Book Talk

Now Read This! Book Recommendations

February 19, 2016

For my annual City of West Hollywood Children’s Roundtable BOOK TALK, I presented these fabulous titles. Some are tried and true 2016 Weho Booksexceptional books. Some are hot off the shelf. All are worth the time to read and to share. 

Disclaimer. I typically provide publishers and grade recommendations however at the risk of being less than complete, I offer this list today — otherwise it will have to wait until I return from my next excursion to Southeast Asia! Will update asap, however I want this list in YOUR hands now!


The Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena – An award-winning perfect picture book about a boy and his grandmother traveling by bus on a Sunday to help out at a community kitchen serving people in need. The story weaves together the beauty found in our communities everyday.

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate – A boy has reason to worry about being homeless and living in his family car, again, and relies on an imaginary cat for company, solace and strength. As a fan of Harvey, this is particularly heartwarming.


The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking by Edward Burger and Michael Starbird – Care to think more deeply and explore how thinking works? This short and powerful book will give you new ideas and some great stories to tell!


Make a Splash: A Kid’s Guide to Protecting our Oceans, Lakes, Rivers & Wetlands by Cathryn Berger Kaye & Philippe Cousteau and  Going Blue: A Teen Guide to Protecting our Oceans, Lakes, Rivers & Wetlands  by Cathryn Berger Kaye & Philippe Cousteau  – Both books cover a thorough overview of water-related issues and why we should care! Plenty of examples of what kids all over the world are doing in response.


A Woman For President – The Story of Victoria Woodhull by Kathleen Krull – Here’s a biography that has an unexpected beginning, middle and end! And a woman who ran for president opposite Ulysses S. Grant! We all must know Victoria Woodhull. When I unearth the teacher guide I wrote for this book, will add to this document.

Lillian’s Right to Vote by Jonah Winter – The idea of voters’ rights is present today. What happened during the Civil Rights Era? Time to learn from history! I have rarely seen a book cover this time span in such a memorable fashion. Truly for all ages (and people).

A Vote for Larry by Janet Tashjian —  A fabulous and hilarious adventure into what would happen if a teen ran opposite two traditional candidates. Read the prequel – The Gospel According to Larry by the same author and then Vote for Larry. An election will never be the same. Particularly helpful for teens grappling with the complexity of issues and zeroing in on what matters most so we can hold candidates accountable.

Life’s Choices and Diversity

In Our Village San Francisco’s Tenderloin through the Eyes of its Youth by Barbara Cervone, What Kids Can Do – Dive into the tenderloin district for this student written book in the In Our Global Village series. Find out more about In Our Global Village here and more about this particular book here.

I’m New Here by Anne Sibley O’Brian – What a helpful and important book to see the experience of children who arrive in a new place and want to find the familiar as they adapt to the new.

Worm Loves Worm by J. J. Austrian – And I love worm too! Who is getting married? Let’s all go to this fabulous wedding! Perfect!

Any Small Goodness by Tony Johnston – A thoughtful look at one family living in the barrio in Los Angeles. Through the eyes of Arturo, see what he discovers about goodness through his parents and abuela, and his community. A story you will remember forever.

Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman – This excellent point of view novel has 16 interconnected stories all about the developing of a community garden. And what stories these are from people who came from all over the world.

Handbook for Boys: A Novel by Walter Dean Meyers – This has to be one of the best books about boys growing up in Harlem facing what is difficult in everyday life, and their daily experiences being guided by the older men who you can find in a neighborhood barbershop. A must read – life lessons for all of us.

Interested in Book Study Guides for Any Small Goodness, Seedfolks, or Handbook for Boys: A Novel­—email

In peace,


Follow me on Twitter @cbkaye or on Facebook, Linked In and Declara at Cathryn Berger Kaye

February 25-March 12: Heading to Southeast Asia for SENIA at ISKL (Kuala Lumpur), and to Singapore, Bangkok, and Hong Kong. See you there?

For information on my Four Summer Institutes, click here. Each is a rich experience to engage and enrich your knowledge with inspiring educators who, like you, want to up their game! Special new institute–How to be a Great Presenter! See you this summer!