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1. Updated Earth Day reading

The books recommended below were reviewed by The Horn Book Magazine. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion.

 

Picture books

Suggested grade level listed with each entry

The Promise written by Nicola Davies, illus. by Laura Carlin (Candlewick)
A girl, “mean and hard” as the city she lives in, survives by stealing. When one of her targets says she may keep the bag she’s taken if she promises to plant what’s in it, the girl commits herself to a lifetime of planting to transform bleak city landscapes. Grade level: 1–3. 48 pages.

Two Little Birds by Mary Newell DePalma (Eerdmans)
Two adorable bird siblings (based on the orchard oriole of North and Central America) hatch and begin their first year of life. Simple sentences explain the birds’ actions and underscore the instincts that drive each behavior. Grade level: PS. 40 pages.

Sophie Scott Goes South by Alison Lester (Houghton)
On an Antarctic adventure with her boat captain father, Sophie spots penguins, seals, and whales; one night she’s dazzled by the southern lights. Sophie’s scrapbook-style journal is written in a conversational style with appealing childlike art. Grade level: K–3. 40 pages.

Picture a Tree by Barbara Reid (Whitman)
“There is more than one way to picture a tree.” A series of vibrant Plasticine compositions focus readers’ attention on the shapes, colors, and textures of trees; parallel to these tree portraits are interlinked human stories. Grade level: K–3. 32 pages.

Subway Story by Julia Sarcone-Roach (Knopf)
Retired subway car Jessie is dismantled and dumped into the ocean, where she happily resides as an artificial reef, home to myriad sea animals. The theme of reuse and recycling emerges naturally from a fine tale. Grade level: K–3. 40 pages.

 

Younger fiction

Suggested grade level for each entry: 1–3

Emmaline and the Bunny by Katherine Hannigan (Greenwillow)
The mayor of Neatasapin bullies everyone into inordinate tidiness and forbids all things wild. After lonely Emmaline befriends a wild bunny, she enlists her parents to invite wildlife back into the community. 101 pages.

Just Grace Goes Green by Charise Mericle Harper (Houghton)
In Grace’s fourth book, the third grader and her classmates are passionate about going green. While sneaking in information about recycling and reusing, Harper knows how to keep the story moving: amusing lists and sketches will keep her fans entertained. 178 pages.

 

Intermediate fiction

Suggested grade level for each entry: 4–6

The One and Only Ivan written by Katherine Applegate; illus. by Patricia Castelao (HarperCollins/Harper)
In this 2013 Newbery Award winner, Ivan is a gorilla who lives in a circus mall. When a new baby elephant arrives, Ivan taps into his creative side to help them both escape their restrictive environment. 307 pages.

Crunch by Leslie Connor (HarperCollins/Tegen)
When a severe fuel shortage strands their parents, the five Marriss children hold down the fort — and the family’s bike business. With fewer cars on the highway, the now-growing shop is about to overrun the kids’ abilities. Connor’s narrative ambles pleasantly along. 330 pages.

Toby Alone written by Timothée de Fombelle; illus. by François Place (Candlewick)
The world of the Tree, a society of miniature people, is threatened when a gangland boss/evil property developer grabs power. It’s up to thirteen-year-old Toby to save his parents, the Tree, and the day. 384 pages.

Blue Mountain by Martine Leavitt (Farrar/Ferguson)
Mankind encroaches upon the bighorn sheep’s habitat; wolf and puma feed on their dwindling herd. Biggest lamb Tuk must save the herd by finding a way west to “blue mountain,” a place he sees in visions and may not be real. 163 pages.

Operation Redwood by S. Terrell French (Abrams/Amulet)
Julian caught up in the conflict between his uncle and Robin, who is trying to protect a redwood forest from Uncle Sibley’s voracious investment company. French works in many facts about redwoods without losing the story’s focus on its characters. 355 pages.

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen (Knopf)
Wahoo Cray’s pop, a well-known South Florida animal wrangler, can’t work after an injury, so a lucrative offer seems like a godsend. Expedition Survival!, a TV program featuring a bumbling, egomaniacal star, wants to use their backyard zoo and faux Everglades pond. 290 pages.

 

Older fiction

Suggested grade level for each entry: 7 and up

H2O by Virginia Bergin (Sourcebooks/Fire)
Years after an asteroid almost collides with Earth, dust from the asteroid infects water molecules with an alien virus that kills humans on contact. Alone and thirsty, teen Ruby Morris holds tightly to the unlikely hope that her father is still alive. 331 pages.

Breathe by Sarah Crossan (Greenwillow)
In an environmentally ravaged world with four percent oxygen in the air, people live inside glass domes (and pay for air) or struggle to survive outside. Privileged Quinn, his poorer friend Bea, and rebel Alina travel outside of the dome and are stranded there. 373 pages.

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne (Feiwel)
Environmental disasters including a devastating hailstorm, an earthquake, and a chemical spill lead to a school bus of kids (teens and younger) seeking refuge in a superstore — with abundant resources and no adult supervision. Sequel: Monument 14: Sky on Fire. 296 pages.

The Carbon Diaries 2015 by Saci Lloyd (Holiday)
London teen Laura chronicles in biting journal entries the first year of Britain’s new, stringent carbon rationing points system. She balances big-picture fears (blackouts, riots) with everyday issues of crushes and friends, and her punk band. Sequel: The Carbon Diaries 2017. 330 pages.

Endangered by Eliot Schrefer (Scholastic)
When Sophie, fourteen, visits her Congolese mother’s animal sanctuary, she becomes attached to a baby bonobo. When the political situation destabilizes dangerously and she’s scheduled to be airlifted back to Miami, she can’t bear to leave him behind. Companion book: Threatened. 264 pages.

My Chemical Mountain by Corina Vacco (Delacorte)
Jason and his friends roam the industrial zone near their neighborhood, swim in the toxic creek, and ride their dirt bikes around a landfill they call Chemical Mountain. This thought-provoking modern-day dystopian novel is plausible and action-packed. 186 pages.

 

Nonfiction

Suggested grade level listed with each entry

It’s Our Garden: From Seeds to Harvest in a School Garden written by George Ancona; photos by the author (Candlewick)
Full-color photographs and no-nonsense prose (perfect for new readers) chronicle a year in the life of an elementary school garden; students compost soil, water plants, raise butterflies, and sample edible delights. Grade level: K–3. 48 pages.

Buried Sunlight: How Fossil Fuels Have Changed the Earth by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm; illus. by Molly Bang (Scholastic/Blue Sky)
Bang and Chisholm explain the production and consumption of fossil fuels, along with the consequences: climate change. The sun narrates the relationship between photosynthesis/respiration and energy; a slight imbalance produces fossil fuels. Grade level: K–3. 48 pages.

Beetle Busters: A Rogue Insect and the People Who Track It [Scientists in the Field] by Loree Griffin Burns; photos by Ellen Harasimowicz (Houghton)
The Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), an invasive species, threatens “the entire northeastern hardwood forest.” In Worcester, Massachusetts, scientists hypothesize that destroying all of Worcester’s infected trees — i.e., the ALB habitat — will eradicate the beetle. Grade level: 4–6. 64 pages.

Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard written by Loree Griffin Burns; photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz (Holt)
Detailed accounts and handsome color photography introduce four scientific projects — studying monarch butterflies, birds, ladybugs, and frogs — which enlist regular people in data collection. Grade level: 4–6. 80 pages.

Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard by Annette LeBlanc Cate (Candlewick)
In this introduction to birdwatching, the author/illustrator and birds (portrayed in cartoons with speech balloons) poke fun at themselves and one another while teaching basic bird identification: color, shapes, behaviors, songs, habitat, range, and migration. Grade level: 4–6. 64 pages.

The Bat Scientists [Scientists in the Field series] written by Mary Kay Carson; photographs by Tom Uhlman (Houghton)
With deft description and careful explanation, Carson profiles Bat Conservation International (BCI) as it researches the misunderstood title creatures. Clear text debunks “Batty Myths” while highlighting BCI’s conservation efforts. Grade level: 4–6. 80 pages.

Island: A Story of the Galápagos by Jason Chin (Roaring Brook/Porter)
Witness the six-million-year evolution of the Galápagos, from “birth” through “childhood” to “old age” and beyond. Gorgeous illustrations include sweeping double-page spreads and panels arranged to show dynamic changes. Grade level: K–3. 32 pages.

Redwoods by Jason Chin (Roaring Brook/Flash Point/Porter)
In a fantastical visual narrative paired with a straightforward nonfiction text, a young boy waiting for the subway finds an abandoned book about redwood trees. He finds himself in a redwood forest, learning all manner of things about them. Grade level: K–3. 40 pages.

The Magic School Bus and the Climate Challenge [Magic School Bus series] written by Joanna Cole; illus. by Bruce Degen (Scholastic)
Ms. Frizzle’s class gathers information for a play about climate change. Cole and Degen are straightforward about the seriousness of global warming but focusing on day-to-day changes individuals can make. Throughout, humor keeps readers engaged. Grade level K–3. 40 pages.

Earth in the Hot Seat: Bulletins from a Warming World by Marfé Ferguson Delano (National Geographic)
Beginning with examples of changes seen by scientists, this well-written narrative then moves to thorough explanations of the underlying science and explores the ecological consequences of climate change. Grade level: 4–6. 64 pages.

In the Rainforest [Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science] by Kate Duke (Harper)
This tour through the rainforest describes the special features of the area and defines unfamiliar vocabulary. Cheerful mixed-media illustrations show visiting children climbing trees (with ropes and clamps), journaling, and exploring the ecosystem. Grade level: K–3. 40 pages.

Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines by Paul Fleishman (Candlewick)
A wake-up call about the environmental crisis, this book homes in on five “key fronts” — population, consumption, energy, food, and climate — and explores historical and sociological contexts. A refreshingly opinionated approach to informed action. Grade level: 7 and up. 204 pages.

Wild Horse Scientists [Scientists in the Field series] by Kay Frydenborg (Houghton)
Researchers are attempting to control the horse population on Assateague Island by developing a contraceptive vaccine that limits mares to a single foal per lifetime. Relevant and clear color photographs show both horses and scientists in situ. Grade level: 4–6. 80 pages.

The Buffalo Are Back by Jean Craighead George; illus. by Wendell Minor (Dutton)
This compact ecodrama documents the buffalo’s slaughter to decimate the Native Americans and open the prairie to settlers, then turns to the reversal: the discovery, instigated by President Theodore Roosevelt, of three hundred remaining wild buffalo. Grade level K–3. 32 pages.

Galápagos George by Jean Craighead George; illus. by Wendell Minor (HarperCollins/Harper)
The life cycle of a single female Galápagos tortoise, Giantess George, is extrapolated to the development of the entire species. She and other tortoises are transported to different islands in a storm; over thousands of years, they evolve into different subspecies. Grade level K–3. 40 pages.

Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 by Phillip Hoose (Farrar)
One rufa red knot known as “Moonbird” has flown some 325,000 miles in his lifetime. Lucid, graceful prose (with glorious photographs) details the birds’ characteristics, profiles scientists and activist kids, and explores long-term prospects for survival. Grade level: 4–6. 148 pages.

The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever written by H. Joseph Hopkins; illus. by Jill McElmurry (Simon/Beach Lane)
Kate Sessions, the first woman to graduate from Berkeley with a science degree, was responsible for populating San Diego’s Balboa Park with lush, green trees, just in time for the Panama-California Exposition in 1915. Grade level K–3. 32 pages.

Can We Save the Tiger? written by Martin Jenkins; illus. by Vicky White (Candlewick)
This volume provides a gracefully organized overview of several endangered species. Jenkins’s narrative voice is engagingly informal. White’s pencil and oil paint illustrations fill the large pages. A stunningly beautiful book as well as an eloquent appeal. Grade level K–3. 56 pages.

The Animal Book: A Collection of the Fastest, Fiercest, Toughest, Cleverest, Shyest — and Most Surprising — Animals on Earth by Steve Jenkins (Houghton)
This thoughtful book begins with a survey of the animal kingdom, then covers “Family,” “Senses,” “Predators,” and “Defenses.” The paper-collage art is taken from Jenkins’s previous work, each image recontextualized to serve the book’s purpose. Grade level: 4–6. 208 pages.

Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World written by Laurie Lawlor; illus. by Laura Beingessner (Holiday)
From the naturalist’s early fascination with wildlife to her determination to finish her landmark work, Silent Spring, before her death, this accessible account folds a commendable amount of significant information into picture book format. Grade level: K–3. 32 pages.

Puffling Patrol by Ted and Betsy Lewin (Lee & Low)
On Iceland’s Heimaey island, children take part in a generations-old fledgling puffin search-and-rescue tradition. As they tour the island with researchers, the Lewins capture the beauty of the landscape and the awkwardly amusing appeal of the birds. Grade level: K–3. 56 pages.

The Manatee Scientists: Saving Vulnerable Species [Scientists in the Field series] by Peter Lourie (Houghton)
Scientists Fernando Rosas (Brazil), John Reynolds (Florida), and Lucy Keith (West Africa) investigate manatees in the wild and in captivity. The text and photographs capture the science and politics of animal conservation and the scientists’ dedication. Grade level: 4–6. 80 pages.

The Polar Bear Scientists [Scientists in the Field series] by Peter Lourie (Houghton)
Lourie takes us to Alaska to observe biologists researching a subpopulation of polar bears, then to the lab where the data is processed and stored. Crisp photographs capture the animals and the equipment needed to do research in such extreme conditions. Grade level: 4–6. 80 pages.

