New Book Tuesday 11-5-19

Posted & filed under Blog.

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

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

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

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

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

Secret Service by Tom Bradby

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

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

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

Noel Street by Richard Paul Evans

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

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

My Singing Nana by Pat Mora

“Always amigos!” 

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

Keeper of the Lost Cities Legacy by Shannon Messenger

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

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

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

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

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

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Wrecking Ball by Jeff Kinney

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

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

The Forgotten Girl by India Hill Brown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Book Tuesday 10-29-19

Posted & filed under Blog.

Smithsonian Tech Lab by Jack Challoner

This DK children’s book for ages 11-14 is brimming with exciting, educational activities and projects that focus on electronics and technology.

Keep your siblings out of your room with a brilliant bedroom alarm, power a propellor motorboat, make a thermoelectric phone charger, build a set of speakers, and construct a crane by following step-by-step instructions and using affordable equipment. Tech Lab will engage budding scientists and engineers as they experiment, invent, trial, and test technology, electronics, and mechanics at home.

Simple steps with clear photographs take readers through the stages of each low-cost project, with fact-filled panels to explain the science behind each one, and to fascinate them with real-world examples.
With an increasing focus across school curricula on encouraging children to explore STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and maths), Tech Lab is the perfect companion for any inquisitive child with an interest in how the worlds of science experiments and technology work, and why.”

I Am Not a Number by Dr. Jenny Kay Dupuis

When Irene is removed from her First Nations family to live in a residential school, she is confused, frightened and terribly homesick. She tries to remember who she is and where she came from despite being told to do otherwise. When she goes home for summer holidays, her parents decide never to send her away again, but where will she hide and what will happen when her parents disobey the law?

Nerd A to Z: Your Reference to Literally Figuratively Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know by T.J.Resler

Want to know how likely it is that robots will take over the world? Or what Viking heroes were really like? Find out in this guide to all things smart and geeky–from ancient history to sci-fi technology, Marvel superheroes to edible insects, and beyond!

Move over dictionary. There’s a new reference book in town!

This superstuffed alphabetical compendium of must-know facts from science, pop culture, history, and more is perfect for kids who already know the names of every single dinosaur or want to understand exactly how the Millennium Falcon works. It’s a book for grammar gurus, science snobs, music geeks, and history buffs. In short, it’s a book for nerds.

Inside, you’ll find browsable, info-packed blurbs that’ll give you the lowdown on everything from augmented reality to zydeco, with larger features that dive deep into fascinating topics like UFOs, pirates, artificial intelligence, and daring circus acts. You’ll find out what kind of nerd you are with superfun flowchart quizzes. And you’ll hear from the world’s most notable (and quotable) Nerds of Note from history and today.

Denied, Detained, Deported by Ann Bausum

The Statue of Liberty’s welcoming arms are a symbol held dear to Americans. But the reality is that the issue of immigration, both today and throughout history, has not always been about welcoming; it has also been about keeping out. Often U.S. immigration policy has been less encompassing and more limiting, and sometimes it has even been ruled by racism, prejudice, political concerns, and fear. Immigrants yearning to breathe free have found themselves denied, as when the St. Louis, a ship filled with Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany, sought refuge in American ports and was turned away. Immigrants have found themselves detained, as when Japanese Americans during World War II were rounded up and placed in detention centers – regardless of their patriotism – for security reasons. And immigrants have found themselves deported, sometimes for their radical political views, as did Emma Goldman, who after 30 years in the U.S. was rounded up and sent back to Russia after she was branded a dangerous extremist. Ann Bausum examines these immigrant stories from history, the stories of the denied, detained, and deported, so that we can learn from past successes – and past mistakes. Shedding light on the dark side of immigration helps inform one of the most important policy debates of our time. It helps us chart a course true to our past and good for our future. It helps us keep the golden lamp of liberty burning bright.

The Big Book of Monsters by Hal Johnson

Meet the monsters in this who’s who of the baddest of the bad!

Like those supernatural beasts everyone knows and fears—the bloodsucking vampire, Count Dracula, and that eight-foot-tall mash-up of corpses, Frankenstein’s Monster. Or that scariest of mummies, Cheops, who scientists revived after 4,700 years—big mistake! Or more horrifying yet, the Horla, an invisible, havoc-wreaking creature that herds humans like cattle and feeds of their souls.

Drawn from the pages of classic books and tales as old as time, this frightfully exciting collection features 25 of the creepiest creatures ever imagined, from witches and werewolves to dragons and ghosts. Every monster is brought to life in a full-size full-color portrait that captures the essence of the beast, and in lively text that recounts the monster’s spine-tingling story. With sidebars that explore the history and the genre of each sourcebook, The Big Book of Monsters is an exciting introduction to literature and language arts.

Cryptid Creatures by Kelly Milner Halls

Explore the fascinating world of cryptozoology with this fun guide, filled with eyewitness accounts of 50 cryptids found throughout the world, some of which have been proven real.

Cryptozoology is the study of mysterious creatures that fall between the realm of real and imaginary on the scientific spectrum. Cryptid Creatures: A Field Guide offers a closer look at fifty of these amazing creatures, examining the best possible evidence for each, including scientific papers, magazine and newspaper articles, and credible eyewitness accounts.

The fifty cryptids are arranged in order alphabetically, and in addition to speculative illustrations, include details like when they were first reported, whether they are terrestrial, aerial, or aquatic, and each have a reality rating of 1 to 6, in which 1 means that the cryptid has been confirmed as a hoax, and 6 means the cryptid has been proven as real.

This page-turning guide will inspire curious readers to investigate more on their own, and maybe even help to prove if a cryptid is a hoax or is real.

New Book Tuesday 10-22-19

Posted & filed under Blog.

The Queens of Animation by Nathalia Holt

From the bestselling author of Rise of the Rocket Girls, the untold, “richly detailed” story of the women of Walt Disney Studios, who shaped the iconic films that have enthralled generations (Margot Lee Shetterly, New York Times bestselling author of Hidden Figures)From Snow White to Moana, from Pinocchio to Frozen, the animated films of Walt Disney Studios have moved and entertained millions. But few fans know that behind these groundbreaking features was an incredibly influential group of women who fought for respect in an often ruthless male-dominated industry and who have slipped under the radar for decades.

In The Queens of Animation, bestselling author Nathalia Holt tells their dramatic stories for the first time, showing how these women infiltrated the boys’ club of Disney’s story and animation departments and used early technologies to create the rich artwork and unforgettable narratives that have become part of the American canon. As the influence of Walt Disney Studios grew—and while battling sexism, domestic abuse, and workplace intimidation—these women also fought to transform the way female characters are depicted to young audiences.

With gripping storytelling, and based on extensive interviews and exclusive access to archival and personal documents, The Queens of Animation reveals the vital contributions these women made to Disney’s Golden Age and their continued impact on animated filmmaking, culminating in the record-shattering Frozen, Disney’s first female-directed full-length feature film.

