New Book Tuesday 12-3-19

Posted & filed under Blog.

Beating About the Bush: An Agatha Raisin Mystery by M.C. Beaton

New York Times bestseller M. C. Beaton’s cranky, crafty Agatha Raisin—now the star of a hit T.V. show—is back on the case again.

When private detective Agatha Raisin comes across a severed leg in a roadside hedge, it looks like she is about to become involved in a particularly gruesome murder. Looks, however, can be deceiving, as Agatha discovers when she is employed to investigate a case of industrial espionage at a factory where nothing is quite what it seems.

The factory mystery soon turns to murder and a bad-tempered donkey turns Agatha into a national celebrity, before bringing her ridicule and shame. To add to her woes, Agatha finds herself grappling with growing feelings for her friend and occasional lover, Sir Charles Fraith. Then, as a possible solution to the factory murder unfolds, her own life is thrown into deadly peril. Will Agatha get her man at last? Or will the killer get her first?

Dork Diaries 14: Tales from a Not-So-Best Friend Forever by Rachel Renée Russell

Nikki Maxwell’s summer is packed with drama in this fourteenth installment of the #1 New York Times bestselling Dork Diaries series!

Nikki and her bandmates are looking forward to an AWESOME summer on tour as the opening act for the world famous Bad Boyz! Nikki is a little worried when her frenemy, MacKenzie Hollister, weasels her way into a social media intern position with the tour. But she has a total MELTDOWN when she learns that MacKenzie is her new roommate! Will Nikki survive her dream tour as it quickly goes from AWESOME to AWFUL?! The drama continues in Dork Diaries 14: Tales from a Not-So-Best Friend Forever!

Just Watch Me by Jeff Lindsay

A masterful thief plots an impossible crime—stealing the Iranian Crown Jewels.

From the author of the wildly successful Dexter series comes a new, mesmerizing bad guy we can root for: Riley Wolfe. He’s a master thief, expert at disguise, and not averse to violence when it’s needed. It’s no accident, though, that Riley targets the wealthiest 0.1 percent and is willing to kill them when they’re in his way: he despises the degenerate and immoral rich and loves stealing their undeserved and unearned valuables.

In this series launch, Riley aims for an extraordinary target in a heist that will make history. Riley will try to steal the Crown Jewels of Iran. Yes, these jewels are worth billions, but the true attraction for grabbing them comes down to one simple fact: it can’t be done. Stealing these jewels is absolutely impossible. The collection is guarded by space-age electronics and two teams of heavily armed mercenaries. No one could even think of getting past the airtight security and hope to get away alive, let alone with even a single diamond from the Imperial Collection.

No one but Riley Wolfe. He’s always liked a challenge.

But this challenge may be more than even he can handle. Aside from the impenetrable security, Riley is also pursued by a brilliant and relentless cop who is barely a step behind him.

With the aid of his sometime ally, a beautiful woman who is a master art forger, Riley Wolfe goes for the prize that will either make him a legend—or, more likely, leave him dead.

A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh welcomes you to a remote town on the edge of the world where even the blinding brightness of the sun can’t mask the darkness that lies deep within a killer.…

On the rugged West Coast of New Zealand, Golden Cove is more than just a town where people live. The adults are more than neighbors; the children, more than schoolmates. 

That is until one fateful summer—and several vanished bodies—shatters the trust holding Golden Cove together. All that’s left are whispers behind closed doors, broken friendships, and a silent agreement to not look back. But they can’t run from the past forever. 

Eight years later, a beautiful young woman disappears without a trace, and the residents of Golden Cove wonder if their home shelters something far more dangerous than an unforgiving landscape.  

It’s not long before the dark past collides with the haunting present and deadly secrets come to light.

Dead Astronauts by Jeff VanderMeer

Jeff VanderMeer’s Dead Astronauts presents a City with no name of its own where, in the shadow of the all-powerful Company, lives human and otherwise converge in terrifying and miraculous ways. At stake: the fate of the future, the fate of Earth―all the Earths.

A messianic blue fox who slips through warrens of time and space on a mysterious mission. A homeless woman haunted by a demon who finds the key to all things in a strange journal. A giant leviathan of a fish, centuries old, who hides a secret, remembering a past that may not be its own. Three ragtag rebels waging an endless war for the fate of the world against an all-powerful corporation. A raving madman who wanders the desert lost in the past, haunted by his own creation: an invisible monster whose name he has forgotten and whose purpose remains hidden.

Meg & Jo by Virginia Kantra

The timeless classic Little Women inspired this heartwarming modern tale of four sisters from New York Times bestselling author Virginia Kantra.

The March sisters—reliable Meg, independent Jo, stylish Amy, and shy Beth—have grown up to pursue their separate dreams. When Jo followed her ambitions to New York City, she never thought her career in journalism would come crashing down, leaving her struggling to stay afloat in a gig economy as a prep cook and secret food blogger.

Meg appears to have the life she always planned—the handsome husband, the adorable toddlers, the house in a charming subdivision. But sometimes getting everything you’ve ever wanted isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

When their mother’s illness forces the sisters home to North Carolina for the holidays, they’ll rediscover what really matters.

One thing’s for sure—they’ll need the strength of family and the power of sisterhood to remake their lives and reimagine their dreams.

Disney’s Land by Richard Snow

A propulsive history chronicling the conception and creation of Disneyland, the masterpiece California theme park, as told like never before by popular historian Richard Snow.

One day in the early 1950s, Walt Disney stood looking over 240 acres of farmland in Anaheim, California, and imagined building a park where people “could live among Mickey Mouse and Snow White in a world still powered by steam and fire for a day or a week or (if the visitor is slightly mad) forever.” Despite his wealth and fame, exactly no one wanted Disney to build such a park. Not his brother Roy, who ran the company’s finances; not the bankers; and not his wife, Lillian. Amusement parks at that time, such as Coney Island, were a generally despised business, sagging and sordid remnants of bygone days. Disney was told that he would only be heading toward financial ruin.

But Walt persevered, initially financing the park against his own life insurance policy and later with sponsorship from ABC and the sale of thousands and thousands of Davy Crockett coonskin caps. Disney assembled a talented team of engineers, architects, artists, animators, landscapers, and even a retired admiral to transform his ideas into a soaring yet soothing wonderland of a park. The catch was that they had only a year and a day in which to build it.

On July 17, 1955, Disneyland opened its gates…and the first day was a disaster. Disney was nearly suicidal with grief that he had failed on a grand scale. But the curious masses kept coming, and the rest is entertainment history. Eight hundred million visitors have flocked to the park since then. In Disney’s Land, Richard Snow brilliantly presents the entire spectacular story, a wild ride from vision to realization, and an epic of innovation and error that reflects the uniqueness of the man determined to build “the happiest place on earth” with a watchmaker’s precision, an artist’s conviction, and the desperate, high-hearted recklessness of a riverboat gambler.

Genesis by Robin Cook

New York Times-bestselling author Robin Cook takes on the ripped-from-the-headlines topic of harnessing DNA from ancestry websites to catch a killer in this timely and explosive new medical thriller.

When the body of twenty-eight-year-old social worker Kera Jacobsen shows up on Chief New York City Medical Examiner Laurie Montgomery’s autopsy table, at first it appears she was the victim of a tragic yet routine drug overdose. But for Laurie and her new pathology resident, the brilliant but enigmatic Dr. Aria Nichols, little things aren’t adding up. Kera’s family and friends swear she never touched drugs. Administrators from the hospital where Kera worked are insisting the case be shrouded in silence. And although Kera was ten weeks pregnant, nobody seems to know who the father was–or whether he holds the key to Kera’s final moments alive.

As a medical emergency temporarily sidelines Laurie, impulsive Aria turns to a controversial new technique: using genealogic DNA databases to track down those who don’t want to be found. Working with experts at a start-up ancestry website, she plans to trace the fetus’s DNA back to likely male relatives in the hopes of identifying the mystery father. But when Kera’s closest friend and fellow social worker is murdered, the need for answers becomes even more urgent. Because someone out there clearly doesn’t want Kera’s secrets to come to light . . . and if Aria gets any closer to the truth, she and Laurie might find themselves a killer’s next targets.

The Measure of Our Lives: A Gathering of Wisdom by Tony Morrison

At once the ideal introduction to Toni Morrison and a lovely and moving keepsake for her devoted readers: a treasury of quotations from her work. With a foreword by Zadie Smith.

“She was our conscience. Our seer. Our truthteller.” –Oprah Winfrey

This inspirational book juxtaposes quotations, one to a page, drawn from Toni Morrison’s entire body of work, both fiction and nonfiction–from The Bluest Eye to God Help the Child, from Playing in the Dark to The Source of Self-Regard–to tell a story of self-actualization. It aims to evoke the totality of Toni Morrison’s literary vision.

Its compelling sequence of flashes of revelation–stunning for their linguistic originality, keenness of psychological observation, and philosophical profundity–addresses issues of abiding interest in Morrison’s work: the reach of language for the ineffable; transcendence through imagination; the self and its discontents; the vicissitudes of love; the whirligig of memory; the singular power of women; the original American sin of slavery; the bankruptcy of racial oppression; the complex humanity and art of black people. The Measure of Our Lives brims with elegance of style and mind and moral authority.

Caldecott Club #4

Posted & filed under Blog, Youth & Teen.

