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Children's Books--Content Area Themes and Topics

Kids at Play: Enjoying the Outdoors

Hula-Hoopin' Queen

"When Kameeka gets the hula-hoopin' itch, her fingers snap, her feet tap, and her hips swing. She feels "the itch" coming on one afternoon, and she gets ready to step outside to compete against her hoopin' archrival, Jamara." --Kirkus Reviews

Review Citation and Link: The Hula Hoopin’ Queen. (2014). Kirkus Reviews, 82(9), 88–89.

Intended Grade: 1-2

Maybe Something Beautiful (eBook)

"A young girl, Mira, loves art and shares it, giving some of her drawings to neighbors. But what good is her art, really, in such a gray and uninspiring place?" --School Library Journal

Review Citation and Link: Bateman, T. (2017). Maybe Something Beautiful. School Library Journal, 63(2), 52.

Intended Grade: PK-2

The Night Is Yours

"During a hot summer evening in the courtyard of an apartment building, a group of black children gather to play now that the day has cooled." --School Library Journal

Review Citation and Link: The Night Is Yours. (2020). School Library Journal, 65(12), 56.

Intended Grade: PK-2

Outside In (eBook)

"Lovely, expressionistic art and poetic prose invite readers to contemplate nature’s mystique and its role in everyday life, which is often taken for granted or goes unnoticed." --Booklist

Review Citation and Link: Rosenfeld, S. (2020). Outside In. Booklist, 116(13), 65.

Intended Grade: PK-2

Awards: Randolph Caldecott Medal

Hiking Day

"A black family--mom, dad, and daughter--drives 20 minutes away from their suburb for a day hike up Hickory Hill, where they enjoy the flora, fauna, and autumnal changes." --Kirkus Reviews

Review Citation and Link: Hiking Day. (2018). Kirkus Reviews, 86(14), 1.

Intended Grade: PK-2

All Around Us (eBook)

"In Gonzalez and Garcia's picture-book debut, a girl and her grandfather reflect on the cycles that characterize life, death, and renewal." --Kirkus Reviews

Review Citation and Link: All around Us. (2017). Kirkus Reviews, 85(16), 1.

Intended Grade: PK-2

Awards: Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor Book

The Field

"Rhythmic English and Creole text convey the excitement of a youth soccer game, while Alcántara's color-saturated illustrations depict a lush island community and the joyful camaraderie of the game." --Book Links

Review Citation and Link: Cole, S. (2019). The Field. Book Links, 28(4), 31.

Intended Grade: PK-3

Mix It Up! (eBook)

"Who's ready to dip their fingers in the paint? The primary-colored dots from Press Here (2011) are back, but while last time they focused predominantly on motion, this time they plunge headlong into color mixing." --Kirkus Reviews

Review Citation and Link: Mix It up. (2014). Kirkus Reviews, 82(15), 138–139.

Intended Grade: PK-5

Water in the Park

"From sunrise to sunset on a scorching summer day, people (and animals) use the water found in a park in many different ways." --Kirkus Reviews

Review Citation and Link: Water in the Park. (2013). Kirkus Reviews, 81(7), 91.

Intended Grade: PK-2

I Can Play (eBook)

"Pleasant rhyme and bright, thick-lined, childlike mixed-media illustrations emphasize the fun of being active, no matter what pursuits kids choose." --School Library Journal

Review Citation and Link: I Can Dance/I Can Play. (2016). School Library Journal, 62(1), 63.

Intended Grade: PK and Up


We Are Water Protectors

"The book is written to give voice not just to the people in the struggle to protect their sacred sites and water, but to the animals, great and small, that depend on a clean ecosystem. The stunning hues of green and blue water are contrasted by an array of exuberant colors." --Language Arts

Review Citation and Link: We Are Water Protectors. (2021). Language Arts98(5), 291–291. National Council of Teachers of English.

Awards: Randolph Caldecott Medal


"A young fellow in a bright yellow slicker has a great play day planned despite gray skies. In fact, it’s even better after a down­ pour creates puddles and rivers in the gutters for the newspaper boat he has made." --Booklist

Review Citation and Link: McDermott, J. (2015). Float. Booklist111(19/20), 116.

