Author: Arthur Dorros

Illustrator: Elisa Kleven

Publisher and Year: Penguin Group 1991

Number of pages: 32

Genre: Fantasy Fiction Picture Book


Abuela is the story of Rosalba and her Grandmother who she calls Abuela. The story begins with Rosalba and her abuela going to the park to spend the day. The story continues on a fantastical journey when Rosalba and her abuela get picked up by birds and begin flying in the sky by themselves. They fly over many different parts of New York City and say hello to many people. They continue to float around and visit different friends and family. Eventually, Rosalba and her abuela land by a lake a take a paddleboat ride.


Abuela is a book that is visually very inviting to children. It contains very bright colors in everything, even though realistically the world is not that bright. It also takes care to separate the text from these inviting and exciting illustrations. Having the text in white spaces along the bottom or on another page would usually seem to separate the text from the pictures, but in this case it allows the two to work in tandem. Because of the business of the colors and patterns used in the illustrations, placing the text in its own simple space draws the eye to the text as well because of the stark contrast. It also makes it easier to read without having it over the busy pictures.


Culturally, Abuela blends typical American and Hispanic culture. That is not to say that these cultures cannot coexist in a person, but rather that this book shows how they do exist. In the book, Rosalba’s abuela uses many Spanish words and then translates them so Rosalba can understand. Culturally, this can reflect the idea that some children growing up in bilingual houses in the United States tend to use and understand English more than the other language.


The setting of the book is in New York City, or rather in the air above it as Rosalba and her abuela fly to different places. Having the Hispanic culture that Rosalba’s abuela brings to the book take place the most stereotypical American city combines these two cultures to represent Hispanic Americans. This book could be useful to children as a window, mirror, or door depending on what culture they identify themselves with. Overall, this book could be good tool to use in a classroom to help learn simple Spanish words. It is also a good book to have to further represent different cultures to cultivate a multicultural classroom experience.


The Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle


Author: Rick Riordan

Illustrator/Photographer: None

Publisher and Year: Disney Hyperion 2016

Number of pages: 361

Genre: Children’s Fiction Novel


The Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle is the first book in the Rick Riordan’s new series The Trials of Apollo.  This is Riordan’s third series in the Percy Jackson universe, the first being Percy Jackson and the second being Heroes of Olympus. These three series are based around the concept that the ancient Greek gods are still around in modern times and are continuing the tradition of creating half human half god children called demigods. These series create a timeline of events, all leading up to The Hidden Oracle. The book takes place from the God Apollo’s perspective. The basic plot of the book is that Apollo is being punished by Zeus and for his punishment he is turned into a mortal teenager. In order to regain his godly status, Apollo must redeem himself in some way. Apollo meets a twelve year old named Meg who becomes his companion and guide on his quest. The book is full of adventure, friendship, and past regrets.


This book is not only a great adventure story, but also a great story for representation. Many times in the novel, Apollo is forced to think about the past mortals he has loved. He continually thinks about Hyacinthus and Daphne, two mortal humans he had fallen in love with throughout his years as a god. While they are both influential to Apollo’s emotions throughout the story, they are, more importantly, of the opposite gender. This novel not only creates a fantastical world of adventure, it also brings in a realistic depiction of a protagonist who identifies as bisexual. There are also other characters in the story that are not straight. This novel is an example of diversity in sexual orientation in a novel. Too often, especially in children’s literature, are protagonists only depicted as straight, which can be detrimental to children that do not identify that way.


Overall, this book addresses many hard hitting themes like family dynamics, emotional abuse, and grief. This novel is engaging, exciting, and a good source of representation on many different issues. The rest of the Trials of Apollo series will be released over the next couple of years and cannot be spoken for on its depiction of diversity. The Hidden Oracle can be a great source of diversity for many students, and can broaden their world view while being an engaging and adventurous story.


Author and Illustrator: Leo Lionni

Publisher and Year: Dragonfly Books, 1967 (Caldecott honor)

Number of Pages: 27 Pages

Genre: Fantasy

Frederick is a tale about a family of five field mice preparing for the winter season. Frederick’s family gathers nuts and berries while Frederick mediates on a rock. The family becomes frustrated with Frederick’s “helping” strategies, but discover that it is the one person that carries them through the winter.

