This Week’s Tweets, Pins & Tumbls

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

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

Being a White Guy in Children’s Books – The Horn Book http://buff.ly/1Fjot7e #kidlit – Be sure to read the comments, lots of wisdom there.

Best Books 2014 | School Library Journal http://buff.ly/11qP82T #kidlit #yalit

The Best Horror Stories For Children| Evangeline Lilly | http://buff.ly/1HEqOM7 #kidlit

Dav Pilkey: I never hypnotised my principal! That part I made up | The Guardian http://buff.ly/15dXxZJ #kidlit

Handler apologizes again, calls his remark racist | Celebrities | The State http://buff.ly/1xMg0at #kidlit

Jacqueline Woodson: ‘I don’t want anyone to feel invisible’ | Books | The Guardian http://buff.ly/11ZHtbM #kidlit

Meanwhile In America, Brown Girls Are Still Dreaming http://buff.ly/1yNxoKc #kidlit

New James Patterson Children’s Book Inspires Animated Web Series – GalleyCat http://buff.ly/1vxrmQv #kidlit

Nonfiction conversations: Talking nonfiction picture book biographies with kids | There’s a Book for That http://buff.ly/11Qlchq #kidlit

Raising a Reader! How Comics & Graphic Novels can Help Your Kids Love to Read http://cbldf.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/CBLDF-Raising-a-Reader-REV-070313-WEB.pdf … #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.”

LIBRARIES

"Allow me to explain why your library should not provide holiday programs this winter, or ever" http://ow.ly/EHA3n

BBC News – Scottish Book Trust calls for library card for every child http://buff.ly/1Fk2M6S #libraries

CALGARY (AB CA) NEW CENTRAL LIBRARY VIDEO: A Visual Beauty – Read The Fun Calgary New Central Library Facts: http://bestcalgaryhomes.com/video-new-central-library-east-village-calgary …

Dear Library, Forgive Me – BOOK RIOT http://buff.ly/1vNL9LG #libraries

The Ferguson library gives a lesson in community http://buff.ly/1yXkv09 #libraries

Ferguson Library Provides Calm Refuge for a Torn Community http://buff.ly/15r42so #libraries #ferguson

A Field Trip to America’s Public Libraries – The Atlantic http://buff.ly/1Fjp5K7 #libraries

How Libraries are Advancing and Inspiring Schools and Communities | MindShift http://buff.ly/1p6QUkL #libraries

How To Support the Ferguson Library – BOOK RIOT http://buff.ly/1vJEhyU #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.

TEEN READS

The Best Dystopian Novels Everyone Should Read| Lauren Sarner | http://buff.ly/1y8L3fl #yalit

Ursula K. Le Guin — "We will need writers who can remember freedom" | LISNews: http://buff.ly/1p6P0QV #yalit

What to read if you don’t like dystopia? | The Guardian http://buff.ly/15dXFbR #yalit

Review: Meet the Bigfeet by Kevin Sherry

meet the bigfeet

The Yeti Files: Meet the Bigfeet by Kevin Sherry

The author of I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean and other picture books has released his first book for early readers.  It is the story of Blizz Richards, a yeti who lives an isolated life in Nepal.  He has a great cave for a house that he’s filled with all sorts of cool gadgets and lots of things to play on.  He is a cryptid, and as one he has taken an oath to never be seen by the outside world.  So Blizz almost never sees his family.  But all that is about to change with the announcement of an upcoming Big Feet Family Reunion.  Blizz shares the story of Brian, one of his relatives in Canada who got spotted and had his picture taken and put up on the Internet.  It was all because of George Vanquist, a man who continues to seek out cryptids and expose them.  Now Blizz has to risk it all to see his family, rescue Brian from his shame of being exposed and avoid George Vanquist along the way. 

Sherry has such a great touch for humor.  Throughout the book there are moments of hilarity that children will adore.  He also manages to create unique characters even in this very simple format.  Blizz manages to be a cool character, someone who lives a rich life despite being mostly alone.  He does have several clever smaller creatures who live with him and who help out regularly throughout the story.  The book moves along at rocket speed, helped by the large number of illustrations which will make it a welcoming read for new readers.

The illustrations have the same clarity as Sherry’s picture books.  With simple lines, he creates entire worlds here with characters who express emotions clearly.  One of the best parts of this book are the little diagrams throughout, first of what a yeti really is, then showing Blizz’s house, and next explaining cryptids,  They are clever, funny and avoid creating large paragraphs of explanation.

Filled with humor and the same distinctive illustration style as his picture books, this early reader will appeal to any child looking for some giggles.  Appropriate for ages 5-7.

Reviewed from copy received from Scholastic.

PW Children’s Starred Reviews Annual

The 2014 list of Publisher’s Weekly starred reviews of children’s books has been released and is available for free on their website.  This second edition of their annual guide has over 350 starred titles as well as interviews with some great authors including Rick Yancey, Jandy Nelson, Ashley Bryan and Laurie Halse Anderson.  Enjoy!