The Chiru of High Tibet: A True Story by Jacqueline Briggs Martin; illus. by Linda Wingerter (Houghton)
The antelope-like chiru of northern Tibet were hunted nearly to extinction for their soft wool. Wildlife champion George Schaller hoped to save the chiru by protecting their birthing ground — but first he had to find it. Grade level: K–3. 40 pages.

Chasing Cheetahs: The Race to Save Africa’s Fastest Cats [Scientists in the Field] by Sy Montgomery; photos by Nic Bishop (Houghton)
Journal-style text and striking photographs introduce Laurie Marker and her team of conservationists at the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia. Of special interest is Tiger Lily, a cheetah who has spent her life at the CCF as an “ambassador.” Grade level: 4–6. 79 pages.

Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World’s Strangest Parrot [Scientists in the Field] by Sy Montgomery; photos by Nic Bishop (Houghton)
Montgomery and Bishop trek to Codfish Island off New Zealand’s coast to bring us a marvelous account of the efforts of naturalists to save the kakapo. In-depth descriptions and glorious photographs cover all aspects of the conservation effort. Grade level: 4–6. 74 pages.

The Tapir Scientist: Saving South America’s Largest Mammal [Scientists in the Field] by Sy Montgomery; photos by Nic Bishop (Houghton)
In the Pantanal wetlands of Brazil, scientist Patricia Medici and her team study the lowland tapir. Montgomery’s dramatic account of tracking the elusive animals is interspersed with scientific information about tapir species. Grade level: 4–6. 74 pages.

Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle by Claire A. Nivola (Farrar/Foster)
Earle’s intimate knowledge of the creatures she’s spent over half a century observing permeates this biography illustrated with exquisite watercolors. An author’s note explains why we all need to help curtail the threats of overfishing, climate change, oil spills, and pollutants. Grade level: K–3. 32 pages.

Leopard & Silkie: One Boy’s Quest to Save the Seal Pups written by Brenda Peterson; photographs by Robin Lindsey (Holt/Ottaviano)
The Seal Sitters is a Pacific Northwest watch group that educates human beachgoers and protects harbor seals when they come ashore to give birth to and care for their young. Newborn seal Leopard is fortunate to have “kid volunteer” Miles on the case. Grade level: K–3. 32 pages.

Celebritrees: Historic and Famous Trees of the World written by Margi Preus; illus. by Rebecca Gibbon (Holt/Ottaviano)
This gallery of impressive trees offers substantive information on what makes each specimen unique. Friendly folk art–style paintings bustle with life, including birds and squirrels in the branches and people in the shade. Conservation tips are appended. Grade level: K–3. 40 pages.

Plant a Pocket of Prairie written by Phyllis Root; illus. by Betsy Bowen (University of Minnesota)
There’s not a lot of prairie left in the U.S.; this book encourages readers to reverse this trend by planting native plants in their own backyards and watching what animals are attracted by each plant species. Grade level: K–3. 40 pages.

Parrots over Puerto Rico written by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore; illus. by Susan L. Roth (Lee & Low)
This gorgeously illustrated history of the endangered Puerto Rican parrot underscores the consequences of human populations on animal species. With stunning paper-and-fabric artwork, the book is laid out vertically to give a sense of height. Grade level: K–3. 48 pages.

Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands by Katherine Roy (Roaring Brook/Macaulay)
This account of great white sharks off the Northern California coast examines fascinating details about the predator. The main narrative describes a shark hunting; information-rich sections tell more about shark biology and about the scientists who study them. Grade level: K–3. 32 pages.

Turtle, Turtle, Watch Out! written by April Pulley Sayre; illus. by Annie Patterson (Charlesbridge)
Very few sea turtles survive to adulthood. This turtle is one of the fortunate ones, thanks to the volunteers who protect turtle nests and hatchlings. Readers will be drawn in by Turtle’s newborn awkwardness, captured by softly colored realistic illustrations. Grade level: K–3. 32 pages.

Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives by Lola M. Schaefer; illus. by Christopher Silas Neal (Chronicle)
The concept of quantity is examined in the context of animal lives. Schaefer presents the number of times an animal “performs one behavior” in its lifetime, from the single egg sac spun by a spider, up to the thousand babies carried by a male seahorse. Grade level: PS, K–3. 40 pages.

Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature written by Joyce Sidman; illus. by Beth Krommes (Houghton)
Scratchboard illustrations, vividly depicting spirals in nature, suffuse every page with color, shape, and movement. Each spread offers a treasure trove of details that will captivate the youngest readers. The simple text is powerful and poetic. Grade level: PS. 40 pages.

Dolphins by Seymour Simon (HarperCollins/Collins)
Simon draws readers beyond initial captivation with dolphins’ appearance and intelligence into deeper discussions of species, life cycles, and social organization. Vivid full-page photographs are well-matched to the text. A note on conservation is appended. Grade level: K–3. 32 pages.

Global Warming by Seymour Simon (HarperCollins/Collins)
With straightforward prose, Simon leads novices through such tricky concepts as greenhouse gases and the differences between daily weather and long-term climate change. The book ends with the reassurance that we can help reverse the rate of change. Grade level: K–3. 32 pages.

No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart and Allen Young; illus. by Nicole Wong (Charlesbridge)
Stewart and Young explain where chocolate comes from: working backward from cocoa beans (dried and processed by humans) to cocoa pods (from cocoa flowers pollinated by midges) to monkeys dropping cocoa seeds on the rainforest floor. Full-bleed ink and watercolor illustrations show each step along the way. Grade level: K–3. 32 pages.

The Sea Turtle Scientist [Scientists in the Field] by Stephen R. Swinburne (Houghton)
The Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST) studies the sea turtles in the Caribbean and works for their preservation. This series entry follows Dr. Kimberly Stewart, a.k.a. the “turtle lady,” who lives and works with WIDECAST on the island of St. Kitts. Grade level: 4–6. 65 pages.

Project Seahorse [Scientists in the Field series] written by Pamela S. Turner,; photographs by Scott Tuason
Readers follow conservation group Project Seahorse in its efforts to preserve seahorses, coastal reefs, and the fishing-based livelihood of Handumon, in the Philippines. Interspersed are details about seahorses, portrayed beautifully in underwater photography. Grade level: 4–6. 57 pages.

Meadowlands: A Wetlands Survival Story by Thomas F. Yezerski (Farrar)
This ecological history of Meadowlands of New Jersey captures the complex relationship between humans and the environment. Each double-page-spread illustration is bordered by tiny images with a wealth of taxonomical information (and sly humor). Grade level: K–3. 40 pages.

Secrets of the Garden: Food Chains and the Food Web in Our Backyard written by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld; illus. by Priscilla Lamont (Knopf) 
Alice and her family have a plot of land upon which they grow edible plants, raise chickens, and enjoy their interactions with the variety of living things in their backyard ecosystem. Grade level: K–3. 40 pages.

 

Poetry

In the Wild by David Elliott; illus. by Holly Meade (Candlewick)
Full-spread woodcut and watercolor art captures both the essences and habitats of fourteen worldwide animals: a jaguar prowling the jungle floor, a polar bear immersed in a blue-green sea, etc. Deftly composed verses include paradoxes and wry thoughts. Companion books: In the Sea and On the Wing. Grade level: PS. 32 pages.

UnBEElievables: Honeybee Poems and Paintings by Douglas Florian (Simon/Beach Lane)
Florian evokes the world of bees with repetitive patterning that cleverly references honeycombs, flowers, and the bees themselves. His humorous rhythmic verse, too, echoes bee behavior. A paragraph of more straightforward facts elucidates each spread. Grade level: K–3. 32 pages.

All the Water in the World written by George Ella Lyon; illus. by Katherine Tillotson (Atheneum/Jackson)
Lyon celebrates the essence of life itself in a lyrical poem about the water cycle. In sweeping, digitally rendered art resembling watercolor and collage, Tillotson creates luxuriant ocean swirls and pelting streaks of rain. Grade level: K–3. 40 pages.

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2. An Earth Day BookList for The Whole Family

earth Day booklist

Today is Earth Day one of my favorite days of the year. It’s a time when humans share a like minded cause of remembering to care and cherish our Earth. Here at Jump into a Book it means, along with getting outside to frolic in nature, it’s a great opportunity to take a good book along with you. Here are few ideas to get you going. All of these books are favorites here and have a place not only on the book shelves, but also on coffee tables and night stands all throughout the house! Hope you enjoy them and have a very Happy Earth Day !!!

A Nest is Noisy by Dianna Hutts Aston & Sylvia Long

earth day booklist

From the award-winning creators of An Egg Is Quiet, A Seed Is Sleepy, A Butterfly Is Patient, and A Rock Is Lively comes this gorgeous and informative look at the fascinating world of nests. From tiny bee hummingbird nests to orangutan nests high in the rainforest canopy, an incredible variety of nests are showcased here in all their splendor. Poetic in voice and elegant in design, this carefully researched book introduces children to a captivating array of nest facts and will spark the imaginations of children whether in a classroom reading circle or on a parent’s lap.

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner, Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

Earth Day booklist

In this exuberant and lyrical follow-up to the award-winning Over and Under the Snow, discover the wonders that lie hidden between stalks, under the shade of leaves . . . and down in the dirt. Explore the hidden world and many lives of a garden through the course of a year! Up in the garden, the world is full of green—leaves and sprouts, growing vegetables, ripening fruit. But down in the dirt exists a busy world—earthworms dig, snakes hunt, skunks burrow—populated by all the animals that make a garden their home.

When the Animals Saved Earth: An Eco-Fable Retold by Alexis York Lumbard, Illustrated by Demi

eartyh day booklist

On a secluded island, in a faraway sea, the animals live in peace and prosperity. But one day, the winds of fate bring humans to their shore. Down come trees and up go houses, farms, and a bustling market. The humans capture the animals and put them to work. A great sadness falls upon the land, and only a young boy named Adam can hear the animals’ cries. Compelled to act, Adam escapes into the jungle and joins with the remaining free animals, attempting to summon the Spirit King Bersaf. Will the king bring the humans to trial for their harmful actions? Will justice be had? Will balance return to land, sea, and sky?

Just Like Me Climbing a Tree: Exploring trees Around the World by Durga Yael Bernhard

Earthday booklist

If you were climbing a tree, just what might you see? Birds or animals or insects? Would you swing like a monkey? Or pick the ripest fruit straight from the branch? Join award-winning author and illustrator, Durga Yael Bernhard, on a trip around the world to climb its weirdest and most wonderful trees. No matter if you are in Africa, Asia, Europe, or America, there is a grand adventure waiting for you—provided you have a tree to climb in your neighborhood!

Just Like Me, Climbing a Tree explores 12 of the most distinctive trees from across the globe, and includes educational notes about each of the trees to help answer questions that curious young minds might have.

Wangari Maathai: The Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees by Franck Prevot, Illustrated by Aurelia Fronty

earth day booklist

Wangari Maathai received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her efforts to lead women in a nonviolent struggle to bring peace and democracy to Africa through its reforestation. Her organization planted over thirty million trees in thirty years. This beautiful picture book tells the story of an amazing woman and an inspiring idea.

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

earth day booklist
Tweet: “Unless someone like http://ctt.ec/bvlm9+ a whole awful http://ctt.ec/0LtyJ+ is going to get http://ctt.ec/o1CWD+ not.” Earth Day Booklist @JumpIntoaBook1

Long before saving the earth became a global concern, Dr. Seuss, speaking through his character the Lorax, warned against mindless progress and the danger it posed to the earth’s natural beauty.

The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rainforest by Lynne Cherry

Earth Day Booklist

One day, a man exhausts himself trying to chop down a giant kapok tree. While he sleeps, the forest’s residents, including a child from the Yanomamo tribe, whisper in his ear about the importance of trees and how “all living things depend on one another” . . . and it works. Cherry’s lovingly rendered colored pencil and watercolor drawings of all the “wondrous and rare animals” evoke the lush rain forests, as well as stunning world maps bordered by tree porcupines, emerald tree boas, and dozens more fascinating creatures.

Compost Stew: An A to Z recipe for Earth by Mary McKenna Siddals

Earth Day Booklist

From apple cores to zinnia heads, readers will discover the best ingredients for a successful compost pile! Kids everywhere are knowledgeable about the environment and climate change. Not only is composting becoming more common in households and residential gardens, but many school gardens feature compost piles, too. But how do you start a compost pile? What’s safe to include? Perfect for an Earth Day focus or year-round reference, this inviting book provides all the answers for kids and families looking for simple, child-friendly ways to help the planet.

Great Chapter and Non -Fiction Books

earthday book list

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

earth day booklist

A book for young readers. It involves new kids, bullies, alligators, eco-warriors, pancakes, and pint-sized owls. A hilarious Floridian adventure!

SeedFolks by Paul Fleishman

earth day booklist

A vacant lot looks like no place for a garden. Until one day, a young girl clears a small space and digs into the hard-packed soil to plant her precious bean seeds. Suddenly, the soil holds promise.

Heroes of the Environment by Harriet Rohmer

This inspiring book presents the true stories of 12 people from across North America who have done great things for the environment. Heroes include a teenage girl who figured out how to remove an industrial pollutant from the Ohio River, a Mexican superstar wrestler who works to protect turtles and whales, and a teenage boy from Rhode Island who helped his community and his state develop effective e-waste recycling programs. Plenty of photographs and illustrations bring each compelling story vividly to life.

earth day booklist

John Muir: My Life with Nature by Joseph Comell

earth day booklist

Written mostly in the words of Muir, it brims with his spirit and adventures. The text was selected and retold by naturalist Joseph Cornell, author of Sharing Nature with Children, who is well known for his inspiring nature games. The result is a book with an aliveness, a presence of goodness, adventure, enthusiasm, and sensitive love of each animal and plant that will give young adults an experience of a true champion of nature. It is a book that expands your sense of hope, adventure, and awareness. Adults will be just as fond of this book as young readers. Cornell includes numerous explore more activities that help the reader to understand and appreciate the many wonderful qualities of Muir.

