Caldecott Club 2020 Voting Party

Posted & filed under Blog, Youth & Teen.

Hi! I’m Miss Eti, one of the Youth & Teen Services librarians. We hosted our highly anticipated Caldecott Club Party on Thursday, January 9 from 3:30-5:00 (and a bit beyond that) at Lincolnwood Library. Over the course of the past three months, we’ve explored twenty incredible picture books published in 2019, conducted picture walks through the books to examine the art with our artist eyes, and voted for our top 11 books that would go to our voting party. We had also developed as a community of readers, gaining new members of our Caldecott Club, who each added new insights to our discussions. It had all come down to this session where we’d choose THE best picture book of 2019. (If you’re new here and want to learn about our program, check out first blog post about Creating a Caldecott Community.)

The books we discussed were:

The Little Guys by Vera Brosgol 

Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman 

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

Another by Christian Robinson 

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

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

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

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

Saturday by Oge Mora

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson 

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

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.” Our group used their own language to determine what makes a Caldecott worthy book. Ms. Gaby offered multitasking support by keeping us on track with a timer that allotted five minutes per book. I urged her not to listen to me when I asked for more time – and we were pretty good at sticking to our plans. She also helped us with the slides so everyone could see the images of the books – and frequently went back and forth for the kids to spotlight things they noticed and lead us in close reading. Ms. Lisa, our newest Youth and Teen Services staff member, was also instrumental to the success of our program, managing so many new tasks during her first week with us. A huge thank you to Ms. Gaby and Ms. Lisa for all of their help at Caldecott Club!! We also had a special guest, pre-service teacher educator, Dr. Shira Roth, who kindly brought art giveaways for our Caldecott Club! 

We then jumped into our discussion. I 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 in our library catalog and the publisher’s pages.) During our discussion, I 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.

The Little Guys by Vera Brosgol

Tiny creatures rampage through a forest collecting food for themselves only to discover that kindness and cooperation trump greed.

This book was one of our first books we discussed back in October, but our group remembered it fondly. Yu. shared that “the art is neat and nice and understandable.” Al. added that “it’s not one flat color. It has textures and lots of other colors.” M. expressed that “It’s really simple which gives it character.” C. thought that it had a good lesson. Em. shared that “maybe kids would like it so they would know how to not annoy their brothers and sisters,” which we connected to the criteria about recognition of a child audience. Ya. added to our discussion of the theme by saying, “the lesson is sharing is caring.” Ay. mused about the design of the little guys, saying, “it’s kind of creepy so it gives it a kind of scary tone to it, which I like, and at the same time, I don’t like it,” to which, S. added, “yeah they don’t have eyes.” Dan. suggested that maybe their acorn hats are covering their eyes. Dal. wrote on her evaluation that “I like how the little guys look.” L. shared that she liked when they work together. B. shared that he liked the backgrounds, while E. would have liked more color in the backgrounds. F. liked the cartoon style of The Little Guys. S. shared that “I like this book a lot because if you took away all the words, the picture would still tell the story,” which was a huge revelation for our group – and an essential part of evaluating picture books.

Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman

Carl is an earthworm. He spends his days happily tunneling in the soil until a field mouse asks him a simple question that stops him short: “Why?” Carl’s quest takes him on an adventure to meet all the animals of the forest, each of whom seems to know exactly what they were put on this earth to do, unlike the curious Carl. But it’s not until the world around him has changed that Carl begins to realize that everyone, no matter how small, makes a big difference just by being themselves.

Our group was really impressed by Deborah Freedman’s use of watercolors and colored pencil, which came up throughout our discussion. Da. shared “I can see that it’s made of watercolors because of the background. It’s just like an effective color.”  Several kids remarked on the design of the animals and how much they enjoyed them. S. pointed out that she liked “how the fox looks the same on every page,” which led us to talk about consistency of design as a hallmark of excellence. Mi. shared how she liked how the art bled to the edge of the page, which helped draw us into Carl’s world. K. shared how he appreciated how you could see the grass and dirt – and could see Carl everywhere. Yu. recognized that this book had a lot to teach us. 

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

Once there was a river flowing through a forest. The river didn’t know it was capable of adventures until a big bear came along. But adventures aren’t any fun by yourself, and so enters Froggy, Turtles, Beaver, Racoons, and Duck. These very different animals take off downstream, but they didn’t know they needed one another until thankfully, the river came along.

Em. liked so many things like how the pages are colorful and you’re with the animals on the trip. This led us into a discussion about perspective, which LeUyen Pham does so well. Da. shared, “I can see their mood,” which helped us talk about the characters’ expressions in the art. K. shared, “I like how the turtle is many colors. I like how everything is unordinary. How all the animals hang out together. My favorite thing is how the book literally shows them in the water going fast.” C. shared, “I like how there’s different kinds of trees.” S. ruminated about the drawings, considering how they are nice and simple at the same time, declaring them “simply nice,” which provoked us to think about how art that looks simple took a lot of work to look almost effortless. F. shared that she liked how the pages are full of color with not a lot of white space. K. led us in a close read of the book, compelling us to return to the scene when the animals are at the brink of falling down the waterfall. C. declared that “it’s like VR (virtual reality),” which caused Mi. to add how she liked how the book’s orientation changes as we move forward. S. added that “I like how we can see what they see and we’re in their perspective.” It’s really incredible how kids’ ideas fuel each other’s insights.

Another by Christian Robinson 

A young girl and her cat take an imaginative journey into another world where they discover others like them.

