Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Night Blooming Jasmine by Diane De Anda

One of my favorite teas is jasmine, which isn't the reason why I took a peek at this read (but it might have had a tiny bit of an influence-ish). This seems like it will be a calming read, perfect for those last moments before bedtime. The toss in of jasmine was something I hadn't seen before and promises a gentle, natural aspect. Maybe? 

So, let's cozy into a blanket, stifle a growing yawn, and see if this one invites to sweet dreams.

by Diane De Anda
Illustrated by Kendra Binney
Star Bright Books
Picture Book
32 pages
ages 4 to 8

JUNE 11th!!!

Jasmine is sleeping soundly when a gentle tapping on her window awakens her. It’s the sweet-smelling jasmine vine, calling her to come and find the life outside her window. As Jasmine ventures downstairs,

she hears the nighttime sounds of ticking clocks and ribbiting frogs. She discovers that there is a bustling world in her own backyard. What critters will Jasmine uncover as she looks out into the night?

With its enchanting illustrations that evoke the magic of the night, this rhythmic verse story is fun and engaging, making it a perfect book to read aloud while introducing the night behavior of familiar animals. Interesting facts about nocturnal animal activity are included at the end of the book.


Calming and magical, these pages explore the wonders of nighttime life.

The entire family is asleep, but a young girl gazes at the jasmine vines growing outside her window. Careful not to make any noise, she tiptoes through the house, down the stairs, and peers out of the window to watch what happens under the moonlight.

The mix of rhymed text and beautiful illustrations creates a dreamy atmosphere. Each page accompanies the girl on her small journey, which carries a hint of imagination while never leaving reality. From the creaking floorboards under her bare feet to the deep ticking of a clock, the imagery nudges the senses with vivid familiarity. The illustrations hold darker hues and subtle tones, while details balance with flowing artistry to add a dreamy flair. These are lovely and invite readers to revisit each scene. The text flows almost as smoothly, staying in a similar inviting style to create a calming, bedtime read.

While this invitation to dreams weaves its magic, the pages also expose various animals and their basic, nightly activities. From racoons to possums and more, readers learn about the nocturnal side of nature. These creatures are, then, revisited at the end of the book, where short summaries give a little more depth into each one.

This is a beautifully illustrated book, which captures the nighttime atmosphere in just the right way for a bedtime read, while incorporating a little bit of knowledge along the way.

And here they are...

Diane de Anda is a professor emerita of social welfare at UCLA and a community voice on violence prevention and stress management among adolescents. She has written 17 children’s books and edited four books on multicultural social work. Her work focuses on empowering Latino youth. She has published 21 Cousins and Night Blooming Jasmine with Star Bright Books. Diane lives in Playa del Rey, California.

Kendra Binney grew up in a small mountain town with no shoe stores. She spent most of her time barefoot, exploring the tiny world of spiders, snakes, and whatever else was hiding in the grass. She translates this closeness with the small and obscure into her paintings. Kendra spends most of her days in a small studio in Portland, Oregon. There she paints, daydreams, and paints some more. Her paintings and illustrations have been exhibited and published around the world. Visit her website at www.kendra-binney.com.

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