Caldecott Club Session 3

Posted & filed under Blog.

Hi! I’m Miss Eti, one of the Youth & Teen Services librarians. I hosted our third Caldecott Club session on Thursday, December 6 here at the library. After the wonderful conversations we had during our second session that blew my mind with the connections the kids made, I was eager to share some new picture books. I didn’t even realize it when I planned this session, but all of these books are about creativity, community, and individuality. During the Caldecott Club we look at amazing picture books and try to determine what makes them special and worthy of going to our Voting Party in January to win our Mock Caldecott. (If you’re new here and want to learn about our program, check out first blog post about Creating a Caldecott Community.)

One quick correction — our winners for session 2 were A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin and Blue by Laura Vaccaro Seeger.

The books we discussed in session 3 were:

Picture Walk

Rather than doing a formal read aloud of each book, we did picture walks. I had a volunteer help hold open the book for us, so we could all look at the pictures together – and make it easier for us to point out things they noticed. For the picture walk, we discussed each book’s visual features to examine the techniques the artists used and how they worked. Often I would prompt the group by asking them: What did you notice? How does this page make you feel? What makes this art distinguished? This time I also incorporated a timer thanks to our Head of Youth & Teen Services, Emily, to help me keep on track. I often struggled with giving each book equal time, so adding a timer helped us focus and made it fun for the kids to see if we could beat the clock. (And we did – but not for the next book…)

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael López

During our last session when I shared our upcoming books, M.A. made the connection between Jacqueline Woodson’s memoir Brown Girl Dreaming and her newest picture book, The Day We Begin, illustrated by Rafael López, so I knew I had to start with it.

I had just listened to the latest kidlitwomen* podcast where Linda Sue Park talked with Grace Lin about booktalking, as well as many other things. (I highly recommend listening to all of the episodes of this incredible podcast!) I began our discussion about The Day You Begin by trying to, as Linda Sue Park discussed, center the story in the children’s experiences, asking them if they have ever felt alone or different and then diving into the world of the story. The group immediately noticed the ruler as the door.  

F. thought about the ruler as measuring the girl. As we turned our attention to the next spread about Rigoberto from Venezuela, D. remarked that “Oh, they’re talking about immigrants” and observed his different emotions between the spread where he’s in nature and in the classroom. As F. said, “When the bird passed, he’s smiling but when the bird is gone, he got sad again.” This scene with Rigoberto opened up comments about names and the feeling when people get names wrong or right.

Later, our group noticed another ruler on the table when the girl is eating lunch and the others are talking about her. M.D. said “the people are ruling her and she feels judged.” I loved this literal interpretation of the symbolism. With our focus on the ruler, M.M. anticipated our discussion about the body next to a tree with the ruler design and asked our group to notice it. F. said “he looks lonely too, so he has a ruler too.” I was able to share some of the behind-the-scenes inspiration from Rafael López’s son, Santiago, thanks to the Seven Important Things Before Breakfast interview. The group noticed how the contrasting colors emphasized the boy’s isolation from the other kids playing. They were drawn into the following spread where “all that stands beside you is your own brave self.”

M.M. remarked “how the brightness of yellow is shining on him.”

As they reached the finale of the story where Angelina and Rigoberto find their community, the group compared the initial images of isolation and loneliness to the pictures of friendship and play, noticing how their body language shifted when they play together. They looked back at the beginning end papers and the final end papers, noticing the flowers blooming and creatures flying. F. remarked, “I like this book because it shows how to treat people right.”

What If… by Samantha Berger, illustrated by Mike Curato

We then got to revel in the power of creative spirit by picture walking through What If… by Samantha Berger, illustrated by Mike Curato. I loved sharing a bit of the backstory of their creative process, including Samantha Berger’s Dress a Day project and apartment flood and Mike’s inspiration from this project. I shared the animations from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast so the group could better understand Mike’s creative process. It was so fun sharing the fantastic easter egg of Mike taking a photo of the bowl as the top of the rocket ship.

