Who doesn’t make New Year’s resolutions? The past year’s slate is wiped clean and another 12 months stretch in front of us, ready to be filled with new skills, deeper knowledge, and a stronger connection to the community. And the library has a great place to start: Flipster, our digital magazine portal.
Beginning this month, 11 new magazine titles have been added with Lincolnwood residents’ interests in mind.
Conde Nast Traveler, Food & Travel and Midwest Living offer a chance to venture beyond the Chicago area, either in real life or as an armchair traveler.
Knitting, Do It Yourself, Digital Photographer and Poets & Writers should appeal to anyone looking to learn a new skill or further explore their hobbies.
Parents, Eating Well and Glamour each focus on lifestyle, whether you have a young family, a desire to improve your diet or just want to spruce up your look. (Fans of the now-shuttered Cooking Light will be pleased to know that it has merged with Eating Well.)
Of course, the magazine lineup doesn’t stop there. Flipster also provides access to favorite titles like The New Yorker, Chicago magazine, Good Housekeeping, People, Rolling Stone and more. To get started, all you’ll need is your library card. You can access the Flipster website through the Lincolwood library’s own app: in the Digital Library, click on the Magazines link. Or download the Flipster app and you’ll be able to create a virtual shelf as well as keep your place on a particular page even when you log off. For more information about accessing Flipster via the app or your computer, check out our step-by-step guide.
And if print is your preferred format, current and past issues of magazines are available in our café, where you can relax in front of the fire with a warm drink while reading. (Past issues also are available for checkout.)
In New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson’s second novel in the Truly Devious series, there are more twists and turns than Stevie Bell can imagine. No answer is given freely, and someone will pay for the truth with their life.
The Truly Devious case—an unsolved kidnapping and triple murder that rocked Ellingham Academy in 1936—has consumed Stevie for years. It’s the very reason she came to the academy. But then her classmate was murdered, and her parents quickly pull her out of school. For her safety, they say. She must move past this obsession with crime.
Stevie’s willing to do anything to get back to Ellingham, be back with her friends, and solve the Truly Devious case. Even if it means making a deal with the despicable Senator Edward King. And when Stevie finally returns, she also returns to David: the guy she kissed, and the guy who lied about his identity—Edward King’s son.
But larger issues are at play. Where did the murderer hide? What’s the meaning of the riddle Albert Ellingham left behind? And what, exactly, is at stake in the Truly Devious affair? The Ellingham case isn’t just a piece of history—it’s a live wire into the present.
This deeply sensitive and powerful debut novel tells the story of a thirteen-year-old who must overcome internalized racism and a verbally abusive family to finally learn to love herself.
There are ninety-six things Genesis hates about herself. She knows the exact number because she keeps a list. Like #95: Because her skin is so dark, people call her charcoal and eggplant—even her own family. And #61: Because her family is always being put out of their house, belongings laid out on the sidewalk for the world to see. When your dad is a gambling addict and loses the rent money every month, eviction is a regular occurrence.
What’s not so regular is that this time they all don’t have a place to crash, so Genesis and her mom have to stay with her grandma. It’s not that Genesis doesn’t like her grandma, but she and Mom always fight—Grandma haranguing Mom to leave Dad, that she should have gone back to school, that if she’d married a lighter skinned man none of this would be happening, and on and on and on. But things aren’t all bad. Genesis actually likes her new school; she’s made a couple friends, her choir teacher says she has real talent, and she even encourages Genesis to join the talent show.
But how can Genesis believe anything her teacher says when her dad tells her the exact opposite? How can she stand up in front of all those people with her dark, dark skin knowing even her own family thinks lesser of her because of it? Why, why, why won’t the lemon or yogurt or fancy creams lighten her skin like they’re supposed to? And when Genesis reaches #100 on the list of things she hates about herself, will she continue on, or can she find the strength to begin again?
Rick Riordan Presents Yoon Ha Lee’s space opera about thirteen-year-old Min, who comes from a long line of fox spirits. But you’d never know it by looking at her. To keep the family safe, Min’s mother insists that none of them use any fox-magic, such as Charm or shape-shifting. They must appear human at all times.
