The Library is now open Monday - Friday 9:00 am - 7:00 pm and Saturday 9:00 am - 6:00 pm. Curbside is still available.
The Library is now open the following hours Monday-Friday 9:00 am - 7:00 pm and Saturday 9:00 am - 6:00 pm. Curbside is still available.
 

 

Award Winners

  • Girl Reading Chapter BOok 

    On January 27th the American Library Association announced the 2020 Newbery winner and Newbery Honor winners. NEW KID written by Jerry Craft is the 2020 Newbery Medal winner and the four Newbery Honor winners are: THE UNDEFEATED written by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Newlson; SCARY STORIES FOR YOUNG FOXES written by Christian McKay Heidicker, illustrated by Junyi Wu; OTHER WORDS FOR HOME written by Jasmine Warga; GENESIS BEGINS AGAIN written by Alicia D. Williams.

    The John Newbery Award is given each year to the book that is considered the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature for the year. Growing up my parents read many Newbery books to me but I didn’t understand what a Newbery book really was. Now I’m grateful for the great literary exposure I had as a child. Here are some of my favorite Newbery award winning books. 

    8.31 The Witch of Blackbird PondTHE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND
    By Elizabeth George Speare
    (1958)

    Kit Tyler is an orphan who leaves her home in beautiful Barbados to come to America to live with her stern Puritan aunt and uncle. Kit doesn’t fit in and the only place where she feels completely free, is the meadow where she enjoys the company of a Quaker woman known as the Witch of Blackbird Pond. When people learn of Kit’s friendship, she herself is accused of being a witch. 

     

    8.31 Mrs. FrisbyMRS. FRISBY AND THE RATS OF NIMH
    By Robert C. O’Brien
    (1970)

    Mrs. Frisby is a mouse with four small children. One summer she must move her family to their summer home or face a certain death, but her youngest son Timothy is sick with pneumonia and can not be moved. When she meets the rats of NIMH, they come up with a solution to her dilemma. 

     

    8.31 A Year Down YonderA YEAR DOWN YONDER
    By Richard Peck
    (2000)

    Mary Alice is 15 and is being sent from the bustling city of Chicago to the country of Illinois to live with her crazy, larger than life, grandmother. She isn’t looking forward to spending a year in this tiny town but the year passes quickly and thanks to Grandma Dowdel, it is pretty uneventful. 

     

    8.31 Roll of Thunder Hear My CryROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY
    By Mildred D. Taylor
    (1976)

    The first time I read this story I was in 5th grade and I remember feeling so angry at the way Cassie and her family were being treated. This is the story of a black family living during the depression in Mississippi. They are faced with prejudice, discrimination, and lack of justice for black people at this time in our country. This was a very eye-opening book for me about what discrimination was really like. 

     

    8.31 Rifles for WatieRIFLES FOR WATIE
    By Harold Keith
    (1957)

    This is a rich novel that tells the story of a young boy named Jeff Bussey who sees the civil war from both sides and lives to tell his story. It is a story about a part of the civil war that you don’t hear much about, the western campaign, and the issues and problems faced as men on both sides fought and died. 

     

    8.31 The Girl Who Drank the MoonTHE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON
    By Kelly Regan Barnhill
    (2016)

    Each year the people of the Protectorate leave a baby deep in the forest as a sacrificial offering to the “witch” to keep her from terrorizing the village. The witch, Xan, rescues the abandoned babies and takes them to another village where she gives them to good families. While Xan and the baby are traveling to the village she feeds the babies starlight. One year, Xan accidentally feeds one of the babies too much starlight and fills the child with extraordinary magic so she decides to keep this baby, Luna, and raises her as her own.

     
  • Caldecott

    Most readers are (at least somewhat) familiar with the Caldecott award – given to “the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children” each year. But deciphering which books are Caldecott eligible can be a little tricky. Because this is an award for American picture books, the artist who wins needs to be either a citizen or resident of the United States. So, some of our favorite international illustrators can’t win a Caldecott award – unless they want to move to the States. 

    With this in mind, here are five of our very favorite picture books from 2019 that won’t get any Caldecott recognition – because they can’t. 

