3 New Picture Books Teach Courage, Independent Spirit, and Gratitude

This is It is written and illustrated by Daria Peoples-Riley and is about a little girl who is scared to audition for a dance studio, but gives herself a pep talk and conquers her fears. It has simple but memorable text, “Grace flows from your soul to your fingertips. And happy shakes your hips.” Every reader will be able to relate to the onset of performance anxiety and the internal work it takes to prep for such an event.

This is it

The unnamed dancer performs throughout New York City in her mind. We see her dance in Central Park, the Lincoln Center and in front of the Guggenheim Museum. Her shadow is with her on all but the last two pages. Her shadow has poise and confidence on every page, even when she does not.


Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen is written by Deborah Hopkinson and Illustrated by Qin Leng. The book explains that although now Jane is thought of as being a great and important writer, throughout most of her life she was plain and went unnoticed. Jane used this time to observe the people and the world around her and to read as many novels as she could.


Although most books being written during Jane’s time were about adventure and romance and were unrealistic, Jane wanted to write something that people would recognize themselves in. The sweet and encouraging picture book ends with a timeline of Austen’s life and a brief summary of  all of her novels.


Thank You, Earth: a Love Letter to Our Planet by April Pulley Sayre, uses crisp nature photography to remind readers to be appreciative of the world around them. The letter format of the text allows readers to view the earth as a living entity, as something deserving of a written letter.

thank you earth bugs

Parents, teachers and children can view the pictures for their beauty or they can be used as a learning tool. How many seals do you see? What is that creature in the tree? The book can be perused repeatedly as the splendid photos each tell a story of their own.

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