2016 American Indian Youth Literature Awards

The American Indian Youth Literature Awards are presented every two years by the American Indian Library Association. The awards recognize the best in writing and illustrations by and about American Indians. Here are the winners and the honor books:


Little You

Little You by Richard Van Camp, illustrated by Julie Flett


In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse

In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph Marshall III


House of Purple Cedar

House of Purple Cedar by Tim Tingle



Sitting Bull: Lakota Warrior and Defender of His People

Sitting Bull: Lakota Warrior and Defender of His People by S. D. Nelson


Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices

Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native Voices edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale


Her Land, Her Love

Her Land, Her Love by Evangeline Parsons Yazzie

Lollies Short List

The Lollies has filled the void left by the end of the Roald Dahl Prize. A panel headed by Michael Rosen selected four titles in each category and now children in Britain will vote for their favorites. Here are the shortlisted titles:


 Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise

Gracie Grabbit and the Tiger by Helen Stephens

Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise by Sean Taylor and Jean Jullien

I need a wee! Slug Needs a Hug

I Need a Wee! by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet

Slug Needs a Hug by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross



Badly Drawn Beth The Jolley-Rogers and the Cave of Doom

Badly Drawn Beth by Jem Packer and Duncan McCoshan

The Jolley-Rogers and the Cave of Doom by Jonny Duddle

Thorfinn and the Awful Invasion Wilf the Mighty Worrier: Saves the World

Thorfinn the Nicest Viking and the Awful Invasion by David MacPhail and Richard Morgan

Wilf the Mighty Worrior: Saves the World by Georgia Pritchett and Jamie Littler



 Emily Sparkes and the Friendship Fiasco (Emily Sparkes, #1)

Danger Is Still Everywhere: Beware of the Dog by David O’Doherty and Chris Judge

Emily Sparkes and the Friendship Fiasco by Ruth Fitzgerald

The Parent Agency Petunia Perry and the Curse of the Ugly Pigeon

The Parent Agency by David Baddiel and Jim Field

Petunia Perry and the Curse of the Ugly Pigeon by Pamela Butchart and Gemma Correll


My Dog’s a Chicken by Susan McElroy Montanari

My Dogs a Chicken by Susan McElroy Montanari

My Dog’s a Chicken by Susan McElroy Montanari and Anne Wilsdorf (InfoSoup)

Lula Mae really wants a puppy, but her mother tells her that times are hard and she will just have to make do. So Lula Mae takes a look around and decides that maybe a chicken could be a good dog. She finds the most likely chicken, one that is confident, and grabs it. She names the “dog” Pookie and puts a hair ribbon on its head. Her mother insists that whatever Lula Mae calls it, she’s not to bring it into the house. Soon Pookie is starting to act like a dog. She shepherds the other chickens around. She acts like a guard dog when Cousin Tater threatens Lula Mae and the baby with a garter snake. Pookie even manages to perform a search and rescue when Baby Berry goes missing.

This fanciful picture book is brimming with down home warmth. The book’s premise is wonderfully quirky, the substitution of a chicken for a dog. Readers will expect it to go very badly, but this book takes a more positive spin. Even as Pookie starts to act like a dog, she is still clearly a chicken reacting the way a chicken would in that situation. The humans interpret it differently, adding to the fun of the entire story.

Wilsdorf’s illustrations are done in watercolor and ink. They are filled with bright colors and show a vibrant rural lifestyle filled with chickens, woodpiles, and crops. Some of the illustrations show the paths of people (and chickens) running around and convey the panic of trying to find Baby Berry. Sharp-eyed children will spot him by following Pookie’s path.

Funny and entirely individual, this picture book is about making do and following your own heart. Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from digital galley received from Penguin Random House and Edelweiss.

Bringing the Outside In by Mary McKenna Siddals

Bringing the Outside In by Mary McKenna Siddals

Bringing the Outside In by Mary McKenna Siddals, illustrated by Patrice Barton (InfoSoup)

This picture book invites children to head outside and play in every season. The book begins in spring with children outside carrying umbrellas and jumping in puddles. They play with worms and get good and muddy. Then they head inside to dry off, dump out their boots, and mop up. Summer comes next with sand, water and shells. They carry it back inside with them too as they wash up from all of the sunshine. Autumn is next with apples and leaves that need to be picked off and raked up. Finally, there is winter with snow and ice that can be carried in and the children thawed out before a fire.

This is truly a celebration of playing outdoors. Each season begins with the line “We’re bringing the outside in, oh, bringing the outside in…” When the children head inside the line is repeated and readers can see how parts of being outside are actually brought inside with the children. The book ends with a collection of items saved from their year outside and slightly older children wanting to look through all of their treasures together.