Min feels hemmed in by the household rules and resents the endless chores, the cousins who crowd her, and the aunties who judge her. She would like nothing more than to escape Jinju, her neglected, dust-ridden, and impoverished planet. She’s counting the days until she can follow her older brother, Jun, into the Space Forces and see more of the Thousand Worlds.
When word arrives that Jun is suspected of leaving his post to go in search of the Dragon Pearl, Min knows that something is wrong. Jun would never desert his battle cruiser, even for a mystical object rumored to have tremendous power. She decides to run away to find him and clear his name.
Min’s quest will have her meeting gamblers, pirates, and vengeful ghosts. It will involve deception, lies, and sabotage. She will be forced to use more fox-magic than ever before, and to rely on all of her cleverness and bravery. The outcome may not be what she had hoped, but it has the potential to exceed her wildest dreams.
This sci-fi adventure with the underpinnings of Korean mythology will transport you to a world far beyond your imagination.
“I came here for the cookies and We Don’t Eat our Classmates, too” – Mo.M.
Hi! I’m Miss Eti, one of the Youth & Teen Services librarians. I hosted our fifth and final Caldecott Club session on Thursday, January 10 from 3:30-5:00 at Lincolnwood Public Library. Over the course of the past two months, we looked at 16 incredible picture books published in 2018, conducted picture walks through the books to examine the art with our artist eyes, and voted for our top 8 books that would go to our voting party. We had also developed as a community of readers, gaining new members of the Caldecott Club, who each added new insights to our discussions. It had all come down to this session where we’d choose THE best picture book of 2018. (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 were: Ocean Meets Sky by the Fan Brothers
Hello Hello by Brendan Wenzel
A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin
Blue by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael López
The Stuff of Stars by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Ekua Holmes
We Don’t Eat our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins
The Field by Baptiste Paul, illustrations by Jacqueline Alcántara
We began our session by reviewing what the Caldecott award is, which is “most distinguished American picture book for children awarded by the Association for Library Service to Children.” Our group used their own language to determine what makes a Caldecott worthy book. S. said it’s “knowing the story by the pictures.” Mo. M said, “The pictures can’t look like a blop,” to which M.A. added, “unless you’re going for that like The Dot.” I tried to provide lots of opportunities for the kids to take on leadership roles and assert their agency during this program, creating lists of jobs for the program like passing out books, collecting books, and giving out the ballots, as well as a discussion sign-up where each participant could help lead the conversation about a book they were passionate about. I’m super lucky that the kids at my library are always eager to help out, including M.A., who even came early to help me set up the program. I also told the kids to be strict with me about listening to our 5-minute timer, so we had enough time to talk about each book. We focused our discussion focused on these questions: Why should this book win (or not) our Caldecott? What did we like about the art? What does it make you feel? What stands out to you about the art?
Missing his grandfather, Finn sets out on a fantastical journey to find the place where the ocean meets sky.
N. led our discussion about this contemplative book. She started by sharing how she liked how “it’s all in one color for some of it.” Mo. M. added that the “pictures show Finn’s feelings basically.” I. added that when Finn is sad, everything is gray. Our group leaned into the emotional undertones of the story. “I felt kind of sad,” said S., “since he wanted to go on the journey with his grandfather, but he had to go alone.” My. M. added, “It’s very calming and kind of sad, but when you look at it more and and at the pictures, it makes you feel happy.” Our group noticed the differences between the muted memory pictures at the beginning and the colorful adventurous palette. They also noticed the signature Fan Brothers art style. “I mostly like the art because it’s so realistic,” C. said. “I like how detailed it is with the light. It looks like you could touch it,” added D. Only that morning did I notice The Gold Fish book in Finn’s grandfather’s study, revealing everything that is to come on his journey. Our group discovered new things every time we looked at Ocean Meets Sky. And of course, M.A. closed our discussion by treating us to a secret case cover reveal.
Vibrant, colorful and wondrous animals show how all creatures are interconnected.
M. led our discussion by revealing the marvelous patterns within the book, sharing that the last animal on each page becomes the first animal on the next page. These patterns entranced and excited our group. They shared how it had a lot of kid appeal, which is an essential part of the Caldecott criteria. “It’s really funny,” shared My. M. “I think kids will like this because it has a lot of color like the page with the turtle,” added Mo. M. The “Hello Pose” spread really is a fan favorite. “It looks like the texture is popping out,” S. shared. D. also urged us to consider the value of the book. “It’s also really important since in the back, it says the animals are endangered or mostly endangered and people will think animals are really cool, and find out they’re endangered, they’ll try to help save them.” F. added, “it makes you want to love animals even more.” This book’s call to action truly resonated with our group, using the art to reach their hearts.
