Guardian Children’s Fiction Shortlist Announced

The short list for the 2010 Guardian Children’s Fiction award has been announced.  It includes one debut author and four veterans:

Ghost Hunter by Michelle Paver

Now by Morris Gleitzman

The Ogre of Oglefort by Eva Ibbotson

Unhooking the Moon by Gregory Hughes

VOYA’s Nonfiction Honor List 2009

These top picks for teen readers were selected from 150 nominations.

Allen, Thomas B., and Roger MacBride Allen. Mr. Lincoln’s High-Tech War: How the North Used the Telegraph, Railroads, Surveillance Balloons, Ironclads, High-Powered Weapons, and More to Win the Civil War.

Barnhill, Kelly Regan. Do You Know Where Your Water Has Been? The Disgusting Story Behind What You’re Drinking.

Benson, Michael. Beyond: A Solar System Voyage.

Bryant, Megan E. Oh My Gods! A Look-It-Up Guide to the Gods of Mythology.

Bryant, Megan E. She’s All That! A Look-It-Up Guide to the Goddesses of Mythology.

Buller, Laura, and Richard Walker. Open Me Up.

Butcher, Kristin, and Martha Newbigging. Pharaohs and Foot Soldiers: One Hundred Ancient Egyptian Jobs You Might Have Desired or Dreaded.

Cotter, Charis. Born to Write: The Remarkable Lives of Six Famous Authors.

Ferris, Julie. Ask Me Anything: Every Fact You Ever Wanted to Know.

Franco, Betsy, and Michael Wertz. A Curious Collection of Cats.

Gold, Rozanne, and Phil Mansfield. Eat Fresh Food: Awesome Recipes for Teen Chefs.

Grant, Reg. Slavery: Real People and Their Stories of Enslavement.

Hillstrom, Kevin. The Dream of America: Immigration, 1870-1920.

Hillstrom, Laurie Collier. The Attack on Pearl Harbor.

Hines-Stephens, Sarah, and Bethany Mann. Show Off: How to Do Absolutely Everything One Step at a Time.

Johnson, Jennifer. Gettysburg: The Bloodiest Battle of the Civil War.

Lewis, Barbara A. The Kid’s Guide to Service Projects: Over 500 Service Ideas for Young People Who Want to Make a Difference.

Mann, Charles C., and Rebecca Stefoff. Before Columbus: The Americas of 1491.

Miller, Brandon Marie. Benjamin Franklin, American Genius: His Life and Ideas, with 21 Activities.

Pluto, Terry, and Brian Windhorst. Lebron James: The Making of an MVP.

Salinger, Michael, and Sam Henderson. Well Defined: Vocabulary in Rhyme.

Smith, David J., and Shelagh Armstrong. If America Were a Village: A Book About the People of the United States.

Smith, Hope Anita. Mother Poems.

Stone, Tanya Lee. Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream.

Swanson, James L. Chasing Lincoln’s Killer.

Turner, Tracey, and Ben Hasler. Deadly Perils: And How to Avoid Them.

Walker, Paul Robert. Remember Little Rock: The Time, The People, The Stories.

Wallach, Marlene, and Grace Norwich. My Self: A Guide to Me.

Wilson, Hannah, Catherine Brereton, and Philip Steele. Warriors: Morituri Te Salutamus = We, Who Are About to Die, Salute You.

Winston, Robert M. L. Evolution Revolution.

It’s a Book – Subversive and Smart

It’s a Book by Lane Smith

This is signature Lane Smith in every possible way.  A donkey and a gorilla sit in a living room together.  The donkey has a laptop, the gorilla has a book.  The donkey is puzzled by this book.  How do you scroll?  Does it blog? Where is the mouse?  The gorilla answers again and again, “No, it’s a book.”  Finally, the donkey gets the book in his hands and refuses to give it back.  The gorilla stands up to leave, heading for the library when the donkey offers to charge it when he’s done.  All leading up to the final line: “You don’t have to… It’s a book, Jackass.”  This is like a long lead up to a perfect punch line. 

I shared this book with my sons, aged 9 and 13.  They both adored it.  They got the references to blogging, video games, charging and mice.  By the final line, they both had huge grins on their faces and both looked rather slyly at me to see if I had realized what I had said.  Then we all laughed and read it again. 

Smith has created a book that will be enjoyed by adults and older children.  Young children will not get the references to the technology and will not get the punch line.  So let’s not waste time discussing whether that last line is appropriate for  preschoolers or story times.  The entire book is not for them. 

Smith’s wonderful art is modern, sleek and yet has a timeless quality to it.  It is ideal for this mashup of technology and books.  The day I got it in the mail, I took it to one of our staff luncheons.  It was read aloud, everyone loved it.  I’m going to have it tucked with my things for the upcoming state library conference.  They will all enjoy it.  And I expect plenty of the same looks my sons gave me and plenty of laughter too.

A picture book for adults and older children, this is one to read aloud to librarians and teachers rather than the other way around. 

Reviewed from copy received from Roaring Brook Press.

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Ballet for Martha: Bravo! A Beautiful Performance

Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, illustrated by Brian Floca

This is the story of how three great artists came together to create a classic American ballet.  Aaron Copland’s music inspired the original story and dance of Martha Graham and then in turn Isamu Noguchi created the minimalist sets.  All of these have become iconic so it is a pleasure to understand how the three collaborated on the creation, each drawing from the others ideas but also adding their own to make an ever more powerful ballet.  This picture book manages to capture the arc of creativity and also the ideas behind the ballet itself.

Greenberg and Jordan have somehow managed in so few words to tell two stories.  They reveal both the story of the collaboration between the creators of the ballet and also the story of that the ballet itself tells.  The text also gives insight into the design elements of the sets, the simple power of the music, the creative process of choreography.  This is truly a look at what it takes to be a master composer, choreographer and artist.  The text invites the reader in, explains the elements and leaves one in awe.

Floca’s watercolors are alive and vivid.  They offer a real look at the costumes and sets but also offer stirring glimpses behind the curtain and into the artistic process.  His use of color is subtle yet strong, really allowing the original creativity of the collaboration to shine.

Highly recommended, this book is a breathtaking look at a ballet.  Appropriate for ages 6-9.

Reviewed from copy received from Roaring Brook Press.

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