First Five Star Picture Book of 2016 – Rock-A-Bye Romp

Rock A Bye Romp

Rock-A-Bye Romp by Linda Ashman and illustrated by Simona Mulazzani – My first five star picture book of this year.  Need I say more?

Ok, I’ll write a little more.  This is a perfect gift for expecting parents.  Since I don’t know any expecting parents, expecting grandparents or great-grandparents will suffice.

How to Dress a Dragon

How to Dress Dragon

While my library location is being renovated, I’m spending time at one of the smaller community libraries.  This Saturday, I’m doing story time.  The theme is favorites.  Immediately before planning the program, I read How to Dress a Dragon by Thelma Lynne Godin and illustrated by Eric Barclay.  Of the twenty-four picture books I’ve read in 2016, I think it will be the biggest story time hit.  How can it not be?  It includes two of preschoolers favorite subjects… underwear and dragons.  Add in dinosaurs, trains and princesses… it would be a preschoolers dream.  I know what I’ll do. I’ll create the dream program for preschoolers.  Time to find my favorite dinosaur, train and princess books.

Do you have suggestions?

Depression, Yoga and Stress Relief

Many wonderful books were published last year, but I didn’t feel up to writing about them.  Depression creeped in. As long time reader’s know, I experienced severe postpartum depression, anxiety and psychosis after my daughter was born nine years ago.  From time to time, the depression returns.  This fall it returned with a vengeance.  My symptoms didn’t include sadness, hopelessness, guilt or worthlessness.  Instead, a loss of interest in hobbies, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, restlessness and oversleeping.  All things that affect my ability to write.

After tweaking some medications with little results, I asked to receive ECT… best known by the term shock therapy.  I received it after my daughter was born.  It was a lifesaver for me; but definitely caused memory loss, required anesthesia, someone to drive me to and from the hospital, and a day living on hospital time.  Sometimes I waited 30 minutes to be called back for the procedure, other times hours.   For me to be ready to try it again shows how bad I’ve felt.  If you’re thinking One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s next, don’t.  When my brain is less foggy, I’m going to write about the reality of shock therapy in the mid 2000’s.

I’m very open about my struggle with depression.  Unlike other diseases, friends, family, even strangers have diverse opinions on how it should be treated and have no qualms about sharing their thoughts. Very few say, “Your psychiatrist is the best person to help you make this decision. Instead you hear “Maybe you should try… hot tea, exercise, yoga, meditation, counseling, St. Johns Wort, a massage, acupuncture, take dairy, gluten, meat, or some other item out of your diet, light therapy. fish oil, join a clinical trial for the use of ketamine (a club drug of the date rape variety), draw, paint, read, volunteer your time, start a new hobby.”  The list is as diverse as the people I know.  Many of these suggestions I’ve tried.   I appreciate the concern; but for me I’ve come to realize there’s a certain section of my brain that needs to be zapped and I’m reset.  ECT did this for me; but as I show above, it requires lots of time and finding someone to drive me.

Thankfully, there is a new therapy available nearby which wasn’t offered nine years ago.  It’s called TMS, which stands for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.  Next week, I have a consultation with one of the doctor’s who administered shock therapy to me.  He  is currently doing TMS.  I’ll be able to drive myself to and from this procedure.  Most people resume their normal daily activities immediately afterwards.  For me that means going to work, being a mom, and meeting up with friends from time to time.  All things I’ve struggled with this year.

Even with these challenges, there is still joy.  This fall, ML started yoga at her after school care,  One particularly hard day,   I needed a laugh. ML provided it. She showed me the new yoga pose she created, “downward peeing dog.” Basically, it’s downward dog with one leg raised.

This Christmas, Santa brought ML a yoga mat in her favorite color… black.  It was her favorite present.  Well, almost. The winner was raspberry filled Ghiradelli.  When she pulled them out of her stocking she exclaimed, “Santa loves me!”

I’ve realized an important aspect of parenting should be helping ML learn how to decompress and relax at an early age.  Yoga is a perfect way to do that.  Below are my favorite books to teach yoga poses to children.

I Am Yoga
I Am Yoga by Susan Verde and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds – A beautifully illustrated picture book introduction to yoga poses.

You Are a Liion
You Are a Lion and Other Fun Yoga Poses by Taeeun Yoo – The perfect book to introduce preschoolers to yoga poses.

My Daddy is a Pretzel
My Daddy is a Pretzel:  Yoga for Parents and Kids by  Baron Baptiste and illustrated by Sophie Fatus – Tomorrow ML returns from her Dad’s house.  I’m getting out my yoga mat in my favorite color… green.  ML can get out her black yoga mat.  Then we’ll learn these poses together.

Girl's Guide to Yoga
A Girls Guide to Yoga by Jeanne Finestone – I found this book in the Young Adult section of the library.  In a few years, I’ll be checking it out so ML can learn “period poses,” to ease pain during menstruation.

I Love Yoga
I Love Yoga by Mary Kaye Chryssicas and photographed by Angela Coppolo – The cover’s deceptive.  Most of the photographs inside the book are of girls and boys around ML’s age, not preschoolers.  Of all the books with photographs, this one had the clearest images and easy to understand steps involved in various poses.

