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.

 

 

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Best Title Ever – Struttin’ With Some Barbecue

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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…

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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.

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Drawn Together by Minh Le and illustrated by Dan Santat

 

Our Top Six

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Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall

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

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Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

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Drawn Together by Minh Le and illustrated by Dan Santat

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Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

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

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?

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Blue by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

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Thank you, Omu! by Oge Mora

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

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Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

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Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall

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

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

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

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Drawn Together by Minh Le and illustrated by Dan Santat

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Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

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

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

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

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

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

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Imagine by Raul Colon

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They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki

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A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin

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Nothing Stopped Sophie by Cheryl Bardoe and illustrated by Barbara McClintock

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Hello Hello By Brendan Wenzel

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

 

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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

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Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora

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Imagine! By Raul Colon

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Blue by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

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Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

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

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

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The Remember Balloons by Jessie Oliveros and illustrated by Dana Wulfkekotte

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

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

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

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

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

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My Pictures After the Storm by Eric Veille

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A Different Pond by Bao Phi and illustrated by Thi Bui

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Potato Pants by Laurie Keller

 

Beginning Readers

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Please, No More Nuts by Jonathan Fenske

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Mr. Monkey Visits a School by Jeff Mack

 

Biographies for Kids

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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We Are Grateful by Traci Sorrell and illustrated by Frane Lessac

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

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

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

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

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Grandma Gatewood Hikes the Appalachian Trail

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

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Terrific Tongues by Maria Gianferrari and illustrated by Jia Liu

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The Elephant by Jenni Desmond

 

Middle Grade Fiction

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Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed

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Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

Young Adult Fiction

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Brave Enough by Kati Gardner

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Breakout by Kate Messner

 

Young Adult Graphic Novels

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

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Princess and Dress Maker by Jen Wang

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

 

Outlier

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Baby Monkey, Private Eye by Brian Selznick and David Serlin

 

 Perfect for Storytime

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

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Mad, Mad Bear! by Kimberly Gee

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

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

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Plant the Tiny Seed by Christie Matheson

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Play This Book by Jessica Young and illustrated by Daniel Wiseman

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

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The Big Bed by Bunmi Laditan and illustrated by Tom Knight

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

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Old Hat by Emily Gravett

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

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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.

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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.”

 

 

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.

I INSIST YOU SHARE THESE WITH YOUR CHILDREN AND YOURSELF.  YOU WON’T BE DISAPPOINTED.

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

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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.”

Pashmina

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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

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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

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)

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)

Claymates – My Favorite Picture Book of 2018

When Claymates by Dev Petty and illustrated by Lauren Eldridge arrived at the library, all the Youth Services staff loved it.  Then, I used it at a program for Kindergarten – 2nd graders.  They loved it even more.  This summer, I’ll share it with 3rd-5th graders.  I should warn the library staff before the program.  I know the kids will scream with laughter while I read the book.  When I share the book trailer video, there will probably be a noise complaint from the apartments across the street.

 

The activity for this book was fun. We viewed this Book Chat first.

 

Then, each child received a paper plate with a generous pinch of two colors of play dough and googly eyes.  They were encouraged to create characters.  Around ten minutes later, toothpicks were added to the mix.  Ten minutes after the toothpick distribution, colorful plastic straws and scissors to cut the straws were placed on the tables for use.  They spent half an hour molding a variety of  creatures.  The parents loved this program as much as the children.  Many asked if there were extra materials so they could participate.  Parents and children alike created their very own Claymates.

 

 

 

Happy Birthday SJ – 11 Books and One to Grow On

ML’s best friend moved a little over a year ago.  It was hard for ML.  There have been times when she was in tears over various things this past year.  The only thing she wanted was to talk to SJ.  Some were friendship issues.  Some were when she was mad at me.  One was when her hand was pouring blood from squeezing a wine glass.  That’s a blog post in itself.

ML and SJ became friends without parent involvement.  Which is unusual for 5-year-olds.  They met at Y Camp the summer before kindergarten.  SJ’s mom says it best; “People search their whole lives for the kind of friendship ML and SJ have.”