When several children feel like they don’t fit in, they discover ways to share their stories and find community and friendship.
L helped lead our discussion. Our group immediately was drawn to the endpapers. S.C. noticed the differences between the special pink flower at the beginning and end. Mo. M remarked, “It looks creative because the door is like a ruler.” The themes of being new and trying to find friendship stood out for our group. S. that it was an accurate depiction of new being new at school. My. M shared that “even though it’s a little sad, they made it really colorful.” F. shared how much she liked how the kids became friends at the end. D. shared that she really liked this book because “it tells you people should accept people’s differences.”
Penelope Rex is a dinosaur who is nervous about her first day of school, but eager to meet her new classmates. Things get complicated when she eats them.
Ma.M. helped lead our discussion of this hilarious book. She said, “It’s children-worthy. It’s childish, it’s fun, it’s funny. I really like the real drawings by real kids. You can tell they’re real drawings by how they’re made. And there’s a secret cover.” She pointed out the succulent tuna sandwiches in Penelope’s lunch. Mo. M noted the monochrome backgrounds in the book, pointing out that “I think it’s all grey because they want you pay more attention to the dinosaur and the kids.” D. was impressed by the composition of the class, sharing the variety of cultures represented in the classroom. Kids notice this attention to detail; representation truly matters. The kids connected to the theme about adjusting to a new community. “It shows being different can be okay, as long as you can adapt to your surroundings,” S. shared. Our group agreed that this book shows that people will eventually make friends.
The story of the start of the universe leading up to the creation of you, the reader.
D. helped lead the discussion about this cosmic tale. “A lot of people don’t really think about how the universe was made and this basically explains how it was made. Like this page where the Big Bang happened. If they really like this book, they’ll want to learn more and get more into science,” D. shared. She pointed out how detailed and colorful the hand-marbled pictures are, and how the colors blend together. N. pointed out that she loved how the letters (typography) are actually big, adding to the design of the book. Mo. M. did have some questions about the art, saying that “the art doesn’t really make sense [to me]. I’m trying to see a galaxy in purples and diamonds.” I was able to share Edi Campbell’s Calling Caldecott insights about how the “art mirrors the text”: “You can see examples of this toward the end of the book where there is order from the chaos and the printed words are arranged on a separate, blank space.” This book continued to spark curiosity. D. asked about the page with the butterflies and giraffes, contrasting with the text that said they didn’t exist yet, leading us into a conversation about all matter existing at the beginning. She added that “I like it for the art and not a lot of people think about how the universe was created,” to which one participant added, “I do.” We have some deep thinkers in our Caldecott Club.
A poignant story of a boy’s relationship with his beloved dog told through different kinds of blue they experience.
S. led our discussion of this minimalist, emotional book. “It shows the story of a dog and their owner and the love between them. The art is very cool and the holes correspond to the pictures on the page before it, like the blueberries,” S. shared. My. M., as always, shared the emotional hook of the story: “Most people think of blue as a sad color, but this book shows it can be happy color.” M.D. added, “it’s really sad how the dog dies.” We agreed that the saddest pages were Old Blue and True Blue. M.D. told us “I like how it has the shapes and holes [die-cuts].” S. was curious about the origins of this story if it actually happened. 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.” Thinking about kid appeal, Mo. M. said, “I think kids will like it because of the color and because they probably like animals.” S. concluded our ruminations by thinking about the medium of the art: “It was really impressive that she could paint every page of this book and it’s also impressive how she can express her feelings and let it go into the world.”
Little Star cannot resist the mooncake that her mama has made, and so with each little nibble, the phases of the moon appear in this beautiful book about family traditions and love.
