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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. 

Latest Episodes
  • Just Like Grandma written by Kim Rogers and illustrated by Julie Flett is a beautiful story about the love between a young girl by the name of Becca and her Grandma. Grandma teaches Becca how to bead moccasins and paint sunrises. Becca is in awe of her Grandma as she dances the Fancy Shawl at the Pow Wow. This story of diversity and love will delight readers 4-8 years of age.
  • What You Need to Be Warm is written by the highly- praised author Neil Gaiman who is also a Goodwell Ambassador for UNHCR. The poem makes a strong statement about everyone’s right to live in warmth and safety. Thirteen wonderful artists design pictures for the poem. (Quill Tree Books/Harper and Collins) 2023.
  • Little Red written and wonderfully illustrated by Will Hillenbrand is a beautiful picture book about kindness. Little Red is a small pick-up truck that is driven by a gal named Katie. Together they come to the aid of many trucks that have lost their ability to move due to problems such as flat tires, broken head lights or no gas! This is a beautiful book about being kind. Children 3-5 years of age will also learn about colors (Little, Brown and Company) 2023.
  • Kin: Rooted In Hope written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Jeffery Boston Weatherford is a striking account of their family’s past. The interesting research, brave stories and skillful scratchboard illustrations are perfect for older readers 10 years of age and up. (Atheneum Books/ Simon and Schuster) 2023.
  • Zilot and Other Important Rhymes written by Bob Odenkirk and illustrated by Erin Odenkirk is a clever and very creative book of over 70 delightful rhymes for children six years of age and up. The illustrations are alive with sounds and actions. (Little, Brown and Company)2023.
  • A Crown for Corina written by Laekan Zea Kemp and illustrated by Elisa Chavarri is a beautiful story about how Corina’s Abuela guides her through her understanding of who she is, where she comes from, what she wants to be and how she can continue to honor her family. The story is told as Corina and her Abuela use flowers from Abuela’s garden to place in Corina’s crown. The story and the illustrations are gorgeous.(Little, Brown and Company) 2023.
  • Banana Dream written by Hasan Namir and illustrated by Daby Zainab Faidhi is a well put forth story about a boy named Moos. His name means “banana” in Arabic and is the source of much bullying against Moos. In the end he handles it well. The illustration of the interesting and gorgeous open-air market speaks beautifully to food, culture, and history (Neal Porter Books, Holiday House) 2023.
  • Looking Up written and illustrated by Stephan Pastis is a fun yet serious chapter book about loss. The main character is a young girl by the name of Saint who refuses to watch the community where she lives disappear. She must also, however, deal with a personal loss. The delightful characters such as grumpy old Muffins perfectly accent the story. (Aladdin/Simon and Schuster) 2023.
  • A Walk In The Woods written by Nikki Grimes with original drawings by the late Jerry Pinkney and with watercolor paintings by his son Brian Pinkney is a very special book about how a boy finds out about the love his late father had for him. The story, designed for 5-8 year old readers, is well told in beautiful poetic form and breathtaking illustrations (Neal Porter Books/Holiday House.
  • Cornbread and Poppy at the Museum is the third easy reader for children 6-10 years of age written and illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Matthew Cordell about these two friends----and, like the first two, it is terrific in story and pictures. In this story Poppy learns something new about her family history when she agrees to go to the local museum for an event with Cornbread--- who is a museum supporter. (Little, Brown and Company) 2023.