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

Children's Books About Friendship Around the World | Alldonemonkey.com

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

The 2014 Cybils Awards | Cybils Awards http://buff.ly/1yRDYxi #kidlit #yalit

The Best Is Yet to Come: An Early 2015 Picture Book Preview| Minh Le | http://buff.ly/1zHzDwZ #kidlit

CCBC Stats Show Children’s Books Shifting Toward Diversity http://buff.ly/1DETe6S #kidlit

CCBlogC: Listen, Slowly to This Interview http://buff.ly/17280Ij #kidllit

Children’s author shares top 10 picture books for kids http://buff.ly/1CEysjX #kidlit

Children’s books are never just for children | Books | The Guardian http://buff.ly/1zL0wjF #kidlit

Children’s Books for Spring 2015: All Publisher’s Weekly Coverage http://buff.ly/1yNrK97 #kidlit

Ed Emberley Won Kids Books’ Highest Honor, Then He Taught Us All To Draw | ARTery http://buff.ly/1vJ0jm3 #kidlit

‘The End’ of the bedtime story? 1 in 3 parents never read to children before bed, says survey – Mirror Online http://buff.ly/1DNd40d #kidlit

Family reading time is important to many older kids, too http://buff.ly/1Mk1opf #kidlit #reading

Holly Smale: The children’s author on growing up with Keats, back-stabbing bullies, and the awkwardness of modelling http://buff.ly/1zl3MTK

How A Jilted Mom, A Former Nun And A Shattered Childhood Inspired ‘Madeline’ | ARTery http://buff.ly/1EYtnFE #kidlit

How to Get Kids to Read More http://buff.ly/1CIKuZs #reading

In Defense of Gentle Men – The Horn Book http://buff.ly/1FtjC5R #kidlit – A beautiful piece.

Mo Willems: ‘I Want My Books To Be Played’ : NPR http://buff.ly/1zBok9m #kidlit

New Dr. Seuss Book Coming in July! http://buff.ly/1vimleQ #kidlit

The Official SCBWI Blog: You’ve Got To Believe http://buff.ly/1Bj8iHZ #kidlit

Pharrell Williams to Write 4 Books, Will Reach Out to the Children With ‘Happy’ Picture Book : Latin Post http://buff.ly/17T6Qjl #kidlit

The Unlikable Female Character: Thoughts on Middle Grade Literature — @fuseeighthttp://buff.ly/17T9aaf #kidlit

Steven Butler’s top 10 menaces | The Guardian http://buff.ly/1EXv0TX #kidlit

When reading... #read #readers #reading #amreading #book #books #novels #novel

LIBRARIES

Bookish Britain: literary jobs are the most desirable http://buff.ly/1DlFdMV #librarians are No. 2!

Fayetteville Public Library to loan out mobile Wi-Fi devices | Fayetteville Flyer http://buff.ly/172HSgs #libraries

Ferguson Library Director Gets Standing Ovation at ALA 2015 Midwinter Meeting | Transforming Libraries http://buff.ly/1KTxgiP #libraries

Princeton University Bequeathed Rare Book Collection Worth $300 Million, Largest Gift in School’s History – http://buff.ly/1zKW8kD

SDPL Labs: A Third Place for Creative Expression | Library as Incubator Project http://buff.ly/1vbxaPX #libraries

THE ANGELS GAME Typewriter quote on 5x7 cardstock by WritersWire, $5.00

TEEN READS

6 Awesome YA Books Coming In February| BookBub | http://buff.ly/1Copasd #yalit

Diversity in Reviewing YA – Malinda Lo Tackles How Diversity Is Treated (And Mis-Treated) http://buff.ly/180yefx #yalit

For Mardi Gras: YA Books Set in New Orleans | The Hub http://buff.ly/1Dm2Cxy #yalit

How CPS officials decided to pull Persepolis from the classroom | Ben Joravsky on Politics | Chicago Reader http://buff.ly/1BjZcL2 #yalit

