Lift as You Climb: The Story of Ella Baker


Today, right before lunch, I read Lift As You Climb:  The Story of Ella Baker  written by Patricia Hruby Powell and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie.  I didn’t know who she was.  My history classes barely studied the Civil Rights Movement.  Basically, we learned about Martin Luther King Jr.  It’s likely even if we had studied it in depth, I still wouldn’t have heard her name.  The Author’s Note tells it like it is.  “Ella Baker, or Miss Baker as she was invariably called, was an anomaly in the Freedom Movement.  As an attractive, eloquent and poised lady with radical views, she fought the sexism that was so prevalent at that time (including in the SCLC and in the NAACP where she was hired or, “drafted”)”

During lunch is when I usually catch up on the previous days news.  Imagine my surprise when I listened to the beginning of Joe Biden’s acceptance speech while eating leftovers.

“Good evening.
Ella Baker, a giant of the civil rights movement, left us with this wisdom: Give people light and they will find a way.
Give people light.
Those are words for our time.”

-Joe Biden, August 20, 2020

Lift as You Climb repeats the question Ms. Baker asked many times, “What do you hope to accomplish?”  Joe Biden answered it last night.


Birth of the Cool: How Jazz Great Miles Davis Found His Sound


I love illustrated biographies.  When I saw Birth of The Cool:  How Jazz Great Miles Davis Found His Sound by Kathleen Cornell Berman and illustrated by Keith Henry Brown on the shelf, I had to read it.  It wasn’t until my late twenties before I was properly introduced to the music of Miles Davis.  It was love from the start.  Whenever I think of my years living in Charleston, South Carolina, his music and Porgy and Bess by George Gerswhin are the soundtracks in my head.

I listened to the album Kind of Blue while reading Birth of The Cool:  How Jazz Great Miles Davis Found His Sound , which was a perfect compliment to the pen, ink and watercolor illustrations.  Afterward I realized I need to make a Booklist/Playlist for all the amazing illustrated biographies of musicians published the past few years.  Tomorrow, I’ll start creating the list.  But for today, request Birth of the Cool and listen to some Miles Davis on Spotify while you wait for it arrive.

***Many libraries are still closed to non-staff members entering the building, but they have services where you can request books and set an appointment time to pick up your books safely.

I’m not sure how online school will be set up for visual arts and music.  I fear it may receive little attention as arts programs in schools are already underfunded.  I was excited to see a Classroom Guide for Birth of the Cool.  Students, teachers and parent will all benefit from the information and activities in the guide.

Cat Dog Dog

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My last post was March 20th.  Soon after I started teleworking.  Today, I returned to the library to help with the Books to Go service.  There was a stack of picture books waiting for me.  I jumped right in.  Cat Dog Dog written by Nelly Buchet and Andrea Zuill was my favorite.  I laughed out loud at the end.

While teleworking, the dog we rescued last Labor Day came out of her shell.  For the first time ever, Frances played with her toys.  She barked for the first time.  Her “tail between her legs”  stance disappeared when she was around others.  It took a few weeks for her to run into the backyard without me.  Now she races out the door and does laps around the yard.  She even found a friend.  She and the dog next door meet at the fence in the evenings to play and kiss.

What To Do In a Pandemic? – Readers’ Advisory

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We’re closed to the public but librarians are working hard to make sure you have access to a variety of resources. With a library card you can access electronic books, audio books, complete research using online databases, flip through electronic versions of magazines and more. If you don’t have a library card, now is the perfect time to get one.  It’s easy to do from the comfort of your home because many libraries have the capability for you to sign up electronically. Check out your local library’s website for more information.

Need ideas of enjoyable audio books or electronic books for children and teens? I have ideas. Tired of reading the same bedtime stories over and over? I can recommend the best electronic picture books.  I’m here for you. Tell me what you need.

My first recommendation is a new picture book with the sweetest story and stunning illustrations created with cut paper, acrylic paints and Photoshop. In A Way With Wild Things by Larissa Theule and illustrated by Sara Palacios, Poppy Ann Fields is an introverted, nature loving girl who prefers observing bugs to interacting with people.  But she can’t avoid people all the time. For example at her Grandma’s 100th birthday party. That’s all the summary you get. The story is too sweet to spoil.  If you have access to the e-book now, read it today. If not, add it to your To Be Read List.

