Children's Books

  • kid lit worlds 01

    In the Children’s Department there is a series of books where each title starts with “You Wouldn’t Want to…” This is a fun series in that it tells loads of facts in a fun (and often gross or gruesome) way to interested kids. They range from YOU WOULDN’T WANT TO BE A SALEM WITCH to YOU WOULDN’T WANT TO LIVE WITHOUT INSECTS (these books cover quite the range of topics). 

    In thinking about these books, I started thinking about the broader world of Children’s Literature. And really, there are a lot of books that I’m just not convinced I would want to live in (or could ever handle living in). In fact, I think they might be just a bit more horrid than I suspect when reading while sitting on a cozy spot on my sofa. So here is the list of my top five children’s books that I would not want to live in: 

    lion the witch and the wardrobeTHE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE
    by C. S. Lewis
    (1950)

    Not only does this world have an evil witch running around turning everyone to stone (or quite a lot of people) and manipulating and controlling hordes of bad guys…this world (at least for the majority of this book) is a world of Winter. I HATE being cold. I also hate bad guys ruling the world. But I can’t think if I am too cold. I suspect that in this world I would be basically a stone statue just from having to traipse about in a world of snow without really getting a chance to warm up. So I’m glad Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy were all able to take care of things while I watched (or read rather) from the sidelines. For the rest of the CHRONICLES OF NARNIA I think I could possibly handle being in that world. Just not the Winter season.

    fever 1793FEVER, 1793
    by Laurie Halse Anderson
    (2000)

    Out of all of the books on my list, this one is actually a place (Philadelphia) and a time (1793) that actually existed. Which means that I am sure glad that I live when I do (since Philadelphia is actually a wonderful city and I have nothing against it…I just wouldn’t want to live in Philadelphia in 1793!). Mostly, I like some modern conveniences: central heating (see entry for THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE), plumbing, and modern medicine. That’s right, where would I be without doctors to help me feel well? I tell you what, I probably wouldn’t be around. And I wouldn’t want to live in that type of world and I probably wouldn’t want to see any of the people with those horrific diseases in that world, would you?

    loraxTHE LORAX
    by Dr. Seuss
    (1971)

    Yeah, I think most people probably saw this one coming. A world without trees and loads of smog in the air just isn’t any fun—especially if the world could have been a world with pink, yellow, and orange trees. I think the tragedy of this world is that you know just how amazing it could be…and then how sad life is when things get bad. I promise Dr. Seuss. I learned my lesson. I’m with the Lorax on this one.

    gregor the overlanderGREGOR THE OVERLANDER
    by Suzanne Collins
    (2003)

    Bugs, arachnids, and rodents tend to freak me out. That being the case, I probably wouldn’t do well in Gregor’s world. Not to mention that it is all underground (and thus sometimes very dark). I do like how Gregor becomes quite the hero…but this is one quest I am glad to read away from all the creatures that make me squeamish. 

     
    My least favorite place is a TIE:
    game of sunken places

    GAME OF SUNKEN PLACES
    by M.T. Anderson
    (2004)

    jumanji  JUMANJI
    by Chris Van Allsburg  
    (1981) 

    Wow. If you could see me right now you would notice that I am shuddering at the thought of living in these two similar worlds. Totally great stories; however, I do not think that I could be nearly as brave as any of these characters when they found out their world is a GIANT GAME BOARD. Just imagine playing monopoly and when a bit of bad luck comes your way you have to RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! Yeah. I’m glad I don’t have to roll the dice and hope for my life.

    So there you have it, the five worlds of Children’s Literature that I would HATE to live in. Don’t get me wrong, these are amazing stories. I love them all. I just wouldn’t want to be characters in those stories. What about you? Are there any worlds I missed?

    *There are also some horrific fantasy and dystopian worlds that tend to live in our young adult fiction collection. None of these have been considered (otherwise the HUNGER GAMES world would be #1 on my list).

     

     

  • 6 Books for Boys 01

    Ever wonder how librarians hone their recommendation skills? Sometimes, our librarians play a game we call the 6 Degrees of reading. The rules are simple: choose six books, each connected somehow to the book above it, with the last book in the list connecting to the first. Periodically, we like the results enough to share them with you. 

    Here are six classic books that boys love to read!

    DEAD END IN NORVELT
    by Jack Gantos
    (2011)

    Unfortunately for Jack Gantos, at any sign of trouble or stress he instantly gets a nose bleed. Since there’s no money to fix his nose, Jack just has to deal with being different. A series of events and an overprotective mother leave Jack grounded from everything except helping the old lady next door—a professional obituary writer. But this depressing start to summer soon takes off with a bang in this wacky coming of age story.  

    PAPERBOY
    by Vince Vawter
    (2013)

    Victor Vollmer has long accepted he’s a little different. His stutter makes talking a huge chore, but he has his tricks and can make it through most days without too much trouble. When summer comes, however, his best friend asks Victor to take over his paper route for a month. It seems like a simple way to make a little extra money and help out a friend, but Victor is in for both a heart-warming and terrifying lesson in human nature and his own self-worth.  

    SUMMER OF THE MONKEYS
    by Wilson Rawls
    (1967)

    Jay’s twin sister is a cripple, but the family is too poor to do anything about it. One summer Jay discovers that a family of escaped circus monkeys has taken residence down by the river. With the help of his grandfather, Jay plans to capture the monkeys and claim the reward—making his family rich. Humorous and heartfelt moments abound in this slightly fantastical story.  

    BY THE GREAT HORN SPOON
    by Sid Fleischman
    (1963)

    Jack and his butler, Praiseworthy, seek to restore the family’s lost riches in the California gold rush. Two gentlemen couldn’t be further out of their element from the moment they set foot on the steamer ship headed west from Boston. This rip-roaring bit of historical fiction features its fair share of interesting factoids and tall tales.  

    THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN
    by Mark Twain
    (1884)

    Twain, the king of tall tales, hits a home run in this classic story of roughing it down the Mississippi river. Huck and the escaped slave Jim find themselves meeting a panoramic jumble of the good, the bad, and the ugly in this surprisingly thoughtful look at the way people treat each other. 

    LITTLE BRITCHES: FATHER AND I WERE RANCHERS
    by Ralph Moody
    (1950)

    When he is 8-yrs-old, Ralph Moody’s family moves from New Hampshire to rough it on a cattle ranch in Colorado, a place where the wild west wasn’t that long ago. Ralph, nicknamed “little britches,” comes of age in this true story about giving your all, being a man, and enjoying the little things while you have them.

  • friendships and fighting evil

    Ever wonder how librarians hone their recommendation skills? Sometimes, our librarians play a game we call the 6 Degrees of reading. The rules are simple: choose six books, each connected somehow to the book above it, with the last book in the list connecting to the first. Periodically, we like the results enough to share them with you. 

    So, with no further ado, we bring you 6 Degrees of Reading: Friendship and Fighting Evil (in Juvenile Fiction).  

    THE CURSE OF THE BOGGIN
    by D. J. MacHale
    (2016)

    Marcus, an orphan, starts having random supernatural experiences.  As he tries to figure out what is going on, he finds out that his birth parents left him a large brass key that opens the door to a magical library.  In the library are histories of supernatural experiences, some of which are still being written. Marcus finds himself battling terrors to discover the truth about the library and himself.  