We’ve worked hard to make certain the girls see each other every few months.  Tomorrow, we’ll drive four hours to spend Labor Day Weekend celebrating SJ’s birthday.  I’m fully prepared to hear “Are we there yet?  How much longer?” every five minutes.  I’m excited as ML because SJ and her family are like family to us.

Last fall, we picked up SJ on our way to a wedding in Georgia.  I wish I had a video of their hug when they first saw each other after almost two months apart.  In January  SJ, her mom and brother came for the Woman’s March.  They came up for a portion of spring break too.  (Note to self.  Check to see if they have the same spring break this year).  Then, SJ came for a week this summer.  ML and SJ met at a YMCA Day Camp the summer before elementary school; so they spent their days at the camp.  At night, I enjoyed watching these two make slime, eat at Moes, and the one that made me smile the most… lying on the bed reading books before lights out.

At the beginning of last year, ML put in words how hard it was at school without SJ.  “SJ’s the one who helps bring people together.  When people are mad or disagreeing, she helps find a solution.”  To celebrate this amazing girl, who should be president… and very well may be one day.  I’ve put together a list of 11 books for her to read this year.  It’s based on books I know she loved, her interests and to grow her already compassionate self to see a variety of viewpoints.  This might seem like a lot of books to “assign”  I feel confident several of these books she will read in one night.  I’ve purposely included a variety of genres and writing styles.  I’ve read all but one.  I’ll write a post soon about the one I’ve yet to read; but I already know it’s a winner.  I’m not going to quiz SJ on these books next year; but I do hope she gives each book at least 30 pages.  In the meantime, I’ll be thinking about her Birthday Book List for when she starts middle school next year.

 

bubble

Bubble by Stewart Foster

Crossover

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

 

George

George by Alex Gino

Awful Falafal

It Ain’t So Awful, Falafal by

Long Walk to Water

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

march

March, Book 1 by John Lewis with Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell

moo

Moo by Sharon Creech

nine ten

Nine, Ten:  A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Roller Girl

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

 

Summerlost_BOM.indd

Summerlost by Ally Condie

Under The Egg

Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitgerald

And one to grow on; because not only did SJ meet Cassie Beasely when she came to our local bookstore to promote Circus Mirandus, she and her mom read it aloud and loved it.

Tumble Blue

Tumble and Blue by Cassie Beasely

 

 

KidLit Cares – ML Does Too

On Sunday, I posted a picture of an abandoned lemonade stand on Facebook with the comment.  “I know some local entrepreneurs who will soon realize one of the first rules of making money. Don’t leave your cash box unattended.”  Last night, I picked the two entrepreneurs up  from gymnastics.  I was going to wait and see how long it took for them to realize their lemonade cash was missing.  Then, the devastation of Hurricane Harvey happened.  Knowing these girls’ sweet spirits, I chose a different route.  To set the scene there were two sweaty girls in leotards sitting in the back seat surrounded by backpacks, binders and lunch boxes.  Our conversation went like this.

Me:  Where’s the money you made from the lemonade stand?

ML:  In the box.

Me:  No, it’s not.

ML:  Did you spend it?

Me:  No.  I stole it.  You shouldn’t leave your cash box unattended.

ML:  MOM!!!

Me:  I had an idea.  Would you like to donate it to the Red Cross to help the victims from Hurricane Harvey?

ML and Friend:  YES!!!

Their $13 won’t buy anything from the auction KidLit Cares is holding.  But it might if I add to it.  I’m thinking about approaching parents from fifth grade to see if any of them want to join in a bid for a Skype visit with an author.   I have my eye on a few and feel certain their ELA teacher wouldn’t object.  Especially one who is having her students read so many wonderful books this year.

People who write children’s books don’t do it for the money.  Writing is hard work and takes lots of time.  I already knew authors of books for children were amazing.  But their willingness to share their time and promote the love of reading while benefiting Hurricane Harvey victims speaks volumes.

Kate Messner says it best on the KidLit Cares Auction site.

“People who write children’s books and work in this industry have a wide range of interests and talents. As authors, illustrators, agents, and editors, we do different jobs, and we love and create different kinds of books. But one thing we all tend to agree on is using your powers for good in the world.

