Latest Entries »

Insurgent Trailer

Insurgent comes to theaters on March 20, 2015.  Here’s the trailer:

So what do you think?

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

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

Characters in children’s books are almost always white, and it’s a big problem – The Washington Post http://buff.ly/1AbfjpD #yalit

‘Harriet the Spy’ Park Hangout Honored as a Literary Landmark http://buff.ly/1646g0W #kidlit

How our children’s book about a gay superhero avoided the straightwash | The Guardian http://buff.ly/1smpHH0 #lgbt #kidlit

Jacqueline Woodson On Growing Up, Coming Out And Saying Hi To Strangers : Code Switch : NPR http://buff.ly/1sgtX0l #kidlit

What are the best children’s books on the true spirit of Christmas? | Children’s books | The Guardian http://buff.ly/1D3RI04 #kidlit

Why Amelia Bedelia Is Literally The Most Terrifying Character Ever – Dorkly Post http://buff.ly/1IGf10f #kidlit #humor

TEEN READS

Rainbow Rowell’s Next Is CARRY ON – EarlyWord – http://buff.ly/1z7YCwi #yalit

ReedPOP & We Need Diverse Books Team Up For BookCon – GalleyCat http://buff.ly/1IFvrWy #yalit

Stacked: "Best of 2014" in YA Fiction List Break Down http://buff.ly/1Abfp0C #yalit

YA Trilogies That Ended in 2014 (That You Should Read in 2015)| EricSmith | http://buff.ly/1zYDLL6 #yalit

books-466083_1280

This time of year is filled with best book lists.  Here are some more that I haven’t mentioned yet:

Chicago Public Library’s librarians have published their list of the best books of 2014.  They offer lists of picture books, fiction for younger readers, informational books for younger readers, fiction for older readers, informational books for older readers, teen fiction, teen nonfiction and graphic novels.  There’s plenty to explore here!

The American Association for the Advancement of Science has announced the finalists for the 2015 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Children’s Science Books and the 2015 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Young Adults.  There are twelve finalists on the children’s list which includes both traditional science books and ones with a hands-on focus.  The young adult finalist list includes four titles.

NPR’s Book Concierge has their guide to 2014’s Great Reads.  You can browse categories like Kids’ Books and Young Adult among others.  I do enjoy that you can combine categories, so you can see books for teens that are fantasy or science fiction. 

supertruck

Supertruck by Stephen Savage

There are many brave and hard-working trucks in the city.  There are trucks that help put out fires.  There are trucks that tow.  There are trucks that fix power lines.  And then there is the quiet little garbage truck that just picks up garbage.  Then one day a snow storm hits the city.  All of the trucks are stranded in the snow and unable to move.  All but one little truck, who takes off his glasses and trades in a snowplow.  The little garbage truck heads off to save the day! 

This very simple picture book has a radiant appeal to it.  It combines very cleverly the appeal of trucks and superheroes without it feeling forced at all.  With just the right amount of text for toddlers, even the youngest of children will find lots to love here. 

A lot of the appeal of this picture book is in the illustrations which are bold and colorful.  The boxy trucks are shown against silhouettes of the city, allowing them to really shine.  Perhaps the best touch are the large glasses on the garbage truck before he transforms into Supertruck.  Fans of Superman will find that little touch completely endearing.  And am I the only one who can see a line of toys coming straight out of these illustrations?

Clever, dynamic and heroic, this picture book will please little truck and superhero fans alike.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Roaring Brook Press.

everlasting embrace

The Everlasting Embrace by Gabrielle Emanuel, illustrated by E. B. Lewis

A toddler spends her day in Mali strapped to her mother’s back.  Told from her point of view, this picture book celebrates the strong bond that occurs between mother and child as they spend their entire day together.  The little one is bound to her back and they move as one.  She is there as her mother beats millet with a pestle.  There when her mother carries it back home in a basket balanced on her head.  During the day, her mother tickles her, reaching behind to touch her little girl.  They dance together, the rhythms of their day lulling the baby to sleep at times.  They shelter together in the shade the big basket of mangoes makes when her mother carries it.  When they return home, the little girl carries her teddy bear bound to her back.  These days together are precious as the little girl will soon be too big to carry all day.  But the bond they have formed together will never go away.

Emanuel lived in Mali for a year after graduating from college.  While she was there, she shared stories aloud with a little girl, but found that there were no picture books that she could read her about her own country and lifestyle.  So Emanuel created this one.  It is a very strong debut picture book with writing that is confident and a point of view that is unique.  Told from the view of the little girl on her mother’s back, one never worries that she is being neglected or ignored as the mother goes through her day.  Rather one quickly realizes that she is content, cared for and completely part of her mother’s daily life.