K. instantly made a text-to-text connection to The Other Mother from Coraline, which provoked me to share how Another is also influenced by Alice in Wonderland. Em. shared how “the pictures are up and down. And you know what’s going to happen from future spreads in earlier ones like the colored balls,” leading us to talk about how predictions work in this book. Like Bear Came Along, this book also challenged our ideas of perspective – and took it to the next level. Our group had many questions about the world of the story. Da. shared how he was confused about how the girl woke up to discover the portal. Yu. shared that the light and noise of the portal could have woken her up. She shared that the pictures are very unique, which you don’t see it often, connecting Another to the criteria about books being individually distinct. Mi. shared that she loved the parallel selves scene. Ay. wondered about the imaginary world and how it worked – so we talked about how we had to suspend our disbelief to explore Another. K. offered a pragmatic solution: “Maybe she’s dreaming.” S. noticed that “there’s so much white space,” as a design feature of the story. 

After this book, I put in a movement break where we stretched up and down to get some of our wiggles out. Out of all the changes I made in this program, this was the best way I implemented. Yes, we did pretend to be the little guys reaching for the berry and then toppling over.

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

Aidan, a transgender boy, experiences complicated emotions as he and his parents prepare for the arrival of a new baby.

I started our discussion by sharing a picture of Kyle and Kaylani together. We had the opportunity to host Kyle at our library earlier this fall and he told us he was going to meet Kaylani for the first time – and our Caldecott Club was super invested in this meeting. Sa. liked the details in the art, which I shared was done digitally, although it feels like watercolors. F. shared how she liked “how the text matched the pictures and worked together well. The art gives people more information about what is going on.” We learned from Kyle how he left space for Kaylani to work her illustrator magic – and our kids noticed how effectively she applied her skills to tell this story. Sa. shared that she liked that you don’t find out the gender of the baby or what their name is. K. pointed out how Aidan is holding the baby at the end of the story, which was an effective choice for the final spread. L. shared how she liked the scene where they paint the baby’s room, which is also my favorite spread.

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

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

Yu. shared how it’s a good book. She told us how around Veteran’s Day she shared it with her Social Studies teacher who read it to her class who really liked it. This led us to talk about how it’s individually distinct, unlike anything else we’ve read this year. Mi. pointed out how the family was connected to their family member in the plane. She was  curious to know more about Ola Mildred “Millie” Rexcoat, an Oglala Lakota pilot who inspired this book, so we made sure to read selections from the author’s note. 

The group was curious to know more about the airforce building that honored her. I want to make sure I share this information here that the Ellsworth Airfield Operations Building was renamed the “Millie Rexroat Building,” on Oct. 2, 2017. Em. wondered about how when they were praying if they could talk to their loved one. We talked about the family’s connection to their family member and their ancestors. This reminded me of a quote from an Cynsations interview with the author, Traci Sorell, who shared, “I hope [the book] sparks discussions about the contributions that Native people have made that go unnoticed. I also want to uplift how Native Nations honor those active duty military personnel and veterans regardless of how they are treated in the broader United States culture or by its federal government. Similarly, there is no separation between our lives here and the spirit world, all are connected. I love that Weshoyot’s art shows that so beautifully.” Fe. liked how the art zooms in the airplanes and goes closer, using comic panels to express these ideas. She also added “I like how they’re talking about weaving and then we see the airplane on the pattern.” We talked about how Weshoyot did her research about these traditional Cherokee weaving practices. B. shared how he liked the scene with the pilot in the air connected to her ancestors.

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

When Daisy Ramona zooms around her neighborhood with her papi on his motorcycle, she sees the people and places she’s always known. She also sees a community that is rapidly changing around her.

Fe. began our discussion by sharing, “I like how it’s about love,” which really captured the essence of the theme. Em. liked how the conflict was solved at the end with Daisy Ramona and her family getting raspados. Sa. liked how the art showed the stores with actual names, which helped ground the story in reality. The group enjoyed the sense of movement and action in the pages. 

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

Told in lively and powerful verse by debut author Kevin Noble Maillard, Fry Bread is an evocative depiction of a modern Native American family, vibrantly illustrated by Pura 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.

Our group was very curious if Kevin and Juana talked to each other through the process of creating Fry Bread, as we’ve discussed how illustrators don’t often talk to authors. Sam. pointed out how she like how it has details in the characters like the tattoos, which I shared were Seminole symbols tattooed on the wrist.  K. shared that the art made him thoughtful. Our group was increasingly curious about how to make fry bread, which led us to examine the back-matter of the book, including the recipe that Kevin provided. This book definitely sparked our group’s interest in making fry bread, which then provided an important opportunity to talk about authenticity and respect. Our kids would love to invite Kevin to come join us at our library to talk about making Fry Bread, the book and food! This was an important opportunity to talk again about how Native people are here in our community. We all gushed about how much we love the baby in the “Fry Bread is You” spread. 

Saturday by Oge Mora 

When all of their special Saturday plans go awry, Ava and her mother still find a way to appreciate one another and their time together.

Al. shared how Saturday looks like it’s made out of paper, which led us to talk about how it’s made with collages made with acrylic paint, china markers, patterned paper, and old book clippings and then hand-lettered. Em. pointed out that the tickets are on the table at the beginning of the story. Dal. shared how she liked that it was a bit abstract. S. pointed out the effectiveness of the  park scene. C. pointed out how the book is also made of newspaper clippings. Sa. shared how she liked how detailed the book is that is made of words. I’d love to know more about the source material that Oge Mora used to create Saturday myself, which I know has hidden layers we’ve yet to uncover.

