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Thankful for Our World, Our Health and Our Family

Updated: Oct 28, 2020

Gratefulness is a sure-fire fix for the gloomies—that’s what the experts say, and what your little honey believes is true. In these uncertain times, let’s reach deep and focus on gratitude, bee “Thankful for our World, Our Health and Our Families.” To remind you of these blessings, Clover is all over these brand new books. Take a look-see; you’re sure to agree.

The Community Literacy Foundation, with support from it's sponsors, provides these books to 37 school and public libraries in Washington, Union, Pacific, St. Clair and surrounding communities. Learn more at

Youngest Read

Our connectedness is the backbone of “What We’ll Build: Plans for our Future Together,” by author/illustrator Oliver Jeffers.

For his newest gift to the world, Jeffers tells the story of a father and his daughter, a blonde tyke who walks hand-in-hand with her dad as he imagines their future.

To build you’ve got to have tools; this dad is at the ready, laying out hammer, nails and saw to construct their home. It’s a place of love and fun, and a structure of safety that the dad turns into a castle in his imagination, surrounded by a wall.

“A fortress to keep our enemies out and higher walls for when they shout.” But perhaps the ogres would like to come for tea—that’s allowed because “… you don’t always lose, and you don’t always win.”

The pair doesn’t stop once their home/castle is finished, next up is a tower and a tunnel and a “road up to the moon,” followed by “… a comfy place to rest, for we’ll be tired soon.”

A lifetime of adventures awaits this dad and daughter as Jeffers visualizes their future, the plethora of experiences they’ll weather—together.

Middle Read

Author/illustrator Sophie Blackall celebrates the marvelous orb we call home in “If You Come to Earth,” a picture book with award-worthy illustrations and spare, meaningful text.

Blackall presents a detailed description of what a “Visitor From Outer Space” can expect when dropping in on Earth, showing our planet’s position, then zeroing in on where we live, our physical traits and emotions, all aspects of our lives, depicting our differences but also our universality.

The wide variety of homes we live in are shown, a lighthouse, houseboat, log cabin and other structures. On the next page we see families of all kinds, each on their own quilt, their common thread, love shared.

The beauty of this primer on Earth is the detail Blackall lavishes on each page—animals that roam the earth, as well as birds, and our life experiences too, important and insignificant, planned and unforeseen. Comprehensive in its breadth, Blackall concludes with a wise message in a book that’s a true treasure.

Oldest Read

A boy’s relationship with his father, who’s suffering life-altering symptoms from blows he took to his head as a pro-football player, is the focus of Jacqueline Woodson’s stunning new book, “Before the Ever After.”

Though this read-it-in-one-sitting novel is for children ages 10 and up, it’s a stellar page-turner for anyone who relishes terrific writing and an engaging, albeit heartbreaking story.

The book is set in 1999, when doctors didn’t yet know what caused some footballers to experience erratic behavior, have memory loss and sometimes violently act out. Twelve-year-old VJ and his mother see the subtle, then more obvious changes in Mr. J, a 223-pound man with huge hands, and a strong psyche, a star on the field and a stellar father and husband.

“Before the ever after, Daddy’s hand didn’t always tremble and his voice didn’t shake and his head didn’t hurt all the time. Before the ever after, there were picnics on Sunday afternoons in Central Park driving through the tunnel to get to the city, me and Daddy making up songs.”

Using this phrase, “Before the ever after,” Woodson compares the family’s past to their present, brilliantly weaving her narrative, inviting readers into the boy’s world, introducing his friends, a group of guys he pals around with, and the comfort VJ finds in his music, a talent he shares with his father.

“Before the Ever After” is a realistic, personal story of how CTE, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, impacts a family, and how despite the confusion and loss the boy and his mother experience, they accept and face the physical/mental anguish their adored father and husband suffers, walking through his illness with commitment and love.

This important, beautiful book will leave readers grateful that CTE is now recognized.

Written by Chris Stuckenschneider. Copyright 2020, Community Literacy Foundation. Reprinted with permission.

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