Author Visit with Next Wave Muslim Initiative writers, Sasa and Fatima

Posted & filed under Blog, Book Discussions, Youth & Teen.

We are SO excited and honored to welcome Next Wave Muslim Initiative writers and contributors of I Am the Night Sky & Other Reflections by Muslim American Youth anthology, Salihah “Sasa” Aakil & Fatima Rafie, to our virtual library on Tuesday, February 2nd at 6pm CST!

Sasa and Fatima will present and discuss their important works. Attendees will gain insights from these incredible young creators about their creative process to make the anthology, offering learning opportunities for young people who are interested in expressing themselves. Attendees will ALSO be entered into a raffle to win a free copy of I Am the Night Sky. You can also purchase copies from Shout Mouse Press.

Are you curious about how young people (just like you!) wrote and published a book?

Are you passionate about the power of stories to help young people “show their true selves, to build connection, and to create more inclusive and welcoming communities for all”? 

Are you interested in telling your own story? 

Then, this is THE program for you! Please register here to join our live Zoom with your email. You don’t have to read the book beforehand to enjoy our authors’ presentation; we hope it will inspire you to check it out or get your own copy. All are welcome to join us!

Curious to know more about their book?

I Am the Night Sky & Other Reflections by Muslim American Youth is an essential addition to your home, classroom, and library collections! It received a Starred review in Kirkus and was named a Best Book of 2019. It is highly recommended from the Rich in Color blog. It was included on the 2020 Rise: A Feminist Book Project List for Ages 0-18. It was also on the In the Margins Book Awards Recommended Non-fiction list.

We have created a special Grab & Go Kit to accompany our upcoming virtual author visit that you can pick up from our Great Green Box! We have collected excellent resources to help celebrate and enjoy this visit! 

Write

We’ve provided you with a writer’s notebook to help you express yourself. Use it to respond to any of the Shout In Place Prompts, which was Shout Mouse Press’s initiative this past spring “to collect stories from young people during the pandemic and help young people process and capture their unique experience of this historic time.” We have included a couple examples in the kit. You can see all the prompts here, which also includes young authors’ writing, art, and reflections. You can also submit your own response or share them with us. You can also use the I Am the Night Sky Writing Prompts developed by Kathy Crutcher, Shout Mouse Story Coach to inspire you.

Watch

Get inspired to write by watching the powerful compilation video of Shout Mouse Press authors’ responses to the “Who Am I?” #ShoutInPlace prompt!

Try the Shout in Place prompt from Week 18: The #WhoAmIChallenge. Being as creative as possible, you are challenged to describe who you are. Using the #WhoAmIChallenge Template as your script, answer the question Who Am I? 5 times. Make sure to add details that show us how unique you are.

Create

Fatima Rafie created an incredible series of collages for this anthology. Using the collage materials provided, as well as your own craft supplies, magazines, or upcycled books, create a collage that explores the theme of identity. You can even use the I Am the Night Sky Writing Prompts to help inspire your art. We have also included some pictures of Fatima Rafie’s artwork to serve as mentor texts to help you get started. Feel free to share what you create with us!

Read 

Read and reflect on Salihah “Sasa” Aakil’s piece, “I am the Night Sky,” which became the title of the anthology. As Sasa writes in the introduction:

“In the end, the title we chose came from a piece in this collection, a line that speaks to the power we all felt while writing. The power to declare who we are. To reframe and reclaim. To tell our own stories, when all you’d heard was theirs.

We know who we are. We are intelligent, athletic and energetic, funny and strange, young and alive, writers and artists. We are boundless. We do not fit in anyone’s box. We are the night sky, and we wrote these stories, reflections, and reminders so that you can know us for us. Not for what they declared us to be…

This collection, like us, contains multitudes… We wrote our truths here, all in the hopes that you will remember us for who we are. We are. And we are here.”

The entire anthology is an incredible work of art! You definitely will want to check it out from the library and get your own copy, too!

We have included some amazing articles to learn more! 

“Book Launch: I Am the Night Sky” by Salihah Aakil (7/26/19)

“All the Ways I Learned to Become the Night Sky as a Muslim Teen” by Salihah Aakil (5/4/20)

“This D.C. press helps diverse young writers express themselves ‘from a place of power’” by Avery J.C. Kleinman (10/17/20)

Meet the Bright Muslim Writers and Artists Giving Life to the American Muslim Experience by Nadamousa 

You can check out Salihah Aakil’s official bio.

You can check out Fatima Rafie’s official bio.

Learn more about the Next Wave Muslim Initiative.

Learn more about Shout Mouse Press.

You can learn more about Shout Mouse Press in the videos below:

Caldecott Club Voting Party 2021

Posted & filed under Blog, Book Discussions, Early Literacy, Youth & Teen.

Welcome back to our 2021 Caldecott Club! I’m Miss Eti, one of the Youth & Teen Services librarians at Lincolnwood Library. We have come full circle during this, our 4th Caldecott Club, inspired by the fantastic program that Brian Wilson created at Evanston Public Library in 2016. This year we are hosting a collaborative virtual Caldecott Club WITH Mr. Brian and Evanston Public Library. We have been learning so much about how to host this program virtually – and it’s been so fun to join together across our community to geek out about gorgeous picture books!

We met together on Zoom on January 19, 2021 with a group of wonderful readers, their families, and friends to talk about all things picture books. We designed this program to be open to kids from around 1st grade through 8th grade and up because picture books are for everybody and everyone can learn from each other. I’ve tried to recap their brilliance in this post. (You can read the recaps from Session #1 here, Session #2 here, and Session #3 here.) We reached the culmination of our hard work picture walking and evaluating picture books for months: The Voting Party! We were joined by our program buddy, Ann, and our Evanston Library buddy, Laura. We also were joined by a special guest, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast blogger, author, and librarian, Julie Danielson!

During this program series, different kids have attended a variety of sessions so it was pretty exciting to have most of our regular attendees – and some new friends attend our culminating program. The wonderful thing about picture books is their accessibility for engagement, whether you’re a first timer at Caldecott Club or a longtime fan. 

We began our session by reviewing what the Caldecott award is, which is “most distinguished American picture book for children awarded by the Association for Library Service to Children.” Mr. Brian, as usual, revealed the books we’d discuss and helped get us excited! He also encouraged us to listen to each other and approach each book with an open mind. We then jumped into our discussion. We started the conversation about each book with a quick booktalk/picture walk to ensure everyone was familiar with the books. (The summaries below are from the descriptions from the publishers’ pages.) During our discussion, we asked the kids to share what they liked about the art, starting with the positive things first, as per the CCBC Book Discussion Guidelines, and then share what didn’t work for them about the art. A reoccurring theme throughout our discussion that the kids brought up was comparing the books to each other, which is a helpful strategy for all committees.

Our essential questions were:

  • What did you like about the art?
  • How well did the art express the themes/ideas/story? 
  • Why should it win our Caldecott Club Award? 
  • What could have been done better? Why shouldn’t it win our Caldecott Club Award?

Lift by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat

Lift

Iris loves to push the elevator buttons in her apartment building, but when it’s time to share the fun with a new member of the family, she’s pretty put out. That is, until the sudden appearance of a mysterious new button opens up entire realms of possibility, places where she can escape and explore on her own. But when she’s forced to choose between going at it alone or letting her little brother tag along, Iris finds that sharing a discovery with the people you love can be the most wonderful experience of all.

Brian led our discussion about Lift. He started with a fantastic booktalk to recap Iris’s whirlwind adventures with the magical elevator button. He pointed out the unique features of the art in the comic-book style, the evocative facial expressions and body language, the use of humor, the dramatic page turns and double-page spreads, and use of perspective.

One reader shared how the art showed the girl’s emotions and how mad she got each time she didn’t get to press the button. Mr. Brian affirmed, “you could feel what she was feeling.” M. shared, “I love Lift because it’s drawn super well with all the little details.. and how every time [she] goes to a different place…” This led us into a discussion of the medium of Lift, which is usually found on the copyright page, but not in this book. The art is so fantastic and seems like it could be oil painting. We looked back at our notes and determined that it was made using Photoshop and Procreate. I have linked a video from Politics & Prose with Minh Lê and Dan Santat where Dan shows his process illustrating the book, including many of the things he changed between drafts (yay for the magical places inspirations)! A. shared that “every page has a special detail.” It was interesting how the comic book style worked for some readers and others did not prefer the format. Readers did share how they liked how it really showed emotion. L., shared, “I like it just fine. I actually love it. It’s one of my favorites.”

The Old Truck by Jerome Pumphrey & Jarrett Pumphrey

When is an old truck something more? On a small, bustling farm, a resilient and steadfast pickup works tirelessly alongside the family that lives there, and becomes a part of the dreams and ambitions of the family’s young daughter. After long days and years of hard work leave the old truck rusting in the weeds, it’s time for the girl to roll up her sleeves. Soon she is running her own busy farm, and in the midst of all the repairing and restoring, it may be time to bring her faithful childhood companion back to life.

Julie led our discussion about The Old Truck. She shared an excellent booktalk about the little girl growing up on the farm with the old truck as the constant in her life, and eventually she fixes up the old truck. Julie pointed out how it’s made with a mixture of traditional stamps and digital art, the limited color palette, simple shapes and patterns that express big ideas about working hard and family, inspired by the women in the creators’ family who worked really hard. Julie also pointed out how the truck stays in the same place in each spread. Y. shared that “this story is kind of unique. Most people end up buying different vehicles, but they keep this one, like it’s just as special as their family.” S. added, “I like how you could see the time passing.” R. said, “it’s kind of interesting to see how she grows up on every page.” M. added, “I really liked how the whole stamp thing. It looked really cool and I loved the color scheme – and I could see myself painting my walls using it.” Jules helped us think critically about the use of earth tones to convey meaning in The Old Truck – and how fitting it was for the themes of the story. Lu. shared how when we flipped through the book, it felt like a movie seeing the truck in the same place with everything changing. (10 points to us for making digital versions of the books available!)

We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goade

Inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America, We Are Water Protectors issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguard the Earth’s water from harm and corruption–a bold and lyrical picture book written by Carole Lindstrom and vibrantly illustrated by Michaela Goade.

Water is the first medicine.
It affects and connects us all . . .