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson 

Originally performed for ESPN’s The Undefeated, this poem is a love letter to black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world’s greatest heroes. The text is also peppered with references to the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others, offering deeper insights into the accomplishments of the past, while bringing stark attention to the endurance and spirit of those surviving and thriving in the present. Robust back matter at the end provides valuable historical context and additional detail for those wishing to learn more.


Sa. immediately pointed out how she liked how Kadir Nelson’s illustrations look realistic, which led us all to obsess about how these oils on panel paintings are extraordinary. L. wondered how Kadir made the pictures look so good. Our special guest, Dr. Roth, responded, “Kadir Nelson is a genius.” Our group was particularly moved by the “The Unspeakable” spread with the cracked photographs. This is a painting of pictures of Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Westley, Carole Robertson, and Carol Denise Mcnair, the four young girls who were killed in the racially motivated 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham on September 15, 1963. There are so many moments within The Undefeated that readers return to again and again.  K. shared that “this book makes me feel strong.” He shared an illustration to express this feeling. What could be better than kids responding to picture books by making art?

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

A little girl’s daddy steps in to help her arrange her curly, coiling, wild hair into styles that allow her to be her natural, beautiful self.

Br. shared that he loved that the dad has cool hair too. Our group really like making connections between the Hair Love short film and the picture book. I’m so glad that we had a chance to watch it during our extra session when we made art based on the picture books. It’s clear they remembered a lot from the film. Bi. shared how everything is not empty in the backgrounds. Fe. shared how it’s related to My Papi has a Motorcycle since it’s about a daughter and father relationship. At the end of the program, Mi. shared with me that she loves that it’s about natural hair.

We had successfully discussed all eleven books and were ready to vote for their top 3 picture books. This was definitely a challenge for many kids who didn’t have one favorite – or had too many favorites. The struggle is real. Once they voted, they were tasked with completing an evaluation. When they completed the evaluation, they each received a prize bag. While I did the math with the ballots, Ms. Gaby and Ms. Lisa ran a raffle with the kids to give away a bunch of swag that Dr. Roth brought for us and some additional merch related to the books we studied. I really appreciate their willingness to help out with the raffle, which was no easy feat – and something I’m definitely changing for the future Caldecott Club since it made it a bit too chaotic at the end. But kids do so love prizes…

Finally, the math was complete and we were ready to announce our winners!

The Winner of our 2019 Mock Caldecott is….

The Little Guys by Vera Brosgol!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 9781626724426-1024x793.jpg
The moment we revealed the winner…

Our Honor Books are:

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

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

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

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

Finally, our group received their well-deserved CaldeCookies as a delicious treat for their hard work!

Our group created this video to “make the call” to let Vera Brosgol know that they had chosen her book as our Mock Caldecott winner.

But wait, there’s more!

Please join us for our Caldecott Club Viewing Party at the library of the webcast of the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards on Monday, January 27 at 3:30pm, including the Newbery, Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Book Awards. We’ll provide predictions, refreshments, and raffle off Beekle and a signed copy of When Aidan Became a Brother! Everyone will receive a free 2019 Caldecott Award poster donated by Baker & Taylor. You can watch the webcast live that morning at 7am CST – but please keep the secrets before our group gets together.

Did you miss any of our sessions? Curious what happens in Caldecott Club? Want to know the brilliant things our kids said? Check out our recaps of each of the previous sessions!


Caldecott Club Session 1

Caldecott Club Session 2

Caldecott Club Session 3

Caldecott Club Session 4

Caldecott Club Session 5




Exploration Station Activities: Magnets

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

For our first exploration station of the new year, we looked at all the different things magnets can do! We did three activities after going over what a magnet is, focusing on what things are magnetic, and what they are.

Our first activity was Magnetic Sensory Painting. We used a paper plate, paper clips, magnet wands and paint. Using a magnet underneath the plate, kids could drag the paper clips to paint their own masterpiece!

Magnet Sensory Paintings
Magnet Sensory Painting

Our second activity was DIY magnets. Kids cut out letters, pictures, and used paper magnets to explore how they can use magnets in their own everyday life.

DIY Mangets

Our last activity was a magnet Sensory Bin, which is all about figuring out what is magnetic and what is not! Kids dug and explored through a bin to find the magnetic items and sorted them between magnetic and non-magnetic. This gave kids hands-on experience to deepen their understanding of magnetism, as well as promoted classification and sorting, an early math skill. What activities will we do next week? Visit us on Thursdays at 11:30am to find out!

Caldecott Club #6

Posted & filed under Blog, Youth & Teen.

Hi! I’m Miss Eti, one of the Youth & Teen Services librarians and I’m back with another recap of our latest Caldecott Club session. We had our 6th session on Thursday, December 19th, which was a special additional session to focus more on what the kids wanted to do. From the beginning they have been fascinated by the grown-up committee and what they do to select the most distinguished picture book for children, given out each year by the Association for Library Service to Children. So I reach out to my colleague, librarian Sarah Bean Thompson, a member of the 2016 Caldecott Committee, who graciously agreed to Skype with our group. Last session I had the kids share questions they had for her and then Sarah did her best to answer all of their pressing questions. Well, the questions that she could answer. D. was pretty fascinated with the fact that secrets were being shared – but Sarah was clear about what she could tell him – and what she couldn’t…

Sarah shared a presentation she created about her experiences
on the Caldecott committee.