Hi! I’m Miss Eti, one of the Youth & Teen Services librarians and I’m back with another recap of our latest Caldecott Club session. We had our 4th session on Thursday, November 21st and selected more books to send to our Voting Party. To refresh your memory, the Caldecott Award is the award for the most distinguished American picture book for children, given out each year by the Association for Library Service to Children. We began our program by opening our box of books like the grown-up committee, which is always an exciting moment. 

The books we discussed in session 4 were:

Going Down Home with Daddy by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Daniel Minter

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

Saturday by Oge Mora 

A Big Bed for Little Snow by Grace Lin 

Here’s the necessary spoiler alert for all of these picture books.

You can see a fantastic promotional video that some of our Caldecott Club friends made here!

Picture Walk

I honestly did not plan for 3 out of the 4 books selected for this session to be authors who won Caldecott Honors last year. I found that these books paired well with each other thematically as we thought about family and traditions. I also tried to pair shorter texts with longer ones since I’ve run out of time during previous sessions. I learn so much every single time I offer this program – and apply that new knowledge each time. After our fantastic author visit with Kyle Lukoff, who read his beautiful award-winning picture book, When Aidan Became a Brother, to us, while projecting the book on the screen, I realized I could do the same thing and scanned in all of the books we discussed today. It really made a difference in making the pictures accessible to the kids. It was also super exciting to have one of our original Caldecott Club friends from years past, R., join us for this session! I’m also super grateful that Ms. Gaby joined us again during this session, which was a huge help! 

Going Down Home with Daddy by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Daniel Minter

I switched things up this session and did a traditional read aloud of Going Down Home with Daddy by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Daniel Minter. I began with a pre-reading question, asking our group if they have experienced a family reunion or traveled to visit their family. I then shared information about the Great Migration to provide some context to the story. I later shared how the story was informed by Kelly Starling Lyons’ experiences visiting Gibsonia, PA where her grandmother grew up, as well as visiting her husband’s grandma’s house in southwest Georgia. I also pointed out the Adinkra symbols that the illustrator Daniel Minter used in the backgrounds throughout the book. According to the teacher’s guide, “Adinkra are symbols that represent concepts and are used in West African cultures.” I pointed out symbols I had noticed and their meanings to help the kids try to spot them during our read aloud. I provided space on their evaluation sheets to write down their insights and impressions so we wouldn’t stop the flow of the read aloud to take comments.

They were curious about the family tree and how everyone was connected to each other. E. noticed the figurative language in the book, which really made me happy I did a read aloud so she could experience Kelly Starling Lyons’s gorgeous prose. She was also curious about how they traveled to visit Granny and what time period this book takes place in. B. wondered if it was fiction or nonfiction, which I think speaks to how the book is grounded in lived experience, so it feels like an informational text.

He also wanted to know if the dad played the trombone or trumpet, so we returned to that passage to do a close reading to figure out that the dad played trombone and Uncle Jay played the trumpet. S. shared that there are a lot of patterns, which led us to talk about the traditions in this story expressed in the art. D. shared that “I really like how the pages don’t have a lot of colors but the colors are warm and cold and they mix together.”

E. posed a question for our group, wondering why, in the final spread with Granny, there are branches on her dress. We paused to think about the themes of this book and M. shared that “she’s the root of the family.” Z. wondered about the perspective on this page with the chickens standing out larger in this spread. This led us to talk about how this art is more abstract, which B. shared he’s learning about in school. D. shared on her notes that “I like the colors a lot. I like this book. It is good.”

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

We began our discussion of Fry Bread by asking the group: Do you have a special food in your family/culture that is special? That maybe an elder makes or taught you how to make? A food that has history? Our kids then shared some delicious foods that they make with their family. 

When I mentioned how we all have special foods in our cultures, B. jumped in by sharing about eating bread and wine for Easter, which immediately made me think about the Children’s Books Podcast interview with Kevin Noble Maillard where he’s talked about the universal importance of bread as ritual and the idea of communion; I love how B. immediately made this personal connection. I then shared pictures of the author, Kevin Noble Maillard, who is a member of the Seminole Nation, Mekusukey band and lives in New York and the illustrator, Juana Martinez-Neal, who was born in Lima, Peru and lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. I began our picture walk by sharing the powerful endpapers. B. wanted to know what the words on the endpapers were, so I asked the kids to look closely to see if they saw any familiar words. E. pointed out that they are names of Native tribes. Juana came up with the idea to list the names of Native nations as the endpapers, as she shared with Mr. Schu, “I could see the children and parents following the names with their fingers looking for the name of their Nation or Tribe.” Kevin shared in a School Library Journal interview: “that wall lists every federal, state, and developing tribe within the United States. We included these names and put them all in one place to memorialize their existence and to ratify their living presence as survivors of a governmental system that intended, fought, and warred to erase them. By putting their big names in our small book, we join them in saying “we are still here.”

As we turned to the title page, I wanted to make sure I provided some context for our discussion, embedding Kevin’s extensive author’s note within our picture walk. I shared that fry bread is a survival food that was first made by the Navajo (Diné) people over 150 years ago. I thought it was important to share a direct quote from Kevin to make sure our kids understood its origins. I read this passage from the School Library Journal interview: “When the federal government displaced Natives from their homelands, these exiles no longer had access to familiar meats, fruits, and vegetables, and they had to get by with what they had. They were given government commodities like flour, salt, and yeast. From the very worst origins of theft and conquest forcefully imposed by a larger power, Indigenous groups created the reactionary—and now cultural—food of fry bread. It’s all about making the very best of the absolute worst.” Using the Native Land tool, I shared how we are on the land of the Peoria, Bodéwadmiakiwen (Potawatomi), Miami, & Očeti Šakówiŋ (Sioux). M. then asked if our library is where a tribe was, which is the homeland of the Potawatomi, who were removed from this land, which directly connected to our conversation about Native removal and displacement. 

We then began our shared reading of Fry Bread, with our group reading the headings of each page in unison, which seemed so perfect for a book about coming together with family. As we turned to the “Fry Bread is Shape” page, I pointed out how the perspective shifts to an aerial shot looking down at a variety of fry bread shapes that are being made. On the “Fry Bread is Sound” page, which practically sizzles off the page, I pointed out the Seminole symbols of lightning and trees tattooed on the dad’s arm. On the “Fry Bread is Color,” I pointed out the diversity of Native people, as Kevin writes in the author’s note, “Just like the characters in this book, Native people may have blonde hair or black skin, tight cornrows or a loose braid. This wide variety of faces reflects a history of intermingling between tribes and also with people of European, African and Asian descent…”

As we talked about “Fry Bread is Flavor,” I shared how Kevin learned how to make fry bread from his Aunt Fannie, whose photo is found within the book, and took on this role as the family fry bread maker after she passed away. E. noticed that the baby is eating from the bowl. I am also obsessed with this adorable baby and suggested we try to find the baby in each spread. For the “Fry Bread is Art” spread, I shared current photographs of handmade dolls and coil baskets to show these handicrafts to our group. They declared that they were beautiful.

When we discussed “Fry Bread is History,” we referred back to what we learned about at the beginning of our discussion about forced removal and Native resilience. We then took a moment to clarify the family tree of the characters, examining how the Nana makes fry bread and how the dad takes on this role.

When we discussed “Fry Bread is Place,” I asked the kids what the background image was, which led D. to share that “it is the map.” I asked the kids to share if there was something different about this map. Ms. Gaby pointed out that there are no borders on the map. We discussed that the borders that we have on the land now known as the United States were created from Native lands being taken. I then shared a quote from Michael of Indigo’s Bookshelf: Voices of Native Youth, a Native teen review blog: “There is a very interesting map the children are standing on in FRY BREAD IS PLACE. You might almost think it’s the US–but not. There are no lines dividing land. That totally struck me, and like so many things we haven’t seen it before. I like the different way the kids use the space–reading or stretching–it’s theirs without all those markings.”

When we discussed, “Fry Bread is Us,” we talked about how Native people are here in our community. I shared a quote from Adversity and Resiliency for Chicago’s First: The State of Racial Justice for American Indian Chicagoans Report, stating: “Chicago is one of the primary population centers for Native Americans, representing the largest population of Native Americans in the Midwest, the second largest east of the Mississippi River, and the ninth largest in the entire nation.” I pointed out the photograph of Kevin’s Aunt Fanny and the names of the people who helped make this book possible etched onto the counter, written by Juana’s children. On “Fry Bread is You, “ we, of course, gushed about the adorable baby we’ve been following on the beautiful patterned blanket. I made sure to share again that the information I had been sharing was informed by the author’s notes at the end of the book. Then, because I have my own copy of Fry Bread, I was able to take off the jacket and reveal the brilliant case cover secret. In her comments, D. pointed out that “the baby is very cute. The food looks good. This is a good book.” R. wrote, “I like the artwork. It’s very detailed and Kevin is good at describing the captions. I like the book. I think making fry bread brings people together.” 

Saturday by Oge Mora

We began our picture walk by looking at the end papers, which shows Ava and her mom’s busy schedule – and how much they anticipate Saturdays. I shared that Oge made this book using collage made with acrylic paint, china markers, patterned paper, and old book clippings. I kept thinking about this quote from a We Need Diverse Books interview with Oge about what she hopes readers get from this book, saying: “As a picture book maker, I am all about finding the magic present in everyday life. I want to explore the beauty of the small moments we all experience. A meal with a loved one, a day spent with friends, the impact of a kind word—I think as we zoom through our lives, we can underestimate the power of these moments. If my book inspires some reflection on the time we spend with those we love, that is great.” 

