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Results 26 - 50 of 75,723
26. February Reading Challenge: Yes We Crab!


Caldecott is over, family birthdays are over for a few months, and life is starting to get back into a routine that doesn't include piles of picture books every evening. (Well, at least picture books to take notes with-Toddler GreenBean ensures we have piles of picture books to read every night!!)

I really want to get back to reading for fun and reading chapter books again, but I feel so overwhelmed and I don't know where to start! Enter my wonderful friends and our February Reading Challenge-Yes We Crab!

Five years ago I met these lovely ladies at ALA Midwinter: Angie, Abby, Katie, Kelly and Drea  I often tell people that our fist meeting was like going to summer camp, meeting your best friend, and then having to go back home. Luckily, we get to see each other at least once and sometimes twice a year at ALA and we keep up with each other via Twitter, Email, Facebook. We are always sharing program ideas, library talk, and what we're reading. So when the others all said they wanted to do a reading challenge, we all jumped at the chance and Yes We Crab was born.

It's easy to join in! All you have to do is set a goal for yourself and follow along. Post your progress on Twitter with the hastag #yeswecrab and we'll cheer you along! Your goal can be about reading, about keeping up with blogging-anything! 

My Yes We Crab Goal: Read 20 books (and yes, picture books totally count!!!!) and write a blog post at least once a week. 

What's your February Reading Goal? Can we do it? Yes We Crab!

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27. My Thoughts: Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

4 yummy ice cream sandwiches.

Cover Love:  I do love this cover!  I love that it celebrates the friendship that is a focus of the book rather than the romance.

Why I Wanted to Read This:
I have had this as an ebook for awhile, but hadn't taken the time to read it.  Then this week, this book was available during my library's book fair. Everyday I would pick it up and read a little bit.  Finally I just gave in and read it all!  Here's the synopsis from Good Reads:
It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.

On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?

Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a stranger? Um...

Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane's list. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go skinny-dipping? Wait...what?
Romance?: Yes!

My Thoughts:
I liked the romance in this book, but the memories of Sloane and Emily's friendship is really what drives this book.  Emily is so sure she is lost without Sloane, but when she opens herself up to a world without Sloane she learns she is not lost, she is fun and worth knowing.

I liked how the author kept the story fast paced and moving forward, giving us new characters and giving Emily new experiences, yet slowly doling out information about Sloane.  Sloane was the catalyst for Emily's story, but she wasn't the focus.  The book really focused on friendship.

I didn't love the absent parent aspect, why do young adult books always have to invent a way for parents to not be present?  Although Emily's parents are around, they aren't available.  But, they don't sound like horrible parents, just really caught up in their work.  I think this story would have been fine if they had been present, just working normally.

The author did a great job of giving us a picture of the girl Emily was before she met Sloane and the girl she thought she became when she had Sloane with her.  Emily had no confidence or strength of character on her own, she thought she got it all from  Sloane.  She did a great job of taking steps to realize she was strong on her own and she was also different than Sloane.  She didn't need to be a copy of her.

I adored Frank!  Perfect book boyfriend and one that I was glad to see developed a friendship with Emily before it went anywhere.

To Sum Up:  A great summer novel about friendship and romance.  Fun read!

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28. Rock-A-Bye-Romp by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Simona Mulazzani



If English is your native language, there is a very strong possibility that can sing the first few lines of the nursery rhyme lullaby Rock-a-Bye Baby without even thinking about it. If you can do this, then you know how strange the words to this 250+ year old song are. With Rock-a-Bye Romp, Linda Ashman not only reclaims this song, she manages to give this updated version a classic nursery rhyme feel - without the original Mother Goose strangeness. Add to this the patterned, playful, painterly mixed media illustrations of Italian artist  Simona Mulazzani.


Rock-a-Bye Romp begins with these adorable endpapers that really need to become a textile - be it bedding or jammies for babies. Ashman begins with the question, "Rock-a-Bye, Baby, in the treetop. How did you ever get so high up?" as if she's addressing the weirdness of the original and moving onward and down, into a crow's nest. As baby bounces down from the nest to the barnyard, then from pig to sheep to duck Mulazzani's illustrations almost evoke a Tuscan farm with rolling golden hills and a lapis colored night sky.


Ashman brings Baby and her book home on the wings of a hawk and into the nursery where Mommy is rocking Baby to sleep in her arms beneath a mobile made up of the animals Baby encountered. As Mommy tucks Baby into the cradle the illustrations shows a tree painted on the nursery wall that mirrors the original tree the cradle was stuck in at the start of the book. And the blanket Mommy tucks Baby in with? It's the same pattern as the endpapers!

Rock-a-Bye Romp is a wonderful new book - a much needed update of a curious classic paired with gorgeous illustrations that make it a beautiful, perfect gift for a new baby.

Source: Review Copy

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29. Thoughts on Last Stop on Market Street

In 2008, librarians surprised everyone by choosing the 533-page, The Invention of Hugo Cabret as the winner of the Caldecott Medal honoring the "most distinguished American picture book for children."  This year, the award committees surprised us again with the choice of a picture book, Last Stop on Market Street, as the winner of the Newbery Medal, given to "to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children." 

The short video below featuring author, Matt de la Peña, reading from his book will convince you that this is a wonderful book. 
My concern as a public librarian, however, is how best to share this book with kids.  The book is a little lengthy for my usual storytime crowd, and school-aged kids can seldom be convinced to check out a picture book.  It's in instances like these, that I envy school teachers and media specialists, who have such a wonderful opportunity to share great books with large numbers of kids.  This is perfect book for reading aloud in school.

But, how to share it in a public library setting?

Last week, I had a last-minute inspiration and it was a rewarding experience.  I have a small book club that meets every month. This month, I asked each of the kids to read Last Stop on Market Street - right then. In addition to positive comments about the book, I loved two of the observations that they reported:

  1. I never would have chosen this book if you didn't hand it to me.
  2. The people at the soup kitchen look like regular people.
We then discussed public transportation (none of the kids had ever been on a bus) and soup kitchens (none had ever been to one).  Working in a suburban library with poor public transportation, I can understand this. However, as a suburban parent, I can tell you that I made sure that my own children volunteered at the local food pantry and experienced public transportation (I made all of them ride the public bus with me to the mall even though it was more expensive than driving my minivan and took twice as long).  As a suburban librarian, I can't take kids on the public bus or to the soup kitchen, but at minimum, I've ensured that a few more children are now aware of the lives that others lead.This is one of the many things that makes my job worthwhile.

One of the missions of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks (TM) campaign is to make sure that "all children can see themselves in the pages of a book."  This is important, but also important is recognizing that all people are just "regular people."  We always have more in common than we think.


Last Stop on Market Street
by Matt de la Peña, Illustrated by Christian Robinson

Read it. Share it.

**Winner of the 2016 Newbery Medal
**A 2016 Caldecott Honor Book
**A 2016 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book
A New York Times Bestseller
Four Starred Reviews
Finalist for the 2014 E.B. White Read-aloud Book Award
A Junior Library Guild Selection

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30. Supertruck

Supertruck. Stephen Savage. 2015. Roaring Brook Press. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: The city is full of brave trucks.