    12.30 Just BecauseJUST BECAUSE
    By Mac Barnett
    Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
    (2019) 

    Mac Barnett is the author of two Caldecott Honorees; EXTRA YARN and SAM AND DAVE DIG A HOLE, both of which were illustrated by Jon Klassen. His latest picture book, JUST BECAUSE, is a beautiful bedtime book about a curious young girl and her patient father who answers her pre-sleep questions with fantastical answers. The illustrations, which make use of black, white, and grey with accent colors in muted tones, are appealingly retro. These illustrations, a real highlight of this book, come to us courtesy of Isabelle Arsenault, a native of Quebec who still lives and works in Montreal. Don’t expect to see any Caldecott awards attached to the cover of this one, but make sure you don’t miss this one either. 

     

    12.30 Small in the CitySMALL IN THE CITY
    Written and illustrated by Sydney Smith
    (2019) 

    I don’t often say that a picture book gives me chills, but this one does that and more. To reveal everything that makes this book so special would be a real disservice to the calm, patient, and very sweet ending, but I will say that this book is very deserving of all five of its starred reviews. A little boy, alone in a big city, speaks as first-person narrator telling the reader everything he knows about being small in the city. We follow this little boy as he travels through his beautiful-ugly city brought to life. The illustrations in this book are incredible. Period. Sydney Smith is a native resident of Canada so this book won’t win a Caldecott, but don’t let that keep you away.   

     

    12.30 The Proudest BlueTHE PROUDEST BLUE: A STORY OF HIJAB AND FAMILY
    By Ibtihaj Muhammad with S.K. Ali
    Illustrated by Hatem Aly
    (2019) 

    On the first day of school, Faizah is excited to see her older sister Asiya wear hijab for the first time. Faizah sees Asiya as a princess, and her bright blue headscarf is her crown. At school, not everyone understands Asiya’s hijab and classmates whisper and shout ignorant insults. But Asiya keeps her head held proudly in her bright blue hijab. The bold, royal blue fills the pages of the book literally and metaphorically as a sweeping reminder of pride and respect for hijab. These triumphant illustrations, from Hatem Aly who illuminated THE INQUISITOR’S TALE, are bold, bright, and self-assured. Because Hatem Aly was born in Egypt and lives in Canada, this excellent new book won’t get a Caldecott nod, but should not be missed. 

     

    12.30 The Last PeachTHE LAST PEACH
    Written and illustrated by Gus Gordon
    (2019) 

    Australian author-illustrator Gus Gordon is back in a new picture book about two bugs debating who gets to eat the last peach of the summer. As the two bugs (who you will fall in love with) go back and forth debating who gets to eat it, all the other bugs try to remind them that the last peach of summer always looks good but doesn’t taste good – they shouldn’t eat it. This is a fun read-aloud type book where alternating font colors bring the bugs to life. These illustrations are fun – lots of white space with cut-paper collage adds to the lively nature of the book and perfectly accents the big, beautiful, last peach. A surprise twist ending will have readers eager to re-read this one and look for hints. 

     

    12.30 Little Doctor and the Fearless BeastLITTLE DOCTOR AND THE FEARLESS BEAST
    Written and illustrated by Sophie Gilmore
    (2019) 

    Little Doctor lives all alone in the deep, dark forest treating crocodiles of their various ailments. The fearsome creatures come from all over to receive reptilian treatment in exchange for stories. One day, Little Doctor is visited by Big Mean, the biggest, meanest crocodile of all; a particularly grumpy patient who won’t open up to Little Doctor – literally. Another picture book that packs a surprise punch, the climax of this book will keep readers guessing. Seeing Big Mean twist and curl and contort to fit into the pages of this book is enticing and the repeating ovular shapes and cool greyish-green makes for a beautiful and lush read. Sophie Gilmore’s debut picture book should keep her name in readers’ minds for a long time, but, born in New Zealand and residing in Italy, don’t expect to see her name on Caldecott lists this year.

     
  •  middle grade historical fiction 01

    Find them in the catalog: 

    THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM - 1963

    CODE WORD COURAGE

    MOON OVER MANIFEST

  • kids being kids

     Is there anything better than a story about a child who saves the world from evil? Who doesn’t love reading about a 12-year-old Percy Jackson fighting off the minotaur with no training, or an 11-year-old Hermione Granger being the brains behind a death-defying magical operation during her first year of wizarding life?

    But I will admit that sometimes I get a little tired when yet another character just happens to have memorized the entire internet by age 10, or becomes the best marksman in the kingdom after only a few weeks of practice with a bow.  