Field Trip (Sanity & Tallulah, Book 2) by Molly Brooks

Sanity and Tallulah are going on a field trip-to a real live planet! Some of their classmates are nervous (none of them have been on a planet before, and they’ve heard terrible things), but Tallulah is beside herself with excitement. Sanity would be more excited if her grumpy older sister, Prudence, wasn’t coming along to supervise the trip. Things get off to a rocky start (asteroid-y start, to be specific) and Sanity and Tallulah find themselves separated from their school group, pursued by a pirate, and stranded on a planet that’s about to explode, with nothing but the wreckage of a crashed space shuttle and the contents of Tallulah’s overloaded backpack to work with. These best friends will have to stretch their problem-solving skills to the limit in order to get everyone home safe, and it’s going to take their whole class-plus an accountant, a math hermit, a group of mysterious beekeepers, and even the murderous pirate-to make it happen.
This second adventure in the Sanity & Tallulah series by Molly Brooks is out of this world!

Light It Up by Kekla Magoon

Told in a series of vignettes from multiple viewpoints, Kekla Magoon’s Light It Up is a powerful, layered story about injustice and strength―as well as an incredible follow-up to the highly acclaimed novel How It Went Down.

A girl walks home from school. She’s tall for her age. She’s wearing her winter coat. Her headphones are in. She’s hurrying.

She never makes it home.

In the aftermath, while law enforcement tries to justify the response, one fact remains: a police officer has shot and killed an unarmed thirteen-year-old girl. The community is thrown into upheaval, leading to unrest, a growing movement to protest the senseless taking of black lives, and the arrival of white supremacist counter demonstrators.

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Spanning more than 400 years, this classic bottom-up history examines the legacy of Indigenous peoples’ resistance, resilience, and steadfast fight against imperialism.

Going beyond the story of America as a country “discovered” by a few brave men in the “New World,” Indigenous human rights advocate Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz reveals the roles that settler colonialism and policies of American Indian genocide played in forming our national identity.

Fry Bread by Kevin Noble Maillard

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

Fry bread is food.
It is warm and delicious, piled high on a plate.

Fry bread is time.
It brings families together for meals and new memories.

Fry bread is nation.
It is shared by many, from coast to coast and beyond.

Fry bread is us.
It is a celebration of old and new, traditional and modern, similarity and difference.

Program Review: Slime Science

Posted & filed under Blog, Youth & Teen.

Description: Our Slime Science programs are one of our most popular in the library. We have made gallons of slime over the past year, and kids can’t seem to get enough of it. We run two different levels of slim programs.

The first one is Slime Science Jr., which is for Kindergarten through Second Grade with a caregiver. The purpose of this program is to introduce caregivers and kids about the basics of creating, perfecting, and troubleshooting slime. What do you do if it’s too watery? If it’s too stiff? What if it’s not changing colors or too clumpy? This is a crash course in the basics of slime.

Also, this program can be beneficial for the caregivers as well, as they can use this as a foundation to understand the recipe and way to create slime successfully. We go through the “why” along with the “how” for every step, as well as basic creation and cleanliness tips along the way.

The second type of program is our regular after-school Slime Science, for kids in grades 3-8. This focuses on the same thing as Slime Science Jr., but with the opportunity to make more complicated types of slime, with different sensory materials, experimenting with different ingredients (including elements such as coffee grounds and chocolate). Recently, kids have made glow in the dark slime, cloud slime, and dirt/nature slime! This gives kids variety while keeping the foundation of making slime the same. Of course, we allow kids to experiment and play with their slime as they create it and when they are finished! Check out the recipe for making your own slime at home and stay tuned for new types of in the future!

Recipe:

Plastic cup

Less than 1oz water for stirring

2:1 or 3:1 ratio of glue to water

Add small amounts of food coloring for color

Begin with 1 cupful of Sta-Flo. Can add small amounts more if needed

Stir all ingredients

To increase texture: lotion

To increase fluffiness: shaving cream

If too watery: small amounts of baking soda

Caldecott Club: Session #2

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

Hi! I’m Miss Eti, one of the Youth & Teen Services librarians and I’m back with another recap of our latest Caldecott Club session. We had our second session on Thursday, October 17 and selected two more books to send to our Voting Party. To refresh your memory, the Caldecott Award is the award for the most distinguished American picture book for children, given out each year by the Association for Library Service to Children. We talked about the Caldecott Award, spotting titles we’ve enjoyed from the Baker & Taylor poster and considering what makes a good picture book. We were also joined by our friend Beekle, star of the 2015 Caldecott Award winning book, The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat. 

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

The books we discussed in session 2 were:

Bear Came Along by Richard T. Morris, illustrated by LeUyen Pham 

A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel 

Another by Christian Robinson

Music for Mister Moon by Philip and Erin Stead 

Picture Walk

Rather than doing a formal read aloud of each book, we did picture walks. Our participants were especially eager to help out with reading each book aloud, so we worked out a system to take turns. For the picture walk, we discussed each book’s visual features to examine the techniques the artists used and how they worked. Often I would prompt the group by asking them: How well does this book do what it’s trying to do? What did you notice? How does this page make you feel? What makes this art distinguished? I also found it very helpful to remind our group not to skip ahead in their copies of the book because we want to experience the page turns in the picture walk together. 

One thing that I failed to do this session was use our timer to ensure we gave each book equal time – and keep us on track to complete this program on time. When you’re focused on discussing a book, time seems to stand still, but using a timer ensures that we temper our enthusiasm with reality.

Ms. Ann was instrumental in ensuring our program today ran smoothly so I want to make sure to share a huge thank you to her! 

Bear Came Along by Richard T. Morris, illustrated by LeUyen Pham 

We began our picture walk by making predictions based on the cover, which is pretty mysterious and also a wonderful #bookface opportunity. E. shared that “maybe the bear was sad… and something came along and and cheered him up.” B. added his prediction that “he lost his family and another animal pack, say a wolf, and that was his family.” Their predictions bore out in the story. We then turned our attention to the endpapers, to which E. revealed to us that “it was grey and black and then there’s this blue,” noticing the subdued color palette in the beginning of the book. We used our close reading skills to notice how the log next to the bear was cracking and set our expectations for bear’s dramatic fall into the river. Bear’s travails in the river led our group to talk about safety while camping by rivers and how to deal with getting sucked away by the current. Each page turn in this book IS a dramatic page turn and we had the best time amplifying that drama. When it was revealed that Froggy was looking for a friend, B. proudly proclaimed, “I was right! He’s finding his people.”

R. got super excited when he noticed the frog in the bushes way before he appears to Bear. The kids excitedly started noticing a pattern where the upcoming animal is in the prior spread, looking deeply at each page for the reveal. B. got very excited when he found turtles on the endpages, proclaiming, “if you don’t like turtles, don’t talk to me.” As we noticed the colors in the story, B. predicted, “every page you turn, another color will show up.” E. added to the analysis, sharing, “every time an animal joins in, it’s a different color [added to the page].” We talked about how perspective shifts throughout the story, from a bird’s eye view to a close-up of all the animals to a very zoomed out view of their entire trip. E. was able to read the animal’s body language and expressions to share how each animal was feeling. Our group automatically made the same faces as the animals, which is part of what makes this book storytime gold!