Sarah shared her fascinating process of serving on the 2016 Caldecott committee. She shared the meeting process for the Caldecott Committee, with a practice discussion in June 2015. She then told us how they submit 3 sets of nominations with a total of 7 nominations each (like book reports) from the around 800 picture books they read. They then met in a room in January 2016 for three days pretty much nonstop discussing the books they had nominated. Sarah showed us the boxes that publishers sent to her, like the box we open at the beginning of each session. She shared how she had books everywhere in her house. Sarah shared how it was a lot of work – but also a lot of fun. She talked about how the committee was very respectful and kind and listened to each other to choose all of the books together. Once they chose the book, they had to keep the secret until they made the call to the illustrators on the Monday of the press conference. She showed us a video of the committee making the call and cheering. She also showed us a video from Sophie Blackall reacting to the news and spotlighting other Caldecott clubs. 

We could feel Sarah’s passion and enthusiasm for this experience, as she said, “It was an amazing – one of the coolest things I’ve ever done as a librarian.” Our kids were very curious about Sarah would take on this huge responsibility. She explained, “When you are a librarian and love books as much as you do, being on the committee is one of the top things you can do, a once in a lifetime opportunity, to give back to the world of children’s books and make a lasting impression.” Sarah also validated the fantastic work we’ve been doing in our program. She told us that she’s read the kids’ comments in our blog posts, and our discussions are just like the grown-up committee – as we find a book that rises to the top. She told us that one of the cool things about the Caldecott committee was that many of the people had Caldecott clubs and take the feedback from the kids and share what they said. Sarah encouraged us to share our feedback with people on the committee now. After all, “It’s all about what the kids want.” Sarah then turned the questions on our group, asking them what books stand out to them. Mi. declared her support for Hair Love. M. told us she loved The Little Guys. Al. told us she liked Carl and the Meaning of Life. Ya. praised The Undefeated. D. shared a whole list of books. Our challenge will truly be to determine which of our 11 fabulous books is the one that we think is the best picture book of 2019. Thankfully, with Sarah’s insights and knowledge in our minds, we will certainly come to consensus together. We are all so grateful to Sarah for joining our program and sharing her experiences with us. It was truly wonderful to learn more about the behind-the-scenes process of book evaluation!

Learn more in the Horn Book article, “And now, a word from the “Real” Committee” by Martha V. Parravano

Since this session was all about what the kids wanted to do, we then turned our attention from evaluating art to making art. From the beginning, they have expressed an interest in making their own pieces inspired by the styles in the books we studied. I set up several stations with materials based on the books, with directions to use them to create their own versions of the book covers. I had colored paper, painted paper, discarded books, and textured paper at stations inspired by Saturday by Oge Mora and Another by Christian Robinson. I provided yarn, glue and watercolors for a station inspired by At the Mountain’s Base by Traci Sorell and Weshoyot Alvitre. I provided watercolors, colored pencils and crayons for a station inspired by When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff and Kaylani Juanita. (While this book was done digitally, it feels like watercolors….) Interestingly, all of the kids were eager to play and explore using watercolors, moving around the different tables and using the materials to create their own art. The kids made this activity their own, which is what this is all about! While we made the art, we finally watched the Hair Love short film.

Here’s some of the wonderful art they made:

We ended our program by making short video trailers for each of the books. If you’re interested in helping make our Caldecott party video, feel free to contact me! 

We actually did not have time to review all of the books going to the party. So, if anyone missed a session or wants to refresh their memory of the books we’ve discussed, you can visit our Caldecott Club display in the library and explore the books. They are reference only but you can put any of the books on hold here

The books going to the party are:

The Little Guys by Vera Brosgol

Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman

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

Another by Christian Robinson 

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

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

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

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

Saturday by Oge Mora 

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson  

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

Please join us on January 9 from 3:30-5:00 for our Caldecott Club Voting Party where we select the best picture book of 2019. Snacks – and Caldecookies – will be provided!

Did you miss any of our sessions? Curious what happens in Caldecott Club? Want to know the brilliant things our kids said? Check out our recaps of each of the previous sessions!

Caldecott Club Session 1

Caldecott Club Session 2

Caldecott Club Session 3

Caldecott Club Session 4

Caldecott Club Session 5

Program Review: Books & Bites with Author Shane Burcaw

Posted & filed under Blog, Youth & Teen.

Our library was lucky enough to talk with Shane Burcaw for a special edition of Books & Bites. We talked about his children’s book Not So Different: What You Really Wanted to Ask About Having A Disability. We also talked about his popular YouTube Chanel with his fiancé Hannah (Squirmy and Grubs). We discussed his disability (spinal muscular atrophy), as well as his purpose in writing his 3 books, popular blog (Laughing at my Nightmare), and YouTube channel, to demonstrate how normal his life is and how you can overcome obstacles with your attitude and humor. Everyone was able to get a good understanding of who he was and some of the basics before we spoke to him, and were able to use that discussion to write down excellent questions for him when he spoke to us.

Shane spoke to us about a lot of things. First, he spoke about the basics of his life. He also touched on his writing process, some things that are unique about his life, as well as common misconceptions and challenges that he deals with when talking with people, buying a house, and even eating food. Kids asked him formal questions about his book, but also about his personality and everyday life. In this way, they were able to get a full and comprehensive understanding of Shane during the discussion and Q&A session. Because his books are so intertwined with his life, he was a perfect person to have an author visit, and kids were able to access his work to a much larger degree than if they hadn’t talked to him.