Love against the odds in books, a Valentine’s Day special | Children’s books | The Guardian http://buff.ly/1E7tKNS #yalit

Scholastic Acquires Teen Author Aija Mayrock’s Self-Published Survival Guide to Bullying – MarketWatch http://buff.ly/1Foq4v1 #kidlit

Watch. Connect. Read.: Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki http://buff.ly/1Mj7hmP #yalit

Why I love AS King (and you should, too) – The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say Shhh! http://buff.ly/1zO78h7 #yalit

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YALSA has selected the 2015 Great Graphic Novels for Teens.  The list includes 79 titles that are recommended for ages 12-18 and that are both high quality and appealing to a teen audience.  They also select a Top Ten which you see below:

47 Ronin Afterlife with Archie #5: Escape From Riverdale

47 Ronin. By Mike Richardson.  Illus. by Stan Sakai

Afterlife with Archie: Escape from Riverdale. By Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Illus. by Francesco Francavilla

22807866 In Real Life

Bad Machinery V.3: The Case of the Simple Soul. By John Allison

In Real Life. By Cory Doctorow, illus.by Jen Wang

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal Seconds: A Graphic Novel

Ms. Marvel: V.1. No Normal.  By G. Willow Wison. Illus. by Adrian Alphona

Seconds: a Graphic Novel. By Bryan Lee O’Malley

The Shadow Hero Through the Woods

The Shadow Hero. By Gene Luen Yang. Illus. by Sonny Liew

Through The Woods. By Emily Carroll

Trillium Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki

Trillium. By Jeff Lemire

Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki. By Mamoru Hosoda

The preview of this year’s selected 2015 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People has been announced on the Children’s Book Council website.  This is a list created annually of “exceptional books for use in social studies classrooms (grades K-12), selected by an NCSS-appointed committee of social studies educators.”

The books should focus on human relations, represent a variety of cultures and have an original theme or perspective.  Books are selected in a variety of age categories:  Kindergarten to 2nd grade, 3rd to 5th grade, 6th to 8th grade, and 9th to 12th grade.  The books include both fiction and nonfiction titles.

queens shadow

The Queen’s Shadow by Cybele Young

Released March 1, 2015.

This fascinating and unique nonfiction picture book takes a mystery and turns it into information about how various animals see.  At the Queen’s Ball, several different animals have gathered.  Then there is a flash of lightning and a moment of darkness.  When the lights come back on, the Queen’s shadow has been stolen!  Who stole it and how can they prove it?  One by one, each animal offers testimony to what they witnessed “colored” by the way they are able to see the world.  There are the eyes of the chameleon who can look in two directions at once but only shoot out his tongue when both eyes are focused on the same thing.  The shark excels at seeing contrast more than anything and notices patterns of light and dark. Pit viper sees in heat and cool. Dragonfly offers perspective from compound eyes. It will take each of their ways of seeing the world to solve this mystery. 

Young creates an entirely abstract and amazing world here. There is a strong sense of decorum throughout the book, no animals attacking each other and the human queen unafraid of any of her more predatory guests. She combines information for the mystery about what was witnessed through that specific set of eyes and then shares strictly scientific information in offset text boxes too. The result is a book that keeps you turning pages not only to solve the mystery but to continue seeing the world in such unique ways and learning more.

The illustrations have a feel of vintage illustrations with finely detailed ink drawings washed with color. This style is reworked though when seeing through other animals’ eyes so that with each turn of the page, the art is ever-changing and fascinating.

Peculiar in a delightful way, this nonfiction picture book is one that will appeal to children wanting to “see” more of the natural world.  Appropriate for ages 6-9.

