Friday Staff Pick: Children’s Books Downstairs!

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Here are some recommended reads for younger readers, selected by City Lights booksellers live and direct from our basement!

Recommended by Tân, City Lights Books

The Cats of Copenhagen was first written for James Joyce’s most beloved audience, his only grandson, Stephen James Joyce, and sent in a letter dated September 5, 1936. Cats were clearly a common currency between Joyce and his grandson. In early August 1936, Joyce sent Stephen “a little cat filled with sweets”—a kind of Trojan cat meant to outwit grown-ups. A few weeks later, Joyce penned a letter from Copenhagen that begins “Alas! I cannot send you a Copenhagen cat because there are no cats in Copenhagen.” The letter reveals the modernist master at his most playful, yet Joyce’s Copenhagen has a keen, anti-authoritarian quality that transcends the mere whimsy of a children’s story. Only recently rediscovered, this marks the inaugural U.S. publication of The Cats of Copenhagen, a treasure for readers of all ages. A rare addition to Joyce’s known body of work, it is a joy to see this exquisite story in print at last.

buy button thumbnailRecommended by Andy, City Lights Books

The Day the Crayons Quit / Drew Daywalt
Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: His crayons have had enough! They quit! Beige Crayon is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown Crayon. Black wants to be used for more than just outlining. Blue needs a break from coloring all those bodies of water. And Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking—each believes he is the true color of the sun.

What can Duncan possibly do to appease all of the crayons and get them back to doing what they do best?

buy button thumbnailBeautiful. —Recommended by Tân, City Lights Books

Little Bird / Germano Zullo

A man drives his truck up to a cliff’s edge. Unable to go any further, he opens the back door of his truck and a flock of birds flies out, but, as the man soon discovers, a small timid bird remains. Surprised and delighted, the man acts kindly towards the bird and an intimacy develops. After lunch, the man tries to show the bird that he should fly off and join his friends. The man’s comic attempt at flight deepens the encounter between these two very different creatures. Soon the bird flies off and the man drives away, but in a surprise twist the bird and his friends return, and in a starkly lyrical moment we see them all experience something entirely new.

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Bats at the Library / Brian Lies

Through an open library window, a colony of book-loving bats spends an evening enthralled by the endless stories they find on the shelves. With beautifully-rendered illustrations and charming rhymes, Bats at the Library conveys the joy of books to the little ones. –Recommended by Andy, City Lights Books

Another inky evening’s here

The air is cool and calm and clear.

Can it be true? Oh, can it be?

Yes! Bat Night at the library!

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