…storytime, books, and ideas

Well, even if no one else is celebrating, I am still determined that November is Picture Book Month. A whole month dedicated to picture books sounds pretty good to me. I am going to start off with a few Canadian titles, so here goes!

book cover First up, Encounter, written by Brittany Luby ; illustrated by Michaela Goade, published by Tundra, 2019.   History from a different perspective. And isn’t it about time? Based on an actual journal entry by French explorer Jacques Cartier from his first expedition to North America in July 1534, this book gives us a view into what it may have been like for the Indigenous people who first encountered the explorers. The book shows that there’s always more than one side to the story. Excellent for Canadian history classroom discussion!

When Franny finds a new friend- a crow- she wants to share this with her father. Distracted by his work, he does not believe that a bird can be a friend, until he really pays attention to his daughter. A nice study in bird and human relationships. The illustrations are childlike and full of nature details. Of course you can be friends with a crow. Of course! Read about it in Hello, book coverCrow by Candace Savage ; illustrated by Chelsea O’Byrne, published by Greystone Books, 2019.

It just won the Governor General Award for Illustrated Books, and has been touted far and wide. And with good reason. Sydney Smith’s latest book, Small in the City, follows a child as they ride the bus, and walk through the streets of Toronto, on their way home. The book showcases Smith’s art, with watercolour reflections and snowy landscapes that let you know the artist has been to these places. Make sure to read this book by one of Nova Scotia’s own!

In simple chapters, seasons stand as metaphor for the ages of life in Julie Flett’s lovely Birdsong. Follow the story of a young girl, feeling lost and out of place after moving to a new home, befriends an older woman who shares her love of arts and crafts, as they get to know each other, and the older woman’s health fails. It is a beautiful inter-generational tale to share.

That’s it for this week — stay tuned this month for more picture books, and follow me over on Instagram at picturebookpile_angela for more books, year-round!

Are your ears ready to read a book? This post is all about audiobooks, written to accompany the audiobook session at the 2019 NSLA Conference, presented by Francisca Goldsmith and Angela Reynolds (that’s me)!

First, I want to tell you about a new format that I got to test. Have you heard of Wonderbooks? It is a new format from Playaway, with the audio built right into the book. It even charges up with a USB cord, so no need for batteries. The buttons are easy to navigate, and the instructions are read aloud, so children can easily operate the book. There’s a read-along mode as well as a learning mode, which has good questions that can serve as models for adults or adult learners sharing books with children. I listened to an easy reader and a picture book. Both had high quality audio recordings, and the page turn signal did not interfere with the enjoyment of the book. Thanks to Live Oak Media for a couple of review copies of this awesome new way to share read-along picture books.

For some examples of how AVRL uses and promotes audiobooks, see our Teen SRC, Book Club in a Bag, and booklists for kids and teens.

And now, for the links and resources!

Sound Learning – Lists, articles, and information on how audiobooks promote literacy

Article: End of Audiobook Snobbery

How to book a Skype visit with a narrator (and other resources for libraries)

AudioFile Magazine – Reviews, blog, and podcasts

The Audies (award winning audiobooks)

The Odyssey Award

Ears on the Odyssey (Mock Odyssey blog)

Notable Recordings for Children (ALSC)

Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults (YALSA)

Audiobook SYNC (free audiobook downloads during summer)

Thanks for listening!

 

 

 

This post has been picbookpilecreated to accompany the presentation “Picture Book  Palooza” for AVRCE on May 15. Links and resources at your fingertips! Place holds directly from the booklists — these books are in the Annapolis Valley Regional Library catalogue.

 

 

 

 

 

BOOKLISTS:

For AVRCE  https://avrl.catalogue.library.ns.ca/MyResearch/MyList/6403

Math and Science:  https://avrl.catalogue.library.ns.ca/MyResearch/MyList/5962

Best of 2018 Picture Books:  https://avrl.catalogue.library.ns.ca/MyResearch/MyList/5878

Best of 2017 (picture books): https://avrl.catalogue.library.ns.ca/MyResearch/MyList/4209

Best of 2018 non-fiction: https://avrl.catalogue.library.ns.ca/MyResearch/MyList/5879

Autism support: (picture books, chapter books, books for adults)

https://avrl.catalogue.library.ns.ca/MyResearch/MyList/6551

Read with Pride:  https://avrl.catalogue.library.ns.ca/MyResearch/MyList/5172

I’m your neighbour: https://avrl.catalogue.library.ns.ca/MyResearch/MyList/2859

Silent Books:  (excellent for writing prompts)

https://avrl.catalogue.library.ns.ca/MyResearch/MyList/6451

First Nations:  https://avrl.catalogue.library.ns.ca/MyResearch/MyList/6747

Other resources:
Strong Nations:  https://www.strongnations.com/

31 Days, 31 Lists: Every year School Library Journal blog hosts this. Great end-of-year resource for books! http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2018/12/31/31-days-31-lists-2018-picture-books/