Caldecott Medal 2016 – Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear

Finding Winnie

Two of ML’s friends chose Finding Winnie:  The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick and illustrated by Sophie Blackall to win the Caldecott Medal.  It’s wasn’t ML’s first choice.  However, she was excited it won.  Especially, after we read it aloud again last night.

In the past few years, there’s been a surge in beautifully illustrated nonfiction titles and biographies in children’s publishing.  I’m glad to see one of these books chosen for the Caldecott.  I’ve been working on a post about illustrated biographies for awhile.  As two of the Caldecott Honor books were illustrated biographies, I need to get back to it.

Congratulations to Sophie Blackall.  And thank you to Lindsay Mattick for providing the story about Finding Winnie, a book that will stand the test of time.  ML’s favorite illustration was the family tree.

Newbery 2016: If Only I Could Have Been a Fly on the Wall

Last Stop on Market Street

I did not post my Mock Newbery choice this morning because I was conflicted.  Echo or The War That Saved My Life?  Echo I read last winter.  The War That Saved My Life, I started last night.  Read half of it and would have stayed up and read; but decided to be a responsible adult and go to bed.

This morning, we live streamed the awards ceremony at the library.  Two minutes after we opened, the Newbery Award was announced.  I was shocked.  Not because the book isn’t great;  but because it’s a picture book.  This year, the announcer seemed to emphasize what the Newbery award is  “to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.”  When my top two were announced as Honor Books, I was perplexed what book would win.  Then, the announcement came.  The Last Stop on Market Street.  I wrote about this book last January…Two Books One Illustrator.  It was one of my Five Star Picture Books this year.  After reflection, I agree this is the most distinguished book to American literature for children this year.

Newbery Award winners stay in print.  I’m glad this book will be read by generations of children.

This book was also chosen as a Caldecott honor book.  Appropriately.  I don’t know if a book has ever received a Newbery Medal and Caldecott Honor.  I’d use my super librarian skills to research the answer.  But I’m doing the responsible thing. . . presenting storytime.

It’s hard to be an adult sometimes.  Luckily, I can escape it from time to time by reading quaility books for children.

Mock Newbery Awards 2016

The lay people are speaking.  A few I know personally.  Mock Newbery Award winners have been announced all over the internet.  Tomorrow the official winners are announced.  In October, I posted a Mock Newbery invitation.  One family has taken the challenge very seriously.  Their winner’s are

Fifth Grade Boy

War That Saved My Life

Third Grade Girl

All the Answers

Mom in Her Early Forties

War That Saved My Life

ML’s Choice

Circus Mirandus

I had great intentions of reading all the books on my Mock Newbery List.  It didn’t happen.  Some of them I read a few chapters, decided they weren’t going to replace my current favorites so I moved onto another book on the list.  I’m on chapter two of The War That Saved My Life.  Based on the results above and what I’ve seen online, I need to read it quick.  I have a feeling people will be hearing about the book and start requesting it tomorrow.

Off to read.  I’ll post my choice in the morning.

Mock Caldecott 2016


I am not happy with the American Library Association.  Their Midwinter conference is earlier than I remember in years past.  With a busy fall and the holidays, ML and I have some work to do.  Every year we do a Mock Caldecott with her dear friend, Calvin.  They’ve been friends since they were two.  I’m not sure how I’m going to get them together before January 11th.  It only takes them about 15 minutes to decide which book they think should win.  However, between school, my work schedule and ML’s time with her Dad, it’s going to be hard.

Sadly, our tradition with Calvin did not happen this year.  However, I squeezed in a Mock Caldecott Friday.  Taking advantage of ML’s subjects for her Science Fair experiment… five third grade girls.  ML’s topic is “Do you run faster after drinking orange juice?”  In the chilly, drizzle each girl was timed while they ran around the track.  Afterwards, they chugged 200 ml of orange juice.  Twenty minutes later, they were timed running the track again.  During their break between runs, I grabbed the opportunity… placing around 15 books I consider worthy of the Caldecott on the table.  Each girl selected two favorites.

ML’s Top Two

Village by Sea
In a Village by the Sea by Muon Van and illustrated by April Chu

Night World
The Night World by Mordicai Gerstein

MLL’s Top Two (not to be confused with ML)

Finding Winnie
Finding Winnie by Lindsay Mattick and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Village by Sea
In a Village by the Sea by Muon Van and illustrated by April Chu

AO’s Top Two

Waiting by Kevin Henkes

Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman

SJ’s Top Two

Finding Winnie
Finding Winnie by Lindsay Mattick and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman

AH’s Top Two

Waiting by Kevin Henkes

Night World
The Night World by Mordicai Gerstein

My Top Two

If You Plant a Seed
If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson

Village by Sea
In a Village by the Sea by Muon Van and illustrated by April Chu

We have to wait until Monday from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. to hear the choices made by the official Caldecott committee.  Warning colleagues at the Cary Library, I will be live streaming this while we are completing the library opening procedures.

I have to wait until Wednesday morning to find out the results of ML’s experiment.  She does her Science Fair project with her Dad every year.  You can find me Wednesday morning at ML’s school to find out if you run faster after drinking orange juice.