I relate deeply to the turtles throughout this book.

Ms. Ann noticed how the places they’ve been have a lot of color but the places they haven’t been don’t.  E. added to this insight, saying, “You get more colorful, the more adventures you make.” We experienced the switch in the physical orientation of the book when they’re falling down the waterfall as an effective way to show change. Our group was excited to see the other animals in the final scene who are drawn into this adventure. They also noticed how the final endpapers are so colorful, contrasting with the beginning muted endpapers. I shared selections from the author’s note from Richard T. Morris: “Sometimes the hardest thing is to embrace the other, when the other is so different. But it is through this connection that we truly discover our best selves – our strengths, our weaknesses, our fears, our courage.” I also shared the artist’s note from LeUyen Pham: “While painting this book, I spent a lot of time thinking about why people become divided from one another and forget that they all live on the same earth. It takes a small thing, like animals in a forest falling in a river, to realize this. We sink or swim together.. And sometimes we take a tumble and things turn out right…. A small metaphor that reminds us that the things that bind us are greater than things that divide us, and that while we are each distinct from one another, with quirks that make us so unique, we’re all journeying down the same river together.” 

Finally, I shared the case cover secret with our community of new friends having a great time together. 

A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel 

We began our picture walk by exploring the endpapers, making connections between the textured image to sidewalks, granite, flooring, and other stone. We looked at the cover page and encouraging the group to watch for the snail. The group noticed cracks on the side of the stone, which I had never noticed before. B. had some ideas about a creature, perhaps a snail, coming out from inside the stone. E. predicted that the bird was using his voice to wake the snail, which is part of why the stone was loud – and then when the stone was quiet, she suggested that the snail was frightened by the snake, so much that “he couldn’t even speak.” When the stone is rough, E. suggested that it was the snail who was taking off his shell. When the stone was soft, B. shared how porcupines could be soft, which helped us think more critically about how we view porcupines. Y. revealed how in the color spread represents the stone in different seasons. E. noticed a woodland creature underneath the moose hiding away, which just shows her attention to detail. I made sure to share this instagram video that shows Brendan Wenzel’s process to create the moose.

We talked about the theme of the stone being a home to all of these animals. We slowed down to notice how the stone becomes an island and is submerged underwater. We also pointed out how the spread without the stone is completely wordless and what that might mean. When we talked about the animals that are no longer there, E. shared that “they abandoned their habitat.” B. added “because they would die if they were there.” I deliberately tried to draw out the kids’ ideas about what is happening to the rock based on this interview with Brendan Wenzel who said, “The rock in the book is exposed at low tide, and the tide does rise. So it could be tidal movement. I’m leaving the source of the water rising a little ambiguous so that readers are free to wonder and to build their own story. That space is really important to build into books.” B. pointed out that the owl was still there, flying above the water, which is such a lovely insight. The spread about “have you ever known such a place?” provoked us to consider how we’d like to find places like this stone. We then revealed the case cover secret with the snail’s travels across the book, to which E. declared, “it’s kind of like a maze.” 

Another by Christian Robinson

We had to begin our journey to dimensions unknown with Christian Robinson’s gorgeous endpapers and predict what this book is about. E. shared it’s about space or having a dream about space. I directed them to look at the jacket copy at the back and front, showing the cats going in and out of the portals. 

When we saw the dramatic change between the quiet sleeping scene to the portal cat appearing, R. made a text-to-text connection, declaring it a “flip-o-rama,” a wonderful storytelling experience from Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants and Dog Man books. And then the group, of course, had to flip-o-rama these two pages! R. and B. then wanted to name the cats, which is, of course, what this book inspires kids to do! The kids got super excited when making predictions about the blue cat (portal cat) taking the toy and stealing away into the portal. Y. predicted that when the cat goes through the portal, the girl will join it. 

What would you name the cats?

When she goes into the portal, the orientation of the book shifts, so we physically turned the book upside down to follow her. It’s a bit confusing to move forward the opposite way, but it just takes practice to explore mirror worlds – and this process is what play is all about. (This New York Times Books Live video with Christian Robinson was instrumental to learning how to share this book and is just a wonderful viewing experience!)

Our group basically ooh and aahed throughout our picture walk. They noticed that the girl used her blanket to climb down into the portal. We continually changed the orientation, this time vertically as she climbs the stairs, as we moved forward in the story. E. shared that previously the cat was sad, but now it’s happy, playing with the other cat. Y. shared how the mirror cat is playing with them and leading them away. We thought critically about the rules of gravity in this world but also accepted that gravity was everywhere so you wouldn’t fall off the conveyor belt. Our group noticed the mirror pairs in the crowd scene, as well as ones that didn’t have pairs until the following spreads. We talked about how everyone is finding their people in these spreads. In my research for this book, I found this quote from Christian Robinson’s BookRiot interview explaining his process for creating Another: “Children seeing themselves reflected on the page was the spark that motivated the story. The thought that followed was well, what if a child literally saw themselves in a story? Perhaps a version of themselves from some parallel universe. As a child, I loved stories in which characters go on some magical adventure to a world where anything is possible. Often, those characters didn’t look like me or come from a community that reflected my own. I want kids today to have a different experience.”

Y. noticed how the girl has a red planet on her outfit like her cat’s collar and the mirror twin has a blue planet like her cat’s collar. We talked about the dramatic crossing of the gutter when the mouse is returned to our hero. When she returns home and is happily asleep, the kids noticed that there’s now a blue mouse on her floor, beckoning another future adventure. Y. declared that she liked this book. We also made sure to check out the case cover secret, which the kids thought looked like the ball pit scene. 

Music for Mister Moon by Philip and Erin Stead 

I began this book by talking about how this book is quieter, a book about an introvert – made by introverts. I shared Erin Stead’s process for creating the art, showing how it was all hand-drawn and painted. (There’s tons of resources below that reveal her incredible artistic process! I really would love to see how her art is made in real life to truly understand it.) We made some connections between this story and Where the Wild Things Are, talking about the power of imagination, not to mention the white space. We made connections between Another related to being  problem solvers when Hank gets a ladder to help Mister Moon.

I made sure the group looked back to pay attention to her stuffed bear and walrus to help them connect to her adventures to help Mister Moon. Hank is all about helping the moon fulfill his wishes. We noticed the double-page spreads and the impact of these scenes. I pointed out the spot colors on each of the characters who Hank visits to help return Mister Moon to the sky. We made sure to do a dramatic page turn when Mister Moon, with the help of the entire community, is returned to the sky. I also made sure to point out the super subtle, gentle case cover secret, which so fits this lovely, shy book. 

VOTING!

After we had walked through each book in a whirlwind of color and conversation, we were ready to ballot. Each child received a paper ballot to select their top 2 choices. M. helped with the math to make sure it was accurate. The top 2 books then are the winners of our session and go on the Voting Party on January 9. We also had a raffle where we gave away two Another pins and everyone got a pin to add to their lanyard and a Caldecott poster. 