The illustrations show such joy from the children as they spend time together outside. Grins spread ear-to-ear on their faces as they fly kites, stomp in puddles, jump in leaves and sled in snow. This book is pure warmth too, as children dry off, warm up and come back inside happily as well.

A book that shows the pleasure of being out of doors, this picture book should lead to a great ramble outside. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from digital galley received from Penguin Random House and Edelweiss.

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin (InfoSoup)

Riley carefully chooses the right clothes for the first day of public school, probably more carefully than another other teen ever has. Riley’s clothes need to blend in, but Riley has never been good at that, particularly with having a congressman for a father but even more so because being gender fluid makes dressing all the more complicated. When a therapist tells Riley to start a blog and find a cause, Riley starts to write online about what it is really like to be a gender fluid teen. At school, Riley is starting to fit in with new friends and what could be a budding romance if Riley is reading the signs right. But then advice Riley has given to a transgender teen online takes makes the blog go viral and the issue gets national attention. Soon Riley realizes there is a local stalker reading the blog, threatening to reveal Riley’s identity to everyone.

Garvin has managed to write an entire novel without letting readers know the gender that Riley was assigned at birth. It’s a tremendous feat, made all the more amazing because readers will not notice what he is doing. A large part of that is because Riley is an incredibly engaging and extraordinary character, filled with angst about gender but also longing for friends and even a dash of romance. Riley is a blaze of light as a character, burning so brightly on the page that is impossible to look away. This is a book that you read in one long gulp, caught in the world the author has created so vividly. It is a book that dances with disaster, offering a protagonist who is smart, courageous and simply superb.

Garvin deals with a series of serious issues in this novel. He does not shy away from any of it, which makes the book all the more raw and engaging. He shows exactly what being androgynous is like, the bullying and speculation about a person’s gender. He speaks to the tragedy of suicide in the trans population, the hatred that is directed their way, the lack of understanding and even violence by parents. He turns his attention to sexual attacks as well, creating a book that is riveting to read but also very important to have on library shelves.

An impressive, important and glorious teen novel about one gender fluid teen who will let you understand what being gender fluid is about and the courage it takes to be yourself every day. Appropriate for ages 14-18.

Reviewed from digital galley received from Balzer + Bray and Edelweiss.

I Hear a Pickle by Rachel Isadora

I Hear a Pickle by Rachel Isadora

I Hear a Pickle (and Smell, See, Touch, and Taste It, Too!) by Rachel Isadora (InfoSoup)

A book about your senses, this picture book invites the youngest of children to think about their senses and the many ways they use them in life. Starting with hearing, the book offers examples of different things that children may hear in their day like birds, bees and waves. There are also things you can’t hear, like worms. There are loud and soft noises too. Smelling has good smells like soap and bad smells like sneakers and baby diapers. Sight offers light and dark, the joy of wearing glasses to help you see, and the fun of reading. Touch has animals and rain, but also things not to touch like hot stoves or electric plugs. Taste is filled with foods, even ones like spinach that you may not want to eat at first. And then it all comes together in one crunchy pickle in the end.

Isadora uses small pictures on the page to show all sorts of interactions with the world. Children will enjoy seeing the things that they have done and then will want to talk about other ideas they have of things they have experienced with their senses. This is a book that starts a conversation with small children. Are there other things that are crunchy to eat? Other things that are dangerous to touch? Other things that you can’t hear at all? This book invites that sort of exploration of the child’s own world.

A joyous exploration of all of your senses that will have toddlers listening hard. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from library copy.

This Week’s Tweets, Pins & Tumbls

Here are the links I shared on my Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr accounts this week that I think are cool:

The Official Anime Versions of Harry Potter Characters:


17 Times Children’s Books Got A Much, Much Better Title

A delightful way to teach kids about computers

J.K. Rowling Shows Off The International Wizarding World With New Magical Academies

The Most Anticipated Children’s and YA Books of Spring 2016

What’s Lost When Kids Are ‘Under-connected’ to the Internet?

Charlie Brown lost his library book.:


Beyond Books: Why Some Libraries Now Lend Tools, Toys and More

How the Detroit Public Library is staying relevant to kids in the 21st century

Policies for Library Inclusion of Self-Published Works » Public Libraries Online

St. Louis Public Library gets access to rare collection of African-American history

I still like fairy tales ... keeps my imagination keen.:


More on Diversity: A Response to Courtney Milan | Kirkus Reviews

Speaking up against systemic racism in the publishing industry

Why Books are the Best Furniture



6 Great New Comic Books You Need to Read This Spring | Teen Vogue

FAITH #1: Comics’ Plus Size Superhero

Love Is in the Air: 11 Teen Romance Books | Brightly

Red Queen Rising: Victoria Aveyard’s Expanding YA Empire

Spider-Man #1 leaps into new, more diverse era as black teen dons mask

Top 10 books by transgender authors featuring trans characters