Premise/plot: The garbage truck is the star of this book about "brave trucks" in the city. True, you won't find him among the three brave trucks shown on the first page. The three "brave" trucks are the fire truck, the bucket truck, and the tow truck. But Garbage Truck is brave all the same even if the other trucks are unaware of his secret identity. Essentially, the book shows what happens in the city when a BIG, BIG snow storm comes through. All the super-brave trucks are STUCK, STUCK, STUCK. But one truck is a SUPERTRUCK and "saves" the city. The other trucks are clueless who this HERO is...but readers know the truth.

My thoughts: I liked it. I definitely liked it. Yes, it is very, very simple. The illustrations are simple. The text is simple. The plot is simple. But it works, it all comes together and just WORKS.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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31. #817 – Frankie Dupont and the High Seas Heist by Julie Anne Grasso

Frankie Dupont And The High Seas Heist SERIES: Frankie Dupont Mystery Series, Bk. #4 Written by Julie Anne Grasso Illustrated by Alexander Avellino Released  7/03/2015 978-0-9943216-0-2 132 pages      Ages 8—12 “Frankie Dupont seems to catch odd-ball cases in the most unlikely places. You would think he would be used to it by now. …

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32. Thoughts on Board/Committee Work


Pixabay Image
Our new  2106 Youth Services Section (YSS) board for the Wisconsin Library Association met recently in our first in-person retreat (maybe ever!). To start us off during an afternoon of brainstorming and reflection, we took the time to learn about our responsibilities as members of a statewide board.

I volunteered to guide the group through our responsibilities as board members. As the YSS rep on our WLA board, I've developed some knowledge on how our association and unit work.  I've also thought alot about the reasons that group work like board work, committee work and even group projects and staff teamwork can be so hard.

Depending on the circumstances, some people consider their service a step up the ladder of fame; some people let others do all the heavy lifting; there always seems to be one or two who appear AWOL much of the time; people lose the thread of continuity and make up stuff; guidelines or bylaws or org manuals are ignored. I could go on but we've all been involved in group work and can share a horror story or two.

It doesn't have to be hard.  But I think before we say yes to a board or committee, we need to consider our responsibilities to the group. Here's what I suggested make for stronger group work on a board level.

KNOWLEDGE
·       Get to know website, blog, organizational and leadership manual - we will be smart;  we won’t get lost in myths; and we can use our knowledge to contribute to wise decision making.

COMMUNICATION
·        Be an information sharer –not hoarder  - make sure the chair knows what is happening as well as other board members on projects we each work on; consider how to let members of the organization know what the board is doing through unit newsletters and/or social media (blog, FB group, Google community, etc) as well as through state library networks like system workshops or other communities. Be transparent.

      Communication and sharing ideas/opinions critical - step up at board meetings and participate even if we feel shy or hesitant. All opinions and contributions are vital.

TEAMWORK
Strong teamwork results in amazing results - what can we each add to push youth services forward. Volunteer to help or recruit others to help in moving services ahead.

You are not alone  - other board members offer amazing support system to help us be successful and do meaningful work. Ask for assistance.

Make your dreams come true - what projects do you think the organization's members would benefit from? Suggest and work towards them! And look for organization members to help you (rather than just board members) to give meaningful work to recruit for leadership.

Step outside of  your unit and get to know other association members and committees (our tribe is great but we get more done the larger our networks are).


LEADERSHIP
·        Servant Leadership  - How do we serve? Serving our members as a board member with a big picture view rather than our own own narrow interests or expertise areas means we serve the organization and not ourselves.  Leading from behind by offering a hand up and a shoulder to stand on for sister/brother board members and unit members makes everyone feel strong.  Thinking of ourselves as a true representative of all unit members and not just service as a personal step up a ladder.

·      Own your leadership role - when at meetings at the our libraries, in our systems and community, don’t just intro ourselves as "So and so from such and such library" but also as board member  of our unit or association.

·      Encourage membership  - we are ambassadors and our interactions with other youth serving staff invites people to participate and feel welcomed.

·       Step up to the plate  - we may need to step into a leadership position if someone resigns or leaves state. Board work has larger responsibilities that we can fill to keep the unit vital and functioning (always remembering above- we are not alone).

·       Making up missed meetings  - We all have to miss a meeting or two. If this happens, read over the minutes asap  and contact the chair to ask what WE can do. Don't consider a missed meeting as "Get out of board responsibilities" moment.

These simple approaches can really make a difference in successful board and committee and being part of a successful working board/committee.  

What else makes board work successful?  Tips welcome!





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33. The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, 316 pp, RL4


The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley came out in January of 2015. In January of 2016 it won the Newbery Honor, the Schneider Family Book Award for the "artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences," and the Odyssey Award for best audio book, with narration by Jayne Entwistle. A couple of months back, Bradley's book came to my attention when I saw it on several end of the year "best of" lists and Newbery prediction lists. After fantasy, historical fiction a very close second favorite genre of mine and without a doubt, The War the Saved My Life is one of the best works of historical fiction I have ever read. In narrator Ada, Bradley has created powerful narrative voice, an unforgettable character and a deeply moving story of survival, both physical and emotional, during WWII England.

Ada is not sure how old she is. She has never been to school, in fact, she has not left the tiny apartment she shares with her mother and younger brother, Jamie, in ages. She is crippled by a club foot and a widowed mother who never wanted to be one. Deeply suspicious, ignorant and filled with anger and hatred, Ada's mother abuses her physically and emotionally, filling her with shame and fear. Ada's only pleasure comes from tending to her little brother Jamie. As he grows older and starts school, his independence leaves her feeling like she should get some of her own. Used to crawling on her hands and knees, Ada slowly, painfully teaches herself to walk. When she learns from Jamie that the children are being evacuated from the city - and that her mother has no intention of letting her go - she sneaks out of the house and joins the evacuees. Upon arriving in Kent, Ada and Jamie, filthy, louse ridden, sick with rickets and impetigo, find themselves unwanted once more. The iron faced Lady Thornton, head of the Women's Voluntary Service, packs the children into her car and takes them to the home of Susan Smith, who refuses to take them, saying she didn't even know there was a war on.

Susan is mourning the loss of her dear friend, Becky, and in her near catatonic state of grief she unthinkingly says that she never wanted children in front of Ada and Jamie. However, Ada catches sight of a pony in the field behind Susan's house and determines to stay. With Susan, Ada faces a new set of challenges, the biggest being trust. Even if she hadn't heard Susan say that she never wanted children, the task of being able to trust Susan would be overwhelming. And this is where Bradley's superior narrative skills shine. With Ada's voice, Bradley conveys the isolation, fear and ignorance that have been her life. So many of the words that Susan says to her mean nothing, from "soup," to "sheets," to "operate," the reader quickly gets a strong sense of disconnect with which Ada moves through the world. This disconnect is expressed most powerfully when Ada is in distress, when her foot hurts or when people are talking about her or touching her. When she was home with her Mam, Ada would retreat, mentally, when the agony of her physical situation - like being locked in a dank cabinet under the sink - was too much to bear. She relies on this relief with Susan, too, imagining herself with Butter, the pony she saw in the field that she teaches herself to ride.