    LOST IN A BOOK
    by Jennifer Donnelly
    (2017)

    This take on the classic Beauty and the Beast offers well-known characters intriguing new challenges. Soon after Belle arrives at the Beast’s castle she discovers a magical book in the library that takes her to the wonderful land of Nevermore. She knows it isn’t a real world, but the Countess of the world promises it could be real if she gives up her life with the Beast.  

    THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL
    by Shannon & Dean Hale
    (2017)

    You may not recognize Squirrel Girl immediately, but she is a well-known character to avid Marvel fans. Doreen was born with a squirrel tail and the ability to talk with squirrels.  Her parents urge her to keep her tail hidden (so that other kids don't feel bad that they don't have one), but when Doreen moves to another state and another middle school. As the new kid in school, Doreen finds it hard to both make friends and keep her amazing Squirrel Girl abilities a secret.  

    SAVE ME A SEAT
    by Sarah Weeks & Gita Varadarajan
    (2016)

    In India, Ravi was the top student and the best at cricket.   But now, as the new kid in a new school, he finds himself stuck in a remedial class. At his old school Ravi would have never associated with a kid like Joe, who is big and awkward and has a learning disability.  But now the two find themselves stuck in class together, finding unlikely friendship as they become victims of the same bully. This is a great tale of multiracial friendship without borders.  

    MURDER IS BAD MANNERS
    by Robin Stevens
    (2015)

    Hazel Wong is from Hong Kong and has come to boarding school in England.  She is befriended by one of the most popular girls in her grade, Daisy Wells, and they form a secret detective agency.  All too soon they have their first grisly case.  

    THE MARK OF THE PLAGUE
    by Kevin Sands
    (2016)

    Christopher is living in his old master's workshop while plague rages through London.   One day he hears about a strange "prophet" who is going around town foretelling who will get the plague next.  The young sleuth begins to wonder who and what the "Prophet" really is and what connection he might have to Christopher’s old master. In an attempt to save lives, Christopher and his friend Tom risk their lives to battle the forces of evil.

  •  Funny Television

    There are a lot of good reasons to read, and many of them are important reasons: it develops empathy, it encourages creativity, it makes you a more informed and thoughtful citizen, it reduces stress, it builds your critical thinking skills, etc. All of that is wonderful, but there's another, often ignored reason why reading a lot is great - it makes pop culture more fun.

    Once you start watching for them, you'll notice literary references all over the place, and one of my favorite feelings is watching a sitcom and catching a joke I would have missed if I hadn't read a particular book recently. These are just a few of my favorite bookish jokes from recent TV shows.

    NEW GIRL (Episode 1.21 "Kids")

    Referencing: BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA
    By Katherine Paterson
    (1977)

    Jess's day bonding with her boyfriend's daughter is ruined thanks to Nick.

     New Girl 2

     
     

    PARKS AND RECREATION (Episode 6.8 "Flouride")

    Referencing: MOBY DICK
    By Herman Melville
    (1851)

    Chris reads too much into Ron's woodworking lesson.

     
     

    BROOKLYN 99 (Episode 1.15 "Operation: Broken Feather")

    Referencing: OTHELLO
    By William Shakespeare
    (1622)

    Amy reveals that she's considering a job in another precint, and Jake feels betrayed.

    Brooklyn 99

     
     

    HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER (Episode 7.3 “Ducky Tie”)

    Referencing: THE MILLENNIUM TRILOGY
    By Stieg Larsson
    (2008 - 2010)

    Ted: Oh, guess who I ran into. A girl from my past. Any guesses?

    Lily: Stella.

    Barney: Zoey

    Marshall: Karen?

    Lily: The girl who beat you up.

    Barney: The girl who ruined a photo with Slash!

    Marshall: The girl who made you get the butterfly tattoo?

    Ted: You make it sound like I've dated a series of Stieg Larsson novels.

     
     

    THE MINDY PROJECT (Episode 1.4 "Halloween)

    Referencing: TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY
    By John Le Carré
    (1974)

    Hoping to impress her new boyfriend, Mindy dresses in a series of punny Halloween costumes.

    Tinkerbell

    Tinkerbell Tailor Soldier Spy  
     
     

    Referencing: HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE
    By J.K. Rowling
    (1997)

    Dirty Harry Potter

    Dirty Harry Potter
      

    Referencing: LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE
    By Laura Ingalls Wilder
    (1935)

    Lil Wayne on the Prairie

     Lil' Wayne on the Prairie 
     

    THE GOOD PLACE (Episode 1.3 "Tahani Al-Jamil")

    Referencing: The works of Plato and Aristotle

    Chidi spends weeks trying to teach Eleanor the history of philosophy, hoping that an understanding of ethics will help her keep her spot in The Good Place. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be sinking in.

    Plato

     

    GILMORE GIRLS (Episode 4.22 "Raincoats and Recipes")

    Referencing: THE LORD OF THE RINGS
    By J.R.R. Tolkien
    (1954)

    Lorelai’s not sure if her “will-they-won’t they” relationship with Luke has actually turned into something after he’s asked her to a movie and to his sister’s wedding.

    Bonus joke: In Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, Rory has taken on running the Star's Hollow Gazette only to find the staff aren't especially efficient. When Ethel refuses to answer the phone because she's busy with paperwork, Rory replies: “I don’t want to say you’ve been filing that same piece of paper for a long time, but when you started, Nora Ephron felt good about her neck.”

     
     

    FRIENDS (Episode 3.13 "The One Where Monica and Richard are Just Friends")

    Referencing: LITTLE WOMEN
    By Louisa May Alcott
    (1868)

    Referencing: THE SHINING
    By Stephen King
    (1977)

    After Rachel finds Joey's copy of THE SHINING in the freezer (where he puts it when things get too scary), they agree to swap favorite books. She'll read THE SHINING if he'll read LITTLE WOMEN.

    Scary Little

     
     

    Things are going great until Joey accidentally reveals major spoilers.

    Friends

     
     
    Once again, things get a little too scary.

     

    UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT (Episode 1.11 "Kimmy Rides a Bike!"

    Referencing: THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN
    By Michael Crichton
    (1969)

    "Reverend" Richard Wayne Gary Wayne unexpectedly wins over the jury while on trial for Kimmy's kidnapping.

    Good Book

     
     
  •  Book giving 1

    So far we've shared some great reads that came out this year for adults (Fiction, More Fiction, Nonfiction), but we can't forget about the kids! Here are a few of the best new picture books for the little readers you love.

    For the kid (or kid at heart) in your life who:

     

    Is a master at bedtime avoidance-

    12.20 Dont BlinkDON’T BLINK
    By Amy Krouse Rosenthal
    Illustrated by David Roberts

    Have you ever tried that trick of trying NOT to close your eyes as a way to feel sleepy? This clever picture book is built on that idea. Every time you blink, you have to turn the page, and soon enough, you (and any reading buddies) will be fast asleep. 