We are heartbroken that Hurricane Harvey and related flooding is having such a devastating effect on those in the storm’s path. Today and in the weeks to come, the Red Cross will be serving thousands of families displaced by Hurricane Harvey and related flooding. Those families include so many kids who read our books. We’d like to do what we can to help, and that’s what KidLit Cares is all about.”

199 authors, illustrators, editors and agents have donated their time or books.  Take a look and consider bidding if you can.  If you can’t, consider giving what you can to the Red Cross.  Small amounts from many people add up quickly.

Follow the link below for more information.

http://www.katemessner.com/kidlit-cares-our-hurricane-harvey-relief-effort/

 

The Solar Eclipse Is Over – Time to Read

A few weeks ago, I started reading The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon.  I was captivated by it; but was busy preparing for an interview.  Then, what I will refer to as The Solar Eclipse of 17 frenzy started.  It will live in infamy with librarians throughout the country.  After answering calls and in person questions about eclipse glasses all day, the last thing I wanted to do when I got home was read a book with sun in the title.  Actually, the last thing I wanted to do at all was read.

Now that the eclipse is over, the world hasn’t ended and my book holding arm wasn’t injured passing out eclipse glasses at our program, I can start reading again.

All this sun and moon conversation reminded me I’ve yet to read the 2017 Newbery Award winner, The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.  Once I finish The Sun is Also a Star, I’ll start The Girl Who Drank the Moon.

 

 

Rain Wizard by Larry Dane Brimner

I need to connect with the dead tonight.   Charles Mallory Hatfield, to be exact.  I read a fascinating biography about him a year or so ago.  It was titled The Rain Wizard by Larry Dane Brimner. The book jacket description said, “Renowned nonfiction writer and longtime Sand Diego resident, Larry Dane Brimner delves deep into the life of the man who carried his rainmaking secrets to the grave.  Was this man of mystery a scientist as he claimed or simply a fraud playing on people’s desperation?”

For weeks, I’ve been trying to figure out how to make it rain on August, 21, 2017.  Six weeks ago, I didn’t even know there was going to be a solar eclipse.  One week ago, I started having nightmares about it.  I dug myself in a hole without knowing what I was getting into.  Around six weeks ago, it was mentioned my library system might order solar eclipse glasses for a program.  If they did, how many would our location need?  Based on previous program attendance, I sent in a number and didn’t think anything more about it.  Until a few weeks ago.  The PR arrived and I put it up in the library.  I did not set up registration for the event because the number of glasses we ordered were plenty for the number of families that usually attend our special programs.  Then, an evil person provided the media with fake news.  (Sorry my anxiety took over the keyboard for a sentence.) I don’t think it was a conspiracy just poorly written headlines.

Here’s an example from one news source.

Need Solar Eclipse Glasses?  They’re Free at Libraries Across America

weather.com/science/news/free-eclipse-glasses-available-at-libraries-across-america

Most people probably only read the headline.  Knee deep in the article was important information.  “The Space Science Institute’s National Center for Interactive Learning and STAR_Net Libraries have teamed up to provide more than 2 million solar-viewing glasses at 4,800 public library locations across the nation, partially funded through the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.”

Across the nation, library phones started ringing off the hook.  From the beginning, we told people we weren’t doing registration.  We’ve never needed to do registration in the past at my location.  It would be first come first serve, one pair of glasses per family.  Then, the phone kept ringing.  We realized we needed to order more.  We did.  I even ordered a pack of ten for my daughter planning to donate the rest to the library.  With the extra order and mine, we would have more than enough.  Then, I received the Amazon email informing me they were recalling the glasses I ordered.  Seeing that we ordered the extra glasses for the library from Amazon, this did not bode well.  That afternoon, my manager received the illustrious Amazon email.

Librarians across the nation have been having online group therapy… sharing their experiences and ideas.  Here are some of my favorites.

needed: brilliant ideas for keeping eclipse glasses seekers as lifelong patrons
My Favorite Answer:  Winter Solstice Glowstick Party?

*ring ring*
*Coworker picks up*
“Sarah, it’s your mom”
“Omg, she never calls me at work, I hope everything is ok!”
*I pick up*
“Hi Mom, is everything alright?”
“Hi honey, I heard libraries have free eclipse glasses…”
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…. E TU BRUTE???

so … what happens to all these eclipse glasses on tuesday?
My Favorite Answer:  I heard on the radio that libraries are glad to accept them as donations (along with the M – Mil volume of a 1986 encyclopedia set)!

