My Caldecott Awards & Where I Plan to Be In 2017



I wanted to make it to Chicago this year to attend the awards ceremony for the Caldecott Medal; but my budget didn’t allow it.  Next year, the Caldecott award will be announced in Boston.  Closer. . . but probably not in my budget.  Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I will be there in 2017.  Where?  Atlanta. . .a six hour drive, a free place to stay and the chance to visit my family.

It wasn’t easy for me to choose a winner this year.  Many worthy books were published in 2014.

My Choice – Caldecott 2015 Medal 
Flashlight by Lizi Boyd

My Choices – Caldecott Honor Books
Telephone by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jen Corace
The Farmer and The Clown by Marla Frazee
The Adventures of Beekle:  An UnImaginary Friend by Dan Santat



“Guess what Ms. Baker’s giving me for my birthday?”


That’s what ML asked me last Friday.  My guesses were wrong.  In a lilting voice she said, “A test.”  I was surprised at her excitement.  Ms. Baker is ML’s math teacher.  A few weeks ago, ML was weepy and anxious after her first math test.  I fully expected bemoaning with the next one.  Then, I remembered they are studying geometry.  My little artist loves shapes.  These past few weeks she’s enjoyed identifying rhombuses, quadrilaterals, parallelograms, calculating the perimeter and creating shape people.

From time to time, I read as many books by an author or illustrator as I can get my hands on. Marla Frazee’s new book, The Farmer and The Clown arrived for me Saturday.  A delightful reminder to explore more of her work.  I read all the books on the shelf.  Then, requested the rest.  I highlighted her book Boot and Shoe on my dad’s 70th birthday.

I realized Stars by Mary Lyn Ray and Marla Frazee is the perfect book to highlight on ML’s birthday.  It’s about many of the things ML loves… shapes, imaginative play, the night sky, dressing up, strawberries, pumpkins, fairies, snowflakes, dandelions and fireworks.

I highlighted her book Boot and Shoe on my dad’s 70th birthday.  My brother’s birthday is the next one in the family.  Wonder what Marla Frazee book I’ll highlight then?  Hint… as a young child, he insisted his name was Farmer Brown.


After Ivy + Bean – A Booklist for Eleanor

My friend requested some series ideas for her daughter, Eleanor, when she finishes the Ivy + Bean books written by Annie Barrows and illustrated by Sophie Blackall.  Eleanor is on book nine.  Time is of the essence  as there are only ten books in the series.  All the books I recommend below are on similar reading levels and include illustrations.  I’ve featured picture books by illustrators of most of these series.  The combination of high quality stories and engaging illustrations make an early grades chapter book desirable to children bridging the gap from picture books to chapter books.

Like Pickle Juice On Cookie









Like Pickle Juice on A Cookie by Julie Sternberg and illustrated by Matthew Cordell – I don’t think ML and her friends will be able to resist a book where the first chapter states, “I had a bad August.  A very bad August.  As bad as pickle juice on a cookie.  As bad as a spiderweb on your leg.  As bad as the black parts of a banana.  I hope your August was better.  I really do.”  The main character’s name is Eleanor just like ML’s friend.  There are two more books in this series with equally funny titles.  Like Bug Juice on a Burger and Like Carrot Juice on a Cupcake.


Nikki Deja

Nikki and Deja by Karen English and illustrated by Laura Freeman – Nikki and Deja are best friends who happen to live next door to each other.  As a former teacher, the author understands the trials and tribulation of being a third grader.  Along with the importance of friendship.  With only five books in this series, I hope another is published soon.

Judy Moody

Judy Moody by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter Reynolds – Judy Moody has been around for 14 years, and she continues to resonate with elementary school students.  She’s funny, fiesty and always in a mood.  The illustrations are authentic.  Just like Judy Moody’s brother Stink, I’ve seen ML lie upside down on the couch with her head touching the floor and her legs against the back of the couch.  There’s a reason titles continue to be published.










Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry and illustrated by Middy Thomas – I’ve posted about Gooney Bird before.  Click on Gooney Bird Greene to see the post.


Clementine by Sara Pennypacker and pictures by Marla Frazee – No series post for a second grade girl is complete without mentioning the Clementine books.  All you have to do is read this quote from page one.   “Someone should tell you not to answer the phone in the principal’s office, if that’s a rule.”

Looking forward to seeing which books Eleanor decides to try.  ML’s on an Ivy + Bean kick right now, wanting to read all of them.  I’ll put Eleanor in charge of recommending ML’s next series.


Dog Days of Summer End Today and Dad’s 70th Year Begins


According to Wikipedia, “The Old Farmer’s Almanac lists the traditional period of the Dog Days as the 40 days beginning July 3rd and ending August 11th, coinciding with the ancient heliacal (at sunrise) rising of the Dog Star, Sirius.”

It also happens to be my father’s 70th birthday. So in celebration of him, I’ll share two books. One he read to me and I read to him many times as a child. The other makes me think of Dad.

Dad probably read me Big Dog, Little Dog a hundred times as a child. Then, listened to me read it two hundred times. It was a favorite. ML and I are visiting Georgia this fall. I’ll pack Big Dog, Little Dog so ML can read it to her Papa.

Boot & Shoe by Marla Frazee reminds me of Dad. The dogs live in the country. One stays on the front porch all day. The other stays on the back porch. Well, until a squirrel leads them astray. Dad grew up in the country and retired there. He doesn’t have a front porch dog or a back porch dog. But there is a cat that hangs around, except when my brother’s dog comes to visit.