My. M. led our discussion about this delectable book, saying, “it’s really nice. I like what it represents. While [Little Star] is eating the mooncake, it shows the different phases of the moon.” S. was impressed with the art style in depicting the characters. “It’s cool how she can make the shape of the bodies using stars because the black background matches together, so it’s hard to do that,” she said. My.M agreed that “it’s really nice how at first, it looks really easy – but you know it’s not easy to make those little dots.” Our group contemplated how beautiful art (like dancing, I’d say) can look effortless while revealing the incredible hard work and challenges that go into making it look that way. Our group could feel the delight and joy on each page. “I love how she makes little stars and her name is Little Star,” D. gushed. Mo. M. shared the wonderful case cover secret, revealing the hidden phases of the moon. My. M. was amused by the humor within the book: “It’s really humorous. They made it and now she ate it and they’re making it again and she’s going to eat it again.” S. got to the heart of this beautiful tale, saying, “it’s the bond between a mother and child doing something together.”
The Field by Baptiste Paul, illustrations by Jacqueline Alcántara
Set on an Caribbean island and told with a mixture of English and Creole, children gather together to play futbol with effervescent energy that is undeterred by livestock, pouring rain, or mothers calling them in from the game.
D. helped lead the discussion of this joyful, playful tale, immediately sharing the author’s note and pointing out Baptiste Paul’s reasons for making this book. Our group connected to the theme of resilience and resourcefulness. “You just need friends and a ball to play,” S. shared. During the playing in the rain scene, Mo. M. made connections to his own knowledge of international soccer teams. D. tapped into the message of the book, saying, “it shows they keep on playing no matter what because they have each other.” Mo. M. added. “I like how in some places they’re puddles, but not everywhere. There’s different people everywhere.” My. M. also commented on the metaphors of the book, pointing to the next page when the sun returns, telling us, “Once you’re through the hard times, you go and then the sun comes out.” I. pointed out that the book “wasn’t really about a main character; it’s about everybody.” M.S. shared her insights about the title: “I think the title corresponds with the story because the story talks about the field is where they play no matter what, with the cows, whether it’s raining or their mom is calling. It doesn’t matter where they’re playing; they’re playing and having a good time.”
Having reviewed our 8 books, our group was ready to choose their winner. Our ballot helpers handed out our ballots, as well as a survey to get the kids’ feedback about this program. Mo. M. and My. M. kindly helped me with the math, which always overwhelms me. They both got to discover our winners before everyone else, but kept the secret. Once we determined our winner and honors, the kids glued the book covers to our Caldecott Club poster we had been using and put our official Caldecott Club stickers on the book covers. We raffled off posters including a Hello, Hello poster, a print from The Day You Begin, and two of our Caldecott Club posters. Everyone received a free 2018 Caldecott Award poster donated by Baker & Taylor. We have lots leftover so feel free to stop by if you want a poster or ten. Finally, our group received their well-deserved CaldeCookies as a delicious treat for their hard work!
Our group created this video to “make the call” to let Ryan T. Higgins to let him know that they had chosen his book as our Mock Caldecott winner.
Dare I say, our Caldecott Club helped create new bonds of friendship during our program. I think Penelope would be proud – and Walter the fish would be jealous.
But wait, there’s more!
Please join us for a live viewing party at the library during the webcast of the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards on Monday, January 28 at 10am, including the Newbery and Caldecott awards. We’ll provide predictions, refreshments, and giveaways! This year the ALA will also highlight titles selected by the American Indian Library Association (AILA), Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), and the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL). The Coretta Scott King Book Awards is celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2019! This event is basically the “Oscars of Children’s Literature,” so you won’t want to miss it. RSVP at our Facebook event here!
If you’re still here at the end of this post, feel free to go back to where it all started. Check out our complete 2019 Caldecott Club series!
Hi! I’m Miss Eti, one of the Youth & Teen Services librarians. I hosted our fourth Caldecott Club session on Thursday, December 20 from 3:30-4:30 at Lincolnwood Public Library. A wonderful thing about Caldecott Club is that it can grow in unexpected, delightful ways, starting with a core group who bring their friends – and sometimes even siblings – to the subsequent sessions. Together, our discussions become more nuanced and thoughtful with more voices to share their perspectives.
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.)
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 at each table, 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? I incorporated a timer again thanks to our Head of Youth & Teen Services, Emily, to help me keep on track and one of our dedicated participants was in charge of the timer. 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… I wonder if the Caldecott Committee struggles with their timers. I bet they do.)
