“The Red Tree” by Shaun Tan

Recommended to me by: Mely’s evocative review

A nearly wordless picture book filled with intricate oil and acrylic paintings showing a small, lonely girl’s inner world. A red leaf lies somewhere on each page. Searching for it led me deeper into the paintings’ quirky details.

To Mely, it’s about depression. To one child, it […]

“The Girl with the Silver Eyes” by Willo Davis Roberts

Recommended to me by: an adult who loved it as a child

This book was published in 1980, back when I was in its target age group of pre-teen kids. I don’t know what I would have thought of it then, but it didn’t go over well in 2010.

Katie, age 9, has silver […]

“Gone-Away Lake” by Elizabeth Enright

Recommended to me by: Marissa Lingen

The title sounded familiar and I thought I read it as a child, but the story itself didn’t ring any bells. Published in 1957, the book features two half-grown kids interacting with two elderly people living in abandoned summer homes, surrounded by lots of nature and lots of […]

“Moominland Midwinter” by Tove Jansson

Recommended to me by: childhood memories

After reading Finn Family Moomintroll recently, I was inspired to seek out Moominland Midwinter, which I also vaguely remembered from childhood.

It’s a quick read, and contrasts quite a bit with the earlier book. The mood is bleaker, as befits a northern winter, and the relationships between characters […]

“Finn Family Moomintroll” by Tove Jansson

Recommended to me by: Ursula Le Guin, while reviewing “The True Deceiver”

I stumbled across Finn Family Moomintroll in my elementary school’s library as a child, and didn’t really know what to make of it, but loved the image of the snow falling, and the creatures curling up safely for the winter.

Re-reading it […]

“Fox” by Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks

Recommended to me by: Susan Reagel

With its full-page drawings, brief text, and animal characters in the Australian wilderness, “Fox” is in a children’s book format, but it is an adult book in disguise. How many children’s books begin with despair over loss and disability, move through partnership and betrayal, and end with the […]