Video Read Aloud:

Yo Se Que el Rio Me Ama (eBook)

"In sweeping lyrical prose--in both English and Spanish--a little girl describes her special relationship with the river she loves, which loves her in return. The river keeps the little girl's smiling reflection, sings her name in the rushing waters and cools her down when she jumps in to swim. The little girl is careful to only leave behind what truly belongs in the river's waters." --Kurkis Reviews

Review Citation and Link: I Know the River Loves Me/Yo Sé Que El Río Me Ama. (2009). Kirkus Reviews77(16), 879.

Video read aloud:


"Two children, accompanied by their father, wave as their mother sets off to travel 300 miles down the Hudson River on her solitary adventure. In the evenings, the woman writes and draws in her sketchbook, detailing her exploits after setting up camp for the night. Caldecott Honor Book creator Cooper offers short descriptive paragraphs that encapsulate the striking beauty and harrowing challenges she encounters. 'The moon climbs up among the stars. She is alone, but not. The river stays beside her, mumbling to her and to itself all through the night.'” --Booklist

Review Citation and Link: Owen, Maryann. 2019. “River.” Booklist 116 (1): 109.

Video read aloud:

I Talk Like a River

"In this lyrical and empowering picture book, Canadian poet Scott tells a story based on his own experiences as a boy who stuttered. In simple, evocative language, he captures the isolation, social devastation, and self-doubt of a child who feels incapable of communicating his thoughts and offers an affirming way to think about difference." --Horn Book Magazine

Review Citation and Link: Toth, L. (2020). I Talk like a River. Horn Book Magazine96(6), 82–83.

Video Read Aloud:

Awards: Schneider Family Book Award

A River

"A sinuous river journey of engaging scenes is presented within a textured cover.  Readers follow the silver boat from city to sea." --English

Review Citation and Link: Marshall, B. (2016). River. English 4--11, 57, 24.

Along the Tapajós

"Brother and sister risk the dangers of a flood and animals to rescue their pet tortoise. Siblings Cauã and Inaê live on the banks of Brazil's Tapajós River, one of the biggest in the Amazon rainforest. Like many other children, they wake up, travel via boat to school, and come back home. However, each year, when the rains begin and the river rises enough to cover whole houses, the entire town packs up and travels down the river to a safer location, leaving only their houses behind. Spreads with furious rain, similar to Daniel Miyares' Float (2015), signal overpowering change to the town." --Kirkus Reviews

Review Citation and Link: Along the Tapajós. (2019). Kirkus Reviews87(15)

Mela and the Elephant (eBook)

"Phumiruk takes readers to the country of her birth in an instructive contemporary fable about kindness, set in a village in Northern Thailand. A girl named Mela sets off to explore the nearby banks of the Ping River, refusing to bring along her younger brother. "What will you give me if I take you?" she asks, but he has nothing. The decision comes back to bite her after she's swept away by the current and winds up far from home." --Publishers Weekly

Review Citation and Link: Mela and the Elephant. (2018). Publishers Weekly265(4), 84.

Featured Books


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Within each classification number (e.g. PZ7) works are organized by the author’s last name.

Classification Number Contents
PZ 7 Fiction by authors whose first works were published between 1870 and 2014
PZ 7.1 Fiction by authors whose first works are published in 2015 and beyond
Other PZ Class. Numbers Contents
PZ 5  Collections of works by different authors
PZ 7.5  Novels in verse
PZ 8    Traditional fairy tales
​PZ 8.1  Folklore and legends
PZ 8.2  Fables
PZ 8.3  Nursery rhymes and stories in rhyme
Higher PZ numbers  Juvenile fiction in languages other than English


Classification Number Contents
A General works
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
C Auxiliary sciences of history
D World history and history of Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, etc.
E & F History of the Americas
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation
H Social sciences
J & K Political science & Law
L Education
M  & N Music & Fine arts
P Language and literature (Criticism, Plays, Short Stories, Poetry)
Q Science
R Medicine
S Agriculture
T Technology
U  & V       Military science & Naval science
Z   Bibliography. Library science. Information resources

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