Wild Wings by Gill Lewis

Earth day booklist

This “vividly imagined and well-written novel” (Booklist, starred review) tells a gripping story about a boy from Scotland and a girl from West Africa who join together to save a migrating Osprey—and end up saving each other.

When Callum spots crazy Iona McNair on his family’s sprawling property, she’s catching a fish with her bare hands. She won’t share the fish, but does share something else: a secret.
She’s discovered a rare endangered bird, an Osprey, and it’s clear to both her and Callum that if anyone finds out about the bird, it, and its species, is likely doomed. Poachers, egg thieves, and wild weather are just some of the threats, so Iona and Callum vow to keep track of the bird and check her migratory progress using the code a preservationist tagged on her ankle, no matter what.
But when one of them can no longer keep the promise, it’s up to the other to do it for them both. No matter what. Set against the dramatic landscapes of Scotland and West Africa, this is a story of unlikely friendships, the wonders of the wild—and the everyday leaps of faith that set our souls to flight.

Great Reads for High Schoolers

earth day booklist

In the Blast Zone: Catastrophe and Renewal on Mount St. Helens by Charles Goodrich, Kathleen Dean More, and Frederick J. Swanson

Earth Day booklist

I’m a survivor of the Mt. St Helens volcano eruption. You simply cannot imagine the devastation that was left behind. This book shows the amazing renewal of the region of the past decades. Using human, geographical, and ecological dimensions to show the cycle of this active volcano in the Cascade mountains.

Meditations on John Muir: Nature’s Temple by Chris Highland

earth day booklist

Editor Chris Highland pairs 60 insightful Muir quotes with selections from other celebrated thinkers and spiritual texts. Take this pocket-size guide with you on backpacks, nature hikes, and camping trips.

Crossing Antarctica by Will Steger and Jon Bowermaster

earth day booklist

In March 1990, Will Steger completed what no man had ever before attempted: the crossing of Antarctica, a total of 3,700 miles, on foot. Lured by the challenge and the beauty of Earth’s last great wilderness, and determined to focus the world’s attention on the frozen continent now that its ecological future hangs in the balance, Steger and his International Trans–Arctica team performed an extraordinary feat of endurance.

Forests (Diminishing Resources) by Allen Stenstrup

earth day booklist

Examines forests around the world, discussing the impact that humans are having on them, the deforestation of the Amazon, the threat to mangroves, and the efforts that different countries are making to preserve and increase their forests.

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

earth day booklist

Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was first published in three serialized excerpts in the New Yorker in June of 1962. The book appeared in September of that year and the outcry that followed its publication forced the banning of DDT and spurred revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water. Carson’s passionate concern for the future of our planet reverberated powerfully throughout the world, and her eloquent book was instrumental in launching the environmental movement. It is without question one of the landmark books of the twentieth century.

The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring By Richard Preston

earth day booklist

This is one of my all time favorite books. It instilled in me the desire to climb a Redwood Tree to see the unseen, unknown worlds that exist up in the branches of those behemoth beauties.

Here’s a little bit more about it…..

Hidden away in foggy, uncharted rain forest valleys in Northern California are the largest and tallest organisms the world has ever sustained–the coast redwood trees, Sequoia sempervirens. Ninety-six percent of the ancient redwood forests have been destroyed by logging, but the untouched fragments that remain are among the great wonders of nature. The biggest redwoods have trunks up to thirty feet wide and can rise more than thirty-five stories above the ground, forming cathedral-like structures in the air. Until recently, redwoods were thought to be virtually impossible to ascend, and the canopy at the tops of these majestic trees was undiscovered. In The Wild Trees, Richard Preston unfolds the spellbinding story of Steve Sillett, Marie Antoine, and the tiny group of daring botanists and amateur naturalists that found a lost world above California, a world that is dangerous, hauntingly beautiful, and unexplored.

The canopy voyagers are young–just college students when they start their quest–and they share a passion for these trees, persevering in spite of sometimes crushing personal obstacles and failings. They take big risks, they ignore common wisdom (such as the notion that there’s nothing left to discover in North America), and they even make love in hammocks stretched between branches three hundred feet in the air.

The deep redwood canopy is a vertical Eden filled with mosses, lichens, spotted salamanders, hanging gardens of ferns, and thickets of huckleberry bushes, all growing out of massive trunk systems that have fused and formed flying buttresses, sometimes carved into blackened chambers, hollowed out by fire, called “fire caves.” Thick layers of soil sitting on limbs harbor animal and plant life that is unknown to science. Humans move through the deep canopy suspended on ropes, far out of sight of the ground, knowing that the price of a small mistake can be a plunge to one’s death.

Preston’s account of this amazing world, by turns terrifying, moving, and fascinating, is an adventure story told in novelistic detail by a master of nonfiction narrative. The author shares his protagonists’ passion for tall trees, and he mastered the techniques of tall-tree climbing to tell the story in The Wild Trees–the story of the fate of the world’s most splendid forests and of the imperiled biosphere itself.

What will you do to honor our Earth today?

**Some of these links are affiliate links

SPRING MEANS FOXES! The Fox Diaries: The Year The Foxes Came to Our Garden

From the forest to the front yard, experience the magical story of a family of foxes that took up residence right in the front yard of the author and publisher, Valarie Budayr.

The Fox Diaries

Great to share with your children or students, The Fox Diaries speaks to the importance of growing and learning both individually and as a family unit. It is a perfect book for story-time or family sharing. Not only can you read about the daily rituals of this marvelous fox family, there is an information packed resource section at the end of the book which includes lots of facts and even a few “fox movies” that you can enjoy with your family.

Purchase your copy of The Fox Diaries Today!!

The Fox Diaries

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3. Confederate History Month: A Civil War Booklist

Many may already know that April marks the start of Confederate History Month, but another interesting fact is that this year marks the milestone of 150 years since the end of the Civil War. On April 9th and nationwide recognition of this event will take place in the form of ringing bells at 2:15. This time and date marks 150 years from when Union General Ulyses S. Grant met with Confederate General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, to set the terms of surrender of Lee’s army.

Confederate History Month is a month annually designated by six state governments in the Southern United States for the purpose of recognizing and honoring the history of the Confederate States of America. April has traditionally been chosen, as Confederate Memorial Day falls during that month in many of these states.“-Wikipedia

The American Civil War, also known as ‘The War Between the States’, was bloody and raged from 1861 to 1865. It was when 11 Southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America (“the Confederacy”). 

The Confederacy fought for its independence from the United States and opposed the end of slavery, which existed as a legal institution in North America for more than a century before the formation of the United States in 1776.

-The Network Journal

 

Ways to Celebrate by Reading

Confederate History Month: A Civil War Booklist

The Civil War for Kids: A History with 21 Activities (For Kids series)

00,1

Diary Of A Drummer Boy

 

00,1

If You Lived At The Time Of The Civil War By Kay Moore

00,1

Hold The Flag High by Catherine Clinton
00,1

Mr. Lincoln’s Drummer by G. Clifton Wisler

Civil War

Pink and Say-by Patricia Polacco

civil war booklist

Shades of Gray by Carolyn Reeder

civil2

Behind Rebel Lines: The Incredible Story of Emma Edmonds, Civil War Spy by Seymour Reit (Author)

Civil war booklist

A Confederate Girl: The Diary of Carrie Berry by Carrie Berry and Anne Todd

civil war booklist

Note from Valarie: If you are in the mood for another and inactive story, check out the enhanced digital eBook for kids, The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and The Chocolate Factory!

The Ultimate Guide To Charlie And The Chocolate Factory is a step by step roadmap to this magical world.   Just some of the fun includes:

  • A story filled with beautiful graphic illustrations including tantalizing Treasure Maps and vibrant tutorials.
  • Over 20 Crafts and activities that not only entertain, but educate.
  • You get to jump inside the book and enjoy creating the adventures yourself (Templates, maps, and more are included.)
  • Ever wonder where chocolate comes from? Or how gum is made?  Wonder no more. Now you get to make your own.
  • Conduct activities in the areas of crafting, cooking, and game-playing as well as exploring many facets of candy production.
  • The option to take Charlie’s journey over the course of several days or take shorter journeys if you wish.
  • The creation of a new ritual of reading time with your family and the opportunity to experience the reading of this imaginative tale as a group activity, not a solitary event.

Go HERE to learn more and grab your copy from iBooks!

The Ultimate Guide to Charlie

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4. Books mentioned in the April 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Nikki Grimes
Poems in the Attic by Nikki Grimes, illus. by Elizabeth Zunon, Lee & Low, 5–8 years.
A Pocketful of Poems by Nikki Grimes, illus. by Javaka Steptoe, Clarion, 5–8 years.

Versatile verse
Wonton and Chopstick by Lee Wardlaw, illus. by Eugene Yelchin, Holt, 5–8 years.
A Poem in Your Pocket by Margaret McNamara, illus. by G. Brian Karas, Random/Schwartz & Wade, 5–8 years.
Hypnotize a Tiger: Poems About Just About Everything by Calef Brown, Ottaviano/Holt, 7–10 years.
The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects selected by Paul B. Janeczko, illus. by Chris Raschka, Candlewick, 7–10 years.

The early bird
You Can Do It, Bert! by Ole Könnecke, trans. from the German by Catherine Chidgey, Gecko, 2–5 years.
Smick! by Doreen Cronin, illus. by Juana Medina, Viking, 2–5 years.
You Nest Here With Me by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple, illus. by Melissa Sweet, Boyds Mills, 2–5 years.
P. Zonka Lays an Egg by Julie Paschkis, Peachtree, 4–7 years.

Fearless females
Moonpenny Island by Tricia Springstubb, illus. by Gilbert Ford, Harper/Balzer + Bray, 9–12 years.
The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall, Knopf, 9–12 years.
Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy by Susan Vaught, Simon/Wiseman, 9–12 years.
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson, Dial, 9–12 years.

Life, death, and football
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith, Penguin/Dutton, 14 years and up.
The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith, Penguin/Dutton, 14 years and up.
The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds, Atheneum, 14 years and up.
When I was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds, Atheneum, 14 years and up.
The Dead I Know by Scot Gardner, Houghton, 14 years and up.
Hit Count by Chris Lynch, Algonquin, 14 years and up.

These titles were featured in the April 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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5. Weekend Links Great Booklists and Links for Moms and Kiddos

Welcome to Weekend Links! First let me start off by saying that I wish everyone a happy and blessed Easter.

Easter

Weekend Links is my chance to share all of the amazing book-related goodness that I have encountered over the course of the past week. So much is going on lately! Holidays, observances, Spring Break and the promise of an equally busy summer. So much to do…so much to share! BUT, for now I want to share these little pieces of gold from the interwebs.

There are most certainly a few favorites here! 15 Important Pieces Of Wisdom Found In Children’s Books

Roald Dahl

 

35 Multicultural Early Chapter Books for Kids From What Do We Do All Day?

Multicultural books for kids

Top Ten Picture Books Celebrating Diversity by Jennifer McLaughlin http://wp.me/p21t9O-21L via the Nerdy Book Club

36

This post was such a hit this week when I shared it from our archives, I thoughts I’d add it to Weekend Links just for fun. 10 Ways to Make the World More Beautiful with Miss Rumphius

10-ways

April 2nd was International Children’s Book Day and we did a great round-up of blog posts and booklists HERE PLUS I am giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

International Children's book day

If you are in the mood for another and inactive story, check out the enhanced digital eBook for kids, The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and The Chocolate Factory!

The Ultimate Guide To Charlie And The Chocolate Factory is a step by step roadmap to this magical world.   Just some of the fun includes:

  • A story filled with beautiful graphic illustrations including tantalizing Treasure Maps and vibrant tutorials.

1b

  • Over 20 Crafts and activities that not only entertain, but educate.
  • You get to jump inside the book and enjoy creating the adventures yourself (Templates, maps, and more are included.)
  • Ever wonder where chocolate comes from? Or how gum is made?  Wonder no more. Now you get to make your own.
  • Conduct activities in the areas of crafting, cooking, and game-playing as well as exploring many facets of candy production.
  • The option to take Charlie’s journey over the course of several days or take shorter journeys if you wish.
  • The creation of a new ritual of reading time with your family and the opportunity to experience the reading of this imaginative tale as a group activity, not a solitary event.

Go HERE to learn more and grab your copy from iBooks!

The Ultimate Guide to Charlie

The post Weekend Links Great Booklists and Links for Moms and Kiddos appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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6. April 2nd is International Children’s Book Day #ReadYourWorld Giveaway

International Children’s Book Day is celebrated every 2 April, inspiring children to pick up a book and get reading!

International Children's book day

April the 2nd was chosen to mark this day for young literature lovers as it’s the same date as Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday, the author of many famous children’s stories like The Little Mermaid and The Ugly Duckling.

Organised by the International Board on Books For Young People, or IBBY, the aim is to promote books and reading to young people.  IBBY was founded in Zurich, Switzerland in 1953 and today there are 70 National Sections from all parts of the world.