Reviewed from digital galley received from Netgalley and Kids Can Press.

listen slowly

Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai

Born in California, Mai has grown up as a beach girl in Laguna.  So she has big plans this summer to spend time at the beach and time with a boy she’s interested in. But her plans have to change when her parents force her to accompany her Vietnamese grandmother back to Vietnam to see if rumors of her grandfather still being alive after the War are true. Mai hates Vietnam immediately, while the food is good and there’s so much of it, it’s also hot, smelly and filled with mosquitoes who love to bite Mai more than anyone else. Mai hides the fact that she can understand the language even if she won’t try to speak it at all. Now she is stuck alone with her grandmother in a tiny village filled with her extended family, dial up Internet access, and a grumpy cousin who seems to only care for her pet frog. Yet as time passes, Mai discovers the beauty of Vietnam, of slowing down and of taking care of family.

Lai has created another wonderful read, this one almost a love letter to Vietnam. She takes readers into the country side and village life, showing first the oppressive heat and lack of modern conveniences, but then revealing in a beautifully natural way that there is much to value perhaps because the days are filled with extra time to be together. The changes in Mai happen organically as she slowly acclimates to her new surroundings and the new society. Nothing is rushed here, even the storytelling is gently done though never dull.

Mai makes a great lens to see Vietnam through, both outsider and relative. Her struggles with the language are cleverly portrayed along with some details about pronunciation in Vietnamese. When she begins to try speaking, the words move to broken English on the page, indicating her troubles speaking the language. At other times, it is Vietnamese on the page. Mai’s growing friendship with her cousin also happens at its own pace and with its own blend of English and Vietnamese.

Rich in details and completely immersive, this novel will inspire travel dreams in those who read it, perhaps to discover their own family roots. Appropriate for ages 9-12.

Reviewed from digital galley received from Edelweiss and HarperCollins.

The shortlist has been announced for the 2015 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize.  There are 18 books on the shortlist for this British children’s book prize and refreshingly 15 of them are by women.  The winner in each category as well as the overall winner will be announced on March 26.

BEST ILLUSTRATED BOOK

Atlas of Adventures: A collection of natural wonders, exciting experiences and fun festivities from the four corners of the globe. Blown Away

Atlas of Adventures by Lucy Letherland, words by Rachel Williams

Blown Away by Rob Biddulph

The Dawn Chorus The Queen's Hat

The Dawn Chorus by Suzanne Barton

The Queen’s Hat by Steve Antony

The Sea Tiger Where Bear?

The Sea Tiger by Victoria Turnbull

Where Bear? by Sophy Henn

 

BEST FICTION FOR 5-12s

A Boy Called Hope Boy In The Tower

A Boy Called Hope by Lara Williamson

Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen

Cowgirl Girl With a White Dog

Cowgirl by G. Gemin

Girl with a White Dog by Anne Booth

Murder Most Unladylike (Wells and Wong, #1) Violet and the Pearl of the Orient

Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens

Violet and the Pearl of the Orient by Harriet Whitehorn, illustrated by Becka Moor

 

BEST BOOK FOR TEENS

The Apple Tart of Hope Dead Ends

The Apple Tart of Hope by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

Dead Ends by Erin Jade Lange

Half Bad (Half Bad, #1) Only Ever Yours

Half Bad by Sally Green

Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill

Smart The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

Smart by Kim Slater

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

tale of two beasts

A Tale of Two Beasts by Fiona Roberton

Released March 1, 2015

First we hear the story from one point of view, then the other.  A little girl tells of walking in the woods and seeing a little beast in the forest.  He was stuck in the tree and very sad, so she rescued him and took him home with her.  There she bathed him, dressed him in a hat and sweater, gave him nuts to eat and built him a house out of a cardboard box.  She even walked him in a leash to give him exercise.  But in the end, he escaped out of the window.  Alone in her bed, she couldn’t sleep and then the beast returned to get his hat so they headed off into the woods together.  But she couldn’t stop wondering about why he came back.  The second half of the book is told from the little animal’s point of view and it’s a very different perspective.  But in the end, the two of them found a connection despite their different ways of seeing what happened.