     
     

    Is working through big feelings-

    12.20 The Rabbit ListenedTHE RABBIT LISTENED
    By Cori Doerrfeld
    (2018)

    When tragedy strikes, Taylor’s friends have all kinds of suggestions on how to feel better – shouting, hiding, rebuilding – but Taylor doesn’t need suggestions. What he needs is company and a listening ear. With sweet illustrations, this picture book is a great primer on helping others (and ourselves) in hard moments. 

     
     

    Is secretly an artist (and doesn't even know it)-

    12.20 SquareSQUARE
    By Mac Barnett
    Illustrated by Jon Klassen
    (2018)

    Barnett and Klassen are a beloved picture book duo, and for good reason. Their spare pictures and text are deceptively simple and always hilarious. SQUARE will have you laughing out loud and wondering what it really means to be an artist. 

     
     

    Sometimes wonders how to make friends-

    12.20 Drawn TogetherDRAWN TOGETHER
    By Minh Lê
    Illustrated by Dan Santat
    (2018)

    A young American boy has a hard time relating to his Thai grandfather; they like different shows, eat different food, and can’t even speak the same language. When they discover their shared love for drawing, however, a whole new world of communication opens up to them. 

     
     

    Loves to chat (but not always listen)-

    12.20 Wordy BirdyWORDY BIRDY
    By Tammi Sauer 
    Illustrated by Dave Mottram 
    (2018)

    Wordy Birdy has lots to say, so much that she doesn’t let anyone else get a word in. When there’s a bear on the loose, that chattiness gets her in trouble. This picture book’s a great reminder that talking is great, as long as we listen too.  

     
     

    Doesn’t usually see their life in picture books-

    12.20 LoveLOVE
    By Matt de la Peña
    Illustrated by Loren Long
    (2018)

    You might expect a picture book called LOVE to be saccharine, but this new release is honest as well as touching. De la Peña and Long show that love has a million faces (some expected, others surprising) and that sometimes it’s pain that reveals them. 

     
  • boy reading ala

    Every January, our children's librarians look forward to the most exciting announcements of the whole year: the winners of the Newbery and Caldecott awards. These two awards honor the best in children's literature and illustration, respectively. 

    Last Monday, the American Library Association announced their selections, with Sophie Blackall's illustrations for FINDING WINNIE taking the Caldecott Award, and Matt de la Peña's LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET winning the Newbery.

    FINDING WINNIE is a terrific, beautiful book about a very famous bear, and it comes highly recommended by this librarian. But more than just being a great book, LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET is a groundbreaking choice by the Newbery committee. This story about a boy and his grandma taking a ride on their city bus has redefined what and who can stand as the very best in children's literature.

    Here are three ways that LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET has shaken up the Newbery tradition, and has people very, very excited:

    marketstreet

    1. Matt de la Peña is the first Hispanic author to win the Newbery Medal in the 94 years it has been awarded. Another Hispanic author, Pam Muñoz Ryan, was given a Newbery Honor this year for ECHO

    2. The Provo City Library keeps all its Newbery winners in a special section, and in every year past, we have moved the winner from its home in our fiction section to the special shelf. But this year, we'll be moving LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET from a different home -- the picture books section! This book is the very first true picture book to win the medal (an illustrated collection of poetry won in 1982). 

    3. Not only is LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET a picture book, but its illustrations are highly acclaimed in their own right. On the same day as the book was awarded the Newbery Medal, it was also awarded a Caldecott Honor. There's hardly room for all the medals on the cover!

    The Provo City Library has received many new copies of LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET to celebrate its big victory, so be sure to place a hold and get your chance to experience this very special book.

  •  anne fashion

    One of literature’s most beloved heroines, Anne Shirley, can be an inspiration to all of us. Although she’s far from perfect, she can teach us a lot about wanting adventure, having a huge imagination, and loving with your whole heart.

    But wanting to emulate a character sometimes means we want to do more than act like her—we also want to dress like her. Or at the very least, dress in an aesthetic inspired by her stories. Since L.M. Montgomery’s classic tale is set in the late 1800s in Canada, it might be a bit difficult to cull inspiration directly from the books. Instead of wearing the classic 1880s fashion statement—the bustle—you can take inspiration from the style of ANNE OF GREEN GABLES that fits better with modern styles.

    Anne is both strong and romantic. While she loves to be in charge, and see the world, she is prone to loving the girlish and fanciful. Below are three outfits that I think encompass the romantic but adventurous spirit of Anne.

    Some starting points: Anne loves to go out and adventure, so she probably wouldn’t wear heels unless it was a special occasion, since we have so many other options that are better for having fun, but are just as cute. She loves to be girly, and she isn’t afraid to be a little (a lot) dramatic. She loves romance, especially flowers, so she’d probably wear florals even when it isn’t springtime. And never forget Anne’s classic wide-brimmed hat and braids—the girl loves accessories.

    Outfit 1Outfit #1:

    “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers”

    Anne’s world always makes me excited for fall—the crunchy leaves, the cups of tea, the curling up with a good book—so I thought Anne herself might wear an outfit that lets her enjoy the crisp air and the promise of a little autumn magic. While the outfit is practical enough to wear out and about, Anne’s romantic side is preserved through the addition of a scarf and a brooch. The field notes are so that Anne can write down all of her wild imaginings.

     
     

    Outfit 2Outfit #2:

    “Because when you are imagining, you might as well imagine something worthwhile.”

    Anne is a classic daydreamer—she sometimes lets her imagination run away with her a little bit too much. She sees the romantic everywhere, and conjures up names to match the passion in her heart for all the things around her. An outfit like this will let you curl up with a good book—or a blank notebook—and imagine all the worlds you want to. The comfy sweater and socks allow you to relax, while the locket and embroidered collar infuse it with a little of Anne’s classic romanticism.

     
     

    outfit 3Outfit #3:

    “It is ever so much easier to be good if your clothes are fashionable.”

    The reason Anne wants her name to be spelled with an E and not just plain ANN is that she longs for the fancy and fashionable. Plain Ann isn’t romantic enough—Anne dreams of a world where she has the most beautiful clothes and wishes to surround herself with lovely things. This outfit will let you traipse off to a museum, school, or a bookstore, so you can meet minds with all the best people—while looking your very best. Although this outfit doesn’t have puffed sleeves, a pinafore dress paired with a quirky printed button-down is sort of the modern equivalent.

     

    When trying to dress like Anne, the most important thing to remember is that you can make your life as romantic as you choose—so throw on your fancy hat, wear your grandma’s brooch, and carry a book with you everywhere you go.  

     

  • boredom 1

     Summer is upon us, and the excitement of days filled with constant sunshine and homework is a thing of the past. Kids love summer break, but the infamous words “Mom, I’m bored” will slowly begin to creep into the day. There is a strong contrast between structured school days and hours of open-ended possibilities.

    In this Huffington Post article, Dr. Lapointe explains how we should embrace the bored. Children need to be bored: it is where creativity and imagination are born. Children need to delve into the freedom of time and space and discover their true interests. They need to decide what drives them and makes them happy. Caregivers and parents should allow large blocks of time for children to play because this is when they form new ideas, create, experience, and discover.