During International Children’s Book Day there will be a number of events held around the world, including writing competitions and talks from famous authors and illustrators.

It’s no secret how much I love children’s book and especially those books celebrating diversity within it’s pages. It just seemed fitting that I ferret out the best booklists I could find on the subject and share them here with you in honor of this important day. AND…I want to give a readers the gift of being able to but their own books so I am also celebrating with this $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!! (more details in a bit).

books about race and multiculturalism from HelloBee

multicultural children's books

At the The Logonauts: Multicultural Nonfiction Picture Books

multicultural books for kids

At Delightful Children’s Books-Read Around the World

 

Read Around the World

At All Done Moneky- Children’s Books About Friendship Around the World

multicultural books for kids

The Educators’ Spin On It: Diverse Books in Your Home Library: Parenting Global Kids

Build a Diverse Bookshelf and Explore the WORLD with your children and learn about other cultures

A HUGE collection of  Multicultural Children’s Book reviews, activities and blog can be found posts on the Multicultural Children’s Book Day blog!

multicultural children's book day

Giveaway Time! One lucky winner will win a $50 Amazon Gift card to put towards building their own wonderful library!

GIVEAWAY DETAILS

ONE winner will receive a $50 Amazon Gift card. Giveaway begins April 2nd-April 10th

  • ONE lucky winner will win one Amazon $50 Gift Card
  • Must be 18 years or older to enter
  • One entry per household.
  • Staff and family members of Audrey Press are not eligible.
  • Grand Prize winner has 48 hours to claim prize
  • Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on April 11, 2015

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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7. Best Books of March 2015

March 2015: 9 books and scripts read

Knee-deep in rehearsals, I read a scant 9 books this month.

I enjoyed Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman. I posted my review of the book here and at GuysLitWire.

I read and discussed The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon with a friend who had also read it - and then I recommended that she read Snowblind by Christopher Golden stat. Both of those books make me grateful for life and sunshine.

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8. Comics, Comics, Comics!

It’s a great time to be a comics fan.

There are loads of amazing ones coming out right now. The Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz committees all recognized graphic novels as honor books this year. People are starting to sit up and pay attention to the world of comics and graphic novels, so I am here with a list for your kids (AND YOU!). Happy reading! And welcome to the comics life.

Lumberjanes is by  Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Brooke Allen. It’s published by Boom studies in single-issue format, but the first trade paperback (collecting issues 1-4) is out on April 7th. Y’all, this one is so incredible. Feminist, funny, and constantly focused on friendship, this series is set at a summer camp and shouldn’t be missed.

 

PrinceLess by Jeremy Whitley has been a relatively new find for me and I’m obsessed. Princess Adrienne is tired of sitting around in her tower waiting for a prince to slay her dragon and rescue her. So she and her dragon decide to go do the rescuing themselves. Completely turns sexist and racist tropes on their head, as displayed by this panel:

PRINCELESS_PREVIEW_Page2

 

PrinceLess hasn’t been checked in since we got it. Your kids are gonna love it.

 

The Explorer books (there are three) are comics anthologies edited by Kazu Kibuishi, whom your students already know because they adore amulet. This trilogy asks well-known comic artists like Raina Telgemeier, Emily Carroll, and Faith Erin Hicks, to write comic shorts based on a topic. They’re amazing. There’s something for everyone in this series!

Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson. Kamala Khan is a Pakistani-American teenager in Jersey City who suddenly and quite accidentally becomes empowered with extraordinary gifts. She has to figure out how to handle being a typical Muslim teenager–who’s now a superhero.

Honestly, when I discovered these (there are two so far), I bought them based solely on the tagline: “Yet another troll-fighting 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl.” Basically, that’s enough to sell me, but Mirka is fun and amazing and her religion is shown as something that’s part of her life, not something to be overcome or chafed against. Plus, dragons.

This is just a really small cross-section of all of the wonderful comics for kids that are being published right now. I hope you and your kids love them as much as me and mine do!

*
Our cross-poster from YALSA today is Ally Watkins (@aswatki1). Ally is a youth services librarian in Mississippi, and has worked with ages birth-18 for the last 6 years.

 

 

 

 

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9. Comics, Comics, Comics!

It's a great time to be a comics fan.

There are loads of amazing ones coming out right now. The Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz committees all recognized graphic novels as honor books this year. People are starting to sit up and pay attention to the world of comics and graphic novels, so I am here with a list for your kids (AND YOU!). Happy reading! And welcome to the comics life.

Lumberjanes is by  Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Brooke Allen. It's published by Boom studies in single-issue format, but the first trade paperback (collecting issues 1-4) is out on April 7th. Y'all, this one is so incredible. Feminist, funny, and constantly focused on friendship, this series is set at a summer camp and shouldn't be missed.

PrinceLess by Jeremy Whitley has been a relatively new find for me and I'm obsessed. Princess Adrienne is tired of sitting around in her tower waiting for a prince to slay her dragon and rescue her. So she and her dragon decide to go do the rescuing themselves. Completely turns sexist and racist tropes on their head, as displayed by this panel:

PRINCELESS_PREVIEW_Page2

PrinceLess hasn't been checked in since we got it. Your kids are gonna love it.

The Explorer books (there are three) are comics anthologies edited by Kazu Kibuishi, whom your students already know because they adore amulet. This trilogy asks well-known comic artists like Raina Telgemeier, Emily Carroll, and Faith Erin Hicks, to write comic shorts based on a topic. They're amazing. There's something for everyone in this series!

Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson. Kamala Khan is a Pakistani-American teenager in Jersey City who suddenly and quite accidentally becomes empowered with extraordinary gifts. She has to figure out how to handle being a typical Muslim teenager--who's now a superhero.

Honestly, when I discovered these (there are two so far), I bought them based solely on the tagline: "Yet another troll-fighting 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl." Basically, that's enough to sell me, but Mirka is fun and amazing and her religion is shown as something that's part of her life, not something to be overcome or chafed against. Plus, dragons.

This is just a really small cross-section of all of the wonderful comics for kids that are being published right now. I hope you and your kids love them as much as me and mine do!

*
Our cross-poster from YALSA today is Ally Watkins (@aswatki1). Ally is a youth services librarian in Mississippi, and has worked with ages birth-18 for the last 6 years.

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10. 19 Books Celebrating China with Author Demi

Demi booklist

I’ve long been a fan of author/illustrator Demi.

Demi (September 2, 1942) born Charlotte Dumaresq Hunt, is an award-winning children’s book author and illustrator. During her career she has published over 300 titles. Demi is known for her biographies for spiritual figures including Buddha, Krishna, Lao Tzu, Jesus, Mary (mother of Jesus), Muhammad, Rumi, Francis of Assisi, Gandhi, and the Dalai Lama. (wikipedia)

I personally appreciate the way she unfolds a story whether a classic folktale, religious figure, or cultural celebration has always greatly captivated my attention. Add on top of that her amazing and gorgeous illustrations and you have what I consider a treasure trove from book heaven.

While deciding on a book to use to celebrate Chinese New Year I was going through my stacks of great reads and that’s when I noticed Demi has written so much about China and probably our beautiful impression of that country stems from her. Through her eyes, we as a family, have happily embraced it’s stories, history, and traditions.

Today let’s go on a journey to China with one of our most cherished book friends, Demi.

More About Demi

Demi was born in Cambridge, Mass. She studied at the Instituto Allende in Guanajuato, Mexico, at Immaculate Heart College with Sisters Magdalen Mary and Sister Corita in Hollywood, California. She also studied at the M.S. University in Baroda, India, while on a Fulbright Scholarship, as well as the China Institute For Arts in New author DemiYork City.

Her husband Tze-si Huang introduced her to the religion, folklore, ancient culture, and history of China.

Demi has illustrated and authored more than 300 children’s books including biographies of Jesus, Buddha, and the Dalai Lama, as well as folktales such as The Empty Pot and Liang and the Magic Paintbrush. Her work has received many awards and accolades, among them the Christopher Award, which recognizes individuals whose work makes a positive difference in the world, and the Middle East Book Award. Her titles have been designated American Library Association Notable Children’s Books, New York Times Best Illustrated Books, Notable Books for a Global Society, and American Bookseller Pick of the List Books.

Celebrating China with Demi : A Booklist

The Empty Pot

Demi

A Chinese boy with an green thumb wins the emperor’s competition; PW praised the “extraordinarily delicate Oriental landscapes.” Ages 4-7.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Happy Happy Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year book

“In a book that is itself a celebration, Demi explains the rituals and ideas behind the Chinese New Year festival. The last 15 days of the old year are spent cleaning and preparing (‘Wash your hair and get a new haircut. Pay the debts that you owe and collect what is owed to you!’). On the eve of the new moon, a special feast is prepared. . . . The first 15 days of the new year are spent celebrating with lion dances, firecrackers, and other activities. Demi’s characteristic tiny, lively figures illustrate each page, with several spreads devoted to small, labeled pictures identifying things associated with the holiday. Infused with joy and filled with information.”—Booklist

One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale

Demi

“Exotic, beautiful, and instructive, this “mathematical folktale” by author-illustrator Demi emerged from her love of India. The narrative and the evocative illustrations combine to create a real sense of the culture and atmosphere of this romantic land.” (Amazon)

Marco Polo

Marco Polo by Demi

Many people say Marco Polo was the greatest explorer that ever lived, traveling 33, miles by land and sea from Venice, Italy, to modern-day Beijing, China. His famous book, The Travels of Marco Polo, indicates that he was a man of extraordinary bravery, brilliance, and strength. With his uncle and father, he traveled across Turkey, Armenia, the Middle East, the rugged mountains of Afghanistan, and the hot Taklimakan Desert before finally reaching China in 1275. Welcomed by the great emperor Kublai Khan, Marco Polo was amazed by the inventions, riches, and religious tolerance of the great Khan’s kingdom, where Marco remained for the next 2 years.

The Boy who Painted Dragons

Demi

Smoke, fire, dragons, wisdom, fear, and bravery…All of these elements are brought to life by award-winning author and artist Demi in a story of valor in the face of overwhelming fear.

Liang and the Magic Paintbrush (Reading Rainbow Books)

Demi

When a poor boy in China receives a magical paintbrush, everything he paints turns to life. But the wicked emperor wants to capture the boy when he hears the news. The story will excite readers as the ruler gets his just reward when the boy creates a masterpiece that spells his doom.

The Greatest Power

Demi

Emperor Ping, the boy emperor known for his love of harmony, sets a challenge to the children of his kingdom: show him the greatest power in the world. “To know the greatest power in the world is to know the greatest peace,” Emperor Ping announces. “Whoever knows this harmony will become the new prime minister.”

The Legend of Lao Tau and the Tao Te Ching

Demi

This thoughtful and thought-provoking book opens with a biography of Lao Tzu, the mysterious philosopher who is said to have been born at the age of eighty-one with snow-white hair, the ability to walk and talk, and unparalleled wisdom. Many credit him with creating the Tao Te Ching, which was written for the good of all humankind. Twenty of the eighty-one passages of the Tao Te Ching are included here, paired with stunning illustrations by the award-winning artist Demi.

The Pandas and their Chopsticks

Demi

Read my book review of this book with companion activities HERE.

Buddha Stories

Buddha stories by Demi

Throughout the ages, moral tales have been passed down from one generation to the next. Centuries ago in China, hundreds of parables were told by the Buddha to his devoted followers. His messages became widespread through fables adapted by famous storytellers like Aesop and La Fontaine. In this collection, the author has chosen ten of the most engaging classic tales from the Buddha’s works. Compiled and illustrated by Demi, this wonderful collection of stories is sure to draw young readers into the ancient teachings of the Buddha, teachings that are as relevant today as they were over two thousand years ago.

Buddha

Buddha by Demi

Many centuries ago, in a kingdom in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains, a miraculous child was born to the king and queen. The young prince, Siddhartha, was raised in the greatest luxury, sheltered from all pain and ugliness. But one day Siddhartha left the palace and saw, for the first time, human suffering and death. He knew then that he must relinquish everything– his family, his wealth, his position– to discover the Truth of life and death.

The Girl who Drew a Phoenix

demi

The Magic Pillow

Demi

Based on a famous Chinese folktale, The Magic Pillow tells the story of a poor boy named Ping who is given a magic pillow by a mysterious magician. Ping sees what a lifetime of wealth and power would be like, and discovers that the riches of family and freedom are much more valuable.

Happy New Year! Kung-Hsi-Fa-Ts-Ai

demi

“In a book that is itself a celebration, Demi explains the rituals and ideas behind the Chinese New Year festival. The last 15 days of the old year are spent cleaning and preparing. On the eve of the new moon, a special feast is prepared.

The Greatest Treasure

demi

Su Dongpo: Chinese Genius

demi

Even as a young boy in eleventh-century China, Su Shih was clearly special. After finding a rare inkstone, he began to write stories and verses expressing his love of the natural world. His words flowed effortlessly. His brush danced across the paper.

Kites

Kites by Demi

The Great Voyages of Zheng He

demi

Over 600 hundred years ago, Emperor Zhu Di of China decided to build the greatest naval fleet the world had ever seen to befriend and trade with countries throughout Asia and Africa. The admiral of this diplomatic and treasure-gathering fleet was a brilliant and peace-loving man named Zheng He.

The Emperor’s New Clothes: A Tale Set in China

demi

Long ago in a province in China there lived an emperor whose greatest pleasure in life was to dress in new clothes.

Which of these Demi books has your family enjoyed?