Lewis is an extraordinary illustrator.  He captures life in Mali clearly on the page, showing the mother and daughter together at home, walking through the markets, doing chores and spending time together even when the mother is busy doing other things.  There is a joy in his images, a dedication to truly capture this country and its way of life on the page.

Strong, beautiful and unique, this picture book takes children on a journey to Mali where they will see life lived differently and warmly.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Viking.

winter bees

Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen

Master nature poet, Sidman, takes readers on a journey through the wonders of nature during winter in this new book.  Each poem focuses on a specific animal, showing the amazing adaptations they have made in order to survive the cold temperatures.  Done in a variety of poetic formats and styles, all of the poems have a lush beauty to them.  Each poem is paired with a paragraph of information that further explains the animal and their lives during the winter months.  The animals include tundra swans, voles, fox, moose, birds, insects and of course bees. 

Sidman’s poems are exceptional.  She clearly has designed them for children, but they stretch vocabulary and concepts.  Even better, they reveal things below the surface, inviting further exploration and investigation of the concepts.  The nonfiction paragraphs are equally welcoming.  They are filled with fascinating facts and will have nature-loving children fully engaged.

Allen’s illustrations are linoleum prints.  They have such depth and texture, with details of feathers and fur clear on the page.  Done in vibrant colors, the illustrations show the color of the world despite its layer of white snow.  Rich and detailed, these illustrations are luminous on the page.

An amazing book of nature poetry, get this into the hands of teachers doing nature units, units on winter, and share the poems merrily with children at any time.  Simply gorgeous.  Appropriate for ages 6-9.

Reviewed from library copy.

The Little Prince is being adapted into a new film version by the director of Kung Fu Panda, Mark Osborne.  It comes out in France in October 2015, so the first trailer is in French, but what a gorgeous film it is in any language:

Hat tip to Tor’s blog.

2015 Morris Award Finalists

YALSA has announced their picks for the finalists for the 2015 Morris Award.  The award is given to the year’s best books written for teens by a debut author.  Here are the five finalists:

The Carnival at Bray Gabi, a Girl in Pieces The Scar Boys

The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley

Gabi: A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

The Scar Boys by Len Vlahos

The Story of Owen (Dragon Slayer of Trondheim, #1) The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim by E.K. Johnston

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

The shortlist for the 2015 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults have been announced.  The award honors the best nonfiction books for teens written between Nov 1, 2013 and October 31, 2014.  Here are the finalists:

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia Ida M. Tarbell: The Woman Who Challenged Big Business--and Won! Laughing at My Nightmare

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion & the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming

Ida M. Tarbell: The Woman Who Challenged Big Business – and Won! by Emily Arnold McCully

Laughing at My Nightmare by Shane Burcaw

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin

outside in

Outside In by Sarah Ellis

Lynn has a busy life with two best friends, choir, and a mother who keeps messing things up.  Her mother can’t hold down a job and the man who has brought a lot of stability to their little family for a few years has just left because her mother cheated on him.  Luckily, he is allowing them to keep living in his condo for a few months.  When Lynn chokes on a butterscotch candy at the bus stop, an unknown person helps her.  All Lynn knows about the person is that they were wearing a plaid skirt.  Lynn sets out to find them, but it isn’t until she gives up that Blossom introduces herself.   As her choir sets off to the United States for a competition, Lynn discovers that her mother hasn’t sent in the paperwork for her passport so she can’t attend.  Her friends head out without her and Lynn starts to get closer to Blossom, a strange girl who talks about disguising herself as a “citizen” and lives off the grid.  Soon Lynn has been drawn into the incredible alternate life of Blossom and her family.  But some things they are doing may not actually be legal and in order to be part of their lives Lynn has to promise to never reveal that they exist.  Lynn’s life works as long as the two worlds remain completely separate, but how long can she lie to her friends and mother?

Ellis is a Canadian author and this book is clearly set in Canada.  Lynn’s own family life is portrayed realistically and with great empathy both for her and for her mother.  There is no great villain here, only humans who make mistakes.  The lives of the “Underlanders” are shown as a balanced mix of utopian and harsh.  The moral questions about what they are doing emerge very naturally as the plot moves forward.  Then at the same time, Lynn herself is struggling with the moral ambiguity of lying to her loved ones about what she is doing in order to keep the Underlanders safe.  Again, there are no right answers here, it is about the puzzles of good and bad, wrong and right.

Lynn is a fairly straightforward character caught in a world where her mother is eccentric and unreliable but her friends are her rocks.  Her new relationship with Blossom captures the fact that she has some of her mother in her as well, something that wants a simpler life and a more unique and meaningful one.  Ellis manages to show this without ever mentioning it, allowing her readers to deeply understand Lynn beyond what Lynn does herself.

A complex and short novel for teens, this book is richly written, filled with ethical choices, and made beautiful by a glimpse into another way of life.  Appropriate for ages 11-14.

Reviewed from library copy.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,222 other followers