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Mailbox Monday #595

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what we received:

How to Spot an Artist by Danielle Krysa from Media Masters Publicity.

With over 200,000 Instagram followers, Danielle Krysa has helped a lot of people overcome the fear that they “aren’t creative.” In books like Creative Block and Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk she calls out the self-criticism that keeps us from claiming and expressing our artistic abilities. Now she uses her characteristic playfulness, lively illustrations, and humor to help kids overcome negativity about their artistic endeavors–and to help them redefine what being an artist means. Every page delivers encouragement to the kid who thinks artists all live in cities, or that art has to look like something familiar, or that painting and drawing are the only way to make art. In a world that drastically undervalues creative freedom, Krysa’s whimsical paintings and collages joyfully proclaim that art is essential and that artists are everywhere. Additionally, a page at the back of the book includes ideas for art projects–because who wants fewer art projects? Nobody!

School by Britta Teckentrup from Media Masters Publicity.

Few authors move as easily between the different worlds children inhabit as Britta Teckentrup. Whether she’s leading the littlest readers through the seasons, or exploring the science of bird feathers, Teckentrup’s warm and wonderfully detailed illustrations are a marvelous portal to feelings, facts, and fun. In her newest book, Teckentrup takes readers inside a busy school to follow different students through their day–in class, during free time, at lunch, and through swimming lessons. We come across a variety of faces and expressions that reflect the enormous range of emotions and experiences that each school day brings. There are arguments and hurt feelings, encouraging hugs and deeply felt smiles. The gentle text explores issues that we’ve all encountered–bullying and loneliness as well as friendship and achievement. While the school in this book could exist anywhere, every reader will find a piece of her or himself in its beautifully and sensitively wrought story.

The Little Dancer by Geraldine Elschner and Olivier Desvaux from Media Masters Publicity.

Degas’s ballerina paintings are well known and admired and his sculptural work Little Dancer Aged Fourteen–the only sculpture he exhibited in his lifetime–is particularly beloved for capturing the essence of a ballerina. This book tells the fictional story of a young girl who dreams of becoming a ballet dancer. Jeanne auditions at the Opera Garnier and moves with her mother, a laundress, to Montmartre where life becomes consumed by rehearsals and classes. One day she meets Mr. D, an artist who asks Jeanne to be his model. As Mr. D works on his sculpture, Jeanne prepares tirelessly for an important performance. The book culminates with Jeanne triumphing at the Opera–and Mr. D completing his sculpture with her help. Olivier Desvaux’s gorgeous illustrations, which recall Degas paintings, bring readers into Jeanne’s world–the studio where she spends her days, the tiny apartment where she sleeps with her mother, and Mr. D’s atelier, where he preserves her story forever. Readers will learn about the life of a young dancer in 19th-century Paris, and at the end of the book they will learn even more about one Degas’s most intriguing works.

The Magic Doll by Adrienne Yabouza and Elodie Nouhen from Media Masters Publicity.

In a small village in West Africa, a young girl explains the special way she was born. Her mother had difficulty getting pregnant, so she seeks help in the form of a doll which she treats like a human baby, carrying it on her back and covering it with kisses. Months go by and finally the woman’s belly begins to grow! This beautiful story explores the Akua-Ba fertility figures of the Akan people of Ghana, while also depicting the deep love a mother has for her children. Élodie Nouhen’s subtle, gorgeous illustrations combine collage and prints that are reminiscent of traditional African art, while remaining uniquely contemporary. Each spread communicates the look and feel of West Africa–the blazing yellow of the sun, the deep blue of the sky, the richly patterned textiles, and vibrant flora and fauna. Adrienne Yabouza’s text echoes the rhythms of life in her homeland–the Central African Republic. The book closes with a short introduction to African art and the importance of fertility statues in African cultures.

What did you receive?