My Favorite Read-Aloud Books Right Now: October 2015

This month our favorite library finds cover everything from evolution to cuteness, picture books to graphic novels!

Older than the Stars. Image credit: Charlesbridge Publishing
Older than the Stars. Image credit: Charlesbridge Publishing

Older Than the Stars, written by Karen C. Fox and illustrated by Nancy Davis, presents the idea that we are all as old as the universe. With abstract background images, the cumulative story starts with the last line and works its way backward. For example, the first two pages are: “This is the bang when the world began” and “These are the bits that were born in the bang when the world began.” Eventually, we work our way through to how the big bang relates to the sun, our planet, our environment, all the way down to “you.” It’s really fun to read, much in the style of “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly,” and each page features a little side note with more details.

Going Places. Image credit: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Going Places. Image credit: Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Going Places, created by identical twin brothers Peter and Paul Reynolds, follows the story of classroom pals Rafael and Maya. When their teachers gives everyone identical “going places kit” to build go-carts, Rafael follows the directions exactly. But when he finds out that Maya decided to use her kit to build something different, they team up and dare to dream big. This picture book is cute and sure to please any maker!

Chi's Sweet Home. Image credit: Vertical Comics
Chi’s Sweet Home. Image credit: Vertical Comics

Chi’s Sweet Home, written and illustrated by Konami Kanata, is a Japanese manga about an adorable, playful, and slightly mischievous kitten. Conveniently divided into mini-stories that run about five pages each, it’s easy and quick to read a couple each night in between other books…if you can stop! That cat is so cute, I couldn’t really stop myself.

Cleopatra in Space. Image credit: Graphix
Cleopatra in Space. Image credit: Graphix

Cleopatra in Space, written and illustrated by Mike Maihack, is a graphic novel about a young Cleopatra transported through time and space. She finds herself on an alien planet to discover she is the messiah that an ancient prophecy promised would save the world.  The story is not super innovative—I rolled my eyes, not another “the one” story—but it manages to do it really well. It hits all the right notes with great art, a fast-paced storyline, and an action-loving female lead.

Lucy Long Ago. Image credit: Houghton Mifflin
Lucy Long Ago. Image credit: Houghton Mifflin

Finishing off the list is the lengthy Lucy Long Ago: Uncovering the Mystery of Where We Came From, written by Catherine Thimmesh. Aimed for grade levels 5-7, this 64-page book contains a lot of text. However, there are a lot of images to accompany the text so my 5-year-old requested it every night until we had read our way through the entire thing. We learned about the famous skeleton nicknamed Lucy and everything around it: what the bones tell us about her body and lifestyle, what her location revealed, how artists can take a pretty good guess at what she looked like, how her discovery changed what we understood about our evolutionary family tree, etc. Captivating the whole way through!

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Ariane is a programmer married to another programmer. Together they have two little girls who don't stand a chance against their nerdy lineage. Ariane can also be found illustrating for Intelligently Adorable.