…storytime, books, apps, and ideas

I’ve had the John Lennon /Yoko Ono song “Give Peace a Chance” song stuck in my head for days—and here’s why. In preparation for moving our Administrative Office, we are weeding. Weeding old files, and also the books we have to move. As I go through the shelves and pull books that are old and worn and not being used, I keep hearing that song, only I am singing ‘All we are saying, is give THESE a chance.” These referring to books. I see so many amazing books that are languishing on the shelves that have not been checked out in years. Sodahlia, instead of weeding those, I am asking you to give them a chance. If something here sounds good to you, place a hold on it! Borrow it and see what you think. Give it a chance. This is a great way to discover books—place a hold on a book that strikes your fancy. Just grab your library card, click on a book link below, and place a hold. We will transport it to your local branch for pick up, and you return it there, too. Easy peasy.  Here goes (these are in no particular order):

Dahlia by Barbara McClintock:

A story of a little girl who gets a doll, but she’d rather make mud pies and climb trees. She finds out that her doll enjoys these activities, too. I love the message that toys can be what you make them, and just because a doll has frills and lace, doesn’t mean she has to sit around looking pretty and nothing else. And what that message says in general.

may-i-bringMay I bring a Friend? By Beatrice Schenk de Regniers

This one was published in 1964, and won the Caldecott Medal.  It is a book I never tire of reading. The rhyme is jaunty and fun, and the illustrations are joyful. Invite this book over for tea.

Several of Wallace Edwards’ books are sitting on the shelf. A classroom could do a whole Wallace Edwards study with the books sitting there.  His books are so much fun to browse—and he has a way of really getting the reader to monkey-businessstop, think, and look carefully. Teachers, get your students excited about idioms with Monkey Business or The Cat’s Pajamas. Solve visual puzzles with The Painted Circus. There you go, lesson planned!

Need some writing prompts? If your children (or students) need some writing practise, borrow one of Doreen Cronin’s “Diary” books, such as Diary of a Fly or Diary of a Worm. Kids will chuckle as they read these, and then you can get them to write their own “diary” – find a bug or animal they would like to take on.

book-womanMaybe this is just a personal one, but That Book Woman by Heather Henson is just sitting there, waiting for some love. This book is about a librarian on a pack horse who travels through the Appalachian Mountains in the 1930’s to bring books to families. Now that is dedication. Kind of like the Bookmobile driving through the back roads of Nova Scotia.

deerHere’s one that makes me happy every time I look at it: Deer Dancer by Mary Lyn Ray. I love the art, the movement, the colours.  The story of a girl who is learning ballet, but loves nature and so learns more about dance from that is one that really pulls at my heart. Maybe you know someone who loves nature and dance as well. Share this little gem with them.

I could go on and on, and maybe I will in another post. My challenge to you is to find a book in our catalogue that looks interesting, Place a hold! Bring it to your library. Take it home and give it a chance.

snowt-dayAs the snow piles up, as winter peeks around the corner, I start to think of snowy days. A classic snow book is The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats. This book won the 1963 Caldecott Medal, and has been a childhood favourite for years. Not only is it a a universal snow experience, it has diverse characters and can be found in nearly every library. So, in homage to The Snowy Day, and the first day of Winter, let’s look at some more snowy books.

Beth Krommes won a Caldecott for her art in The House in the Night, and she could be noticed by the committee again this year for the art in her latest book, Before Morning. The book is a short poem, an invocation of snow. Anyone who has ever wished for a snow day will love this book. The poetry of Joyce Sidman is beautifully illustrated in scratchboard and watercolour. I always admire artists that can make white look so enticing, which is exactly what Krommes does in this little gem. before

If you’ve ever been snowed in for days, Blizzard by John Rocco will bring it all right back. From the joy of no school to the stir-crazy house to running out of milk, this book captures a snowstorm perfectly. Don’t miss the centerfold map of the boy on snowshoes around his neighbourhood.

How white is white? Explore the many colours of winter in Arctic White by Danna Smith. Illustrator Lee White does a fine job of capturing the many shades of white as well as the blues and greens of winter skies.

If you want something light and interactive, try Bunny Slopes by Claudia Rueda. Tilt the book so the rabbit can ski downhill, shake it to make snow fall. Fans of  Tap the Magic Tree and Press Here will enjoy this bunnywintery romp.

In Peter McCarty’s First Snow, cousin Pedro has to be convinced that snow is fun. He doesn’t like the cold! We all have a friend or relative like this, so it is fun to see how the snow (and his cousins) changes his attitude.

Enjoy the snow photography and learn some facts about the water cycle in Best in Snow, by April Pulley Sayre. Teachers, add this one to your classroom reading for the winter! best-snow

If adorable little woodland creatures are what you are looking for, you’ll love Waiting for Snow. Those little critters are just so dang cute that I had to mention this one.

A gentle song of winter settles over the lovely world in Hawksley Workman’s Almost a Full Moon. Grab a cup of cocoa and snuggle up while you pore over the illustrations by Jensine Eckwall.

full-moonHow does all that snow get moved? By a snowplow, of course, Get inside the head of Supertruck, the super hero that gets the streets cleared so the other trucks can do their jobs. Your truck-loving youngsters will be happy to see this in the pile of snow books.