Be sure to check out Shane’s writing and content here, and stay tuned for more program updates! 

Not So Different

Laughing At My Nightmare

People Assume My Girlfriend is My Nurse

Laughing At My Nightmare – BLOG

Caldecott Club #5

Posted & filed under Blog, Youth & Teen.

Hi! I’m Miss Eti, one of the Youth & Teen Services librarians and I’m back with another recap of our latest Caldecott Club session. We had our 5th session on Thursday, December 5th and selected our final 2 books to send to our Voting Party in January. To refresh your memory, the Caldecott Award is the award for the most distinguished American picture book for children, given out each year by the Association for Library Service to Children. We began our program by having Ya. open our final box of books for us to explore.

The books we discussed in session 5 were:

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

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson  

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

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

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

Picture Walk

The irony of hosting a program series is once you figure out the things that work and don’t, the program is almost over. Our latest Caldecott Club session was the best yet, I think, with our group sitting around a table by the screen with clearer images of the books. Everyone was very welcoming of our new friend, Al., who joined us at this session. I remain grateful that Ms. Gaby joined us again during this session, which was a huge help! She ensures that everything runs smoothly. Thank you, Ms. Gaby!!

I began our session by playing a video made by club members, A. & K., with their friend, Ab., revealing the titles we were going to read. How cool is it that some of the authors mentioned actually reposted this video on Instagram? One of our friends also told me that their teacher played their video in class! We’re famous!

I began our journey by asking our group a pre-reading question. Our theme was pride, so I asked them to think about and write down their ideas: What’s something special about you that you’re proud of? Something special about your family, your culture, your history? Some answers included skills like dancing or singing, another kid wrote that she was proud of her different cultures and that she’s a lefty. Framing our conversation with these ideas in mind helped us look at the books thematically. 

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

I began our discussion by asking the group, “when you see this title, “Where Are You From?” what does it remind you of or make you feel? Y. shared that it’s asking where her family members are from, where they live. C.. asserted, “mind your own business,” which led us to discuss how this question can be asked in mean, nosy way. S. said it reminded her of her grandmother’s house and visiting her there. A. said “I think about my family.” A. later added, “sometimes when people ask that, people feel uncomfortable.. Or if they say it, maybe there’s something going on there, and they don’t like the place [the other people are from].” This brilliant insight helped us think critically about the often double-meaning embedded within this question that is used to isolate or discriminate against people. 

I shared that Yamile Saied Méndez is an Argentine-American and her husband is Peurto Rican. In a TeachingBooks interview, Yamile said, “My name is Yamile Daniela Saied Mendez. Yamile is an Arabic name, and because I’m Argentine, I pronounce it with an Argentine accent, the Y like an S-H. So, “sha-MEE-lay” And my grandfather named me. His name was Ricardo, and he was the son of an immigrant father from Syria in Argentina. Yamile means beautiful, and every time my parents said my name I really did feel beautiful.” I wanted to make sure we all knew how to say her name correctly, which is an essential part of learning about authors. I also introduced them to Jamie Kim, who is the South-Korean born, North Carolinian illustrator who used watercolors and digital techniques to bring this beautiful book to life. 

The kids shared their impressions of the children asking the little girl about where she is from. A. said, “They’re asking as if you can’t be from somewhere else.” C. reacted with “stop being so nosy.” E. thought “it looked like a teacher [the dancer] was asking her and the students were looking to know.” We talked about the physical space between the girl and the other kids, towering over her and how that must feel. Dal. shared, “she’s like, can you stop asking me all of these questions.” E. noticed the different color palettes on the pages with the girl and the group questioning her, so “she might be feeling down or sad.” C. added, “there’s another aspect of power, with the ballerina standing right in front of another kid, so he’s standing on his tippy toes.” When her abuelo, her grandfather, appears, A. expressed her appreciation for the art, saying, “I love the picture. He’s closing his eyes and the background is the sky.” C. shared how he “loved how it was 3-D, like you’re looking up.” 

We experienced the journey with the little girl and her grandfather in the Argentine pampas, among the mountains and sky, exploring the many facets of her family history and identity. C. pointed out the birds in previous spreads. When we ruminated about why the birds were included, Dal. shared that birds are part of their country. A. shared that the birds show “that they can fly and feel free.” E. said that they’re free to roam like they did on the land. As we shifted perspectives to think about Puerto Rico, C. noticed even more birds, which led us to think about migration. We talked about how the color shifts as the locations change, which Jamie Kim did brilliantly. C. shared “I love how the text is wrapped around the sun.”

S. wondered if Jamie Kim chose where the words would be placed in the art. We touched upon some of the history in Argentina referenced in the book, thinking about how our stories are shaped by the history our families experienced. We then geared up for the dramatic page turn when the girl asks where she’s really from and, “[abuelo] points to his heart, “you are from here, from my love and the love of all those before us.” We talked about how this page is zoomed in right where abuelo’s heart is. We talked about how we are from our ancestors.

With the ending of “I Am,” A. asserted, “I’m from your heart.” Da. made a wonderful personal connection to this book, sharing a song that he usually sings at church called “I Know Who I Am,” which he loves to sing. C. then made a connection to Moana singing about her identity. Dal. wrote in her evaluation that “I love the artwork so much. I like the colors in the book.”

