Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel by Nikki Grimes

dyamonde-daniel“Dyamonde liked even numbers. In fact, Dyamonde liked numbers, period.  Math made sense to her…Math was something you could always count on.  Well, mostly.

For a long time after her mom and dad got divorced, Dyamonde hated math because all she could see was subtraction.  Mom’s voice minus Dad’s.  Two for breakfast instead of three.  Monday night TV minus the football.  It just didn’t feel right, at first.  But things were a little better now.  Dyamonde plus her mom equaled two, and two was a nice even number and even numbers rule.”

Y’all, you are going to love Dyamonde Daniel.  She’s new in town, living in a different neighborhood than she did before her parents divorced, but she’s settling in lickety-split. She knows everybody in the neighborhood already!  Her big concern is Free, the new kid.  Why is he so grumpy?  Why does he say he can’t read when she knows very well that he can-in fact, she saw him reading on the playground?

Dyamonde’s determined to figure out Free.  She knows the little kids are scared of him, ’cause he seems so crabby, but she suspects that he’s not as grumpy as he looks.  They might even be friends!

Nikki Grimes has done it again-given us loveable, relatable, real-feeling characters with positive solutions to troubles they encounter.  Fans of Clementine, Junie B. Jones, and Babymouse should find a friend in Dyamonde.

If you liked this, why not try:

The Magnificent Mya Tibbs series by Crystal Allen

Ruby and the Booker Boys by Derrick Barnes

Sunny Holiday by Coleen Murtagh Paratore

Nikki and Deja by Karen English

Squish: Super Amoeba by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

squish“In the battle between good and evil, there’s only one who has the courage to do what’s right…Squish! Saving the world…one cell at a time!”

He’s squishy, he’s blobby, he’s got no arms…introducing Squish: Super Amoeba, here for your world-saving needs!  When scary Lynwood, the bully amoeba from detention, makes plans to eat Peggy Paramecium, Squish has to muster up his courage and stand up for his friend!

Brought to you by the creators of Babymouse, this children’s graphic novel is full ofPeggy imagination, bright illustrations, and is sure to appeal to the elementary school crowd.  I couldn’t help myself-he’s so adorable, and the captions and illustrations are so funny; this kind of book is just irresistible to me.

There is plenty of elementary school goofy humor, real-life problems (bullying) handled with equal parts lightness and compassion, AND a huge bonus-my alter ego in a graphic novel.  That’s right, everyone-I found her.  Peggy Paremecium.  SHE’S SUPER CHEERFUL, FOLKS!

Squish21-540x732Extra bonus: this is an awesome series, so you can read all of Squish’s adventures!  Look for the changing expression on his hat, and the SUPER COOL science experiment and amoeba-drawing pages in the back of each book! You’ll love this one, I’m sure of it. Better still, even those kiddos who struggle a bit with reading will be able to progress with this book.  It’s a great sense of accomplishment to finish an entire book, and the Squish series has all the ingredients for a crowd-pleaser, even a crowd that is not too sure about all this reading business.  I waited foreeeeeeveeeeer for Squish No. 1 to make it back on the library shelves before I could check it out!

Happy Reading!

Holm, Jennifer H. And Matthew. Squish: Super Amoeba. New York: Random House, 2011. 90 pp.

Want more?  Let’s read our way through!

Squish 2: Brave New Pond

Squish 3: The Power of the Parasite

Squish 4: Captain Disaster

Squish 5: Game On!

If you’re all Squished out, you’d probably like the Babymouse and Lunch Lady graphic novel series.

Love that Dog by Sharon Creech

“April 26

Sometimes

when you are trying

not to think about something

it keeps popping back

into your head.

You can’t help it

you think about it

and

think about it

and think about it

until your brain

feels like a squashed pea.”

Jack hates poetry.  He doesn’t want to read it, and he certainly doesn’t want to write it.  However, he is in the same situation as many children: you do not get to choose what you want to do in school.  And so, in a series of assigned poems over the course of a school year, Jack dutifully records his feelings.  In the beginning, they’re short and grumpy poems, like “I tried. Can’t do it. Brain’s empty” or “I don’t want to because boys don’t write poetry.  Girls do.” However, once he reads the poems of Walter Dean Myers, who is 1) not a girl and 2) not writing about roses and romance or wheelbarrows, Jack begins to feel differently.  He begins to write about the death of his beloved dog in poem form.  He even musters up the bravery, with his teacher’s encouragement, to ask Walter Dean Myers to visit his school.  Poems? They may not be so bad after all.