We discussed how the scene with Ava and her mom getting ready for their day worked like a clock of action, which I learned is Oge’s favorite spread. This book really is a splendid read aloud with the dramatic page turns, with lots of opportunities for young readers to interact and complete the text. We noticed Ava and her mom’s body language after their fabulous hair cuts – and the immediate disappointment. We pointed out the effectiveness of that scene being a double-page spread to amplify the drama.

When we arrived at the park, we talked about how the busy visuals with so many people in the park make it feel noisy. E. noticed how Oge used musical notes in the word balloons. S. said “you can tell it’s really noisy because of what they’re all doing.”

Reading this book against the clock (because you know we were running out of time) made me feel a lot like Ava and her mom. When Ava’s mom realizes she forgot her tickets, I paused the picture walk and asked our group what they would tell the mom or their caregiver in this situation. S. shared, “To take a deep breathe. Today is splendid and today is Saturday.” R. shared that she shouldn’t blame herself for everything. D. shared that “it’s okay.” E. suggested, “It’s okay. I’m sleepy. Maybe we can make our own puppet show at the house.” Our kids brilliantly predicted the ending of this book! I love when that happens – and I especially love the chance to amplify their voices in Caldecott Club. I shared how Oge dedicated Saturday to her mom, basing it on her own childhood experiences. We then shared the case cover secret. D. wrote in her comments, “I like the artwork. It is a lesson, so you can know.” 

A Big Bed for Little Snow by Grace Lin 

While it’s covered by the mylar jacket on library copies, I was able to uncover the art information about A Big Bed for Little Snow on the jacket, which indicates that the art was done in  turner design gouache on watercolor paper. We began our picture walk by marveling at the gorgeous endpapers with birds home among the clouds. We looked closely at Little Snow’s inviting, mischievous face, exuding joy and play. Our group correctly predicted that he would jump on his bed with so much anticipation.

We then had a dramatic page turn with the first jumping, noticing the little feathers falling out of the bed. We all admitted that we’ve done the Little Snow strategy of climbing back into bed, pretending to be innocent. S. shared that she covers her eyes. We noticed how the scene zooms into Little Snow, so that he’s completely taking over the page across the gutter. 

Our group noticed the parallels between the sound of the mother’s thumping steps and Little Snow’s jumping. S. eagerly asked to read the next page and expressed it beautifully. She predicted that the mom is going to notice all of those feathers falling out.

I pointed out how Grace Lin used gouache, a thicker, non-transparent watercolor, with their pajamas are outlined by the negative space around the blue snowflakes, a pretty amazing art technique. We shared that it’s an original origin story with Little Snow causing the snowfall. I pretty much blame him for our unexpected super early snowfall this past October 31. But he’s too cute to be upset at!

I shared how A Big Bed for Little Snow is inspired by The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, which our group really loved. I pointed out that Peter is in the apartment scene, showing an image from Snowy Day with this book. I also showed Little Star, the protagonist from A Big Mooncake For Little Star, also shows up in this scene. We discussed the ending where Little Snow and his Mommy bond over the featherless bed. I then showed the case cover secret. S. shared that she loved these two last books in particular “since they were so short and so interesting.” D. shared that “I like the art. I like the boy and his dog.” 

Voting

After we had walked through each book in a whirlwind of color and conversation, we were ready to vote. Each child received a paper ballot to select their top 2 choices. The top books then are the winners of our session and go on the Voting Party on January 9. 

And the winners are….

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

Saturday by Oge Mora 

Join Us Next Time!

Please join us for our next Caldecott Club session on Thursday, December 6  from 3:30-5:00pm! And don’t forget to bring your fancy lanyards! While our registration list is full online, PLEASE contact me to get put on the list. I’d love to have you join us. We especially want our friends who plan on coming to the party on January 9th to join us so they can pick the final round of books! 

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

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson  

Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry, illustrated by Vashti Harrison

Where Are You From? by Yamile Saied Méndez, illustrated by Jamie Kim 

The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad with S. K. Ali, illustrated by Hatem Aly

Resources

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

Going Down Home with Daddy by Kelly Starling Lyons,  illustrated by Daniel Minter

Publisher’s Page 

Author Spotlight: Kelly Starling Lyons

Discussion Questions 

Seven Impossible Things (Julie Danielson) 

Roadtrippin’ It with Lil Alan By Julie Danielson 

Family Reunions: Coming Together & Going Home by Kelly Starling Lyons (The Brown Bookshelf) 

Daniel Minter’s Website

Kelly Starling Lyon’s Website 

Going Down Home with Daddy by Michelle Martin (Calling Caldecott) 

Remembered Reunion (Margaret M. Myers-Culver’s Librarian’s Quest)

From the Sketchbook: Daniel Minter (Children’s Book Council) 

The Home Inside of Me by Kelly Starling Lyons (Reunions Magazine) 

Review of the Day (Betsy Bird’s A Fuse #8 Production) 

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

Publisher’s Page

Kevin Noble Maillard’s Website 

Juana Martinez-Neal’s Website 

Highly Recommended: FRY BREAD: A NATIVE AMERICAN FAMILY STORY (American Indians in Children’s Literature Blog by Dr. Debbie Reese) 

FRY BREAD, by Kevin Noble Maillard, Illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal–a group review (Indigo’s Bookshelf: Voices of Native Youth)

The Children’s Book Podcast with Matthew Winner interview with Kevin Noble Maillard & Juana Martinez-Neal

Fry Bread: A Tribute to Family and Tradition: An Interview with Kevin Noble Maillard by Daryl Grabarek (School Library Journal) 

Across Time, Country and Culture (Margaret M. Myers-Culver’s Librarian’s Quest)

BookFest @Bank Street LIVE STREAM 2019 (KidLitTV)

Food Brings Families Together In ‘Fry Bread’ (NPR’s Morning Edition)

2 Question Q&A with Kevin Noble Maillard (Bartography)

Shelf Awareness Review 

Cover Reveal: Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard &  Juana Martinez-Neal (Mr. Schu’s Watch. Connect. Read.) 

Meet-the-Author Recording with Kevin Noble Maillard (Teaching Books)

Publishers’ Preview: Debut Authors: Five Questions for Kevin Noble Maillard (Horn Book) 

Native children will be seen in ‘Fry Bread’ by Kolby KickingWoman (Indian Country Today) 

Q & A with Kevin Noble Maillard and Juana Martinez-Neal by Sally Lodge (Publisher’s Weekly)

Native Voices: Kevin Noble Maillard on Writing Fry Bread by Kim Rogers (Cynsations) 

Adversity and Resiliency for Chicago’s First: The State of Racial Justice for American Indian Chicagoans Report

Saturday by Oge Mora 

Book Chat with the Illustrator Oge Mora for SATURDAY

On ‘Saturday’ With Oge Mora by Daryl Grabarek (School Library Journal)

Meet-the-Author Recording with Oge Mora (Teaching Books) 

Seven Impossible Things (Julie Danielson) 

Bookpage Review (Julie Danielson) 

Gratitude – An Attitude (Margaret M. Myers-Culver’s Librarian’s Quest)

Q&A with Oge Mora: SATURDAY by We Need Diverse Books 

Kirkus Review 

Caldecott Honoree Oge Mora discusses SATURDAY and THANK YOU, OMU! (LB School & Library Podcast) 

Big Bed for Little Snow 

Gouache (Children’s Book Art:  Techniques and Media)

Horn Book Review (Julie Danielson) 

Little Snow’s Snowstorm (Grace Lin’s Blog) 

Sew Little Snow’s Bed (Grace Lin’s Blog) 

Big Bed for Little Snow: Interactive Read Aloud and Activities (Curious City DPW)

Book Chat with the Illustrator: Grace Lin for A Big Bed for Little Snow

In Conversation: Grace Lin and Alvina Ling (Publisher’s Weekly) 

Little Snow Interactive Storytime

Book Friends Forever Podcast


New Book Tuesday 11-26-19

Posted & filed under Blog.

Star Wars Lost Stars, Vol. 3 by Claudia Gray

Will the end of the conflict mean the end of their story…?
Thane and Ciena have survived to see the destruction of one Death Star and the construction of another, but as they watch from opposite sides as the Empire crumbles, can anything but tragedy await them at the end of their journey?

Missing Daddy by Mariame Kaba

“This book is a crucial tool for parents, educators, and anyone who cares about the well-being of children who, through no fault of their own, are forced to bear the consequences of our country’s obsession with incarceration. For children who desperately miss their parents, feel confused, or are teased at school, this book can go a long way in letting them know that they are not alone and in normalizing their experiences.” —Eve L. Ewing

A little girl who misses her father because he’s away in prison shares how his absence affects different parts of her life. Her greatest excitement is the days when she gets to visit her beloved father. With gorgeous illustrations throughout, this book illuminates the heartaches of dealing with missing a parent.

Mariame Kaba is an educator and organizer based in New York City. She has been active in anti-criminalization and anti-violence movements for the past thirty years. 

bria royal is a multidisciplinary artist from Chicago. 

Just In Case You Want to Fly by Julie Fogliano

A perfect book to share with the little ones you love, from bestselling author Julie Fogliano and Christian Robinson, Caldecott Honoree and author-illustrator of Another.

just in case you want to fly
here’s some wind
and here’s the sky

Funny and sweet, told with lyrical text and bright, unexpected illustrations, Just in Case You Want to Fly is a celebration of heading off on new adventures–and of knowing your loved ones will always have your back when you need them.

A joyful, inclusive cast of children fly, sing, and wish their way across the pages, with everything they could ever need–a cherry if you need a snack, and if you get itchy here’s a scratch on the back–to explore the world around them. Christian Robinson’s bold illustrations bring out the humor and warmth of the poetic text, teasing out new meanings and adding delightful details that will have you turning the pages again and again.

