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The JFK Challenge Appy

Accept President John F. Kennedy’s challenge to accomplish great things and make a difference in the world by using The JFK Challenge app. With the launch of this app, kids travel back in time and become virtual astronauts in the Space Race mission. Children train for the Apollo 11 flight, try on a spacesuit, steer the spacecraft and explore the moon’s surface while learning about NASA, space travel and the first moon walk. Back on earth, the Peace Corps mission takes young volunteers on a trip back to Colombia in 1961, where they learn Spanish words, local culture and world geography. This immersive app seeks to foster interest in the sciences, exploration, volunteerism and cultural exchange, while providing a window into how John F. Kennedy inspired a generation.

The Rootlets: Super Rootabilities

“Veggies are cool! Veggies are powerful! Veggies are awesome!” The Rootlets are a unique brand of book characters so adorable and memorable you’ll want to eat them right up. The first book in this children's series introduces families to a new generation of superheroes – Brocc, Carrotina, Cornelius and Kaley – who, with their veggie hair and healthy habits – begin an adventure of a lifetime. Hilariously fun with bright, bold, colorful illustrations, “The Rootlets: Super Rootabilities” is a thrilling journey that showcases the super powers of plant-based foods and explores the magic of friendship and imagination. Recommended for ages 4 - 9.

— Jenny L. Heinbaugh

Book Reviews

By Mary Quattlebaum

babies / tots

Out and About

Exuberant tots shout, scamper, splash and snuggle through the four seasons. These 18 playful poems portray the emotions and experiences of young children, be they making mudpies or lying sick in bed. The pictures and text by acclaimed author/illustrator Shirley Hughes are full of images sure to delight little ones, from “bold” dandelions to the “gusty, blustery” wind to the evening “sun tucked up in a bed of cloud.” This first book of poems is perfect for reading aloud and for a search through the pictures for lively kids, dogs, squirrels and birds.

ages 3 – 7

Spectacular Spots

Maryland author Susan Stockdale adds another beautiful book to her award-winning nonfiction titles. As with “Stripes of All Types,” Stockdale ingeniously uses pattern in text and art to introduce youngsters to a variety of creatures and their habitats.  Rhyme, alliteration and deftly handled meter energize information about snakes, “gliding snails,” “swimming turtles” and “singing quails.” Readers will enjoy hunting for the featured animals in the vivid illustrations, many of which reveal how spots can help camouflage predator as well as prey. Look for the spotty surprise at the end and additional facts in the back matter. 

ages 8 – 12

Hypnotize a Tiger

Wordsmith extraordinaire Calef Brown returns with 84 poems whimsically illustrated with his own art. This book, specially sized for middle-grade readers, offers themes and subjects beyond his earlier picture books. In richly inventive language, Brown ranges far and wide, alighting on pigeon frogs, foodie bullies, dinosaur barbecues and bubble crumbs. An added treat: additional rhymes and puns at the bottom of each double-page spread.  Many of these poems pack a ponder-filled punch, as well as laughs, and are wonderful jump-off points for youngsters interested in playing with words and writing their own poems.