Latest Entries »

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



4 new children’s books to stir the holiday spirit – The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram #kidlit

Best Picture Books of 2014| Minh Le | #kidlit

David Almond: each story comes with its own kind of fizz, gurgle and energy | The Guardian #kidlit #authors

Jen Robinson’s Book Page: This Holiday Season, 70% of Kids Wants Books That Make Them Laugh, Says Scholastic #kidlit

Terrible Trivium – I See a Book and Get Angry and Write a Thing #kidlit

The Ultimate Children’s Literature Illustrator Gift Guide — @100scopenotes #kidlit

What can children learn from crime classics like Peter Rabbit? | Children’s books | The Guardian #kidlit


Nature makes all articles free to view : Nature News & Comment #free #econtent


I am Ferguson Public Library Director in Ferguson, MO. AMA! : IAmA #libraries

New York Public Library Expands Free Wi-Fi Hotspot Loan Program | LJ INFOdocket #libraries

Night Light at the Bubbler @ Madison Public Library | Library as Incubator Project #libraries



Science Shows Something Surprising About People Who Still Read Fiction – Mic #reading


Best Adult Books 4 Teens 2014 | School Library Journal #yalit

Exploring conflict through teen and YA books | The Guardian #yalit

John Corey Whaley’s top 10 coming of age stories | The Guardian #yalit

Stacked: Mental Illness in YA As a Minefield—Explore at Will: Guest Post by Rachel M. Wilson – #yalit

Never Be Silenced

E.E. Charlton-Trujillo, author of Fat Angie, has spoken out about a recent situation where a school in Texas cancelled her appearance just four days before it was to happen.  It is clear that someone objected to her appearance since they were not interested in rescheduling her event.

Yet something beautiful has emerged and that is the video that Charlton-Trujillo has posted exemplifying the power and the threat of silence:

The Horn Book has selected its choices for the best books of 2014.  Here they are:


The Baby Tree Bow-Wow's Nightmare Neighbors Draw!

The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackall

Bow-Wow’s Nightmare Neighbors by Mark Newgarden and Megan Montague Cash

Draw! by Raúl Colón

 The Farmer and the Clown Gaston

The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee

Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio; illustrated by Christian Robinson

My Bus Once Upon an Alphabet: Short Stories for All the Letters

My Bus by Byron Barton

Once Upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole Viva Frida

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett; illustrated by Jon Klassen

Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales, with photos by Tim O’Meara



Egg and Spoon The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza (Joey Pigza, #5) The Madman of Piney Woods

Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire

The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza by Jack Gantos

The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis

My Heart Is Laughing Rain Reign This One Summer

My Heart Is Laughing by Rose Lagercrantz; illustrated by Eva Eriksson; translated from the Swedish by Julia Marshall

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki; illustrated by Jillian Tamaki

The Turtle of Oman: A Novel We Were Liars West of the Moon

The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye; illustrated by Betsy Peterschmidt

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

West of the Moon by Margi Preus



Little Roja Riding Hood

Little Roja Riding Hood by Susan Middleton Elya; illustrated by Susan Guevara



Firefly July A Year of Very Short Poems How I Discovered Poetry

Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems selected by Paul B. Janeczko; illustrated by Melissa Sweet

How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson; illustrated by Hadley Hooper



Brown Girl Dreaming Buried Sunlight: How Fossil Fuels Have Changed the Earth El Deafo

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Buried Sunlight: How Fossil Fuels Have Changed the Earth by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm; illustrated by Molly Bang

El Deafo by Cece Bell

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California's Farallon Islands

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

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell; illustrated by Christian Robinson

Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands by Katherine Roy

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus The Story of Buildings: From the Pyramids to the Sydney Opera House and Beyond

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant; illustrated by Melissa Sweet

The Story of Buildings: From the Pyramids to the Sydney Opera House and Beyond by Patrick Dillon; illustrated by Stephen Biesty

The winners of the GoodReads Choice Awards have been announced.  The awards are voted on by GoodReads users.  Here are the winners in the youth categories:


The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus, #5)

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan


The Pigeon Needs a Bath!