While Ada is an incredible character, Susan Smith is also remarkable. Oxford educated, she herself is familiar with parental disapproval and rejection. Bradley never states it openly, but she weaves enough threads into the story to lead me to believe that Susan and Becky were in love and were ostracized for it. But, Susan exemplifies the motto from the morale boosting poster created during the war, "Keep calm and carry on." In fact, Bradley quotes another poster made by the Ministry of Information to boost morale in The War that Saved My Life. Seeing the poster in town, Susan reads to to Ada, "Your courage, your cheerfulness, your resolution will bring us victory." "That's stupid, it sounds like we're doing all the work," Ada replies, saying it should be, "Our courage, our cheerfulness, our resolution, will bring us victory." This is one of the first moments where Susan sees through Ada's defenses. Susan clothes, feeds and educates Jamie and Ada, persistently, but never forcefully. While she expresses frustration, and both children cringe or hide at times when they think they have truly angered her, she never hits them or raises her voice to them. Instead, she explains herself when called for and hugs them when words will not do. She somehow understands the depths of Ada's emotional wounds and is patient with her when she breaks down, wrapping her tightly in a blanket and hugging - or even sitting on her during their first air raid.

While Ada and Jamie's mother only appears in the first and last few pages of The War that Saved My Life, her presence is a constant throughout. Her abuse of Ada is sometimes horrific, but also sparsely and effectively employed by Bradley. Witnessing this abuse allows the reader to be patient with the often unlikable Ada and also helps the reader understand her decisions, like the choice not to learn how to read or write, and her reactions, like the catastrophic break down she has when, on Christmas Eve, Susan gives her a handmade, green velvet dress, telling her that she is beautiful when she tries it on. Her mother's words, "You ugly piece of rubbish! Filth and trash! No one wants you with that ugly foot!" run through Ada's head and her roaring screams and panic are more understandable. It is even almost understandable that, throughout most of the novel, Ada believes that all the new things she is learning, from walking to horseback riding to reading and writing, will prove her worth to her mother and make her love her. With this possibility always out there, letting herself get attached to Susan is almost impossible. Then, there is always the knowledge of what her mother has thought of her and how she has treated her. Halfway through the novel, Ada says, "I wanted Mam to be like Susan. I didn't really trust Susan not to be like Mam."

But, Ada does get attached and she does grow stronger, physically and emotionally, over the course of this very rich and detailed story. And, while at first it seems like the war is a far off thing, it does come to Kent in a shattering way. After the Battle of Dunkirk, Kent finds itself overwhelmed by injured and dying soldiers, Ada heading into the village to help where she can. There is even a triumphant moment where, following the government dictate to say something if you see something, Ada not only must assert herself, but also let a prejudiced, condescending adult know that her foot is very far away from her brain, something she has heard Susan say, in order to be taken seriously. As life grows more dangerous in Kent and Susan refuses to send Ada and Jamie away, Ada thinks to herself, "It was hard enough to cope with Susan. How would I ever cope without her?"

I was in tears and sobbing for the last half of The War that Saved My Life, especially the final pages. Bradley delivers a very satisfying ending to a deeply satisfying book, one that makes me want to turn around and read it all over again. I am so grateful that this book won a Newbery honor, among other well deserved awards, because it means that it's likely to fall into the hands of children over and over for decades to come. I can't wait to get a copy for my library - I usually donate books I buy for myself to read to my library, but I am keeping this one! - and see what my students think of it!

Source: Purchased


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34. Review: How It Went Down

How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon. Henry Holt. 2014. Review copy.


How It Went DownThe Plot: Tariq Johnson, sixteen, dies from two gunshots fired by by Jack Franklin. Tariq is black; Jack is white.

There are many people who know Tariq, who know Jack. Who saw them before the shooting and after. Each has a their own story to tell, about what they know.

The Good: There is an old saying, that for every two people there are three sides to their story. Their versions, and the truth.

The problem, of course, is figuring out what that truth is and is not.

Here, there are those who say that Tariq was just a teen with a chocolate bar. And others who say he had a weapon. And some that say that Jack was justified. And others who say it was murder.

How It Went Down is told in many voices, friends, family, acquaintances. It's the story of Tariq's life and death and the aftermath, but we also find out about the lives of those who in telling Tariq's story tell their own. What I like about these multiple narratives is it doesn't give any answers of what really happened. It's up to the reader to decide who is right -- but the thing is, it's clear that everyone is right. Or, rather, everyone believes that they are right in what they know, what they saw, and what they believed.

And it's not just the shooting of Tariq, and whether or not it's the self defense that Jack claims. It's also whether, as the story unfolds, Jack's claim of self defense is made in part not because of anything that Tariq did or did not do but because Tariq was a black teenager and so Jack assumed and believed things about Tariq. And along with that is how the others react to Jack's claims, including the police who release him. And then the community reaction, because a black teenager is dead and the white shooter is released.

From the start, the reader knows that Tariq is dead. Knowing that doesn't lessen the impact of this death, or feeling the sorrow and grief of his family and friends. It does make one wish "if only, if only." And while this will be a good book discussion book because it allows for the readers to say what they believe happened, it's also a good book discussion book because it allows the reader to take a closer look at their own beliefs. Who do they believe? And why?

How does one's own perspective influence their memory? What they see? And what they believe?








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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

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35. Death on the Riviera

Death on the Riviera. John Bude. 1952/2016. Poisoned Pen Press. 250 pages. [Source: Review copy]
 
Did I enjoy reading John Bude's Death on the Riviera?! Yes! I might even go so far as to call it a gush-worthy read? Why? Purely because I found it hard to put down, and, just overall satisfying to read. Is it the best ever mystery novel? Probably not. But was it a joy to spend time with? Yes, very much.

Inspector Meredith (C.I.D) and Acting-Sergeant Freddy Strang head to Southern France in this mystery novel. They are teaming up with the local police to stop a gang of criminals from printing counterfeit money and introducing it into the currency. The prime suspect--the leader of the gang--is English. But though it is late in coming--very, very late in coming--this one is a murder mystery as well. So there are at least two 'big' stories going on in this delightful golden-age detective novel.

Why did I find it so delightful? Probably for me, the number one reason is the characters and characterization as shown off so well in the dialogue. I really, really enjoyed Freddy Strang's presence in this one. And his attempted romance was just cute and sweet in all the right ways. It was never the focus of the book, but, it was like the chocolate bits in a trail mix. I also enjoyed the setting and the plot and the solution.

The book was originally published in 1952, and it has been republished in 2016.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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36. #818 – The Daring Prince Dashing by Marilou T. Reeder & Karl West

The Daring Prince Dashing Written by Marilou T. Reeder Illustrated by Karl West Sky Pony Press    11/03/2015 978-1-63450-161-6 32 pages     Ages 3—6 “PRINCE DASHING IS DARING AND WILL STOP AT NOTHING TO FIND A NEW FRIEND! “Prince Dashing bathes with crocodiles, eats while dangling upside down from the tallest trees, and toasts …

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37. Using Scarves in Storytime

Scarves are one of my favorite props to use in storytime because:

  • They’re colorful!
  • They’re fun to wave around and something that most of our kids probably don’t have at home.
  • We ordered a ton of them so they’re a good choice when we’ll have large storytime crowds.
  • They’re lightweight and pack down very small, so they’re easy to take on the road to outreach visits.