When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth
And poison her people’s water, one young water protector
Takes a stand to defend Earth’s most sacred resource. 

I (Eti) led the discussion for We are Water Protectors. I reminded our group that it was illustrated by Michaela Goade, using watercolors, which is absolutely fitting and perfect for this book. I talked about how this book focuses on our relationship to water, and when the black snake/oil pipeline threatens the water, plants, animals, and people, the Indigenous-led resistance movement rises up to speak up and protect the water, which continues on today. H. shared, “I like this book because it teaches people how to treat the environment.” La. added, “I liked the watercolors. It really showed nature. I also liked why it was written and explained what was happening and why it’s bad.” You know I love good back-matter, too, my friend. Y. shared, “What I like about this is that they’re fighting for their water, just like some people right now during COVID, who don’t have water which is why they’re suffering so much.” (This powerful comment shows how incredible both this young reader is – and this gorgeous book that provokes this thoughtful comment. I can’t help but be reminded about the vital importance of access to clean water in Indian Country.) M. shared her favorite spreads when people are in a circle, declaring, “We stand/with our songs/and our drums./We are still here. She also really liked the spread that shows the negative impact of the pipeline on the wildlife, recognizing the creativity to express it.

The Ocean Calls by Tina Cho, illustrated by Jess X. Snow

A breathtaking picture book featuring a Korean girl and her haenyeo (free diving) grandmother about intergenerational bonds, finding courage in the face of fear, and connecting with our natural world. Dayeon wants to be a haenyeo just like Grandma. The haenyeo dive off the coast of Jeju Island to pluck treasures from the sea–generations of Korean women have done so for centuries. To Dayeon, the haenyeo are as strong and graceful as mermaids. To give her strength, Dayeon eats Grandma’s abalone porridge. She practices holding her breath while they do the dishes. And when Grandma suits up for her next dive, Dayeon grabs her suit, flippers, and goggles. A scary memory of the sea keeps Dayeon clinging to the shore, but with Grandma’s guidance, Dayeon comes to appreciate the ocean’s many gifts.

Julie led our discussion about The Ocean Calls. Julie talked about how Dayeon overcomes her fear of diving to join her grandmother, who is a haenyeo. Julie pointed out how the art was made digitally, pointing out the textures throughout the book, the mermaid imagery, playful perspectives, and magical purple. Julie also pointed out that Jess X. Snow worked really hard to accurately represent the haenyeo women in their culture. H. shared, “when they draw the ocean, if I were to do that, I would draw a straight line, but they drew waves, which is kind of cool.” Y. shared that he liked how Dayeon overcame her fear. M. shared how much she liked the backgrounds and surroundings with the colors, especially the ocean and the field. Lu. commented, “the ocean looks so real, you can almost feel it.” Julie talked about how the medium was really effective to express these ideas. Another reader added, “I like the way they draw everything. It makes it look super realistic and shows the expressions. Everything looks really fitting to the story.” B. shared, “I really like that they made the shadows into mermaid shapes. Also, I love mermaids. They’re one of my favorite things.” Julie shared that there’s a lot of mermaid imagery since the haenyeo are, as the author’s note states, “fondly known as Korea’s granny mermaids” and also “Indigenous marine biologists.” H. shared, “I think it should win since Dayeon had a fear of the water … and she went through it bravely and it tells the reader that fear is just another reason why you should try harder to do the things you’re afraid of.”

Our Little Kitchen by Jillian Tamaki 

Cover of Our Little Kitchen

In this lively, rousing picture book from Caldecott Honoree Jillian Tamaki, a crew of resourceful neighbors comes together to prepare a meal for their community. With a garden full of produce, a joyfully chaotic kitchen, and a friendly meal shared at the table, Our Little Kitchen is a celebration of full bellies and looking out for one another. Bonus materials include recipes and an author’s note about the volunteering experience that inspired the book.

Ann led our discussion of Our Little Kitchen. She shared a fantastic booktalk about community kitchen bringing everyone together. She pointed out how it was drawn with nib pens and colored digitally, with a comics art style. She also pointed out how the book uses onomatopoeia to visually show the sounds, immersing you in the kitchen noises and smells, with a mixture of realism and surrealism. Ms. Ann also pointed out the excellent author’s note and recipe endpapers. Y. shared, “I like how in the end, the kid says, ‘Ok, time to clean up!'” H. shared how she liked the use of onomatopoeia “to show the reader what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.” A. shared that she’s learning about onomatopoeia in school for writing, which is such a great personal connection. B. shared how she liked how there’s so much detail on all the pages. She also noticed the shape and size of the text. S. shared that she liked it because she likes graphic novels and also likes to cook and bake. R. pointed out how the book starts out quiet, gets loud and then gets quiet again. Ann pointed out how the use of white space helps communicate in the book. J. shared, “This is my favorite book. I like how the art is like a comic book.” Ann modeled a fantastic text-to-text comparison to reflect on the comics features between Our Little Kitchen and Lift. L. shared that the comics features felt stronger in Lift but liked Our Little Kitchen better because of the drawing style that feels like a page of well-drawn doodles. H. shared that “they’re making food to help people who don’t have it, so that’s nice to know . . . so it’s kind that they’re helping others.”

Swashby and the Sea by Beth Ferry, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

Captain Swashby loves the sea, his oldest friend. And he loves his life by the sea just as it is: salty and sandy and serene. One day, much to Swashby’s chagrin, a young girl and her granny commandeer the empty house next door. All Swashby wants is for his new neighbors to GO AWAY and take their ruckus with them. When Swashby begins to leave notes in the sand for his noisy neighbors, however, the beach interferes with the messages that are getting across. Could it be that the captain’s oldest friend, the sea, knows what Swashby needs even better than he knows himself?

Laura led our discussion of Swashby and the Sea. She framed it as a story of “eventual friendship,” which is such a perfect way of putting it. Laura helped point out how the art shows how the sea is another character in the book. She shared how the expressions are larger than life, especially noticing the character’s eyes, noting the muted colors to convey it’s a beach story. H. shared how she liked how it’s an unlikely friendship story, appreciating how the girl never gives up and keeps coming back. B. added how it’s funny and liked how the ocean didn’t wash all the letters out, but made different words from the letters. L. declared that, “it should be first. It’s a good book – it’s about friendship – and I’m all about friendship. And it’s very funny too.” Y. shared that it’s also a favorite, and like The Ocean Calls, the girl went into the ocean even though she didn’t want to.

VOTING!

After we had walked through each book in a whirlwind of color and conversation, we were ready to vote for the winner of our 2021 Caldecott Club. This year, since we met virtually, I created a google form for people to vote for their first, second, and third choice. (If you’re interested in the technical details, I downloaded the results into an spreadsheet, calculated the number (1st place gets 3 points, 2 gets 2, and 3rd place gets 1) and then added up the totals. I then was able to screenshare to show how we got our results for full transparency. Finally, the math was complete and we were ready to announce our winners!

The Winner of our Evanston Public Library and Lincolnwood Library 2021 Mock Caldecott is….

Lift by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat

Lift

Our group selected 3 Honor Books:

Our Little Kitchen by Jillian Tamaki

Cover of Our Little Kitchen

Swashby and the Sea by Beth Ferry, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

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The Old Truck by Jerome Pumphrey & Jarrett Pumphrey

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But wait, there’s more!

We will have a live Youth Media Awards Viewing Party on Zoom on Monday, January 25 at 8:00am CST! You can even get a special Grab & Go Kit in Lincolnwood Library’s Great Green Box. Register here.

Then, in the evening, we’ll meet up together at our regular Caldecott Club time (Monday, January 25 at 7pm CST) to watch selections from the Youth Media Awards webcast and react to the winners.

Resources

You can put Caldecott Club books on hold at our libraries here.

I have created a RESOURCE GUIDE with activities, videos, podcasts, program kit supplies, handouts, and more to share the sources we’ve used and continue the learning! We hope it will be useful for you to explore these books at home!

Thank you to everyone who joined us for Caldecott Club! Thank you so much to Mr. Brian for this incredible collaboration! Thank you so much to Ann and Laura for being our awesome buddies and facilitators. Thank. you to our special guest, Julie Danielson, for joining our Caldecott Club community, leading two discussions, and sharing your notable picture book expertise! And of course, thank you to our friends, families, and young readers who are our Caldecott Club!

Author & Illustrator Visit with Alicia D. Williams & Jacqueline Alcántara

Posted & filed under Blog, Book Discussions, Early Literacy, Youth & Teen.

We are so grateful to host author Alicia D. Williams & illustrator Jacqueline Alcántara of Jump at the Sun: The True-Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston, at an interactive presentation about the art and craft of making books, including a live drawing demonstration and a drawing activity. This event was offered in partnership with Winnetka-Northfield Public Library on January 14, 2021.

You can purchase your own copy of Jump at the Sun from our local independent bookstore partner, the Book Stall!

Jacqueline and Alicia prepared a wonderful multi-faceted event for our libraries that had our group engaged throughout the entire program!

It began with Alicia sharing an outstanding and captivating read aloud of Jump at the Sun: The True-Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston that demonstrated her incredible skill as a storyteller, performer, and writer. (Seriously, I hope that they produce an audiobook of Jump at the Sun and hire Alicia as the narrator, with Live Oak Media producing it to help bring Zora’s story to life.) Alicia shared the beginning of the story with us – and left us intrigued to find out more. (Make sure to check out the recording to watch for yourself!) As Alicia pointed out, make sure to look for the wonderful hats and animals throughout the book.

Jacqueline then led us in a drawing activity to learn how to draw Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox in motion. You can see the finished illustration below and then our group’s creations! It was so helpful to have Jacqueline break down each step of the creation of these characters into smaller pieces. (And the good thing about the recording is that you can watch it and pause it if you want more time with your drawing, too.) I love when grown-ups and kids can draw together. Everyone did a fantastic job! Feel free to share your Brer Fox and Brer Rabbit drawings with us!

Alicia then shared a captivating folktale about Brer Rabbit getting thrown in the briar patch that had us all laughing out loud throughout the tale. Honestly, I could listen to Alicia tell stories all day. (Make sure to check out the recording only available for the next two weeks to watch for yourself. You don’t want to miss it.)

