The Children's Bookshelf

The Children’s Bookshelf from WCMU Public Radio showcases new children’s book titles meant to engage young readers in the joy of story found in both the written word and illustrations. The target audience includes teachers, librarians, parents and grandparents as part of their role to foster the love of reading.  Each of the two minute reviews have accompanying study questions and activities and are available as podcasts.  

Children's Bookshelf host Dr. Sue Ann Martin.

The series host and reviewer is Dr. Sue Ann Martin, Professor Emerita of Communication and Dramatic Arts in the College of Communication and Fine Arts, at Central Michigan University.

Our theme music for The Children’s Bookshelf is the polka from Denes Agay’s “Five Easy Dances”, performed by the Powers Woodwind Quintet, in residence at Central Michigan University’s School of Music. It is taken from the album GEMS, on the White Pine label.

The Children's Bookshelf only accepts for possible review titles that are sent from the children's book divisions of national publishers. 

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A COMPUTER CALLED KATHERINE: How Katherine Johnson Helped Put America on the Moon written by Suzanne Slade and illustrated by Veronica Miller Jamison is a handsome picture book biography about a determined young math whiz who started college at the age of fifteen and went on to break barriers in the world of mathematics.


Sophie Johnson, Unicorn Expert written by Morag Hood and Illustrated by Ella Okstad is an eye-catching picture book full of fun, flair, and attitude. Sophie declares that she is “an expert on unicorns” and works tirelessly to enhance her proclaimed status. She reads books on the subject, instructs the 17 pretend unicorns in her care about magic and even makes a horn for each of them to wear including her dog, her dolls, her teddy bear, her jack in the box and her baby brother!  


CICADA written and illustrated by Shaun Tan is a powerfully-told story in both words and pictures about “the other” within our community. Cicada is thought of as different. Tan brilliantly gives Cicada a voice allowing him to tell his own story: “Seventeen year. No promotion. Human resources say cicada not human. Need no resources. Tok! Tok! Tok!”


The Piñata That the Farm Maiden Hung was written by Samantha R. Vamos and illustrated by Sebastià Serra is a lively story about how to build a birthday piñata. There is a cast of delightful characters from the boy who shapes the clay to the horse that brings the water, to the goose that stirs the paste with flour, to the cat that tears the paper and so on. When the party scene has been decorated and the piñata has been formed the farm maiden hangs it from a tree.


LITTLE DREAMERS: Visionary Women Around the World written by Vashti Harrison is an interesting look at women and their contributions worldwide. The women featured are from all career areas and includes chemists, illustrators, designers, writers, physicists, inventors and computer programmers.


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