Lately, I’ve been collecting lots of ways to use scarves in my storytimes because I love them so much, and I’m here today to pass on what I have learned.

  1. How do you pass out scarves? 

They’re hard to smoosh down into a basket, so how do you pass them out? One of my colleagues showed me this way:

Photo by Abby Johnson

Photo by Abby Johnson

Lay out your scarves and then tie them into a bundle. Hold the bundle by the knot as you’re going around and each child can select the color he or she wants and gently tug it out of the bundle. I like the give the kids a choice of color whenever possible, to let them know that I value their preferences. But if I have an unruly crowd, I can also take my bundle around and hand them out.

2. What do you do with scarves?

I always start with a few little “warm up” activities to add some motor skills practice and because if I take the time to pass out the scarves, I want to spend a little time on doing scarf activities and not just take them up again after one song. I do these with everyone, babies through preschoolers.

  • We wave our scarves high and low.
  • We wave our scarves fast and slow.
  • We scrunch up our scarves and then throw them up into the air on the count of three.

Each of these activities helps kids practice listening and following directions, concepts like opposites and counting, and motor skills.

Then, we’ll sing a song or two with the scarves. I usually have at least one thematic song if I’m using them in preschool storytime and then I might throw in a general song just to extend our scarf play a little bit.

3. How do you put scarves away?

Since they’re so light, it can be difficult for kids to put scarves back into a basket or bag. With the babies, I go around the circle and collect each scarf and just hold them in my hand. With the preschoolers, I love to use scarves to practice colors and another activity that helps them learn to listen and follow direction.

I ask everyone to look at their scarf and notice what color they have (they will start shouting out what color they have, it’s okay). Then I tell them they’ll need to listen for their color and when I call their color, bring the scarf back up to me. And I sing this song:

(Tune: Do You Know the Muffin Man? [but this can also be sung to many different tunes])

If you have a red scarf, a red scarf, a red scarf,
If you have a red scarf, please bring it up to me.

Repeat with different colors until everything’s been brought up. If you have any stragglers that missed their colors, you can also add a last verse “If you have any more scarves, any more scarves, any more scarves…”

With this activity, we’re practicing color knowledge, listening/following directions, taking turns, and encouraging children to approach an adult who’s not a member of their family. These are all great school readiness skills!

4. Where can you find more scarf songs and rhymes to use in your storytime?

There are tons of great resources out there for scarf songs! Once you have started using scarves in your storytime, you may also find it pretty easy to adapt other songs & rhymes with movements for your scarves (anything with waving, flying, falling, up & down, fast & slow). Of course, you can also just wave scarves to any nursery rhyme, song, or recorded music!

Get started with these great resources:

5. Where can you get scarves?

Many stores that carry storytime or early childhood supplies will carry scarves. Our scarves (pictured above) came from Lakeshore Learning, but you can also find them at Constructive Playthings and there are many choices available from Amazon.com. If buying sets of scarves is not in your budget, you can also do any of these activities with small squares of fabric or something like washcloths (they would be thicker, but have much the same effect).

What are your favorite songs or rhymes to use with scarves? Do you have a special way you like to distribute or collect scarves in storytime?

— Abby Johnson, Youth Services Manager
New Albany-Floyd County Public Library
New Albany, IN
http://www.abbythelibrarian.com

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38. Top Ten Tuesday: Historical Settings


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish
1. Regency England. I *tend* to love books set during the Regency period in England. Georgette Heyer wrote some GREAT romances set during this period. Also Anne Perry's William Monk mystery series is set at this time.

2. Victorian England. I *tend* to love books written by Victorians. (Think Anthony Trollope, Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Elizabeth Gaskell, etc.) But I also tend to enjoy historical fiction set during this period.

3. World War II. If a book is set during World War II--in any country--chances are I'm going to be curious and willing to read it. That's not to say it's a guaranteed five stars! I have read hundreds of books set during this time period.

4. 1930s-1940s--England or America. Perhaps because of my interest in World War II, I do tend to read books set prior and directly after the war. 1930s fiction set in America is often focused on the Great Depression or the Dust Bowl or the like. And 1930s fiction set in England or Europe is about the political tension of the times.

5. Middle Ages. England. Think 15th and 16th centuries. Think SUNNE IN SPLENDOUR. I have read dozens of books about the War of Roses. And a handful on the Tudors (boo, hiss, Henry VII and Henry VIII).

6. Edwardian England. And World WAR I. While not "my favorite" historical period to read about, I have read some really good books set during this time period. And I am always on the look out for more!

7. Pioneer Stories. America. I love "going west" and "living out west" stories.

8. Georgian England. Some of Georgette Heyer's romances are set during this period. Also books like The Scarlet Pimpernel.

9. Scotland. I would love to see Edward Rutherfurd write a HUGE saga set in Scotland.

10.  France. I'm not sure if I like historical fiction set in France so much as I enjoy reading French classics like The Three Musketeers and Les Miserables. But I've reviewed a good handful of books set in France at various historical periods, so make the list it does!

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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39. Review: The Lake House

The Lake House: A Novel by Kate Morton. Atria. 2015. Library Copy.


The-lake-house-9781451649321_hr
The Plot: 1933 Cornwall. A eleven month old baby disappears from his crib during a house party at an estate. He's never found.

2003. A police detective is visiting her grandfather in Cornwall. She stumbles upon an abandoned house and hears the local story: how decades ago, a child disappeared and the family left and never came back.

A lost child, deep family secrets, the ties between mother and child, the choices made. And a mystery that was waiting to be solved, by the person willing to ask the right questions.

The Good: I loved this book so much. It had everything I love in a book.

Their are three main narrators, and two main time periods.

Alice Edevane was sixteen the summer her brother Theo was taken. The summer on the Cornish estate was as magical as any Alice had ever had at the beloved family estate, Loeanneth, and even more wonderful because its the year she falls in love for the first time and the year she decides to embrace a life as a writer, and writes her first mystery.

In 2003, Sadie Sparrow's visit to her grandfather isn't entirely voluntary. There were problems for a recent case involving a young mother who disappeared, and Sadie refused to believe the woman left her small child behind. When faced with the truth of the woman abandoning her child, Sadie made foolish mistakes and now is waiting in the country for things to get resolved in the city.

When she starts to investigate the mystery of Theo Edevane, she finds out that the home is now owned by Alice Edevane, also known as A. C. Edevane, a famous mystery writer. After the reader encounters the young, brilliant, hopeful Alice on the brink of life, they next encounter her as woman pushing ninety, succesful, but wiser about people than she was as a child.

Then there is Eleanor Edevane, mother of Alice and Theo, and her voice joins the story.

The book jumps from time to time and narrator to narrator, and this flow of story is brilliant. Morton is careful about what and when she tells the reader, but part of the reason is because each person knows only their own story and is limited to their own impressions, their own memories, their own knowledge. As a mystery, Morton deftly guided me so that I was guessing "who" or "what" or "why" just pages ahead of Sadie, so that I felt as clever or more so than Sadie. And then, with Sadie, realized when I was wrong, because I learned something new.