Finally, Jacqueline and Alicia kindly took questions from our audience. Our group had great questions about research, the art process, favorite animals, and more. It made me see the book in new ways after learning how Jacqueline “played compositionally with Zora, the sun and the horizon.” Alicia shared how she used jumping at the sun to create structure for the courageous moments when Zora jumped. As Alicia shared, make sure to check out the fantastic back-matter in Jump at the Sun. There was so much to learn from these creators! (I also just learned that you can buy beautiful original edition prints from Jump at the Sun from Jacqueline Alcántara!)

And of course, the time went by so quickly while we were having fun. Thank you to Anny from Winnetka-Northfield Public Library for collaborating on this event! Thank you to our program buddy Ann for all of your help!

Thank you SO much to Alicia D. Williams & Jacqueline Alcántara for visiting our virtual library and sharing your beautiful book with our communities! It was such a pleasure to host you – and we look forward to having you visit again in the future. We highly recommend inviting Alicia and Jacqueline to your school or library for an unforgettable visit!

You can check out the additional resources we’ve curated below to continue learning and sharing!

Program Recording

A recording of our author visit will be available here for 2 weeks (until February 3, 2021) after the program to watch and enjoy at your convenience.

Grab & Go Kit

Lincolnwood Library created Grab & Go Kits to celebrate these wonderful authors and their beautiful book! You can get them while supplies last from our Great Green Box outside the library. As always, they are free and available for everyone. You can also use the resources in this post to make your own kit. Here are some of our suggestions we included in the Kit to explore the book’s themes.

Create your own stories with the DIY Storytelling Discs.

Make your own book. Use the first page for our drawing/writing activity.

Watch the Zora Neale Hurston: Jump at the Sun documentary on Kanopy.

Get your own copy of Jump at the Sun: The True-Life Tale of Unstoppable StorycatcherZora Neale Hurston from The Book Stall.

Interview a family member or friend, facilitated by a library staff member for My Lincolnwood Story.

Have fun with the Jump at the Sun Coloring Sheet.

Learning Resources

We have collected lots of resources to prepare for our visit and learn more. Check them out below:

Alicia D. William’s Website

Jacqueline Alcántara’s Website

Interview with Alicia D. Williams & Jacqueline Alcántara with Mr. Schu

The Picture Book Buzz – Interview with Alicia D. Williams

Book Website (Simon & Schuster)

Publisher’s Weekly Review

Kirkus Review

Alicia D. Williams MFAC ’13 celebrates oral storytelling tradition in new picture book

Politics & Prose Live Event on Thursday, January 14, 2021 – 10 a.m.

Alicia D Williams & Jacqueline Alcántara in conversation with Vanessa Brantley-Newton on Jan 30, 2021 at 11:00 AM ET (Park Road Books)

Teaching Guides/Coloring Sheets

Jump at the Sun Coloring Sheet

Alicia D. Williams – 2020 Newbery Honor Reaction

Meet the Author: Alicia D. Williams

Alicia D. Williams – Path to Publication The Yarn Podcast Series

Meet Jacqueline Alcántara (Voyage Chicago)

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #576: Featuring Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Jacqueline Alcántara

The Field: An Interview with Baptiste Paul & Jacqueline Alcántara (This Picture Book Life)

Check In on your Neighbors (Obama Foundation #OFCareChallenge art by Jacqueline Alcántara)

Upcoming Projects

I know we’re excited about the books that these incredible creators will publish in the future. Start counting down now for these amazing books!

Shirley Chisholm Dared: The Story of the First Black Woman in Congress by Alicia D. Williams & illustrated by April Harrison (Publication Date: June 01, 2021)

Your Mama by NoNieqa Ramos, illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara (Publication Date: April 06, 2021)

Caldecott Club 2021: Session #3

Posted & filed under Blog, Youth & Teen.

Welcome back to our 2021 Caldecott Club! I’m Miss Eti, one of the Youth & Teen Services librarians at Lincolnwood Library. We have come full circle during this, our 4th Caldecott Club, inspired by the fantastic program that Brian Wilson created at Evanston Public Library in 2016. This year we are hosting a collaborative virtual Caldecott Club WITH Mr. Brian and Evanston Public Library. We have been learning so much about how to host this program virtually – and it’s been so fun to join together across our community to geek out about gorgeous picture books!

We met together on Zoom on January 4, 2021 with a group of wonderful readers, their families, and friends to talk about all things picture books. We were joined by our program buddy, Ann, and our Evanston Library buddy, Laura. We designed this program to be open to kids from around 1st grade through 8th grade and up because picture books are for everybody and everyone can learn from each other. I’ve tried to recap their brilliance in this post. (You can read the recaps from Session #1 here & Session #2 here.)

We began our program by Mr. Brian review the books that we’ve selected to go to our Voting Party and revealing the books we would discuss. With so much to do in so little time, we compressed our usual review to get to the books faster. But you can check out all of our resources to learn more about the Caldecott award and our books.

Mr. Brian put the books in a cardboard box, so he could dramatically open it just like the grown-up committee does when books arrive in the mail.

The books we discussed in session 3 were:

All Because You Matter by Tami Charles, illustrated by Bryan Collier

Our Little Kitchen by Jillian Tamaki 

Magnificent Homespun Brown: A Celebration by Samara Cole Doyon, illustrated by Kaylani Juanita

Swashby and the Sea by Beth Ferry, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

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 we would prompt the group by asking them: What did you notice? What does it make you wonder? How does this page make you feel? What makes this art distinguished? (Shout out to Megan Dowd Lambert’s Whole Book Approach. I highly recommend her book, Reading Picture Books with Children: How to Shake Up Storytime and Get Kids Talking about What They See.)

We added to our usual picture walk toolbox by encouraging participants to share and listen in lots of ways. People could unmute themselves and talk, raise their hands, use the chat, and use the reactions – and people did all of these things throughout the program, so ended up having a rich discussion in many places at the same time.

All Because You Matter by Tami Charles, illustrated by Bryan Collier

I (Eti) began our discussion by sharing research that I did about the origins of this extraordinary, beautiful book. As Tami Charles said in a Shelf Awareness interview, “This story was born from love and a deep desire to keep my son, Christopher, little forever, which I think most parents can relate to! I wanted to keep him shielded from the cruelties of the world. But as he grew older and had questions about injustices against people of color, I needed to do something. What better way than to write Christopher a love letter to remind him of all the reasons why he matters to me, and to the world?” I listened to the Children’s Book Podcast with Matthew Winner interview with Tami Charles many times and learned something new each time. I highly recommend checking out the amazing Books of Wonder author event with Tami Charles and her son, Christopher, moderated by Jason Reynolds! It’s such a gift to have these author events available to us at this time. I also shared information from Bryan Collier about the art, including information from his Illustrator’s Note, saying, “I was partially raised by grandmother who was a quilt maker. When you see the art, you see her influence, as join collage and petal shapes together to make a whole idea or image. To visually tell this story, I started with the shape of a single flower petal to build a blossoming effect in all backgrounds — like the night sky, interior wallpaper, and the child’s storybook. Faces appear on those petals, representing the voices of ancestors chanting: “You matter.” As our main character is faced with navigating today’s challenges of identity, self-worth, survival, and the ability to thrive, he is surrounded by a community of family.” I made sure to tell our group to pay attention to the petals and how they change throughout the book.

We began our journey by noticing the adorable photograph of the baby on the title page, literally at the center of the solar system mobile, the center of his family’s universe. I had to read the first page of this book, the language is just so powerful. “They say that matter is all things that make up the universe: energy, stars, space … if that’s the case, then you, dear child, matter.”

We talked about the importance of the faces of the ancestors in the petals, exploring how the illustrations express the ideas in the text that “long before you took your place in this world, you were dreamed of, like a knapsack full of wishes, carried on the backs of your ancestors as they created empires, pyramids, legacies.” People pointed out the textures and patterns on the petals. We talked about how from even the endpapers, it was anticipated that the child would be born using the shooting star in the sky.

As the child grows older, our group marveled at the scene reading a book with his mother. L. & S. shared, “the story seems to lift out of the book.” Our group expressed how the petals convey that experience of “like a mirror staring back at you, and really saw yourself… same hair, same skin, same dreams.” B. shared how they look like fire, clear and colorful. Our group really embraced pointing out wherever there were petals.

As our group discussed the school scene, they expressed how it made them feel, sharing “it makes us feel shy and lonely,” “stressed,” and “frustrated.”
R. pointed out that there were no petals in this spread itself, which surprised them. We talked about how when you “question your place in the universe,” you can feel disconnected from the ancestors and the things that remind you that you matter. Our group really connected to the next spread of the marked up math, responding to our discussion about how he is feeling, saying he’s “disappointed and frustrated because he got bad grades.” B. added, “like he is not good enough.” We definitely have all been there before. Our group did notice the petals on the floor, sparking the idea that he’s not alone.

We talked about the powerful image of the boy in front the Black Lives Matter mural, with rivers across his face with his eyes closed, connecting to the ancestors.

We then talked about the dramatic page turn as his eyes open, looking directly at the reader, surrounded by a garden of petals, enfolding him like a cape. Ms. Ann shared, “The leaves look like a throne now!” Our group noticed it is similar to the cover. D. added it “reminds me of a peacock which is very royal.” B. shared how this spread also uses the same red petals as the carpet in the school scene. Kids noticed things I never do! Our kids really appreciated the use of colors throughout the book. We noticed how the petals burst in the air as he’s embraced by his parents, supported by an entire community who love him. As S. & L, said, “it’s like everyone’s together and happy.” We close by reading the last page, with Christopher grinning at the reader, in Tami’s embrace, with the words, “You mattered. They mattered. We matter.. and always will.” I, of course, pointed out the excellent back-matter to delve deeper into these conversations. We also included the discussion guide for educators and caregivers, created Vera Ahiyya, known as the Tutu Teacher, in our resources and our Grab & Go Kit. It’s an invaluable learning resource.

Our Little Kitchen by Jillian Tamaki 

Mr. Brian shared how Jillian Tamaki often makes graphic novels and comics and has recently been making some wonderful picture books, especially informed by her understanding of sequential art. He also shared how this book is inspired by Jillian volunteering at a community kitchen in Brooklyn. He pointed out that this book mixes realism and surrealism.