Julie Fogliano and Christian Robinson, the creators of the award-winning When’s My Birthday?, have teamed up again to create a perfect book to share with the little ones you love–to give them everything they need to go out into the world, and reassure them you’ll always be waiting to welcome them home.

Whether it’s for big milestones like graduations or holidays, or quiet bedtimes and cozy moments together, Just In Case You Want to Fly is made for sharing, with gentle humor and sweet reassurances.

Monstrous: The Lore, Gore, and Science behind Your Favorite Monsters by Carlyn Beccia

Could Dr. Frankenstein’s machine ever animate a body? Why should vampires drink from veins and not arteries? What body parts are best for zombies to eat? (It’s not brains.) This fascinating encyclopedia of monsters delves into the history and science behind eight legendary creatures, from Bigfoot and the kraken to zombies and more. Find out each monster’s origin story and the real-world history that informed it, and then explore the science of each creature in fun and surprising ways. Tips and infographics―including monster anatomy, how to survive a vampire attack, and real-life giant creatures of the deep sea―make this a highly visual and fun-to-browse book.

Around the Table That Grandad Built by Melanie Heuiser Hill

A beautifully illustrated celebration of bounty and gratitude, family and friendship, perfect for the holidays and every day.

This is the table that Grandad built.
These are the sunflowers picked by my cousins,
set on the table that Grandad built.

In a unique take on the cumulative classic “This Is the House That Jack Built,” a family gathers with friends and neighbors to share a meal around a table that brims with associations: napkins sewn by Mom, glasses from Mom and Dad’s wedding, silverware gifted to Dad by his grandma long ago. Not to mention the squash from the garden, the bread baked by Gran, and the pies made by the young narrator (with a little help). Serving up a diverse array of dishes and faces, this warm and welcoming story is poised to become a savored part of Thanksgiving traditions to come.

All-American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney

Allie Abraham has it all going for her–she’s a straight-A student, with good friends and a close-knit family, and she’s dating cute, popular, and sweet Wells Henderson. One problem: Wells’s father is Jack Henderson, America’s most famous conservative shock jock…and Allie hasn’t told Wells that her family is Muslim. It’s not like Allie’s religion is a secret, exactly. It’s just that her parents don’t practice and raised her to keep her Islamic heritage to herself. But as Allie witnesses ever-growing Islamophobia in her small town and across the nation, she begins to embrace her faith–studying it, practicing it, and facing hatred and misunderstanding for it. Who is Allie, if she sheds the façade of the “perfect” all-American girl? What does it mean to be a “Good Muslim?”And can a Muslim girl in America ever truly fit in? 
ALL-AMERICAN MUSLIM GIRL is a relevant, relatable story of being caught between two worlds, and the struggles and hard-won joys of finding your place.

Rick Steves France 2020 by Rick Steves

Wander the lavender fields of Provence, climb the steps of the Eiffel Tower, and bite into a perfect croissant: France is yours to discover with Rick Steves! Inside Rick Steves France 2020 you’ll find:

  • Comprehensive coverage for planning a multi-week trip to France
  • Rick’s strategic advice on how to get the most out of your time and money, with rankings of his must-see favorites
  • Top sights and hidden gems, from Louvre and the Palace of Versailles to neighborhood cafés and delicate macarons
  • How to connect with local culture: Stroll through open-air markets in Paris, bike through rustic villages, and taste wines in Burgundy and Bordeaux
  • Beat the crowds, skip the lines, and avoid tourist traps with Rick’s candid, humorous insight
  • The best places to eat, sleep, and relax with a glass of vin rouge
  • Self-guided walking tours of lively neighborhoods and incredible museums
  • Vital trip-planning tools, like how to link destinations, build your itinerary, and get from place to place
  • Detailed maps, including a fold-out map for exploring on the go
  • Useful resources including a packing list, French phrase book, a historical overview, and recommended reading
  • Over 1,000 bible-thin pages include everything worth seeing without weighing you down
  • Annually updated information on Paris, Chartres, Normandy, Mont St-Michel, Brittany, The Loire, Dordogne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Provence, The French Riviera, Nice, Monaco, The French Alps, Burgundy, Lyon, Alsace, Reims, Verdun, and much more

Make the most of every day and every dollar with Rick Steves France 2020.
Planning a one- to two-week trip? Check out Rick Steves Best of France.

New Book Tuesday 11-19-19

Posted & filed under Blog.

Diary by Svetlana Chmakova

Plan your months, learn how to draw, write your journals, and read brand-new short stories!
The fourth book of the Berrybrook Middle School series, Diary, is a very special journal including not only sticker sheets and “one sketch a day” pages but also brand new stories from the author set in the Berrybrook universe! Find out all about Peppi’s and Jaime’s project, write your own daily entries right next to Jensen’s journal pages, and take a glimpse at the new life of a familiar face who’s moved to a new town!

The Midwinter Witch by Molly Knox Ostertag

The acclaimed graphic novel world of The Witch Boy and The Hidden Witch comes to a thrilling conclusion in this story of friendship, family, and finding your true power.

Magic has a dark side . . .

Aster always looks forward to the Midwinter Festival, a reunion of the entire Vanissen family that includes competitions in witchery and shapeshifting. This year, he’s especially excited to compete in the annual Jolrun tournament-as a witch. He’s determined to show everyone that he’s proud of who he is and what he’s learned, but he knows it won’t be easy to defy tradition.

Ariel has darker things on her mind than the Festival-like the mysterious witch who’s been visiting her dreams, claiming to know the truth about Ariel’s past. She appreciates everything the Vanissens have done for her. But Ariel still craves a place where she truly belongs.

The Festival is a whirlwind of excitement and activity, but for Aster and Ariel, nothing goes according to plan. When a powerful and sinister force invades the reunion, threatening to destroy everything the young witches have fought for, can they find the courage to fight it together? Or will dark magic tear them apart?

Welcome Song for Baby by Richard Van Camp

From renowned First Nations storyteller Richard Van Camp comes a lyrical lullaby for newborns. Complemented with stunning photographs, this evocative board book is perfectly suited as a first book for every baby.

Native American Heritage Month

Posted & filed under Blog, Youth & Teen.

Join us in celebrating Native and First Nations voices all November, which is Native American Heritage Month, in our Youth and Teen Department. We have curated several displays that spotlight wonderful books across all genres and ages about and by Native and First Nations creators. There’s truly something for everybody – all year round! Visit us any time to borrow any of these fantastic books and take a copy of our booklists.

We also have provided copies of coloring pages from We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell, a citizen of Cherokee Nation, and illustrated by Frané Lessac. This beautiful book chronicles a year in the life of a contemporary Cherokee family and community – and our copy even includes the extraordinary audiobook from Live Oak Media!

When you stop by the library, you can write what you are grateful for on a leaf to add to our display. Check out ThankU: Poems of Gratitude, illustrated by Marlena Myles, edited by Miranda Paul, for inspiration!

We’d love to share some of our favorite books by Native and First Nations creators. The summaries are from our library catalog, as well as publisher/author websites. 

Picture Books 

For a full list of recommended picture books, click here.

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

Told in lively and powerful verse by debut author Kevin Noble Maillard, Fry Bread is an evocative depiction of a modern Native American family, vibrantly illustrated by Pura Belpré Award winner and Caldecott Honoree Juana Martinez-Neal.

Fry bread is food. It is warm and delicious, piled high on a plate.
Fry bread is time. It brings families together for meals and new memories.
Fry bread is nation. It is shared by many, from coast to coast and beyond.
Fry bread is us. It is a celebration of old and new, traditional and modern, similarity and difference.

At the Mountain’s Base by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Weshoyot Alvitre

A family, separated by duty and distance, waits for a loved one to return home in this lyrical picture book celebrating the bonds of a Cherokee family and the bravery of history-making women pilots.

At the mountain’s base sits a cabin under an old hickory tree. And in that cabin lives a family — loving, weaving, cooking, and singing. The strength in their song sustains them through trials on the ground and in the sky, as they wait for their loved one, a pilot, to return from war.

With an author’s note that pays homage to the true history of Native American U.S. service members like WWII pilot Ola Mildred “Millie” Rexroat, this is a story that reveals the roots that ground us, the dreams that help us soar, and the people and traditions that hold us up.

May We Have Enough to Share by Richard Van Camp

A beautiful board book about gratitude by celebrated Indigenous author Richard Van Camp, complemented by photos from Tea & Bannock, a collective blog by Indigenous women photographers.

Jingle Dancer by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Jenna, a contemporary Muscogee (Creek) girl in Oklahoma, wants to honor a family tradition by jingle dancing at the next powwow. But where will she find enough jingles for her dress?

Middle Grade

For a full list of recommended middle grade books, click here.

I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day 

When twelve-year-old Edie finds letters and photographs in her attic that change everything she thought she knew about her Native American mother’s adoption, she realizes she has a lot to learn about her family’s history and her own identity.

Indian No More by Charlene Willing McManis with Traci Sorell

When Regina’s Umpqua tribe is legally terminated and her family must relocate from Oregon to Los Angeles, she goes on a quest to understand her identity as an Indian despite being so far from home.

