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)


Program Review: Slime Science

Posted & filed under Blog, Youth & Teen.

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

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

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

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

Recipe:

Plastic cup

Less than 1oz water for stirring

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

Add small amounts of food coloring for color

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

Stir all ingredients

To increase texture: lotion

To increase fluffiness: shaving cream

If too watery: small amounts of baking soda

Caldecott Club: Session #2

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

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

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

The books we discussed in session 2 were:

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

A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel 

Another by Christian Robinson

Music for Mister Moon by Philip and Erin Stead 

Picture Walk

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

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

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

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

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

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

I relate deeply to the turtles throughout this book.

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

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

A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel 

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

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

Another by Christian Robinson

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

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

What would you name the cats?

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

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

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

Music for Mister Moon by Philip and Erin Stead 

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

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

VOTING!

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

And the Session 2 Winners Are…

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

Another by Christian Robinson

Join Us Next Time!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 – Eti

Resources

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

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

Illustrator’s Website

Review from Librarian’s Quest 

Storytime with Bill – Read Aloud Video 

Horn Book Review (Julie Danielson) 

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

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

Publisher’s page

Bear Came Along Storytime Kit

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

Children’s Book Art: Techniques and Media 

A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel 

Author’s Website

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

The Story Behind A Stone Sat Still (Video) 

Book Trailer (Video)

Publisher’s Page 

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

Instagram Process Video 

Ronnie’s Awesome List Podcast Interview with Brendan Wenzel 

Bothin Marsh StoryWalk – A Stone Sat Still

StoryWalk Article (Floating Times)

Another by Christian Robinson

Author’s Website 

New York Times Books: Live Illustration with Christian Robinson 

Publisher’s Page 

Educator’s Guide and Activities 

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

Book Trailer 

PBS Brief but Spectacular: Christian Robinson

The Bookshelf: Inside Illustrator Christian Robinson’s Sacramento Studio

Kirkus Review 

Christian Robinson’s Another (Julie Danielson) 

100 Scope Notes Review 

The Children’s Book Podcast with Matthew Winner

Music for Mister Moon by Philip and Erin Stead 

Publisher’s Page 

Behind the Scenes: ‘Music for Mister Moon’

Music for Mister Moon Website 

Music for Mister Moon (Julie Danielson) 

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

Kirkus Review 

Shelf Awareness Interview


Missed Storytime? Check Out These Tips

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

Tip: By playing with each individual finger or toe, a child can better learn how each individual part can make up a whole, and gain additional awareness of their body. This rhyme can be used to accomplish this, while bonding with a child.

Kissy Kissy Fingers

Kissy Kissy Fingers
kissy kissy toes 
I love to kiss my baby 
on her kissy kissy nose

Weekly Storytime Tip! Little Red Wagon

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




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

The Caldecott Club Returns!

Posted & filed under Blog, Youth & Teen.

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

What’s a Caldecott?

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

The winners of our 2017 Caldecott Club!

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

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

The books we discussed in session 1 were:

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

Picture Walk


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

The Very Impatient Caterpillar by Ross Burach 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poetry is motion

graceful 

as a fawn

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Little Guys by Vera Brosgol 

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

Can you find the littlest little guy?

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

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

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

Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman

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

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

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

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

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

And the Session 1 Winners Are…

The Little Guys by Vera Brosgol 

Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman

Join Us Next Time!

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

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


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

A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel 

Another by Christian Robinson

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

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

 – Eti

Resources

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

The Very Impatient Caterpillar by Ross Burach

Booktalk Video

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

Mr. Schu Reads Cover Reveal

Publisher’s page

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

PW KidsCast: A Conversation with Ross Burach

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

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

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

How to Read a Book (7 Impossible Things)

Book Page Book Review (Julie Danielson)

Open a World of Possible Book (Scholastic)

The Little Guys by Vera Brosgol

The Little Guys (7 Impossible Things)

Sharing 101 (Julie Danielson)

Little Guys Storytime Kit
How the Sausage Gets Made

Interview with Vera Brosgol (Austin Public Library)

The Romper Review

Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman

An Interview with Deborah Freedman

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

Mr. Schu Reads Interview with Deborah Freedman

Carl Maze Activity