This story serves as a mirror to the reader to reflect on how different persons bring different aspects and “help” to multiple situations. As a window, the reader can reflect on how it is the simple things that help individuals through difficult times. The story begins by explaining Frederick and his family’s need to stock up on food to prepare for the chilling winter. Opposed to doing physical labor, Frederick “gathers the ray of the suns” and “gathers colors and words.” This frustrates the rest of the mice because Frederick is not helping with completing the complicated duties of collecting food. Winter finally comes and Frederick’s family is surviving the beginning portion of the winter because of all the food they gathered. Then, food runs out and the family is left to rely on all the things Frederick “gathered.” Through this story, the reader learns that as complicated and stressful as life is, it is the simple things that get people through. Obstacles come across all people but if one remembers to prioritize the simple things in life, the group will be able to survive. In addition, this book highlights the importance of individuality and diversity among a group. When the group has unique individuals, positive effects will arise along with many collaborative ideas. Thirdly, Frederick focuses of the importance of all members of the family. Every person in a family has a unique trait that unites that family in times of hardship. With many complications in life, family will help one through any obstacle.

This book is a Caldecott honor, meaning that artwork was very important to the story. In addition, the images are large which allow young readers to visualize the story. Structurally, words on left side of page until Frederick serenades his family with his poem. This is a symbol for a younger reader to be able to focus on both the text and images by separating them. No frames are used in this story, which engage the reader to be part of the story. There is interplay of text and images to show that the text and images are needed to gain the full experience of the story. In addition, Frederick has calm facial expressions until he is depended on to carry his family through showing that he was content with his role in the group. In terms of an ideological aspect, the book teaches that it is important to take care of both the mind and body, everyone takes on a unique and important role in a group, and the family bond can overcome any obstacle.




Author and Illustrator: Aaron Becker

Publisher and Year: Candlewick Press, 2013 (Caldecott honor)

Number of Pages: 37 Pages

Genre: Fantasy

Journey is a picture book with no words and all images. It follows the adventures of a little girl who draws her way with a red crayon to an imaginary world with a castle. The guards of the castle capture a bird that the girl sets free. The bird takes her back to reality where she befriends a boy who has the same magical crayon as her, except in purple.

This text serves as a window into the whimsical and magical world that the imagination can create. As a mirror, it allows the reader to reflect on the wonders imagination can bring when trying to escape from reality. As a door, it invites the audience to join in and participate in a fantasy world with the main character. In the beginning of the story, the girl is ignored by her parents because they are busy doing other tasks. So, the girl feels powerless and lonely in the real world. However, when she discovers the magic red crayon that can draw her anything she would like, she explores the world the crayon provides. She never draws anything elaborate, just simple things that help her in the adventures in the fantasy world. As a result, she gains power and even helps free a trapped bird that the people in the fantasy world were after (it is found out that the bird is drawn by the boy with the magical purple crayon). This can possibly be a symbol that with age, the freedom in creativity and imagination are not valued and cannot exist. It can act as a parallel the girl finds in the real world that creativity is not promoted. Once again, no exact culture is represented. Instead, the broad culture of a child and the imagination are highlighted. The author/illustrator sends the message that creativity and imagination cannot be confined. On the contrary, imagination needs freedom to allow children (and all ages) to dream and explore life in a unique ways. This adds to my understanding of culture in the sense that no person (regardless of race, religion, or gender) should be stopped from exploring the positive effects of imagination.

Perceptually, the story is all images with no words because the reader can be creative and learn worlds through images. In addition, this book is a Caldecott honor, so artwork is detailed important to the story. This would make sense because girl’s red crayon is magical and through the crayon (a symbol for the fine arts) she can explore fantasy worlds. The creations of the boy and girl are brightest colors on page and even have a different texture than the background. This stands for the magic found within the crayons and the imagination of both children. The real world is dull colors showing that imagination brings color to the world. The first two pages in book are framed meaning the girl feels confined and alone in the real world. As the story moves along, the images show travels of across the world exposing the reader to places around the world. The girl draws everything she needs being a sign that she is independent.