For my family members who were at Grandma Brown’s 100th birthday party in 1981, I’ll look for pictures from the celebration at her house with no indoor plumbing and an outhouse. If you have some, please share them with me.

African American History – Books to Read January – December

February is Black History Month.  Its a time when libraries put books featuring African Americans front and center.  The truth is we should highlight African American authors, characters and historical figures throughout the year.

For years, the amount of books featuring African Americans were sparse.  Most were written about slavery, Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement.  Thankfully, the publishing world is waking up; and books are being published that highlight a variety of African American heroines and heroes.

Fiction picture and chapter books featuring African American characters are on the rise too.  This summer, I kept the Ellray Jakes and Jada Jones series highlighted on the library’s prime real estate… the display cube.  They flew off shelves.

This month, I’ve filled my display with a variety of biographies and history books featuring African Americans.  Like Ellray and Jada, they are flying off the shelf.

Below is a work in progress of books you will want to read in 2019. I have more to add.  I hope the publishing world continues this trend.  I’ll keep this page updated with nonfiction and biographies featuring African Americans.











































Best Title Ever – Struttin’ With Some Barbecue


I loved Struttin’ With Some Barbecue:  Lil Hardin Armstrong Becomes the First Lady of Jazz by Patricia Hruby Powell and illustrated Rachel Himes from the title on the front cover to the poem on the back cover.

This biography written in verse is not to be missed.  Lil Hardin Armstrong was a force.  Without her initiative, Louis Armstrong wouldn’t have become the legend he did.  Lil Hardin Armstrong deserves to be recognized as a legend too.

The 2019 Mock Caldecott Gold Goes To…


Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

The votes are in.  After the first round, we were left with six titles. Then, my coworkers emailed me their two favorites.

Dreamers won unanimously. Drawn Together was right behind it.  I’ll be disappointed if these titles don’t earn the gold or an honor tomorrow because my coworkers are the best Children’s Librarians in the world.  They know their stuff.


Drawn Together by Minh Le and illustrated by Dan Santat


Our Top Six


Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall


What If. . . by Samantha Berger and illustrated by Mike Curato


Dreamers by Yuyi Morales


Drawn Together by Minh Le and illustrated by Dan Santat


Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love


What Do You Do With a Voice Like That?  The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan by Chris Barton and illustrated by Ekua Holmes

Honoring Martin Luther King and Others

It takes a village to raise a child and it takes an army to lead a civil rights movement.  As we honor Martin Luther King Jr., I’m reminded of several books published this year that show it truly was an army of people making a difference.


Have you ever heard of Georgia Gilmore?  I hadn’t either until last November when I read Pies from Nowhere:  How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott by Dee Romito and illustrated by Laura Freeman.  The blurb about the book says “When the bus boycott began in 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama after Rosa Park’s arrest, Georgia Gilmore knew just what to do.  She organized a group of of women, the Club from Nowhere, who cooked and baked to fund-raise for the boycott.”  Martin Luther King, Jr. used his words and voice to make a difference.  Georgia Gilmore used her cooking.  Read this book and learn the nickname Martin Luther King, Jr. gave Georgia; but don’t only focus on the story.  The illustrations are as wonderful as the story.


Memphis, Martin and the Mountain and the Mountaintop:  The Sanitation Strike of 1968 by Alice Faye Duncan and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie soars.  Info from the front of book, “Author Alice Faye Duncan based the character of Lorraine Jackson on a teacher who participated in the Memphis Sanitation Strike as a child.  Using a riveting combination of poetry and prose.  She reveals the inspiring story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s final stand.”  I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t know anything about the sanitation strike; nor did I know Coretta Scott King led the strike days after her husband’s assassination.  The book says it best.  “Despite her broken heart, Mrs. King and members of SCLC helped to keep her husband’s pledge on April 8, 1968.”

I’ve got a lot to learn.