**Some of these links are affiliate links.

Homeschooling can be complicated and frustrating, especially if you are overloaded with information. The good news is that you don’t have to figure it out alone. Donna Ashton’s The Waldorf Home School Handbook is a simple and step-by-step guide to creating and understanding a Waldorf-inspired homeschool plan. Within the pages of this all-in-one homeschooling guide parents will find information, samples of lesson plans and curriculum, helpful hints and the secrets behind the three Areas for Optimum Learning. Join Donna as she guides you through the Waldorf method and reveals how to educate your children in a nurturing and creative environment. Visit the Waldorf Homeschool Handbook info page HERE.

waldorf collage

 

 

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11. Best Books of February 2015

February 2015: 42 books and scripts read

Picks of the Month
Beyond the Parallel (Parallelogram #4) by Robin Brande
Backlash by Sarah Darer Littman
The Apartment screenplay by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond

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12. Recommended reading on “the circuit”

In his 1998 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award acceptance speech for The Circuit, Dr. Francisco Jiménez said, “The blowing of the horn for The Circuit will draw attention to and compassion for the thousands of migrant families and their children of yesterday and today. This sound is truly music to my ears.” These books, all recommended by The Horn Book Magazine and The Horn Book Guide, similarly highlight the experiences of migrant farmworker families.

Primary

adler_picture book of cesar chavezUsing quotes from the subject’s autobiography, David A. Adler and Michael S. Adler’s A Picture Book of César Chávez tells Chávez’s abbreviated life story, from migrant farm work in childhood through his life of activism to his death in 1993. Marie Olofsdotter’s warm-hued illustrations reflect the man’s heritage and commitment to his cause. The book’s source notes and other ancillary material are excellent. (Holiday, 2010)

brown_side by sideMonica Brown makes a significant contribution to the increasing number of books about César Chávez by focusing equally on his partner, Dolores Huerta, in Side by Side / Lado a lado: The Story of Dolores Huerta and César Chavéz / La historia de Dolores Huerta y César Chávez. Their life stories are told in parallel until they meet and “side by side…began their journey.” Huerta’s accomplishments are admirable, and she gets her due in this heartfelt bilingual volume enhanced by Joe Cepeda’s emotion-filled mixed-media illustrations. (HarperCollins/Rayo, 2010)

krull_harvesting hopeIn Harvesting Hope: The Story of César Chávez, Kathleen Krull shows how Chávez developed into an advocate and spokesman for migrant workers, focusing on the march he led as part of a grape-pickers strike. The brief text creates a complex view of Chávez, and Yuyi Morales’s mixed-media paintings are suffused with a variety of emotions. There are no sources, but this is an excellent choice for furthering understanding of racism, of nonviolent protest, and of the lives of workers before unions. Look for Spanish-language edition Cosechando esperanza: La historia de Cesar Chavez. (Harcourt, 2003)

mateo_migrantIn a straightforward first-person narration, Migrant by José Manuel Mateo recounts a child’s memories of his migration from Mexico to Los Angeles. The dramatic journey includes jumping a train, scaling a wall, and being chased by dogs. Javier Martínez Pedro’s intricately detailed black-and-white artwork is presented as one long vertical image with an accordion fold, in the style of ancient Mayan codices. The reverse side of the book presents the Spanish translation. (Abrams, 2014)

Separate Is Never Equal In 1947 the Mendez family fought for — and won —the desegregation of schools in California. Author/illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh uses a child’s viewpoint to succinctly capture the segregated reality of Mexican Americans in Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation. The straightforward narrative is well matched with illustrations in Tonatiuh’s signature style, their two-dimensional perspective reminiscent of the Mixtec codex but collaged with paper, wood, etc. to provide textural variation. An author’s note with photos is appended. (Abrams, 2014)

 

Intermediate

atkin_voices from the fieldS. Beth Atkin’s Voices from the Fields: Children of Migrant Farmworkers Tell Their Stories features children and teenagers of migrant workers, depicted in black-and-white photographs, speaking about family experiences, work, gangs, friends, and assorted fears, hopes, and dreams. Poetry by the young people, printed in both English and Spanish, is interspersed among the interviews. (Little, Brown, 2000)

jimenez_the circuitFrancisco Jiménez’s The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child was originally published only in paperback (by University of New Mexico Press). The hardcover edition of this moving and transcendent book — which won the 1998 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for fiction — includes an appended author’s note drawn from Jiménez’s acceptance speech for that award. (Houghton, 1999)

jimenez_breaking throughBreaking Through, Francisco Jiménez’s sequel to The Circuit, follows the pattern of the coming-of-age novel. Francisco and his family obtain visas that allow them to enter and stay in the United States without fear of deportation. Like its hero, the book’s pace is steady and deliberate, relying upon natural development rather than theatrics. For all its recounting of deprivation, this is a hopeful book, told with rectitude and dignity. (Houghton, 2001)

ryan_esperanza risingIn Esperanza Rising, Pam Munoz Ryan’s poignant novel of the realities of immigration, thirteen-year-old Esperanza, daughter of an affluent Mexican rancher, is forced to trade fancy dolls and dresses for hard work and ill-fitting hand-me-downs after her beloved father dies. Laboring in the United States, picking grapes on someone else’s land for pennies an hour, Esperanza is transformed into someone who can take care of herself and others. (Scholastic, 2000)

 

Older

brimner_strikeIn his comprehensive history Strike!: The Farm Workers’ Fight for Their Rights, Larry Dane Brimner recounts the movement for better wages and working conditions among migrant farm workers in the Southwest, from California’s burgeoning need for farm workers in the twentieth century to the story of César Chávez, the United Farm Workers of America, and the Delano grape workers’ strike. The compelling narrative includes both textual and visual primary sources. (Boyds Mills/Calkins, 2014)

jimenez_reaching outFrancisco Jiménez (The Circuit, Breaking Through) continues the fictionalized story of his maturation in Reaching Out, here describing his character’s college years in the early 1960s. The writing is precise and evocative, with the author’s affection for family and friends being especially palpable. A quietly compelling book for older teens and an important contribution to the body of works addressing the immigrant experience. (Houghton, 2008)

young_cesar chavezJeff C. Young’s thorough, well-documented biography César Chávez [American Workers series] recounts Chávez’s progression from fieldworker in California to activist, union organizer, and civil rights advocate. Chávez’s untiring efforts, extremely modest salary, refusal to back down, hunger strikes, and growing awareness of political process are emphasized, with the United Farm Workers Union as his crowning achievement. Considerable primary material is used, and captioned photographs illustrate the text. (Morgan, 2007)

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13. A Look back at Past President’s Day Booklists and Activities!

“Presidents’ Day is an American holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February. Originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington, it is still officially called “Washington’s Birthday” by the federal government. Traditionally celebrated on February 22—Washington’s actual day of birth—the holiday became popularly known as Presidents’ Day after it was moved as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act, an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers. While several states still have individual holidays honoring the birthdays of Washington, Abraham Lincoln and other figures, Presidents’ Day is now popularly viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents past and present.” History.com

Not only do I enjoy this holiday, I love looking back on the plethora of books I have reviewed in the past with a “Presidential theme.” To say the least, there are some wonderful books and activities out there on this topic that I know kids and families will enjoy. Here are some of my top picks:

Back in November 2012 of  I created a very fun booklist in honor of the upcoming elections season.

presidents

Presidential politics.

I Grew Up to Be President by Laurie Calkhoven, illus by Rebecca Zomchek.

From George Washington to Barack Obama, this child’s is a child’s perfect introduction to all of the U.S. Presidents. On every spread, readers will learn about the Presidents’ childhoods, families, careers, accomplishments in office, and life after the White House. Famous quotes, major events, and fun facts are all included. With simple text and full-color illustrations and photographs throughout, every parent, teacher, and child will want this essential reference for their bookshelf.-Amazon

 

Worst of Friends: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and the True Story of an American Feud. By Suzanne Tripp Jurmain, illustrated by Larry Day.Worst of Friends

John Adams was short, fat, and talkative. Thomas Jefferson was tall, thin, and quiet. Together, they made an excellent case for American Independence. But when Tom and John couldn’t agree whether a weak or strong presidency was better, they had a falling out that spanned their two presidencies and long into their retirements. Would they hold a grudge forever?-Amazon

See more of this presidential booklist blog post HERE.

In February of last year we enjoyed the Family Book Festival here on JIAB. AND one of my favorite young authors was kind enough to contribute a very fun book review. Felicia from Stanley & Katrina: Pet Authors   offered up her book pick; Duck for President. Read more about Felicia and here fun review of Duck for President HERE.

Family Book Festival

During the last presidential election there was a lot of discussion about political parties. How are they different ? How are they the same? Who, exactly would make the better leader of our country ?

Here is an entertaining book which helps answer these questions. Using the cat and dog in a brilliant analogy of what really happens during the political process, author Julia Dweck brings voting and campaigning to life through her creative rhymes and entertaining conclusions. Read more about Cat or Dog for President HERE.

Cat and Dog For President

During our Read Around the Continents series we spotlighted North America and in the process pinpointed some amazing kidlit books about our country’s founding fathers and leaders.

The United States is 3.79 million square miles or 983 million square kilometers. With 315 million people living inside it’s borders, the United States is the world’s most ethnically diverse and multicultural nation. As well as it’s people, the geography and climate of the U.S. are equally diverse, with deserts, plains, forests, and mountains that are home to a wide variety of wildlife. Read more about this topics and the books that go with it HERE.

read-around-the-continents-north-amer-1024x1024

Exciting news! Is the winter blues and cabin fever making your family a bit “cray-cray”I have a fun idea up my sleeve to help get everyone moving and reading. My latest book (co-written with Marilyn Scott-Waters) A Year in The Secret Garden is a gorgeous book inspired by the classic children’s tale Secret Garden. Within these pages your family will find new activities, crafts, recipes and lessons (inspired by the book) in a something-to-do-every month format. SO, for the next few months I will be pulling some “fun-ness” from the pages of A Year in the Secret Garden and sharing them here every Wednesday. Watch for Secret Garden Wednesday coming very soon!

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14. Love Abraham Lincoln? Here’s the Ultimate Abe Lincoln Booklist

abe lincoln booklist

Abraham Lincoln has always been one of my favorite presidents. When I was 9 I became obsessed with him and read every book I could get my hands on. Many years later, I had the honor of giving birth to the sweetest little boy on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. Today my sweet boy is 16, and nearly as tall as President Lincoln.

In celebration of my favorite president and my only and favorite son. I thought I’d share a few fun facts as well as some favorite “Honest Abe” reads.

Abraham Lincoln Fun Facts:

  • Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809 in Hodgenville, Hardin County, Kentucky.
  • He was born in a log cabin to an extremely poor family.
  • He was largely self-educated and taught himself law.
  • Abraham Lincoln was 6 feet 4 inches tall, and was reported to have kept money in his stove-pipe hat!
  • He became the 16th president of America in 1861, when he was 52 years of age, he served for 4 years until 1865.
  • Major events which happened during the presidency of Abraham Lincoln included the Civil War which lasted from 1861 until 1865 and the raising of the Emancipation Proclamation which secured the liberty of slaves.
  • Abraham Lincoln hated having his name shortened to Abe, and often chose to use his surname/last name, Lincoln. Sources suggest that even his wife even called him Mr. Lincoln!
  • Abraham Lincoln was the first American President to wear a beard!
  • When Abraham Lincoln was called two-faced by a rival, he was quoted as saying “If I had another face, do you think I’d wear this one?”
  • The Proclamation was issued by Abraham Lincoln on January, 1863 and slavery ended with the passage of the 13th amendment.
  • Abraham Lincoln married Mary Todd Lincoln on November 4, 1842, together they had 4 children, they were all boys.
  • He led the Union into the Civil War to protect the nation and put an end to slavery.
  • His celebrated career came to an end when he was assassinated on April 15 1865, five days after the Confederate armies surrendered the Civil War.
  • Abraham Lincoln died on April 15, 1865, the day after being shot at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. He was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth and was buried at Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Illinois

The Ultimate Abraham Lincoln Book List

1. A Picture book of Abraham Lincoln by David A Adler and John C. Wallner: Follows the life of the popular president, from his childhood on the frontier to his assassination after the end of the Civil War.