Our group instantly noticed the little details on the cover of Drawn Together. M.M. spotted the “Caldecott Medalist” above Dan Santat’s name, which prompted her to ask where the Caldecott Medal sticker was. (Hint, hint, 2019 Caldecott committee…) We then discussed that Dan Santat had won the Caldecott award for The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, which conjured up all sorts of positive feelings and love for Beekle. Our group was instantly drawn to the book cover, noticing so many colorful details and making predictions about the story. I used the dedication page with photographs of Minh’s Vietnamese grandfather and Dan’s Thai grandmother to share more about the origins of this book in their relationships with their grandparents. The boy and his grandfather’s facial expressions and body language stood out to the group as they used visual cues to understand emotions in each scene. Thanks to Dan Santat’s parents, we have the translation of the grandfather’s words in each scene, so I had a participant turn back to the copyright page to read the grandfather’s dialogue. M.A. noticed something startling: “They say the same thing at the same time.” F. added, “they don’t know how to communicate with each other.” We noticed that there is no narration in the text this whole time, amplifying the tension between them. M.M. reflected on the boy’s experience, saying, “If he understood, he’d be so much happier.” Once the narration began, we took turns reading the text. Once the boy and grandfather started drawing, everything changed. With a dramatic page turn, our group gasped in wonder at the vibrant colors and intricate painting that demonstrated the boy’s modern art style and his grandfather’s traditional methods. “This is a nice book. I like this,” M.A. declared. They noticed Dan Santat’s details like the wand/staff on opposite sides of the distance between and marveled when they are impacted by using each other’s magical devices. They noticed that the bridge was made of the dragon they faced – and it made us think about the dragon from the movie they were watching.
D. wondered if Dan Santat told Minh Lê what to write, so I was able to share they did not talk throughout the creation process. We talked about how Minh Lê had written the text, purposefully leaving lots of room for Dan Santat, as he said in a Publisher’s Weekly interview with Dan Santat, “My approach as a picture book author is to tell a story as streamlined as possible, to basically just create space for you illustrators to work your magic.” I shared the quote that Minh often shares in interviews from Antoine de St. Exupéry, “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.“ M.A. shared the beautiful case cover secret, showing the grandfather’s sketch book underneath the jacket. They really appreciated the artistry and details within this book to the point where we had to stop discussing it or we’d never get to our other books. Such is the challenge of a beautiful work of art. Later, while we were waiting for our ballot team to figure out the winner, I played the video below from Dan Santat where he explains how he made the art for Drawn Together. Dan said in the Publisher’s Weekly interview, “You have no idea how much this book changed me as an artist. I used to work mostly digitally. Beekle was probably a good 80% digital and 20% traditional. Drawn Together was completely opposite. It was more of a 75% traditional and 25% digital. The computer was mainly just for collaging all the elements together and I moved parts around like a puzzle. Now I work more in the manner of Drawn Together in my current projects. I’ve embraced the impulsiveness of creating and I’ve reverted back to using more traditional media over digital.”
We then turned our attention to another book about a relationship with a grandfather. I shared with the group that Ocean Meets Sky by the Fan Brothers was made with graphite and illustrated digitally. According to an interview with Alyson Beecher of KidLit Frenzy, the Fan Brothers explained that “We scan the monochrome drawing and then colour it in Photoshop. Again, it’s a collaborative process and we can always count on the great feedback from our editor and art director to help steer us in the right direction if we’re unsure about something.” The kids shared that they had learned about monochrome in art, which is fantastic and helped them understand this text better. (Imagine doing a Mock Caldecott in an art class! How phenomenal would that be?) Our group noticed the muted colors when Finn makes his ship and the colorful changes when he embarks on his magical journey. With a dramatic page turn, he wakes up on the ocean and meets the great golden fish. Our group gasped with wows and whohs and statements of approval. Ever the pragmatist, D. asked, “Where are his parents?” This book definitely asked us to suspend our disbelief and expect the unexpected. My favorite spread was the Library Islands, obviously. (It was fun to point out the intertextuality in this scene, especially the book spine with The Night Gardener written on it.)