Through this picture book is just images, the author highlights important themes such as imagination can cope with the real world, do not limit the mind to the adventures imagination can bring, independence, explore the world, and imagination can bring friendship and unity among people.



The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend

Author and Illustrator: Dan Santat

Publisher and Year: Little, Brown and Company, 2014 (2015 Caldecott Winner)

Number of Pages: 38 Pages

Genre: Fantasy, Realistic Fiction

The Adventures of Beekle follows Beekle’s journey in finding his human friend. Instead of waiting for his friend to imagine him in his imaginary world, he courageously decides to go into the real world (the city) in search for his best friend.

As a mirror, it reflects a child’s creation of an imaginary friend. As a window, the story serves a unique view into how an imaginary friends view the “human world.” As a door, the reader is invited into the world of the creation of a child and his or her imaginary friend. In the beginning, the children hold the power because each imaginary friend anxiously waits to be found by a human friend. Beekle took control of his life, was tired of waiting, and did the unthinkable: set out to the real world to find his friend. Beekle quickly learned the “real world” was very different from anything he had ever imagined. The real world was not filled with creativity like his land was. However, he befriends a girl and they go on adventures to help bring imaginary friends to the real world. This power shift stands for the power of a child and his or her imagination. Though Beekle is a white “blob,” the people in a real world represent diverse races and cultures. This shows that the author/illustrator wanted to make this book relatable to children of all races and cultures. No specific human culture is being represented in this book. Instead, the culture is children. This book highlights the importance and benefit of creativity in diverse friendships.

Perceptually, lively colors are used in the imaginary world to symbolize the happiness among the imaginary people awaiting their human friends. On the contrary, dull colors are used in the real world to show how as people age, the world becomes less imaginative. However, the one place in the real world were bright colors are used is the park, where other imaginary friends are shown. This shows the reader that being outside can allow imagination to run free. Also, Beekle wears a crown, symbolizing he is different than his other imaginary friends. With this book being a Caldecott winner, artwork is heavily emphasized in this book. Through the artwork of the author/illustrator, the artwork portrays the creativity of children with the bright colors in the book. In addition, minimal words are used because the author heavily emphasized on the artwork. This was possibly done on purpose so that younger readers would look at the colors on the pages of the book and be inspired to let their imagination take them on an adventure. Also, the author makes the text look handwritten possibly symbolizing his personal journey presented through this story.

The most prevalent themes found in this whimsical story are that power lies within imagination, friends are found in unlikely shapes and sizes, it takes courage to face the real world, and imagination can bring happiness that never has an expiration date.




Marcel the Shell with Shoes On: Things About Me

Author: Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp

Illustrator: Amy Lind

Publisher and Year: Penguin Group, 2011

Number of Pages: 39 Pages

Genre: Fantasy

This book is based off of Jenny Slate’s (comedian) YouTube video sensation called Marcel the Shell (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VF9-sEbqDvU). The book follows Marcel’s adventures through a house as she describes how she completes daily tasks. This book serves as a mirror to allow the reader to reflect on themselves and the talents that make him or her special. As a window, the reader is able to see life from a different perspective. As a door, this book invites the audience to be creative and find innovative ways to make things work.

This book originally caught my attention because of how much I loved the YouTube video. This video always makes me laugh and I wanted to know if the authors (they were the original video makers) would do the same in book form. The book has no specific plot, but details Marcel’s adventures in a human house. With Marcel being a shell, no exact human race or culture is represented. However, I think that makes the character more relatable because she is not limited to a specific group. In the book, Marcel tells of how she completes her daily activities. For example, as opposed to sleeping on a bed, she sleeps on a piece of bread (she calls her bedroom the “breadroom”). In addition, she refers to using a ladle as an amusement park ride. Besides having comedic relief, the book sends an important message to the reader: the positivity in being unique. As Marcel tells of how she completes tasks, she begins the book by saying, “I like that about myself and I like myself, and I have a lot of other great qualities as well” (Fleischer-Camp and Slate, 2011). Though Marcel is different, she is not afraid to embrace and use her differences and talents to help her in her way through life.