The Hen Who Sailed Around the World: A True Story


This week at the library, I did an Egg Drop Challenge with kindergarten – 2nd graders.  I didn’t realize how loud we were until after the program when my coworkers gave me the look.  The one of fear that somebody might ask what was going on and complain about the noise.  Then, they would have to explain kids were throwing eggs in the library and the loudest one in the group was the librarian.

We were laughing out of the gate at this program.  Days before a a new book showed up at the library.  It begged to be read to the group before starting the messy fun.  The Hen Who Sailed Around the World:  A True Story by Guirec Soudee is not to be missed.

As for the Egg Drop Challenge, it was so much fun for the kids and myself.  I’m going to do it again this summer with 3rd-5th graders.  In the meantime, I’ll be putting this book on display and recommending it often.


Mock Caldecott 2019

In years past, I’ve had a Mock Caldecott with my daughter and her friends.  They’re no longer interested in picking the best illustrated books of the year.  That’s ok.  They’ve replaced the interest with other creative endeavors.  But I love picture books; and I love hearing what people think will be the next award winner.  So I invited my coworkers to join me in a Mock Caldecott.  If you’re not a coworker and want to participate; you can join the fun.  Put your five favorites from the books listed below in the comments by Friday, January 18.

On January 19, I’ll tally the results and post a smaller list where you can vote for your favorite.  I’ll tally those votes on Friday, January 25.  I’ll announce our Mock Caldecott winner on Sunday, January 27.  Monday morning the real committee will announce their winner and honors.  Who’s in?


Blue by Laura Vaccaro Seeger


Thank you, Omu! by Oge Mora


Adrian Simcox Does Not Have a Horse by Marcy Campbell and illustrated by Corinna Luyken


Dreamers by Yuyi Morales


Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall


What If. . . by Samantha Berger and illustrated by Mike Curato


Zola’s Elephant by Randall de Seve and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski


A House That Once Was by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Lane Smith


Drawn Together by Minh Le and illustrated by Dan Santat


Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love


We Are Grateful:  Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorrel and illustrated by Frane Lessac


The Stuff of Stars by Marion Dane Bauer and illustrated Ekua Holmes

Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal


Seeing Into Tomorrow:  Haiku by Richard Wright Biography and illustrations by Nina Crews


What Do You Do With a Voice Like That?  The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan


Imagine by Raul Colon


They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki


A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin


Nothing Stopped Sophie by Cheryl Bardoe and illustrated by Barbara McClintock


Hello Hello By Brendan Wenzel


Between the Lines:  How Ernie Barnes Went From the Football Field to the Art Gallery by Sandra Neil Wallace and illustrated by Bryan Collier



The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang



Best Books for Kids and Teens 2018

I hope to blog more about books for children and young adults in 2019.  Below are favorites I read this year.  I’m sure I’m missing some fabulous titles; but there’s only one me and so many amazing books published each year.

Picture Books


Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora


Imagine! By Raul Colon


Blue by Laura Vaccaro Seeger


Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love


You’re Snug With Me by Chitra Soundar and illustrated by Poonam Mistry


Adrian Simcox Does Not Have a Horse by Marcy Campbell and illustrated by Corinna Luyken


The Remember Balloons by Jessie Oliveros and illustrated by Dana Wulfkekotte


The Patchwork Bike by Maxine Beneba Clarke and illustrated by Van T Rudd


This Book is Red:  Books That Drive Kids Crazy! by Beck and Matt Stanton


A House That Once Was? by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Lane Smith


Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets:  A Muslim Book of Shapes by Hena Khan and illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini


Night Job by Karen Hesse and illustrated by G. Brian Karas


My Pictures After the Storm by Eric Veille


A Different Pond by Bao Phi and illustrated by Thi Bui


Potato Pants by Laurie Keller


Beginning Readers


Please, No More Nuts by Jonathan Fenske


Mr. Monkey Visits a School by Jeff Mack


Biographies for Kids


Pies From Nowhere:  How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott by Dee Romito and illustrated by Laura Freedom



Joan Proctor, Dragon Doctor by Patricia Valdez and illustrated by Felicita Sala


So Tall Within:  Sojourner Truth’s Long Walk Toward Freedom by Gary Schmidt and illustrated by Daniel Minter


