Think Cool Thoughts. New York: Clarion Books.
It is summer and it is hot beyond hot. So hot ice cream bars melt before you can eat them. To help keep cool, Angel's mom recommends she think cool thoughts. The heat encourages Angel's mother and aunt to tell stories of their childhood and together they come up with a plan to keep cool.
I loved both the writing and the illustrations of this book. The language is poetic with a lot of run-on sentences and the lines are long and curved with a lot of light and summery colors.
The pages, though, were text heavy which could scare younger readers, so a teacher may want to read it aloud. But for older kids, they should be able to read the book on their own. Also, both the text and illustrations assume an urban setting and blackness with an extended family present to offer support to Angel (it is worth noting, however, that there is no father figure, for better representing reality or for worse).
A good summer book for when students or campers are battling the heat, Think Cool Thoughts can be used to help students with counting and thinking of ideas to keep cool.
In response to the book, children could write and illustrate their own weather poems.
Quotes of Note:
"One summer, in the hottest part of the summer, came a day so hot after a week so hot after a month so hot that chocolate bars melted before you could eat them, and the pavement stuck to your sneakers."
"In the thickness of the night, Angel lay on top of her sheets and imagined ice cubes, small and close. She was good at counting, so she counted while they melted in her mind, smoothing the sticky wrinkles of the sheet beneath her."
"A thousand ice cubes melting might make magic. She wanted to believe in magic. Something--anything--to end the hotness."