georgia Tech. She is a homeschooling parent and lives with her husband, three children, five cats, and thousands of LEGOs in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Moove to the Moozika!

Jesse Goldman is a Brooklyn-based teacher, singer/songwriter, whose music is well informed by his work as the founder of Moozika!, his interactive music classes for children and their adults. The 12 songs on Moove to the Moozika!, his first album for kids, are all written and sung by Goldman, who also plays an impressive array of instruments. All of the songs are sung in either English, Spanish or both, and they include the rousing, delightful title track opener. “Moose on the Loose” contains brilliant nonsense lyrics while being a buoyant movement song, and “Una Dos Tres Quatro” transforms a simple counting song into a carnival with its percussive Caribbean-flavored boogie. Songs such as the jazzy “Supa Supa Soup,” the acapella fun and joyful kids chorus on “Wiggle Wagglin’” and the Mexican flavored “Burro,” all showcase Goldman’s delightful wordplay and skillful singing. “Wave Your Scarf” even ventures briefly into clever Trip-Hop territory, while “Sleep My Child” takes an opposite turn, and presents a beautiful, simple acoustic lullaby. His funky “Brooklyn Baby” celebrates his adoptive home, and should be accepted as the official anthem of the borough. “Limpia” is the best cleanup song you’d likely scrub to, while “Roly-Poly Train” is a lazy locomotive of an electric blues. The farewell song “Hasta Luego” (“See You Later”) finishes the album on an upbeat, celebratory note. Goldman’s rhythmic delivery and occasional scat-style vocalizations will delight children and impress the musical ear of parents. From the whimsical and lovely guitar slinging bovine cover to the bountiful set of tunes, this is a strong fresh debut album.

 

Lahri Bond ©2020 Parents’ Choice

Lahri Bond is a father, a writer, music historian and an art professor in Western Massachusetts. His published books include Spinning Tales Weaving Hope (with the Stories For World Change Network) for New Society Press and People of the Earth (coauthored with Ellen Evert Hopman) for Destiny Books.

Don’t Worry, Little Crab

A quote from Anais Nïn—“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage”—sets the tone for this tender picture book by award-winning children’s book author-illustrator Chris Haughton (Little Owl Lost) addressing the mixed emotions young children feel when taking new, independent steps in their expanding world. “Little Crab and Very Big Crab live in a tiny tide pool,” the book begins, and on this day, Very Big Crab is taking excited Little Crab to the ocean for the first time. At first sight of the enormity of the ocean and its rolling waves, however, Little Crab decides it’s time to go home. Step by slow step, with Very Big Crab’s patient encouragement, Little Crab eventually takes the plunge and discovers a world of new friends, fun, and a thirst for new adventures to come. In graphic arts-style, Haughton captures his narrative’s charm with expressive, goggle-eyed crabs; decorative sea life, bold, eye-catching shapes, saturated colors, and a dynamic use of text and white space.

 

Lynne Heffley ©2020 Parents’ Choice

A freelance writer and editor for the arts and non-profit organizations, Lynne is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she established the paper’s first weekly children’s arts and entertainment beat

Earth Odyssey

Host Dylan Dreyer, meteorologist on NBC’s Today show, narrates this informative series that does exactly what the title says — travels the world seeking out interesting stories in exotic locations. (A previous version of the show was called Journey with Dylan Dreyer.)

You might find Dreyer wearing a wet suit and in a tank in a Myrtle Beach aquarium surrounded by rays or she might just be standing on set. Either way, she introduces a new destination to viewers, pointing out unusual people, places and animals. It’s a good way to learn about other cultures and other environments. The goal, according to NBC, is to give “audiences a captivating look at the symbiosis between all living things, in the most larger-than life places on Earth.”

In one segment, for example, Dreyer narrates stunning footage of Tibetan Macaques in China’s lowlands. Later she explains that snub-nosed monkeys were thought to be villains by local villagers because of their upright nature. And in another segment, we see eerie, foggy footage of cormorants helping a fisherman catch fish. The fisherman ties a piece of string around a bird’s neck so it can’t swallow the fish, but instead gulps it down and then spits it back out. It’s strange. In a sweeter segment, Asian elephants are shown to be the “gardeners” of the tropical landscape in China’s forest as they much and tramp their way through the bush. Beautiful scenes, engaging backstories, and an amiable host make the show a mesmerizing delight.

 

Ann Oldenburg ©2020 Parents’ Choice

Ann Oldenburg, lecturer and assistant director of the journalism program at Georgetown University, writes about television, food, workplace issues and other pop culture topics. A University of Florida Gator with a degree in journalism, she began her career at The Washington Post and spent more than two decades with USA TODAY. She and her husband have three sons and live in McLean, Virginia.

 

Positronic

Positronic

Lynne Heffley ©2019 Parents’ Choice

A freelance writer and editor for the arts and non-profit organizations, Lynne is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she established the paper’s first weekly children’s arts and entertainment beat.

Melia and Jo

Claire Green ©2018 Parents’ Choice

As president of Parents’ Choice Foundation, Claire applauds toys and media that unleash children’s interests and celebrate the fun of learning.

The Next Great Paulie Fink

David Shirley ©2019 Parents’ Choice

David Shirley’s recent nonfiction titles include A History of Brooklyn Bridge Park and Fix It Leroy! His YA biographies, Every Day I Sing the Blues: The Story of B. B. King and Satchel Paige: Baseball Legend were honored as the New York Public Library’s Best Books for Teens

En La Radio

Lynne Heffley ©2019 Parents’ Choice

A freelance writer and editor for the arts and non-profit organizations, Lynne is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she established the paper’s first weekly children’s arts and entertainment beat.