Sisters and Champions:  The True Story of Venus and Serena Williams by Howard Bryant and illustrated by Floyd Cooper


The Secret Kingdom:  Nek Chand, a Changing India and a Hidden World of Art by Barb Rosenstock and illustrated by Claire A. Nivola


Between the Lines:  How Ernie Barnes Went From the Football Field to the Art Gallery by Sandra Neil Wallace and illustrated Bryan Collier


Girl Running:  Bobbi Gibb and the Boston Marathon by Annette Bay Pimental and illustrated by Micha Archer


What Do You Do With a Voice Like That? The Story of the Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan by Christ Barton and illustrated by Ekua Holmes


Nonfiction for Kids


We Are Grateful by Traci Sorrell and illustrated by Frane Lessac


Otis and Will Discover The Deep:  The Record-Setting Dive of the Bathysphere by Barb Rosenstock and illustrated by Katherine Roy


The Brilliant Deep:  Rebuilding the World’s Coral Reefs by Kate Messner and illustrated by Matthew Forsythe


Pass Go and Collect $200:  The Real Story of How Monopoly was Invented by Tanya Lee Stone and illustrated by Steven Salerno


What’s On Your Plate?  Exploring the World of Food by Whitney Stewart and illustrated by Christiane Engel


Grandma Gatewood Hikes the Appalachian Trail


What Do They Do With All That Poo? by Jane Kurtz and Allison Black


Terrific Tongues by Maria Gianferrari and illustrated by Jia Liu


The Elephant by Jenni Desmond


Middle Grade Fiction


Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed


Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

Young Adult Fiction


Brave Enough by Kati Gardner


Breakout by Kate Messner


Young Adult Graphic Novels


Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin and illustrated by Giovanni Rigano


Princess and Dress Maker by Jen Wang


Speak:  The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson and illustrated by Emily Carroll




Baby Monkey, Private Eye by Brian Selznick and David Serlin


 Perfect for Storytime


There’s a Dinosaur on the 13th Floor by Wade Bradford and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes


Mad, Mad Bear! by Kimberly Gee


How do You Take a Bath? by Kate McMullan and illustrated by Sydney Hanson


There’s a Dragon in Your Book by Tom Fletcher and illustrated by Greg Abbott


Plant the Tiny Seed by Christie Matheson


Play This Book by Jessica Young and illustrated by Daniel Wiseman


Don’t Blink by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by David Roberts


The Big Bed by Bunmi Laditan and illustrated by Tom Knight


Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Steve Jenkins


Old Hat by Emily Gravett

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The Little Red Fort by Brenda Maier and illustrated by Sonia Sanchez


I Don’t Want to Go to Sleep by Dev Petty and illustrated Mike Boldt


The Uphill Climb for Multicultural Characters in Children’s Books

Today a friend posted this on Facebook.

“For this holiday season, and for quite some time, our family is only buying children’s books that focus on non-white main characters for ourselves and as gifts. We are only bringing multi-racial and multi-cultural books into our house, and yours. I encourage you to do the same. Also, take note of how much thought and effort this takes. Then imagine if you had to do this all the time. If you have a great recommendation, please comment here!”

My friend’s child is four years old so I’m highlighting picture books.  Here are some suggestions featuring African American characters.  I’ll focus on other cultures in another post.  I have read and adore each of the books below; but if I could only buy one, it would be Thank You, Omu!  It’s one of my favorite books published in 2018.



























There’s still a long way to go for children’s literature to reflect all children.  Check out The Brown Bookshelf site for more information.  It’s mission is  “designed to push awareness of the myriad Black voices writing for young readers.”



Amal Unbound – A Middle Grade Novel

My daughter is beginning middle school in the fall.  Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed is a book I would love for her to read; but she doesn’t read recommendations from me.  However, I thought she might be interested in this book because one of her favorite authors, Laurie Halse Anderson, quote on the back cover states.  “This heroic story about a girl’s struggle to become educated against overwhelming odds will open readers’ eyes and hearts.  A gorgeous and compelling read.”