From the first moment we explored the cover, our group was charmed, noticing how the people were cooking, flying, and jumping in the air. “I like this. It looks funny… there’s butter floating in the air,” one reader declared. (We agree!) When we turned to the endpapers, they gleefully said, “there’s the butter again.” I hereby declare the subtitle for Our Little Kitchen: An Ode to Butter (and Community). Ms. Ann shared, “Julia Child would love it!”

Mr. Brian told us to pay attention to the lettering and how it changes – and communicates information. He also helped us notice the white space on the pages – and how it’s used to show the energy of each scene. Ms. Ann shared how it reminds her of Lucy Knisley’s work, which we love. Our group pointed out how when more people arrive, it’s get louder. Ms. Ann shared, “It feels like everyone’s SO EXCITED to see one another.” S. shared, it’s “getting more hectic.” Mr. Brian shared how the scene with the beginnings of the garden leads the way to the next spread showing it in its glory. One reader pointed out how the spread shows a progression in the story as the person in the green apron looks thoughtfully at the oven, knowing they’re missing something, to then head into the garden to get it.

Mr. Brian showed how the action starts to speed up as they get to work – and the images start to become more surreal. Of course, one of our young readers noticed the apple balancing on the kid’s head. I love how kids shared that they have made an apple crumble in class. (We should all make our own for our party!) We then started to notice the kid throughout the book. We talked about how the surreal beans scene, as S. said, “it must be a lot of beans.”

Mr. Brian shared how Jillian’s use of lettering helps express the onomatopoeia of the sounds of the food preparation and cooking. Ms. Ann added, “they look like the action — the chop is sharp and clean, the sprinkle is light like really sprinkling.” Y. said they want to express (the idea). We talked about using perspective to show time’s almost up with the leader in front telling everyone they have 15 minutes. We then return to the realistic view with overhead shots showing the community coming together to eat. Ms. Ann said, “I love how they’re talking to one another — they are friends, a community.” This spread instantly inspired a reader to start reading the dialog aloud. S. shared, “I’m jealous of them.” This scene definitely makes us miss being together in person.

Mr. Brian then pointed out how we see the full little kitchen for the first time. He pointed out how the scene is revealed with the drawing of the building. Ms. Ann shared, “It’s like a dollhouse with the one wall open so you can see inside.” We talked about the contrast between the dining area and the kitchen in its size. L. shared, “it looks fun.” As time runs out, we talked about the panic tomato red background shows how it’s time to get started. Once they start sharing the meal, a reader said, “it makes me feel calm, like everything is now good.” Mr. Brian pointed out how Jillian uses pictures to convey the conversations with the community as they eat. (This gave me major Owly, the graphic novel series, feels.) L., said, “The food looks yummy.”

When our young friend we’ve been following talks for the first time, yelling, “Ok, time to clean up!,” our kids pointed out that the adults are trying to eat and relax, making this a funny scene. Mr. Brian then pointed out the excellent author’s note at the end.

Magnificent Homespun Brown: A Celebration by Samara Cole Doyon, illustrated by Kaylani Juanita

I (Eti) began our picture walk by sharing how Samara Cole Doyon wrote this gorgeous book for her daughter, Nadia. As she wrote in A Note from the Author, “My hope is that we will give all children the chance to embrace and celebrate the many vibrant pieces of themselves, joined together with the same fierce and unrelenting love that sews a cherished family heirloom.” We talked about noticing the different senses expressed in the book since it is a feast for all of them. I’m so grateful for the incredible conversation on the Children’s Book Podcast with Matthew Winner with Samara Cole Doyon & Kaylani Juanita, which was so vital to guiding our discussion and highlighting the breathtaking details from the text and pictures.

We talked about how the metaphor in Samara’s initial text connects to something beautiful about the next child on the next spread, who will be the protagonist in the following image. Our group, of course, noticed the puppy joining the girl and her Daddy on the mountain hike. They also noticed the shadows and layers on the trees, which is amazingly done digitally. We also noticed the bee motif throughout the book.

We talked about the image of the girl on the “radiant brown.. like my skin,” page jumps off the page. Our group noticed that “she has tons of protection just like me.” We then got to join her at the fall fair, with the text, “smooth, creamy brown. Like the flawless flow of caramel gloriously smothering my favorite fall fair delight.” The words are just delicious!

I love the personal connections the kids made throughout the book. When we got to “magnificent homespun brown,” we returned to the quilt from the title page, showcasing all the things we’ve experienced woven together. I then pointed out the fantastic Note from the Author to explore in more detail.

Swashby and the Sea by Beth Ferry, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

This book is illustrated in acrylics, colored pencils, and graphite on hand-textured paper by Juana Martinez-Neal. Mr. Brian told us to notice how she paints people and the body language, telling us, “no one paints people quite like Juana Martinez-Neal.” Mr. Brian started us out by thinking about the character of Swashby, which prompted these responses:

“He’s kind of scared and he thinks he should have brought somebody else.”

“He feels alone and lonely because he wasn’t born with a sister or brother.”

“He’s a hermit.”

L. noticed how he has a big beard, like he’s hiding behind it.

Mr. Brian showed how the neighbors are hidden initially with their backs to the reader, using illustrations to show details about them with their beach supplies and fun. We talked about Swashby’s reactions to his neighbors, spying out the window. Mr. Brian talked about the girl’s body language after the sea told her to Sing. This is a great book to make predictions about – and our group made excellent ones!

Mr. Brian shared how the page turns show the humor. During the PLAY scene, Mr. Brian asked what Swashby is doing. One reader shared, “he’s asking her to get in the hole and he’s gonna bury her under it.” We talked about how this scene shows he’s starting to play as he showed her how to dig for wet sand. Mr. Brian shared how he loves the way Juana draws the water dripping off of Swashby and the girl as he saves her. Afterwards. Mr. Brian asked us how Swashby feels at the end and our group declared happy.

VOTING!

After we had walked through each book in a whirlwind of color and conversation, we were ready to vote. This year, since we met virtually, I created a google form for people to vote for their first and second choice. (If you’re interested in the technical details, I downloaded the results into an spreadsheet, changed the 1s to 3s (since 1st place gets 3 points, 2 gets 2) and then added up the totals. I then was able to screenshare to show how we got our results for full transparency.

And the Session 3 Winners Are…

Our Little Kitchen by Jillian Tamaki 

Swashby and the Sea by Beth Ferry, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

Cover of Our Little Kitchen

Join Us Next Time!

It all comes down to this, friends: The Caldecott Club VOTING PARTY! We will meet on our new day, TUESDAY, January 19 at 7:00-8:15pm CST where we will pick the winner(s) of our Mock Caldecott. If you’ve missed our sessions so far, no worries. You can check out our recaps & put the books we’ll discuss on hold at our library. Just make sure to register.

To review, the books we will discuss at our Voting Party Are:

Lift by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat

The Old Truck by Jerome Pumphrey & Jarrett Pumphrey

We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goade

The Ocean Calls by Tina Cho, illustrated by Jess X. Snow

Our Little Kitchen by Jillian Tamaki 

Swashby and the Sea by Beth Ferry, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

But wait, there’s more Caldecott Club fun! We’ll join together to watch selections from the Youth Media Awards on January 25!

You can still pick up a free Grab & Go Program Kit at Lincolnwood Library in our Great Green Box or contact our library to pick up a kit, while supplies last. You can also access our digital Grab & Go Kit at https://bit.ly/3pIi0QJ. Check out what’s in our program kit in the video below!

Resources

You can put Caldecott Club books on hold at our libraries here.

I have created a RESOURCE GUIDE with activities, videos, podcasts, program kit supplies, handouts, and more to share the sources we’ve used and continue the learning! We hope it will be useful for you to explore these books at home!

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

 – Eti

Rescue Bears Experience Recap

Posted & filed under Blog, Youth & Teen.

We were so honored to host a special Rescue Bear-Making Experience led by Erin Fountain, Executive Director of Institute for Positive Mental Health (IPMH) on December 8, 2020 with a community of incredible Junior Justice League friends. It was especially exciting to have caregivers doing this activity with their kids. All are welcome at Junior Justice League!

Ms. Erin started us out getting our bodies moving with a 1-minute dance break, which was a super fun way to break the ice and help us all loosen up. With so much time spent sitting at our desks in front of screens, it’s so important to remember to exercise and take breaks and take care of our bodies, in whatever ways work for us.

Ms. Erin led us through a joyful and thought-provoking bear-making experience, helping guide us through the many steps to make our bears. As she has said, “The purpose of the Bear Making Experience is to give people hope during difficult times.” She made sure to emphasize the unique and personal aspects of our creations, taking away the pressure of making the perfect bear in the service of creating something special for someone else – and ourselves.

One of our participants, G., regaled us with bear-related jokes and puns. Here’s one gem: What did the bear say after dinner?….. I’m stuffed.

Ms. Erin patiently showed us the many steps for making our bears, demonstrating each step on the bear she made – and often shifting camera angles so we could see her doing the step herself. You can see all the directions for making bears at home in our blog post here. She often repeated the steps to ensure everyone progressed together – and responded to our many questions. It’s clear she has had much experience making bears – and helping others have positive experiences making them. It’s always challenging trying something new – and we all get better with practice.

One benefit of Zoom is that we were able to spotlight our bear makers throughout the program for them to share their in-process and finished creations – and allow us all to marvel at their beauty and creativity. It feels so good to enable people to have the opportunity to share their successes with the group without too much pressure. (Our bear making even inspired some fantastic sock puppet creating, which, of course, reminded me of New Kid by Jerry Craft.)

We were also joined by our friend, Niles Township Supervisor Bonnie Kahn Ognisanti, who made an adorable bear and bunny, who are now living at Niles Township Government!

Bonnie also shared that people can still participate in creating and sharing ornaments for Niles Township’s Tree of Peace at the township government. Bonnie also shared the resources that Niles Township provides to our community. She shared information about the Niles Township Food Pantry. The Food Pantry is also seeking donations of toiletries, if people are looking to support them. She also shared the township has expanded their financial assistance programs, including Child Care Scholarships. She also shared that if people from outside of Niles Township contact them, they will often be redirected to the right people outside of the township.