The group really embraced the idea that everything can be art, trying to figure out which items made up the art. They loved the sugar cube igloo and marshmallow snowman. They were charmed by the sandpaper castle, saying, “we use that,” which speaks to the accessibility of using everyday items to make art – and inspire kids to make their own. The gatefold wowed everyone, especially with the dramatic build-up beforehand. They loved the unicorn, the rainbow bird, and the castle.

F. pointed out, “some things are things that exist and some don’t but all happen in your mind.” When they finally came to the protagonist’s room, they pointed out many connections to the beautiful images we had seen previously, like the solar system. They noted that the windows in the girl’s neighborhood show that people are always creating. They loved how creative this book was, so I had to end our picture walk by revealing the magical case cover. All they could say was wow.

This is the Nest that Robin Built by Denise Fleming

The small, different format of this book intrigued our group. Before the story even began, they got a feel for the natural setting of the story and the collage style of the art. They noticed the cumulative cycle and saw the pattern between each character’s contribution to help Robin build her nest. As D. said, “They all work together to make a nest like a food chain but different.” M.A. was instantly interested in the rhythm of the book and started to read it aloud to herself. The kids really wanted to know how  Denise Fleming made the fledgling’s fluff. They noticed the various textures we had encountered previously with each animal, now found together in the nest, including that subtle blue of eggshells.

Each page invited them to touch and feel it, noticing the myriad kinds of textures and designs. The gatefold of the robin building her nest made everything come together for our group. I loved observing M.D.’s lightbulb moment as she processed this spread and finally shared, “they’re not entirely finished [with the nest] until it has the birds in it.” They appreciated spotting the ladybugs in each spread, which made for a great storytime treat. They enjoyed this story, saying, “it was different since it wasn’t about humans.”

The Stuff of Stars by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Ekua Holmes

After the What If… case cover secret, the group asked me to reveal the case cover secrets first, so I began our picture walk of The Stuff of Stars by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Ekua Holmes by showing the case cover.

One participant said, “they [authors] know people check the case cover so they don’t want to give anything away.” F. said, “the secret case cover is all black and that’s how the story starts.” I revealed to them that the brilliant Ekua Holmes made the marble paper herself and put it together digitally. We jumped into the story by trying to spot something special on the first spread. Our group noticed the white dot on the page, using their artists’ eyes to see a red dot within it which I definitely couldn’t see before. M.D. said “maybe it’s the start of something.”

With a dramatic page turn, we were able to show the something they anticipated, the beautiful BANG that compelled our group to touch the textures and marvel at the art. They began asking questions about the origins of life and the big bang and the fireworks of stars. They even started to ruminate about hippopatumuses versus hippopotami. A good picture book makes you question and wonder and see things.  In the spread below, they shared all the things they saw from a bear, a face, butterflies, a giraffe, a lion, tiger, wolf, dog, cheetah, a snail, and an elephant. They saw all the possibilities in stardust.

They continually remarked upon the beauty of this art, recognizing how the colors shift as life forms and blues and greens gain prominence. F. made connections between a book we had read last time, We are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Frané Lessac, and its depiction of the Cherokee family’s experiences throughout the seasons with their community and the colorful celebration of creation and individuality in The Stuff of Stars. This book asks much of its young readers, but respects them enough to understand its depth and beauty. Our group certainly appreciated it.

VOTING!

After we had walked through each book in a whirlwind of color and conversation, we were ready to ballot. (Actually, this time some kids needed more time to examine the book on their own, which is an important part of this process, and I wish I could embed more time for individual exploration.) Each child received a paper ballot to select their top 2 choices (the first place book got 3 points, the second place book got 2 points). I asked for a helper at the beginning to help tally the results on our new  fancy whiteboard. The top 2 books then are the winners of our session and go on the Voting Party on January 10.

And the Session 3 Winners Are….


Join Us Next Time!

If you know a young person in 1st-8th grade who is interested in joining us, please register for our next Caldecott Club program on December 20 at 3:30-4:30. You don’t need a library card to sign up, but you do need a love of books & conversation!


Since you’ve spent all this time reading this post, I’ll even let you know which books we’ll be discussing:

Drawn Together by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat
Ocean Meets Sky by the Fan Brother
Hello Hello by Brendan Wenzel
Imagine! by Raúl Colón

Thanks for sticking all the way through this post… hope to see you next time!

