This is article is by Publisher Spotlight’s Special Projects Librarian Tracy Gallagher.
Here in the office, we are gearing up for July 10th, more happily known as National Kitten Day. While our office cats are technically no longer kittens, Bruno and Sasha will always be called kitties by some of us.
Curious about the history of National Kitten Day? So were we! It turns out that Colleen Paige, Pet and Family Lifestyle Expert, created National Kitten Day to bring awareness to the vast number of kittens available to be adopted. It was started in 2012 to compliment National Cat Day which was also started by Colleen Paige.
Now what if you can’t adopt a new kitten? That’s okay. You can always help by donating needed items to your local shelter. Then, celebrate with us by reading a book about kittens and cats. We have a kindle of kitten titles and a clowder of cat titles for you.
For the youngest readers among us we’d like to suggest Let’s Find the Kitten from Tiger Tales. This sweet board book features felt flaps for lifting as well as die-cut pages to create a hide-and-seek adventure in finding a kitten to love. And, if you think about it, felt flaps are easier for young fingers to manipulate as they learn fine motor skills and will last longer than paper flaps.
Another board book that we adore is Federico and All His Families (also available in Spanish as Federico y Sus Familias) from NubeOcho. Federico is a cat who visits multiple families every day, each family a different type shown mainly through the illustrations. Kirkus Reviews calls this one “sweet and inclusive, perfect for any family.”
We love to read aloud to the kids in our lives and are excited about these two recent backlist titles in which a cat does not want to be limited by their identity: Not a Cat by Winter Miller from Tilbury House and Jet the Cat (Is Not a Cat) by Phaea Crede published by Barefoot Books.
Both titles use imaginative illustrations to show the cats celebrating their individuality. Gato from Not a Cat was inspired by a real cat and refuses to be confined by the box that checks cat. This is one Midwest Book Review “unreservedly [recommends as an] addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 3-5.”
Jet the Cat is a cat who enjoys very non-cat like activities such as swimming which starts a chain reaction of what animal she might or might not be. This is a fun one which allows for plenty of audience participation. Speech bubbles are used effectively, and Booklist states it is “a pleasing picture book for reading aloud.”
What about those independent readers? Luckily for us, Tiger Tales started a new series last fall called Museum Kittens from the prolific Holly Webb. These books were inspired by the real cats who live at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and those who used to live at the British Museum in London. The cast of characters includes Bianca, Boris, and Tasha (siblings), their mother Smokey, and the one-eyed Grandpa Ivan. Books one and two were released October 2021 and books three and four will publish in October 2022.
We start with The Midnight Visitor in which a small black kitten, soaking wet, named Peter arrives at the museum. Grandpa Ivan welcomes him, and Tasha is set to help him become one of the family. Of course, mishaps occur, and mayhem ensues, but we do have a happy ending. In the next title, The Mummy’s Curse, a disaster strikes that puts our kitten friends in danger but never fear all works out in the end. School Library Journal says “Kindness, empathy, and teamwork are all themes explored in this adventurous new chapter book series, excellent for fans of history, particularly Ancient Egypt.” They recommend them for fans of Ranger in Time and Magic Tree House.
For the nonfiction fans in the crowd, we’d like to suggest Albatros Media’s Atlas of Cats by Jana Sedlackova and Cicada Books’ Cat Eyes and Dog Whistles by Cathy Evans. Both of these are browsable nonfiction titles in which a reader can dip in and out at their leisure.
The Atlas of Cats dives into twenty-five different breeds of cats to tell us about their temperament, their appearance, their traits, and even their history. We love the “Meow News” pages which appear to be newspaper articles on each breed of cat. Youth Services Book Review calls this “A fascinating and informative tribute to our feline friends.”
Quick! How many senses are there? If you are of my age and didn’t know better, you would answer five and you would be wrong. Cat Eyes and Dog Whistles explains in nice detail the seven senses of humans and other animals. So, while it isn’t strictly a book about cats or kittens, your fans of furry nonfiction will be delighted to learn more and stump the adults in their lives. In fact, we want to share what Betsy Bird/A Fuse 8 had to say: “Would you like a quickie explanation for how you can get kids interested in this book? Tell them to read it through and then quiz the adults in their lives about those seven senses. That’ll do the trick.”
We hope these titles will help you celebrate National Kitten Day and if you are purring for more cat related news, did you know that according to National Today there are over 25 cat holidays on the calendar? We can’t wait to celebrate each and every one of them with a good book and a purring kitten by our side.