Martin’s Dream Day by Kitty Kelley


Martin’s Dream Day by Kitty Kelley, photographs by Stanley Tretick (9781481467667)

This nonfiction picture book uses photographs by legendary White House photographer Tretick to show the story of Martin Luther King, Jr’s historic speech for civil rights. There is an appropriate reverential tone about the day as a whole, the size of the crowds and the speech itself. The book also shows the struggles that led up to the protest, the barriers that stood in the way of racial equality, and the people who stood up for change. While the focus is Martin Luther King Jr., there is also a strong acknowledgement for all of those who fought for civil rights in the United States.

Kelley’s text is straight forward and captures the importance of the day with a laser-like focus. She does use terms and words one rarely sees in picture books and ones that children may need explained to them. Still, this is a picture book probably best shared with an adult who can offer even more of a historical and modern context for the event and the day.

The photographs are simply incredible. It is amazing that one photographer was able to capture so many of them with the density of the crowds and the heat. They tell the story though images, speaking across time. The clothing styles may be vintage but the struggle mirrors that of today, something made all the more evident by the quality of the photographs that capture that same passion and engagement.

A strong piece of nonfiction for children who are living in today’s political environment with other marches surrounding them. Appropriate for ages 7-9.

Reviewed from copy received from Atheneum Books for Young Readers.


2017 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults

YALSA has released their list of the Best Fiction for Young Adults. From that larger list, a top ten list is created. Below are the books on the top ten:

Burn Baby Burn Cover The Female of the Species Cover

Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

Ghost Cover The Lie Tree Cover

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

The Passion of Dolssa Cover The Reader Cover

The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry

The Reader by Traci Chee

Salt to the Sea Cover Scythe Cover

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

The Serpent King Cover The Sun Is Also a Star Cover

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Harry Miller’s Run by David Almond


Harry Miller’s Run by David Almond, illustrated by Salvatore Rubbino (9780763689759)

Developed from the short story that appeared in Half a Creature from the Sea, this children’s fiction version is illustrated in full color. Liam wants to be out with his friends practicing for the upcoming Junior Great North Run, but his mother wants him to come to help Harry clear out his home. As they visit with Harry, he shares the story of his own run as a boy when he and some friends ran from their town all the way to the sea. It’s a story of friendship, shared experience, a hot sunny day, and the wonder of ice cream at the end.

I enjoyed this short story immensely in the original short story collection and was very pleased to discover it again in this illustrated format. The story is immensely fun, beginning with the mistake of how far the boys were actually going to run and then their determination to finish anyway. Framed by the story of Harry as an old man telling the tale and Liam listening, the story within a story shines with the brightness of a summer day against the more somber tones of aging.

Rubbino’s illustrations make this version of the story accessible for younger audiences who will appreciate the text being broken up by bright-colored images. The illustrations reflect the story with the modern illustrations done in blacks and grays with a pop of blue provided by Harry’s cap. The illustrations for Harry’s memories suddenly turn into full color with Harry still in the same blue cap.

A lovely new version that makes this story available to more people, this is a winner. Appropriate for ages 7-9.

Reviewed from library copy.

2017 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award Winners

The winners of the 2017 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award have been announced. The award is given to an outstanding new writer and new illustrator each year. Three honor books were also selected this year. In order to be eligible, authors and illustrators can have had no more than three books previously published.

Here are the winners:


A Piece of Home

A Piece of Home by Jeri Watts, illustrated by Hyewon Yum



Daniel Finds a Poem Cover

Daniel Finds a Poem by Micha Archer



Excellent Ed Cover The Girl with the Parrot on Her Head Cover

Excellent Ed by Stacy McAnulty (NEW WRITER HONOR)

The Girl with the Parrot on Her Head by Daisy Hirst (NEW ILLUSTRATOR HONOR)

The Journey Cover

The Journey by Francesca Sanna (NEW WRITER HONOR)


2017 Notable Children’s Books

Notable seal image

The Association for Library Service to Children has published their 2017 Notable Children’s Books list. The list contains outstanding books for ages birth through 14. The lengthy list is available here on the ALSC’s website.