Abe Lincoln booklist

2. I am Abraham Lincoln (Ordinary People Change the World) by Brad Meltzer: #1 bestseller Brad Meltzer is on a mission to give kids the right role models in this lively, funny picture book biography series.”Kids always search for heroes, so we might as well have a say in it,” Brad Meltzer realized, and so he envisioned this friendly, fun approach to biography – for his own kids, and for yours.

abe lincoln booklist

3. Who Was Abraham Lincoln? by Janet Pascal and Nancy Harrison: Born to a family of farmers, Lincoln stood out from an early age—literally! (He was six feet four inches tall.) As sixteenth President of the United States, he guided the nation through the Civil War and saw the abolition of slavery. But Lincoln was tragically shot one night at Ford’s Theater—the first President to be assassinated. Over 100 black-and-white illustrations and maps are included.

abe lincoln

4. National Geographic Readers: Abraham Lincoln by Caroline Crosson Gilpin: The most effective method used to influence children to read is to incorporate the information that interests them the most. National Geographic Readers are educational, high-interest, and comprehensive for children. In this title, readers will learn about the fascinating life and legacy of our 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln and his historic decision to abolish slavery. Readers will also learn why this decision impacted the United States, as well as the extent of Lincoln’s impact as a fearless leader of the Civil War.

abe lincoln booklist

5. Abraham Lincoln by Ingrid and Edgar D’Aulaire: A Caldecott Medal Book, A Child Study Children’s Book Committee: Children’s Book of the Year. This edition is published from the original 1940 printing and we were able to recreate the vivid colors originally intended by the d’Aulaires. This is a must have for any fan of the d’Aulaires’.

abe lincoln booklist

6. Abe Lincoln’s Hat by Martha Brenner and Donald Cook

abe lincoln booklist

7. Meet Abraham Lincoln by Barbara Cary: This warmly told biography of our sixteenth president is enriched by many authentic but seldom told anecdotes and complemented by bold color illustrations that capture the spirit of Lincoln and his era.

abe lincoln booklist

8. Abe Lincoln: The Boy who Loved Books by Kay Winters: In a tiny log cabin a boy listened with delight to the storytelling of his ma and pa. He traced letters in sand, snow, and dust. He borrowed books and walked miles to bring them back. When he grew up, he became the sixteenth president of the United States. His name was Abraham Lincoln

abe lincoln booklist

9. Magic Tree House Fact Tracker: Abraham Lincoln: A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House #47. By Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce: When Jack and Annie got back from their adventure in Magic Tree House #47: Abe Lincoln at Last!, they had lots of questions. What was it like to grow up in a log cabin? How did Lincoln become president? What was his family like? Why did the US fight the Civil War? Find out the answers to these questions and more as Jack and Annie track the facts.

abe lincoln booklist

10. DK Biography: Abraham Lincoln by Tanya Lee Stone: Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of the United States, led the nation through its darkest hour-the Civil War. Find out about Lincoln’s childhood on a frontier farm, how a struggling small town lawyer became president, and why he became one of America’s most revered leaders.

In this groundbreaking new series, DK brings together fresh voices and DK design values to give readers the most information-packed, visually exciting biographies on the market today. Full-color photographs of people, places, and artifacts, and sidebars on related subjects add dimension and relevance to stories of famous lives that students will love to read.

abe lincoln booklist

11. Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman

abe lincoln booklist

12. Abraham Lincoln for Kids: His Life and Times with 21 Activities by Janis Herbert:2008 National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA) Honors Award winner. Providing a fresh perspective on one of the most beloved presidents of all time, this illuminating activity book tells the rich story of Abraham Lincoln’s life and details the events of his era. Highlighting Lincoln’s warm, generous spirit and impressive intellect, the guide teaches children about his fascinating life story, his struggles at the onset of the Civil War, and his relevance in today’s world.

abe lincoln booklist

13. Magic Tree House # 47: Abe Lincoln at Last! By Mary Pope Osborne: Jack and Annie are! They are trying to get a special feather that will help save Merlin’s baby penguin, Penny. When the magic tree house whisks them back to Washington, D.C., in 1861, Jack can’t wait to meet Abraham Lincoln himself!

abe lincoln booklist

14. Abe’s Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln by Doreen Rapapport and Kadir Nelson: From the time he was a young boy roaming the forests of the unsettled Midwest, Abraham Lincoln knew in his heart that slavery was deeply wrong. A voracious reader, Lincoln spent every spare moment of his days filling his mind with knowledge, from history to literature to mathematics, preparing himself to one day lead the country he loved towards greater equality and prosperity.

abe lincoln booklist

**some of these links are affiliate links

Don’t forget to grab your FREE copy of my Read Your World Multicultural Booklists and Activities for Kids.

Read Your World Multicultural Booklist and Activities for Kids

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15. Books mentioned in the February 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Lucy Cousins
Count with Maisy, Cheep, Cheep, Cheep! by Lucy Cousins, Candlewick, 2–5 years.
I’m the Best by Lucy Cousins, Candlewick, 2–5 years.

ABC, easy as 123

Mix It Up! by Herve Tullét, Chronicle, 2–5 years.
Press Here by Herve Tullét, Handprint/Chronicle, 2–5 years.
The Happy Little Yellow Box: A Pop-Up Book of Opposites by David A. Carter, Little Simon, 2–5 years.
B Is for Box: The Happy Little Yellow Box by David A. Carter, Little Simon, 2–5 years.
Once Upon an Alphabet: Stories for Each Letter by Oliver Jeffers, Philomel, 5–8 years.
Before After by Anne-Margot Ramstein and Matthais Aregui, Candlewick, 5–8 years.

Be-bop-a-skoodley!
Little Melba and Her Big Trombone by Katheryne Russell-Brown, illus. by Frank Morrison, Lee & Low, 5–8 years.
Leontyne Price: Voice of a Century by Carole Boston Weatherford, illus. by Raúl Colón, Knopf, 5–8 years.
Mahalia Jackson: Walking with Kings and Queens by Nina Nolan, illus. by John Holyfield, Amistad/HarperCollins, 5–8 years.
Bird & Diz by Gary Golio, illus. by Ed Young, Candlewick, 5–8 years.

(Not-so) long ago or far away
Bo at Iditarod Creek by Kirkpatrick Hill, illus. by LeUyen Pham, Holt, 8–12 years.
Bo at Ballard Creek by Kirkpatrick Hill, illus. by LeUyen Pham, Holt, 8–12 years.
The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, Dial, 8–12 years.
Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper, Atheneum, 8–12 years.
The Paper Cowboy by Kristin Levine, Putnam, 8–12 years.

Bad company
On a Clear Day by Walter Dean Myers, Crown, 14 years and up.
The Doubt Factory by Paolo Bacigalupi, Little, Brown, 14 years and up.
Denton Little’s Deathdate by Lance Rubin, Knopf, 14 years and up.
Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin, Egmont, 12–14 years.

These titles were featured in the February 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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16. Weekend Links: Caldecott Winners Booklists and More

Each year the American Library Association honors books, videos, and other outstanding materials for children and teens. Recognized worldwide for the high quality they represent, the ALA Youth Media Awards, including the prestigious Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, and Coretta Scott King Book Awards, guide parents, educators, librarians, and others in selecting the best materials for youth. Selected by committees composed of librarians and other literature and media experts, the awards encourage original and creative work in the field of children’s and young adult literature and media.

The 2015 Youth Media Awards were announced at 8:00 a.m. Central time on Monday, Feb. 2, 2015, during the ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibition in Chicago. The Randolph Caldecott Medal is awarded annually , to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. The award is administered by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association.

Caldecott, Newbery and More 2015 Winners!-Pragmaticmom

Caldecott, Newbery and More 2015 Winners!

Melissa from Imagination Soup offered up a post on 2015 Newbery and Caldecott Winners

2015 Newbery and Caldecott Winners

Reading is Fundamental has a great list of 10 Years of Caldecott Winners

Great Kids Books- 2015 Caldecott Awards: a terrific range & selection of books!!! (ages 4-14, yes really!!)

Scholastic Books has a list of Caldecott Medal Winners for Grades 1-2

Cover image for Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That TypeCover image for Coming on Home SoonCover image for Owl Moon

More 2015 Caldecott Picks & Picture Book of the Day-Pragmaticmom

More 2015 Caldecott Picks & Picture Book of the Day

 

WAIT! Winter blues and cabin fever making your family a bit “cray-cray??” A Year in The Secret Garden is a gorgeous book inspired by the classic children’s tale Secret Garden. Within these pages your family will find new activities, crafts, recipes and lessons (inspired by the book) in a something-to-do-every month format.

A Year in The Secret Garden

Award-winning authors and co-creators Valarie Budayr and Marilyn Scott-Waters have come together to create A Year in the Secret Garden as an opportunity to introduce a new generation of families to the magic that is The Secret Garden. With over 120 pages, 150 original color illustrations and 48 activities, your family and friends will be crafting, cooking, enjoying, learning and playing together with monthly activities inspired by the characters and events of the original children’s classic. Every month readers will get to meet another Secret Garden character, as well as experiencing original crafts and activities based on the book.

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So much fun and great way to get families AWAY from the computer or electronics and into the kitchen and craft room! Get more details and grab your copy here.

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17. Best Books of January 2015

January 2015: 36 books and scripts read

Short Story Spotlight
An Optical Illusion by Eimear Ryan

Non-Fiction Pick
Yes Please by Amy Poehler

The Play's the Thing
I and You by Lauren Gunderson

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18. My Free Gift To YOU-Read Your World Multicultural Books Activities for Kids Guide

free gift

As a reading and play advocate, I am always looking for fun and innovative ways to shine the spotlight on new children’s literacy and inspire families to pull books off of shelves and stories off of pages.

So early last year, I decided to create a fun guidebook to do just THAT.

To create this Multicultural Books & Activities for Kids, I reached out to some of the brightest bloggers and asked them to pick a book that is meaningful to them, review it and create a fun activity to go along with it. The following is a line-up consisting of not only passionate reading advocates, but some of the most creative writers and bloggers I know.

The result?  This guidebook is packed full of 17 great book ideas for kids and offers up not only suggestions to keep young minds reading, but matching activities and extensions inspired by the books. This guide is designed to keep families engaged in the wonder and magic that can be found within the pages of a book and offer suggestions for diversity in children’s literature. The good news is that I am giving this e-book away for FREE! Yes, you heard me; FREE.

Jump Into a Book’s

Read Your World

Multicultural Books & Activities for Kids

By Valarie Budayr

Jump Into a Book’s Read Your World Multicultural Books & Activities for Kids

Some of the books used in the reviews and activities are:

  • Stand Tall, but Read All Around!
    {by Shannon Medisky}
  • Read Around the World Summer Reading Series
    {Guest post from Multicultural Kid Blogs}
  • Kid Writing and Biographies: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
    {Guest Post from The Unconventional Librarian Pam Margolis}
  • Down Under Calling by Margot Finke Book Review and Penpal Activity
    {A Multicultural Children’s Book blog post from Jump Into a Book}
  • Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke
    {Guest Post by Sprout’s Bookshelf}
  • Read a Book; Travel the World & Make a Wish
    {Guest Post from Gladys Elizabeth Barbieri}
  • Fiesta Fiasco by Ann Whitford Paul
    {Guest Post by Frances from Discovering the World Through Her Son’s Eyes}
  • If you were Me and Lived in…by Carole P. Roman
  • {Guest Post from Squishable Baby}
  • Discovering The Cree Culture in America-Wild Berries by Julia Flett Review & Activity!
    {Guest Post from Felicia at Stanley and Katrina}
  • TOMB OF SHADOWS (7 Wonders Book III)
    {Guest Post from This Kid Reviews Books}
  • Cooking with Books: Lucky Birthday Noodles
    {Guest Post from Jodie @ Growing Book by Book}
  • A Peek into Thailand
    {Guest Post from Stephanie Kammeraad of Mama-Lady Books}
  • A Chair for My Mother Book Review & Activity
  • {Guest Post from Vicki Arnold}
  • The Magic Poof Review and Activity
    {Guest Post by Stephen Hodges}
  • Grandfather Tang’s Story: Storytelling with Tangrams
    {Bookjump by Valarie Budayr}

 

 And so much more! Ready for a FREE GIFT that will give your family hours of reading fun and activity? I thought so :)

This e-book will only be available for a short time so grab your copy HERE.

Read On!

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19. Horn Book Fanfare 2014

fanfarebanner 2014 500x95 Horn Book Fanfare 2014

Although we didn’t plan it this way, this year’s Fanfare, the Horn Book’s list of the best books for children and teens published in 2014, has something for just about everyone. From a picture book about a bus driver to another about a haunted dog to a historical novel about Baba Yaga to a contemporary novel about an Omani boy to nonfiction about sharks, Romanovs and growing up black in America, the twenty-nine choices offer plenty of scope in genre, subject, age level, and mood. There, your holiday shopping list is DONE.

roger signature Horn Book Fanfare 2014

Roger Sutton
Editor in Chief


Picture Books

barnett samanddave Horn Book Fanfare 2014Sam & Dave Dig a Hole
written by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen; Candlewick
(Primary)

Sam and Dave dig a hole in hopes of finding something spectacular, but even though their dog notices the indeed-spectacular buried gems all around them, the boys pass obliviously by. Text and illustration are perfectly balanced; earthy tones work with understated wit to create a funny, smart, mind-blowingly open-ended work. Review 11/14.

barton my bus Horn Book Fanfare 2014My Bus
written and illustrated by Byron Barton; Greenwillow
(Preschool)

This companion to My Car (rev. 11/01) is pitched just as perfectly to its young audience. Along with a friendly bus driver, cat and dog passengers, and different vehicles (bus, boat, train, plane), Barton incorporates some math and counting concepts in this toddler joy-ride. Clear compositions, vibrant colors, and an engagingly simple text welcome listeners aboard. Review 3/14.

blackall baby tree Horn Book Fanfare 2014The Baby Tree
written and illustrated by Sophie Blackall; Paulsen/Penguin
(Preschool, Primary)

When a young boy asks various grownups where babies come from, he gets some confusing answers. Finally, Mom and Dad provide the boy — and young listeners — with an age-appropriate and reassuring explanation. Blackall’s fanciful illustrations bring the boy’s funny misinterpretations to life, and her graceful, respectful handling of “the facts” is about as good as it gets. Review 5/14.

colon draw Horn Book Fanfare 2014Draw!
written and illustrated by Raúl Colón; Wiseman/Simon
(Primary)

In this vividly imagined wordless story, a boy sits, confined to bed, with a book about Africa and lots of art supplies. As he sketches, he’s transported (along with sketchbook, easel, and pencils) to Africa — and adventure. Colón’s signature lush saturated colors and scratched-in textures depict a budding artist communing with his jungle-animal muses and reveal the power of art. Review 9/14.

dipucchio gaston Horn Book Fanfare 2014Gaston
written by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Christian Robinson; Atheneum
(Preschool, Primary)

