Two curly-headed kids holding "Becoming Vanessa" book open while sitting on a Nugget, grinning at cameraMany thanks to Megan, Big Curly and Lil Curly for this guest blog post celebrating National Book Month! Follow them at @curlsupwithagoodbook and read on to find your next favorite read.

October is officially National Book Month, a month-long celebration that focuses on reading, writing and literature! There are a lot of ways you can celebrate National Book Month, like re-reading a favorite book, leaving a good review online, reaching out to your favorite author or visiting your local library or indie book store and picking up a new book to read.

The Curlys, affectionately known as Big Curly (4 years old) and Lil Curly (2 years old), have rounded up some of their absolute favorite book releases of 2021. You’ll find our collection to be diverse, inclusive and expansive because there is no better way to expose children (and grownups) to new and different things than through books! 

If you follow us on Instagram, you know we format our reviews to share what The Curlys love and what Mommy likes about each book. We hope you enjoy a quick glance into our bookshelf and find a new book to enjoy curled up on your Nugget.

Two curly-headed children holding open "Milo" book, Big Curly holding the book while Little Curly looks at the images

Milo Imagines the World 

Written by Matt de la Peña with illustrations by Christian Robinson 

Milo is on a long subway ride with his sister and passes the time by drawing the lives of the people he sees on the subway train. At the end of his journey, he realizes you can’t really know anything about someone by just their appearance. 

Why The Curlys love it:

  • The bright, vibrant illustrations. 
  • The break dancers (because we love to dance).
  • We thought it was so silly one woman was carrying her dog in a bag because our dog is way too big for that.

Why Mommy likes it:

  • This book is so, so beautifully written and feels so real and authentic, all while dismantling stereotypes and sharing the message to not judge someone by the way they look.
  • It introduces the topic of incarcerated parents which opened up a lot of dialogue with Big Curly.
  • We talked extensively about how families look different for everyone and how wonderful that is.

Big Curly holds "This is Now" book while Little Curly lays on their stomach and looks over Big Curly's shoulder at the book

A New Day

Written by Brad Meltzer with illustrations by Dan Santat

Sunday decides she is tired of being a day and quits, so the other days of the week hold auditions to find a replacement. There are a slew of crazy suggestions until a little girl brings a thank you gift to Sunday and suggests 'simply a nice day.’ 

Why The Curlys love it:

  • The illustrations are so engaging and fun.
  • Dog Day is our favorite day, followed closely by CAAAANDAY! 
  • It’s a silly and fun read that we can almost recite completely. 

Why Mommy likes it: 

  • I love the personification of the days of the week who remind me of The Office and Parks and Rec characters. 
  • The message that with kindness and gratitude, every day can be a new day.

Big and Little Curly sitting on a Nugget couch, holding "Eyes that Kiss in the Corners" and just the tops of their heads showing above the book cover

Eyes that Kiss in the Corners

Written by Joanna Ho with illustrations by Dung Ho

A young Asian girl notices her eyes don’t look like the rest of her friends. She realizes they look like her grandmother’s, mother’s and sister’s, strong and powerful women in her life. Through that realization she finds self love and acceptance. 

Why The Curlys love it:

  • Absolutely beautiful illustrations.
  • There’s a dragon and dragons are SO cool.
  • “This book is so nice, Mommy.” - Big Curly

Why Mommy likes it:

  • The beautiful, lyrical, heartfelt, descriptive writing sharing a message of self love and empowerment.
  • Exposure to different cultures and the beauty in them, all from the perspective of a female lead.

Two kids reading in their own Nugget forts

Our Skin: A First Conversation About Race

Written by Megan Madison and Jessica Ralli with illustrations by Isabel Roxas 

This is the first read-aloud book in the series that explores race and racism in an informed, safe and supported way. Research shows that children as young as 6 months old notice differences in skin tone – it’s never too early to start having these conversations. 

Why The Curlys love it:

  • Adorable illustrations.
  • “That’s racism!” - Big Curly (who loves calling it out when he sees it).
  • Loved talking about the different colors we see in our own multi race family.

Why Mommy likes it:

  • Goes straight to the source - science - to educate young readers where the color of our skin actually comes from: melanin.
  • Normalizes and celebrates acknowledging skin tone.
  • There are multiple examples of racism that aren’t just blatant hatred. 
  • Questions throughout the text ask readers to give their thoughts, with additional ways to continue the conversation included in the back matter.

Two kids sitting in front of Nugget forts reading books

Being You: A First Conversation about Gender

Written by Megan Madison and Jessica Ralli with illustrations by Anne/Andy Passchier 

The second read-aloud book in the series explores the topic of gender, gender roles and gender norms in an informed, safe and supported way. 

Why The Curlys love it:

  • A lot of differences in the characters to point out and talk about. 
  • They like being asked questions while reading. 

Why Mommy likes it:

  • Clear, easy to understand language for kids, including questions throughout asking their thoughts and feelings. 
  • Inclusive illustrations. 
  • Back matter with more information on important topics like body parts, gender assignment, gender binary, gender stereotypes, gender pronouns, gender expression and play, feminism, patriarchy, empowerment and activism. 
  • “Patriarchy may seem like a big word for little kids, but so is Tyrannosaurus.”

Two kids leaning back on a Nugget couch, holding and reading "Bodies are Cool" together

Bodies Are Cool 

Written and illustrated by Tyler Feder 

A celebration of the human body and all the ways it can look different. “My body, your body, every different kind of body! All of them are good bodies! BODIES ARE COOL!”

Why The Curlys love it:

  • The fun, bold, bright illustrations with so much to explore on each page.
  • We love a good rhyming book, especially shouting the repeating "Bodies are cool!"
  • We laughed that the dogs were on the page about different hair. 

Why Mommy likes it:

  • Body positivity, body acceptance and self love.
  • Literally everything about it!

Two kids holding "Cannonball" on their laps, legs extended with ankles crossed, with Little Curly's mouth open like he's shouting "Cannonball!"


Written by Sascha Cotter with illustrations by Josh Morgan 

A young Maori boy in New Zealand is trying to master "The Cannonball." He is given a ton of advice and opinions but, with the help of his grandmother, he realizes that listening to his own voice is the best way.

Why The Curlys love it:

  • Super bright and engaging illustrations, with awesome costumes.
  • We love doing cannonballs too.
  • We think his grandma is super cool and love when she does a cannonball!

Why Mommy likes it:

  • Fun writing style and read aloud all about the practice of overcoming your fears and finding your inner voice.

Kids sitting criss-cross applesauce, holding open the cover of "Becoming Vanessa" and grinning at camera

Becoming Vanessa 

Written and Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

It’s Vanessa’s first day of school so she picks out her fanciest outfit in hopes of making new friends. She quickly becomes self conscious of her outfit and how long her name is. Her mother shares the meaning of her name which gives Vanessa the strength to be her true self.

Why The Curlys love it:

  • We love her first day of school outfit!
  • Her butterfly drawing is awesome and inspired us to draw some too.

Why Mommy likes it:

  • The message that you are special just the way you are, fancy outfit or not. 
  • The butterfly theme and the metamorphosis that Vanessa goes through.

Thank you to The Curlys for sharing their favorite 2021 releases! We can't wait to read them in our own Nugget forts.