    So here’s to all the kids that act like kids and to the authors that know the difference between precocious and PhD. Here’s to characters that have to wait for their muscles to develop before becoming a knight or who care more about their sibling rivalries than the fate of the world. And here are just a few of my favorite characters who are happy being young:   

    11.21 Three Times LuckyMo and Dale from THREE TIMES LUCKY
    By Sheila Turnage
    (2012)

    Mo, orphaned by hurricane Katrina, lives in an eclectic adopted family in Tupelo Landing, NC. She and her bumbling best friend Dale open a “detective agency” when Dale’s no-good father starts causing trouble. Mo’s hilarious southern metaphors, combined with Dale’s constant misunderstanding of sarcasm make them a delightful team. This series is a tribute to small town troubles and the joys of childhood capers. I’d recommend listening to the first book in this series to enjoy a fun rendition of Mo’s southern drawl. (The narrator changes for book two, so read that one.)  

     

    11.21 CoralineCoraline from CORALINE
    By Neil Gaiman
    (2002)

    Coraline is a bored 11-year-old who feels a little neglected by her work-from-home parents. Since they’ve recently moved to a new house, she puts on her explorer’s cap (literally) and tries to whittle away the hours. It’s not too long before Coraline discovers a little door in the living room that sometimes appears bricked up, but sometimes is a portal to the “other” world. One of the reasons I love this spooky read so much is that Coraline approaches everything with a very childlike perspective. She takes what she can see at face value and, at the end of the day, wants what every kid wants: her mom and dad’s love and attention. This book is also a great listen and quite short.  

     

    11.21 The War That Saved My LifeAda from THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE 
    By Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
    (2015)

    Nine-year-old Ada has been a cripple since birth and is abused by her mother because of it. During World War 2 when many children were shipped out of London, Ada sneaks out of her house against her mother’s wishes and joins her little brother to travel to the countryside. I think Bradley did a wonderful job of showing the fixed determination of a child who’s had very little going for her in life. With the necessary love of the new adult in her life, Ada learns to walk, ride a horse, and deal with the consequences of abuse.

     

  • Springtime Tree Blossoms

    A couple of weeks ago, I shared a few classic comfort reads that bring me the same happy feelings as L.M. Montgomery’s ANNE OF GREEN GABLES series. In that post, I especially wanted to highlight books that have flown under the radar a bit - while their authors might be well-known, the books aren’t necessarily household names. BUT, they should be if you love sweet, timeless stories of everyday life and love.

    For today’s post, I wanted to share more Anne Shirley read-alikes, but some of these titles will likely be familiar. Some you might have read before, but if you haven’t and you’re a Green Gables fan, you’ve been missing out! And even if these are old favorites, this long weekend’s the perfect time to cozy up with a beloved reread. 

    5.22 These Happy Golden YearsTHESE HAPPY GOLDEN YEARS
    By Laura Ingalls Wilder
    (1943)

    Of all the books on the list, the Little House series are the ones I’m actually rereading currently, having recently finished LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS and begun LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE. Though Laura’s life likely seems far more rustic than Anne’s, the two series are actually set in the same time period of the 1870s (the Anne miniseries from the 1980s move things forward to the early 1900s).

    That aside, the thing I loved about the Little House books as a kid is the thing I love as an adult – the detailed descriptions of daily work and family life on a homestead. The whole series is a delight, but These Happy Golden Years feels the most similar to the Anne books to me, particularly because it features Laura’s coming of age years. 

     

    5.22 Little WomenLITTLE WOMEN
    By Louisa May Alcott
    (1868)

    This is my favorite book of all time, so I had to feature it here. Hard work, family love, heroines with literary aspirations, charming boys next door, sweetly funny writing – this book has all the same merits that I adore in L.M. Montgomery’s writing. Like the Anne books, it makes me want to be a better person.

    And if you haven’t seen the new film adaptation yet, go place it on hold now, because it captures the individual personalities of the March sisters (especially Amy!) beautifully. 

     

    5.22 GuersneyTHE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY
    By Mary Ann Shaffer
    (2008)

    This is a relatively recent release compared to the other books on this list, but Guernsey was one of those rare books that was so charming I wanted to crawl inside the story and live there. The story brings a young female journalist from post-war London to the British island of Guernsey, which had been under German occupation throughout the war. There she uncovers wartime secrets, but also friendship and love. With a winning cast of characters and delightful scenes of small town life, it’ll be a hit with most Anne fans.