The Lake House is a mystery, but it's also a story of family. Of the brilliant Edevanes who at first seem like something out of a PBS Miniseries. The family had once had a grand house, and Loeanneth, grand as it seems, is the small house that is all that is left of that manor. The house is important to Eleanor and her husband, Anthony; to their children, Deborah and Alice and Clemmie and Theo; and part of the punch in the gut tragedy of the present is how the house was abandoned after Theo's disappearance.

Pull back, and it's more than a handsome couple and their beautiful children and the fairy tale estate. Fairy tale in part because the child Eleanor inspired a beloved children's book.

But no fairy tale is all sun and sunshine. As Sadie delves further into the past, as Alice reexamines her own memories and impressions, and as Eleanor steps forward and shares her story, secrets are uncovered. Because as anyone who does the math can figure, the Great War had ended just 15 years before. And what was the far away past to a sixteen year old Alice was very much part of the lives of her parents.

I don't want to give too much away, because as I said part of the joy of this book is the structure of what is revealed when and why and how. I will say this about those reveals. They aren't "aha" moments of crimes and terrible deeds. Rather, they are about perspective and knowledge. Eleanor's children see her as a certain type of mother, and their father as certain type of man, and yes -- the father is the favorite. As the story unwinds, it becomes clear that part of this is because Eleanor did what was necessary to give her children a safe, happy, childhood, at any cost. And she was so good that Alice, decades later, still didn't quite realize what her mother had done -- how her memory of a wonderful, carefree day was, to her mother, a day fraught with danger.

One of my Favorite Books of 2016. I now want to read all of Morton's books.












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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

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40. Home by Carson Ellis



In this tribute to homes, Carson Ellis writes about the many types there are: wigwams, boats, lairs, palaces and shoes, to name a few. The illustrations are whimsical and folksy: showing knights riding seahorses, a Norse god structure, an alien's home on the moon etc. These fanciful depictions open a child's mind to all the real and imagined homes there could be. At the end she shows herself (the artist) working at home, with a lot of the items depicted in the book. A final question to the reader: "Where is your home? Where are you?"

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41. A Magnificent Midwinter #alamw16

MW Pic 1

From the moment touching down at Logan airport it was a great Midwinter!

I’m excited to share some of my adventures from Midwinter a couple of weeks ago and update you on the ALSC Board’s work together in Boston.

Kicking things off on Thursday, I attended an Information Policy Workshop with our veep, Betsy Orsburn, and our Executive Director, Aimee Strittmatter. As one of the key elements of ALA’s Strategic Directions, learning more about this important area was very insightful and you can learn more about the day here.

Tips for advocating for Information Policy

Tips for advocating for Information Policy

Quick selfie with Betsy during a break at the Information Policy Workshop at Midwinter.

Quick selfie with Betsy during a break at the Information Policy Workshop at Midwinter.

Friday began with the happy task of welcoming attendees to the 2016 Bill Morris Seminar: Book Evaluation Training, which is held every other year thanks to the generosity of the William C. Morris Endowment. The Morris Seminar provides mentoring in children’s media evaluation techniques, and I couldn’t be more grateful to this year’s spectacular co-chairs Deborah Taylor and Sylvia Vardell and to all of those who shared their experiences and wisdom with attendees, one of whom, Lisa Nowlain, shared her visual impressions in an earlier blog post.

With Ashley in East Boston. (Note the Babies Need Words Every Day poster and great interactive elements in the children's room!) Photo by Branch Librarian Margaret Kelly

With Ashley in East Boston. (Note the Babies Need Words Every Day poster and great interactive elements in the children’s room!) Photo by Branch Librarian Margaret Kelly

 

 

That afternoon I took the opportunity to visit some libraries in the area which I’d never been to before as part of my #ALSCtour. I really appreciate the expertise of my excellent tour guide, Ashley Waring from the Reading Public Library, as we visited the East Boston branch of Boston Public Library and the Watertown Free Public Library.

 

 

 

Fabulous mural in the Watertown children's room by Craig Bostick (http://www.aquaboy.net/).

Fabulous mural in the Watertown children’s room by Craig Bostick (http://www.aquaboy.net/).

 

Photo credit: Aimee Strittmatter

Photo credit: Aimee Strittmatter

Of course a major highlight was the Youth Media Awards, and I can assure you that it’s as fun to reveal the winners to the world as I always imagined it would be when I would practice in front of my mirror! And now that we all know which books and media were honored and you’re busy celebrating them with your kids, we look forward to also celebrating their creators and selection committees at Annual in Orlando in less than 5 months.

Photo credit: ALA

Photo credit: ALA

The ALSC Board held two meetings during Midwinter (#ALSCboard).

The 2015-216 ALSC Board (Photo credit: ALSC office)

The 2015-216 ALSC Board (Photo credit: ALSC)

We discussed Summer Reading & Learning as a strategic mega-issue for our association, and are looking at how ALSC can help members even more with our important summer work. We established a task force to continue this exploration and I’m delighted that Board member Christine Caputo will lead this eager group’s work as chair. Our next Community Forum, to be held later this month, will an important opportunity to hear your thoughts on this issue.

We talked about how ALSC can more thoroughly integrate the concepts of Día into all of our work throughout the year, rather than limiting its focus to one specific day, and heard from Past President KT Horning about her request to enact a statute of limitations on the confidentiality of ALSC award committees. (A Board subcommittee will explore this further over the next couple of months.) We signed on to collaborate with the Black Caucus of ALA for their new and forthcoming Walter Dean Myers Annual Memorial Lecture and began discussions (continued here) on how ALSC can support REFORMA‘s Children in Crisis project, a true example of how library services can create better futures for kids.

We got a chance to meet our Emerging Leaders, heard from the Media Mentorship Award Task Force on their proposal for recognizing those using digital media with kids in innovative ways, and also looked closely again at the current landscape for app evaluation and recognition. I believe we are moving the needle forward in these areas–please stay tuned!

Our budget is healthy, with strong award seal sales and a greater attention to policing unauthorized use of our seals on editions of award winning titles published abroad; and the work of the Diversity Within ALSC Task Force continues. Finally, in the future, all of this work will happen using Roberts Rules of Order if an item to be placed on the spring ballot to bring ALSC’s parliamentary procedure bylaw into accordance with ALA’s is approved by members.

If you have any thoughts and/or questions on any of the above, please feel free to e-mail me at andrewalsc@outlook.com, and tweets from the meeting can be founding using #alscboard.

And I would like to give a special congratulatory shout-out to our fantastic Executive Director, Aimee Strittmatter, on achieving the extremely prestigious designation of Certified Association Executive. Aimee is the first ALSC Executive Director to earn this highest ranking for association professionals and we couldn’t be prouder of her and more grateful for all she does. (Her Twitter handle isn’t @LibraryCrusader for nothing!)