Donating Bears

During the program, we talked about plans for donating our bears. G. shared that he’s going to give his bear to his nurse neighbor! Bears can be a fantastic way to express our appreciation for the first responders in our community.

We will actually be donating our bears to our local senior living community, Lincolnwood Place! It feels wonderful to know our bears will be reaching people in our community and bringing them joy. You can drop off your donated bear at our curb-side walk-up station and let our staff know to retrieve it.

More Bears!

If you have gotten a bear-making kit in our Great Green Box, please share your bear making at home experiences with us! We’d love to see what you create. Everyone is welcome to make bears – just remember to attribute these ideas to Erin Fountain and the Institute for iPositive Mental Health (IPMH).

It has been a pleasure and a joy to partner with Erin and the Institute for Positive Mental Health (IPMH). We had an absolutely wonderful time planning and hosting this program together – and like the bears, doing things in community to support each other helps us all feel good. I highly recommend partnering with Erin for a Bear-Making Experience at your library, school, organization, and community!

Feel free to let us know if you have ideas for future Junior Justice League programs! We’re taking a winter break for live JJL sessions but we’ll have activities in our Great Green Box you can do at home. We’ll return in March with more fantastic crafting, community and kindness!

Host Your Own Movie Night (Staycation Kit)

Posted & filed under Blog, Early Literacy, Technology, Youth & Teen.

Our librarians have created a Movie Night Staycation Kit to help you host your own movie night at home with your family and create new, special memories together.  You can put DVDs or Blu-rays on hold to pick up through curbside pick-up. You can access movies with no waiting using Kanopy and Hoopla. You can also check out a Roku from our Library of Things to access Netflix. You can find animated adaptations of picture books on Hoopla and Tumblebooks to host a literary film festival.

Lincolnwood residents can sign up for our Movie Night Staycation Kit (pictured above) that includes a popcorn, cocoa, a DIY puzzle, & movie lists for the whole family. Fill out this form to request a kit – while supplies last. One kit per family, please.

Everyone can use the resources in this post to host their own family movie nights. You could even host a watch party on Zoom with friends and family!

Hosting a Movie Night

You can apply print and visual literacy strategies with young people during and after watching movies together. Here are some suggested questions to discuss:

Discussion Questions

What was your favorite part of the movie?

Which character is your favorite?

What did you notice? What do you wonder?

What did this movie remind you of (ex: other films, books, stories, toys)?

What is something new you learned?

Would you recommend this movie to a friend? Why or why not?

Move Night Extension Activities

Imaginative Play 

Encourage young people to create their own interpretations of films you’ve watched through playing pretend, LEGO creations, craft, art, and/or film responses, and extending the story with their own ideas. 

Movie Review 

You can create your own movie reviews, whether it’s an essay, a 3-panel comic, or a picture inspired by the film. Submit your review to the library via email to youthservices@lincolnwoodlibrary.org and we’ll share your recommendations. 

Make Your Own Puzzle 

You can continue the family time by working together to color your own puzzles in the style of your choice. Feel free to share pictures of your finished products with us! 

Game Break

Take a break from the movie to play a board game such as the ever-popular Exploding Kittens, Telestrations, Super Fight, Meow, Uno, Suspend, or Fluxx. You can see a full list of suggested games at https://tinyurl.com/LNK-Games

Dietary Information

Hot Cocoa

Popcorn

Family Movie Night Suggestions 

Our librarians have curated a collection of movies that can be fun for the whole family to watch together. From old favorites to modern classics to hidden gems, we hope you will find something everyone will enjoy. These films are general suggestions from our librarians. They may appeal to younger or older viewers. You can use resources like Common Sense Media to learn more about them and determine what is the best fit for your family. You can also always call or email our librarians to get personalized recommendations just for you. We’ll even create a movie bundle for you! You can also put DVDs we own on hold here.

Kanopy 

The Cat in Paris 

Kedi: The Cats of an Ancient City 

Quill: The Life of A Guide Dog 

Storm Boy 

Hoopla

A Dog’s Courage 

All Dogs Go To Heaven 

A.X.L. 

Charlotte’s Web 

Heidi 

Hoot 

Imagine That 

L.M. Montgomery’s Anne Of Green Gables 

Maya The Bee Movie 

Racing Stripes 

Swift

DVDs

A Wrinkle in Time 

Because of Winn-Dixie

The BFG

Black Panther 

Book of Life

Born in China

Brave

Charlotte’s Web

Coco

Dora and the Lost City of Gold

Free Willy

The Great Gilly Hopkins

Howl’s Moving Castle 

Kiki’s Delivery Service

Kubo and the Two Strings

Matilda

Moana

Monkey Kingdom

Onward

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

The Tale of Despereaux

Tangled

Netflix

The Baby-Sitters Club 

A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting

The Dragon Prince 

Hilda 

Mary Poppins Returns 

Over the Moon 

The Secret Lives of Pets 

Which movies or shows would you recommend to host a fun family movie night? Feel free to share your suggestions with us!

Feedback

We are eager to get feedback from our community about our Grab & Go Kits! Each kit comes with a postcard with a QR code you can scan using a device with a camera that can lead you to a form to complete. You can also access the form here. We’d love to know what you think about the kits – and ways we can improve.

Caldecott Club 2021: Session #2

Posted & filed under Blog, Book Discussions, Youth & Teen.

Welcome back to our 2021 Caldecott Club! I’m Miss Eti, one of the Youth & Teen Services librarians at Lincolnwood Library. We have come full circle during this, our 4th Caldecott Club, inspired by the fantastic program that Brian Wilson created at Evanston Public Library in 2016. This year we are hosting a collaborative virtual Caldecott Club WITH Mr. Brian and Evanston Public Library. We have been learning so much about how to host this program virtually – and it’s been so fun to join together across our community to geek out about gorgeous picture books!

We met together on Zoom on December 7 with a group of wonderful readers, their families, and friends to talk about all things picture books. We were joined by our program buddy, Kevin, and our Evanston Library buddy, Laura. We designed this program to be open to kids from around 1st grade through 8th grade and up 🙂 because picture books are for everybody and everyone can learn from each other. I’ve tried to recap their brilliance in this post. (You can read the recap from Session #1 here.)

We began our program by reviewing what the Caldecott Award is. Mr. Brian shared how it is the award for the most distinguished American picture book for children, given out each year by the Association for Library Service to Children. Thank you to Curt Leppert at Baker & Taylor who has shared print posters with us in years past – and provided this graphic for us to use this year. You can find it in our resources.

Mr. Brian put the books in a cardboard box, so he could dramatically open it just like the grown-up committee does when books arrive in the mail.

The books we discussed in session 2 were:

Honeybee by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann

We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goade

The Ocean Calls: A Haenyeo Mermaid Story by Tina Cho, illustrated by Jess X. Snow

You Matter by Christian Robinson

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 we would prompt the group by asking them: What did you notice? What does it make you wonder? How does this page make you feel? What makes this art distinguished? (Shout out to Megan Dowd Lambert’s Whole Book Approach. I highly recommend her book, Reading Picture Books with Children: How to Shake Up Storytime and Get Kids Talking about What They See.)

We added to our usual picture walk toolbox by encouraging participants to share and listen in lots of ways. People could unmute themselves and talk, raise their hands, use the chat, and use the reactions – and people did all of these things throughout the program, so ended up having a rich discussion in many places at the same time.

Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann

Mr. Brain began the picture walk by sharing how exceptional Candace Fleming’s writing is Honeybee – and definitely encouraging us spend time reading it. (I highly recommend checking out Mr. Brian’s Calling Caldecott post!) With only 10 minutes (or so) per book, we sadly did not have time to read it all – but there’s always more to explore with picture books. He talked about how Eric Rohmann created detailed and realistic oil paintings to express this informational story. Mr. Brian also shared how the creators made sure to enlist the help of bee and pollination expert Dr. Mark L. Winston to fact-check their text and art to ensure accuracy. He shared that “bees are our friends. It’s okay to be nervous around bees, but we need them.” (Honeybee could be wonderfully paired with The Thing About Bees: A Love Letter by Eric-Shabazz Larkin.) He helped us think critically about perspective as Eric Rohmann shows small parts of Apis and gradually reveals her cell and bee community to show her very busy life. He also talked about how Candace Fleming builds anticipation for flying while Apis does all the things. Our group definitely noticed how realistic the art is in Honeybee.

Here are some of their great comments:

“I think they look pretty real from the illustrating.” 

“The lighting makes the bees look really real, with the shading in the colors.”

“They are scientifically real.”

“The little details make it look real.”

“The hair texture makes it feel like I could FEEL it.

“Whoah… that literally looks like a movie scene.”

“This book shows you a lot of the bee’s life.”

“The pollen in its hair is EXTREMELY REALISTIC, it’s almost scary.”

Our Caldecott Club was entranced by the cinematic way Apis’s story is told. We, of course, had to film the dramatic page turn to open up the gatefold and see Apis flying. Mr. Brian talked about how the color palette and shapes change as she encounters the outside world.

This book also provoked personal connections from stories of ways people have helped bees to stories of being stung (ouch!). It also inspired some great scientific questions about dying queens, bee language and communication, and their life cycle. I was particularly charmed when we talked about bees dancing – and participants did their own wiggly bee dance in response. Outstanding picture books should make us all dance.

We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goade

I (Eti) began our discussion by asking, “how is water important to you in your daily life?” People shared different answers from drinking, bathing, hydration, keeping us alive, hygiene like hand washing and teeth brushing and watering plants. S. added “soaking when I am weary.” This helped frame our discussion thinking about our relationship to water. 

We talked about how this book is based on Indigenous-led movements to protect our water and land, specifically the water protectors at Standing Rock. I was able to share some of the research that Michaela Goade did to honor those who were there, including showing photographs of water protectors and Indigenous art, thanks to attending the ALSC Institute this past fall.

We began our picture walk through We are Water Protectors and it was clear our group was engrossed in this beautiful book. They were engaged by the art style, which C. said, “I think the art style is as if it were carved in stone…” The vivid watercolors absolutely draw in readers – and I only wish the digital version could do it justice. Looking at the image about coming from water, L. & S. noted, “it seems like the circle of life.” Michaela Goade’s use of circles, curves, and waves throughout the book effectively show the circular nature of water – and our relationship to it. Our group had much to say on the startling spread predicting the damage the black snake would unleash.