     

    5.22 The Secret GardenTHE SECRET GARDEN
    By Frances Hodgson Burnett
    (1911)

    This is another of those classic “girl’s books” that tends to come in sets with Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, and BLACK BEAUTY, but with good reason. As the book opens, we learn that 10-year-old protagonist Mary Lennox has been both spoiled and emotionally neglected during her childhood in India. In the wake of a cholera outbreak, she’s sent to an uncle’s house in England. When she discovers a hidden, walled garden and makes a friend, her sickliness and sour attitude gradually melt away.

    If you love the tender friendships and sweet descriptions of nature that pepper L.M. Montgomery’s books, this is a book for you. And while you’re at it, go read A LITTLE PRINCESS too.

     

    5.22 I Capture the CastleI CAPTURE THE CASTLE
    By Dodie Smith
    (1948)

    Take it from J. K. Rowling: “This book has one of the most charismatic narrators I’ve ever met.” It stars Cassandra Mortmain, a seventeen-year-old who recounts her life in daily journal entries in the 1930s. She lives in a dilapidated castle with her father, a novelist dealing with years-long writers block, her beautiful older sister, and her step-mother, an eccentric artist’s model. Though the ending is more ambiguous than most of these happily-ever-after books, the colorful cast of characters and Cassandra’s wry observations are sure to win you over.

     

    5.22 The Witch of Blackbird PondTHE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND
    By Elizabeth George Speare
    (1958)

    I read this book over and over again in my teenage years. In 1687, Heroine Kit Tyler is a smart and brave teenage girl who sets off from her Barbados home to live with her New England relatives after her grandfather dies. There she struggles to fit in with the Puritan lifestyle of her aunt, uncle, cousins, and neighbors. She ends up befriending a Quaker woman who is outcast from the community and a handsome young sailor, setting off a series of dangerous events in the small town.

    The setting – 1680s Connecticut – is far earlier than the other books on this list, but it has a similar feel nonetheless. Like many of the other characters in these blog posts, Kit discovers family, work ethic, and love in a community where she feels out of place.

    If you like The Witch of Blackbird Pond, I also recommend CALICO CAPTIVE, a book by the same author about a young woman taken captive by the Abenakis tribe during the French and Indian War. Elizabeth George Speare only wrote four books, but she’s a two time Newbery medalist and one-time honoree, so her books are all worth reading.

     
  •  oldies

    "New Release!"

    "Add this new book to your list!"

    "Don't miss these books in 2019!"

    "This year is already turning out to be a great year for books so don’t delay, read today!"

    Have you ever been caught in that trap? I have. In fact as a librarian I often feel like I should only read books that are new and current that way I stay on top of what is new. As a result I neglect to read books that have been around for a while and I know that I miss out on some really amazing books.

    I decided that I needed to broaden my reading realm and add some of the classic older books to my long reading list along with new and current titles. I started thinking about authors who have been writing for a number of years and who have won awards in the past, and one day as I was going through a section in the library I happened to come across a section of books written by the Newbery author Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.

    As I stopped to look at the shelves of books that she has written, I was surprised. I had not realized she had written so many books. She has written over 135 childrens books as well as Young Adult books.  Her books range from historical fiction to fantasy to humor and everything in between. I decided I needed to read one of her books so I checked out one that I had never read before called BLIZZARD'S WAKE. I loved it. She is such a great storyteller and I found myself drawn into the story very quickly. It wasn’t a long book but it was excellent and I found myself devouring it. I knew Phyllis Reynolds Naylor was a renowned author but it was good to be reminded again that her books shouldn’t be discounted or forgotten just because they were not written in the past year.

    There are many authors like Naylor who have written award winning books but because it has been a few years since they have written a book we tend to forget about them. There are so many great books out there to read so don’t be like me and forget about some of the oldies but goodies. Go and find a book that may have been written a decade ago, or find one that you have been meaning to ready for years and get swept away in a wonderful story. Here are a few of my favorite books written by some time honored authors

    2.4 The WitchesTHE WITCHES
    By Roald Dahl
    (1983)

    This is one of my all-time favorite read-alouds. “This is not a fairytale. This is about REAL WITCHES.” Grandmamma loves to tell stories about witches and shares her knowledge with her grandson. When he comes face to face with the grand high witch herself he learns just how dangerous she can be, but he is clever and plots against the witches. Fun read for all ages.

     

    2.4 The Magicians NephewTHE MAGICIAN'S NEPHEW 
    By CS Lewis
    (1955)

    I loved reading all seven volumes of The Chronicles of Narnia but my favorite was The Magician's Nephew. The creation of the world of Narnia was monumental and I loved the message in the book. The explanation of how the world of Narnia came to be and the role Aslan played in the creation was captivating to me. I have to admit that the explanation of how the wardrobe became tied to Narnia and became a portal to return one to this magical land helped me understand the rest of the stories better.