 – Eti

Resources
A librarian always provides her resources – here are a series of resources I found while preparing for this program that you may want to check out:

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael López

Calling Caldecott Post
Book Trailer
Illustrator Rafael López on The Day You Begin (Seven Important Things Before Breakfast blog)
The Day You Begin, Begins (Rafael López blog)

What If… by Samantha Berger, illustrated by Mike Curato
What If… Mike Curato Used Mixed-Media to Make a Book? (Seven Important Things Before Breakfast blog)
What If we Told you the Story Behind The Story (NerdyBookClub Blog)
Book Trailer

This is the Nest that Robin Built by Denise Fleming
Calling Caldecott Post
Book Trailer

The Stuff of Stars by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Ekua Holmes
An Interview with Ekua Holmes
The Stuff of Stars Resources from Marion Dane Bauer
My Favorite Book by Marion Dane Bauer
Picture book of the day: life is cosmic in The Stuff of Stars (Mr. Brian’s Picture Book Picks)
I
mages Source: https://rafaellopez.com/2018/08/27/the-day-you-begin-begins

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caldecott Club Session 2

Posted & filed under Blog.

Hi! I’m Miss Eti, one of the Youth & Teen Services librarians. I hosted our second Caldecott Club session on Thursday, November 29, here at the library. After the wonderful conversations we had during our first session, I was pumped to dive into a new set of amazing picture books and see what the kids noticed. During the Caldecott Club we look at amazing picture books and try to determine what makes them special and worthy of going to our Voting Party in January to win our Mock Caldecott. (If you’re new here and want to learn about our program, check out first blog post about Creating a Caldecott Community.)

The books we discussed in session 2 were:

Picture Walk

Rather than doing a formal read aloud of each book, we did picture walks. I had a student volunteer help hold open the book for us, so we could all look at the pictures together – and make it easier for us to point out things they noticed. For the picture walk, we discussed each book’s visual features to examine the techniques the artists used and how they worked. Often I would prompt the group by asking them: What did you notice? How does this page make you feel? What makes this art distinguished?

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga

While I let the group choose the book we read first last time, I wanted to begin with a book that I think is truly distinct and exceptional, unlike anything I’ve ever seen. (Honestly, if it was up to me we’d spend an entire session just on this book alone; we almost did!) I was so excited to share We are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Frané Lessac. We began by learning how to pronounce Otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-le-gah) thanks to the amazing audio pronunciation guide “from Emilee Chavez, a Cherokee Nation citizen and language speaker” on the Charlesbridge website.  It was really wonderful to repeat Otsaliheliga as we went through the seasons. Frané Lessac’s vibrant and colorful art engaged the kids & provoked their curiosity. They delighted in spotting the pileated woodpecker.

During my research, I learned from the Children’s Book Podcast with Matthew Winner interview with Traci Sorrell that the original art had an owl, but Traci shared that “that is not a messenger of good things for Cherokee people” and the art was changed. I told the kids this information and asked them what they thought about changing the art. One kid said, “The book is about being grateful, and the owl doesn’t fit into that.” Another kid remarked thinking about how Cherokee people would feel if there were an owl, that “they would be shocked.” Each moment in this beautiful book provided opportunities to expand our understanding. They asked thoughtful questions about the Cherokee syllabary and were eager to learn more about it thanks to the awesome back-matter. 

S. asked about Traci Sorell’s inspiration for making this book. In the author’s note, she states: “I am grateful for the opportunity to provide a contemporary view of Cherokee culture in this book. From my childhood to today there have been few books that show present-day Cherokee children and families. Most have focused on our traditional stories or historical figures or events. Other books have misrepresented culture or perpetuated stereotypes… Many of us still observe the ancestral and ceremonial ways of life. We also live and work in the modern non-Cherokee world…”

I am grateful for the amazing back-matter to help me answer the many questions our kids asked.  This book was also a great conversation starter that let us know that we need to know more. The intricate details in the illustrations continued to engage our group. R. noticed that the leaves looked like fingerprints in the trees. She also noticed the girl in purple during winter feeding her dog at the table. At the end of the book, D. remarked that she liked how the book began and ended the same way, with the family surrounded by the four seasons. As we closed our discussion of We are Grateful: Otsaliheliga and played the book trailer,  something was still lingering in D.’s mind. She talked about how her expectations of the book were different than what she expected, alluding to other stories of Native people that depict them in tales of long ago. She said: “Sometimes the stories are not what’s really happening”  and “Sometimes what we’re told is not true.”