Does anyone remember the William Carlos Williams poem about the red wheelbarrow?

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.

As a young child, that poem filled me with rage.  Really?! I thought. You’ve got to be kidding me. You know what? No.  So much does NOT depend on wheelbarrows.  Why am I reading this? I’ll admit it freely, friends.  Until someone taught me about symbolism and brevity and the distilled emotions of poetry, I had absolutely no patience or interest in it. (Now, I am a happy subscriber to the Poetry Foundation magazine and spend many hours reading poems-that’s the truth! I even became a literature major-there is hope for all you who do not yet love poetry!) Anyway, when Jack opens his book with a complaint about the wheelbarrow, I laughed out loud!  In an authentic voice, Jack manages to display his distaste for poetry, but creates some very moving poems while doing so.

The best part of this book is its intertextuality-a fancy word that means “references to other books”.  Not only does Jack chronicle his appreciation for the young adult superstar author, Walter Dean Myers, he also discusses several famous and important poems.  These poems are included in the back of the book, so you can read them, too. The book is like a bunch of arrows pointing to other great books and poets and authors, so it makes you want to read more!  This is an excellent way to introduce a poetry unit in the classroom because it acknowledges the common complaints against poetry, discusses why poetry is important (without preaching, friends, because you know that is really something I can’t bear in a book-kids smell that a mile away!), and then gives us some clues for new things to read.  Furthermore, anyone who has ever lost a pet will be moved by Jack’s poems about his dog.

Happy Reading!

Author’s website: http://www.sharoncreech.com

Creech, Sharon. Love that Dog. HarperCollins: New York, 2001. 86 pp. Ages 8-12.

If you liked this book, and it made you crazy for poetry and now you want to read it all the time, like me, you might want to try the sequel to this book, called Hate that Cat.  Home of the Brave is a poem-story about a young Sudanese refugee settling in Minnesota, and Out of the Dust is the story of a young girl living in Oklahoma during the Great Depression.  And of course, everyone should read everything Walter Dean Myers has ever written!

Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus

“‘I guess you’ll never become a samurai now, huh, Manjiro-chan?’

‘Why not?’ Manjiro asked.

‘Even if we should get home, you know very well you can’t be.  You weren’t born into a samurai family.  You were born a fisherman’s son, and you will be a fisherman, and any sons you have, they will also be fishermen.  That is the way it is; that is the way it always has been; that is the way it will always be.'”

Fourteen-year-old Manjiro wants to be a samurai, but in nineteenth-century Japan, there is no changing one’s family job.  Fishing is his destiny, even if he wishes for more.  However, when Manjiro and his fishing mates are stranded on a deserted island, and then picked up by a whaling ship, he finds more adventure than he could have imagined.  There is a great price, though:  even though he will travel the seas and live in America, he will never be able to return home.  The custom in Japan at the time was to remain completely isolated; no foreigners are admitted, and citizens who leave may never come back.  Though Manjiro has ten years of adventures, including panning for gold, learning to make barrels, horse racing with his classmates, and living with his adoptive family,  he simply longs to return to his home and his blood family.  Will he ever find his way home again?

This Newbery Honor book has the distinction of being based on a true story: there was a real Manjiro, who was really picked up by the John Howland, an American whaling ship.  According to Margi Preus, Manjiro was the first know person of Japanese heritage to reach America!  Included in this book are actual sketches of his, and some real words from his diaries.  I enjoyed the factual aspects of the story, especially such an intriguing and unusual one.  Younger readers will appreciate the beautiful black and white illustrations, and the detailed historical notes, glossary, and explanations of the Japanese calender and time systems will please teachers.  This book seems made for the classroom!

Happy Reading!

Preus, Margi. Heart of a Samurai. Amulet Books: New York, 2010. 301 pp. Ages 10-14.

I’m sorry, the author’s website does not seem to be up and running right now! I’ll keep checking and bring you the link when it is.

If you liked this book, more great historical fiction awaits! Try One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia, Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer Holm, or Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis.

Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes

“The TV says the governor has asked the president to declare a state of emergency.  The National Guard has been called up.  Now the breathless weatherman is saying the hurricane will hit Mississippi and Louisiana. Both.

I’m feeling ANXIOUS: FULL OF ANXIETY. GREATLY CONCERNED, ESPECIALLY ABOUT SOMETHING IN THE FUTURE OR UNKNOWN.

I’m feeling more anxious because I looked up unfathomable in my pocket dictionary.  UNFATHOMABLE: BEYOND UNDERSTANDING, IMPOSSIBLE TO MEASURE.

In math, I learned everything can be measured.  Air, water, wind. Volume. Velocity. Depth.

So why not a hurricane? There, I’ve said it.”

Lanesha lives with her adoptive grandmother, Mama Ya-Ya, in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward.  The pair may not be blood relatives, but are closer than any family-they are all each other has in the world.  Lanesha and Mama Ya-Ya also share powers: Lanesha can see ghosts, and Mama Ya-Ya gets visions about the future.   When Mama Ya-Ya’s dream visions predict a hurricane, Lanesha tries hard to prepare for the coming storm.  She’s nervous, though; Mama Ya-Ya can’t fully understand the end of her visions about the storm, and the news anchors say it will be the worst they’ve had in decades.  When Hurricane Katrina finally hits the city, Lanesha has to be brave in order to protect everything that she loves.

I’d been wanting to read this book for so long, and it was even better than I expected!  Jewell Parker Rhodes’ depiction of the love inherent in Lanesha’s assembled family is so tender.  Mama Ya-Ya, Lanesha, and later, a stray dog and TaShon, Lanesha’s first real friend, are warmly devoted to each other, despite the stresses of their lives. Lanesha herself is a brilliant young woman; she’s compassionate, inquisitive, and wants to grow up to become an engineer.  I especially loved her passion for science and mathematics; she’s advanced enough that a teacher of hers gives her the teacher’s edition of a pre-algebra textbook for her to work through independently. It’s great to see a female character excelling in math, especially when presented in such a natural way.  Way to defy a stereotype!

And really, that is what this book is about-we all were exposed to so much press about the violence and poverty in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina that an untrue and unfair depiction of the city’s poor developed.  Jewell Parker Rhodes gently dismantles this image.  For example, Lanesha has the ability to see ghosts. (Don’t worry, this isn’t a ghost story, and the ghosts are benign or helpful, so younger readers are still good to go with this story.)  At school, she sees the ghost of an older classmate, one who had been in the wrong place at the wrong time during a gas station robbery-a subtle reminder that assuming all shooting deaths are gang-related, and that poor people are violent is just that, an assumption, and not true.  The inhabitants of Lanesha’s poverty-stricken neighborhood are humanized in this story; they look after each other and share their few resources.  This Ninth Ward isn’t ridden with senseless violence, neither before, nor after the hurricane.

The magical realism in this story (Mama Ya-Ya’s visions and Lanesha’s ghosts) is seamlessly integrated with the actual events of the hurricane, and it gave it another layer of appeal.  It also kept the book from being just a recounting of the storm.  I loved how it was used to connect Lanesha with her mother, who died in childbirth. This is just a lovely book, on so many levels.  Not only does it give some good perspective on the hurricane’s devastation, appropriate for a younger audience, it also demonstrates the legitimacy of non-traditional families and deconstructs stereotypes about young women and poor minorities. Rhodes tells us a story about the strength of love, even amidst destruction, and it is absolutely beautiful!

Happy Reading!

Rhodes, Jewell Parker.  Ninth Ward. Little, Brown: New York, 2010. 217 pp. Ages 10-14.

Author’s website: http://jewellparkerrhodes.com

Normally, when I’m reading, recommendations just come to me and I feel what books would be similar.  However, I don’t know of others so much like this, though I wish I did, and I’m getting ready to explore.  Zora and Me, is a wonderful one that I have read, a former winner of the  Coretta Scott King award.  It has the same feel of warmth and family-love, but it is set in the deep south during the Jim Crow era, so it is more historical.  We could also try Turtle in Paradise or Three Times Lucky.

Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata

“My sister, Lynn, taught me my first word: kira-kira. I pronounced it ka-a-ahhh, but she knew what I meant. Kira-kira means “glittering” in Japanese.  Lynn told me that when I was a baby, she used to take me onto our empty road at night, where we would lie on our backs and look at the stars while she said over and over, ‘Katie, say ‘kira-kira, kira-kira.‘ I loved that word!”

Katie is convinced that her sister Lynn is both a genius and the kindest girl in the world. Lynn’s world is kira-kira, from her dreams of living by the California sea, to her practice of making both “selfish” and “unselfish” wishes at night. When they move from a small Japanese enclave in the Midwest to racially-homogenous Georgia, Lynn teaches Katie about the reasons why people sometimes stare at them, or make them use different doors or hotel rooms reserved for “Colored Only”.  Rather than disheartening the sisters, racism and hardships only strengthen the bond between them.  However, when Lynn becomes seriously ill, her family is shattered, beyond broken-hearted.  Katie must draw from Lynn’s lessons about hope and hard work in order to help keep her family going.

This book is a Newbery Medal winner for a reason.  I’m starting to notice some important elements that appear in outstanding books.  The big award winners seem to have these in common: 1. They deal with the Big Issues: ethics, death/suffering, human nature, and love-universal human experiences. 2.  The characters are complex, with both flaws and positive traits. Their actions seem to make sense in context; that is, you can understand their motivations. 3. The book has another Special Bit about it-maybe a stunningly creative plot, or perhaps a story told from a character whose voice has not been represented before in the literary world.  Now, that’s just my informal assessment, but it certainly does apply in this case.

Kira-Kira‘s simple language belies its complexity.  The story is one exploring racism, poverty, and serious illness.  Lynn’s sickness, when juxtaposed against the backdrop of her parents’ brutal factory labor and the family’s poverty, could sink the entire book into a tragic mire and we would all cry ourselves sick.  While it is heartbreaking, of course, the story is lightened with humorous stories and Lynn’s gentle optimism; that’s what makes it so special.  It’s no Pollyanna-readers can smell that business a mile away-but it manages to address the horrors of disease at an age-appropriate, un-sugar-coated level.  It is like John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars: it slaps you in the heart with scary things, and then teaches you how some people have handled it.  It’s part guidebook, part story-and what a lovely story! The sisters give up their weekly candy in order to help secretly save money for a house.  They are sent to school in pin curls, the likes of which no one in Georgia has ever seen.  Lynn is a chess genius, beating her uncle repeatedly in a book-long series of games.  There is chicken-sexing (yes, it’s a real job), unionizing, and rice balls! And for the educators out there, the book includes one of the most comprehensive and thoughtful reader’s guides I’ve come across yet.

Happy Reading!

Author’s website: http://cynthiakadohata.com/

Kadohata, Cynthia. Kira-Kira. Simon and Schuster: New York, 2004.244 pp. Ages 10-14.

If you liked this book because of the experiences of of minority characters in the past, you might like one of my absolute favorite books: In the Year of the Boar and Jackie RobinsonIt was published in 1986, so I know it might be a little dated, but does that matter when it is set in a previous time period, anyway?  Plus, it’s incredible. Also, you should check out Cynthia Kadohata’s other books-I can’t wait to read them! If you are looking for books that deal with serious illness (and journaling-something Lynn loves to do!) , you might try Notes from the Dog by Gary Paulsen.

The Candymakers by Wendy Mass

“Congratulations, Future Candymakers! You have been accepted to compete in the Annual New Candy Contest sponsored by the Confectionary Association.  The following participants from Region III will report to the Life Is Sweet candy factory two days prior to the contest: Logan Sweet, Miles O’Leary, Daisy Carpenter, and Philip Ransford III.”

Logan Sweet is the son of the Candymaker.  His father owns the Life Is Sweet candy factory, where they grow their own cocoa beans, keep hives of bees, and can identify the cow who gave the milk by the way the milk tastes.  There is a library, a taffy room, a tropical room, and…a mystery.

Logan has a lot to live up to: both his father and grandfather won the Annual New Candy Contest in years past.  However, he just feels clumsy around recipes; it seems that when he’s trying to create candy, nothing goes right.  How will he manage to invent a candy good enough to win, if he can’t even keep his sugar from boiling over?