    I can’t think of a better place than the library to help children discover their hobbies and interests. There are books about origami, crafts, photography, acting, outdoor activities, calligraphy, and weird facts most kids find amazing. The library also provides a never-ending supply of books to read, letting the reader become lost in the new world they find. Children need summer to be unencumbered by scheduling—filled with time and space to play. Here a few books to inspire your summer play: 

    6.28.17 RoxaboxenROXABOXEN
    By Alice McLerran. Illustrated by Barbara Cooney
    (1991) 

    There was a time when children played outside and created cities and towns with dirt, rocks, and sticks. McLerran describes childhood memories like these in this story. The nostalgia felt will inspire adults and children to allow for the time to create these outdoor play experiences. 

    6.28.17 Out of the BoxOUT OF THE BOX
    By Jemma Westing
    (2017) 

    The cardboard box has always been the classic open-ended play material. With colorfully painted engineering masterpieces, Westing gives pages of ideas illustrating what can be done with a simple cardboard box. The ideas include step by step instructions and templates in the back to trace.

     

    6.28.17 Unplugged PlayUNPLUGGED PLAY
    By Bobbi Conner
    (2007)

    This book provides more than 710 games and play ideas for children, and none of the ideas include electronics or batteries! This book is divided into three different sections based on age. It’s a great resource to help children who need play tutoring as they get used to having open-ended time for creating and coming up with their own ideas.

     

  • BB 2016 FB

    The Night GardnerTHE NIGHT GARDENER
    by Terry and Eric Fan
    (2016)

    This book was SO CLOSE to being added to our best books of the year list. It is one of my favorite books from the year. In fact, if you want to know just how much I love this book; take a look at my blog post from it back in March of 2016. It is about a boy who notices a gardener who trims trees at night—which cause quite the response the next day since the trees turn into owls, dragons, and other fun creatures. The story is good, but the pictures are amazing! The subtle changes from what the street feels and looks like before the night gardener comes to afterward is just amazing—to the point that by the end it is hard to think that life wasn’t so bright and happy throughout the whole book. Honestly, this is one book that will not soon be forgotten, and it is one that almost (ALMOST!) made it onto my best books list this past year. If I could have added one more picture book, this would have been it! 

     

    Alamo All StarsNATHAN HALE’S HAZARDOUS TALES: ALAMO ALL-STARS
    by Nathan Hale
    (2016)

    I love the Hazardous Tales graphic novels! They are clever, full of fun facts, and well done. The only reason that this did not make the list is that it is the 6th book in the series. I figured that many people already knew about the Hazardous Tales (and how amazing they are). So this almost made the list…but I opted to add the new graphic novels that were the first in a series instead. So this particular tale tells about the heroes that lived and died at the Alamo (and those who escaped or fought against the Alamo which is why we know so much about that event). There are bits of backstory mingled with humor and jokes (and readers can still laugh at the Provost and the Hangman). Seriously, such great non-fiction put together in one happy package. ALAMO ALL-STARS, if I had one more spot you would have been on the best books list! 

     

    When the Sea Turned to SilverWHEN THE SEA TURNED TO SILVER
    By Grace Lin
    (2016)

    I loved this book. Absolutely loved it. The reason this book did not make our final list is because there were just too many exceptional middle grade novels this year (as if there can ever ACTUALLY be too many). This is the story of the Storyteller’s granddaughter – Pinmei. After the Tiger Emperor kidnaps her grandmother, Pinmei must journey to find the Luminous Stone That Lights the Night – the only thing that might persuade the Emperor to change his mind and release his prisoner. When the Sea Turned to Silver is the third installment in a story that began with WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON but can easily stand alone.  This is not usually the type of book that I would choose for myself - I was definitely reading out of my comfort zone – but I loved this beautiful story even more because of it! I fell in love with the magical and yet familiar world that was crafted in this novel and the way the story weaved together and revealed itself at the end. This book is for everyone to read and enjoy while it warms you like a fuzzy blanket. Too many good books is a problem I like to have but, unfortunately, it means this book just barely missed our best books list. 

     

    Animals by the NumbersANIMALS BY THE NUMBERS: A BOOK OF ANIMAL INFOGRAPHICS
    By Steve Jenkins
    (2016)

    When I was a kid, I don’t remember that there were an excess of really well done informational books. So, I was as surprised as anyone to realize how tight the competition for best non-fiction would be this year. Let me just say, leaving this book off my final list was not a decision I came to easily. ANIMALS BY THE NUMBERS graphically shares all kinds of interesting facts and figures about all kinds of different animals. This book is seriously informative with very simple, straightforward, “good to know” infographics. The minimalist illustrations make the book even more user friendly and they are, frankly, unbelievably striking. If I had space for anymore informational books, this one would be included – no doubt. In the end, ANNIMALS BY THE NUMBERS was beaten out by some very stiff competition. 

     

    The Thank You BookTHE THANK YOU BOOK
    By Mo Willems
    (2016)

    Easy Readers have come a long way recently, mostly thanks to Mo Willems. So, Mo, THANK YOU! This book was left off the final list in part because this is the last in a series and I was hoping that everyone would already know and love Elephant & Piggie. Unfortunately, this book was nudged off the list is because even though it is Mo Willems being excellent, it is not quite as excellent as Mo Willems can be. (We hold him to his own standard). Elephant Gerald & Piggie say goodbye and thank you to their friends, the reader, and each other in this very sweet book that fans of the series will love. If our list for best books could be even one book longer, THE THANK YOU BOOK would be a part of it! 

     

     

  • best books 15 kids

    It's possible you've picked up a bit of a theme this week--in preparation for our Best Books of 2015 event next week, we're teasing some of our librarian's favorite books that came out last year. Next week you can come and hear us talk about our favorite books in a variety of categories: here's a small taste of what you'll find: 

    waitingBest Picture Books
    WAITING
    by Kevin Henkes

    Five friends sit happily on a windowsill, waiting for something amazing to happen. The owl is waiting for the moon. The pig is waiting for the rain. The bear is waiting for the wind. The puppy is waiting for the snow. And the rabbit is just looking out the window because he likes to wait! What will happen? Will patience win in the end? Or someday will the friends stop waiting and do something unexpected?

     

    balletcatBest Easy Readers
    BALLET CAT: THE TOTALLY SECRET SECRET 
    by Bob Shea

    While Ballet Cat and Sparkles the Pony are trying to decide what to play, they each share an important secret.

     

     

     

    littlerobotBest Comics
    LITTLE ROBOT 
    by Ben Hatke

    When a little girl finds an adorable robot in the woods, she presses a button and accidentally activates him for the first time. Now, she finally has a friend. But the big, bad robots are coming to collect the little guy for nefarious purposes, and it's all up to a five-year-old armed only with a wrench and a fierce loyalty to her mechanical friend to save the day!

     

    fishtreeBest Fiction
    FISH IN A TREE
    by Lynda Mully Hunt

    Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions. She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.

     

    trickyvicBest Nonfiction
    TRICKY VIC: THE IMPOSSIBLY TRUE STORY OF THE MAN WHO SOLD THE EIFFEL TOWER 
    by Greg Pizzoli

    Recounts the life of Victor Lustig, an international con man who had swindled thousands of people, including Al Capone, and was best known for "selling" the Eiffel Tower.