Take a close look at snowflakes with Snowflake Bentley. This is the Caldecott Medal winner about the man who first photographed snowflake crystals. Not only is it a fascinating story, the artwork will wow you as well.shackleton

Explore the deep snowy winter in Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill. If your readers love poring over minutiae,  this book will thrill them. Diagrams of sleds, what the team packed to take with them, and how they planned for their long trip are all drawn in fine detail. This one is a beauty!

Any I missed? What are your favourite wintery books? Tell me in the comments!

 

The bests

bestAs the year winds to a close, the “BEST OF” lists start popping up all over. I’ve gathered some of my favourite Best Of lists here in one spot, for those who love lists, who want to read the best in children’s books, or who might be looking for ideas for gifts for the young people in your life. Here we go!

First off, here’s my list of books I think have a shot at winning the Caldecott.

And my list of the BEST OF 2016. I’ve compiled this from lots of lists, including some of my own personal favourites. It includes picture books, non-fiction, and chapter books.

Jbrary compiles a list of storytime favourites each year. These are actually tested by librarians. And they give you tips about the books. This list ROCKS.

Here’s a list from the Center for Study of Multicutural Literature: their Best Books of 2016.

School Library Journal has a great list, divided in handy sections for the age group or type of book you are looking for.

Looking for holiday books? Horn Book has an annual “Holiday High Notes” to guide you.

And there’s also the Horn Book Fanfare, with their choices for the best books of 2016.

It is always fun to look at what the New York Times chooses as the Best Illustrated books of the year. Here’s the 2016 list.

My favourite new list is the Undies: Case Cover Awards. There are two places to see all the winners, here at 100 Scope Notes, and here at Design of the Picture Book.

And here’s a really nice booklist from ALSC, the Association for Library Services to Children — a booklist about Unity, Kindness, and Peace.

In-depth exploration of the Best of 2016 from Brain Pickings.

Ok, one more, just in: The Curious City Besties, featuring some books you many not know but should.

I’ll admit, I keep finding great lists. Here’s the Fuse 8 “31 Days 31 Lists” lists. So. Many. Lists!

All these lists should keep you busy for a while. What are YOUR favourite lists?

hooray

Four more for the last of Picture Book Month! The first two books are fine pre-school storytime choices; the last two can be shared with older children and will certainly garner discussion.

Hooray for Today! by Brian Won

The story of an owl that is not sleepy at night and keeps all her friends awake is nothing new. But Won’s cheerful retro-style depiction of this story is one that will be welcomed for storytimes at the library and at home. Pair it with Won’s Hooray for Hat for a big Hooray party.

 

A Hop is Up by Kristy Dempsey, illustrated by Lori Richmondhop-up

Verbs and adjectives and thick lines — this easy-to-read romp with a friendly dog will be a fun addition for early-readers and for doggie-themed storytime. Grab this one for toddlers or your classroom and explore language and movement as you enjoy the ink & watercolour art.

 

Home at Last by Vera B. Williams, illustrated by Chris Raschka

This is one to share one-on-one or with a small group. Williams’ last book before shome-at-lasthe died will not disappoint her fans; this is another insightful, loving story of childhood. An orphaned boy is adopted by two dads. Life is good, but unsettled, until Wincka the dog saves the day. Raschka and Williams collaborated on this, and it shows in the warm watercolour art. There’s an audience waiting for this story, and those who find it will be moved.

Last, but certainly not least, is Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford and R. Gregory Christie. A seemingly simple poem about a very complex issue, this book is a history lesson about showslavery and oppression, yet also a paean to the human spirit. Christie’s folk-art inspired paintings set the tone, and show the backbreaking work that Louisiana slaves endured. One scene shows the slaves in their cabins, recalling drawings of slaves packed into ships. This is not a happy-go-lucky preschool storytime book. It addresses mature themes, as one would expect. But is also shows the joy experienced, ever so briefly, once a week:  look at this dancer, swaying to the rhythm of img_5596music. The first part of the book is all stiff shapes and hard lines. In Congo Square the lines become fluid, the movement changes, the art dances. The colours in this part of the book are yellows and oranges, warmth and light. The art in this book is amazing. It dredges up uncomfortable images, and then shows us joy. The Forward, Glossary, and Author’s Note extend the short text, making it a very teachable book. The paintings extend the story even further, putting unforgettable images into our minds and hearts. **Side note- -this one has taken the lead in my current favourite for Caldecott. It is scooting Ada’s Violin over to second place.

That’s it for this November… but there will be more picture books to come, and next November will once again be Picture Book Month!

 

 

Kid-lit tattoosimg_1951 are a Thing. I know, I have one. The Caldecott 2015 Committee has several tattoo stories. It is not unusual to spot a picture-book tattoo at ALA conferences. Last year in Orlando, at least 3 people at my table had tattoos from books, including this one from Miss Mary Daisycakes.  So, I started thinking about what might be the most tattooable books of 2016. I have my own favs, but I also thought I would ask the experts (aka, the other members of the 2015 Caldecott Committee who got tattoos).