DiPucchio and Robinson play off the “one of these things is not like the other” trope in this lively tale of a rough-and-tumble bulldog in a refined poodle family. The story’s takeaway: it’s not your breed that makes you a family. Robinson’s illustrations are classic yet contemporary, bold and expressive; DiPucchio’s text begs to be read aloud. Review 5/14.

frazee farmer and the clown Horn Book Fanfare 2014The Farmer and the Clown
written and illustrated by Marla Frazee; Beach Lane/Simon
(Preschool, Primary)

What happens when a crotchety old farmer rescues a toddler clown who has fallen off a circus train? Rarely has posture been used so well in a picture book, here used to wordlessly portray the kindness of strangers thrown (literally!) together by happenstance but then changed forever. Review 11/14.

jeffers once upon an alphabet Horn Book Fanfare 2014Once Upon an Alphabet
written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers; Philomel
(Primary, Intermediate)

Each letter gets a drily delivered four-page story in this intricately conceived picture book for advanced alphabet aficionados. Careful readers will spot connections between far-apart letters, often involving aspiring astronaut Edmund. Insouciant illustrations, in ink (with occasional digital spot colors added) on oversized pages, add to the abundant absurdity. Review 1/15.

morales VivaFrida 300x300 Horn Book Fanfare 2014Viva Frida
written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales, with photos by Tim O’Meara; Porter/Roaring Brook
(Primary)

With the sparest of impressionistic texts in both Spanish and English (“busco / I search // Veo / I see… // Juego / I play”) and stunning digitally manipulated, three-dimensional art, Morales captures the essence of Frida Kahlo — and of an artist’s very soul. Ethereal, imagistic, and virtuosic. Review 9/14.

newgarden bow wows nightmare neighbors Horn Book Fanfare 2014Bow-Wow’s Nightmare Neighbors
written and illustrated by Mark Newgarden and Megan Montague Cash; Porter/Roaring Brook
(Preschool)

This wordless picture book with graphic novel–like paneling, brilliant colors, and a cinematic flair is supremely energetic, packed with movement, and populated by a cast of sassy (ghost) cats and one perplexed pup. Bow-Wow’s nightmare is surrealistic and goofy with a hint of the gothic, creating a multi-layered narrative that will have readers returning again and again. Review 9/14.


Fiction

curtis madman of piney woods Horn Book Fanfare 2014The Madman of Piney Woods
written by Christopher Paul Curtis; Scholastic
(Intermediate, Middle School)

An unlikely friendship develops, in Buxton, Ontario, 1901, between thirteen-year-old black Canadian boy Benji Alston and Irish Canadian boy Alvin “Red” Stockard. Both nature lovers, they encounter the (supposedly mythical) Madman of Piney Woods. Curtis’s poignant, often very funny companion to Elijah of Buxton (rev. 11/07) stands on its own, though familiarity with Elijah deepens emotional resonance. Review 9/14.

gantos key that swallowed joey pigza Horn Book Fanfare 2014The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza
written by Jack Gantos; Farrar
(Intermediate)

He’s still wired, but Joey Pigza is growing up, assuming the role of “man of the house” and caring for his baby brother — solo — until his friend Olivia (the “meanest blind girl in the world”) shows up. “Crummy parents,” “roachy row house,” and expired meds notwithstanding, Joey soldiers on in his inimitable, imperfect way, in a series-ender that lets readers know this kid will be okay. Review 11/14.

lagercrantz my heart is laughing Horn Book Fanfare 2014My Heart Is Laughing
written by Rose Lagercrantz, illustrated by Eva Eriksson, translated from the Swedish by Julia Marshall; Gecko
(Primary)

First-grader Dani (My Happy Life, rev. 7/13) is always happy…but not now: she misses her moved-away best friend Ella, and the class mean-girls are bullying her. The text is funny and full of fresh, convincing detail; profuse line drawings brilliantly capture emotions through facial expressions and body language. Sweet and salty — umami for the emerging reader. Review 11/14.

lockhart we were liars Horn Book Fanfare 2014We Were Liars
written by E. Lockhart; Delacorte
(High School)

This taut psychological mystery about a wealthy but broken family revolves around an unspecified accident that left eldest granddaughter Cadence with memory loss. Just as unforgettable as the book’s explosive ending is Lockhart’s unreliable narrator, Cady, whose arresting voice will stick with readers long after the shock wears off. Review 5/14.

maguire egg and spoon 170x242 Horn Book Fanfare 2014Egg & Spoon
written by Gregory Maguire; Candlewick
(Middle School)

Wealthy Ekaterina and destitute Elena accidentally exchange lives in 1907 Russia. In Maguire’s hands, what could have been a simple story of mistaken identity becomes a multilayered tale that draws from Russian folklore and features a wickedly funny Baba Yaga. Rich, consistently surprising prose propels readers through the complex but always intriguing story. Review 9/14.

martin reign rain Horn Book Fanfare 2014Rain Reign
written by Ann M. Martin; Feiwel
(Intermediate)

Rose (whose “official diagnosis is high-functioning autism”) loves homonyms, consistency, and her dog, Rain (“rein,” “reign”). When a superstorm upends Rose’s world, she must face many things that scare her — including losing Rain. Martin’s fully realized characters, and particularly Rose’s voice, make this an engaging read — or, as Rose would say, “read (reed).” Review 9/14.

nye turtle of oman Horn Book Fanfare 2014The Turtle of Oman
written by Naomi Shihab Nye, illustrated by Betsy Peterschmidt; Greenwillow
(Intermediate)

His family is packing up for a three-year stint in America, but Aref isn’t ready to leave his Oman home or his grandfather, Sidi. The bond between grandparent and child is a stalwart of children’s literature, and this novel quietly but surely evokes the classic theme against a sensuously rendered landscape that feels like home. Review 11/14.

preus west of the moon Horn Book Fanfare 2014West of the Moon
written by Margi Preus; Amulet/Abrams
(Intermediate, Middle School)

In nineteenth-century Norway, young teen Astri is determined to go to America, but first she must escape the brutish goat herder to whom her greedy relatives have sold her. Norwegian folklore and myth are seamlessly integrated into the lyrically narrated story, which features a protagonist as fearless as any fairy-tale hero. Review 5/14.

tamaki this one summer Horn Book Fanfare 2014
This One Summer

written by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki; First Second/Roaring Brook
(Middle School, High School)

This graphic novel captures Rose’s summer on the cusp of adolescence, caught between her younger friend’s childish interests and the compelling (but confusing) adult world. Episodic vignettes, contextualizing flashbacks, and Rose’s own musings — all related in spare text and dynamically paced, indigo-hued illustrations — build to a poignant conclusion. Review 7/14.


Folklore

elya little roja riding hood Horn Book Fanfare 2014Little Roja Riding Hood
written by Susan Middleton Elya, illustrated by Susan Guevara; Putnam
(Primary)

“There once was a niña who lived near the woods. / She liked to wear colorful capas with hoods.” This modern-day Little Red, along with her sassy-senior abuela, foils the wicked lobo“¡No problema!” Elya’s rhyming text, liberally sprinkled with Spanish words, never stumbles; Guevara’s sly illustrations wink at Western folklore and Hispanic culture. Review 7/14.


Poetry

janeczko firefly july2 Horn Book Fanfare 2014Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems
selected by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Melissa Sweet; Candlewick
(Preschool, Primary)

Thirty-six brief, memorable, mostly familiar poems thoughtfully arranged into seasons meet their match in Sweet’s glorious gouache, watercolor, and mixed-media illustrations. As arresting as the poems themselves, the accompanying art is expansive yet intimate, rendered in luminous colors on oversized pages. Review 3/14.

nelson how i discovered poetry Horn Book Fanfare 2014How I Discovered Poetry
written by Marilyn Nelson, illustrated by Hadley Hooper; Dial
(Middle School)

Unrhymed sonnets tell the story of Nelson’s 1950s youth, spent mostly on air force bases and in predominantly white communities. A culminating scene — in which she must read aloud a poem containing racist language — leads to a realization of the power of words. Black-and-white photographs and spare, blue-tinted illustrations allow readers space to visualize Nelson’s detailed imagery. Review 1/14.


Nonfiction

bang buried Horn Book Fanfare 2014Buried Sunlight: How Fossil Fuels Have Changed the Earth
written by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm, illustrated by Molly Bang; Blue Sky/Scholastic
(Primary, Intermediate)

The latest book in this series about energy on Earth tackles the concept of fossil fuels. The text (narrated by the Sun) explains large ideas with clarity, while the sumptuous art illuminates both the science and the dire situation brought on by our rapid consumption of a resource millions of years in the making. A breathtaking wake-up call for young environmentalists. Review 9/14.

eldeafo Horn Book Fanfare 2014El Deafo
written and illustrated by Cece Bell, color by David Lasky; Amulet/Abrams
(Intermediate, Middle School)

Bell’s graphic memoir about growing up deaf, fictionalized only in that the people look like large-eared rabbits, depicts a childhood involving friendships, insecurities, and a “Phonic Ear” that lets her hear her teacher from anywhere in the school. Bell clearly demonstrates, through plenty of relatable humor, that “our differences are our superpowers.” Review 11/14.

bryant right word Horn Book Fanfare 2014The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus
written by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet; Eerdmans
(Primary)

This picture-book biography traces Peter Mark Roget’s journey from a lonely and solitary child, coping with loss through a compulsive keeping of lists, to the adult creator of the Thesaurus. Sweet’s visionary illustrations add layers of meaning to Bryant’s clear, linear text; gentle watercolors are embellished with all manner of realia and, appropriately, hundreds of words (the tour-de-force closing endpapers alone contain a stunning one thousand). Review 11/14.

dillon story of buildings Horn Book Fanfare 2014The Story of Buildings: From the Pyramids to the Sydney Opera House and Beyond
written by Patrick Dillon, illustrated by Stephen Biesty; Candlewick
(Intermediate, Middle School)

Biesty’s talents have never been put to better use or subtler effect than in these endlessly perusable drawings of buildings from the past and present (complete with wow-factor fold-out pages). The fact that the book is a by-the-way history of humankind is a bonus. Review 7/14.

fleming romanov Horn Book Fanfare 2014The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia
written by Candace Fleming; Schwartz & Wade/Random
(Middle School, High School)

This intimate portrait of Russia’s last imperial family seamlessly integrates telling details of the Romanovs’ daily lives with the sobering sociopolitical context of their reign, downfall, and eventual murders. Into this narrative, Fleming masterfully intersperses vignettes that illuminate Russian peasants’ experiences, resulting in a compelling and poignant narrative that humanizes the haves and the have-nots alike. Review 7/14.

powell josephine Horn Book Fanfare 2014Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker
written by Patricia Hruby Powell, illustrated by Christian Robinson; Chronicle
(Intermediate, Middle School)

A dazzling book for a dazzling subject: Powell and Robinson depict, in words and pictures, the wit, the vivaciousness, the “razzmatazz,” of Josephine Baker. The text’s jazzy rhythm and the illustrations’ humor and theatricality allow Baker’s talent — along with her hustle, and her social consciousness — to shine. Review 5/14.

roy neigborhood sharks 170x217 Horn Book Fanfare 2014Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands
written and illustrated by Katherine Roy; Macaulay/Roaring Brook
(Primary, Intermediate)

Dramatic text and motion-filled illustrations in blues, grays, and blood-reds follow a great white shark as it hunts a seal off the coast of San Francisco. Along the way, sections organized by physical feature — accompanied by clear (and frequently witty) diagrams — explain the science of the great white’s predatory prowess. Informative, fascinating, and beautiful. Review 9/14.

woodson brown girl dreaming Horn Book Fanfare 2014Brown Girl Dreaming
written by Jacqueline Woodson; Paulsen/Penguin
(Intermediate, Middle School)

In Woodson’s eloquent, steeped-in-American-history verse memoir, we watch her childhood unfolding within the larger world (amidst the burgeoning civil rights movement; the deep South and urban Brooklyn) and her own particular one (of family, friends, and neighborhood). Most compelling, perhaps, is her development as a nascent writer, poised to make her mark: “My name is Jacqueline Woodson / and I am ready for the ride.” Review 9/14.

From the January/February 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine. For previous years’ Fanfare lists, click on the tag Fanfare list.

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20. Building a Home Library for Friends and Family

Do you often field gift book questions from patrons around the holiday season? I’ve had my share of parents ask me for the best new picture book of the year for their daughter or a grandparent who wants to gift their tween a book but has no clue where to start. If you have also had these experiences, check out ALSC’s updated booklists! These are a great resource to help parents, grandparents and caregivers of all sorts purchase great books for the children in their lives during the winter holiday season- or any time of year.

Image from http://www.ala.org/alsc/building-home-library-2014-update.

Image from http://www.ala.org/alsc/building-home-library-2014-update.

The ALA-Children’s Book Council (CBC) Joint Committee, with cooperation from ALSC’s Quicklists Consulting Committee, have updated the four Building a Home Library booklists to provide advice to caregivers and others interested in constructing an excellent, star quality library for children at home. The committee looked to include less mainstream gems, wonderful multicultural books, beloved classics and new, notable titles.

The CBC Committee has included two printer-friendly versions of the bibliographies for four specific age groups. You will find suggested titles of exemplary content and quality for children from birth to age 3, children ages 4-7, children ages 8-11 and even for tween-aged children 12-14. The brochures are great for putting out at your desk for interested patrons. Does your library receive donation gifts for area shelters, churches or other organizations? You can place these brochures next to your donation bin for easy suggestions the busy patron can bring to their local bookseller when shopping.