  • BB 2017 FB

    Each year we put together a list of the top 60 best children’s books (according to our children’s librarians). As we have been whittling down our lists some titles are harder to take off—almost painful because they are great books. These five books are fantastic! Truly amazing! Yet they just didn’t make the list. If it was the 65 best children’s books, these titles would have been on there.

    As we keep you in suspense as to our top 60 books (which we will reveal at our Best Books program next Tuesday), take a look at these books that almost made the cut.

    2.14 The Legend of Rock Paper ScissorsTHE LEGEND OF ROCK PAPER SCISSORS
    By Drew Daywalt
    Illustrated by Adam Rex

    This is a great picture book—and I liked it so much that I even bought it! Really, it is a good book. It tells the story of Rock (who lives in the Kingdom of the Backyard) and is the strongest in the land. No one could beat Rock in any challenge. Then (in the Empire of Mom’s Home Office) there lived another warrior named Paper. Once again in this empire there was none who could best Paper. In a third place (the Kitchen Realm) there lived a warrior named Scissors who could not be beaten in all of her challenges. Daywalt and Rex put together a hilarious tale as to why these three warriors battle together (and thus explains the rock, paper, scissors game that children all over the world play). Seriously, this is a pretty funny book. 

     

    2.14 Orphan IslandORPHAN ISLAND
    By Laurel Snyder

    It is not often that you find a Juvenile Fiction title as divisive as this one, or one that can get as many people talking. Orphan Island tells the story of Jinny, a girl who has grown up on a secluded island populated only by nine orphans. Each year, a boat arrives to deliver a new child and the oldest is expected to leave without knowing what awaits them on the boat. But when Jinny’s boat comes, she doesn’t leave and the island – once a perfect, nurturing home – begins to change. This book is in many ways a classic “coming of age” story, but also it isn’t. This book, its setting and its plot are wildly imaginative and are bolstered by truly skillful writing – providing lots of opportunities for discussion. It’s hard to discount the buzz surrounding this book – it’s a National Book Award Longlist Title and it’s on the Mock Newbery list of anyone who has such a list – but it’s also incredible divisive with vocal people arguing about it either way. While this wasn’t one of our favorite books of the year, it’s been discussed too much to leave off our list completely. 

     

    2.14 Real FriendsREAL FRIENDS
    By Shannon Hale
    Illustrated by LeUyen Pham

    Shannon Hale joins up with LeUyen Pham (who also illustrates Shannon’s PRINCESS IN BLACK series) in this graphic novel memoir about making and keeping friends. Shannon and her best friend Adrienne have been best friends since they were little, but when Adrienne becomes friends with the most popular girl in school, things begin to change between them and Shannon questions whether or not she and Adrienne will be able to stay friends. This story is one that most readers will be able to identify with – whether they’ve been bullied by the popular kids or not.  Also, since Shannon Hale is a local author, it’s set in Salt Lake City which is sort of extra fun for kids from Utah. This story is honest and a little heartwarming, and though it didn’t make our final list is a great choice for Raina Telgemeir or Cece Bell fans. 

     

    2.14 Rivers of SunlightRIVERS OF SUNLIGHT: HOW THE SUN MOVES WATER AROUND THE EARTH
    by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm

    This is a great nonfiction title (which follows up the brilliant book Buried Sunlight: How Fossil Fuels Have Changed the Earth). Bang and Chisholm explain how water moves around the world thanks to the heat of the sun—both through the sun’s part of the water cycle and due to the sun heating various currents in the oceans. This is a book full of information and facts presented in a picture book format so even the younger scientists can understand how water works and how the sun plays a major part to what happens to the water. 

     

    2.14 Harry Millers RunHARRY MILLER'S RUN
    By David Almond
    Illustrated by Salvatore Rubbin

    Most juvenile intermediate books are formula books—ones where they are part of a series and you can predict that the book will (re)introduce the characters in chapter one, throw in a bit of conflict (usually of the same variety as previous books in the series) in chapter two, etc. Not Harry Miller’s Run. This book is a stand-alone story that is beautifully written AND happens to be a juvenile intermediate book. Liam needs to train for an upcoming race and so he talks to his older neighbor (Harry Miller) who happens to have run the same race when he was younger. This is a great story about something seemingly insignificant (like talking to an elderly neighbor) can actually be interesting, fun, and helpful. Plus, the way Harry Miller tells his tale, readers will almost feel like going out for a jog themselves. Almond has written yet another great story—and lucky for us this one is an intermediate book!

     
  • book friends 01

    Every now and again I read a book and am reminded of another character in an alternative book by a totally different author. And then I think if these two characters lived in the same world…they would totally be friends. So I thought I would share some of my favorite would-be-friends. Here are numbers 10-6 of my favorites (my top five will be shared in a follow-up post). 

    10. HARRY POTTER & PERCY JACKSON

    jackson potter

    Now this might be a love/hate relationship for these two. Both Harry and Percy have this “must save the world” mentality that is coupled with the “must be loyal and save my friends even at the cost of myself” mentality. I think they would both work well to save the world—together. On the other hand, because they are both used to the glory and fame that comes with their death-defying accomplishments, perhaps they would just get on each other’s nerves. And even though Annabeth and Hermione are both great friends to their aforementioned heroes…I’m not so sure that they would actually like each other.

     

    9. FANCY NANCY & THE GIRLS FROM SHOE-LA-LA!

    FN SLL HOTY

    Most people know all about Fancy Nancy. And yes, she is fancy! And she likes big, fancy words. But many people don’t actually know about the girls from SHOE-LA-LA! by Karen Beaumont (there is also a sequel called HATS OFF TO YOU!). Now these four best friends are all into fashion and being fancy. And they are all into exploring what type of fancy they like (what shoes are their favorites, what hats are their favorites). Basically, it is four friends that enjoy being fancy (and on occasion casual) just as much as Fancy Nancy. Seriously, these girls could all be presidents of the “Pink and Sparkly” club.

     

    8. CLEMENTINE & RAMONA

    Clementine Ramona

    Even though these two spunky girls were not written in the same decades, they have quite a bit in common. Clementine is a girl who loves her family and tends to get into a lot of mischief. Ramona also loves her family and always finds herself in a scrape or two. Both girls could share stories about what it is like to be loved yet sometimes misunderstood by family. And both have been frustrated with their siblings (though Clementine’s is younger and Ramona’s is older). All-in-all these two could be a whole heap of trouble if they lived in the same neighborhood—for it is certain that they could become the best of friends. 

    7. ANNE & BETSY

    Anne Betsy

    Most people know Anne from ANNE OF GREEN GABLES. Anne is smart and imaginative; loyalty to friends is important to her. Plus she lived around the turn of the century (1899/1900s) in Canada. Betsy is a little less known (but just as fun to read). Betsy also is smart, imaginative, and fiercely loyal to her friends. Betsy and Anne are both writers who love stories. They both fall in love with the boy next door (as well as have a little spat with said boy next door). Only it happens much later in Betsy’s series than it does in Anne’s. And Betsy’s story takes place in Minnesota (arguably just as cold as parts of Canada) around the 1910s. Basically, if these two characters lived in the same place, they would have been friends (or kindred spirits) who had all sorts of adventures together!