Roger Kelly chose the little monkey from The Airport Book by Lisa Brown, Roaring Brook Press. I can definitely see this charismatic character as a tattoo, and I can see why Roger chose it. Besides being cute, this little monkey serves to move the story forward in a visual manner. Monkey provides tension and story, relevant to a young reader,  in a book that would otherwise just be about taking an airplane  trip. roger-airport

adrienne-hat-1Adrienne Furness chose the “shifty-eyed turtle” from Jon Klassen’s We Found A Hat;  Candlewick Press. She says “every single time I look at this book, which has been a lot, he makes me laugh.” I agree with Adrienne; those eyes do so much to tell the story and show us the complicated emotions of the turtle characters.

Sharon McKellar weighed in with a book I was not very familiar with, but have since come to appreciate. The art is something to pore over, and would certainly be lovely as a tattoo. Sharon chose the foxes from 123 Dream by Kim Krans; Random House. sharon-123-dreamI wonder if these two baby foxes appeal to her mother-of-twins heart. That mama fox is fiercely watching over those kits. Sharon says she’d put this on the back of her shoulder. If  you don’t know this book, take a look at it. Beautiful pen and ink renderings of flora and fauna.

Ok, now for my choices. I couldn’t pick just one. Good thing I don’t live near a tattoo shop like Black & Blue in San Francisco (where Roger, Sharon, Victoria Stapleton, and I got our Caldetatts). Because I’d likely have very little ink-free skin if I did! My first choice would be a large back piece of the tree dragon from The Night Gardener by The Fan Brothers; Schuster Books for Young Readers. I love the detail and all the leaves. This tattoo would probably hurt like the dickens because in order for it to be effective, it would have to be a wholimg_4319e back piece, maybe with those tree trunks wrapping around the waist. This whole book is gorgeous, but this dragon really stopped me in my tracks.

Next up is a playful choice from Thunder Boy Jr., by Sherman Alexie and illustrated by Yuyi Morales; Little, Brown, and Company. The colours and movement in this book are soimg_5594 appealing, and there are so many little details to look at. This little alligator toy really makes me happy, though, and I would certainly be fine with having it permanently on my skin.

So, do tattooable books make award winners? We will just have to see, won’t we? I certainly think all of these books have amazing illustrations. They all speak to picture-book lovers for some reason. What do you think? Do YOU have a tattooable choice for a book published in 2016? Tell me in the comments!

 

If you just tuned in from Carpool Book Club, Episode Two, here’s the promised list of books we discussed. If you missed Carpool Book Club, quick, go watch the latest episode RIGHT HERE. I promise, I will give you the booklist, but first, a little about Carpool Book Club. The idea came about after an hour-long drive with a friend who loves picture books as much as I do. We spent the whole drive talking about books. And we thought it would be fun to turn that concept into a video. A img_5590year later, we’ve started to try it out — so far it has been Jai Soloy and myself, Angela Reynolds. But we hope to have guests in the future, and we hope to talk about all sorts of books. We are still working out technical and sound issues, but we are having fun with it.

The books! (if I have previously blogged about these, links go there – if not, links go to our library catalogue).

Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat

 

We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen

 

There’s a Part Two of this episode in the wings. Let us know in the comments if you want to see it!

Here are a few more books that crossed my path and made me take note.

king-birdsThe King of the Birds by Acree Graham Macam, illustrated by Natalie Nelson

Hand-drawn &  collage chickens, peacocks, and other fowl strut across the thick paper pages of this book based on Flannery O’Connor’s youth spent with birds. This book fits into the “absurd children’s books” category, but it works. An odd story about a girl who loves birds, and a bird who needs a bit of attention, this will likely appeal to any child growing up on a farm. City kids will be enchanted as well. The illustrations are really fun, and the story is a charmer.

 

Leave Me Alone! by Vera Brosgol leave-me

A skeleton-faced granny with a big family has to go to the moon to get some time to knit. But on the moon, there are lots of curious aliens. The only quiet place is inside a wormhole. This is what might be described as a mashup of the Old Woman Who Lived in A Shoe and Star Trek, but as odd as it sounds, it works. The illustrations are funny and the cartoon style works perfectly – excellent pacing, white space, and layout. Anyone who has tried to find a quiet space to get away from the crowd of family, but then misses that companionship will relate. A fun discussion book for classrooms, and will work in storytimes, too.

 

mervinMervin the Sloth is about to do the Best Thing in the World by Colleen AF Venable, illustrated by Ruth Chan

Sometimes, simple IS better. The design of this book is what drew me to it. It uses text as part of the illustration – the text is repeated, but the story moves along with lively pacing — it feels like a wordless book, and yet it has words. Simple line changes and introduction of characters in the illustration tell the story – and you really do want to know what Mervin the Sloth is about to do. As the cast of characters increases, the story builds. The illustration takes the lead; the cartoon animals joyfully wait to see what Mervin is going to do, as will readers.

 

 

What are your current picture book favs? Tell us in the comments!