     

    2.4 The Witch of Blackbird PondTHE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND
    By Elizabeth George Speare
    (1958)

    I have read this book many times, and I’ll admit that I don’t do that very often. I still think my experience reading this book for the first time as a fifth grader was magical. I had just started reading books for pleasure instead of for school work when I read this story. It made the witch trials come alive for me in a very real way. Puritan life in colonial times was difficult, but when Kit befriended the local witch, Hannah, she was able to find a friend to confide in and to help her through the difficult times.

     

    2.4 Where the Red Fern GrowsWHERE THE RED FERN GROWS
    By Wilson Rawls
    (1961)

    Read this book with a box of tissues (I still can’t read it without crying). The author, Wilson Rawls, had a way of creating a world that was so real to me as a young reader. I sat at night listening to this story as my dad read it to me and I was transported into the Ozark mountains. I ran alongside Billy as he taught his dogs how to chase coons and hunt and become some of the finest hunting dogs around. 

     

    2.4 Tale of a Fourth Grade NothingTALES OF A FOURTH GRADE NOTHING
    By Judy Blume
    (1972)

    How many of us have experienced the trials of a younger sibling! This humorous book about Peter and his little brother Fudge is a book that many of us can relate to. I remember laughing out loud at some of the funny things Fudge did and said in the book, from throwing mashed potatoes to dumping his food on his head. A quick fun read.

     
  • Movie Theater Chairs

    At this point, it’s hardly a surprise that some of the Greatest Films of All Time have been based on books. The Oscars even gives an award to the Best Adapted Screenplay every year—because movies based on books are awesome. This year I was surprised that more of the Oscar nominations for Best Picture aren’t based on books. It’s easy to guess that as long as movies are being made and books are being written, we’ll see book adaptions winning Best Picture. As we approach the 90th Annual Academy Awards on March 4th, here is a look back at some of the great books that have gone on to become Oscars’ Best Picture winners. 

    2.28 Oliver TwistOLIVER TWIST
    Charles Dickens
    (1837)

    It’s not surprising that one of the greatest novels of all time would be adapted into a Best Picture winner, it’s more surprising that that film is OLIVER! – a larger than life, musical retelling of the classic Victorian novel featuring songs such as “Food, Glorious Food.” 

     

    2.28 Out of AfricaOUT OF AFRICA
    Isak Dinesen
    (1937)

    Often counted as one of the greatest nonfiction books of all time, OUT OF AFRICA tells the true story of Karen Chistentze Dinesen and her life on a Kenyan coffee plantation. The film adaptation, also called OUT OF AFRICA, stars Meryl Streep and Robert Redford in a sweeping romance filmed on location outside Nairobi. 

     

    2.28 Million Dollar BabyMILLION DOLLAR BABY: STORIES FROM THE CORNER
    F.X. Toole
    (2005)

    This collection of short stories, originally published as ROPE BURNS, is based on the real-life experiences of boxing trainer Jerry Boyd (using the pen name F.X. Toole), and was adapted into the Best Picture winner MILLION DOLLAR BABY. The film, directed and produced by Clint Eastwood, is an emotional story about a female boxer and the bond she forms with her coach. 

     

    2.28 The Return of the KingTHE RETURN OF THE KING: BEING THE THIRD PART OF THE LORD OF THE RINGS
    J.R.R. Tolkein
    (1965)

    This beloved and larger-than-life epic fantasy series was given the Hollywood treatment in the early 2000s with films that have become legendary in their own right. Though the first and second installments in the series were nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, only the third – LORD OF THE RINGS, THE RETURN OF THE KING clinched the win. 

     

    2.28 Forrest GumpFORREST GUMP: THE NOVEL
    Winston Groom
    (1986)

    Maybe this is more common knowledge than I thought, but I was surprised to learn that FORREST GUMP was a book before it became a Best Picture winner. The fictional story of a kind man with a low IQ who happens to be present for the most significant moments in 1960s, 70s, and 80s without realizing the significance of his actions. FORREST GUMP is a heartwarming look at modern American History. Oh, and the movie stars Tom Hanks.

     
  • Utah History

    Here in Utah, Pioneer day is July 24th, so I thought this might be a good time to mention some pioneer stories you could read with your family. Children are naturally curious about pioneers and the lives they lived. They often wonder what children in the past did for fun, what kind of food they ate, what kind of chores they did, and what their families were like.