And most importantly – What’s the best way to hand out glasses?
My Favorite Answer:  Make it like an Easter Egg Hunt

I’ve let every person working Monday know they are welcome to send all unhappy people to me.  I’ve lived long enough to know that admitting your mistakes is usually the best way to handle difficult situations.  I just need to remind myself throughout the event that this too will pass.  If that doesn’t work, there’s always bourbon.  I’ll be too busy with crowd control to see the eclipse.  Luckily, someone has a bottle of bourbon on hand for me to have a post eclipse drink or four.

As for me, I learned a lesson.  Our Slime Fest in September is a Registration Required event.

 

 

Catching Up on Picture Book Reading

June and July at the library is comparable to retail’s November and December.  Things are calming down so I’m catching up on my picture book reading.  Last Friday, I read around ten new picture books I’ve missed when they arrived at the library this year.  My favorites are below.

ML is starting fifth grade.  I’m no longer invited to be a guest reader; and if I was she wouldn’t let me do it.  I need to find a kindergartner or first grader to adopt so I can read these books to a group that’s old enough to enjoy the humor; but not too old to turn their nose up at picture books.

Moo Moo in a Tutu by Tim Miller

Samson The Piranha Who Went to Dinner by Tadgh Bentley

The Green Umbrella

The Green Umbrella by Jackie Azua Kramer and illustrated by Maral Sassouni is perfect for this rainy day.  I’ll understand if you don’t run straight to the library to get it today.  However, you should request it immediately; so its waiting on a shelf to be picked up the next sunny day.

This book celebrates creativity; and the illustrations are delightful.

 

 

Snow White: A Graphic Novel

snow-white

I often say, “I’m not really a graphic novel reader.”  I can’t say that anymore.  A more appropriate comment would be,  “I don’t really read superhero graphic novels or manga.”

This weekend, I experienced an amazing graphic novel, Snow White, by Matt Phelan.  I use the word experience, instead of read, because there were not many words.  There didn’t need to be.  The setting of this version was 1928 in New York City.  To say it’s a modernized version of Snow White is both true and a little weird.  Afterall, we’re about 90 years out from the roaring twenties and the onslaught of the great depression.

I’m not going to tell you anything more about the book, except the ending.  Well, not really the ending because we all know what happens.  It’s the way Matt Phelan creates a historically accurate and appropriate ending that makes this book a must read.

Matt Phelan has written three other graphic novels.  I have requested all of them, and feel certain there will be a blog post about them in the near future.

Penguins Love Colors

penguins-love-colors

Finding a book about colors that is simple enough for toddlers to grasp each individual color is hard; which is unfortunate.   It’s one of the first types of books little ones adore.  Penguins Love Colors by Sarah Aspinall does exactly that.

Here are some other titles about colors ML enjoyed as a toddler.  All of which were written in the last millennium.  Actually, they were all written before I graduated from high school.

Freight Train

Freight Train by David Crews

planting-ranibow

Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert

brown-bear

Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr

 

 

Blue Penguin

blue-penguin

Currently, I’m planning a program comparing and contrasting the Arctic and Antarctica.  I know. . . sounds boring.   After a very brief lesson on Geography, the fun will begin.  I’ll start with sharing a photo collage I created of animals which live in the Arctic vs Antarctica.  From there, we will play Arctic Animal Bingo.  We’ll finish off the event making snow animals out of clay.  When a program includes clay, it’s always a winner!  Children and parents alike join in the fun.

I learn a lot when I plan programs for kindergarten – 5th graders.  Did you know there are 17 types of penguins?  None of which live in the Arctic.   As for Antarctica, there are the true Antarctic species, which breed on or near continental Antarctica. . .  Adelie, Chinstrap, Emperor and Gentoo penguins.  Sub Antarctic species are one’s where the furthest south they go is the sub-Antarctic islands.  These include King, Macaroni and Rockhopper penguins.  I’m curious where the other ten types of penguins live.  The kids will be too.  I need to research that before the first week of January.

In the meantime, I’ll practice reading Blue Penguin by Petr Horacek.  A beautiful book with a timely message.