Perceptually, images take up most of space, indicating the images are more important. This makes sense because the reader can visually see how Marcel completes all her tasks. In addition, the text is written in scribble and hard to read. This tells the reader that though the text helps the story, the most important aspect of book is the artwork. Structurally, there is a full text page and then a full image page. Adding on to what was mentioned above, the authors are reiterating the importance of the images. The close-up images of Marcel and images of Marcel shows the reader that she is the main character of the book and tells the reader to pay close attention to Marcel’s unique way of accomplishing tasks. The full-page images are not framed while pages with images are framed, signaling the reader to engage with the images as opposed to the text. The most important themes this book offers are being unique is perfectly acceptable, doing things differently makes one unique, embrace one’s talents and differences, and make the most of life and what is has to offer.


Captain Jack and the Pirates

Author: Peter Bently

Illustrator: Helen Oxenbury

Publisher and Year: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2015

Number of Pages: 30 Pages

Genre: Fantasy, Fiction

This story tells of the tale of three boys (Jack, Zack, and Caspar) and their whimsical adventures at the beach. The three boys encounter an enemy pirate ship that has the treasure the boys are seeking. The boys get shipwrecked on an island, but still continue on “hungry for glory and enemy booty” (Bently, 2015).

The story is used as a window because it shows the imagination of younger children and the crazy adventures they can make in any kind of place. As a mirror, it reminds a reader of any age the fun and joy of using one’s imagination to create anything. Also, it serves as a door to encourage all that imagination never dies and is the opportunity to be anything one wants to be. For the most part, the power is in the hands of the three boys because they collectively create and engage in the world with the enemy pirates. As the story goes on, they do indeed find the treasure: an abundance of cupcakes, soda, ice cream, and cake. In addition, the reader finds out that the “enemy pirates” were just the adults the three boys came with, attempting to get them ready to leave the beach. This book is not very diverse in terms of skin color, with the exception of Captain Jack’s right hand man Zack (African American). Also, all the “enemy pirates” are Caucasian. As one looks through the images, the adults in the story were the boys’ parents (both Caucasian) and act as if Zack is their son. Based on this, I can say the book is a little more diverse because the illustrator is showing a mixed family. At the same time, the family has only three boys and the only female figure in the story is the mother who brings the boys ice cream at the end of the book. In this story, it is mainly a male and Caucasian culture represented. In a like manner, the culture of young children’s imagination is represented in the creative adventure of the three boys.

Perceptually, the words and text mirror one another signaling the importance of both the image and text. In addition, the pictures take up most of page but text is easy to find. This means that though the images are important, the reader can focus on the text as well. Structurally, words within the text rhyme, allowing the reader to learn a simple structure of poetry and other words. On the contrary, there are some images are colored while some are black and white. The ones with color symbolize the boys on their adventures while black and white stand for the real world. The three boys also wear similar swimsuits standing for the time period of the story and/or making them equal. In addition, the beach is backdrop for the boys’ adventure, which means their imagination, can be very creative in a simple setting. Prevalent themes from this book are imagination never dies and anyone the opportunity to be anything they want to be.


Hey, Al

Author: Arthur Yorinks

Illustrator: Richard Egielski

Publisher and Year: Collin Publishers, 1986

Number of Pages: 27

Genre: Fiction


            Hey, Al is a winner of the Caldecott Medal. It is a story about a janitor named Al and his dog Eddie. Al and Eddie live in a small one-room apartment and Eddie is fed up with living in a “dump” (Yorinks, page 4). One morning a giant bird comes and tells Al of a beautiful island paradise and that he will return in the morning to take Eddie and
Al to this paradise. The paradise is amazing at first but then Eddie and Al start to become birds so they flee the island and return home.