Follow on Twitter: @annavalley – hashtag #picturebookpile

 

 

 

Here’s a few books that are fun for storytime, plus a bonus book that’s just too pretty not to share. First up, the storytime books. Pssst…. If you have an AVRL library card, links are provided for titles so all you have to do is click and place your holds!

I love a book that gets kids shouting in the library. Some of my favourites include Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and Is Everyone Ready for Fun? . Now, get ready for fun with Crunch the Shy Dinosaur by Cirocco Dunlap, illustrated by Greg Pizzoli. Dunlap’s text involves kids right off by asking kids to say hello to this shy dinosaur.  (Of course they are going to scare away the shy dino.) The book teaches kids all about shyness in such a fun way they will never know they are being schooled. The story is expertly paired with Pizzoli’s chunky shapes and bright colours, which he can always pull off and turn into a fantastic work of art. Pizzoli even sneaks in a bit of gender-bending with the frilly flowered hat on a male dinosaur.   This book will be one of your favourites for Dinosaur Storytime. Go ahead an buy an extrbook cover: good day for a hata copy now.

Speaking of hats… hat stories are always fun, and A Good Day for a Hat by T. Nat Fuller, illustrated by Rob Hodgson, is no exception. This simple story of a bear who seems to have the right hat for every occasion will fit right in with your hat storytimes. Pair it with Hooray for Hat and Caps for Sale, and you’ve got a themed storytime all ready to go.

If you want to add some physical activity into storytime, pull out Everybunny Dance! Dancing, playing, running, cheering, these bunnies are having a rootin’ tootin’ good time, and so will your storytime kids. There’s another title featuring the same bunnies that will add some math into storytime, Everybunny Count!  These would be fine choices for the non-secular Easter season storytime theme — Bunnies!

book cover: i just ate my friendIf you have older kids or maybe an elementary school group visiting, you could try I Just Ate my Friend by Heidi McKinnon. This one falls into the “slightly absurd” group of storytime books, but I love using these with kids who will giggle uncontrollably. As a bonus, this book also could be used to teach about size comparison in math classes. It is funny and silly and would also be a fine choice for reading to adults.

If you want to add a bit of poetry and diversity into storytime, Seeing into Tomorrow, with haiku by Richard Wright and illustrations by Nina Crews is a fine choice. This book is also a really good introduction to poetry, and includes a short biography of Wright. Read it aloud and enjoy the beauty of the language and the imabook cover: seeing into tomorrowges evoked by the words that are illustrated by Crews’ photographs. Vocabulary bonanza!

This one may be only for those who can fit a longer book into storytime, or for classroom use. The cover right away makes you think this is a story you already know. There’s a wolf, there’s a little girl in a red dress, and they are in the woods. However, this is a different kind of wolf. Re-imagined by Metis writer book cover: girl and the wolfKatherena Vermette and illustrated by Julie Flett, The Girl and the Wolf turns Little Red Riding Hood into a nature study. It is fresh, well-told, and certainly should be in your collections!

 

And now, for the book that is just too pretty to leave out. It is called The Forest, by Riccardo Bozzi, illustrated by Violeta Lopiz and Valerio Vidali. It is translated from the Italian by Debbie Bibo, and published by Enchanted Lion Books. The book is a metaphor for life. Life is a forest, unexplored. Sometimes there are other explorers in the forest. Sometimes there are insects, and tigers. Occasionally there is a clearing, so that the explorers can rest. While the forest metaphor is well done, and the text is lyrical and gentle, the illustrations and design are where this book shines. The cover is a transparent book cover: the forestwatercolour wrapped around thick white paper. There are embossed figures, and paper cuts that suggest lines. You really have to see it to get the feel for this book. It probably won’t hold up terribly well to public library usage, but those who do get to experience it will be surprised and pleased. It would make a lovely gift book. Take a look at this one and immerse yourself in a very fine example of modern bookmaking.

That’s all for now! Follow me on Twitter @annavalley for more books and my #PictureBookPile tweets!

Two posts in one month? A December miracle. Here’s some of my favs of the year in the “informational” category. There sure are some gorgeous non-fiction books out bloomthere, folks! My whole list is RIGHT HERE, and I can’t possibly tell you about all of them, so here are some highlights.