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander & illustrated by Kadir Nelson 

As soon as I showed them the cover of this book, they instantly recognized Kwame Alexander, whose book, “How to Read A Book,” illustrated with Melissa Sweet, was part of our previous Caldecott Club session. They were adamant to point out that he also wrote The Crossover, which A. shared she’s reading right now. I then shared a pre-reading question with our group: What does it mean to be undefeated? A. shared that “anything that life throws at you, always get back up.” C. shared “to be winning at something.” Da. shared, “never to get defeated.” K. shared, “if you get hit, always come back up.” For this picture walk, we actually shared a video of Kwame and Randy Preston sharing this book on tour this spring, while showing the PowerPoint slides. Ms. Gaby was instrumental to making this picture walk happen and go so smoothly, especially with so many working pieces.

We began our picture walk by noticing the birds on the title page. E. shared connections to “Where Are You From?” saying, “they got judged by their skin color and they were not free like the birds…” This led us to think about how birds can be a metaphor for spirit. We then talked about the first spread with Jesse Owens, talking about Kadir Nelson used oil painting to create realistic art, using shadows and light to convey meaning. When we read the spread, “And the ones who didn’t,” we talked about why the page is not illustrated. Al. shared how the “ones who didn’t survive, there’s no people to put on the page.” We talked how it’s a visual moment of silence for the ordinary people whose stories and contributions may be unknown, but we need to recognize them. We then paused, like Kwame, to ask what the book is about. E. said, referring to heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson, “it was kind of brave of him.” Da. said, “it’s about the freedom to be heard.” We made the connections about visual light and shadow as we talked about artists shining their light. We shared an annotated slide with the names and photographs of the people referenced in the art. C. asserted that the righteous marching ones spread was about protesting.  

As we headed into the series of spreads about the unspeakable, I thought it was important to provide a preface for our group to let them know we were going to discuss some difficult things and create space to process and share. Aya shared how these pages were about “how they couldn’t say what they wanted to say.” We made connections between all of these unspeakable events as we thought about the history of racism and the fight for justice and equality that continues today. The kids instantly recognized Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the next spread. In the next spread, C. instantly noticed Michael Jordan. E. noticed LeBron James. I then asked the group who are the undiscovered.

We then noticed the birds on the underdogs and uncertain page. E. shared “it’s saying that they’re free.” S. shared “I feel like it connects to the unspeakable, maybe the ones who lost their lives became birds and are free.” This connected to some of the research I did where Kadir Nelson talked about his use of birds as a metaphor for spirit, going back to the ancient Egyptians. This helped us think about those who have come before us who have given up their lives to fight for freedom. E. thought they looked like doves, which means peace. S. shared that Kadir “is so good at drawing.” I played Kwame and Randy performing the final page of the book, declaring “this is for you and you and you – this is for us,” all while Randy sang and played guitar.

I pointed out the most excellent back-matter in the book, which informed much of what I shared. I then shared the quote from Maya Angelou that Kwame cited in his author note, “you see, we may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated. It may even be necessary to encounter the defeat, so that we can know who we are. So that we can see, oh, that happened, and I rose. I did get knocked down flat in front of the whole world, and I rose.” We then did a movement break by doing stretches while watching Kwame’s The Undefeated performance from ESPN.

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

We began our discussion by getting to know the creators of this extraordinary, beautiful book. We talked about how fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad became the first hijab-wearing U.S. athlete to qualify for the Olympics in 2016  and the first Muslim-American woman to earn a medal at the games. I shared that she had written a book called Proud: Living My American Dream, and C. brightly declared that there’s a copy in his school library.

C. wondered, “whose idea was this?” I shared the research I had done about Ibtihaj’s inspiration for writing The Proudest Blue, paraphrasing this powerful quote from her Bustle interview, ”It can be difficult to navigate spaces when you’re made to feel different, but one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is to love yourself as you are and push past society’s limited expectations of who you are.” 

We began our picture walk in the endpapers joining sisters Asiya and Faizah with their mom on their trip to get Asiya a hijab, where they purchase a gorgeous blue hijab. When they arrive at school on Asiya’s first day wearing her hijab, a girl in line asks Faizah about her sister’s hijab. Our group pointed out how this question was a curious one, rather than a double-meaning question like in Where Are You From?

The perspective then shifts as we travel into Faizah’s mind, seeing Asiya’s hijab as the sky. S. pointed out the birds on this page, noticing a reoccurring theme in all of our books I hadn’t noticed until she pointed it out. C. pointed out how Asiya is the sky. On the next spread, we noticed Asiya’s friends’ reactions when a figure points. Al. shared “they’re mad.”

I asked the group what they thought about how Hatem illustrated the people laughing without distinct features.  E. shared “I kind of like it.” C. “they’re kind of there but not.” We talked about how we’re centering Faizah and Asiya’s experience and this isn’t a story about the bullies. Da. pointed out how the waves spread is also the front cover.

We talked about the movement in the cartwheel scene. When I asked the kids how this scene made them feel, Al. shared “sad because it’s mean.” This is based off of Ibtihaj and S.K Ali’s experiences wearing hijab at school.  Again, we talked about the insights from the writers, specifically from the Hijabi Librarians blog’s interview: “…we wrote the book the way we did – not centering the bully’s transformation or change to become a better person (as many books on bullying tend to do) but focusing on the internal process by which a young person can move on from being attacked for who they are.” 