She has a cousin and a friend or two who actually like for me to recommend books.  So AB, SJ, B and M this one’s for you.

ML Loved This Picture Book

Pictures After Storm

My first love were picture books; and it’s still my number one love when it comes to books.  ML’s past sitting down, snuggling and reading picture books with me.  However, I want her to appreciate picture books her whole life.  Every once in awhile, one arrives I know she will love.  Instead of insisting she read it.  I lay it on the couch.  Eventually, she picks it up and reads it.

My Pictures After the Storm by Eric Veille is one of these books.  ML thought it was clever and hilarious.  You will too!  A book for all ages.

Women in Science

I took a poll of friends on Facebook.  “Who is the first scientist that pops in your head besides Einstein?”  There were a variety of men named; but only two women.  Marie Curie and Rosalind Franklin.  My friend, Liz, who graduated from MIT response was Rosalind Franklin.  (Liz’s daughter’s name is Rosalind.)  I hadn’t heard of Rosalind Franklin.  Luckily, she was included in the book Women in Science:  50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky.

I’m appalled; but not surprised by what I learned.  “We should all know it was Rosalind Franklin who discovered the double helix structure of DNA, not James Watson and Francis Crick.”  For too long female scientists’ contributions have been overlooked.  Thankfully, publishers are taking notice.  A variety of beautifully illustrated biographies about female scientists have been published in the past few years.


Grace Hopper:  Queen of Computer Code by Laurie Wallmark and illustrated by Katy Wu

Caroline’s Comets:  A True Story by Emily Arnold McCully

Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed and illustrated by Stasia Burrington

Out of School and Into Nature:  The Anna Comstock Story by Suzanne Slade and illustrated by Jessica Lanan

Ada Lovelace:  Poet of Science:  The First Computer Programmer by Diane Stanley and illustrated by Jessie Hartland

Marie Curie by Demi



Not So Different

Not So Different:  What You Really Want to Ask About Having a Disability by Shane Burcaw and photographs by Matt Carr is a must read.  If I was in charge of the world, every third grade teacher would be required to read it to her class.

Shane answers questions kids are curious about; but may not ask out of fear of offending someone.  You know . . .  how one eats, poops showers and moves.  The crisp photographs show Shane’s just another guy who needs to do some things differently.

However, don’t wait until third grade to read it with your child.  I want it required reading in third grade because this is when children start becoming more self-conscious about appearances.

Shane is awesome.  The sooner you meet him the better.


Mock Newbery 2018

Last year, I read many books that were included on various Mock Newbery 2017 lists.  This year, I haven’t read as many books.  Usually, the awards are presented in January.  This year, they will be presented February 12th.  So I still have a 18 hours to read.   One’s I’ve read and finished from Mock Newbery 2018 lists are below.  I’ve tried to read around 10 books I’ve seen on many lists.  However, I only have so much time between work, home and hoursmothering.

The book I most want to win is The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley.  It’s a sequel; so I doubt it will.  The first book, The War That Saved My Life,  was robbed in my opinion.  It received a Newbery Honor last year.  It should have received the Gold.  Everyone I recommended this book to from age 9 to 92 loved it and couldn’t wait for the sequel.

The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers

I’m Just No Good at Rhyming:  And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups by Chris Harris

Real Friends by Shannon Hale

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

Refugee by Alan Gratz

Real Friends by Shannon Hale


Book I Will Finish

Undefeated:  Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steve Sheinkin


Books I Want to Finish

See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

Train I Ride by Paul Moiser

Vincent and Theo:  The Van Gogh Brothers

Family Game Night and Other Catastrophes by Mary Lambert

Undefeated:  Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steve Sheinkin

Tumble and Bumble


Siren Sisters by Dana Langer

Here We Are: Notes For Living on Planet Earth

Here We Are:  Notes for Living on Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers is spectacular.  I want to buy a copy for everyone in the world to remind each one we are different but the same.

And we should follow the advice of Oliver’s Dad, an all-round good human.  “There are only three words you need to live by, son:  respect, consideration and tolerance.”