One reader remarked, “It’s (the oil) spilling into the water – and it makes me ashamed for some humans that did it.” We talked about how the illustration shows the animals running away from the pipeline that is destroying their home. C. suggested, “The goose on the right is deformed which maybe symbolizes what the “snake” will do to animals.” Another person shared, “I don’t like it because it’s trying to destroy their home.” Our group had very strong reactions to the black snake, which shows the effectiveness of Michaela Goade’s art and Carole Lindstrom’s powerful words. On the red spread with just the pipeline snake, L. & S. said, “It seems angry and evil.” I love how C. noticed, “it makes the tree over there die,” which I had literally never noticed before.

But our attention was not focused on the extraction industry, but on the water protectors banding together. We immediately talked about how beautifully “strong and determined,” the girl looks as she urges us to take courage. Y. said, “she is determined and her hair-water has animals and plants,” helping us see how the water grows stronger in her hair as she rallies her people.

We Are Water Protectors | Carole Lindstrom | Macmillan

We talked about the shift in perspective as the book focuses on how she fights for the creatures, animals, and plants who cannot speak for themselves, leading to the dramatic page turn when we are looking down at the earth.

Interior Image

One participant said, “it shows all the animals together around the earth, in the earth, plants and water.” L. added, “the animals and people are together fighting against the snake.” We talked about how this image shows how interconnected we all are, as the text declares, “we are all related.” (I love the Earth spread so much!) We talked about the powerful repetition of the refrain,” We stand/with our songs/and our drums/we are still here,” which gains momentum with each chorus, growing the community of water protectors who are still advocating for the water right now. Finally, we reached the grand finale with the beautiful diverse community of water protectors standing up, youth and Elders together in solidarity. As always, we looked for and found our friend with the eagle feather standing up against the black snake.

Interior Image

I made sure to point out the outstanding back-matter (you know how much I love good back-matter) and the Earth Steward and Water Protector Pledge. (There’s a copy of the pledge (and other fantastic educational resources) in our Grab & Go Kits.) I also shared that we were honored to have Carole Lindstrom send us a signed We are Water Protectors poster that we will raffle at our Voting Party in January. Thank you so much, Carole!

Check out Young Water Protectors: A story about Standing Rock by Aslan Tudor,
and his new book Young Native Activists: Growing Up in Native American Rights Movements!

Mr. Brian then kindly led us in our movement break where people could get their wiggles out through jumping backs or any other kind of movement that they preferred to get their bodies moving before our next book. It’s hard to sit for so long, especially later at night!

The Ocean Calls: A Haenyeo Mermaid Story by Tina Cho, illustrated by Jess X. Snow

We began our picture walk by talking about how Jess X. Snow created the art digitally with hand-painted textures and line work. Accordion to Jess X. Snow, “The Ocean Calls was created through drawings made with Procreate with the apple pencil on the iPad, which is the preferred medium that I use for illustration work these days. After the inking was done, these drawings were then colored in digitally with watercolor and gouache brushes, and then sent into photoshop, where I then layered it with hand-made textures of paper, and textures of real rocks, underwater, bubbles, and sand.” How cool is that! It’s also worth noting that Jess worked collaboratively with Yuan Zheng, the primary assistant, who also did the character designs. They also worked with Zoraida Ingles and Sean Devare as assistants to finish the coloring. These collaborators are all named on the copyright page.   

We talked about how this book is based on the real-life haenyeo of Jeju Island in South Korea, Korea’s southernmost island, who are professional women divers and marine specialists who understand the sea’s ecological environment, passing down their knowledge intergenerationally as they support their families. (There’s so much more to discuss and explore in the incredible back-matter, of course…) I was able to share some awesome images that Jess X. Snow shared during a recent Facebook Live storytime with Tina Cho that I highly recommend watching. It’s clear that they put so much care and attention into crafting each illustration and ensuring the haenyeo were respectfully and accurately depicted.

We began our journey by talking about Dayeon’s feelings wanting to be a “treasure-hunting mermaid” like her grandmother juxtaposed with the scary experience she had in the water last summer. We talked about how the visuals express Dayeon’s worry about diving with her grandmother. One reader shared, “She feels worried that it’s gonna happen again.” We noted how her grandmother helps her develop the skills needed to dive, practicing breathing and ensuring her gear is on correctly. This book uses mermaid imagery throughout the book, so I told our group to make sure to look for it. They noticed their mermaid-shadows in the field of canola flowers. 

We talked about how the art almost works like animation or a comic to show Dayeon’s progression into the water. Our group thought about what they would do if they were called to the ocean with the grandmother. We talked about how the art shows the grandmother supporting Dayeon and taking each step in the process gradually and carefully. When they finally dive, we noticed the continual mermaid imagery from the mermaid in the background to the fins in the bubbles.

We experienced a magical page turn when they finally head into the underwater world of treasures, the color palette shifting to show more purples, reds and oranges. A reader pointed out, “I like the dolphins – they look so cool. It’s just really pretty. I don’t think there’s real purple water, but it’s really pretty.” We talked about how Jess X. Snow used a surreal fantastical palette to make this experience feel magical and full of possibility.

As the sun sets, we experienced another perspective shift to view of the boat of haenyeo from above, with the mermaids in the water – and Dayeon feeling “at home in the sea.. Like a mermaid, like a true haenyeo.” We then marveled at the awesome back-matter to check out later – and the gorgeous bird’s eye view of Jeju Island as the end paper. 

You Matter by Christian Robinson

Mr. Brian shared how Christian Robinson’s art is playful and whimsical and wonderful, using acrylic paint and collage to create the art. He shared that this book explores shifting perspectives and points of view. We began our picture walk with a girl looking into a microscope, noticing the shapes and textures of the collage. Mr. Brian shared how the illustration shows the sea creature swimming against the tide, going its own way. We then go back to prehistoric times with creatures coming up from the water, charting our long history. We then zoom in on the mosquito being a mosquito, pulling back on the big reveal biting the t-rex.

We then see the bigger picture of the asteroid hitting the Earth as the dinosaurs running. Our perspective shifts even more as we zoom out into outer space.

We talked about the astronaut is missing someone on Earth and immediately the perspective shifts to an apartment building on Earth with a child holding a rocket. Our group suggested that the child might be the astronaut’s kid, showing the interconnectedness within the story. This book calls us to notice all the little details! The busy street can make us feel lost and alone, but Mr. Brian pointed out that on the next page, they’re together again with the dog. We talked about the oldest thing on the “old and young” page, thinking about the ancient tree. When we looked at the people feeding the pigeons, Mr. Brian pointed out it paralleled the creature coming out from the ocean in the beginning, repeating the same text, coming full circle. When we looked at “the small stuff too small to see,” Mr. Brian made us think about all the small creatures all around us.

Our perspective shifted to be in an airplane looking down at the city streets we’ve been exploring – and then we’re looking down from the point of view of the airplane. It seems really simple but everything is connected together. As Christian Robinson has said, “You matter simply because you’re here because you exist.”

Did you know that you can get a You Matter bookmark in our Grab & Go Kits?

Make sure to check out Making Space with Christian Robinson! We did the activity below in our summer Junior Justice League session and it was exactly what our hearts needed.

VOTING!

After we had walked through each book in a whirlwind of color and conversation, we were ready to vote. This year, since we met virtually, I created a google form for people to vote for their first and second choice. (If you’re interested in the technical details, I downloaded the results into an spreadsheet, changed the 1s to 3s (since 1st place gets 3 points, 2 gets 2) and then added up the totals. I then was able to screenshare to show how we got our results for full transparency.

And the Session 2 Winners Are…

We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goade

The Ocean Calls by Tina Cho, illustrated by Jess X. Snow

Join Us Next Time!

Please join us for our next Caldecott Club session on January 4, 2021 from 7:00-8:15pm CST, where we will pick our final 2 books to go to our Voting Party! You can pick up a free Grab & Go Program Kit at Lincolnwood Library in our Great Green Box or contact me to pick up a kit. You can also access our digital Grab & Go Kit at https://bit.ly/3pIi0QJ. Check out what’s in our program kit in the video below!

Since you’ve spent all this time reading this post, I’ll even let you know which books we’ll be discussing. You can even watch us share the reveals below:

All Because You Matter by Tami Charles, illustrated by Bryan Collier

Swashby and the Sea by Beth Ferry, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

Our Little Kitchen by Jillian Tamaki

Magnificent Homespun Brown by Samara Cole Doyon, illustrated by Kaylani Juanita

Resources

You can put Caldecott Club books on hold at our libraries here.

I have created a RESOURCE GUIDE with activities, videos, podcasts, program kit supplies, handouts, and more to share the sources we’ve used and continue the learning! We hope it will be useful for you to explore these books at home – and maybe even create your own Caldecott Club!

But wait, there’s more! Make plans to join out Caldecott Club Voting Party on TUESDAY, January 19 where we will pick the winner(s) of our Mock Caldecott. And then, we’ll join together to watch selections from the Youth Media Awards on January 25! That’s right, it’s three Caldecott Club events in January to start 2021 with beautiful picture book celebrations!

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

 – Eti

Program Recap: Herpetology with The Frog Lady

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

In November, the Lincolnwood Public Library hosted Deb Krohn (The Frog Lady) to give all ages an introduction to Herpetology. Everyone got to look at frogs, snakes, and turtles. Here are some highlights of things that were discussed:

-What makes a frog poisonous and how can you tell?

-What does each animal eat and how they live

-How they interact with other animals

Everyone got to see every animal up close. The Frog Lady even answered questions on raising our participant’s amphibians and what they can do to keep them healthy! Check out some highlights on our social media!

One of our biggest animal guests!

Rescue Bears Experience with Erin Fountain of Institute for Positive Mental Health

Posted & filed under Blog, Youth & Teen.

Join our Junior Justice League on December 8 at 3:30pm CST for a Rescue Bear-Making Experience with Erin Fountain, Executive Director of Institute for Positive Mental Health (IPMH). Register here to join our live session.