We talked about their mom’s advice for dealing with hurtful words, “Don’t carry around the hurtful words that others say. Drop them. They are not yours to keep. They belong only to those who said them.” E. shared that “if they [the bullies] say hurtful words, they’re going to keep them and be known as mean.” Al. thought “it would be good to drop it, but it would be pretty hard because it would be rude to say it back to the person who said it to you.” Da. shared how it connected to the bullying training they did in school last year. We looked at the author’s notes, making connections about why the authors created the book. We then saw the endpapers where the parents are waving the girls goodbye as the head back to school the next day, coming full circle. 

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

I began our journey by sharing how this book is based off the short film, Hair Love, which was literally released online that day. What perfect timing! You can watch it now too! 

I told the group that Vashti Harrison made all of the art digitally, which blew them away. We started our discussion by talking about Matthew A. Cherry’s interested in portraying an African-American dad with his daughter, providing representation for that relationship. Da. shared how he had a friend who had the same hairstyle as Zuri. We made a connection to the other books, thinking about self-love and taking pride in who we are, as the text says, “Daddy tells me it is beautiful. That makes me proud. I love that my hair lets me be me!”

We talked about how Zuri loves her hair in all its different styles. We noticed how the dad tries to help do Zuri’s hair and how the art sequentially shows the different styles, before and after he tries to help. When the dad covers her hair with a hat and Zuri gets upset, we could see the love between them as they figure out what to do together.

Once, with the help of a YouTube tutorial, Zuri and dad figure out how to rock her perfect look, it’s revealed that she wanted to look her best for her mom’s return. E. asked, “When the mom comes back, where was she?” Da. suggested “maybe she went to Florida or something.” Our final spread is a beautiful picture-talking moment celebrating family and hair love, with Rocky, the cat, of course. S. noticed that the tablet is just a grey circle rather than an Apple icon for copyright reasons. D. shared in her evaluation, “I like her cat. It is cute. I like the last page.” D. asked “Can I say they’re all my favorite?” 

Voting

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

And the winners are….

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson  

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

Please join us for our next Caldecott Club session on Thursday, December 19 at 3:30-5:00. This will be our recap session where we’ll review all of the books going to our voting party, so if you missed a session, this is the one to attend. We’ll also have a super special guest, a grown-up committee member, and we’ll make art in the style of the books we’ve been exploring! 

Did you miss any of our sessions? Curious what happens in Caldecott Club? Want to know the brilliant things our kids said? Check out our recaps of each of the previous sessions!

Caldecott Club Session 1

Caldecott Club Session 2

Caldecott Club Session 3

Caldecott Club Session 4

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:

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

For Anyone Who Has Been Asked, “Where Are You From?” By  Yamile Saied Méndez (Medium)

My Family Tree Activity

You Belong (Margie Myers-Culver’s Librarian’s Quest)

Yamile Saied Méndez’s website 

Jamie Kim’s website 

Publisher’s website

Where Are You From? by Yamile Saied Méndez Review (Latinx in Kid Lit Review)

¡Vamos a hablar! | Let’s Talk! — Interview with Yamile Saied Méndez (Adriana M. Martínez Figueroa/boricuareads)

Truer Words Podcast interview with Yamile Saied Méndez

A Letter from Yamile Saied Méndez

New Release: Where Are You From? – Yamile Mendez ’17

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander & Kadir Nelson  

How Did A Poem Commissioned By The Undefeated Become A 2019 New York Times Best-Selling Children’s Book? (ESPN Front Row) 

National Gallery of Art Talk with Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson, moderated by Kevin Merida, senior vice president and editor-in-chief, ESPN’s TheUndefeated.com (Video)

The Undefeated by Monique Harris (Calling Caldecott) 

WPR’s “The Morning Show” Interview with Kwame Alexander

This Is For ‘The Undefeated’: A New Picture Book Celebrates Black Brilliance: Interview with Kadir Nelson (All Things Considered) 

Author Kwame Alexander Wants to Help Young People Imagine a Better World (The Takeaway) 

Poetry as History in The Undefeated by Erika Thulin Dawes (The Classroom Bookshelf) 

The Undefeated Review (Betsy Bird’s A Fuse #8 Production) 

Kwame Alexander on The Undefeated (Video) 

Kadir Nelson’s website

Kwame Alexander’s website

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

Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad on message of ‘resilience’ in new kids’ book (Today Show)

Publisher’s Website

Ibtihaj Muhammad’s Website

S.K. Ali’s Website 

Hatem Aly’s Website

Ibtihaj Muhammad | Proud: My Fight for an Unlikely American Dream (Video) 

Book Discussion: The Proudest Blue (Hijabi Librarians)

Author and Illustrator Interview: S.K. Ali and Hatem Aly (Hijabi Librarians)

Olympic Fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad Has Written A New Book For Children About The Beauty Of The Hijab

By Cristina Arreola & K.W. Colyard (Bustle) 

Olympic Fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad Turns Bullying Experiences Into New Children’s Book (Here & Now) 

Under by Hijab by Hena Khan Teachers Guide 

Color Them Courageous (Margie Myers-Culver’s Librarian’s Quest)

2020 Charlotte Huck Recommended Book 

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

Hair Love Film 

Publisher’s Website 

Matthew A. Cherry’s Website

Vashti Harrison’s Website 

Animation Magazine article 

Movie: ‘Hair Love’ (All Things Considered)

Children’s Review: Hair Love (Shelf Awareness) 

Hair Love | Meet author Matthew Cherry & illustrator Vashti Harrison (Video)

Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry Book Review + Natural Hair Tips and Techniques (Here Wee Read) 

A Q&A with Matthew A. Cherry and Vashti Harrison, Author and Illustrator of HAIR LOVE (Blue Willow Bookshop Blog)

Interview With Hair Love’s Matthew A. Cherry by Carolyn Hinds (Black Girl Nerds) 

The Interview : Vashti Harrison by Carolyn Hinds (Black Girl Nerds) 

Illustrator Spotlight: Vashti Harrison (KidLit411)

Vashti Harrison Lets the Light In (New York Times) 

Minorities in Publishing Podcast: Interview with Vashti Harrison (Podcast)

Interview: Matthew Cherry and Peter Ramsey on the Importance of ‘Hair Love’ by Dorian Parks (Geeks of Color) 

How a short film helped me teach my daughter the beauty of her natural hair by Wanna Thompson (Hello Giggles) 



Caldecott Club #4

Posted & filed under Blog, Youth & Teen.