And the Session 2 Winners Are…

Bear Came Along by Richard T. Morris, illustrated by LeUyen Pham 

Another by Christian Robinson

Join Us Next Time!

Please join us for our next Caldecott Club session on Thursday, November 7 from 3:30-5:00pm! And don’t forget to bring your fancy lanyards! (And if you didn’t get one, make sure to join us so you can rock our Caldecott Club merch!) While our registration list is full online, PLEASE contact me to get put on the list. I’d love to have you join us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 – Eti

Resources

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

Bear Came Along by Richard T. Morris, illustrated by LeUyen Pham 

Illustrator’s Website

Review from Librarian’s Quest 

Storytime with Bill – Read Aloud Video 

Horn Book Review (Julie Danielson) 

Book Chat: LeUyen Pham on Bear Came Along (Betsy Bird) 

Book Chat with the Illustrator: LeUyen Pham: Bear Came Along Video 

Publisher’s page

Bear Came Along Storytime Kit

LeUyen Pham Interview on The Children’s Book Podcast with Matthew Winner

Children’s Book Art: Techniques and Media 

A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel 

Author’s Website

Q & A with Brendan Wenzel by Antonia Saxon (Publisher’s Weekly) 

The Story Behind A Stone Sat Still (Video) 

Book Trailer (Video)

Publisher’s Page 

Ponder Perspectives and the Passage of Time with Brenden Wenzel’s A Stone Sat Still by Erika Thulin Dawes (School Library Journal’s Classroom Bookshelf) 

Instagram Process Video 

Ronnie’s Awesome List Podcast Interview with Brendan Wenzel 

Bothin Marsh StoryWalk – A Stone Sat Still

StoryWalk Article (Floating Times)

Another by Christian Robinson

Author’s Website 

New York Times Books: Live Illustration with Christian Robinson 

Publisher’s Page 

Educator’s Guide and Activities 

An Interview with Award-Winning Children’s Book Illustrator Christian Robinson by Jen Sherman (Book Riot) 

Book Trailer 

PBS Brief but Spectacular: Christian Robinson

The Bookshelf: Inside Illustrator Christian Robinson’s Sacramento Studio

Kirkus Review 

Christian Robinson’s Another (Julie Danielson) 

100 Scope Notes Review 

The Children’s Book Podcast with Matthew Winner

Music for Mister Moon by Philip and Erin Stead 

Publisher’s Page 

Behind the Scenes: ‘Music for Mister Moon’

Music for Mister Moon Website 

Music for Mister Moon (Julie Danielson) 

BookPage: Imaginative adventure stories perfect for bedtime reading (Julie Danielson) 

Kirkus Review 

Shelf Awareness Interview


New Book Tuesday 10-15-19

Posted & filed under Blog.

The Body by Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson, bestselling author of A Short History of Nearly Everything, takes us on a head-to-toe tour of the marvel that is the human body. As addictive as it is comprehensive, this is Bryson at his very best, a must-read owner’s manual for everybody.

Bill Bryson once again proves himself to be an incomparable companion as he guides us through the human body–how it functions, its remarkable ability to heal itself, and (unfortunately) the ways it can fail. Full of extraordinary facts (your body made a million red blood cells since you started reading this) and irresistible Bryson-esque anecdotes, The Body will lead you to a deeper understanding of the miracle that is life in general and you in particular. As Bill Bryson writes, “We pass our existence within this wobble of flesh and yet take it almost entirely for granted.” The Body will cure that indifference with generous doses of wondrous, compulsively readable facts and information.

Music: A Subversive History by Ted Gioia

A preeminent music historian and critic presents a global history of music from the bottom up
Histories of music overwhelmingly suppress stories of the outsiders and rebels who created musical revolutions and instead celebrate the mainstream assimilators who borrowed innovations, diluted their impact, and disguised their sources. In Music: A Subversive History, historian Ted Gioia reclaims the story of music for the riffraff, insurgents, and provocateurs.
Gioia tells a four-thousand-year history of music as a global source of power, change, and upheaval. He shows how social outcasts have repeatedly become trailblazers of musical expression: slaves and their descendants, for instance, have repeatedly reinvented music, from ancient times all the way to the jazz, reggae, and hip-hop sounds of the current day.
Music: A Subversive History is essential reading for anyone interested in the meaning of music, from Sappho to the Sex Pistols to Spotify.

Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA by Amaryllis Fox

Amaryllis Fox’s riveting memoir tells the story of her ten years in the most elite clandestine ops unit of the CIA, hunting the world’s most dangerous terrorists in sixteen countries while marrying and giving birth to a daughter

Amaryllis Fox was in her last year as an undergraduate at Oxford studying theology and international law when her writing mentor Daniel Pearl was captured and beheaded. Galvanized by this brutality, Fox applied to a master’s program in conflict and terrorism at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, where she created an algorithm that predicted, with uncanny certainty, the likelihood of a terrorist cell arising in any village around the world. At twenty-one, she was recruited by the CIA. Her first assignment was reading and analyzing hundreds of classified cables a day from foreign governments and synthesizing them into daily briefs for the president. Her next assignment was at the Iraq desk in the Counterterrorism center. At twenty-two, she was fast-tracked into advanced operations training, sent from Langley to “the Farm,” where she lived for six months in a simulated world learning how to use a Glock, how to get out of flexicuffs while locked in the trunk of a car, how to withstand torture, and the best ways to commit suicide in case of captivity. At the end of this training she was deployed as a spy under non-official cover–the most difficult and coveted job in the field as an art dealer specializing in tribal and indigenous art and sent to infiltrate terrorist networks in remote areas of the Middle East and Asia.

Life Undercover is exhilarating, intimate, fiercely intelligent–an impossible to put down record of an extraordinary life, and of Amaryllis Fox’s astonishing courage and passion.

The First Cell by Azra Raza

A world-class oncologist’s devastating and deeply personal examination of cancer
We have lost the war on cancer. We spend $150 billion each year treating it, yet — a few innovations notwithstanding — a patient with cancer is as likely to die of it as one was fifty years ago. Most new drugs add mere months to one’s life at agonizing physical and financial cost.
In The First Cell, Azra Raza offers a searing account of how both medicine and our society (mis)treats cancer, how we can do better, and why we must. A lyrical journey from hope to despair and back again, The First Cell explores cancer from every angle: medical, scientific, cultural, and personal. Indeed, Raza describes how she bore the terrible burden of being her own husband’s oncologist as he succumbed to leukemia. Like When Breath Becomes AirThe First Cell is no ordinary book of medicine, but a book of wisdom and grace by an author who has devoted her life to making the unbearable easier to bear.

Self-Portrait in Black and White by Thomas Chatterton Williams

A meditation on race and identity from one of our most provocative cultural critics.

