Three Little Engines
by Bob McKinnon
illustrated by Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson
Grosset & Dunlap, 2021
review copy provided by the publisher (thanks!)


It’s graduation day, and three little engines (Little Blue Engine, Yellow Passenger Engine, and Red Freight Engine) are ready to take their final test and make a solo trip across the mountains. Little Blue Engine makes it across just fine with her traditional “I think I can”s. But the other two engines have obstacles in their paths that Little Blue did not have, and she realizes that sometimes no matter how much you think you can, you can’t make it over the mountain without some help. She changes her mantra into “I think WE can” and they all make it over the mountain supporting each other.

Sunday Morning did an interview with the author.


I’ve chosen a poem from WOKE: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice to pair with this picture book. The poems in WOKE help young readers to identify issues of inequity in our world, but it also gives them big and small ways to fight back or speak out. Just like Little Blue Engine learned — it’s not enough to SEE that there is inequity, we need to search our hearts and our resources and DO something about it.

What’s In My Toolbox
by Olivia Gatwood

We can’t choose the way we’re born.
Some of us are born with two parents, some one, some none.
Some of us are born with legs that we can walk with,
some of us need a little help. Some of us get to eat when
we are hungry, some of us still haven’t. When a person
has privilege, it is a toolbox they were born with,
hammers and nails that make it easier for them
to walk through the world because the world,
in all of its beauty and excitement and variety,
can still be a very hard place in which to live.

Read the rest of the poem in WOKE and discuss all the different kinds of privilege that give some people advantages over others.