The other contestants are just as diverse and interesting as the candies that Life is Sweet produces.  Miles is obsessed with the afterlife, carries around a life vest, and is allegedly allergic to pink and pancakes.  Daisy can never match her socks and is best friends with Magpie, her horse.  Philip keeps a hidden notebook and wears suits that are just as stiff and starchy as his personality.  However, things aren’t as they seem in this sweet mystery.  Each of the characters has a secret, and someone is trying to steal the secret ingredient at Life is Sweet and sabotage the contest! Worse still, if the secret ingredient is discovered, it could mean financial ruin for the factory, and Life is Sweet could lose all of their business.  Logan has to get to the bottom of things before his family loses everything!

Ok. Here’s the thing: my love for candy is second only to my love for reading.  I even made up a weekly holiday, called Candysunday.  You know how most Sundays are full of getting ready for the week, which means grocery shopping and homework and laundry?  Well, that’s a gloomy way to start the week, I’ve always thought.  Candysunday is my antidote for it: basically, I don’t eat any candy during the week, but on Sundays, I can have as much as I want! So, in honor of Candysunday this week, I wanted to tell you about this darling book.

At first glance, the splendid candy factory setting makes you think of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but even though the factory is delightful and similar in some ways to Dahl’s, this book is more of a clever mystery than a quirky adventure.  The format is interesting: each of the four contestants tells his or her side of the story.  We not only learn their secret hopes and insecurities, but also what they know about the mystery.  Who has been trying to steal the secret ingredients?  Is there a scandal brewing at the New Candy Contest?

Readers will be drawn to these quirky characters, and appreciate the very real anxieties woven into a fanciful plot.  Without being didactic, the four separate storytellers subtly illustrates how easy it is to make assumptions about others’ actions, and the underlying message of the story is one championing collaboration, rather than competition.  It is a gentle read, sweet without being saccharine, and offbeat without being wacky.  It would be a good read-aloud for families with older elementary-school children, and a read-alone for sixth and seventh graders.

Happy Reading!

Author’s website: http://www.wendymass.com

Mass, Wendy. The Candymakers. Little, Brown: New York, 2010. 453 pp.  Ages 10-14.

If you liked this one, be sure to check out the original candy wonderland of Charlie in the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.  If you liked the mystery part, try Blue Balliet’s The Danger Box or Chasing Vermeer, or The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart.

Oh, and one more thing:  the Pepsicles and Oozing Crunchoramas sound amazing!

 

 

Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

“Rules and Things Number 29: When You Wake Up and Don’t Know for Sure Where You’re At and There’s a Bunch of People Standing Around You, It’s Best to Pretend You’re Still Asleep Until You Can Figure Out What’s Going On and What You Should Do”

Bud (not Buddy, never Buddy) is an orphan, or so he thinks.  His mom died, and she never talked about his dad.  In the middle of the Great Depression, life isn’t easy for anyone, much less for orphans.  When Bud’s prank gets him in trouble at the group home, and he get sent back to the orphanage, he decides it’s best for him to set out on his own.  He tries his hand at train-hopping, eats out of a can in a hobo camp, and is tricked by a mustard sandwich into accepting a car ride that will change his life forever.  See, he’s trying to find the legendary bandleader, H. E. Calloway, the man he believes to be his father, and all he knows is that he has to get to Grand Rapids.  After that, he figures, things will work themselves out.

This book has been on my to-read list since a classmate gave a book talk on it last year, and I’m so pleased to finally have read it.  It’s hilarious! You wouldn’t think that the plight of an orphan runaway during the Great Depression would allow for much levity, but Bud’s constant inner narrative is insightful and droll.  My favorite was his long list of  “Rules and Things”, which are all quite true, and you’ll be happy to read things that you’ve thought, but never been brave enough to say.  Honestly, in setting and resolution, it reminded me of Wonderstruck, which was a really pleasant surprise for me; it would be nice to read these two books right after one another.

This book is written for upper elementary and middle schoolers; it is a quick, funny read with substance.  I enjoyed it a lot!  I think it would be a great read-aloud classroom book: interesting to both male and female students, and set in a historical time period that would be fun to study.

Happy Reading!

Website: http://www.randomhouse.com/features/christopherpaulcurtis

Curtis, Christopher Paul. Bud, Not Buddy. Random House: New York, 1999. 243 pp.