A reckoning with the way we choose to see and define ourselves, Self-Portrait in Black and White is the searching story of one American family’s multigenerational transformation from what is called black to what is assumed to be white. Thomas Chatterton Williams, the son of a “black” father from the segregated South and a “white” mother from the West, spent his whole life believing the dictum that a single drop of “black blood” makes a person black. This was so fundamental to his self-conception that he’d never rigorously reflected on its foundations—but the shock of his experience as the black father of two extremely white-looking children led him to question these long-held convictions.

It is not that he has come to believe that he is no longer black or that his kids are white, Williams notes. It is that these categories cannot adequately capture either of them—or anyone else, for that matter. Beautifully written and bound to upset received opinions on race, Self-Portrait in Black and White is an urgent work for our time.

I Really Needed This Today by Hoda Kotb

From New York Times bestselling author and beloved Today show co-host Hoda Kotb comes an inspiring collection of quotes–drawn from her own personal favorites featured on her enormously popular Instagram account–that offer wisdom, courage, and hope.

Several years ago, Today show co-host Hoda Kotb began posting a variety of quotes on her Instagram page. Some were penned by a favorite writer; others offered a dose of love or laughter. She thought the quotes were meaningful only to her, but soon a funny thing started happening – reactions poured in from thousands of people who were just as moved. The quotes weren’t only providing inspiration to Hoda, they were comforting and connecting people. So many of their comments read, “I really needed this today,” a phrase that inspired the book’s title.

In I Really Needed This Today, Hoda not only shares 365 sayings and quotes, she writes about the people and experiences that have pushed her to challenge boundaries, embrace change, and explore relationships to their fullest. Written with her signature wit and warmth, this book is the ideal companion to tuck beside your bed or to bring with you on-the-go to keep you motivated, recharged, and inspired each day.

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus

Told in two distinct and irresistible voices, Junauda Petrus’s bold and lyrical debut is the story of two black girls from very different backgrounds finding love and happiness in a world that seems determined to deny them both.

Trinidad. Sixteen-year-old Audre is despondent, having just found out she’s going to be sent to live in America with her father because her strictly religious mother caught her with her secret girlfriend, the pastor’s daughter. Audre’s grandmother Queenie (a former dancer who drives a white convertible Cadillac and who has a few secrets of her own) tries to reassure her granddaughter that she won’t lose her roots, not even in some place called Minneapolis. “America have dey spirits too, believe me,” she tells Audre.

Minneapolis. Sixteen-year-old Mabel is lying on her bed, staring at the ceiling and trying to figure out why she feels the way she feels–about her ex Terrell, about her girl Jada and that moment they had in the woods, and about the vague feeling of illness that’s plagued her all summer. Mabel’s reverie is cut short when her father announces that his best friend and his just-arrived-from-Trinidad daughter are coming for dinner.

Mabel quickly falls hard for Audre and is determined to take care of her as she tries to navigate an American high school. But their romance takes a turn when test results reveal exactly why Mabel has been feeling low-key sick all summer and suddenly it’s Audre who is caring for Mabel as she faces a deeply uncertain future.

Junauda Petrus’s debut brilliantly captures the distinctly lush and lyrical voices of Mabel and Audre as they conjure a love that is stronger than hatred, prison, and death and as vast as the blackness between the stars.

We Speak in Storms by Natalie Lund

A powerful and haunting debut novel about friendship, acceptance, and learning to let go as the balance between the living and the dead is upended, perfect for fans of We Were Liars.

It’s been more than 50 years since a tornado tore through a drive-in movie theater in tiny Mercer, Illinois, leaving dozens of teens — a whole generation of Mercerites — dead in its wake. So when another tornado touches down in the exact same spot on the anniversary of this small-town tragedy, the town is shaken. For Brenna Ortiz, Joshua Calloway, and Callie Keller, the apprehension is more than just a feeling. Though they seem to share nothing more than a struggle to belong, the teens’ paths continue to intersect, bringing them together when they least expect it, and perhaps, when they need it most. Both the living and the dead have secrets and unresolved problems, but they may be able to find peace and move forward–if only they work together.

A beautifully told, haunting yet hopeful novel about pushing past the pain, facing the world, and finding yourself.

New Book Tuesday 10-8-19

Posted & filed under Blog.

What Happens in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand

Secret lives and new loves emerge in the bright Caribbean sunlight, in the follow-up to national bestseller Winter in Paradise

A year ago, Irene Steele had the shock of her life: her loving husband, father to their grown sons and successful businessman, was killed in a helicopter crash. But that wasn’t Irene’s only shattering news: he’d also been leading a double life on the island of St. John, where another woman loved him, too.

Now Irene and her sons are back on St. John, determined to learn the truth about the mysterious life -and death – of a man they thought they knew. Along the way, they’re about to learn some surprising truths about their own lives, and their futures.

Lush with the tropical details, romance, and drama that made Winter in Paradise a national bestseller, What Happens in Paradise is another immensely satisfying page-turner from one of American’s most beloved and engaging storytellers.

A Legacy of Murder by Connie Berry

American antique dealer Kate Hamilton’s Christmastime jaunt to a charming English village leads to an investigation of a missing ruby…and a chain of murders.

It’s Christmastime and antiques dealer Kate Hamilton is off to visit her daughter, Christine, in the quaint English village of Long Barston. Christine and her boyfriend, Tristan, work at stately-but-crumbling Finchley Hall. Touring the Elizabethan house and grounds, Kate is intrigued by the docent’s tales of the Finchley Hoard, and the strange deaths surrounding the renowned treasure trove. But next to a small lake, Kate spies the body of a young woman, killed by a garden spade.

Nearly blind Lady Barbara, who lives at Finchley with her loyal butler, Mugg, persuades Kate to take over the murdered woman’s work. Kate finds that a Burmese ruby has vanished from the legendary Blood-Red Ring, replaced by a lesser garnet. Were the theft and the woman’s death connected?

Kate learns that Lady Barbara’s son fled to Venezuela years before, suspected of murdering another young woman. The murder weapon belonged to an old gardener, who becomes the leading suspect. But is Lady Barbara’s son back to kill again? When another body is found, the clues point toward Christine. It’s up to Kate to clear her daughter’s name in Connie Berry’s second Kate Hamilton mystery, a treasure for fans of traditional British mysteries.

Marley: A Novel by Jon Clinch

From the acclaimed author of the “marvel of a novel” (Entertainment WeeklyFinn comes a masterful reimagining of Charles Dickens’s classic A Christmas Carol with this darkly entertaining and moving exploration of the twisted relationship between Ebenezer Scrooge and Jacob Marley.

“Marley was dead, to begin with,” Charles Dickens tells us at the beginning of A Christmas Carol. But in Jon Clinch’s ingenious novel, Jacob Marley, business partner to Ebenezer Scrooge, is very much alive: a rapacious and cunning boy who grows up to be a forger, a scoundrel, and the man who will be both the making and the undoing of Scrooge.