     

    6. SNOW WHITE & CINDERELLA

    Snow Ella

    This one seems like a given. I mean, who wouldn’t think that two princesses would be good friends with each other. Only, I’m talking about two specific versions of Snow White and Cinderella. The book SNOW WHITE by Matt Phelan is a graphic novel that throws a 1920s spin on the classic tale. The picture book ELLA’S BIG CHANCE by Shirley Hughes is a Jazz-Age story of Cinderella that also takes place in the roaring 20s. Both of these girls have to find the courage to stand up to their evil stepmothers. Both of these girls have good friends that help them through the really horrid times. And even though they both don’t actually end up with a “prince,” they both find true love and live happily ever after.

     

     

  • book friends 01

    Last week I shared some of my favorite characters that should be friends. This week I am sharing the next five sets of characters that should meet, hang out, and become besties. Seriously, these characters often have a whole lot in common. Here are my top five.

    Do you know of any book characters that you think should be friends?

    5. FRANK EINSTEIN & GRANDPA MELVIN

    Frank Goldfish

    Frank Einstein is a scientist who loves inventing things. He is somewhat of a mixture of Albert Einstein and Frankenstein. Frank works tirelessly on science project after science project. And he also saves the world on the side. Grandpa from THE FOURTEENTH GOLDFISH is also quite a scientist. He has invented a way to become “young” again. Grandpa Melvin might be a bad teenager this go-round, but he still loves science and family (which makes me think that he would have no problem becoming friends with Frank Einstein as he journeys to becoming one of the greatest kid inventors and scientists of all time—as long as they both didn’t want to invent the same things…). The only thing I wonder is, who would become the better scientist—Frank or Grandpa Melvin?

    4. THE PIGEON & GRUMPY BIRD 

    Pigeon Bird

    I don’t know if these two characters will actually get along—because they are the most moody birds I have ever read about! However, they both are fowls that have very deep (and dramatic) feelings. The Pigeon wants to drive a bus, have a puppy, eat a cookie, and not go to bed or take a bath. And he tends to have a tantrum around page 20 or so. Grumpy Bird is quite grumpy (and in the sequel is pretty hungry!). Grumpy Bird doesn’t know how to show his feelings, especially when his friends are trying to copy him. And this leads to a bit of a tantrum for Grumpy Bird as well. Seriously, these two birds could be friends—or at least theoretical friends.

     

    3. CEDAR LEE & CATHERINE

    Summerlost Rules

    Cedar Lee from the book SUMMERLOST by Ally Condie is trying to figure out her life after a horrible accident killed her dad and younger brother, Ben. Cedar struggles with the mixed feelings of missing her family and being relieved that Ben (who was somewhere on the autistic scale) isn’t around to frustrate her. Catherine from the book RULES by Cynthia Lord also has an autistic brother. Catherine is often frustrated by the complexity of her family dynamic; however, Catherine fiercely loves her brother. I believe that if Cedar and Catherine were living in the same neighborhood (or the same book), they would have been friends. They would have so much to talk about: from the frustrations, challenges, and joys of being a big sister to an autistic brother to life, love and all that is in-between. Seriously, these two book characters should be friends.

     

    2. GARVEY & JOSH BELL

    Garvey Crossover

    In the book GARVEY’S CHOICE by Nikki Grimes, Garvey is told by his father that he should participate in sports. Garvey doesn’t actually like sports (he totally rocks at singing), but he does want to please his father. He comes from a great family that cares about each other. (His sister even distracts their dad when she knows Garvey needs a distraction, and Garvey’s mom is often seen trying to help the dad figure out what is important to Garvey.) Josh Bell, on the other hand, is the star of his basketball team (with his brother Jordan) in the book THE CROSSOVER by Kwame Alexander. Josh is trying to figure out who he is through both basketball and poetry. Josh also comes from a great family. His mom and dad are ultra-supportive. And even though Josh doesn’t always get along with his brother, Jordan, they are a good support (overall) to each other. Both Garvey and Josh have dads who love sports. They both have good families. Basically, they could be the type of people who could be friends if they went to the same school. And I think these two would be a good balance of perspective for each other. So, it may be a little bit of a stretch, but I think these two characters could really be quite good friends.

     

    1. MOLLY AND KIP & KATHERINE, ROBBIE, AND AMELIE

    Charmed Gardener

    In THE CHARMED CHILDREN OF ROOKSILL CASTLE by Janet S. Fox, Katherine, Robbie, and Amelie have to figure out why so many children are disappearing at the boarding school where they stay during the London Blitz. In THE NIGHT GARDENER by Jonathan Auxier, Molly and Kip are two orphans who have to earn their keep while staying away from a sinister evil that stalks them and their household at night. In both of these children’s horror stories the kids have to solve the mystery of what is happening before they become the next victims of the evil. Both take place in out-of-the-way grand English country homes, and all of these kids (though especially Katherine and Molly) show a lot of grit, pluck, and determination. Seriously, I bet these characters could sit together around a camp fire in the summer and swap scary stories…and then laugh over the similarities of it all. Then they might go out and save the world from another evil together. Yeah, they totally would be friends!

     

     

  • disney

    When I was growing up, my family was always a “Disneyland family.” You know, some families take trips to Disney theme parks and some don’t – mine was always in the first category. In fact, some of my fondest family memories are from trips to Disney parks. Even as an adult, I have something of a reputation for being a Disney person – that may be because I have an Annual Pass to Disney World (yes, in Florida) even though it is 2,321 miles away from the Provo City Library. 

    I like to think that all of these trips over the years were training me for the day that a patron would walk into the Library and ask “we’re planning a trip to Disneyland. Do you have any books to help get our kids excited?” The answer, of course, was yes. Here are my five favorite recommendations, from the unofficial Disney Expert at the PCL, to anyone who has the same question. 

    1.28 Pocket Full of ColorsPOCKET FULL OF COLORS: THE MAGICAL WORLD OF MARY BLAIR, DISNEY ARTIST EXTRAORDINAIRE
    By Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville
    Illustrated by Brigette Barrager
    (2017)

    This book is actually one of my favorite recent books, even for non-Disney fans. It is all about Mary Blair, the most famous Disney animator you’ve never heard of. In the 1950s she worked as a concept animator for films like Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Cinderella before leaving to work in advertising. She was then brought back by Walt Disney himself to design It’s a Small World. This  book is filled with lots of Disney goodness and will make even the most reluctant willing to board “the happiest cruise that ever sailed.” 

     

    1.28 Secrets of DisneylandSECRETS OF DISNEYLAND: WEIRD AND WONDERFUL FACTS ABOUT THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH
    By Dinah Williams
    (2013)

    When I was a kid visiting Disney, the best part was bugging my parents and older siblings with secret, hidden, little-known facts and tidbits I had collected (I was a youngest child who would grow up to be a librarian, what can I say?). This book is filled with all kinds of behind-the-scenes information that kids will be excited to share. If you’re headed to Florida instead of Anaheim there is also a Disney World version – SECRETS OF WALT DISNEY WORLD: WEIRD AND WONDERFUL FACTS ABOUT THE MOST MAGICAL PLACE ON EARTH

     

    1.28 Walts ImaginationWALT’S IMAGINATION: THE LIFE OF WALT DISNEY
    By Doreen Rappaport
    (2018)

    If you’re trying to get excited for a Disney trip, there is no better place to start than with the man himself. This new picture book biography explores the life of Walt Disney for young readers with beautiful illustrations featuring Walt, Mickey Mouse, and other familiar faces.   