The Case of Windy Lake by Michael Hutchinson

Sam, Otter, Atim, and Chickadee are four inseparable cousins growing up on the Windy Lake First Nation. Nicknamed the Mighty Muskrats for their habit of laughing, fighting, and exploring together, the cousins find that each new adventure adds to their reputation. When a visiting archeologist goes missing, the cousins decide to solve the mystery of his disappearance

Young Adult

For a full list of recommended YA books, click here. For a full list of recommended informational books, click here.

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, adapted by Jean Mendoza & Debbie Reese

Spanning more than 400 years, this essential history  examines the legacy of Indigenous peoples’ resistance, resilience, and steadfast fight against imperialism. This accessible adaptation include discussion topics, archival images, original maps, recommendations for further reading, and other materials to encourage students, teachers, and general readers to think critically about their own place in history.

#NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women, edited by Lisa Charleyboy & Mary Beth Leatherdale

An eclectic collection of poems, essays, interviews, and art that combine to express diverse experiences of being a Native woman.

This Place: 150 Years Retold by Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, Sonny Assu, Brandon Mitchell, Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley, David A. Robertson, Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, Jen Storm, Richard Van Camp, Katherena Vermette, Chelsea Vowel | illustrated by Tara Audibert, Kyle Charles, GMB Chomichuk, Natasha Donovan, Scott B. Henderson, Ryan Howe, Andrew Lodwick, Jen Storm | colour by Scott A. Ford, Donovan Yaciuk

Explore the past 150 years through the eyes of Indigenous creators in this groundbreaking graphic novel anthology. Beautifully illustrated, these stories are an emotional and enlightening journey through Indigenous wonderworks, psychic battles, and time travel. See how Indigenous peoples have survived a post-apocalyptic world since Contact.

Chickasaw Adventures by Jen Murvin Edwards & Tom Lyle 

Johnny thinks he will never understand Grandfather’s pride in their Chickasaw heritage. But then a powerful and mysterious force gives Johnny the gift of time travel, which takes him back to important moments in Chickasaw history. Follow Johnny as he journeys into the past, discovers the unconquerable spirit of his ancestors, and at last learns what it means to be Chickasaw.

Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith

When her boyfriend mocks and disrespects Native people in front of her, Louise, who is a citizen of the Muscogee Creek Nation, dumps him over email. She’d rather spend her senior year with her family and friends and working on the school newspaper. The editors pair her up with Joey Kairouz, an ambitious new photojournalist, and in no time the paper’s staff find themselves with a major story to cover: the school musical director’s inclusive approach to casting The Wizard of Oz has been provoking backlash in their mostly white, middle-class Kansas town. As tensions mount at school, so does a romance between Lou and Joey. But ‘dating while Native’ can be difficult. In trying to protect her own heart, will Lou break Joey’s?

All the Resources!


We have compiled resources that can be helpful for caregivers and educators to learn more about Native and First Nations peoples. This is NOT an exhaustive or definitive list of resources, but a collection of tools and resources we have found helpful as we have been curating our display and continuously learning more. The descriptions are from their websites. We highly recommend checking them out! 

Websites/Blogs

American Indians in Children’s Literature (Dr. Debbie Reese)

Established in 2006, American Indians in Children’s Literature (AICL) provides critical perspectives and analysis of indigenous peoples in children’s and young adult books, the school curriculum, popular culture, and society. 

Indigo’s Bookshelf: Voices of Native Youth (Children of the Glades)

“Florida” Seminole & Miccosukee teens review books by and about Native peoples and comment on other news of interest to their communities. 

American Indian Youth Literature Award

Awarded biennially, the AIYLA identifies and honors the very best writing and illustrations by and about Native Americans and Indigenous peoples of North America. 

Molly of Denali (Teaching Resources Collection) 

Set in a rural Alaskan village, and featuring the adventures of Molly, her family, and friends, Molly of Denali models the many ways that children can access and create informational text in their daily lives. At the same time, the stories are infused with Alaska Native values, history, traditions, language, as well as contemporary life. The Molly of Denali educational resources collection offers videos, digital games, lessons, teaching tips, and activities so that educators can utilize the series in the classroom/home.

Native Knowledge 360 (Resources from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian)

Native Knowledge 360° (NK360°) provides educators and students with new perspectives on Native American history and cultures. Most Americans have only been exposed to part of the story, as told from a single perspective through the lenses of popular media and textbooks. NK360° provides educational materials and teacher training that incorporate Native narratives, more comprehensive histories, and accurate information to enlighten and inform teaching and learning about Native America. 

Oyate

Oyate’s work includes critical evaluation of books and curricula with Indian themes, conducting workshops on “Teaching Respect for Native Peoples,” administration of a small resource center and reference library; and distribution of literature and learning materials for children, youth, and their teachers. 

Podcasts

All My Relations

All My Relations is a team of folks who care about representations, and how Native peoples are represented in mainstream media. On each episode hosts Matika Wilbur (Tulalip and Swinomish) and Dr. Adrienne Keene (Cherokee Nation), delve into a different topic facing Native peoples today, bringing in guests from all over Indian Country to offer perspectives and stories.

Native American Calling

Native America Calling is a live call-in program linking public radio stations, the Internet and listeners together in a thought-provoking national conversation about issues specific to Native communities. Each program engages noted guests and experts with callers throughout the United States and is designed to improve the quality of life for Native Americans. Check out their recent episode, “Avoiding mistakes in the classroom.” 

Teaching Hard History Podcast (Teaching Tolerance)

What we don’t know about American slavery hurts us all. From Teaching Tolerance and host Hasan Kwame Jeffries, Teaching Hard History brings us the lessons we should have learned in school through the voices of leading scholars and educators. It’s good advice for teachers, good information for everybody. Check out “Teaching Slavery through Children’s Literature, Part 2 with Dr. Debbie Reese.

This Land 

Hosted by Rebecca Nagle, a citizen of Cherokee Nation, This Land is about the 1839 assassination of a Cherokee leader and a 1999 murder case – two crimes nearly two centuries apart provide the backbone to an upcoming 2019 Supreme Court decision that will determine the fate of five tribes and nearly half the land in Oklahoma.

Unreserved with Rosanna Deerchild

Unreserved is the radio space for Indigenous community, culture, and conversation. Host Rosanna Deerchild takes you straight into Indigenous Canada, from Halifax to Haida Gwaii, from Shamattawa to Ottawa, introducing listeners to the storytellers, culture makers and community shakers from across the country. The Unreserved team offers real talk from the people behind the headlines, with a soundtrack from the best in Indigenous music.

Articles/Teaching Resources

Teaching Respect for Native Peoples by Doris Seale and Beverly Slapin (printed on Cynthia Leitich Smith’s website with permission from Oyate) 

2019 Arbuthnot Lecture: An Indigenous Critique of Whiteness in Children’s Literature by Dr. Debbie Reese (Children and Libraries). You can watch the recorded livestream of the lecture here

Critical Indigenous Literacies: Selecting and Using Children’s Books about Indigenous Peoples by Dr. Debbie Reese (Language Arts)

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month: Dos and Don’ts by Ruth Hopkins (Teen Vogue)

American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving by the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian 

Deconstructing the myths of “The First Thanksgiving by Judy Dow (Oyate)

Origin Narrative: Thanksgiving: A Lesson Plan, created by Dr. Natalie Martinez (Laguna Pueblo), to support  Chapter 3 (“Cult of the Covenant”) in An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People.

Diversity in Children’s Books 2018 Infographic


As we celebrate and spotlight books created by and about Native and First Nations creators, we also wanted to share an invaluable resource to help advocate for more incredible, authentic books to be published. The Diversity in Children’s books 2018 Infographic shows the “percentage of books depicting characters from diverse backgrounds based on the 2018 publishing statistics compiled by the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC).” Please take a copy of the infographic postcard, which includes the infographic above and resources to take action and learn more on the back. It is worth noting an important change in this infographic from the previous one:

“One important distinction between the 2015 and 2018 infographics is that we made a deliberate decision to crack a section of the children’s mirrors (Rudine Sims Bishop, “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors,” 1990) to indicate what Debbie Reese calls “funhouse mirrors” and Ebony Elizabeth Thomas calls “distorted funhouse mirrors of the self.” Children’s literature continues to misrepresent underrepresented communities, and we wanted this infographic to show not just the low quantity of existing literature, but also the inaccuracy and uneven quality of some of those books.” Note the broken glass on the ground beside the children in the infographic as you reflect on it.” 

Source: Huyck, David and Sarah Park Dahlen. (2019 June 19). Diversity in Children’s Books 2018. sarahpark.com blog. Created in consultation with Edith Campbell, Molly Beth Griffin, K. T. Horning, Debbie Reese, Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, and Madeline Tyner, with statistics compiled by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison: http://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/books/pcstats.asp. Retrieved from https://readingspark.wordpress.com/2019/06/19/picture-this-diversity-in-childrens-books-2018-infographic/

Which books by Native and First Nations creators have you shared with young people in your lives? Let us know!


Program Review – K-Pop Party!

Posted & filed under Blog, Uncategorized, Youth & Teen.

This program started with an idea from one of our teen volunteers during a CAT (Council of Awesome T(w)eens) Meeting where kids can discuss programs that they would like to see in the library. Several teens are K Pop (Korean Pop) fanatics and had a wealth of information about the topic. They said that they could expose lots of younger kids (Grades 3-8) to new K Pop music that they had not yet heard about.

Execution:

Kids were able to see a list of K Pop Bands on the whiteboard when they walked in. This accomplished several goals. First, it ignited conversation about what bands they already listen to and which ones they liked the most. They were able to write down what band their favorite is, which allows them to immediately participate. By participating, everyone felt like they can contribute right away, which ultimately allows for more participation throughout the program as a whole.