    One of the best ways to answer those questions and more is by reading historical fiction stories together. If your child is especially interested in pioneer girl stories, here are a few of the best.

    7.23 Hattie Big SkyHATTIE BIG SKY
    By Kirby Larson
    (2006) 

    It’s 1917 and 16-year-old Hattie Brooks has just inherited her uncle’s homesteading claim in Montana. Hattie, an orphan, decides she must make a home for herself and travels from Iowa to Montana to become Hattie Homesteader. Once there, she finds out that in order to keep the place, she must prove the claim with enough fencing and farming to satisfy government specifications. This is a great story with an amazing and determined character who will steal your heart.

     

    7.23 The Evolution of Calpurnia TateTHE EVOLUTION OF CALPURNIA TATE
    By Jacqueline Kelly
    (2009) 

    Callie Vee Tate wants to be a naturalist and study science, but girls in 1899 didn’t become scientists. With the help of her grandfather she figures out why the yellow grasshoppers in her backyard are so much bigger than the green ones and she imagines a future much grander than a life spent in the kitchen making meals for her husband.

     

    7.23 The Ballad of Lucy WhippleTHE BALLAD OF LUCY WHIPPLE
    By Karen Cushman
    (1996) 

    California doesn’t suit Lucy Whipple. She enjoys the comforts of her home in Massachusetts but moving out West was her mama’s dream and she finds herself, with her family, in California during the American Gold Rush. Lucy is suddenly thrown into back-breaking work, and worst of all, days with no books. But slowly Lucy begins to understand that home isn’t just where you live, it’s being around the things you love and the people you love.

     

    7.23 May BMAY B
    By Caroline Starr Rose
    (2012) 

    Written in verse, this is a beautiful story about a strong new heroine who is determined to find her way home again. May is helping out on a neighbor’s homestead in Kansas until Christmas. But when the couple she is staying with disappears, May finds herself all alone in a blizzard. She must somehow find a way to make the fifteen-mile journey back home.

     

    7.23 Our Only May AmeliaOUR ONLY MAY AMELIA
    By: Jennifer Holm
    (1999) 

    Inspired by the diaries of her great-aunt, the real May Amelia, Jennifer Holm gives us a beautifulll crafted tale of one young girl whose unique spirit captures the courage, humor, passion and depth of the American pioneer experience. May Amelia will touch your heart.

     
     

    7.23 Caddie WoodlawnCADDIE WOODLAWN
    By Carol Ryrie Brink
    (1994) 

    This is a story about a young girl who has to make her own place in the world. Caddie is living on the open plains of 1860 Wisconsin with her family. She isn’t your ordinary girl who likes to spend time sewing and baking like her sisters. Caddie is a bit of a tomboy and would rather hunt, swim or visit the Native Americans. This is a look into her life as a young pioneer girl.

     
  •  Mock combined

    Every year the Provo Library gets together to try to guess what books will become the winners of the coveted Caldecott Award and the Newbery Award both given by the American Library Association’s ALSC (Association for Library Services to Children) division. The Caldecott Award is given for the best illustrations in a children’s book for the year. The Newbery is given for the best writing in a children’s book for the year. There was a lot of discussion (and passion) for different books; however, these are the books that rose to the top. What are your picks for the best children’s book or children’s book illustrations? 

    2.12 Blue Sky White StarsMock Caldecott Winner: BLUE SKY WHITE STARS
    By Sarvinder Naberhaus
    Illustrated by Kadir Nelson 

    In this patriotic book Naberhaus compares the United States flag to the country—both the people and the land. The blue sky and white stars could be a part of the flag—or it could be the blue sky full of white stars above the Statue of Liberty. There are “sea waves” that lap against our shores or we can “see waves” of the flag as it flutters in the breeze. Each page depicts a different part of patriotic zeal associated both with the symbols of the United States and with the parts and people of the country. And of course we have to talk about the illustrations! These illustrations are quite stunning. Nelson has managed to depict scenes that one Mock Caldecott attendee described as a “modern day Norman Rockwell type of illustrations.” Needless to say many in our group were quite enamored with the details and expressions in the pictures. 