     

    1.28 PiratesPIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN
    By Xavier Atencio
    (2017)

    Let’s be honest, no Disney trip preparation is complete without a little Disney music. Pirates of the Caribbean is one of my favorite rides at Disneyland and this picture book captures the magic of the ride with original illustrations to accompany everyone’s favorite pirate song. 

     

    1.28 Keymasters QuestTHE KEYMASTER’S QUEST
    By Jason Lethcoe
    (2017)

    For older readers looking to get in on some pre (or post) Disneyland action, this adventurous series of Middle Grade novels is a good place to start. Set in the worlds of Disney’s Adventureland (The Enchanted Tiki Room, the Jungle Cruise, etc.) this book follows Andy Stanley as he ventures deep into the jungle to keep magical artifacts from falling into the wrong hands. It’s an adventurous story made better by some good puzzles and Disney magic.

     
  • LEGO

    Around our house Legos bring about feelings of awesomeness. Not everyone is obsessed with Legos and collecting them, but my son aspires to be a Lego designer in the future. There are large numbers of Legos around and long amounts of time spent constructing. I didn’t play with Legos enough when I was young.  We didn’t have access to them or maybe I didn’t have access to my brother’s and I didn’t have any of my own. I feel as though I am making up for it now, because I love having Legos around and letting everyone in the family have access to them. I am not amazing at creating structures from pure imagination, like my son, but I do find a lot of satisfaction from sorting and following a pattern or instructions. 

    Sometimes, after amassing a large amount of Legos in your house, there may be times where you need a spark of creativity to extend Lego play or to entice those who play with Legos less often to start playing with them more or in a different way. The cool thing about Legos is they are open-ended and there isn’t a right or wrong way to play with them. Anyone can be successful to their own degree or desire. Lego books are out there for everyone from the young to grown-up and for every level of interest to extend Lego play. The newest builder up through the professional level can be inspired by books. Some have specific patterns that are easy to follow and fool-proof. There are other idea books without any patterns that just spark creativity to use the bricks. Here are a few fun books the library has:

    7.1 Amazing Brick MosaicsAMAZING BRICK MOSAICS
    By Amanda Brack
    (2018)

    This guide contains instructions to create beautiful 2-D mosaics. The plan for each creation is divided up in four quadrants with a picture of each specific brick needed to complete the design. The designs are intricate, but the instructions help simplify the process. It is a great place to start getting into mosaics. After my son checked this out, he was able to create his own from imagination.  

     

    7.1 Amazing ABCAMAZING ABCS
    By Sean Kenney
    (2012)

    Lego books are created even for the youngest of readers. This board book has bricks made into each letter of the alphabet, perfect for introducing the excitement of Lego to the next generation of builders.  

     

    7.1 LEGO Play BookLEGO PLAY BOOK: IDEAS TO BRING YOUR BRICKS TO LIFE
    By Daniel Lipkowitz
    (2013)

    Lego bricks are easy to collect and although there are endless possibilities, sometimes looking through someone else’s ideas can really spark creativity. This idea book has several different chapters, each with an idea subject created by Lego fans.  

     

    7.1 LEGO Architecture Idea BookTHE LEGO ARCHITECTURE IDEA BOOK: 1001 IDEAS FOR BRICKWORK, SIDING, WINDOWS, COLUMNS, ROOFING, AND MUCH, MUCH MORE!
    By Alice Finch
    (2018)

    This idea book is for serious Lego fans, especially those interested in architecture details to add to their structures. Finch relates it to how a thesaurus would be useful for writers, this guide with detailed ideas can help to augment structures for Lego builders with the ideas she has compiled over years of working with Legos professionally. 

     

    7.1 Beautiful LEGOBEAUTIFUL LEGO
    By Mike Doyle
    (2013)

    Just as the title describes, Doyle has gathered together a large collection of incredible Lego structures, over 267 pages of mostly photographs. The bricks are themselves a medium artists use to create structures. More than just Lego fans can appreciate the talent that goes into the works of arts contained inside.

     
  • BFYR 2

     The best part of reading is getting lost in another world. The easiest way to do that is reading something by a good writer. Deborah Wiles fits that bill. It is easy to become friends with the characters she creates and become emotionally involved in their world. Most of her work is set in the Southern United States in the 1960s, and whether you were around in the 60s or not, you feel like you are there as you read her work. How lucky we are to have her coming for the Symposium on Books for Young Readers on July 13-14.  

    Wiles uses her own life experiences as a place to create her stories. On her website, she describes each of her books within the context of the life experiences and emotions she channeled to write the story. Even some of the characters are based on real people in her life. The grandma in "Love, Ruby Lavender" is based on her own grandma Eula, who shares the same name as the grandma in the book. Friendship and family are strong themes throughout a lot of her writing. 

    After researching about Wiles, my favorite part of her website is her life notice rather than an end-of-life notice. The notice is written by a fictional character, Comfort Snowberger, from her book "Each Little Bird That Sings.” The life notice is very detailed and hilarious. It is geared toward younger students and children who are doing research on Wiles, but I found it enjoyable and informative as a full-grown person. 

    In reading about her, I learned that Wiles didn't realize as a child she could be a writer when she grew up, but becoming a mother was something she had always wanted to do. In her 20's she decided she could write while also spending time being a mother to her 4 children. She became a writer after years of hard work, writing, rewriting, and more hard work. Her dedication to her dream pushed her to submit work that was rejected. She decided to go back to school in her forties, pursuing her desire to become a writer. Her perseverance is remarkable, and now she is an accomplished author with many of her popular books receiving recognition awards. She regularly uses her own experiences to teach others about writing.  

    Here are a couple of her picture books that I’ve read and enjoyed: 

    7.5.17 Freedom SummerFREEDOM SUMMER
    Written by Deborah Wiles
    Illustrated by Jermone Lagarrigue
    (2001) 

    This picture book was inspired by the summer when the Civil Rights Act was passed in the United States in 1964. Two boys of different ethnicities have a friendship that involves swimming in the lake. They are excited to finally be able to swim together at the pool, but find that change can be difficult, even good changes. I had never looked at the passing of the Civil Rights Act in the light of children and how they might have been affected. Through it all, friendship is the theme. 

    7.5.17 One Wide SkyONE WIDE SKY 
    Written by Deborah Wiles
    Illustrated by Tim Bowers
    (2003) 

    Wiles’ other picture book is actually a lullaby. When she shares it at schools and with others she includes the music. She dedicates it “For my children, remembering our days together under one wide sky.” 