They meet as youths in the gloomy confines of Professor Drabb’s Academy for Boys, where Marley begins their twisted friendship by initiating the innocent Scrooge into the gentle art of extortion. Years later, in the dank heart of London, their shared ambition manifests itself in a fledgling shipping empire. Between Marley’s genius for deception and Scrooge’s brilliance with numbers, they amass a considerable fortune of dubious legality, all rooted in a pitiless commitment to the soon-to-be-outlawed slave trade.

As Marley toys with the affections of Scrooge’s sister, Fan, Scrooge falls under the spell of Fan’s best friend, Belle Fairchild. Now, for the first time, Scrooge and Marley find themselves at cross-purposes. With their business interests inextricably bound together and instincts for secrecy and greed bred in their very bones, the two men engage in a shadowy war of deception, false identities, forged documents, theft, and cold-blooded murder. Marley and Scrooge are destined to clash in an unforgettable reckoning that will echo into the future and set the stage for Marley’s ghostly return.

Meticulously crafted and beguilingly told, Marley revisits and illuminates one of Charles Dickens’s most cherished works to spellbinding effect.

The Girl at the Door: A Novel by Veronica Raimo

Miden is a society built from the ground up. Commissions dedicated to fairness, equality, and mindful living have been created following “the Crash,” and Miden, an island apart from the wreckage, has risen from the ashes of society as we know it. While on vacation in this oasis, a seemingly aimless woman meets an attractive man, and soon after she moves to the island to start a new life with him.

Six months pregnant and just beginning to feel comfortable in her lover’s space, she feels as though she may have finally found ownership of her life – until the day the girl arrives. Slight and pretty, the girl discloses a drawn out and violent affair she’s had with her professor, the father of the woman’s child. In alternating perspectives, the professor and his pregnant girlfriend reflect upon their own lives, each other, and their interloper. As the powers that be gather testimony and consider the case, the couple is forced to confront their own paranoia, fetishes, and transgressions in light of the student’s accusations.

As their idyllic society grapples with the scandal, boundaries blur and alliances shift as reputation, truth, and self-preservation threaten to upend their relationship. Provocative and unnerving, The Girl at the Door explores the bureaucracy of a scandal, and the thin line between lust and possession. In an age in which blunt power and fickle nuance take turns upon the stage, Raimo has delivered an unflinching exploration of the politics and power of sex.

Dreams from Many Rivers by Margarita Engle

From award-winning poet Margarita Engle comes Dreams from Many Rivers, an middle grade verse history of Latinos in the United States, told through many voices, and featuring illustrations by Beatriz Gutierrez Hernandez.

From Juana Briones and Juan Ponce de León, to eighteenth century slaves and modern-day sixth graders, the many and varied people depicted in this moving narrative speak to the experiences and contributions of Latinos throughout the history of the United States, from the earliest known stories up to present day. It’s a portrait of a great, enormously varied, and enduring heritage. A compelling treatment of an important topic.

Hazel’s Theory of Evolution by Lisa Jenn Bigelow

The Thing About Jellyfish meets Raymie Nightingale in this tender middle grade novel from Lisa Jenn Bigelow, acclaimed author of Drum Roll, Please.

Hazel knows a lot about the world. That’s because when she’s not hanging with her best friend, taking care of her dog, or helping care for the goats on her family’s farm, she loves reading through dusty encyclopedias.

But even Hazel doesn’t have answers for the questions awaiting her as she enters eighth grade. What if no one at her new school gets her, and she doesn’t make any friends? What’s going to happen to one of her moms, who’s pregnant again after having two miscarriages? Why does everything have to change when life was already perfectly fine?

As Hazel struggles to cope, she’ll come to realize that sometimes you have to look within yourself—instead of the pages of a book—to find the answer to life’s most important questions.

Blood Sugar by Daniel Kraus

From the dark imagination of New York Times bestselling novelist Daniel Kraus and former Lincolnwood Library Author Visitor – co-author with Guillermo del Toro of THE SHAPE OF WATER (which as a film won the Academy Award for Best Picture) – comes a Halloween crime story that’s like nothing you’ve ever read before.

In a ruined house at the end of Yellow Street, an angry outcast hatches a scheme to take revenge for all the wrongs he has suffered. With the help of three alienated kids, he plans to hide razor blades, poison, and broken glass in Halloween candy, maiming or killing dozens of innocent children. But as the clock ticks closer to sundown, will one of his helpers – an innocent himself, in his own streetwise way – carry out or defeat the plan?

Told from the child’s point of view, in a voice as unforgettable as A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, Kraus’ novel is at once frightening and emotional, thought-provoking and laugh-out-loud funny. It’ll make you rethink your concepts of family, loyalty, and justice – and will leave you double-checking the wrappers on your Halloween candy for the rest of your days.

Weekly Storytime Tip! Little Red Wagon

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




Tip: Repetition is key for learning language and a key part of developing good literacy habits. This rhyme is a good example, along with re-reading books. Sign up for 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten for more information.
Bumping up and down in my little red wagon 
Bumping up and down in my little red wagon 
Bumping up and down in my little red wagon 
Won’t You Be My Baby?

The Caldecott Club Returns!

Posted & filed under Blog, Youth & Teen.

Hi! I’m Miss Eti, one of the Youth & Teen Services librarians. This year marks our THIRD Caldecott Club, which we began during my first year at Lincolnwood Library, inspired by the fantastic program that Brian Wilson created at Evanston Public Library in 2016. Every year I learn more from our young readers about the ways to structure this program to engage in thoughtful conversations about picture books. I am so grateful for the chance to offer this program again with some of the young people who joined us last year, as well as new friends. We designed this program to be open to kids from around 3rd grade through 8th grade because picture books are for everybody and everyone can learn from each other. [I guess this is the place I should put a spoiler alert for all the books we’re discussing…]

What’s a Caldecott?

So what is the Caldecott Award? 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. I shared a poster from Baker & Taylor of previous award winners, so the kids could spot some familiar faces and find connections between them. S. instantly noticed The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein and shared how much she loved it. I informed her about the sad news that he had passed away recently, and she instantly declared that she’d like to write a tribute to him. I will always remember the powerful conversations we had during our first Caldecott Club series discussing The Boy and The Whale, which our group selected as an Honor book during our 2017 Caldecott Club.

The winners of our 2017 Caldecott Club!

We discussed what makes a good picture book, enabling the kids to create the language we used to evaluate the books. Ya. declared that memories make a good picture book. Others said it should be easy to understand. S. said that the pictures should speak to you. I also gave them a fantastic kid-friendly evaluation guide, thanks to Holly Jin at Skokie Public Library (who was on the 2017 Caldecott Committee) who shared this resource with me.

Once we established our criteria, we were ready to explore the books. I had put them in a cardboard box and taped it up, so the kids could dramatically open up the box just like the adult committee members do when books arrive in the mail. Brian did this at his Caldecott Club session and the kids were filled with anticipation every time. Each group received a copy of the book, so they could look more closely at the books. R. helped me open the box and distribute our first book. 