This is the power of a picture book.

A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin

We then turned our attention to A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin. I drew their attention to the dedication to Grace Lin’s daughter, Hazel, and told them the origin story of the book with Grace Lin and her daughter celebrating the Moon Festival with mooncakes. (You can learn more about the story here. I also recommend watching this video where Grace shares her inspiration behind A Big Mooncake for Little Star.) Our group noticed the little details in the illustrations especially the body language and facial expressions. They appreciated the symmetry of the mooncake and Little Star in half circles across from each other. It was a lovely moment when they connected with the crumbs as stars, suspending their disbelief and entering the world of story. They noticed when Little Star returns to bed that she has no intention of sleeping based on the way she’s lying on her bed. These subtle differences really caught their eye. They were wowed by the dramatic moment when the phases of the moon are revealed, which led me to pause and show them the case cover secret. (I learned from Mr. Schu, librarian and Ambassador of School Libraries for Scholastic Book Fairs, to always check for a case cover secret.) We then turned to examine Little Star and her mother’s body language and expressions that reveal the deep love between them. At the end of looking at A Mooncake for Little Star, D. said, “You’re making me feel like I want to pick all the books.” Mission accomplished.

Blue by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Next, we looked at Blue by Laura Vaccaro Seeger with an ice-breaker asking the kids to tell me how many kind of blue there are, which ranged from 3 to 17. They were thoroughly impressed by the die-cuts in the narrative, with one participant, M., trying to find the connections between each of then as they become new things. The group also noticed the baby blanket (and eventual bandana) in the pictures as the boy and his dog grow.  (I guess this is a good time for a spoiler alert.) I told the group that this book causes me all sorts of feelings. Honestly, I tear up every time I get to the True Blue page. When we got to the Old Blue, I asked the group about the dog. One said he looks sad. M. asked, “Is he dying?” and I answered honestly. Yes, he is. Sob. When I asked the group how they felt looking at the True Blue page, R. blew me away with her answer. She said, “I kind of feel happy. They’ve had such a good life.” Such wisdom comes from young people. I was able to share Laura’s story of loss with them, working on painting the True Blue spread while her own dog Copper became ill and passed away. According to her interview with Julie Danielson on the Seven Important Things Before Breakfast blog, “The timing was remarkable, and the last few spreads were painted while my own tears dripped upon the canvas. Writing Blue, as it turns out, explored my own loyalty and sadness — in real time.” And of course, when I told the children this, they instantly went to seek out evidence of tears on the True Blue spread.

They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki

With our time quickly coming to an end, we swiftly picture walked through They say Blue by Jillian Tamaki. I began by showing them the case cover secret which impressed them very much. Like the narrator wondering about the world around her, our group had many questions while looking through this book. They noticed the comic-like repetition of the girl moving across the page to show her in motion, changing and growing. They saw the similar textures and styles used for different things in nature. My favorite spread definitely is the winter to spring transformation, especially right now as winter is just beginning. As we finished reading the book, they also noticed on the cover that Jillian Tamaki had received a Caldecott Honor previously, noticing those little details that open up even more conversations. 

VOTING!

After we had walked through each book in a whirlwind of color and conversation, we were ready to ballot. Each child received a paper ballot to select their top 2 choices (the first place book got 3 points, the second place book got 2 points). I asked for a helper at the beginning to help tally the results on our new  fancy whiteboard. The top 2 books then are the winners of our session and go on the Voting Party on January 10.

And the Session 2 Winners Are….

 


Join Us Next Time!

If you know a young person in 1st-8th grade who is interested in joining us, please register for our next Caldecott Club program on December 6 at 3:30-4:30. You don’t need a library card to sign up, but you do need a love of books & conversation!