First, Bloom : a story of fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli  by Kyo Maclear ; illlustrated by Julie Morstead. What a team, Maclear and Morstead. Look at the cover! It is so pretty, it invites me right in. And there’s great information in there. I learn so much from these books. In fact, when I found myself at the Victoria & Albert Museum,  standing in front of a black velvet evening gown, I said, “Hey, that’s a Schiaparelli!” . Kid-lit makes me smarter.

In The elephant by Jenni Desmond, short text and lovely illustrations give you a quick natural history lesson on elephants. Did you know that tusked elephants favour a right or left tusk? They wear down the one they use most. Wow!

The cover gives you a hint of the gorgeous art inside this book. Wab Kinego showw celebrates his heroes, from astronauts to hockey players, from well-known names to many unsung. Take a look at Go show the world : a celebration of Indigenous heroes  by Wab Kinew,  illustrated by Joe Morse, and discover the heroic folks inside.

I love Giselle Potter‘s style, so when I see a book illustrated by her, I always take a second look. I’ve heard Temple Grandin’s story before, and this version for kids is just right. Enough information to build empathy, and to let kids who feel like Temple know they are not alone. What an interesting story! –How to build a hug : Temple Grandin and her amazing squeeze machine by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville ; illustrated by Giselle Potter.

beastsThis book is just , well, lovely. Just like the title says! Lovely beasts : the surprising truth by Kate Gardner ; illustrated by Heidi Smith will make you take a second look at spiders, gorillas, and more. Take the “scary” out of animals and look for the lovely with this book.

Do you know who made polka-dots famous? After you read this book you will. There’s a lot of picture-book artist biographies out there these days, and I love finding out about them from kid’s books! Check this one out and try your own dot art. Yayoi Kusama : from here to infinity by Sarah Suzuki ; illustrated by Ellen Weinstein ; with repoductions of works by Yayoi Kusama.

That’s all for this year! Enjoy these books, and more from your local library . If you are reading this in the Annapolis Valley, place holds on the books right from this post. And if you want to come see stacks and stacks of awesome books in January, I’ll be at the Bridgetown Library on January 25, from 6:30-8:30 for a Caldecott Pre-Game Party. Books, cookies, and tea. How can you resist?

 

 

It has been a very long time since I’ve posted here. Embarrassingly long in blog-world time. But I’ve been busy, I’ve been reading books like mad (are you following me on Twitter @annavalley?) So, here are some of my favourites from 2018, as well as a couple of lists I’ve created.

First, the lists:  ***Favourite Picture Books *** Favourite Informational Books ***Favourite Chapter Books ***Favourite YA

And now, some of the best books I’ve come across this year, with links to place holds.Please note I said SOME. There’s not time or room to feature all of the books I think you should look at. Go up to those lists and see how many more there are!

 

Adrian Simcoxboats on the bay book cover does NOT have a horse / written by Marcy Campbell ; illustrated by Corinna Luyken Using white space to the utmost, this story of imagination and acceptance will make you sigh when you get to the denouement. Open this one up, enjoy the whole book, and see what that wrap-around cover tells you .

Boats on the bay  words by Jeanne Walker Harvey ; pictures by Grady McFerrin.  The text is easy to read, and a good way to build some maritime vocabulary. But the illustrations are what make this book rise to the top. The watercolour illustrations fit so well with the watery theme, turning each boat into a work of art.

book cover with two childrenBuilders & breakers by Steve Light.  With deceptively simple text this book might get passed over. But take a look at the excellent book design here. The story begins on the title page, is deepened with end papers and a secret look on the board covers. What a grand example of illustration advancing the story!

Deep underwater by Irene Luxbacher. I’m currently obsessed with mermaids underater sceneand underwater stories, so this one really spoke to me. I love the whimsy and watery scenes in this book. Lovely.

 

Drawn together , written by Minh Lê ; illustrated by Dan Santat. If you are a regular reader of this blog you might think I am a big fan of Dan Santat, and you’d be right. I have to include this one because it is just a brilliant example of illustration fitted in with a heart-warming story of inter-generational understanding.

Hansel & Gretel by Bethan Woollvin. I am also a huge fan of Bethan Woolvin. She has some sort of alien connection to fairy tales, where she is able to perfectly turn them on their heads every single time. Funny, wry, and feminist, her stories are taking these old tales to a new level. Huzzah!