 

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42. Ten Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About First Second

FirstSecondSo First Second comes to me and says it’s their 10th anniversary. Happy anniversary, sez I. They ask if I want to participate in the celebration by doing so kind of a post. My mind is a bit blank but I give it a think. Then I came up with the idea of the following post. They actually managed to think up ten. No mean feat. As such, I present to you (in the company’s own voice):

 

TEN THINGS YOU (PROBABLY) DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT FIRST SECOND

for First Second’s 10th Anniversary

 

  1. Curious about how a graphic novel imprint gets created? :01 Editorial Director Mark Siegel coincidentally met the publisher of Macmillan (our parent company), John Sargent, at a wedding they were both attending . . . and things took off from there!
  1. First Second has an imaginary office pet — though unfortunately not a real one (for allergy reasons).  It is a cat-shaped pillow, and it comes on the road with us to conventions. Probably we should come up with a name for it!
  1. How much time does it typically take from when we acquire a graphic novel to when we publish it?  On average, about three years — partially because graphic novels take a long time to make; partially because we print our books in China and the production process is pretty extensive, too!
  1. We (like Macmillan) have a commitment to being green — our sales reps drive hybrid cars, and we print our books on sustainably sourced paper.
  1. First Second’s longest-running series to date is George O’Connor’s Olympians.  We published the first volume (Zeus: King of the Gods) in 2010; the final volume will be on sale in 2020!
  1. Our list in 2016 will be twenty-four titles — twice the number of graphic novels we published in our first year, 2016.  We’re growing!
  1. Three-quarters of First Second’s staff are women.  We don’t have the typical staff gender breakdown for a comic book publisher!  We currently have four full-time employees.
  1. Our Editorial Director, Mark Siegel, grew up in France.  So if you’re wondering why First Second publishes so many books in translation — he (and his childhood love of the graphic novel) are the reason!
  1. Every book in our first list (of six titles!) was published on the same day!  Ten years later, we try to space out our publishing program a little more evenly throughout the year.
  1. First Second’s offices are based in the flatiron building — New York’s iconic wedge-shaped historic building.  Fictionally, the flatiron building is also home to Peter Parker’s The Daily Bugle.  Unfortunately, we have yet to see his superheroic counterpart swinging by our windows!

Thanks to the folks at :01 for the insider info.

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43. The Brownstone by Paula Scher, pictures by Stan Mack


Originally published in 1972, Princeton Architectural Press has brought The Brownstone, a fantastic classic, back to the shelves in a beautiful new edition. Written by Paula Scher, graphic designer and partner at the international design consultancy Pentagram, The Brownstone is her only book for children. Illustrations are by cartoonist Stan Mack, who's work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine and Adweek. The Brownstone definitely looks like it's from the 70s, but the story and illustrations are timeless. I read this book over and over to classes of all ages and they were enthralled!


The story in The Brownstone is simple, but the solution to the problem the residents of the brownstone face is not... As he is walking home from work one day, Mr. Bear "noticed a familiar chill in the air." It is time for the Bear family to take their long winter nap. But, the theatrical Miss Cat is howling away at her baby grand, making any kind of sleep impossible, let alone hibernation.



A climb to the third floor apartment of the landlord, Mr. Owl, seems to bring about a resolution - and a move for more than a few residents. But, as you might expect, a move for one tenant means an upset for another. One thing that I learned right away from the teachers that I work with is to encourage students to make predictions when reading a story, and The Brownstone is the perfect book for this kind of endeavor.

 Every other page turn presents a new situation, a new combination of tenants with different hobbies and needs and it is so much fun to pause and ask listeners what they think will happen next - will this be a good move with everyone happy or will someone have another complaint? The kids love guessing and The Brownstone is a treat to read out loud and a great lesson on the complexities and rewards of living in harmony!

Source: Review Copy

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44. Cover Reveal: What a Beautiful Morning by Arthur A. Levine

It’s a cloudy February here in Illinois.  Yesterday the heavens opened up and let loose a downpour.  Today it is wet if not actively raining.  We are in the thick of winter, albeit an oddly warm one.  With all this in mind, I think we need some cheering up.

Now a friend recently pointed out to me that there are a plethora of books coming out this year penned by publishers and agents.  Crazy, right?  If I’d been paying attention I’d have put that in my SLJ trending piece.  In any case, today’s cover reveal is from the man who had the wherewithal to bring us Harry Potter.  Arthur A. Levine has a new picture book out (and it’s hardly his first) and it’s coming to our shelves on August 9th.

Behold!

KidsLogoORIGINALFILE

Aw. Bring it all home, Katie Kath.

Thanks to Cassie Drumm for the pic.

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45. Discovering the Writer’s Life Blog Series

How do you encourage your students to live a writerly life? Check out this week's blog series.

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46. SOL Tuesday & Four Weeks Until the March Challenge Begins

In February, there are always new people testing the Slicing waters as March draws nearer. They’re trying to determine whether or not they feel comfortable writing publicly. If you see someone who leaves a comment that says something like, “This is my first slice,” today or Tuesday, please head over to their blog to leave them a comment sicne it's both exciting and intimidating to put your words out in the world.

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47. Breathing Life Back into Notebooks: Discovering the Writer’s Life

In the middle of the school year, how can we breathe new life and energy into writer's notebooks?

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48. African-American Experience Children’s Literary Reference Guide (2011-2016)

There were a couple things I left undone when I took my leave of NYPL. Of them, the one I probably regret the most is that I didn’t devote more energy towards getting NYPL’s landmark Black Experience in Children’s Literature list up and running.  This historic list, started as early as the 1940s and possibly 30s, would be produced by NYPL every decade or so.  I think there’s been a sixteen year lag at this point (due, in large part, to the seismic shifts in the organization) and I never created a new one in the interim. Last year I decided to take the bull by the horns and produce a list for this blog that would effectively be some of the best books by and about African-Americans produced in the last five years. Now I have updated it.

Again, I would like to stress that this is not everything out there.  It’s limited in large part by what I’ve seen and read myself, after all.  It is, in truth, a compendium of what has been published, and fantastic, since 2011.  If there are books that you think were egregiously forgotten, mention them below (and bear in mind the pub date has to be 2011 or later, the books MUST be currently in print, and the books are for kids between the ages of 0-12).

Picture Books

Don’t Throw It to Mo! by David Adler, illustrated by Sam Ricks, ISBN: 9780606368001

Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me by Daniel Beaty, illustrated by Bryan Collier, ISBN: 9780316209175

Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans by Phil Bildner, illustrated by John Parra, ISBN: 9781452125787

Lucky Beans by Becky Birtha, illustrated Nicole Tadgell, ISBN: 9780807547823

Beautiful Moon: A Child’s Prayer by Tonya Bolden illustrated by Eric Velasquez, ISBN: 9781419707926

My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood by Tameka Fryer Brown, illustrated by Shane W. Evans, ISBN: 9780670012855

Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite by Anna Harwell Celenza, illustrated by Don Tate, ISBN: 9781570917004

Max and the Tag-Along Moon by Floyd Cooper, ISBN: 9780399233425

Firebird by Misty Copeland, illustrated by Christopher Myers, ISBN: 9780399166150

Mama’s Nightingale by Edwidge Danticat, illustrated by Leslie Staub, ISBN: 9780525428091

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De La Pena, illustrated by Christian Robinson, ISBN: 9780399257742

