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Passport to the World

The world and its wonders are at your fingertips. Open a book and meet a classical artist, a clever and brave grandmother, and a father and son connected by kites; explore violent but beautiful eruptions, learn how chocolate relies on monkeys; meet a primate and a python — all by just opening a book!
Quotable Quotes: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go. -- Dr. Seuss

Brush of the Gods

By: Lenore Look
Illustrated by: Meilo So
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Inspired by an actual artist, Wu Daozi's brush created images that seemed to come alive. Travel to ancient China to meet Daozi as he grows from a boy into a muralist for the Emperor. When the mural is finished, legend says that Daozi walks into the paradise he painted. Brief text combines with brush and watercolor illustrations for a memorable look at a legendary Chinese painter.

Grandma and the Great Gourd: A Bengali Folktale

By: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Illustrated by: Susy Waters
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

An old woman left her small village to visit her daughter and granddaughter, telling three hungry predators to wait to eat her until she is plumped up on her way back. How the women outwit the bear, fox and tiger is satisfyingly told and handsomely illustrated in saturated color illustrations in this Indian folktale that the author recalls from her childhood.

No Monkeys, No Chocolate

By: Allen Young
Illustrated by: Nicole Wong
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Most kids like something chocolate-y, right? But there wouldn't be chocolate without cocoa beans that come from cocoa pods that rely on insects and other creatures in rainforests — even monkeys! A brief but engaging look at this interconnected habitat is realistically illustrated with informative but humorous asides by bookworms to encourage each page turn.

Orangutan

By: Susi Eszterhas
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Independent Reader

In the rainforest of Sumatra, a baby orangutan is born. Photographs chronicle her life with mother and the baby's growth. At about five years old, the baby is old enough to live independently though she still occasionally sees her mother. Brief general information about orangutans concludes this accessible photo essay.

Python

By: Christopher Cheng
Illustrated by: Mark Jackson
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Like most snakes, pythons are often vilified. Realistic watercolors, however, of a Diamond Python (native to Australia) and informative text present a slice of her life from warming in the sun to hatching eggs — and, of course hunting and eating.

Red Kite, Blue Kite

By: Ji-li Jiang
Illustrated by: Greg Ruth
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Tai Shan and his father fly kites from "the tippy-top of our triangle roof" where they are free like the kites. Tai Shan's is small, nimble, and red while Baba's is a strong, large blue kite. The widow and his son are separated during China's Cultural Revolution though are ultimately reunited. A difficult period is touchingly presented while remaining child-friendly.

Volcano Rising

By: Elizabeth Rusch
Illustrated by: Susan Swan
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Volcanoes erupt on land and in the sea and are found all around the world. Eruptions are both "creative and destructive" but all start with "gooey rock called magma." Volcano facts are combined with specific locations and striking, textured collages for an absorbing introduction to a fascinating natural phenomenon.

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