The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems


City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6)

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare


We Were Liars

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

flora and the penguin

Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle

This is a delightful wintry follow-up to Flora and the Flamingo, a book that stole my heart when it came out.  With clear connections to the ballet of the first book, this second book has Flora on ice skates swirling with a penguin.  Flora puts on her skates and the penguin climbs out of the water and the two glide together across the page, through different flaps to lift, landing synchronized jumps side-by-side.  But then the penguin disappears back into the water and Flora is left skating alone.  The penguin returns with a fish for Flora, but Flora tosses it back into the water.  The penguin is entirely angry and dejected, so Flora figures out how to repair the budding friendship. 

Idle tells so much in her wordless books.  Who knew that a penguin could communicate so very clearly with the tip of its head, the tilt of its wings and the set of its shoulders.  Flora too communicates her feelings clearly on the page to great effect.  It’s a book that explores friendship, dance and the joy of winter play.

The illustrations are top notch, they invite the reader to glide along with them.  The flaps on different pages are ingenious ways to have readers participate, culminating in one amazing jump the two characters do together.  They amazingly leap right off the page, or perhaps it’s the book that leaps out to catch them.  Beautiful, icy and pure joy.

Another magnificent offering by Molly Idle, this book will be embraced by fans of the first and will make a great holiday gift.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Chronicle Books.

winter candle

Winter Candle by Jeron Frame, illustrated by Stacey Schuett

The residents of the apartment building at Juniper Court celebrate a variety of holidays in the winter months.  It begins with Nana Clover at Thanksgiving who somehow forgot to get candles for her Thanksgiving table.  The building super finds her a lumpy candle and she uses it for her centerpiece.  Two weeks later, the Danziger family needs a havdalah candle for Sabbath.  Nana Clover gives them the lumpy candle she used.  A few days later, Kirsten needs one more candle for her Saint Lucia crown.  In winter, Donte’s little brother has chewed up one of the Kwanza candles.  Later in the winter, a new family has moved into the apartment building.  While they are waiting for their father to come back, the power goes out.  Guess which little candle helps light their night along with that of all the residents!

Filled with a strong sense of community and diversity, this picture book is about more than a litany of different traditions.  Using the small lumpy candle as a symbol, the book speaks to the power of shared moments as a family, the importance of a larger and supportive community, and the beauty of differences.  In each case, the candle is not what the family is looking for.  It’s the wrong color, the wrong shape, and the wrong size.  But it also works in all of its lack of perfection.  The writing in the book is weaves the various stories together, moving the candle from family to family and creating strong bonds.

The illustrations have a traditional feel.  They capture the power and beauty of the candle light as it shines in each family’s apartment.  In the final story, that light leads the father back home and thanks to the illustrations we believe that its power is more than one candle, more than the darkness, and as strong as the community around it.

Ideal for celebrating winter holidays in a way that is not Christmas centered, this picture book is a welcome addition to library shelves.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from library copy.

Best of 2014

As promised, Kirkus released their list of the top teen books of the year yesterday.  Many of my favorites made the list, and there are so many here that I haven’t managed to read yet.  Wow!  Anyone see any of their favorites that I simply must read before the end of the year?  Silly to ask with the size of “To Be Read” pile that I already have!

love is the drug

Love Is the Drug by Alaya Dawn Johnson

The author of The Summer Prince returns with another wild ride of a book.   Emily attends a prestigious prep school in Washington, DC.  Her parents have raised her not to ask questions and to show respect at all times.  She has her entire life under control: she’s part of the top group of girls at school, she has the ideal boyfriend, and she’s headed for Stanford in the fall, one of the small ways in which she is defying her mother.  But when she meets Roosevelt, a government agent, at a party, her entire life changes.  She wakes up days later with missing memories of that night, knowing only that her boyfriend helped get her into a car, took her away from the party, and that another boy, Coffee, desperately tried to stop them.  Meanwhile, the entire United States is caught in a viral disaster with many people dying.  Even Emily’s parents are trapped on the other side of the quarantine.  Now Emily is left to put the pieces of her memory back together and figure out the truth of why the government is interested in a high school senior.