Roberton could have kept this book solely about perspectives and had it be full-on humor, but instead she manages to imbue the book with a real heart.  The connection between the two “beasts” is slow to come, with the final moment of real understanding being so freeing for both of them as they in turn realize that the other one is not quite as bad as they had thought.  Using similar language for both stories in that moment really shows their connection, particularly because otherwise their perspectives had been so very different.

Roberton uses her art to frame the story, showing the same exact story not only verbally from different perspectives but also vividly in the images as different from one another.  One moment that stands out is the cardboard box home that she builds the creature, which he detests.  The illustrations show her pleasure at it and then in turn his trapped feeling of being in the box with nothing to do.  And don’t miss their final dash together into the woods and then their clothing hanging on tree branches side-by-side.  Freedom!

Cleverly crafted and told, this picture book explores points of view and how connections are possible even with different beasts.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from online copy from Kane Miller.

echo

Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Released February 24, 2015.

A stellar intertwined story that swirls around a magical harmonica, this book is one-of-a-kind in the best possible way.  When Otto meets the three girls in the forest, he sent on a quest that includes a harmonica that sings in different tones from normal ones.  Later, three young people encounter that harmonic and it changes their lives at critical points, bringing both peace and music into the darkness they are living in.  There is Friedrich, a boy in Nazi Germany, who is struggling to hold his family together.  There is Mike in Pennsylvania, placed in an orphanage when his grandmother can no longer care for him and his younger brother, desperate to find a place they can be together.  Finally, there is Ivy in California, excluded from the normal public school because she is Mexican-American and hoping that this last move is one that gets her family a permanent home.  The stories speak to the heart, each child facing the difficulties with immense courage and love for others. 

This book is a delight to read.  It marries the magic of the harmonica with more realistic historical fiction components very successfully.  Ryan explores some of the darkest times for families, put under excruciating pressure by the society they are living in.  She always offers hope though, allowing the harmonica and the power of music to pierce through and give light to the circumstances.  Beautifully, each story ends in a crescendo, leaving the reader breathless and worried about what will happen before starting the next story.  In the end, the stories weave together musical and luminous.

Ryan successfully creates four unique stories in this book and then brings them all together in a way that is part magic and entirely satisfying.  She writes of the cares of each child with such empathy, allowing readers to feel the pressure they are under.  Here is how she describes Mike’s responsibility for his younger brother on page 204:

That responsibility had become another layer of skin.  Just when he thought he might shed a little, or breathe easy, or even laugh out loud, it tightened over him.

She successfully does this with each of the stories, allowing readers to feel that tightening and the threat of well-being for all of the characters.  There is no shrinking from the racism and bigotry that these characters experience.  It is presented powerfully and appropriately for the younger audience.

A powerful book, this novel is pitch perfect and simply exceptional.  Appropriate for ages 10-13.

Reviewed from ARC received from Scholastic Press.

The Rainbow Project is a joint project of the ALA Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table and Social Responsibilities Round Table.  Each year they select The Rainbow List, books with “significant gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender content, and which are aimed at youth, birth through age 18.” 

Here is their Top Ten list:

Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World Far From You

Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World by Janet E. Cameron

Far from You by Tess Sharpe

Grasshopper Jungle I'll Give You the Sun

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Not Every Princess Secret City

Not Every Princess by Jeffrey Bone and Lisa Bone

Secret City by Julia Watts

Sweet Tooth Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel

Sweet Tooth by Tim Anderson

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan

This Day in June We Are The Youth

This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten

We Are the Youth: Sharing the Stories of LGBT Youth in the United States by Laurel Golio and Diana Scholl

The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation and the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at The University of Southern Mississippi have announced the winners of the 2015 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award.  The award celebrates a new writer and a new illustrator of children’s books each year. 

NEW WRITER WINNER

Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin

Chieri Uegaki for Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin

 

NEW ILLUSTRATOR WINNER

Shh! We Have a Plan

Chris Haughton for Shh! We Have a Plan

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