Review: What Forest Knows by George Ella Lyon

what forest knows

What Forest Knows by George Ella Lyon, illustrated by August Hall

This poetic exploration of the seasons invites young readers into the forest to see what happens to the animals and plants as the seasons change.  It begins with snow, which is something the forest knows well.  It also knows about waiting, so it waits as the animals in the forest sleep and rest during the cold.  Then buds come and creeks run and birds fly and it’s spring.  All of the animals and insects awaken and come out into the growing grass.  Fruit arrives with fall, nuts ready for squirrels to harvest.  Animals eat to survive the next winter.  Finally, there is snow again in the forest and an invitation to make the forest yours too.

Lyon’s poem is glorious.  She winds through the forest along with the breezes, touching down and pointing out exactly the right things.  It’s a poem that is organic and natural, celebrating everything in the woods, the ongoing changes, and allowing us to see ourselves reflected in the woods as well.  This book is an invitation to explore during all seasons, to look for birds and bugs and mammals as we walk. 

Hall’s illustrations add to that immense appeal of nature and the forest.  His paintings play with the light as it changes through the seasons as well as the colors of the trees and the grass as the time passes.  They are dappled and lush, filled with the movement of the wind and the movement of the leaves. 

A great addition to the crowded shelves about seasons, this picture book combines poetry with gorgeous illustrations.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Review: Little Elliot, Big City by Mike Curato

little eliot big city

Little Elliot, Big City by Mike Curato

Eliot loved living in the big city, but sometimes it was hard being such a small elephant in such a huge place.  He had to watch out so he didn’t get stepped on, doorknobs could be too high, and he could never catch a cab.  Even at home, Eliot had to find a way to make everyday things work.  Eliot also loved cupcakes, though when he tried to buy  one in a shop he couldn’t get noticed by the person at the counter.  He felt very small and invisible then, but on the way home he discovered a mouse trying to reach some food and found that even though he may be small he can make a big difference.  Even better, he can make friends!

Curato uses only a few words to tell his story, making the most of the illustrations to show the ways that Eliot solves his height issues at home as well as how the new friends solve the cupcake buying problem.  Children will enjoy reading about this little polka-dotted elephant who faces the same issues that they do in life.  They will easily relate to the sadness of being ignored too. 

The illustrations in this book are filled with charm.  Eliot himself is a wonderfully unusual little fellow, shining on the page.  The images of the city are mostly done in a dark and subtle color palette.  The entire book has a fifties vibe to it and some of the images are pulled right out of an Edward Hopper painting.  It’s a courageous choice that works particularly well.

A charmer of a protagonist and an urban landscape make this one delicious cupcake of a picture book.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Henry Holt & Co.

Best Books of 2014

Morales Cover MainPage 300w Best Books 2014

Last week School Library Journal released their list of the Best Books of 2014.  Their list has four categories:  Picture Books, Middle School, Young Adults and Nonfiction.  Plenty to love in their lists! 

Best of 2014

This week, Kirkus has released their list of the Best Children’s Books of 2014.  Their Teen list will be released next week. 

The interesting thing is to note how many of the books are not on both lists, which gives us plenty of 2014 books to celebrate!

Review: Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky

gracefully grayson

Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky

Grayson lives with his aunt, uncle and cousins after his parents died when he was much younger.  Middle school is hard.  Grayson doesn’t have friends, eating his lunch in the library rather than the cafeteria.  He rarely does anything more than go to school and return home again.  After school, Grayson has time on his own before the others get home and he spends his time in front of the mirror dreaming of wearing a dress and being a princess.  It’s a fantasy he quickly puts away when the others come home, returning once again to being a boy in a long t-shirt and jeans.  Then one day, Grayson decides to go out for the school play.  And when he auditions, he tries out for the role of Persephone.  What will happen if he gets cast as the female lead and is no longer invisible?

Polonsky has created a critical book for middle-graders about the experience of being transgender in middle school.  She hits just the right tone of lightness and seriousness, allowing the story of Grayson to unfold naturally and beautifully on the page.  The reader learns along with Grayson what he is really feeling inside, how he wishes to express it, and also how incredibly brave he is.  He’s an incredible character, one that is relatable and inspiring.

Polonsky also does not duck away from negative reactions to Grayson.  In Grayson’s aunt, readers will see an adult who is struggling to understand someone who is transgender.  She seeks to protect Grayson from bullies by hiding what he truly is and goes after the teacher who is helping Grayson express who he is on the inside.  There are also bullies at Grayson’s school who play a part in his isolation.   Yet there are also heroes among the students as well as Grayson’s uncle who is supportive.  It’s a strong mix of reactions, showing that while there is hate there is also love and support.