If you like this, please, please try Wonderstruck!

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

Image“He wished that he was with his mom in her library, where everything was safe and numbered and organized by the Dewey decimal system.  Ben wished the world was organized by the Dewey decimal system.  That way you’d be able to find whatever you were looking for, like the meaning of your dream, or your dad.”

Ben’s mother worked as the librarian in their small town, until she died in an accident, leaving Ben alone and lost.  He never knew his dad.  Now he lives with his aunt and uncle, who are kind, but after losing his mom, he can’t help but wonder about his father: where is he?  Who is he? During a thunderstorm, he discovers a mysterious message that he thinks could be from his father, and he is determined to get to the bottom of things, even if it means getting to New York City on his own.

Half a century earlier, Rose is being pushed to learn to lipread.  She rebels, cutting up her lipreading primer and turning it into a diorama of New York.  She keeps a scrapbook of her favorite movie star, and goes to all her movies.  Even though she can’t hear, Rose can still go to silent movies, and read the dialogue, like everyone else.  When she sees a newspaper headline that says Lillian Mayhew, her heroine, will be in New York soon, Rose sets out for the big city.

Rose’s part of the book is told entirely with Selznick’s intricate, enchanting pencil sketches, while Ben’s storyImage is told with words.  The effect, much like The Invention of Hugo Cabret, is rich; this, like its predecessor, is a book to be treasured.  Indeed, Wonderstruck shares several similarities with Selznick’s previous book:  orphan protagonists, museums, secret messages, and adventures that take place in very important cities. I especially loved that the two books were so similar, because I felt bereft after I finished The Invention of Hugo Cabret, as though there was unlikely to ever be another book that made me feel the same way.  I shouldn’t have worried, though: with the release of Scorsese’s magical film rendition of Hugo, followed by Wonderstruck, the stories aren’t over.

ImageMy advice?  This is a book for sharing. Read it to your classroom after recess: the mystery will keep the students engaged, while the ethereal illustrations will inspire even the most timid budding artist.  Read it to your children, to anyone you love who cares about Deaf culture, dioramas, paper art, the American Museum of Natural History, libraries, adventures, thunderstorms, or New York. Read it with hot chocolate and a mind ready to marvel.  Selznick’s world is meaning-rich and stocked with secrets.  He is clearly an author that has not forgotten what it like to dream.  Let’s all hope he has another book dreamed up for us, and soon.

Happy Reading!

Wonderstruck website: http://www.wonderstruckthebook.com

Selznick, Brian. Wonderstruck. Scholastic Press: New York, 2011. 635 pp. (I promise, it doesn’t feel like it at all; you are going to wish it would last forever.)  Ages 10 and up.

If you liked this book, try The Invention of Hugo Cabret or the shorter graphic novel, Shaun Tan’s The Arrival.

Courage by Bernard Waber

“Courage is if you knew where there were some mountains, you would definitely climb them.”

“Courage is arriving much too early for a birthday party.”

“Courage is holding on to your dream.”

This is my book, my favorite book.  The author and illustrator is the same man who brought us Lyle, Lyle Crocodile and Ira Sleeps Over, and this time he’s chosen to tell us what courage is.  Through a series of creative and funny, sometimes very tender illustrations, he explains that there are many different types of courage, and many ways to be brave. For a dog in the story, going crazy on the end of his leash, chasing after a terrified and puffed-up cat, courage is “breaking bad habits”, for the new kid, courage is “saying, flat out, ‘Hi, my name is Wayne. What’s yours?'”

A dear friend of mine, who is also a wonderful preschool teacher, told me about this book, and now I reread it every time I need to feel brave about something.  It’s not just for kids; grown-ups feel scared too, and this book is all about the “keep trying” that makes being brave possible.

Happy Reading!

I wasn’t able to find Mr. Waber’s personal website, but here is the publisher’s page: http://www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com/authors/waber/index.shtml

Waber, Bernard. Courage. Houghton Mifflin Books: New York, 2002. 40 pp. Ages 4-8. ISBN 978-0618238552.

If you like this book, try Lyle, Lyle Crocodile by the same author, or Spaghetti in a Hotdog Bun by Maria Dismondy.