This Week’s Tweets, Pins and Tumbls

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


5 Children’s Books About Trans Issues That Everyone Needs To Read

Are these bks in your library? They should be! Pls share with fellow librarians/teachers!

Books About Bullying for Kids | Reader’s Digest

Children’s Books for the Resistance

In Conversation: Kwame Alexander and Nikki Grimes on the Power of Poetry

New book trailer alert: Noisy Night by &

People Of Color Accounted For 22 Percent Of Children’s Books Characters In 2016

Queer children’s books have a long history that’s only now being told

Tackling The Lack Of Diversity In Children’s Books

What happened after a teacher edited WHOOSH! to remove any reference to race – my conversation with .

Why Reading Aloud to Older Children Is Valuable

Young Entrepreneur Kaya Thomas Created an App to Find Books by Black Authors:

This is fantastic:


Library Hand, the Fastidiously Neat Penmanship Style Made for Card Catalogs

Standing Room Only: Central Library’s Chairless Main Floor:


9 YA Retellings Out In 2017 That Breathe New Life Into The Fairytales & Classics

Gene Yang: A Graphic Novelist Caught Between Two Worlds

It’s Chemistry: 6 YA Thrillers That Get Romance Right | Bookish

Novels by YouTube stars are ruining children’s reading ages,
experts warn

Q & A with Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give – 

LA Times Book Prize Finalists

The Los Angeles Times has announced the finalists for their 2016 Book Prize. Winners will be announced on April 21st. The finalists include 55 titles covering a variety of themes and topics. One category focuses on young adult literature. Here are the five young adult finalists:

Burn Baby Burn Cover The Head of the Saint Cover

Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina

The Head of the Saint by Socorro Acioli

The Lie Tree Cover March, Book Three Cover

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

March: Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell

The Passion of Dolssa Cover

The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry

We’re Going on an Egg Hunt by Laura Hughes


We’re Going on an Egg Hunt by Laura Hughes (9781681193144)

This lift-the-flap picture book is a riff on the beloved We’re Going on a Bear Hunt reworked with an Easter theme. Here a family of rabbits head out to find eggs on a lovely spring day. There are ten hidden eggs on the pages and not every flap has an egg hidden behind it. Along the way, the rabbits encounter a series of obstacles and how to navigate things like lambs, bees and ducks. The final very large egg hides a wolf and the rabbits and the reader have to work together to foil him.

Hughes has done a nice job of incorporating the rhythm and structure of the original book into this springy Easter version. Even the obstacles themselves have a springtime theme. The wolf at the end makes for a delightful twist that creates the joy of rushing back through the obstacles in reverse order and returning home just in the nick of time.

The use of flaps is particularly enjoyable when combined with an egg hunt. Children will enjoy lifting the flaps which are fairly sturdy and should survive small hands well. There are surprises underneath some of them and the chance to count upwards to ten as well.

Great for sharing with a small group of children or one-on-one, there will be lots of demand to be the one to lift the flaps because it is such fun. My guess is you will be reading this one again and again. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Bloomsbury.

Hello Spring! by Shelley Rotner


Hello Spring! by Shelley Rotner (9780823437528)

Released February 28, 2017.

Filled with bright and buoyant photographs, this picture book celebrates the arrival of spring. It moves from early spring filled with snowdrops emerging from the snow and the running of maple sap all the way through to the beginning of summer. In between, the book looks at flowers, bees, pollination, early garden crops, animals and much more. Even worms and snakes appear on the pages as the sunshine warms.

Rotner’s text is simple and straight forward. She writes with embedded rhymes, giving the text a wonderful poetic twist particularly when shared aloud. In other sections, she uses rhythm and repeating sentence structure to carry the celebratory tone forward and engage the reader.

Her photographs are equally compelling. Filled with light and the greens and blues of spring, they shine on the page. She has included children in many of the images, interacting with animals and plants. Throughout the book there is attention to diversity of the people on the page.

This is a spring fling of a book, worthy of being taken on a picnic or cuddled with on a rainy spring day. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Holiday House.