Our group made a connection between finding the picture of a jellyfish in the grandfather’s room and the spectacular bird’s eye view scene of the floating jellyfish. D. mused again, “Did the water fall away or did the boat lift from the water?” which shows just how this book sparks wonder. As F. said, “[this book has] things that can’t happen but when you imagine it, they do.” R. was blown away by the double-page spread when Finn is heralded home by the moon (a symbol for his grandfather) and a wave of fish birds, declaring, “the picture is really pretty and glowing – and the birds.” The art was just overwhelming. MA.M. disagreed: “I like the one with the whale better.” There’s definitely something for everyone in this imaginative book. When Finn heard the voice calling him home, the group predicted that it was the grandfather. We talked about how you can feel like you hear their voice when you miss people. Using metaphor, this book helped us have a deeper understanding of the process of grief and loss of a loved one. D. still mused “I wish it was real.” We concluded by sharing the secret case cover, which left our group speechless.
With time counting down, we had to zoom through Hello Hello. We began by exploring the case cover secret and endpapers. This book has so much kid-appeal to engage kids of all ages – because animals. I shared the theme of our interconnected relationship with animals and challenged the group to find these connections. I tried to remember everything I had learned from him during his visit last spring to Evanston Public Library, where he said, “I want you to feel how interconnected everything on earth is; Wildlife conservationists are superheroes for animals.”
R. loved the panda on the second spread. I pointed out those Wenzelian eyes that Brian Wilson mentioned in his Calling Caldecott post. R. noticed that the black cat on the previous page was on this page and the fish on this page continues on the next one. Suddenly, everyone started making these connections and seeing how the pages flow together, sharing their realizations and insights. As F. said, “the fish from the other page is saying hello to them.” They loved the colorful rainbow of animals and were curious to know more about the real life animals. I. just wanted to touch the “Hello Pattern, Hello Pose” page with its lush textures and vibrant colors.
R. admitted being a bit disappointed that it wasn’t textured, but agreed that the illustration was effective since it made her want to touch it, especially the pangolin. (Brendan, If you ever want to remake this book into a touch & feel book, these kids would definitely be your first takers.) D. wanted to know if there was really a turtle like the one on this page, which again could lead us into all sorts of research and inquiry. And thanks to the fantastic back-matter that lists the animals in order of appearance, D. and I could go do research about the green sea turtle (endangered). Some kids wanted to know if these animals are really endangered. I pointed out the note from the author at the end that indicated that “many of these creatures are in trouble- considered to be Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered, or Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.” With the chart of animals and their innate sense of curiosity, they can learn more about these animals and seek out ways to help them. As Brendan Wenzel wrote, “The more that people know about these creatures, the better the chance they will share this planet with us for many years to come. It starts with saying hello.” R.’s response: “I am so voting for this book.”
We finished our picture walk by exploring pictures that walk… Immediately M.D. made a connection between Imagine! and Journey by Aaron Becker, a 2014 Caldecott Honor book, as both imaginative wordless picture books. M.A. declared that “no words make it really cool.” I shared with them that Raúl Colón made this book with watercolor, prismacolor pencils and lithograph pencils on Arches paper. R. noted that “It would take a lot of time to make this book.” D. shared that the texture of the paper “looks like thumb prints.” When the boy checked his helmet and and skateboard, our group was curious to know if he had to pay. I hope that they waived the fee to make the museum more accessible to him as a young person. As they journeyed into the museum, R. remarked that “you can never get too close to the art,” making connections between her experiences and the boy’s encounters in the museum. I truly believe that good picture books are like experiencing art museums at your fingertips – with no alarms to stop you from getting as close as you want to be. The more kinds of picture books we can share with young people, the more beauty they will see and create in the world.
When the boy brings the characters into the city, we discussed how they experience all kinds of art, from music and dance (the group was excited to point out all the kinds of instruments) to reading and writing. Our group was very curious to know if the boy liberated real paintings. I shared that the paintings were Picasso’s Three Musicians, Rousseau’s The Sleeping Gypsy, and Matisse’s Icarus. Ever curious, D. remarked, “Isn’t that copying? Can’t you go to jail for that?” (Imagine the possibilities using this book to share a lesson about fair use, copyright, and art.) After this session, I found that Raúl Colón addressed this question in an interview with Publisher’s Weekly, saying, “The only issue was the use of the paintings. The museum holds the copyright, so if I was using a painting I had to make sure it wasn’t the full image. I couldn’t show a whole full painting by itself. I had to make sure the boy or something else was in front of it. When the characters came out of the painting I was allowed to change them around. That’s why the Matisse character has a hat and heels.” When the boy makes art from the art he has seen, our group wondered again about copying and discussed how all art is inspired by other art and it’s how the boy combined the inspiration that makes it unique.