Warm Up Activity

After the warm-up or initial activity to get kids to participate, they then went on to make keychains featuring K Pop images. They had lots of images from which to choose, which allowed kids to customize an image to their liking, as well as talk to each other about which image is best to choose and why.

Trivia!

The final activity was a K Pop bingo game. Our teen volunteer helped to run this portion of the program, which allowed her to share her extensive knowledge of the subject. It was a fun way for kids to discuss and learn information about a topic about which they were already passionate. Finally, throughout the program, kids listened to a customized playlist of K Pop music. Again, this was a way for our volunteers to showcase their knowledge, as well as allow kids to hear their favorite music, as well as learn about new artists and songs. The program ultimately empowered our teen volunteers, and was a good combination of meeting kids where they’re already at in regards to their interests, while also exposing kids to new ideas and fun music! Check out more K Pop materials at our library for more information and fun!

BTS: The Ultimate Fan Book – Malcolm Croft

BTS Army Handbook – Niki Smith

K Pop: Korea’s Musical Explosion – Stuart Kallen

BTS World: Original Soundtrack – BTS

Caldecott Club: Session #3

Posted & filed under Blog, Uncategorized, Youth & Teen.

Hi! I’m Miss Eti, one of the Youth & Teen Services librarians and I’m back with another recap of our latest Caldecott Club session. We had our third session on Thursday, November 7th and selected more books to send to our Voting Party. To refresh your memory, the Caldecott Award is the award for the most distinguished American picture book for children, given out each year by the Association for Library Service to Children. We talked about the Caldecott Award and considered what makes a good picture book. This week is Children’s Book Week, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary, so I received a couple posters created by award-winning author/illustrator Yuyi Morales to raffle off at the end of our program. 

I shared how grown-up committee members have boxes of books delivered at their doorsteps when they receive submissions for the award. So I taped up a box of our books & had F., one of our Caldecott Club members, help me open it up and then we distributed the books.

The books we discussed in session 3 were:


When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukof, illustrated by Kaylani Juanita

¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market by Raúl the Third, colors by Elaine Bay

At the Mountain’s Base by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Weshoyot Alvitre 

My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero, illustrated by Zeke Peña

Here’s the necessary spoiler alert for all of these picture books.

Picture Walk

Rather than doing a formal read aloud of each book, we did picture walks. 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: How well does this book do what it’s trying to do? What did you notice? How does this page make you feel? What makes this art distinguished? I also found it very helpful to remind our group not to skip ahead in their copies of the book because we want to experience the often dramatic page turns in the picture walk together. 

This session I tried to use our timer, but it’s SO hard to stop talking about books when I can only give us 10 minutes per book. I realized I selected longer, more visually and thematically complex books this session, which are all perfect for amazing conversations, but I needed like 3 more hours for this program to dive in to each of them… In the end, I am learning to accept that I may not discuss every spread of each book in detail but hopefully can help kids experience these books in new ways. It felt like a success when K. asked if the books were able to be checked out after the program; it’s clear he still had lots more he wanted to explore. One of the best parts of doing a program series is that I get to make changes to improve the program each time. I revised our note-taking handout to include more space for kids to write down ideas and notes that we might not get to share during the discussion, which was very successful. It was also fascinating to see the doodles that the kids created during by this program. I also reorganized the room so that everyone was sitting in a row of tables facing me. Simply changing the design of the space can transform the program itself! 

I have to give a huge shout-out and thank you to Ms. Gaby, who joined this session, sharing her expertise and assistance, especially when dealing with tech issues, and generally being an awesome calming presence within the chaos I create. Thank you, Gaby!  

When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukof, illustrated by Kaylani Juanita

For this picture walk, I’m going to do something a little different since we discussed it during our Junior Justice League session in October, too, so I’m going to synthesize the discussion from these two programs. 

I began our discussion with a pre-reading question about what should we do if we have a new family member or a new friend in our class or neighborhood? K. suggested that “if you have a new family member, you should be nice to them.” S. shared that you should make sure it’s safe and they’re happy. M. added that you should be quiet. A. asserted that “I would ask them what they need so they feel more at home.” M. shared “if they’re a baby, you can treat them the way you would like.” C. shared how he smiled and said hi to welcome what became his oldest friend. E. shared how her siblings helped prepare for her before she was born, including building the crib. I then prompted the group to think about how do we show love to our family/friends no matter what before doing our picture walk. 

I began our discussion by asking how Aidan is feeling in the first spread, to which A. responded, “the parents don’t think the same way.” I then read the text of the page and we discussed how we know Aidan is not happy with the room. As we discussed the element of the room that didn’t work for Aidan, M. suggested that maybe Aidan feels “bored sad.” D. shared “he doesn’t like how he’s dressed.” 

I pointed out that we were going to seek out the rule of threes throughout the book as a narrative structure, looking at Aidan’s name, room, and clothing. This understanding of the story was informed by an interview with Kyle Lukoff who said, “So when I wrote that first page of AIDAN, I hit on three points: his name, his room, and his clothes. And those three points, in that order–name, room, clothes–show up consistently as Aidan is transitioning. Then when the baby enters the picture, the three points invert, and we learn about the baby’s clothes, room, and name, and then Aidan’s anxieties revolve around the clothes, room, and name, keeping that order intact. It’s something that readers might not notice consciously unless they’re looking for it, but is crucial for making the story feel like a picture book instead of a truncated short story.” When we moved onto the accidentally-on-purpose spread, K. pointed out that on the previous page, he thought Aidan felt lonely, “and in this page, he’s disappointed that he feels like he’s not himself.” And then on the next page, when Aidan cuts his hair, K. declared, “it looks like him.” We talked about how Aidan is feeling after his haircut. An. suggested that “he’s eager to see his parents’ faces, so they can realize something.” P. suggested that “he’s happy because he can be himself.” A. shared that “I think that Aidan felt trapped on the inside before and when he cut his hair, he feels like he’s free, flying like a bird.” This beautiful comment predicted the future painting spread perfectly. We talked about how his parents react to him telling them that he is a boy. Ya. suggested that “they feel proud and relieved – because he’s got bravery.” We talked about the importance of finding community.

The kids then noticed the rule of threes in the newly decorated room, his name and his clothing.  The kids pointed out his fantastic pink shoes! 

They then applied this same rule of three to his concerns about the new baby. We talked about Aidan’s concerns about being a big brother, knowing “a big brother was an important job for a boy like him. He wanted to make sure this boy would feel understood right away.” We noticed Aidan’s body language when people ask him and his parents about the baby’s gender and the way that makes him feel. Our group gasped with wonder when they saw Aidan and his dad painting the room for the new baby, and I made sure to refer back to A.’s comment about Aidan feeling like he’s flying. M. noticed the different shapes of the clouds, which provoked our entire group to shout out the things that they could see.

When Aidan is under his covers and tells his mom his worries, “I don’t want them to feel like I did when I was little, but what if I get everything wrong? What if I don’t know how to be a good big brother?” I stopped to ask the group what they would say to Aidan. Immediately, B. said, “Don’t worry, buddy,” trying to comfort Aidan. I wish I could have had time to hear everyone’s responses, but I know these kids were thinking deeply about ways to support Aidan. I shared Aidan’s mom’s beautiful response: “When you were born, we didn’t know you were going to be our son. We made some mistakes, but you helped us fix them…. And you taught us how important it is to love someone for exactly who they are. This baby is so lucky to have you and so are we.” I shared Kyle’s message from his interview on The Children’s Book Podcast with Matthew Winner for young people: “I want to tell them that they teach your parents and those around them to love them for who they are – and that we are so lucky to have them here.” I then shared the dramatic page turn when the baby is born and Aidan officially becomes a big brother. A. pointed out that the balloons say, “it’s a baby,” showing how the parents understand more. In their notes, Ya. wrote: “I like how he was proud and didn’t want the baby to go through what he was going through.” D. wrote: “I like the part when he cuts his hair. I like the art.”

¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market by Raúl the Third, Colored by Elaine Bay

I began our picture walk by sharing some background information about the author/illustrator, Raúl the Third. He said in a Let’s Talk Picture Books interview, “The idea was simply to introduce readers to the amazing part of the world that I grew up in. I was born and raised in the bordertowns of El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Each book will celebrate a different part of the culture and location. The first book is about the Mercado because hands down the Mercado Cuauhtemoc in Juarez has been so influential in my life as an artist.” Later in the program, I was able to share pictures of the Mercado and discuss how this real place is depicted in this fictionalize world. I told the kids briefly about the collaborative process between Raúl and Elaine, which truly are a superteam. The colors and textures make this book come to life. I wish I could have spent more time discussing how Elaine Bay uses color. 

Interestingly, while the premise of this book is informed by Richard Scarry’s Busytown series, the kids were not familiar with his books. The kids were super excited to learn and speak the Spanish words, finding them throughout the book and figuring them out from the context clues. I told them about the glossary at the end, which is an excellent resource to share. “Another thing that makes a really good book is Easter eggs,” C. shared, expressing his understanding of the essence of this book with its dozens of simultaneous plots and characters. I told them that we couldn’t possibly notice everything in the 10-minutes or so we had to do our picture walk, so we were going to focus specifically on finding our  favorite luchador, El Toro, to which C. declared, “that means bull.” The kids were happy when they found the El Toro balloon, which is just a fantastic Easter egg. This really is the perfect book to share using a document camera where you can help point out all of the details. We could have literally spent the entire session just on this book!