The books we discussed in session 1 were:

The Very Impatient Caterpillar by Ross Burach
How to Read a Book by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
The Little Guys by Vera Brosgol
Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman

Picture Walk


Rather than doing a formal read aloud of each book, we did picture walks. Our participants were especially eager to help out with reading each book aloud, so we worked out a system to take turns. For the picture walk, we discussed each book’s visual features to examine the techniques the artists used and how they worked. Often I would prompt the group by asking them: How well does this book do what it’s trying to do? What did you notice? How does this page make you feel? What makes this art distinguished?

The Very Impatient Caterpillar by Ross Burach 

Our group instantly noticed the parallel end papers with the caterpillar at the beginning and butterflies at the end. They began making predictions about what would happen to our caterpillar friend. This hilarious book is perfect for read alouds, especially if you share it in two voices. S. read the Impatient Caterpillar’s speech bubbles, while I read the other caterpillar’s speech. Our group laughed throughout our picture walk.

My favorite line is definitely, “Can I get a comic book or something?” There’s nothing like comics to help us be more patient.

They noticed many of the comic book features that convey information. Ya. pointed out the “white wind” that shows the Impatient Caterpillar is spinning, trying to make his chrysalis. Intrigued, Yu. asked how is the chrysalis formed, which stumped me. So here’s a great resource from The Kids Should See This that helps explain this magical process – and hopefully answers Yu.’s question. Our group pointed out the effective use of typography to contribute to the story, noticing how the font gets bigger as the caterpillars grow increasingly exasperated. We had a marvelous time chorally reading the dramatic line, “Shhh… we’re trying to metamorphosize!” R. had mastered how to say this tongue-twisting word and shared his knowledge with us.

When the Impatient Caterpillar went into his chrysalis surrounded by darkness, Ya. pointed out that “it looks like he’s dying.” When he comes out of the chrysalis half-finished, the group pointed out that he is not a butterfly yet and we talked about the movement on the page that shows his struggles. When he returns into his chrysalis and is screaming on a full page spread, S. pointed out that “he’s screaming a lot and everyone else is silent,” which shows the contrast in his reactions to change versus the other caterpillars. S. did an incredible job acting as the Impatient Caterpillar learning how to be patient and embrace change. We talked about how over time he becomes silent because he’s finally becoming a butterfly. We marveled at the dramatic page turn when he becomes a butterfly, complete with the purple markings that identify him as our Impatient friend. Yu. remarked that “he’s still impatient” at the end as he learns he has entirely new journey to join. We talked about dual transformation of the character who is both becoming a butterfly and learning to be patient. The group shared that it would be a good book to read to little kids. S. shared that she’d love to visit Todd Hall and read it to the little kids there. She also shared that it’s relatable “because there’s a lot of annoying people saying, “Are we there yet?” I have experience because I’m the younger sister and I do it.” I really appreciated her honestly. We’re all a lot like the impatient caterpillar and can learn a lot from his journey.

How to Read a Book by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Melissa Sweet  

I began our picture walk through How to Read a Book by asking the group about how they read books. S. shared that it’s important “to understand a page before you move on.” Yu. predicted that this book wasn’t going to be a storybook narrative, which was spot on. I shared information from Kwame Alexander’s author’s note about how he wrote this poem for World Read Aloud Day in 2010, but it was not selected. Eventually it was published in Open a World of Possible from Scholastic. Kwame remarked that “I think writing the poem that became this book was my way of capturing our family reading experience on paper. Of painting a picture of the journey readers take each time they crack open a book, get lost in the pages, and wander through the wonder.”  M. shared her experiences reading during DEAR (Drop Everything & Read) during social studies class this week and how loud it was initially, making it difficult to focus on the words. We talked about the importance of quiet spaces needed for reading. I shared how Melissa Sweet took Kwame’s poem and used her imagination to illustrate it. S. pointed out that “it’s the poem in her mind. It’s not exactly about books, but what’s in her mind.” Ya. pointed out that it’s more creative. Inspired just by the cover, S. suggested that we all make titles and make our own books, which we’ll definitely have to pursue at a future Caldecott Club. 

We began our picture walk by exploring the bright neon pink endpapers with shelves of books. I then had our group pause to explore the powerful three-dimensional collage that Melissa Sweet states in her note, “[sets] the scene for Kwame’s lyrical text.” It was a revelation when I discovered the secrets on this gorgeous spread and I wanted our Caldecott Club to have the same experience. I projected a picture of the spread on the whiteboard and instructed the group to open the page in their books and look deeply. One said they saw the word “Caldecott.” Other saw the word “grateful,” which led others to indicate that the word was “grateful.” Gradually they worked together to decode the page, noticing the hidden line:

Poetry is motion

graceful 

as a fawn

M. pointed out that she saw Bambi on this page. I shared the information from Sweet’s illustrator’s note where she had been using a copy of Bambi to make the art when she found a poem by renowned poet and educator (and Kwame’s teacher and mentor) Nikki Giovanni that began with the above line. “That was the perfect affirmation. The serendipity of using Bambi as part of the art made me trust the imagery was heading in the right direction.” Of course, I had the share the full poem by Nikki Giovanni. (And what perfect timing that Nikki Giovanni is coming to Chicago in November for the Chicago Humanities Festival! You can get tickets here.)

We then moved on the copyright page and S. pointed out that the information is formatted as an apple, which I had never noticed before. She was astounded by the craft needed to make the art. “This probably took years. Did she handmake it and handcut the letters?” I shared images from Melissa’s process to create the art and it truly is a marvel. We then jumped into the book, sharing photographs of the black tupelo and dawn redwood trees that Kwame references. We talked about how Sweet creates a feeling of a tree in her art in abstract ways. In reference to reading on a stoop like Langston Hughes, showed them a picture of the Langston Hughes House, which is now home to the I, Too, Arts Collective thanks to the hard work of founder and author Renée Watson. This also gave me the chance to introduce them to the poetry of Langston Hughes. There are so many riches within this book! S. shared that she just bought art supplies and she now planned on drawing pictures of trees and sharing her art next week, which is just the response you hope for after encountering this beautiful book. 

We then talked about the metaphor that reading is like eating a clementine. S. shared that she’s very rough with clementines (which we eat all the time during our Books & Bites program). Our group noticed the Bambi passages throughout the book, noting the word “delicious” on the page about the clementine. S. remarked that the neon orange circle on the opposite page looks like a clementine. S. shared that like clementines, “maybe the outside [of a book] is not much but once you get inside, it’s delicious.” The butterflies spread inspired M. to share that “I keep trying to capture a butterfly and let it land on my hand,” expressing a wistful wonder that we’ve all experienced. S. blew me away with her artist eye, noticing the “book toaster” on the next page, popping out “Once upon a time” toast. On the wordless page of a girl reading while walking through the city, M. remarked that “that’s dangerous – reading and walking,” which made me think about the importance of audiobooks for safety alone! They noticed how the books are frequently neon, which make them stand out on the page. Their surprise was palpable as we opened the gatefold, revealing a magical book bus and struggled to choose our favorite window.

The kids’ response: “We have book parties, too!”