Sunday Shopping by Sally Derby, illustrated by Shadra Strickland, ISBN: 9781600604386

A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina’s Dream by Kristy Dempsey, illustrated by Floyd Cooper, ISBN: 9780399252846

Red, Yellow, Blue (and a Dash of White Too) by C.G. Esperanza, ISBN: 9781629146249

Chocolate Me! by Taye Diggs, illustrated by Shane W. Evans, ISBN: 9780312603267

Underground by Shane W. Evans, ISBN: 9781596435384

We March by Shane W. Evans, ISBN: 9781596435391

The Hula Hoopin’ Queen by Thelma Lynne Godin, illustrated Vanessa Brantley-Newton, ISBN: 9781600608469

Bird & Diz by Gary Golio, illustrated by Ed Young, ISBN: 9780763666606

Poems in the Attic by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon, ISBN: 9781620140277

My Hands Sing the Blues: Romare Bearden’s Childhood Journey by Jeanne Walker Harvey, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon, ISBN: 9780761458104

Lullaby (For a Black Mother) by Langston Hughes, illustrated Sean Qualls, ISBN: 9780547362656

Sail Away by Langston Hughes, illustrated by Ashley Bryan, ISBN: 9781481430852

Goal! by Mina Javaherbin, illustrated by A.G. Ford, ISBN: 9780763658229

All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom by Angela Johnson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis, ISBN: 9780689873768

We Shall Overcome: The Story of a Song by Debbie Levy, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, ISBN: 9781423119548

Hope’s Gift by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated Don Tate, ISBN: 9780399160011

Tea Cakes for Tosh by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by E.B. Lewis, ISBN: 9780399252136

Ellen’s Broom by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Daniel Minter, ISBN: 9780399250033

Every Little Thing: Based on the Song ‘Three Little Birds’ by Bob Marley and Cedella Marley, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, ISBN: 9781452106977

One Love by Cedella Marley, Vanessa Brantley-Newton, ISBN: 9781452102245

These Hands by Margaret H. Mason, illustrated by Floyd Cooper, ISBN: 9780547215662

New Shoes by Susan Lynn Meyer, illustrated by Eric Velasquez, ISBN: 9780823425280

H.O.R.S.E.: A Game of Basketball and Imagination by Christopher Myers, ISBN: 9781606842188

My Pen by Christopher Myers, ISBN: 9781423103714

Don’t Call Me Grandma by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon, ISBN: 9781467742085

Belle, the Last Mule at Gee’s Bend: A Civil Rights Story by Calvin Alexander Ramsey, Bettye Stroud, Bettye, and John Holyfield, ISBN: 9780763640583

Jake Makes a World: Jacob Lawrence, a Young Artist in Harlem by Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, illustrated by Christopher Myers, ISBN: 9780870709654

Under the Same Sun by Sharon Robinson, illustrated by A.G. Ford, ISBN: 9780545166720

Me and Momma and Big John by Mara Rockliff, illustrated by William Low, ISBN: 9780763643591

Little Melba and Her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russell-Brown, illustrated by Frank Morrison, ISBN: 9781600608988

I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison, illustrated by Frank Morrison, ISBN: 9781619631786

As Fast As Words Could Fly by Pamela M. Tuck, illustrated by Eric Velasquez, ISBN: 9781600603488

Freedom Song: The Story of Henry “Box” Brown by Sally M. Walker, illustrated by Sean Qualls, ISBN: 9780060583101

The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, ISBN: 9780761339434

Sugar Hill: Harlem’s Historic Neighborhood by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, ISBN: 9780807576502

A Beach Tail by Karen Lynn Williams, illustrated by Floyd Cooper, ISBN: 9781590787120

Jazz Age Josephine by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Marjorie Priceman, ISBN: 9781416961239

This Is the Rope: A Story from the Great Migration by Jacqueline Woodson, Jacqueline, illustrated by James Ransome, ISBN: 9780399239861

Early Chapter Books

Dog Days by Karen English, illustrated by Laura Freeman, ISBN: 9780547970448

Election Madness by Karen English, illustrated by Laura Freeman, ISBN: 9780547850719

Skateboard Party by Karen English, illustrated by Laura Freeman, ISBN: 9780544283060

Substitute Trouble by Karen English, illustrated by Laura Freeman, ISBN: 9780544223882

Halfway to Perfect by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, ISBN: 9780399251788

Keena Ford and the Secret Journal Mix-Up by Melissa Thomson, illustrated by Frank Morrison, ISBN: 9780142419373

EllRay Jakes and the Beanstalk by Sally Warner, illustrated by Brian Biggs, ISBN: 9780670784998

EllRay Jakes the Dragon Slayer! by Sally Warner, illustrated by Brian Biggs, ISBN: 9780670784974

EllRay Jakes Walks the Plank! by Sally Warner, illustrated by Jamie Harper, ISBN: 9780670063062

EllRay Jakes Is a Rock Star by Sally Warner, illustrated by Jamie Harper, ISBN: 9780670011582

EllRay Jakes is Not a Chicken! by Sally Warner, illustrated by Jamie Harper, ISBN: 9780670062430

Ellray Jakes Rocks the Holidays! by Sally Warner, illustrated by Brian Biggs, ISBN: 9780451469090

Ellray Jakes Is Magic! by Sally Warner, illustrated by Brian Biggs, ISBN: 9780670785001

Middle Grade Fiction

Sasquatch in the Paint by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld, ISBN: 9781423178705

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander, ISBN: 9780544107717

How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy by Crystal Allen, ISBN: 9780061992728

The Zero Degree Zombie Zone by Patrik Henry Bass, illustrated by Jerry Craft, ISBN: 9780545132107

Kinda Like Brothers by Coe Booth, ISBN: 9780545224963

Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg, ISBN: 9780545535649

Riding on Duke’s Train by Mick Carlon, ISBN: 9781935248064

Etched in Clay: The Life of Dave, Enslaved Potter and Poet by Andrea Cheng, ISBN: 9781600604515

The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis, ISBN: 9780545156646

Africa Is My Home: A Child of the Amistad by Monica Edinger, illustrated by Robert Byrd, ISBN: 9780763650384

Unstoppable Octobia May by Sharon Flake, ISBN: 9780545609609

Winter Sky by Patricia Reilly Giff, ISBN: 9780375838927

Planet Middle School by Nikki Grimes, ISBN: 9781599902845

Words With Wings by Nikki Grimes, ISBN: 9781629792620

The Perfect Place by Teresa E. Harris, ISBN: 9780547255194

Buddy by M.H. Herlong, ISBN: 9780142425442

The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson, ISBN: 9780545525527

Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere by Julie T. Lamana, ISBN: 9781452124568

Nightingale’s Nest by Nikki Loftin, ISBN: 9781595145468

Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper, ISBN: 9781442494978

True Legend by Mike Lupica, ISBN: 9780399252273

Camo Girl by Kekla Magoon, ISBN: 9781416978053

The Sittin’ Up by Sheila P. Moses, ISBN: 9780399257230

Ghetto Cowboy by G. Neri, illustrated by Jesse Joshua Watson, ISBN: 9780763649227