The kids loved the twist at the end (spoiler alert again) when Little Lobo brings the golden laces for El Toro’s mask and ends up meeting his hero, having his comic signed, and giving him a ride home. E. had a question about the difference between vamos and vámonos. Ms. Gaby shared her expertise and provided a lesson about the difference between vamos and vámonos. She shared that vamos means go! and vámonos means let’s go. This was a great opportunity for all of us to learn more Spanish! C. declared that this book was all caps awesome. S. shared that “I like when he lost his mask.” D. shared that, “I like it a lot. I like when he finds his mask.” I was so happy to share that there’s going to be a franchise of Vamos books, which include: Vamos! Let’s Go Eat! (spring 2020), El Toro and Friends: Training Day, Tag Team (both spring 2021), and Team Up (spring 2022), board books featuring Coco Rocho, who the kids loved, and ¡Vamos! Let’s Cross the Bridge (scheduled for fall 2021). 

At the Mountain’s Base by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Weshoyot Alvitre

I will never forget the incredible discussions we had during last year’s Caldecott Club when we discussed We are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Frané Lessac. I knew that her latest book would spark powerful discussions – and I was right! I began our discussion by sharing background information about the creators of At the Mountain’s Base, telling the kids that Traci Sorell is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation and Weshoyot Alvitre is Tongva (Los Angeles Basin) – so they are both Native women creating books today. When asked about the origins of this book, Traci shared in a Cynsations interview that “At the Mountain’s Base centers on a family waiting for their relative, a female pilot, to come home from war. I wanted to highlight the service of Native American women, which is all too often forgotten or left out of history books altogether.” We began our analysis with the endpapers, discussing the kids’ impressions of the art. I shared what I learned from the fantastic Meet Penguin’s Premier Picture Book Creators webinar where Weshoyot Alvitre shared her process of researching and creating At the Mountain’s Base. (I highly recommend watching this webinar to hear directly from Weshoyot about her creative process and inspiration.) I shared how she did research about the Cherokee practice of finger weaving and paid tribute to it in the art. I shared the dedications from the book: Traci Sorell wrote, “For Native veterans, those in active duty, their loved ones and the Native Nations they all come from – ᏩᏙ (wado) thank you.” Weshoyot Alvitre wrote, “To my grandmother Vera and my mom, who wove a deep love for creating with my hands when I was very young.” These dedications helped center the real life people who inspired this beautiful picture book.  The group really noticed how this picture book is a poem, paying attention to the beautiful, minimalist language. I pointed out how Weshoyot’s craft as a comic book artist is reflected in the art, using sequential panels that zoom into scenes like a film.

The group noticed how the panels are made from woven yarn that flow past the end of the pages. I made sure to point out the dramatic page turn when the perspective shifts and we’re looking down at the grandmother weaving with the text beside her “and worrying.” Some of the kids suggested that the child with the grandmother was the author, Traci Sorell, gaining knowledge from her Elder. I shared how Weshoyot wanted to “honor her grandmother [Vera].. who always had her hands busy doing something,” who taught her knitting  and help develop Weshoyot’s love of fiber craft, along with her mother.

When the narrative shows how the Cherokee family is waiting for their loved one to return, I shared that this book is inspired by the real story of Ola Mildred “Millie” Rexcoat, an Oglala Lakota pilot, which I made sure to read to the kids. 

I showed how photographs of Millie informed the art. I even shared pictures from the dedication of friends and family honoring Millie, along with photographs of Millie. 

Our group was super engaged by the full page spread of the pilot in her plane, provoked to make the sounds of planes as we discussed it. I love how visual art can provoke an auditory experience! But then their planes had to come in for a landing so we could continue our discussion.

We discussed the emotions that we thought the family was feeling as they held each other. We then did a dramatic page turn for the final page when the pilot is heading toward the cabin and all comes full circle. The kids oohed and ahhed over the case cover secret in a gorgeous finger weaving pattern. One kid asked if it felt like weaving so we had to try it to find out.  One of our new Caldecott Club friends, D., identified the spine and the jacket in this moment, showing her incredible knowledge of the parts of books. 

I shared how one of our Caldecott Club friends, Yu., couldn’t come to the program because she was doing a Veteran’s Day activity, but once I told her about this book, she asked for a copy to share with her teacher. And as an amazing surprise, she dropped by during Caldecott Club to tell us that she had shared the book with her social studies teacher, who read it to the class. Caldecott Club connections for the win! 

My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero, illustrated by Zeke Peña

As soon as I said the title of this book, one of our friends, S. said that her own dad has a motorcycle, making a wonderful text-to-self connection. Others shared their own motorcycle connections. Ms. Gaby shared that Corona means crown, which really enhanced our understanding of this book. I began our discussion by sharing some background information about Corona’s 1913 Road Race and agricultural workers fighting for their rights, pointing out the murals when Daisy Ramona passed them.

I told the kids we were going to go like a motorcycle through this book since we were running out of time, a perennial issue for me, which of course, provoked the kids to make motorcycle vroom noises. (I had no idea that these books would inspire such visceral, multi-sensory responses. Audiobook producers, take note when you adapt all of these books and make sure to include these sounds. I think all of these books would make exceptional readalong audiobooks!) We began our journey with a spot of intertextuality, noting the delightful cameo of Lowriders in Space by Cathy Camper and Raúl the Third. C.’s immediately wanted to know if there was Spanish in Lowriders, to which I gave an emphatic yes.

We zoomed ahead in our picture walk, pointing out how Daisy feels like she’s a comet, surrounded by sunset colors. My Papi Has a Motorcycle is another book that calls readers to pay attention to all the details, discovering something new each time you read it. Our group noticed the unicorn on her helmet and the one that rides a motorcycle too. When Daisy and her dad encounter the shuttered Don Rudy’s raspado shop, we discussed how they thought Daisy and her dad must be feeling – and how the city has changed, which then provoked them to think about the ways their own community has changed.

I concluded our discussion by sharing Isabel Quintero’s author note: “Who are the people who build our cities and form our communities? Who are the people who get streets named after them, and who are the people who lay the asphalt? …. This book is a love letter to both my father, who showed me different ways of experiencing home, and to Corona, California, a city that will always be a part of me.”

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 top books then are the winners of our session and go on the Voting Party on January 9. We also had a raffle to give away two Children’s Book Week posters designed by Yuyi Morales. Everyone got a pin to add to their lanyard and a Caldecott poster. 

Since we had a tie between some of our books, we now have 3 books from this session going to the party… And the Session 3 Winners Are…

When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukof, illustrated by Kaylani Juanita

At the Mountain’s Base by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Weshoyot Alvitre 

My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero, illustrated by Zeke Peña

Join Us Next Time!

Please join us for our next Caldecott Club session on Thursday, November 21 from 3:30-5:00pm! And don’t forget to bring your fancy lanyards! (And if you didn’t get one, make sure to join us so you can rock our Caldecott Club merch!) While our registration list is full online, PLEASE contact me to get put on the list. I’d love to have you join us.

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

A Big Bed for Little Snow by Grace Lin 

Saturday by Oge Mora 

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

Going Down Home with Daddy by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Daniel Minter

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

 – Eti

Resources

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

When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff, illustrated by Kaylani Juanita

Kirkus (Starred) https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/kyle-lukoff/when-aidan-became-a-brother/

Publisher’s Weekly (Starred): https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-62014-837-2 

Booklist (Starred): https://www.booklistonline.com/When-Aidan-Became-a-Brother/pid=9718914 

Horn Book (Starred): https://www.hbook.com/?detailStory=review-of-when-aidan-became-a-brother

School Library Journal (Starred) https://www.slj.com/?reviewDetail=when-aidan-became-a-brother

Calling Caldecott Post (Hillary Saxton)

Webinar: LGBTQ+ Children’s Books from Lee & Low 

Kirkus Interview with Kyle Lukoff 

All in the Family by Julie Danielson 

Teacher’s Guide 

When Kyle wrote Aidan: Process and the Trans Child Narrative (Betsy Bird) 

Staff Picks: When Aidan Became a Brother

The Children’s Book Podcast with Matthew Winner Interview with Kyle Lukoff 

When life is hard and art is the way out with illustrator Kaylani Juanita (Creativity Project) 

Lee & Low Publisher’s Page

Five Questions for Kyle Lukoff (Horn Book) 

Kaylani Juanita’s website

Kyle Lukoff’s website 

Picture book of the day: When Aidan Became a Brother bubbles with joy and love (Mr. Brian’s Picture Books)

Shelf Awareness review 

¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market by Raúl the Third and Elaine Bay 

Raúl the Third’s website 

Get to know Raúl the Third (Jarrett Lerner)

A Daily Dose Of Delight review (Margaret M. Myers-Culver’s Librarian’s Quest)

Publisher’s website 

Five questions for Raúl the Third (Horn Book) 

Let’s Talk Illustrators #103: Raúl the Third

Raúl the Third Interview (Bartography)

Latinx in Kidlit Review 

¡Vamos! Let’s Make It a Franchise! by Sue Corbett 

¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market Review (De Colores: The Raza Experience in Books for Children)

School Library Journal Review 

At the Mountain’s Base by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Weshoyot Alvitre 

Traci Sorell’s Website

Weshoyot Alvitre’s Website 

‘At the Mountain’s Base’ honors Native women’s military service by Will Chavez (Cherokee Phoenix) 

Native Vision: Weshoyot Alvitre on Illustrating At The Mountain’s Base Interview by Kim Rogers (Cynsations)

Booklist Webinar—Meet Penguin’s Premier Picture Book Creators!