They pointed out on the next spread how the book is a tent that the reader is lying inside, actually reading Bambi. “She really likes Bambi,” M. pointed out. “You could probably read the whole book of Bambi reading this one,” S. added. We were practically speechless with wonder during the “bursts of orange” spread as the O in “Exploded” becomes the purple moon. M. pointed out that the dots surrounded the page must be hole punches. The next page made S. contemplative, expressing how much she liked the crescent moon and constellations. I recalled S.’s declaration for slow reading and how this spread encourages us to “don’t rush through” (even though I was rushing to finish our picture walk). This spread reminded me of the incredible TEDTalk by Jacqueline Woodson,  “what reading slowly taught me about writing,” which is essential viewing. 

The group noticed Bambi again in the child’s hair and face as they drift off to sleep at the end. They also wondered about the RFID tag on the end paper, which shows how they notice everything. They also noted the “Target logo” on the back cover, which was a good association for them. Yu. declared that How to Read a Book was very artistic. M. asked if it smelled like anything, which provoked me to share how Mr. Schu, Ambassador of School Libraries for Scholastic Book Fairs, talks about how books smell, so we had to smell this savory book. It smelled pretty great.

The Little Guys by Vera Brosgol 

The moment I shared The Little Guys by Vera Brosgol, Yu. instantly declared that “I love her. She wrote Be Prepared and Anya’s Ghost.” I added that she also wrote Leave Me Alone, which won a Caldecott Honor in 2017. And I got to reminisce about our fabulous Skype visit with Vera last summer. Of course, we had to begin with the case cover secret, prompting the group to determine who the little guys are. I urged them to try to find the littlest little guy throughout the story. S. and Yu. took turns reading the pages as we went through our picture walk. Yu. stated, “they’re strong like ants working together.” M. commented on how they are a community.

Can you find the littlest little guy?

Ya. pointed out that they’re always together, with the light on them even when it’s dark. Yu. shared how they team up. Things shifted for our group from seeing the little guys as an adorable collective as they began using their power in hurtful ways. When they oust the owl from its desk, Yu. declared, “that’s mean.” Turning the page to see how they treat the fox and its den of food, she added, “Look at what they did. They took the fox’s food; they’re stealing food and everyone is scared of them.” M. was visibly moved by the following spread of the little guys beating up the bear. “I’m surprised,” she said. “The bears aren’t doing anything to them and they’re [taking the fish] for no reason,” Yu. added.

“They’re kind of selfish,” S. remarked. Yu argued, “Because they’re the little guys, they can do anything. They took it way too far.” The drama escalated when the orientation of the book shifted. Ya. explained that “it demonstrates how tall [their stash of food] is and shows how much they are and it’s more than you can believe.” We talked about how this wealth of food shows their greed and gluttony.

We talked about how Vera used comics panels to show the process of taking the berry from the bird – and we all yelled “Ahhh!” together as it all comes crashing down. Yu. talked about the impact of their greed: “They have a lot of things and they just want to take a small berry from the bird.” Ya. pointed how how the other animals help save the little guys, even the fish. Yu. pointed out how this experience changed the little guys: “They saw how the other animals have empathy for them. They saved the little guys and they felt happy and grateful. They decided to give back and not be selfish.” I’d say the little guys had a big impact on our Caldecott Club.

Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman

We began our exploration of Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman with the case cover secret and predicting what this book would be about. I shared that Deborah Freedman used pencil, colored pencils, watercolor and assembled the art in Photoshop. They were excited that common art supplies that they use could result in such a beautiful book. We had a good conversation about the biology of earthworms, which made M. think about composting. We talked about how the text mirrors Carl’s movements, which contributes to the effectiveness of the picture book. They were curious about how the rabbit noticed a small earthworm, which led us into a discussion about the great distance between Carl and the rabbit, crossing the gutter between them, with the different lived experiences manifested in the art.

Yu. noticed the fox in the corner, saying “the fox might attack,” foreshadowing the next interaction Carl has. The next spread shows the rabbit leaping off the page as the fox dominates the scene. M. particularly liked the next spread with the green watercolor over the branches of the squirrel’s tree. Yu. began to ruminate about the themes of the book: “The meaning of life is people finding out what they want to do in life.. I heard it’s to do something you love and do something great and change the world. I think [Carl] changes the world by making the soil good.” To this, M. remarked, “there’s no meaning to life. You just do what you gotta do.” Picture books can spark some pretty heavy conversations. As we progressed through the story, they noticed how the environment had changed around Carl. S. pointed out, “He hasn’t been making fluffy soil. He’s been too busy asking people.” When Carl finally figures out his purpose to change the soil, we noticed how the colors and light change. Our group particularly loved the purples on the page with the mouse returning.

We made sure to read Deborah Freedman’s author’s note and think critically about the ways we are all connected.

S. reflected that “he was too busy thinking about stuff that others want for him,” connecting this narrative to the story of Are You My Mother? by P. D. Eastman. “It’s very inspirational because he helped every animal he talked to.” 

VOTING!
After we had walked through each book in a whirlwind of color and conversation, we were ready to ballot. Each child received a paper ballot to select their top 2 choices. M. helped with the math to make sure it was accurate. The top 2 books then are the winners of our session and go on the Voting Party on January 9.

And the Session 1 Winners Are…

The Little Guys by Vera Brosgol 

Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman

Join Us Next Time!

Please join us for our next Caldecott Club session on Thursday, October 17 from 3:30-5:00pm! And don’t forget to bring your fancy lanyards! (And if you didn’t get one, make sure to join us so you can rock our Caldecott Club merch!) 

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


Bear Came Along by Richard T. Morris, illustrated by LeUyen Pham 

A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel 

Another by Christian Robinson

Music for Mister Moon by Philip C. Stead and Erin E. Stead 

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

 – Eti

Resources

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

The Very Impatient Caterpillar by Ross Burach

Booktalk Video

The Very Impatient Caterpillar by Ross Burach | Scholastic Spring 2019 Online Preview

Mr. Schu Reads Cover Reveal

Publisher’s page

Princess Abigail the STORY Teller’s Read Aloud
Storytime with Ryan and Craig Read Aloud

PW KidsCast: A Conversation with Ross Burach

How to Read a Book by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Melissa Sweet 

Publisher’s Weekly Cover Reveal: ‘How to Read a Book’

Publisher’s page
Melissa Sweet Shows How to Read a Book

How to Read a Book (7 Impossible Things)

Book Page Book Review (Julie Danielson)

Open a World of Possible Book (Scholastic)

The Little Guys by Vera Brosgol

The Little Guys (7 Impossible Things)

Sharing 101 (Julie Danielson)

Little Guys Storytime Kit
How the Sausage Gets Made

Interview with Vera Brosgol (Austin Public Library)

The Romper Review

Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman

An Interview with Deborah Freedman

Illustration Inspiration: Deborah Freedman, Author-Illustrator of Carl and the Meaning of Life

Mr. Schu Reads Interview with Deborah Freedman

Carl Maze Activity