Some of my favorite choices from the lists that would be perfect gifts are:

Carle, Eric. La oruga muy hambrienta/ The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Philomel/ Penguin, 2011.

This classic story from beloved author and illustrator Carle is indeed a great gift for babies birth to age 3.  This publication is particularly great because it will introduce both English and Spanish words to your little one.

Snicket, Lemony. Illustrated by Jon Klassen. The Dark. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2013.

The Dark by Lemony Snicket. Image from www.hachettebookgroup.com.

The Dark by Lemony Snicket. Image from www.hachettebookgroup.com.

Children ages 4-7 are sure to enjoy this wonderful picture book that gives a voice to the dark. This is an especially fun read-aloud with two readers and a perfect opportunity for caregivers to participate in their preschooler’s reading time!

Palacio, R.J. Wonder. Knopf/ Random House, 2012.

8-11 year olds of all reading levels will appreciate this heart-warming story of a 5th grade boy with facial abnormalities. It’s realistic tone and kind message make it a lovely holiday gift choice.

Telgemeier, Raina. Drama. Graphix/ Scholastic Inc., 2012.

Encourage caregivers to snag this title if they have a reluctant tween reader to please. This graphic novel about middle-school drama club and making new friends will become a well-read book at home.

What books do you love to recommend for holiday gifts? If you have any favorites, please share them with us in the comments!

From everyone on the Public Awareness Committee, happy holidays!

_________________________________________________________

Nicole Lee Martin is a  Librarian at the Grafton-Midview Public Library in Grafton, OH and is writing this post for the Public Awareness Committee. You can reach her at nicolemartin@oplin.org.

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21. ALSC announces Building STEAM with Día booklists

Download all three 2015 Building STEAM with Día book lists

Download all three 2015 Building STEAM with Día book lists (image courtesy of ALSC)

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association, has released new Building STEAM with Día book lists for children from birth to 8th grade. Intended to accompany El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Día) programming, the four book lists are comprised of multicultural titles that showcase STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) topics.

The four Building STEAM with Día book lists are available for children from birth to Pre-K, kindergarten to 2nd grade, 3rd to 5th grade and 6th to 8th grade. PDFs of the reading lists are available online in full color and are free to download, copy and distribute. Book lists are available to download through the ALSC or Día website.

The lists also feature simple and age appropriate STEAM activities to accompany one of the titles on the list. Each is designed to help librarians and parents bring the book to life through easy hands-on STEAM activities.

Titles and activities in the Building STEAM with Día book lists were selected and developed by members of ALSC’s Quicklists Consulting Committee. These free book lists were made possible through the Everyone Reads @ your library grand funded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

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22. Snow Festival Day 6: A Snow Booklist

snow3

It’s been a great few days of Snow Festival fun here on Jump into a Book.  To finish I thought I’d share a few of our all time favorite books about snow. Hope you’ve enjoyed yourselves and have had a romping good snow filled time.

1. Blizzard by John Rocco

snow booklist

2. Snow by Uri Shulevitz

snow

3. Story of the Snow Children

snow booklist

4. The Story of Snow by Mark Cassino

snow booklist

5. Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

snow booklist

6. The Secret Life of a Snowflake: An up-close look at the Art and Science of Snowflakes.

snow booklist

7. The Jacket I wear in the Snow by Shirley Neitzel

snow booklist

8. White Snow, Bright Snow by Alvin Tresselt

snow booklist

9. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

snow booklist

10. Snow by Cynthia Rylant

snow booklist

11. The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

snow booklist

12. The Big Snow by Berta Hader

snow booklist

What books would you add to this list?

DON’T FORGET! This is the LAST DAY of the Audrey Press Holiday Book Sale! (ends 12/31/14)

Year in the Secret Garden

 

A Year in the Secret Garden (inspired by the classic children’s book Secret Garden) is on a wonderful sale until December 31st. Books always make an excellent gift for anyone in your life and it’s not too late to get your copy of A Year in the Secret Garden book for the special holiday price of $15.00 (ends December 31st) if you use the secret code word secret garden at checkout.

This guide uses over two hundred full color illustrations and photos to bring the magical story to life, with fascinating historical information, monthly gardening activities, easy-to-make recipes, and step-by-step crafts, designed to enchant readers of all ages. There’s also a link to a free download website for all of the wonderful paper toys that Marilyn Scott-Waters has created. Each month your family will unlock the mysteries of a Secret Garden character, as well as have fun together creating the original crafts and activities based on the book. This book also includes month-by-month activities as well INCLUDING fun book-related fun for the colder months of the year!

Get your copy here.

**some of these links are affiliate links

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23. My Top Books of 2014


It's the end of the year! My favorite part of year end festivities is all the best of lists. And of course, as a librarian and a reader, I have to make my own!

I couldn't pick just a top ten, so I decided to include different categories and include a long list of what my top picks area.

This are my personal favorites, books I've enjoyed for various reasons throughout the year, and what I felt were my personal top books of 2014. Also, it's hard to put them in a list order of what is number one, so I just did them alphabetically-I am a librarian after all!

I'd love to hear more suggestions if you have favorites too. My TBR pile is never too long! Ha!

Top 2014 Picture Books:












  • Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales-I'm a sucker for unique illustrations and I love photographs and this book has a stunning use of both. 


Chapter Books (Beginning Reader, Middle Grade & Young Adult)

  • 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith-OK, yeah Smith's other book, Grasshopper Jungle, is on many year end best of lists, but for me 100 Sideways Miles was perfection. Great characters, lots of heart (in an honest and real way and not sappy), and great exploration of relationships. I also like examples of fantastic writing in parent/child relationships and this book has that.
  • The Crossover by Kwame Alexander-Another fantastic example of a novel in verse, I especially love the use of various forms of poetry to express everything-from the characters feelings to a game of basketball.

  • El Deafo by CeCe Bell-This book had me laughing so much. It was like talking to a childhood best friend at a sleepover. So honest and funny and a great graphic novel.
  • Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid- This book just came at the right time and pulled me out of a slump. I loved the interconnecting stories and the characters and it had the right combination of humor, heart, and just a bit of sap and romance.
  • The Young Elites by Marie Lu-Drama, secret organizations, powers, and politics. This was a fast paced adventure and I got lost in the story.






And One Adult Title:


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24. The “Best of ” Jump Into a Book’s Booklists (& More) for 2014!

Happy 2015!

Doing “best of” lists seems to be all the rage these days so I thought, “Why should JIAB be any different?” We created some amazing bookjumps and book reviews on this site in 2014, had some awesome guest posts and shared a plethora of exciting news as well. Here are some of the highlight.

Top Blog Post and Booklists:

I’ve always thought the best way to teach my kids to be kind is to be kind myself. While that’s a really good start, I can’t be with them all day long and life is filled with opportunities to be both kind and unkind. This got me thinking, what books are out there that teach kindness?

Here’s a look at what I found.

The Kindness Booklist for Kids

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To honor and celebrating the first ever cross country mail delivery and a bit of American itself, I created a booklist that takes a look at the Pony Express.

 

ponyexp7

Stargazing & Astronomy Booklist for the whole family.

starg8

Love and respect the rainforest? We do too. Here is our Rainforest Booklist roundup in honor of World Rainforest Week (Oct 12th – Oct 18th)

rf collage

We had a ton of fun with some “snow fun” as well in December. Here’s a recap of JIAB’s Snow Festival:

 It’s been a SNOW FESTIVAL all this week! With all the white stuff on the ground and the kids off of school, might as well celebrate, right?
This week kicked off my super-fun-book-filled Snow Festival here at JIAB. In case you missed it, here’s a recap:
Snow Festival Day 1:
Snow Festival Day 2:
This playful depiction of a snowy day and the transformation of a city is perfectly captured in simple, poetic text and lively watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations.
Plus: Homemade Snow Cream
snow cream
Snow Festival Day 3:
Story of the Snow Children
Who couldn’t love Poppy in her little red hat going to a winter’s feast?
Plus: Make a Message Crown
 Snow festival

The Story of Snow by Mark Cassino celebrates the magic of snow through science, math, language arts, music, and visual art activities.
Plus: Paper Snowflakes and Snow Storm in a Jar.

Snow Festival Day-5 Snowflake Bentley and Creating your own Snowflake Exhibit!

Snow Festival Day 6--A Snow Booklist.

Amazing Guests

During the summer months we had some A-List blogger stop by during our Discover Your World Summer Reading Extravaganza. Here are a few of our favorites:

A Chair for My Mother Book Review & Activity {Guest Post from Vicki Arnold}

A Peek into Thailand {Guest Post from Stephanie Kammeraad of Mama-Lady Books}

Discovering The Cree Culture in America-Wild Berries by Julia Flett Review & Activity! (Guest Post from Felicia at Stanley and Katrina)

Cooking with Books: Lucky Birthday Noodles {Guest Post by Jodie from Growing Book by Book}

Read A Book, Travel The World & Make A Wish {Guest Post from Gladys Elizabeth Barbieri}

Kid Writing and Biographies: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson {Guest Post from The Unconventional Librarian}

Events and News

As everyone may know, I am one of the co-founders of Multicultural Children’s Book Day and our second (upcoming event) has gotten larger and more vibrant than we could have every dreamed! Even though our second event hasn’t occurred yet (1/27/15), our victories in regard to this important initiative still remain some of the top highlights of 2014 for me:

NEWS! Multicultural Children’s Book has is getting BIGGER and gaining momentum more and and more every day! With 9 CoHosts, 17 super Sponsors, over 125 bloggers, and countless authors and publishers donating multicultural children’s books, this wonderful event promises to be bigger and better than ever. Our ultimate goal is to shine the spotlight on multicultural children’s books and offer up resources for parents, caregivers, teachers and librarians to continue to help kids “see themselves” in the pages of a book.You can view our Author Blogroll Sponsor Page HERE, our Virtual Book Drive (through First Book) page HERE and please watch for (and re-tweet!) our event hashtag #ReadYourWorld.)
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
And…I had a baby! OK. not really. But it kind of felt like it when I “birthed” my newest book with the super creative (and always funny) Marilyn Scott-Waters. Audrey’s Press’ (my publishing house) newest book is A Year in the Secret Garden and I couldn’t be more proud of not only how beautiful it turned out, but how wonderfully book buyers have responded to this book that is inspired by the classic children’s take The Secret Garden.
Year in the Secret Garden
MCCBD Co-Founder Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom and myself are super excited to announce that, on February 14th 2015, we will be a co-host for International Book Giving Day! As we get closer to the event I’ll fill in the details.
IBGDposterLARGE
I know I’ve missed of bunch of things and this list could go on FOREVER. 2014 was an amazing year for me and my team at Jump Into a Book and as always, I want to say “THANK YOU” from the bottom of my heart for your support and readership.
Here’s to an even more exciting 2015!

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25. Fusenews: Chock full o’ NYPL

  • Some me stuff to start us off.  NYPL turned its handy dandy little 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing 2014 list into an interactive bit of gorgeousness.  So as to help it along, I wrote a blog post on the library’s website (I have two blogs, if you want to get technical about it, but only one of them has my heart) with the following clickbait title: They Put THAT Into a Book for Kids?!  Forgive me, oh blogging gods.  I couldn’t help it.  It was too much fun to write.  Oh, and while we’re on the NYPL blogs, I really enjoyed Andrea Lipinski’s post about our old (and I mean OLD) Books for the Teen Age lists.  How can you resist this cover, after all?
  • Recently I was alerted to two older but really fascinating links regarding ARCs (Advanced Readers Galleys) and their procurement and use in the book world.  Over at Stacked Books one post discussed the current state of handing out galleys at large national conferences like ALA.  The other one took the time to poll people on how they use their ARCs and what they do with them.  Both make for magnificent reading.  Thanks to Charlotte Taylor for the links.
  • It’s sort of nice when our reference librarians, both past and present, get a little acknowledgment for the super difficult questions they have to field.  Boing Boing recently related a piece on some of the crazier questions the adult reference librarians have to field.  Children’s librarians get some out there ones as well, but nothing quite compares to these.
  • Ah. It’s the end of an era, everyone.  In case you hadn’t heard the ccbc-net listserv has closed its doors (so to speak) for the last time.  Now if you’re looking for children’s literary listservs you’ve PUB-YAC and child_lit.  Not much else to read these days, I’m afraid.  Except bloggers, I suppose.  *irony laden shudder*
  • I was over at Monica Edinger’s apartment the other day when she showed me this little beauty:

She’d already blogged a quickie review of it, so when the news came in that it won a UK Costa Award I had the odd sensation of being, if only momentarily, inside the British book loop.  And if you looked at that cover and thought to yourself, “Gee, that sure looks like a WWI sequel to E. Nesbit’s Five Children and It” you’re sort of right on the money.

  • So I’m prepping my branches for some hardcore Día programs (El día de los niños/El día de los libros or Children’s Day/Book Day) by buying them lots of Día books.  I go on the Día website to order off of the book lists they have there, and what do I find?  Some of the coolest most up-to-date STEM/STEAM booklists I have EVER had the pleasure to see.  They’re so good, in fact, that I had to alert you to them.  If you’re looking for STEM/STEAM fare, search no further.
  • Daily Image:

Pretty much off-topic but while strolling through Bryant Park behind the main library for NYPL, my boss and I came across the fountain back there.  Apparently when the temperatures plunge they figure it’s better to keep it running rather than risk bursting the pipes.  Whatever the reason, it now looks like this:

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