What I Did Last Week, Featuring Weshoyot Alvitre and Duncan Tonatiuh (Julie Danielson)

At the Mountain’s Base: Book Activity 

Publisher’s Page 

Horn Book Review 

Weaving Words and Worlds on the Page: An Interview with Traci Sorell & Weshoyot Alvitre (CBC Diversity)

Highly Recommended: AT THE MOUNTAIN’S BASE by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Weshoyot Alvitre (American Indian’s in Children’s Literature – Dr. Debbie Reese)

Ellsworth Airfield Ops building renamed in honor of fallen WASP

Native Voice: Traci Sorell on At the Mountain’s Base & Indian No More Interview by Kim Rogers (Cynsations)

Weaving Hope (Margaret M. Myers-Culver’s Librarian’s Quest)

My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero, illustrated by Zeke Peña

Isabel Quintero’s Website

Zeke Peña’s Website 

All in the Family by Julie Danielson 

Review of the Day: My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero, ill. Zeke Peña (Betsy Bird) 

Horn Book Review 

Publisher’s Website 

Children’s Book Podcast with Matthew Winner Interview with Isabel Quintero &  Zeke Peña

My Papi Has A Motorcycle, Libro Compañero by Yuyi Morales video 

‘My Papi Has A Motorcycle’ Pays Loving Tribute To A California Childhood (NPR Weekend Edition) 

Celebrate Family, Community and the Thrill of the Ride with My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Erika Thulin Dawes (Classroom Bookshelf) 

Q & A with Isabel Quintero and Zeke Peña by Antonia Saxon (Publisher’s Weekly) 

Let’s Talk Illustrators #107: Zeke Peña (Let’s Talk Picture Books) 

Calling Caldecott Post by Luisana Duarte Armendáriz

History of Corona

Book Review (Suzanne Mateus)


New Book Tuesday 11-12-19

Posted & filed under Blog.

Bowie’s Bookshelf by John O’Connell

Named one of Entertainment Weekly’s 12 biggest music memoirs this fall. “An artful and wildly enthralling path for Bowie fans in particular and book lovers in general.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“The only art I’ll ever study is stuff that I can steal from.” ―David Bowie

Three years before David Bowie died, he shared a list of 100 books that changed his life. His choices span fiction and nonfiction, literary and irreverent, and include timeless classics alongside eyebrow-raising obscurities.

In 100 short essays, music journalist John O’Connell studies each book on Bowie’s list and contextualizes it in the artist’s life and work. How did the power imbued in a single suit of armor in The Iliad impact a man who loved costumes, shifting identity, and the siren song of the alter-ego? How did The Gnostic Gospels inform Bowie’s own hazy personal cosmology? How did the poems of T.S. Eliot and Frank O’Hara, the fiction of Vladimir Nabokov and Anthony Burgess, the comics of The Beano and The Viz, and the groundbreaking politics of James Baldwin influence Bowie’s lyrics, his sound, his artistic outlook? How did the 100 books on this list influence one of the most influential artists of a generation?

Heartfelt, analytical, and totally original, Bowie’s Bookshelf is one part epic reading guide and one part biography of a music legend.

New Book Tuesday 11-5-19

Posted & filed under Blog.

The Power of Heart by Amy Bloch, M.D.

The secret to a good life is not what you think.

Most of us have been raised to believe that we can solve any problem if we think about it hard enough. We spend years honing our intellect, knowing that our brains are our best line of defense against whatever roadblocks life throws us. But each and every one of us has a secret weapon to call upon when brainpower isn’t enough, and that is Heart.

Amy Bloch discovered the power of heart quite by accident. An accomplished psychiatrist, fully in control of her professional and family life, Amy was dealt what she thought was a devastating, insurmountable set-back when her daughter Emily was born with a severe brain malformation. Amy tried desperately to “fix” Emily, and exhausted herself in her efforts to deal with the “problem” using her intellect, going at it brain-first―the default way we tend to approach challenges in our society. Emily, on the other hand, lives completely heart-first: she simply doesn’t have the capabilities to approach life brain-first. Yet to Amy’s initial surprise―and ultimately, to her great admiration―Emily is remarkably happy and successful.

The Power of Heart is the distillation of what Emily taught Amy―lessons that are applicable to anyone’s life. Learning to be Emily’s mom and observing how Emily approaches life prompted a radical change in Amy’s life. It also transformed her work with patients in her professional practice, where she witnessed over and over again how getting out of brain and into heart made life deeper and richer, less stressful, and more meaningful. While the brain is amazing, powerful, and useful, it does come with limitations. There’s some stuff the brain just doesn’t know, which is where heart comes in. Tapping into heart helps your brain perform better, and makes you stronger and smarter than you will ever be trusting only your brain. Heart will allow you to live with uncertainty; find strength, resilience, courage, and persistence in tough times; cast off self-criticism and doubt, and have a lot more confidence and fun. The Power of Heart is for readers of all ages and walks of life who are ready to move beyond the brain-first strategy, and embrace heart as well.

Secret Service by Tom Bradby

Senior MI6 officer Kate Henderson is in possession of the political equivalent of a nuclear bomb. She heads up the Russia Desk of the Secret Intelligence Service, and one of her undercover operations has revealed some alarming evidence that a senior UK politician is a high-level Russian informer.

Determined to find the identity of the traitor, Kate must risk everything to get to the truth. Until a young woman is brutally murdered as a consequence, which puts Kate and her team under the spotlight. With blood on her hands, her reputation to uphold, her family hanging by a thread, and an election looming, Kate is quickly running out of options—and out of time . . .

From the author of Shadow Dancer and The White Russian, who has been a finalist for multiple Crime Writers Association awards, this is a tense, timely novel of secrets, betrayals, and spycraft.

Noel Street by Richard Paul Evans

In this new offering from “the king of Christmas fiction” (The New York Times), #1 bestselling author Richard Paul Evans shares a story of heart, loyalty, and hope as he explores the deeper meaning of the holiday season and asks what it truly means to love and forgive.

The year is 1975. Elle Sheen—a single mother who is supporting herself and her six-year-old, African-American son, Dylan, as a waitress at the Noel Street Diner—isn’t sure what to make of William Smith when his appearance creates a stir in the small town of Mistletoe, Utah. As their lives unexpectedly entwine, Elle learns that William, a recently returned Vietnam POW, is not only fighting demons from his past, but may also have the answer to her own secret pain—a revelation that culminates in a remarkable act of love and forgiveness.

My Singing Nana by Pat Mora

“Always amigos!” 

My Singing Nana is a compassionate tribute to families dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease. This story celebrates the ideals of family, heritage, and happy memories, showing kids that no matter how their loved one might change they always have ways to maintain their special connection.

Keeper of the Lost Cities Legacy by Shannon Messenger

Illusions shatter—and Sophie and her friends face impossible choices—in this astonishing eighth book in the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling Keeper of the Lost Cities series.

Only this first edition includes an exclusive extra scene from Tam’s point of view as well as beautiful illustrated endpapers from Shannon Messenger.

Sophie Foster wants answers. But after a lifetime of lies, sometimes the truth is the most dangerous discovery. Even the smallest secret comes with terrifying new responsibilities.

And Sophie’s not the only one with blank spots in her past, or mysteries surrounding her family. She and her friends are part of something much bigger than they imagined—and their roles have already been chosen for them.

Every clue drags them deeper into the conspiracy. Every memory forces them to question everything—especially one another. And the harder they fight, the more the lines blur between friend and enemy.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Wrecking Ball by Jeff Kinney

In Wrecking Ball, Book 14 of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series—from #1 international bestselling author Jeff Kinney—an unexpected inheritance gives Greg Heffley’s family a chance to make big changes to their house. But they soon find that home improvement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Once the walls come down, all sorts of problems start to crop up. Rotten wood, toxic mold, unwelcome critters, and something even more sinister all make Greg and his family wonder if the renovations are worth the trouble. When the dust finally settles, will the Heffleys be able to stay . . . or will they need to get out of town?

The Forgotten Girl by India Hill Brown

“This ghost story gave me chill after chill. It will haunt you.” — R.L. Stine, author of Goosebumps

“Do you know what it feels like to be forgotten?”

On a cold winter night, Iris and her best friend, Daniel, sneak into a clearing in the woods to play in the freshly fallen snow. There, Iris carefully makes a perfect snow angel — only to find the crumbling gravestone of a young girl, Avery Moore, right beneath her.

Immediately, strange things start to happen to Iris: She begins having vivid nightmares. She wakes up to find her bedroom window wide open, letting in the snow. She thinks she sees the shadow of a girl lurking in the woods. And she feels the pull of the abandoned grave, calling her back to the clearing…

Obsessed with figuring out what’s going on, Iris and Daniel start to research the area for a school project. They discover that Avery’s grave is actually part of a neglected and forgotten Black cemetery, dating back to a time when White and Black people were kept separate in life — and in death. As Iris and Daniel learn more about their town’s past, they become determined to restore Avery’s grave and finally have proper respect paid to Avery and the others buried there.

But they have awakened a jealous and demanding ghost, one that’s not satisfied with their plans for getting recognition. One that is searching for a best friend forever — no matter what the cost.

The Forgotten Girl is both a spooky original ghost story and a timely and important storyline about reclaiming an abandoned segregated cemetery.

“A harrowing yet empowering tale reminding us that the past is connected to the present, that every place and every person has a story, and that those stories deserve to be told.” — Renée Watson, New York Times bestselling author of Piecing Me Together