The Institute for Positive Mental Health (IPMH) is a 501(c)(3) for-impact community mental health organization. They were founded in 1994 and have been known for many years throughout the South and West side for their EXCEL Job Training and Work First Program, their Entrepreneurship Program developing holistic body care products, and as makers of Rescue Bears from mismatched socks. We partnered with Erin last year for a fantastic bear-making program in person – so we’re so honored to be able to partner with the Institute for Positive Mental Health again to host a community-wide virtual Rescue Bear-Making Experience.

“We will take an old, lonely, forgotten sock and turn it into an adorable Rescue Bear,” Erin shared. “ The purpose of the Bear Making Experience is to give people hope during difficult times. Rescue bears are individually crafted and designed to demonstrate THAT and HOW we give purpose and meaning to our world. Once created, Rescue Bears are gifted to people who need a little something to hold onto. They also make a wonderful personalized and unique gift. No two bears are ever alike and there’s no wrong way to make a Bear.” 

Erin will guide us through the steps to make our Rescue Bears, offering tips, answering questions, and sharing ideas to help us make them unique and special. This is a program that is perfect to do as a family, especially when using crafting supplies like scissors and glue guns. Due to the small pieces, Rescue Bears are recommended for children ages 8 and up, especially middle schoolers and teens. Some adult supervision is recommended for young people, especially while using scissors and glue guns. 

Grab & Go Program Kits

We have created free Grab & Go Program Kits to pick up in our Great Green Box at the library, while supplies last, available starting November 30.

They will include: 2 socks, stuffing, mini-rubber bands, googly eyes, a card (to write a note to the person you’ll gift your bear to), and directions.

You’ll need to find these supplies at home: scissors, sharpie, hot glue gun with glue sticks OR fabric glue OR needle & thread, other crafting accessories such as pompons, buttons, feathers, fabric, etc.

You can always make a bear using the supplies you have at home and adapt the directions below accordingly. 

You can join us live on December 8 or you can use this post with our Grab & Go Kit to do this activity at your convenience. You can start by watching these videos.

How to Make a Rescue Bear

We have provided two socks, so you can plan to keep your first bear. This is the bear you are experimenting on and learning how to make a rescue bear. There’s no ONE way to make a bear and no two will be alike. Large socks make large bears; baby socks make baby bears. The heel of the sock will become the face of the bear so select your sock with that in mind. Most accessories are made from sock parts as well. There is no sewing involved. Recycled parts and pieces are valuable accessories.

Adapt these directions to best express your vision for your Rescue Bear. Due to the small pieces, Rescue Bears are recommended for ages 8 and up. Some adult supervision is recommended for young people, especially while using scissors and glue guns.

Select your sock. Orient it so the heel is the head. Put a little bit of fluff in the two bottom corners to make the feet. Wrap a rubber band around each foot.

Fill the rest of the body with fluff (but not too much). Take some fluff and push it out on the sides of the sock to make the arms. Wrap a rubber band around each arm.

Put a rubber band around the bottom of the heel to make a neck.

Fill the heel with fluff.

Wrap a rubber band around the head. (Rubber bands may be a bit fragile, so be careful not to pull them too tightly.) 

Cut the extra sock off but leave enough sock to make ears. Cut the extra sock into circles (ears) using sewing scissors. Put rubber bands around both of them. 

Put fluff in the ears. Put the fluff in with scissors and then glue it shut with a glue gun, fabric glue, or hand-sewing. 

Use a glue gun or fabric glue to affix the eyes. 

Draw on paws and the face with a sharpie.

Using the extra sock material, you can make a hat or scarf. Use the crafting accessories as desired. Be creative. You can even make a personalized facemask for your bear! 

Make plans to safely (think contactless) share your completed Rescue Bear with someone who could use it. Use the card to write a message to the person you’re gifting the bear to.

We’d love to see what you have created and how you’ve shared your bear with others to help them. 

Share pictures/video of your Rescue Bears with us on social media or via email at youthservices@lincolnwoodlibrary.org

Caldecott Club 2021: Session #1

Posted & filed under Blog, Book Discussions, Early Literacy, Youth & Teen.

Welcome to our 2021 Caldecott Club! I’m Miss Eti, one of the Youth & Teen Services librarians at Lincolnwood Library. We have come full circle during this, our 4th Caldecott Club, inspired by the fantastic program that Brian Wilson created at Evanston Public Library in 2016. This year we are hosting a collaborative virtual Caldecott Club WITH Mr. Brian and Evanston Public Library. Things will be a bit different in our virtual program, but the joyful fun of exploring awesome books together will be the same. And now we have the opportunity to welcome people from across our community – and beyond – to celebrate beautiful picture books together!

We met together on Zoom on November 9 with a group of wonderful readers, their families, and friends to talk about all things picture books. We were even joined by friends in other states, including teachers and a library school student! We were joined by our program buddy, Ms. Ann, and our Evanston Library buddies, Laura and Louise.

We designed this program to be open to kids from around 1st grade through 8th grade because picture books are for everybody and everyone can learn from each other. I’ve tried to recap their brilliance in this post.

We began our program by reviewing what the Caldecott Award is. Mr. Brian shared how it is the award for the most distinguished American picture book for children, given out each year by the Association for Library Service to Children. He pointed out last year’s Caldecott medal winner, The Undefeated, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, written by Kwame Alexander, as well as the Honor books, Bear Came Along, illustrated by LeUyen Pham, written by Richard T. Morris, Double Bass Blues, illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez, written by Andrea J. Loney, & Going Down Home With Daddy, illustrated by Daniel Minter, written by Kelly Starling Lyon. Thank you to Curt Leppert at Baker & Taylor who has shared print posters with us in years past – and provided this graphic for us to use this year. You can find it in our resources.

Mr. Brian then talked about the criteria for evaluating picture books. Shoutout to Holly Jin at Skokie Public Library for sharing this resource with me in past years to make the evaluation language more accessible. Brian and I emailed the criteria handout to those who registered to print out or view during the program if they wanted to use it.

Once we established our criteria, we were ready to explore the books. Mr. Brian put the books in a cardboard box, so he could dramatically open it just like the grown-up committee does when books arrive in the mail.

The books we discussed in session 1 were:

A Girl like Me by Angela Johnson, illustrated by Nina Crews

I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James

Lift by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat

The Old Truck by Jerome Pumphrey & Jarrett Pumphrey

I guess this is the place I should put a spoiler alert for all the books we’re discussing…

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 we would prompt the group by asking them: How well does this book do what it’s trying to do? What did you notice? What does it make you wonder? How does this page make you feel? What makes this art distinguished? (Shout out to Megan Dowd Lambert’s Whole Book Approach. I highly recommend her book, Reading Picture Books with Children: How to Shake Up Storytime and Get Kids Talking about What They See.)

We used a strategy that ended up working well last year in person: scanning in the books so everyone could see them. While we had our copies of the physical books (insert my soapbox about books as objects, case cover secrets, and the texture and smell of picture books), it was very helpful to have digital versions to share with the group. We also added to our usual picture walk toolbox by encouraging participants to share and listen in lots of ways. People could unmute themselves and talk, raise their hands, use the chat, and use the reactions – and people did all of these things throughout the program, so ended up having a rich discussion in many places at the same time.

A Girl like Me by Angela Johnson, illustrated by Nina Crews

I (Eti) began our discussion by sharing some of the behind-the-scenes details about Nina Crews’ process to make A Girl Like Me. According to Nina, she made “patterns, scanned hand-made textures and used vector shapes created in Photoshop and collaged these with my photographs.” I was able to share some process pictures including thumbnails, sketches, and photoshoots she did with real girls – and emphasize how these real kids are the stars of this book, with their names on the copyright page and facts about them at the end. It was also able to share it as an ebook directly from Hoopla, which you can borrow and read without any waiting.

We began our discussion about A Girl Like Me by talking about the crowds of people who tell the girl who is flying that she shouldn’t be. L & S said, “they look mad.” We talked about Nina Crews used silhouettes to personify the crowds of naysayers – and how the girls have the color and focus on the page. When we explored the spread about the girl in the flowing scarves and a cowgirl hat, another participant pointed out, “she looks confident and brave.” Another participant noticed how “the building is slanted away from us and she’s standing upright, so she’s almost popping out of the building.” Another reader pointed out, “isn’t there a saying, on top of the world?” which is really the perfect way to express the emotions you feel looking at this spread. When we explored the spread with the girl swimming, someone pointed out that “her face makes it look like she’s trying to be a fish.” Ms. Ann commented, “This one is my favorite — she looks like a beautiful mermaid!!” Someone else added, “she looks like a dolphin too, when you see pictures of dolphins jumping out of the water.”

When the girls find community in the real world, people pointed out how much fun they are having with the capes and hats – and there are no grown-ups. We talked about how when the girls come together in the real world, walking past tall buildings, Nina Crews composed the real world elements to still feel fantastical. When we talked about the spread of the girls looking up at the butterflies on the way to the ocean, people pointed out how butterflies symbolize freedom and “they can do what they want.” Y & Z shared, “They chose butterflies because Monarchs migrate which means they are free.” We talked about the finale at the beach where they are all exploring their own interests. Another reader pointed out the buildings in the background, where they have journeyed from, perhaps swimming or boating to the beach. We talked about Nina Crews’ use of different geometric shapes throughout the book and what they symbolize. L. shared that “I think she used the stars because they are having fun.”

I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James

Mr. Brian began his picture walk of I Am Every Good Thing by sharing that the boy on the cover is the illustrator, Gordon C. James’s, son, Gabriel. Gordon C. James shared in an NPR interview, “My son is autistic, and so he doesn’t often get asked to do things or asked to be the center of things…It was powerful to illustrate his child “looking like how I feel he sees himself and how we see him as his family.” Mr. Brian shared how it is a celebration of joyful Black boyhood. He shared how the boys are doing different things throughout the book with the oil painting art sometimes being realistic and sometimes being expressionistic to show the feelings and moods the boys are feeling. We talked about how much we love the cover and how it makes you feel – and the sensory experience of the textured gold lettering.

We talked about how Derrick Barnes dedicated the book to Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, EJ Bradford, Jordan Edwards, Michael Brown, Jordan Davis, and Julian Mallory, who were Black young people who were killed, who come from families who love them and are unconditionally deserving of love and a future. Gordon dedicated the book “to my son, Gabriel, and all little brothers like him.”