     

    2.12 Grand CanyonMock Caldecott Honor: GRAND CANYON
    By Jason Chin 

    This is one of my favorite books of the year. In it Chin talks about the different parts of the Grand Canyon—one of the most iconic landscapes in North America. Not only does it tell about how the canyon was formed, but it also goes into detail about the geological layers, the flora within the different regions of the canyon, and what fauna can be found there. Also, this information all comes about through the well-written text. But the true star of the book is in the illustrations. The main illustrations depict a story all on their own of a girl and her father as they camp and hike through the Grand Canyon. Plus those illustrations look like they are placed on top of animal or nature field guides that showcase the various wildlife and plant life and habitats within the area. If that wasn’t enough, the illustrations also have some cut outs—which help to show readers the past life of fossils or rocks that the characters see while on their trip. The illustrations give a life and purpose to knowing all the facts and details listed in the text—and it increases a reader’s desire to visit that great National Park! 

     

    2.12 TriangleMock Caldecott Honor: TRIANGLE
    By Mac Barnett
    Illustrated by Jon Klassen 

    This is a tale of two shapes that are friends. Triangle lives in a triangle house among shapes that are triangles for a landscape. Square lives in a square house in a place with square shapes all around. One day Triangle goes out on a quest to play a “sneaky trick” on Square. And he succeeds in scaring Square—which in turn causes Square to want to retaliate by playing a trick on Triangle. The beauty of the illustrations of this book are most prominent in the shapes themselves—specifically the expressiveness in their eyes. These little oval spheres with black dots convey such emotion! How in the world Klassen can indicate what each shape is thinking just through the eyes is remarkable. And one of the main reasons as to why this was one of our Mock Caldecott Honor picks.  

     

    2.12 UndefeatedMock Newbery Winner: UNDEFEATED: JIM THORPE AND THE CARLISLE INDIAN SCHOOL FOOTBALL TEAM
    By Steve Sheinkin 

    Sheinkin tells the story of how Jim Thorpe, Pop Warner, and many others changed the way football is played today. Most people know about Jim Thorpe as a football player, but the background of where he came from, the atrocities that he and his classmates endured, and those other teammates that shaped the game of football are less known. The beauty of this book is that even though this is a book full of facts and bits of history it doesn’t read like a boring textbook. In fact, many of the Mock Newbery participates don’t even like football—yet they really liked this book! With phenomenal writing and a good story it isn’t a surprise that this book was a strong contender.  

     

    2.12 Tumble and BlueMock Newbery Honor: TUMBLE & BLUE
    By Cassie Beasley 

    This is the story of Blue (who no matter what loses at anything he tries) and Tumble (a girl who more than anything wants to be a hero to save the day). When Blue is dropped off at his grandmother’s house just before a magical chance to change their fates—if they figure out how to meet a crocodile with magical abilities—he is hopeful that this will be the beginning of good things. Tumble does not believe in all the fate/destiny talk that Blue’s family is certain of, yet she does believe in helping Blue navigate his bad luck. This magical realism story is well-written for the intended audience. The discussion, comments, and love that we had for this book made it quite a strong contender. Some of the strengths that we especially liked were: the characters, the setting, the pace, the dialog—well, just about everything! It was refreshing to see not only the main characters grow throughout the story, but the minor characters seemed well-developed as well.  

     

    2.12 Beyond the Bright SeaMock Newbery Honor: BEYOND THE BRIGHT SEA
    By Lauren Wolk 

    Crow is uncertain where she comes from. She knows that Osh rescued and has raised her—and she loves him. Only, she can’t stop wondering about her past. When Crow starts looking into the history of an island that housed a leper colony she finds more mysteries and danger than answers. We not only knew Crow and Osh and Miss Maggie, but we knew the Elizabeth Islands and the historical setting when the story takes place.  Along with the characters and the story, particular phrases and sentences stuck with us long after we read the book. Wolk is a master wordsmith. And this book received quite a bit of love at our Mock Newbery event.

     
  • mock caldecott 01 

    We have a tradition here at the Provo City Library to do a Mock Caldecott—both to help us understand the process that the real Caldecott committee goes through to pick "the most distinguished book in children’s literature," and to help us get to know and love the picture books that came out in the past year. The Caldecott is awarded specifically to illustrators of children's books, and only American illustrators are eligible (check out a few of our recent favorites from international illustrators here).

    This year our group of 26 children’s book friends picked one winner and four honor books.

    Winner:

    1.22 Bear Came AlongBEAR CAME ALONG
    Written by Richard T. Morris
    Illustrated by LeUyen Pham
    (2019)

    This book is about a bear that goes on a journey down a river. The story is fun, but the illustrations were what made the book for our Mock Caldecott group. First of all, we loved the color. You may notice that the bear at first is not even fully colored. It is only when he goes to the river that he becomes the rich brown bear that is depicted in the rest of the book. Plus, if there are also other details that show that the closer to the river something is, the more color there is on that thing. The use of color tells as much of a story as does the actual story.