I stopped making New Year’s Resolutions years ago.  However, this New Year’s Day I read the graphic novel Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani.  At some point each day since, I’ve remembered the quote below.

“Do not look at the dirt.  Look at the people.”

This quote is in reference to a visit to the slums in India; but I’m using it as a reminder in my daily life that people are people.  All with a story and deserving compassion.


Awesome Authors of the Triangle


I’m fortunate to live in an area with so many people interested in children’s and young adult literature… including authors of fantastic books for kids and teens.  From board books to YA books, the Triangle is filled with amazing writers.  Here’s what I read from local authors published in 2017.  I’m sure there are others.  If you know of an author who published a book this year, post it in the comments.

This Little Trailblazer

This Little Trailblazer: A Girl Power Primer by Joan Holub – Learn all about influential women who changed history in this engaging and colorful board book perfect for trailblazers-in-training!

Paving the way
to a future that’s bright.
Helping the world
with their skills, smarts, and might. 
Little trailblazers cause great big changes.

In this follow up to This Little President and This Little Explorer, now even the youngest readers can learn all about great and empowering female trailblazers in history! Highlighting ten memorable women leaders who paved the way, parents and little ones alike will love this girl power primer full of fun, age-appropriate facts and bold illustrations.


Williams Winter

William’s Winter Nap by Linda Ashman and illustrated by Chuck Groenick – Just when William is ready to fall asleep in his cozy cabin, there is a tap on his window. A chilly chipmunk asks to stay, and Will scooches over in bed. “There’s room for two–I’m sure we’ll fit.” The chipmunk is just the first in a parade of mammals, each bigger than the last, until the bed is full. Then a note is slipped beneath the door: “Do you have room for just one more?” William tugs the door to see who’s there . . . only to find a great big BEAR! Is there enough space to spare? Will the other animals be willing to share?

Kids will delight at each new guest’s arrival and enjoy counting along as the animals keep scooching over to fit in William’s bed. Linda Ashman’s clever rhymes set up each page turn with suspense and humor, and the expressions on Chuck Groenink’s characters are perfect. This is must reading for the dark time of year when everyone wants to hibernate!
Jada Jones

Jada Jones:  Rock Star by Kelly Starling Lyons and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton – Fans of Princess Posey and Ivy and Bean will enjoy engaging with science-loving Jada Jones in this easy-to-read chapter book.

When Jada Jones’s best friend moves away, school feels like the last place she wants to be. She’d much rather wander outside looking for cool rocks to add to her collection, since finding rocks is much easier than finding friends. So when Jada’s teacher announces a class project on rocks and minerals, Jada finally feels like she’s in her element. The only problem: one of her teammates doesn’t seem to like any of Jada’s ideas. She doesn’t seem to like Jada all that much, either. Can Jada figure out a way to make a winning science project and a new friend?  (publisher’s site)


Unicorn in Barn

The Unicorn in the Barn by Jacqueline Ogburn and illustrated by Rebecca Green – For years people have claimed to see a mysterious white deer in the woods around Chinaberry Creek. It always gets away.  One evening, Eric Harper thinks he spots it. But a deer doesn’t have a coat that shimmers like a pearl. And a deer certainly isn’t born with an ivory horn curling from its forehead.  When Eric discovers the unicorn is hurt and being taken care of by the vet next door and her daughter, Allegra, his life is transformed.  A tender tale of love, loss, and the connections we make, The Unicorn in the Barn shows us that sometimes ordinary life takes extraordinary turn. (publisher’s site)



Nyxia by Scott Reintgen – What would you be willing to risk for a lifetime of fortune?
 Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.  Forever.  Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden—a planet that Babel has kept hidden—where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human. (publisher’s site)

What’s Coming in 2018?

I’m eager to see what is published by authors in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill next year.  Most especially, Brave Girl by Kati Gardner.  It’s being published in the fall of 2018 by Flux Books.  I had the honor of reading one of her drafts.  Prepare to be wowed.

