Celebrating a Love of Words

The-Right-WordAnd speaking of award-winners (that’s our theme this month, you recall), have you read this one?

The Right Word:  Roget and His Thesaurus by Jan Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

How about this for piling up the well-deserved awards?  The Right Word is the winner of:

2015 Caldecott Honor Book

2015 Sibert Medal Winner

2015 Orbis Pictus Honor Book

Meet the man behind the handy reference tool for writers.  Peter Roget, a quiet child, had a lot going on inside.  He was a true book lover, compiling list after list of words that he delighted in.   His lists show his passion for classifying things, and for the natural world around him.  Bryant’s writing helps readers appreciate Roget’s love of words and Sweet’s lovely and intriguing watercolors are an ode to creativity.  I especially loved the addition of the vintage biology drawings and  ledger papers.  Well researched, written, and illustrated, this is a superb picture book  biography to add to your book shelves.

Interested in a few more picture books that delight in the wonder of words?  Check these out:

WordsThe Boy Who Loved Words by Roni Schotter, illustrated by Giselle Potter

Selig is passionate about everything to do with words:  their sound, their taste, and most important of all, the way they move his heart.   He collects his precious words on little scrapes of paper.  As a lover of magical realism, I appreciate the way he carts his words with him on his journey, only to put them up in a tree where they fall right where they need to–into the hands of a poet who needs them desperately. His journey doesn’t end here; check out the book for the pleasure of learning how this word lover comes to discover himself,  and find fulfillment and true love. The folk-art illustrations are the perfect complement.  (And it’s another award-winner from a few years back, recipient of the Parent’s Choice Gold.)


MissMiss Alaineous:  A Vocabulary Disaster by Debra Frasier

On one level, this is a tale of schoolgirl mortification.  When Sage misunderstands one of her teacher’s vocabulary words, she is embarrassed in front of her classmates (“Obliterate me, send me to oblivion–no one could outdo my stupidity”).  The book becomes an ode to the wonder of words–and the playfulness of language.  The lilting language and hilarious pictures add the book’s engaging qualities.  A wonderful book for word lovers of all ages!


Word-collectorThe Word Collector by Sonja Wimmer

Wimmer has crafted a wonderfully poetic story about the magic of words. Lulu adores words–and appreciates their power.
Children like lulu who are passionate about words that sing and hop, words that are long and complicated, will love this very unique picture book.  I know many children who are “word collectors,” keeping lists of their favorite words.  They will identify with Lulu as she discovers that some of the best words she loves are slowly disappearing from the world–until she does something about it.  The illustrations are delightfully different with collage artwork that dances with the words across the pages.


  MaxMax’s Words by Kate Banks

And speaking of collectors. . .Max’s whole family is very keen on collections.  Karl collects coins and Benjamin collects stamps.  But when the youngest brother Max decides to start a collection, he decides on words. His collection soon spills out into the hallway, and he finds the best thing about his collection is. . .that words create stories.  He not only categorizes his words, but finds they ways they connect to each other–and to the people he gives his precious words to.   It even works as a read-aloud.

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