Our journey began with the flying boy. A reader shared, “I really like this picture because he looks like flying – but it really looks realistic like a regular kid who happens to have wings on him.” D. pointed out that the “cape looks like feathers of a bird.” Y & Z shared, “he’s going fast.”

Mr. Brian then pointed out how the next spread of the boys playing in the snow is more realistic. Ms. Ann pointed out the shadows on the spread make it look like “like during real winter.” We then talked about the skateboarding boy and how he felt after falling down. L. shared, “You can’t give up right away because you’d never do it again and then you would think about it and maybe want to try again.” Another reader shared how they did that with their bike. Our group noticed how determined he looks. L. shared that “I like the sole of his shoe.” (I literally never noticed it until this kid pointed it out, which is amazing!) Mr. Brian pointed out how Gordon C. James’ art draws your eye to the shoe and makes it look real.

Mr. Brian then showed how the next spread is more fantastical with the boy looking into the microscope and the other exploring space. He drew our attention to how the art in the background reveals what the boys are looking at, mixing molecules and the cosmos. L & S shared that “it seems like the book is showing different jobs.”

We talked about how Gordon C. James hired models to inspire the kids throughout the book, which helps make it all feel real. The next spread returns to realism with the boy standing with his grandmother “looking at something intently,” according to Y & Z.

Mr. Brian asked about the emotions on the “coooooooool breeze” spread with people pointing out how happy and silly the boys look. They personify that perfect paper airplane metaphor with the joyful fun they are having. On the next spread, L & S pointed out that “he seems like a star himself.”Mr. Brian asked if we’d want to join the boys having fun in the pool, which we wholeheartedly agreed we’d love to do. He talked about how the colorful art expresses this joy. Mr. Brian talked about how the art expresses movement on the page where he’s playing basketball and baseball.

On the next spread, the kids shared how he looks “serious and calm” when “people are saying bad things to him.” Ms. Ann pointed out he looks “strong with the halo behind him.” Mr. Brian shared how the words hurt but he doesn’t let them defeat him.

Mr. Brain shared how amazed he is by the versatility in the art in showing so many different experiences and settings to convey the themes of the book. As Gordon C. James shared, “I wanted through the illustrations for these kids to feel empowered …I want them all to feel like they belong everywhere, like there are no limits to the places they should be, or the things that they can be. No part of this life — this full, amazing life — should be off limits to you just because of who you are.”

Mr. Brian talked about the double-page spread showing their ancestors and successful Black men who have come before them – with the confident boys at the front of the spread, looking directly at the reader, happy and proud. We admired the final spread of the boy who is very expressive, declaring, “I am worthy to be loved.”

Good news! You can participate in the Penguin Kids #IAmEveryGoodThingContest. Here are the details: “Do your kids have their own affirmations like the ones in the uplifting picture book? We want to see them! Submit a photo of your kid holding a sign that says “I Am…” followed by a positive adjective for a chance to win a custom portrait from Gordon C. James! There are two ways to enter: 1) Share your photos on Instagram using the hashtag #IAmEveryGoodThingContest 2) Submit using this link. The contest ends November 30 – but sharing affirmations is forever.

We then took a quick movement break to get our wiggles out. People could participate by doing jumping jacks or whatever they preferred to move a bit after sitting through two picture walks.

Lift by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat

Mr. Brian began the picture walk by asking us who likes graphic novels. Everyone’s hands went up. He shared how Minh Lê also loves graphic novels and wrote the amazing Green Lantern: Legacy graphic novel, which is illustrated by Andie Tong. (We’ll actually be discussing it at Books & Bites in the winter!) He shared that Dan Santat also loves graphic novels – and created Lift basically like a comic book brought to life. This is also a funny book, so he encouraged us to look for the comical expressions, body language, perspective, and camera angles!

Mr. Brian pointed out how Dan Santat shows motivation on the characters’ expressions and body language. We noticed how Iris is surprised by the baby pressing the button, then mad, and then green with envy. Then betrayal again! Mr. Brian shared how miserable everyone is after Iris presses all the buttons. He then pointed out how we’re looking up at Iris from the garbage can when she looking at the broken elevator button and what an innovative way it is to show perspective. (Is it just me or is the elevator repair man a Stan Lee cameo? Can we just make this canon?)

Mr. Brian showed the power of the dramatic page turn going from the button dinging and Iris traveling through the door. As A. pointed out, “welcome to Narnia.” Mr. Brian pointed out the realistic tiger in the jungle, connecting to the stuffed tiger in the real world. Ms. Ann pointed out, “The tiger has Iris’s name on its belly!! It must have been hers!” D. pointed out, “I think she wants to go back because she realizes the tiger is “her” tiger.” Mr. Brian showed how the art reveals how unhappy Iris is compared to how fun her sibling and babysitter are having – making it a hilarious sequence.

We had a great prediction suggesting that Iris would go to outer space. As Iris lifts off the floor, a reader pointed out that it looks like no gravity. After the dramatic page turn, Y & Z pointed out that “it looks like the International Space Station.” Ms. Laura pointed out, “that’s a magic button!”

Mr. Brian pointed out how Iris finally smiles after she has the lovely moment with her sibling reading Summit – and decides to bring them with her to the button. D. suggested, “There are snowflakes on the page with the cat as foreshadowing.” Ms. Ann added, “Kitty is going inside too!” (I’m here for a spin-off adventure with their cat…) A reader pointed out how the sibling was thinking about their story, Summit, which led them to their wintery imagined world. Laura added, “books take you places.” Mr. Brian pointed out how Iris is with her sibling at the final endpapers. We then had to share the case cover secret because it is glorious. We closed by asking everyone where would you want to go with a magic doorbell? Y & Z suggested Hogwarts. A. said, “to meet people.” Another reader said, “outer space since I want to be an astronaut when I grow up and I don’t really want to wait that long.”

Case cover secret!!

The Old Truck by Jerome Pumphrey & Jarrett Pumphrey

I (Eti) began our picture walk by talking about how this This Old Truck is created by brothers, Jerome Pumphrey & Jarrett Pumphrey, who are co-author-illustrators. I talked a bit about the process how they created this book with over 250 handmade stamps, challenging themselves with limitations to provoke creativity. Jarrett and Jerome shared their process with Jules Danielson on her invaluable blog, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast: “Once we had stamps, we’d use them to make prints with black ink on Bristol board. If an object appeared on multiple spreads, we’d use the same stamp but make multiple prints, so each appearance of the object in the book would be unique. That was a rule we gave ourselves. Another rule was to never use the same stamp twice on the same spread. So even though all those trees kind of look the same, each one got its own stamp with its own print.”

We began our picture walk by predicting the setting, considering that maybe it’s by a greenhouse or about nature or farmlands. We talked about how the story starts even before you get to the title page, cold open style. (L& S even pointed out, “in the first picture before the title page the mom was pregnant.” What careful artist eyes!) We thought about how the Pumphreys use limitations creatively, using only 8 colors and using them well.

We discussed how the old truck worked long. One reader suggested how it could drive things to the market. We noticed how the colors shifted between spreads, subtly showing how the seasons have changed, perhaps also showing the transition to harvest time. We talked about how the perspective changed as we look straight ahead at the barn, but the truck never moves throughout the book. Also, I love the chickens and they are my favorite.

We talked about the dramatic tone shift as the girl/truck dream and sail the world and go on adventures. We pondered whether the girl was dreaming of the truck or the truck was dreaming of the girl. It got very metaphysical and I’m here for it. Y & Z. pointed out the great use of personification. L & S shared, it’s “showing her love for the truck.”

We talked how the art shows the passage of time as the truck and the girl grow older – and learns how to take care of the farm and the tractor. We noticed how the weeds around the old truck are growing with each spread. We talked about the illustrators used whitespace to show us the truck covered in snow. L & S said, “the truck is covered in snow.” D. said, it “helps us know the truck is under there because the truck stayed in the same place.” Another reader shared “it kind of looks perfect because the snow is only on the roof and windows of the house.”

Our group shared some predictions for what the new farmer – the girl all grown up – would do with the truck. Some suggested she would sell it or take it somewhere or maybe broke it. Y & Z shared “she fixed it and made it better.” We pointed out how the “but she dreamed and persisted” spread works like comic panels to show the passage of time and the hard work she put into fixing the truck.

A reader suggested how she made the fixed truck her own, likely replacing things to make it like she wants it. In the finale, after the “vroooom!!”, we see our chicken friends again who are startled by the car noise. On the next spread, we see her daughter on the truck, showing the generations of perseverance and persistence and hard work taking care of the land. I then shared how this book is inspired by the incredible women in Jerome Pumphrey & Jarrett Pumphrey’s life.

VOTING!

After we had walked through each book in a whirlwind of color and conversation, we were ready to ballot. This year, since we met virtually, I created a google form for people to vote for their first and second choice. (If you’re interested in the technical details, I downloaded the results into an spreadsheet, changed the 1s to 3s (since 1st place gets 3 points, 2 gets 2) and then added up the totals. I then was able to screenshare to show how we got our results for full transparency. While we were waiting for everyone to vote (and for me to do the maths), we played a read aloud of I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes & Gordon C. James.

And the Session 1 Winners Are…

Lift by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat

The Old Truck by Jerome Pumphrey & Jarrett Pumphrey

Join Us Next Time!

Please join us for our next Caldecott Club session on December 7, 2020 from 7:00-8:15pm CST! I am also working on creating Caldecott Club Grab & Go Kits to pick up at Lincolnwood Library. Register for the program here and we’ll contact you to pick up your free Grab & Go Program Kit through our curbside pick-up. You can also access our digital Grab & Go Kit at https://bit.ly/3pIi0QJ.

Since you’ve spent all this time reading this post, I’ll even let you know which books we’ll be discussing. You can even watch us share the reveals below:

  • We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goade
  • The Ocean Calls by Tina Cho, illustrated by Jess X. Snow
  • Honeybee by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann
  • You Matter by Christian Robinson

Resources

You can put Caldecott Club books on hold at our libraries here.

I have created a RESOURCE GUIDE with activities, videos, podcasts, program kit supplies, handouts, and more to share the sources we’ve used and continue the learning! We hope it will be useful for you to explore these books at home – and maybe even create your own Caldecott Club!

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

 – Eti