Brave Enough by Kati Gardner – Cason Martin is the youngest ballerina in the Atlanta Ballet Conservatory. She’s never really had a choice on if she wanted to dance or not, her mother the artistic director, has made all the decisions in Cason’s life. It’s all changing. Cason has been hiding an injury and it’s much worse than anyone imagines. Davis Channing understands all too well what it is like to give up all control in your life. He’s survived cancer, but it was his addictions that nearly killed him. Now he’s been sober for seven months and enjoying his community service at the hospital.
But it all changes. Davis’ ex-girlfriend, who is still battling her addiction, barrels back into his life bringing with it a type of carnage he hadn’t expected. Cason and Davis are not friends. But now they will start to depend on one another. Can they both be brave enough to beat the odds? (Goodreads)

New Christmas Books from 2017

I’ve loved Christmas books my entire life.  I treasure my copy of Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree from childhood.  I’m always eager to find new gems each year.  Below are my favorites this year.

Pick a Pine Tree

Pick A Pine Tree by Patricia Toht and illustrated by Jarvis – A festive read-aloud brimming with all the joy and excitement of Christmastime — beginning, of course, with picking out a tree!

Little Reindeer

The Little Reindeer by Nicola Killen – An enchanting Christmas story about a magical yet unlikely friendship between a little girl and a lost reindeer sure to be a Christmas classic lovingly told and illustrated with red foil highlights and interactive die cuts.


The 12 Days of Christmas by Greg Pizzoli – Elephant is delighted to get a gift, but as the twelve days of Christmas continue, presents pile higher and higher! A partridge in a pear tree? Cute! But soon, her dad despairs. Two turtle doves? THREE French hens?! And just what are they supposed to do with ten lords a-leaping? Kids will love each silly spread in this raucous take on the classic carol that is perfect for reading aloud around the fireplace.

Merry Christmas Peanut

Merry Christmas, Peanut! by Terry Border – A sweet (or is it salty?) Christmas story with heart, humor, and plenty of punny holiday cheer.

All summaries from publishers’ websites.



Ame Dyckman and Zachariah Ohora Do It Again


I’ve yet to read a book written and illustrated by this duo which hasn’t resulted in me laughing out loud.  Ame Dyckman’s writing and Zachariah OHora’s illustrations are always a perfect match.

You must read, Read the Book, Lemmings – “The team behind the New York Times bestselling Wolfie the Bunny and Horrible Bear! is back with with new Arctic characters in this hilarious learning-to-read adventure!

Aboard the S.S. Cliff, First Mate Foxy reads an interesting fact: “Lemmings don’tjump off cliffs.” But Foxy can’t get the lemmings on the Cliff to read his book, too. They’re too busy jumping off.

After a chilly third rescue, exasperated Foxy and grumbly polar bear Captain PB realize their naughty nautical crew isn’t being stubborn: The lemmings (Jumper, Me Too, and Ditto) can’t read. And until Foxy patiently teaches his lemmings to read the book, he can’t return to reading it, either!” (publisher’s summary)

And if you haven’t read Wolfie the Bunny or Horrible Bear, check them out today.



2018 Goal

Life Hacks

I’ve been very slack this year sharing great books.  I’ve learned the older your child gets the less mental capacity you have to write.  In 2018, I plan to share brief posts about new books arriving at the library.  At least three a week.  If I have time to elaborate on the titles, I will.  If not, I’ll include the publisher’s summary.

We received a big shipment today.  I immediately checked out one title.  It’s certain to be a hit with my DIY girl.  I’ll probably stock up on the supplies for the Groovy Lava Lamp before showing her the book.  Otherwise, she’ll drive me crazy begging to drive to our nearest grocery store for supplies.  I need to stock up on ear wires for Duct Tape Earrings too.  I can see it now.  A new trend will start at her school  because she loves to make gifts for people.  Luckily, I read the Let’s Get Pranked Hacks chapter.  She “gets me good” all the time.  No new ideas needed.   Maybe I’ll try one on her before I give her the book.

Life Hacks for Kids with Sunny Keller – Packed with 35 popular “hacks” from the top rated YouTube show Life Hacks for Kids, this book is sure to be a hit with fans of the show as well as kids who love to make something out of nothing. Featuring original photographs and behind the scenes insight from show’s star, Sunny Keller. (publisher’s summary)