    We also loved the use of line and motion for the book. The way that the river jogs through the pages is brilliantly done and it gets us to want to turn the page to see what is happening next. Speaking of page turns, the one where readers know that a waterfall is coming is pure perspective brilliance.

    Yeah, we really liked this book. 

     

    Honor Books (in alphabetical order by title):

    1.22 Field Trip to the MoonFIELD TRIP TO THE MOON
    Written and illustrated by John Hare
    (2019)

    In this story a young astronaut goes on a field trip (on a spaceship school bus) to the moon. However, once there, the moon-visitor gets distracted and starts coloring with crayons on a notepad. There is so much to draw that soon the spaceship school bus leaves, stranding the young cosmonaut. He ends up meeting a group of aliens who are enthralled with the box of crayons he uses for art. This wordless picture book is full of brilliant colors that pop against black, grey, and white backgrounds. 

     

    1.22 Fry BreadFRY BREAD: A NATIVE AMERICAN FAMILY STORY
    Written by Kevin Noble Maillard
    Illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
    (2019)

    This picture book tells the story of a Native American family that spends time together making fry bread. The illustrations are beautiful. We loved the vivid expressions on the characters' faces, the diversity of the family (they don’t all look like the stereotypical portrayal of Native Americans, which is a breath of fresh air), and the extra details that add so much to each illustration. Plus, for added happiness there is a recipe in the back! 

     

    1.22 Rabbit and the MotorbikeRABBIT AND THE MOTORBIKE
    Written by Kate Hoefler
    Illustrated by Sarah Jacoby
    (2019)

    This story is about Rabbit who always stays close to home, prefering to listen to his friend Dog's stories of adventure on a motorbike. But one day, Dog is gone and leaves his motorbike to Rabbit. Our group loved the details and the lines of motion in this story. We especially loved the full-page spreads that showed the emotions connected to all of Rabbit’s feelings and adventures. 

     

    1.22 A Stone Sat StillA STONE SAT STILL
    Written and Illustrated by Brendan Wenzel
    (2019)

    Stone doesn’t go very far—and yet there is so much that happens. From the various creatures that come and use the stone to all the light and dark moments there is a lot that happens in one small place. Our group loved how the illustrations depicted so much—each illustration has a unique feeling that matches the various moments for the stone. These are illustrations that beg to be looked at multiple times so that you can see all of the things hidden in the pictures.

     
  • Chains

    One of the hallmarks of African-American literature in the “slave narrative.” These are true biographical accounts of slaves who lived in the American South. Mostly they are written by the slaves themselves (such as NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS or INCIDENTS IN THE LIFE OF A SLAVE GIRL) giving a personal touch to each story. This, along with their experiences, make the storytelling distinctive and recognizable. Following the abolition of slavery, many African Americans have continued to write in this genre, calling it the “neo-slave narrative.” Mostly these new stories are fictional novels, but they take inspiration from real slave accounts, exploring the racial tensions and anxieties of this time period. Here are a few of the best in the genre: 

    3.25 KindredKINDRED 
    By Octavia Butler
    (1979)

    A black woman spontaneously travels back in forth in time: from her apartment in 1970’s Los Angeles to a slave-holding plantation in the early 1800’s. Things do not go well. Despite its fantastic premise, Butler did extensive research to prepare for this novel. From reading personal accounts, to actually visiting the plantations, her writing is based as much as possible on the historical experience of slaves. 

     

    3.25 BelovedBELOVED 
    By Toni Morrison
    (1987)

    This story was initially inspired by an article printed in a 1865, titled "A Visit to the Slave Mother who Killed Her Child.” Half-poem, half ghost-story, Morrison’s novel includes the hardest-hitting parts of slavery. This book won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988 and was even made into a film starring Oprah Winfrey. 

     

    3.25 Underground RailroadTHE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD 
    By Colson Whitehead
    (2016)

    One of the oddest takes on “historical fiction” that I’ve ever read. In this story, the “Underground Railroad” is just that, literally an underground train riding through the Antebellum South. Another Pulitzer Prize winner, this novel purposefully drifts away from reality, mixing facts with fantastical reimagings. Despite the intentional inaccuracies, the work still rings true, highlighting the terrible atrocities that did occur.