Bethany Barton is a wonderful writer and illustrator. Within her children’s books, Bethany tackles difficult topics for children, such as trying to love spiders, math or even getting a haircut. Below are a couple of my favorite picture books created by Bethany Barton.
“I’m Trying to Love Math” (2019)
Math can be rough. Around 4 in 10 people report hating math. The narrator from the book really hates math. Luckily, an alien appears from outer space and tries to shed a little light on math. The first part of the book dives into using math to make delicious food. As a food enthusiast, this immediately brought my math-hating self on board. Our alien friend tells us all about math in fun things like science, music, cooking and more!
Math may not be fun when it’s in school, but it’s a huge part of our lives, and it helps us to do plenty of fun things. This is a lovely perspective book that may help young readers to feel encouraged to learn more math once they see the use.
“Give Bees a Chance” (2017)
Edgar doesn’t like bees. Our narrator, voiced as Bethany Barton herself, is trying to convince Edgar to give bees a chance. Edgar has been stung by a bee recently and has decided, even if he needs to give up honey forever, the world is better off without bees.
The narrator wants to help Edgar see that a bee sting is not a reason to dislike bees. The narrator goes through the history of bees, their anatomy and the types of bees that one might encounter in the wild. Of course, the narrator also tells Edgar all about honey and how bees help fruits and vegetables to grow. There are also some tips to help bees stay away from you. The narrator hopes that through learning about bees, Edgar can focus more on the importance of bees to the environment rather than how scary their stingers can be.
“I’m Trying to Love Spiders” (2015)
Spiders are hard to love. There is something about them that creates a feeling of panic. Our narrator is also struggling to not squish spiders. It takes a couple of tries to approach the idea that spiders might be helpful. Spiders help protect crops, get rid of pests and very few are dangerous to humans.
Unfortunately, having a friend that eats other bugs can be a little intimidating. The narrator reminds us that it’s the attempt to love and not squish spiders that counts. We won’t always get it just right, but we are trying!
“This Monster Cannot Wait!” (2013)
Stewart is going camping for vacation, but that won’t happen for FIVE DAYS. Stewart tries to negotiate with time and build a time machine, but nothing works. He must endure a week of school before going on vacation and it’s driving him NUTS.
At school, Stewart’s friend Feliz is unhappy. She wants time to slow down. With vacation coming up, Feliz worries she will miss her friends, school and the class pet. Stewart realizes that Feliz’s worries are keeping her from engaging with friends and doing schoolwork now, the same way his inability to wait patiently for five days is causing him to miss out.
They must both accept their situation and live in the now. This a great story for showing both perspectives, wanting time to speed up or slow down, and showing how waiting is not the end of the world.
“This Monster Needs a Haircut” (2012)
This is a great book for encouraging young ones who need a little convincing that it is time for a haircut. Stewart is not excited about getting a haircut. He thinks his wacky hairdo helps make him a scarier monster. When other monsters start laughing instead of screaming when he tries to scare them, Stewart realizes that his hairdo might be affecting his performance.
With the help of his dad, he gets a fresh haircut that makes him scarier than ever! Stewart has a lot of anxiety about haircuts before getting one, so this is a great book to validate and calm fears about getting a haircut.
Want to look at our selection of Bethany Barton books? Check out the library’s catalog!