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 4 Winners Are….
The Books Going to the Party
Over the course of our 4 Caldecott Club sessions, we selected 8 books to go to our Voting Party. The books we’ll discuss to determine what is the best picture book are:
The Field by Baptiste Paul, illustrations by Jacqueline Alcántara
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 January 10 from 3:30-5:00. Note our new end time since we need extra time to talk about 8 books. You don’t need a library card to sign up, but you do need a love of books & conversation!
Thanks for sticking all the way through this post… hope to see you next time!
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:
It’s the most wonderful time of the year when book awards and best book lists are released to much fanfare and excitement. Throughout the year we read voraciously to discover incredible books and share them with young people and their caregivers. We seek out those best lists to ensure we haven’t missed an excellent book to add to our collection and of course, see if our predictions were correct. This year we created our own “Lincolnwood Librarians’ Choice Awards” where we curated a list of the best children’s and teen books of 2018. On Wednesday, December 5, we shared this list with the community by book talking some of our favorites from our list, sharing read aloud recommendations, and giving away free books and audiobooks because book access is essential.
You can access our entire Best Books List by downloading the pdf here. You can also stop by the library for a full color copy of our handout.
Please be aware that our list is not the definitive list of children’s and teen books published in 2018. We are sharing some of our favorite books that we’ve enjoyed, shared with young people, and believe would be perfect additions to your home, school, or classroom library. They make excellent gifts, too. We also offer personalized recommendations to help young people find the books that are best for them. Just call us or stop by the library.
Here are some of our librarians’ favorite books from 2018!
Miss Dannie & Miss Emily’s favorite picture book series returns with some new friends next door – and if you know anything about Buddy the dog and Earl the hedgehog, you know meeting the neighbors won’t be simple!
We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell. Illustrated by Frané Lessac. Journey through the year with a contemporary Cherokee family and their tribal nation to understand the meaning of we are grateful, in Cherokee, Otsaliheliga.
The House that Lou Built by Mae Respicito. Lou attempts to build a “tiny house” as an escape from her extended Filipino family that all lives under the same roof. When the process becomes more difficult that she could have initially imagined, she learns what it means to have a home.
Children of Blood and Bone by Toni Adeyemi. Zélie Adebola is on a mission to restore magic to her village, inspired by the Nigerian-American author’s roots. Part fantasy, part folklore, and part family history, this book is engaging and has many different themes relating to race, power, history, and how they intersect, but is written in a way that is accessible to any teen.
New York Times-bestselling author Robin Cook takes on the cutting-edge world of gene-modification in this pulse-pounding new medical thriller.
When an unidentified, seemingly healthy young woman collapses suddenly on the New York City subway and dies upon reaching the hospital, her case is an eerie reminder for veteran medical examiner Jack Stapleton of the 1918 flu pandemic. Fearful of a repeat on the one hundredth anniversary of the nightmarish contagion, Jack autopsies the woman within hours of her demise and discovers some striking anomalies: first, that she has had a heart transplant, and second, that, against all odds, her DNA matches that of the transplanted heart.
Although the facts don’t add up to influenza, Jack must race against the clock to identify the woman and determine what kind of virus could wreak such havoc–a task made more urgent when two other victims succumb to a similar rapid death. But nothing makes sense until his investigation leads him into the fascinating realm of CRISPR/CAS9, a gene-editing biotechnology that’s captured the imagination of the medical community. . . and the attention of its most unethical members. Drawn into the dark underbelly of the organ transplant market, Jack will come face-to-face with a megalomaniacal businessman willing to risk human lives in order to conquer a lucrative new frontier in medicine–and if Jack’s not careful, the next life lost might be his own.
Peppermint is an action thriller which tells the story of young mother Riley North (Garner) who awakens from a coma after her husband and daughter are killed in a brutal attack on the family. When the system frustratingly shields the murderers from justice, Riley sets out to transform herself from citizen to urban guerilla.
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.
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…)
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.
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.”
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.
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:
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:
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?
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.