Bayou Magic by Jewell Parker Rhodes, ISBN: 9780316224857

Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes, ISBN: 9780316043083

The Other Side of Free by Krista Russell, ISBN: 9781561457106

Animal Rescue Team: Gator on the Loose! by Sue Stauffacher, illustrated by Priscilla Lamont, ISBN: 9780375851315

Animal Rescue Team: Special Delivery by Sue Stauffacher, illustrated by Priscilla Lamont, ISBN: 978375851322

Animal Rescue Team: Hide and Seek by Sue Stauffacher, illustrated by Priscilla Lamont, ISBN: 9780375851339

Animal Rescue Team: Show Time by Sue Stauffacher, illustrated by Priscilla Lamont, ISBN: 9780375851346

Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile by Marcia Wells, illustrated by Marcos Calo, ISBN: 9780544238336

P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia, ISBN: 9780061938627

Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia, ISBN: 9780062215871

The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond by Brenda Woods, ISBN: 9780399257148

Crow by Barbara Wright, ISBN: 9780375873676

Non-Fiction

What Color Is My World?: The Lost History of African-American Inventors by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Raymond Obstfeld, and Ben Boos, illustrated by A.G. Ford, ISBN: 9780763645649

The Case for Loving by Selina Alko, illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko, ISBN: 9780545478533

Trombone Shorty by Troy Andrews, illustrated by Bryan Collier, ISBN: 9781419714658

Ira’s Shakespeare Dream by Glenda Armand, illustrated by Floyd Cooper, ISBN: 9781620141557

The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch, by Chris Barton, illustrated by Don State, ISBN: 9780802853790

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, ISBN: 9780375867125

The Cart That Carried Martin by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Don Tate, ISBN: 9781580893879

My Story, My Dance: Robert Battle’s Journey to Alvin Ailey, by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by James E. Ransome, ISBN: 9781481422215

Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by James E. Ransome, ISBN: 9781416959038

Ballerina Dreams: From Orphan to Ballerina by Michaela Deprince, Michaela and Elaine Deprince, illustrated by Frank Morrison, ISBN: 9780385755153

Spirit Seeker: John Coltrane’s Musical Journey by Gary Golio, illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez, ISBN: 9780547239941

I Lay My Stitches Down: Poems of American Slavery by Cynthia Grady, illustrated by Michele Wood, ISBN: 9780802853868

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: The Underground Abductor by Nathan Hale, ISBN: 9781419715365

When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop by Laban Carrick Hill, illustrated by Theodore Taylor III, ISBN: 9781596435407

I, Too, Am America by Langston Hughes, illustrated by Bryan Collier, ISBN: 9781442420083

The Girl from the Tar Paper School: Barbara Rose Johns and the Advent of the Civil Rights Movement by Teri Kanefield, ISBN: 9781419707964

Queen of the Track: Alice Coachman: Olympic High-Jump Champion by Heather Lang, illustrated by Floyd Cooper, ISBN: 9781590788509

We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March by Cynthia Levinson, ISBN: 9781561456277

When Thunder Comes: Poems for Civil Rights Leaders by J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Various, ISBN: 9781452101194

Touch the Sky: Alice Coachman, Olympic High Jumper by Ann Malaspina, illustrated by Eric Velasquez, ISBN: 9780807580356

Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and Will Allen, illustrated by Eric-Shabazz Larkin, ISBN: 9780983661535

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans
by Kadir Nelson, ISBN: 9780061730740

Jazz Day by Roxane Orgill, illustrated by Francis Vallejo, ISBN: 9780763669546

Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald by Roxane Orgill, illustrated by Sean Qualls, ISBN: 9780763664596

Martin & Mahalia: His Words – Her Song by Andrea Davis Pinkney, Andrea Davis, illustrated by J. Brian Pinkney, ISBN: 9780316070133

Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by J. Brian Pinkney, ISBN: 9781423142577

Rhythm Ride: A Road Trip Through the Motown Sound by Andrea Davis Pinkney, ISBN: 9781596439733

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell, illustrated by Christian Robinson, ISBN: 9781452103143

Frederick’s Journey: The Life of Frederick Douglass by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by London Ladd, ISBN: 9781423114383

Jackie Robinson: American Hero by Sharon Robinson, ISBN: 9780545569156

Something to Prove: The Great Satchel Paige Vs. Rookie Joe Dimaggio by Robert Skead, illustrated by Floyd Cooper, ISBN: 9780761366195

Brick by Brick by Charles R. Smith Jr., illustrated by Floyd Cooper, ISBN: 9780061920820

28 Days: Moments in Black History That Changed the World by Charles R. Smith Jr., illustrated by Shane W. Evans, ISBN: 9781596438200

Stars in the Shadows: The Negro League All-Star Game of 1934
by Charles R. Smith Jr., illustrated by Frank Morrison, ISBN: 9780689866388

Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickels: America’s First Black Paratroopers by Tanya Lee Stone, ISBN: 9780763651176

It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw by Don Tate, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, ISBN: 9781600602603

Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton by Don Tate, ISBN: 9781561458257

My Uncle Martin’s Words for America: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Niece Tells How He Made a Difference by Angela Farris Watkins, illustrated by Eric Velasquez, ISBN: 9781419700224

Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, ISBN: 9781499801033

Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Jamey Christoph, ISBN: 9780807530177

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Ekua Holmes, ISBN: 9780763665319

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, ISBN: 9780399252518

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17 Comments on African-American Experience Children’s Literary Reference Guide (2011-2016), last added: 2/4/2016
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49. Little Bitty Friends by Elizabeth McPike, illustrated by Patrice Barton


Babies love to look at babies. And even though there are no more babies in my family, every few years or so, there is a book that comes along that reminds me of how much babies love to look at babies and how wonderful the perfect book filled with babies can be. Little Bitty Friends, written by Elizabeth McPike and illustrated by Patrice Barton is one of those books. McPike and Barton also created Little Sleepyhead, which is due out in board book this spring. Both books pair repetitive, mellifluous rhymes with equally charming illustrations of toddlers that pop thanks to crisp white backgrounds. In Little Bitty Friends the setting moves from bedtime to the natural world, which, after babies, is the second greatest thing babies love to look at.


A trail of ants, a fuzzy caterpillar, a field of flowers and a snail leaving a trail fill the pages of Little Bitty Friend along with a diverse array of adorable, bright eyed, big headed babies. The sneeze of a cat, the chitter of chipmunks and the nibble of a mouse are the sounds of Little Bitty Friend. As the cadence of the book winds down, a basket full of baby rabbits, "nuzzle while they nap," and a toddler and a puppy snuggle on a blanket under a tree. The final spread, above, has to be one of the sweetest I have seen in a long while and one that will always make me smile and remember when my own babies were small enough to tuck their heads under daddy's chin. 

Little Bitty Friends, and Little Sleepyhead, are the perfect gifts for anyone welcoming a baby into the world, from moms and dads to grandpas and grandmas, and anyone lucky enough to have a baby in their lap!






Source: Review Copy

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50. Keeping a Class List of Writing Ideas: Discovering the Writer’s Life Blog Series

One way to show students how to live a writer's life

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