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

The books we discussed in session 4 were:

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

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

Saturday by Oge Mora 

A Big Bed for Little Snow by Grace Lin 

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

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

Picture Walk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday by Oge Mora

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

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

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

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

A Big Bed for Little Snow by Grace Lin 

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

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

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

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

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

Voting

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

And the winners are….

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

Saturday by Oge Mora 

Join Us Next Time!

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

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

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson  

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

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

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

Resources

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

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

Publisher’s Page 

Author Spotlight: Kelly Starling Lyons

Discussion Questions 

Seven Impossible Things (Julie Danielson) 

Roadtrippin’ It with Lil Alan By Julie Danielson 

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

Daniel Minter’s Website

Kelly Starling Lyon’s Website 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Publisher’s Page

Kevin Noble Maillard’s Website 

Juana Martinez-Neal’s Website 

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

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

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

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

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

BookFest @Bank Street LIVE STREAM 2019 (KidLitTV)

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

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

Shelf Awareness Review 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday by Oge Mora 

Book Chat with the Illustrator Oge Mora for SATURDAY

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

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

Seven Impossible Things (Julie Danielson) 

Bookpage Review (Julie Danielson) 

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

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

Kirkus Review 

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

Big Bed for Little Snow 

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

Horn Book Review (Julie Danielson) 

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

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

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

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

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

Little Snow Interactive Storytime

Book Friends Forever Podcast


Native American Heritage Month

Posted & filed under Blog, Youth & Teen.

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

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

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

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

Picture Books 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May We Have Enough to Share by Richard Van Camp

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

Jingle Dancer by Cynthia Leitich Smith

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

Middle Grade

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

I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day 

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

Indian No More by Charlene Willing McManis with Traci Sorell

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

The Case of Windy Lake by Michael Hutchinson

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

Young Adult

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chickasaw Adventures by Jen Murvin Edwards & Tom Lyle 

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

Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith

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

All the Resources!


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

Websites/Blogs

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

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

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

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

American Indian Youth Literature Award

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

Molly of Denali (Teaching Resources Collection) 

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

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

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

Oyate

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

Podcasts

All My Relations

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

Native American Calling

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

Teaching Hard History Podcast (Teaching Tolerance)

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

This Land 

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

Unreserved with Rosanna Deerchild

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

Articles/Teaching Resources

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diversity in Children’s Books 2018 Infographic


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

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

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

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


Program Review – K-Pop Party!

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

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

Execution:

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

Warm Up Activity

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

Trivia!

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

BTS: The Ultimate Fan Book – Malcolm Croft

BTS Army Handbook – Niki Smith

K Pop: Korea’s Musical Explosion – Stuart Kallen

BTS World: Original Soundtrack – BTS

Caldecott Club: Session #3

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

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

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

The books we discussed in session 3 were:


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

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

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

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

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

Picture Walk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Voting

After we had walked through each book in a whirlwind of color and conversation, we were ready to ballot. Each child received a paper ballot to select their top 2 choices. The top books then are the winners of our session and go on the Voting Party on January 9. We also had a raffle to give away two Children’s Book Week posters designed by Yuyi Morales. Everyone got a pin to add to their lanyard and a Caldecott poster. 

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

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

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

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

Join Us Next Time!

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

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

A Big Bed for Little Snow by Grace Lin 

Saturday by Oge Mora 

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

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

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

 – Eti

Resources

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Calling Caldecott Post (Hillary Saxton)

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

Kirkus Interview with Kyle Lukoff 

All in the Family by Julie Danielson 

Teacher’s Guide 

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

Staff Picks: When Aidan Became a Brother

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

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

Lee & Low Publisher’s Page

Five Questions for Kyle Lukoff (Horn Book) 

Kaylani Juanita’s website

Kyle Lukoff’s website 

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

Shelf Awareness review 

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

Raúl the Third’s website 

Get to know Raúl the Third (Jarrett Lerner)

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

Publisher’s website 

Five questions for Raúl the Third (Horn Book) 

Let’s Talk Illustrators #103: Raúl the Third

Raúl the Third Interview (Bartography)

Latinx in Kidlit Review 

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

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

School Library Journal Review 

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

Traci Sorell’s Website

Weshoyot Alvitre’s Website 

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

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

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

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

At the Mountain’s Base: Book Activity 

Publisher’s Page 

Horn Book Review 

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

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

Ellsworth Airfield Ops building renamed in honor of fallen WASP

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

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

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

Isabel Quintero’s Website

Zeke Peña’s Website 

All in the Family by Julie Danielson 

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

Horn Book Review 

Publisher’s Website 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Calling Caldecott Post by Luisana Duarte Armendáriz

History of Corona

Book Review (Suzanne Mateus)