An important book for middle-grade children about being transgender and being true to yourself.  Appropriate for ages 10-13.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: Blizzard by John Rocco

blizzard

Blizzard by John Rocco

Rocco tells a story from his childhood of the blizzard of 1978 that dumped 53 inches of snow on his Rhode Island town.  The story begins with just a few flakes in the air and by the time school closes and the children make their way home, the snow is getting deeper and deeper.  The next morning, the drifts were so high that they had to leave the house through the window rather than the door.  The snowplows stopped running because the snow was too deep.  They were isolated and at first it was great fun with days of playing in the snow and drinking mugs of hot cocoa with milk.  Then after a few days, food got scarcer and the cocoa was being made with water.  It was up to a ten-year-old John to make his way to the grocery store pulling his sled with tennis rackets strapped to his feet. 

Rocco embraces the wonder of a huge snowfall in this picture book.  The delight of a landscape and world changed into something foreign and incredible.  The changes to routine, the cancelation of school, families stuck inside together, the futility of trying to dig out paths.  He celebrates it all on the page and then moves the story to an arctic exploration of one boy against the elements, complete with a map of his route to the store.  There is a rich humor throughout the narrative that reassures children that the family is not going to starve but also offers real reason to travel to the store, watery cocoa!

Rocco’s art cleverly incorporates the days of the week in the art, from snow on branches spelling out the word to a squirrels trail on the roof.  The cool white and blues of the outdoors are contrasted fully with the yellows of the indoor world of the family.  The disjointed attempts at clearing the snow are cleverly done, speaking to the power of intent but also the depth of the snow and the effort required to clear it. 

Perfect for folks in Buffalo, but also a great story to read when any snowstorm is drifting your way, preferably with mugs of milk hot cocoa.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from library copy.

This Week’s Tweets, Pins & Tumbls

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

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

Barbie F*cks It Up Again http://buff.ly/1qAHXkP #sexism #kidlit #barbie

How this year’s National Book Awards could change the face of children’s literature http://buff.ly/1qz2yWA #kidlit

Jackie Woodson Wins National Book Award: Cue Jokes About Watermelon http://buff.ly/1AoCFvA #kidlit

‘Polar Express’ author and U-M grad Chris Van Allsburg talks about his newest book and more http://buff.ly/1F7Rlz9 #kidlit

R.A. Montgomery, Author And Publisher Of Choose Your Own Adventure Books, Dead At 78 http://buff.ly/1vjnjHu #kidlit

Remarkable Latino Children’s Literature of 2014 – Latinas for Latino Lit (L4LL) http://buff.ly/1x6rjK8 #kidlit

Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize winner announced | @GrrlScientist | Science | The Guardian http://buff.ly/1xQGtDi #kidlit

What are the best books series for younger children? | Children’s books | The Guardian http://buff.ly/1zwZ7iV #kidlit

“When you read my books, I’ll be there with you. We’ll share the story together.” @SANDRA_MARKLE http://picturebookmonth.com/2014/11/why-picture-books-are-important-by-sandra-markle/ … #PictureBookMonth

pico branch santa monica library - Google Search

LIBRARIES

6 Ways To Become a Power User of the Public Library – BOOK RIOT http://buff.ly/1EOgKxv #libraries

Make It Take It Kits at Meridian District Library | Library as Incubator Project http://buff.ly/1qz242F #libraries

Neil Gaiman -"For me, closing libraries is the equivalent of eating your seed corn to save a little money" http://buff.ly/1EZUEZ0 #libraries

Parasites @ Your Library — Annoyed Librarian http://buff.ly/1Haibsl #libraries

Simon & Schuster Strips "Buy It Now" Requirement from Library Ebook Program | Digital Book World http://buff.ly/1qB0uxh #ebooks #libraries

Twin Cities’ oldest library is being reborn as a job skills center | Star Tribune http://buff.ly/1x5WNQE #library

Why going to the library is one of the best things I do for my kids and the planet : TreeHugger http://buff.ly/1qslDtv #libraries

Carbondale Branch Library New Books

READING

It’s Universal Children’s Day: What are the Benefits of Reading to Children? | Books LIVE http://buff.ly/1uXUPB3 #reading #kidlit

The Official SCBWI Blog: Product Placement in books? http://buff.ly/1uDONpf #ebooks #reading

TEEN READS

The Ageless Appeal of Young Adult Literature| Grammarly | http://buff.ly/1vi3yAc #yalit

Author Sherman Alexie, On Writing For Young Adults | StateImpact Florida http://buff.ly/1x5Wrti #yalit

Frank Portman: from punk rocker to rising YA novelist http://buff.ly/1F76TD6 #yalit

Gay Without the Gay Angst: 10 Books About Lesbian/Bi/Queer Girls | Diversity in YA http://buff.ly/1F4Sdob #yalit

Resourceful Teens Will Always Find Books To Read| Eliot Schrefer | http://buff.ly/1ubxo20 #yalit

Stacked: Here There Be Dragons http://buff.ly/1qsslj7 #yalit