Rowling's Christmas Present to Fans

The Guardian has announced the final Harry Potter title! Click on the title: href=”http://books.guardian.co.uk/news/articles/0,,1977216,00.html”>Final Harry Potter title revealed to find out what it is.
But if you want a little more atmosphere and fun, visit Rowling’s website and follow these instructions:
1. Go to http://www.jkrowling.com and choose the graphic interface (not text-only).
2. On the main page, click on the eraser. This will take you to a room with a door.
3. Click on the door in the mirror: It will open, revealing a Christmas tree.
4. Click on the top of the main door: A wreath will appear.
5. Click on the mirror above the Christmas-tree door: Garlands will appear.
6. Click on the cobwebs: They will disappear.
7. Click on the second chime from the right: It will turn gold.
8. Drag the golden chime and it will become a key. Insert it into the lock, and the door will open.
9. Click on the present, and it will unwrap.
10. Click on the page you can see sitting inside the present. A game of “Hangman” will open.
Have fun! Then you can head over to the Leaky Cauldron and start debating the meaning of the new title. Remember all the speculation about the last one?

Little One, We Knew You'd Come

Little One, We Knew You’d Come by Sally Lloyd-Jones, illustrated by Jackie Morris.

This incredibly lush and lovely picture book tells two stories, one of the miracle of everyone’s birth and the other the miraculous arrival of Jesus.  The words echo the feelings of longing of all parents while the illustrations show Mary and Joseph on their way to the stable.  The poetic language of the text rocks with a quiet rhythm of cradle, rocking chair, and arms.  The illustrations are deeply colored, filled with butterflies, fruits, animals, angels, and touches of gold.  This is a beautiful book for the Christmas Season.

And Tango Makes Three

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, illustrated by Henry Cole.

With all of the hub-bub about And Tango Makes Three, I thought I should actually take it home and read it.  I shared it with my five-year-old son at bedtime with his nine-year-old brother listening avidly in the background.  This is a sweet book about two male penguins hatching an egg.  One of the most touching parts was when the two penguins are trying to hatch an egg-shaped rock.  The story focuses on the love that the two penguins share and bring to their hatchling.  It is a beautiful book.

Why are people attacking this book?  It is about the true story of these real-life birds, so there’s not much to dispute there.  Additionally, it is a great picture book on its own, whether the two penguins are male or are a male-female couple who failed to hatch an egg of their own.  The illustrations are child-friendly, the language is accessible, and the story is universal.  (Much of which could not be said about the earliest picture books to feature gay families!) 

I do know that some families will have problems with this book.  They can choose not to share it with their children.  But public libraries and school libraries should certainly have it.  Both to serve the children in gay families and to share with children in more traditional families that there are different sorts of families in our communities.  Heck, Sesame Street has said this since I was a small child!  Why can’t our picture books!