Seven Brave Women by Betsy Hearne, illustrated by Bethanne Andersen (Greenwillow, $15) The author delved into her own family history to weave a tapestry of kind-liness and accomplishment: the farm-er and artist, physician and architect and homemaker she describes were her own forebears.
The Milkman's Boy by Donald Hall, illustrated by Greg Shed (Walker, $16.85) Hall continues his cycle of stories from rural and small-town America (Smithsonian, November 1996) in a tribute to the dairy business owned by his father's family from the late 19th century to the 1960s. Donald Hall is a national treasure.
Clouds for Dinner written and illustrated by Lynne Rae Perkins (Greenwillow, $15) If your parents love poems and paintings and scudding clouds, certain amenities may slip, say providing sit-down dinners and making the beds. A celebration of quotidian magic and family affection that belongs on every child's bookshelf.
Tomás and the Library Lady by Pat Mora, illustrated by Raul Colón (Knopf, $15) One summer in 1940s Iowa, a librarian welcomed a migrant worker child who found the wider world--and his future--in books. This powerful story is based on the boyhood of Tomás Rivera, who would grow up to become chancellor of the University of California, Riverside.
Meredith: The Witch Who Wasn't by Dorothea Lachner, illustrated by Christa Unzner (North-South, $15.95) Not really cut out for a life of broomsticks and incantations, one nonconformist sorceress decides to "bake bread from scratch" and take up domesticity instead, in a clever subversion of wicked witchery.
Mythical Birds and Beasts from Many Lands by Margaret Mayo, illustrated by Jane Ray (Dutton, $19.99) From the rocky shores of Cornwall to the for-ests of Burma, tales of mermaid and Minotaur, rivetingly retold.
The Blue Hill Meadows by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Ellen Beier (Harcourt Brace, $16) Four stories convey a year in the life of the Meadow family, homebodies at peace with the world in Blue Hill, Virginia. This tranquil quartet introduces a family we hope we shall hear more of.
Lives of the Athletes: Thrills, Spills (and What the Neighbors Thought) by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt (Harcourt Brace, $19) These quirky profiles of sports figures, Jim Thorpe to Babe Didrikson Zaharias and Pelé, are breezy and inspiring.
Over the Moon: An Adoption Tale written and illustrated by Karen Katz (Henry Holt, $15.95) The author, who traveled to Central America in 1991 to adopt an infant, drew on her own experiences to create this lilting account of a journey into the prov-ince of parenthood.
Til Year's Good End: A Calendar of Medieval Labors by W. Nikola-Lisa, illustrated by Christopher Manson (Atheneum, $16) Mending sheepfolds, weaving reeds into baskets, harvesting grain--the work of the Middle Ages, illumined by dramatic watercolors.