I don’t want to go to sleep,  written by Dev Petty ; illustrated by Mike Boldt. Reluctant hibernating Frog made me laugh out loud. Good enough reason to include it in my favourites. boy inmermaid costume

Julián is a mermaid by Jessica Love. Remember what I said about mermaids? Well, Julian is obsessed with them, too, and his grandmother is happy to cultivate that obsession. I just love this book so much, I hug it every time I read it. If you have not seen it yet, place a hold on it right now. Not only is the story a good one, the illustrations are delightful.

Look by Fiona Woodcock. Never have two O’s next to each other been given such a fantastic treatment. Balloons, food, and a trip to the zoo make this my ballons and textchoice for the best illustrated vocabulary and language arts book of the year.

The origin of day and night by Paula Ikuutaq Rumbolt ; illustrations by Lenny Lishchenko. Inuit publishing house Inhabit Media comes out with some beauties every year. The illustrations in this one put is up in my favs, but there’s a good story, too!

Winter is here / by Kevin Henkes ; illustrated by Laura Dronzek. I don’t really want Winter to be here, but Kevin Henkes almost makes me feel ok about it. Another beauty exploring seasons from the Henkes/Dronzek team.

A world of kindness / from the editors & illustrators of Pajama Press. This is the kind of book I want to buy for every classroom in all the elementary schools. With simple statements and a variety of artists illustrating them, it is a daily reminder of how to be kind. Couldn’t  we all use a little of that these days? hands in a heart shape

Ok, there you have some of my favourite picture books of the year. What are your favourites? What did I miss? I might (please note I said might) have enough time this month to do the same for informational books. Until the next time, follow me on Twitter and watch for the #PictureBookPile tweets! Happy reading.

There’s a spate of books these days that seem to point us toward kindness and making our world a better place. If today’s children take these books to heart, maybe they will change the world. Here’s a few of those books that might be useful to our young friends.

book cover with Martin Luther KingI call this one a young activist’s handbook. In Be  A King, by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by James E. Ransome, children are introduced to the idea that “everybody can serve”. Based on the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr., this book shows, in very simple statements and colorful illustration, how kids can be the change.

We Are All Dots, by Giancarlo Macri and Carolina Zanotti has the subtitle “A big plan for a better world”. Not subtle in the message, it shows how we can share the world and our resources. Kids will probably get it right away. Useful for talking about differences, diversity, and compassion. book cover with boy, clouds, and birds

Another lovely choice for discussion of differences is Trampoline Boy by Nan Forler, illustrated by Marion Arbona. A boy who is obsessed with his trampoline gets teased by the neighbourhood kids. But one girl wants to know more about him, and stops to make friends. The book has lovely gouache and pencil illustrations that show us that we should look at the world through different eyes now and then. I love the design of this one– a tall skinny book, shaped for the jumping boy, and text that moves with him.

Small Things, by Mel Tregonning is a wordless picture book in graphic-novel style. A small boy is plagued by anxiety, which manifests in small pieces of him breaking off and turning into black shapes that follow him. This is certainly a book for older readers, but one that kids who have anxiety may really relate to. The boy finds comfort in talking with his sister, and finally his family, and is able to help others once he learns how to conquer his own little monsters. The art is fantastical and will pull you right into the story. There’s an afterword that discusses anxiety and the “tiny demons of worry” that are depicted in the book.

book cover with a blue horseBlue Rider by Geraldo Valerio is a worldess book that speaks volumes about our society. A girl finds a book on the ground– she is the only one who sees it, as everyone else is absorbed by their phones. When she takes it home and reads it, she is transported into a world of vibrant colour and shape, a world of nature that transcends her monotone urban landscape. The art is just beautiful– bold colours and shapes that ride across the page and into the imagination. The book is a reminder to  look beyond what is in front of us, to put down the devices, and to enjoy art, books, nature, and life. Go ahead and check this one out and do just that.

For the budding environmentalist, look for April Pulley Sayre’s lovely Thank You Earth: A love letter to our planet. Illustrated with photographs that show the beauty of nature, this love letter is a short yet notbook cover with earth and words simplistic poem. The words are as lovely as the photos. Perfect for Earth Day! There’s even a note from the author which gives kids some ideas on how they can thank the Earth. Superb.

Most kids have heard these words: Be Kind. In Pat Zietlow Miller’s new book, the main character wonders what this really means. When a classmate is laughed at for spilling her juice, our character wants to be kind, but doesn’t know exactly  how. This is a good choice for parents and teachers who want to discuss what kindness means, and how we show it to others. After all, we can remind kids to “be kind”, but how do we show that?

If you want more books,  follow me on Twitter @annavalley for my #picturebookpile posts!

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