Since you’ve spent all this time reading this post, I’ll even let you know which books we’ll be discussing:

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael López
What If… by Samantha Berger, illustrated by Mike Curato
This is the Nest that Robin Built by Denise Fleming
The Stuff of Stars by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Ekua Holmes

Thanks for sticking all the way through this post… hope to see you next time!

 – Eti

Resources
A librarian always provides her resources – here are a series of resources I found while preparing for this program that you may want to check out:

We are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Frané Lessac

Highly recommended:  We Are Grateful/Otsaliheliga, by Traci Sorell from American Indians in Children’s Literature by Dr. Debbie Reese

The Children’s Book Podcast with Matthew Winner interview with Traci Sorell

Calling Caldecott Post

Book Trailer (created by Frané Lessac)

Publisher Resources including audio pronunciations & teaching guide

Charlesbrige Unplugged: Traci Sorell

Read.Watch.Read. Mr. Schu’s interview with Traci Sorell

New Voice: Traci Sorell on We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Cynsations)

 

A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin

Book Chat with the Illustrator: Grace Lin on A BIG MOONCAKE FOR LITTLE STAR

All the Wonders Cover Reveal and Interview

A Big Mooncake for Little Star Activities (Curious City DPW)

Book Trailer

Behind A Big Mooncake for Little Star

PictureBooking Podcast with Grace Lin

 

Blue by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Trailer

Seven Important Things Before Breakfast interview with Laura Vaccaro Seeger

 

They say Blue by Jillian Tamaki

Calling Caldecott Post

Jillian Tamaki Talks with Roger

 

 

 

 

New Book Tuesday!

Posted & filed under Blog.

The Point of It All: A Lifetime of Great Loves and Endeavors by Charles Krauthammer

Created and compiled by Charles Krauthammer before his death, The Point of It All is a powerful collection of the influential columnist’s most important works. Spanning the personal, the political and the philosophical, it includes never-before-published speeches and a major new essay about the effect of today’s populist movements on the future of global democracy. Edited and with an introduction by the columnist’s son, Daniel Krauthammer, it is the most intimate and profound book yet by the legendary writer and thinker.

In his decades of work as America’s preeminent political commentator, Charles Krauthammer elevated the opinion column to a form of art. Whether writing about statecraft and foreign policy or reflecting on more esoteric topics such as baseball, spaceflight and medical ethics, Krauthammer was beloved not only for his penetrating wit and insight but also for his ability to identify the hidden moral truths that animate our politics and culture.

This new collection, which Krauthammer composed before his death in June 2018, features the columns, speeches and unpublished writings that showcase the best of his original thought and his last, enduring words on the state of American politics, the nature of liberal democracy and the course of world history.

The book also includes a deeply personal section offering insight into Krauthammer’s beliefs about what mattered most to him–friendship, family and the principles he lived by–all anchored by Daniel Krauthammer’s poignant eulogy for his father.

For longtime readers and newcomers alike, The Point of It All is a timely demonstration of what it means to cut through the noise of petty politics with clarity, integrity and intellectual fortitude. It is a reminder of what made Charles Krauthammer the most celebrated American columnist and political thinker of his generation, a revealing look at the man behind the words and a lasting testament to his belief that anyone with an open and honest mind can grapple deeply with the most urgent questions in politics and in life.

 

Mission Impossible – Fallout

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) chooses to save his team over completing a mission, allowing stolen plutonium to fall into the wrong hands. Now, he must partner with a hard-hitting CIA agent (Henry Cavill) in a race against time to stop a nuclear threat.

 

WestWorld – Season Two

In the wake of the Season 1 uprising by the android hosts of ‘Westworld,’ the fates of the hosts and humans in the park will be revealed.

 

 

The Nun

When a nun commits suicide, a priest and novitiate investigate. Together they uncover the order’s unholy secret, the same demonic nun that first appeared in “The Conjuring 2”.

 

 

The Happytime Murders 

The Happytime Murders is set in the underbelly of Los Angeles where puppets and humans coexist. Two clashing detectives, one human and one puppet, are forced to work together to try and solve who is brutally murdering the former cast of “The Happytime Gang,” a beloved classic puppet show.