This text could function as a window, mirror and door. Since a big bird flying to someone’s door and taking a person to an island paradise is not realistic it would be considered a window for all readers. On the other hand the story talks about a person who does not have a lot of money who wishes for a better life. So this book could function as mirror for a reader who might be going through tough times. The end of this story has a message, which is “Paradise lost is sometimes Heaven found” (Yorinks, page 27). This important message is what makes this book also function as door for the readers who want to apply it to their lives. The lesson to be learned is that sometimes you will want more in life but having more might not make you happy. You must find a way to be happy with what you have. I think that this is an important lesson to be learned and the book does it in a good kid friendly manor. In the text only one race is represented which is White. This is also the only race shown since the rest of the characters are animals. Both the human and the dog seem to share equal power throughout the text, both of their ideas are taken into consideration equally. I found this important because it shows that just being we are humans doesn’t mean we have the right to treat animals poorly.

All the images within this text are beautiful. They are all framed but in every image there are things that are outside the frame. For example on the first page there is an image of Al’s apartment, which is framed. But Al is physically walking into the door of his apartment into the frame. This style makes the reader feel like they are watching the story unfold and feel a part of it since not everything is in the frame. In the beginning of the story when Al and Eddie are unhappy with their life the colors are very dull. Once they are at the paradise island the colors become brighter. At the very end when Al and Eddie find out that they actually prefer the life they had before, the last image is of Al and Eddie repainting their apartment a bright, uplifting color. I really enjoyed this story, it was fun and in the end there is a lesson to be learned from Al and Eddie’s adventure.IMG_3539

Saint George and the Dragon

Title: Saint George and the Dragon


Retold By: Margaret Hodges

Illustrator/Photographer: Trina Schart Hyman

Publisher and Year: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 1984

Number of pages: 32 pgs

Tags: Olivia Simkins, Picture Book, Fantasy, 4-5, Award Winner

Genre: Fantasy


This book is about the Red Cross Knight that is sent on an adventure by the Queen of the fairies to slay a dragon that has been terrorizing the land. The knight ends up slaying this dragon and in doing so, it brings peace back to the people of this land. This book is also a Caldecott winner.

I feel that this text would serve as a window because the reader is looking into a fantasy world where there are dragons and fairies. This story does not depict race other than White characters in the story. There is also no other culture shown in this story. I feel that the story should have included other cultures and races so students maybe able to connect to the story in some way. The way they may be able to connect to it in the fact that they might have listened to this story when they were growing up or they could remember it from reading it as a child.

The illustrations throughout the entire book have a frame around the images and the text. The author did this to show that the readers are looking in on the story and not experiencing the story first hand. In the beginning of the book dark colors are used to show the people and the land are not happy and are upset because they are being terrorized by this dragon. As the story goes on the colors seem to get lighter and lighter until the end of the story where the colors are bright and vivid to show that the dragon being slayed has made the people of the land very hopeful and happy.


Have I got a book for you!


Author/Illustrator: Melanie Watt

Publisher and Year: Kids Can Press, 2009

Number of Pages: 30

Genre: Fiction
hqdefault Salesman Mr. Al Foxword claims that he can sell anyone anything, even the book that is being read. Al isn’t very convincing, but by the end of the book, the reader still feels like they have to buy the book.

This book couldn’t really work as a window, mirror, or door. It teaches no lesson and has no real point, other than amusement. In this story, all of the power is in the salesman’s hands. He forces the reader to continue along in the book and at the end of the book, the reader sees that a page is ripped so they are forced to buy it. The “you break it, you buy it” idea is so common in society, mainly because sellers know that no one else will want a broken item, so it would be in the seller’s best interest to make the person who broke it, buy it.

Perceptually, the words add to images and vice versa. There’s lots of dialogue, which makes it an easier read and more entertaining. The main character is speaking to us the entire time. He uses sarcasm and generic compliments to convince us to buy the book. Structurally, the words and images are set up in a way that it looks like an advertisement. Al, the salesman, appears multiple times on one page near the end. He is starting to lose control, as he cannot seem to convince us to buy the book. He also appears much bigger on pages where he is offering something that he feels is irresistible (but is actually really dumb)—almost like he’s in our face telling us to buy it.