Johnson writes with an elegant looseness here, along for the ride of the story arc with the reader.  There is a lot going on here, from budding romances to breakups to government agents to worldwide plagues to harsh parenting.  Yet somehow, amazingly, it holds together into a book that is an astonishing pleasure to read.  Well suited to the world of teens caught in a viral outbreak, the free flowing nature of this novel allows those teens space to breath, moments to connect, and a fairly rule-free environment to explore.

This is not a mystery where the pieces click together at the end into a satisfying result.  Rather it is an exploration of a theme with one great protagonist at the center, a girl who struggles with female friendship, refuses to fall in love with the boy she clearly connects with, and who battles her mother’s control even from afar.  Emily reinvents herself in this new world she finds herself in, and that is the story and the point.  This is a refreshing read that defies the expectations of dystopian fiction and creates something new.

A dystopian fantasy with an African-American heroine, this teen novel will appeal greatly to some readers who enjoy a lively, loose and wild read.  Appropriate for ages 14-18.

Reviewed from ARC received from Arthur A. Levine Books.


I’ve already posted this via social media, and I want as many people to see it as possible.  This last week the children’s literature world has been taken over by one careless, thoughtless and thoroughly racist remark by David Handler at the National Book Awards.  It was directed at Jacqueline Woodson, an author I have had the pleasure to hear speak at ALA.  When you read her latest book, the one that won the National Book Award, you hear her voice on the page, in the poetry, in the powerful beauty of her words.

Now Jacqueline Woodson has responded in an Op Ed piece in the New York Times.  And she has once again put her voice on the page in words of beauty and strength.  Read it and know that as librarians and teachers we have to make sure that ALL of the people we serve can find themselves in the books we have.

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

"I like nonsense. It wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of the telescope, which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life's realities." Dr Seuss


Being a White Guy in Children’s Books – The Horn Book #kidlit – Be sure to read the comments, lots of wisdom there.

Best Books 2014 | School Library Journal #kidlit #yalit

The Best Horror Stories For Children| Evangeline Lilly | #kidlit

Dav Pilkey: I never hypnotised my principal! That part I made up | The Guardian #kidlit

Handler apologizes again, calls his remark racist | Celebrities | The State #kidlit

Jacqueline Woodson: ‘I don’t want anyone to feel invisible’ | Books | The Guardian #kidlit

Meanwhile In America, Brown Girls Are Still Dreaming #kidlit

New James Patterson Children’s Book Inspires Animated Web Series – GalleyCat #kidlit

Nonfiction conversations: Talking nonfiction picture book biographies with kids | There’s a Book for That #kidlit

Raising a Reader! How Comics & Graphic Novels can Help Your Kids Love to Read … #ncte14

Year in Architecture 2014: Open to the Elements - The Fort Myers Regional Library and Talking Books Library, Lee County Library System, FL, comprises two buildings and an outdoor plaza. The computer/multimedia area in the northeast corner is wrapped in glass “to announce its presence to those entering downtown.”


"Allow me to explain why your library should not provide holiday programs this winter, or ever"

BBC News – Scottish Book Trust calls for library card for every child #libraries

CALGARY (AB CA) NEW CENTRAL LIBRARY VIDEO: A Visual Beauty – Read The Fun Calgary New Central Library Facts: …

Dear Library, Forgive Me – BOOK RIOT #libraries

The Ferguson library gives a lesson in community #libraries

Ferguson Library Provides Calm Refuge for a Torn Community #libraries #ferguson

A Field Trip to America’s Public Libraries – The Atlantic #libraries

How Libraries are Advancing and Inspiring Schools and Communities | MindShift #libraries

How To Support the Ferguson Library – BOOK RIOT #libraries

Year in Architecture 2014: Open to the Elements - The Savage Branch & STEM Education Center, Howard County Library System, Laurel, MD, focuses on science and technology, as tubular skylights harvest natural light and exterior windows flood the building with light.


The Best Dystopian Novels Everyone Should Read| Lauren Sarner | #yalit

Ursula K. Le Guin — "We will need writers who can remember freedom" | LISNews: #yalit

What to read if you don’t like dystopia? | The Guardian #yalit


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,221 other followers