    Want something a little longer? Wiles has written plenty of longer titles for children. Here are some owned by the Provo Library: 

    7.5.17 Love Ruby LavenderLOVE, RUBY LAVENDER
    Written by Deborah Wiles
    (2001) 

     

     

     

     

     

    7.5.17 The Aurora County All StarsAURORA COUNTY ALL-STARS
    Written by Deborah Wiles
    (2007)

     

     

     

     

     

    7.5.17 Each Little Bird that SingsEACH LITTLE BIRD THAT SINGS
    Written by Deborah Wiles
    (2005)

     

     

     

     

    7.5.17 CountdownCOUNTDOWN
    Written by Deborah Wiles
    (2010) 

     

     

     

     

     

    7.5.17 RevolutionREVOLUTION
    Written by Deborah Wiles
    (2014)

     

     

     

     

     

  • Jen Bryant

    According to Jen Bryant, the most important skills an author can have are patience, perseverance, a love of language, good observational skills, and self-discipline. This is reflected in what and how she writes. Jen Bryant’s many published books cover a wide variety of topics, both fiction and nonfiction, including poetry books and over a dozen biographies. She likes to find a subject that has been written about for adults and try to make that subject into something younger audiences would enjoy. In interviews Jen has said that she loves the researching process. It’s like a scavenger hunt to find the most interesting details about something true. When she researches a topic for one of her books, it is an extensive and exciting process that involves reading books and articles, watching movies, videos, and plays, giving interviews, and visiting museums, archives, special collections, and small towns where historic events occurred. Jen then takes all of this information and crafts beautiful, detailed, and personal picture books, biographies, and poems.  

    We are thrilled to host Jen Bryant at BYU’s Symposium on Books for Young Readers. Before she comes, check out some of her books.

    7.14 Six DotsSIX DOTS: A STORY OF YOUNG LOUIS BRAILLE
    Written by Jen Bryant
    Illustrated by Boris Kulikov
    (2016)

    An inspiring picture-book biography of Louis Braille--a blind boy so determined to read that he invented his own alphabet.

     

     

    7.11.17 A River of WordsA RIVER OF WORDS: THE STORY OF WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS
    Written by Jen Bryant
    Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
    (2016)

    This picture book biography of William Carlos Williams traces childhood events that lead him to become a doctor and a poet.

     

    7.13 Pieces of GeorgiaPIECES OF GEORGIA
    By Jen Bryant
    (2007) 

    An accessible novel in poems, Pieces of Georgia offers an endearing protagonist-an aspiring artist, a grieving daughter, a struggling student, a genuine friend-and the poignant story of a broken family coming together.

     

     

     

    7.14 Ringside 1925RINGSIDE 1925: VIEWS FROM THE SCOPES TRIAL
    By Jen Bryant
    (2007) 

    The year is 1925, and the students of Dayton, Tennessee, are ready for a summer of fishing, swimming, and drinking root beer floats at Robinson's Drugstore. But when their science teacher, J. T. Scopes, is arrested for having taught Darwin's theory of evolution, it seems it won't be an ordinary summer in Dayton.

     

     

    7.14 A Splash of RedA SPLASH OF RED: THE LIFE AND ART OF HORACE PIPPIN
    By Jen Bryant
    Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
    (2009) 

    Presents an illustrated introduction to the life and work of artist Horace Pippin, describing his childhood love for drawing and the World War I injury that challenged his career.

     

     

    7.13 The Fortune of Carmen NavarroFORTUNE OF CARMEN NAVARRO
    By Jen Bryant
    (2011) 

    Inspired by the novella and opera Carmen, Jen Bryant creates a strong-minded and alluring heroine in this contemporary tale of tragic love

     

     

     

  • BFYR 6

    Laura Vaccaro Seeger’s many picture books have won her the Caldecott Honor Award twice and the Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Award twice, as well as many other awards. She has also exhibited her art at multiple galleries, and she won an Emmy Award for her work in the network television business as an animator and designer. 

    Laura grew up on Long Island where she began drawing at the age of two. Later she received her BFA at State University of New York. According to her website, “Laura has been an artist and a writer for as long as she can remember and has always wanted to make picture books for children. In the fifth grade, she’d written an essay that stated with absolute certainty that she was born to make picture books. By that time, she had written and illustrated her own little library.” 

    Laura brings bold colors, important learning concepts, and new ways of looking at the world together in a way that both kids and adults love. The Provo Library is very excited to have picture book author/illustrator Laura Vaccaro Seeger coming to BYU’s Books for Young Readers Symposium this week. Check out a few of these great titles: 

    7.12.17 GreenGREEN
    (2012) 

    With die-cut pages and rhyming text, Seeger explores the many shades that one color can have. The reader sees examples from nature of jungle green, khaki green, fern green, and a few greens they would never expect. This book won the Caldecott Honor Award and is bound to be a classic. 

     

    7.12.17 First the EggFIRST THE EGG
    (2007) 

    This picture book presents various forms of transformation: first the tadpole, then the frog. As expected with Seeger, some of the pairings are a delightful surprise. This book is a great way to introduce young children to ideas of cause and effect, life cycles, and the interconnectedness of our world. 

     

    7.12.17 Dog and BearDOG AND BEAR:TWO FRIENDS, THREE STORIES
    (2007)

    A stuffed bear and an energetic dachshund join the ranks of great friendship duos to be found in easy reader titles. They help each other, laugh together, and have adventures. These short and sweet tales with simple text are perfect for young children just learning to read on their own. 

     

     

     

    7.12.17 I Used to Be AfraidI USED TO BE AFRAID
    (2015) 

    This simple story shows examples of things a little girl used to be afraid of, such as spiders and dark shadows, and how she conquered those fears by seeing each thing in a new light – being awed by the beautiful intricacy of a spider’s web or making shadow puppets on the walls. This is a great way to start a conversation about fear with young children.

     

     

  • BFYR 7

    In the library world we sometimes don’t expect our favorite authors to also be jocks. But notable Books for Young Readers guest Matt de la Peña got his bachelor’s degree paid for on a full basketball scholarship from the University of the Pacific. Matt later went on to receive his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University, which pacifies our authorial expectations a bit.

    Matt has certainly drawn on his life experiences to write his books. He has said that growing up, he could never have imagined becoming an award winning author: “Me and books? Reading? Nah, man, I was a working class kid. A half-Mexican hoop head. I spent all my after school hours playing ball down at the local pick-up spot off Birmingham. I dreamed of pretty girls and finger rolls over outstretched hands… But age has a way of giving a guy perspective.”

    But a glance at Matt’s picture will show that he isn’t very old for the success he’s had as an author. However, much of his writing has filled an important niche, often featuring under-privileged ethnic children who have to learn to navigate life and a system that seems to be pushing against them. The books have made such an impact that during his career he has won many awards, including New York Times Bestseller, ALA-YALSA Best Book for Young Adults, ALA-YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, Notable Book for a Global Society, Junior Library Guild Selection, Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Literature Blue Ribbon List, NYC Public Library Stuff for the Teen Age, Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award, and, of course, the 2016 Newbery Award. His debut novel, BALL DON'T LIE, was even made into a movie in 2011 starring Ludacris, Nick Cannon, Emelie de Ravin, Grayson Boucher, and Rosanna Arquette.

    Matt’s 2016 Newbery Award was especially distinctive and rare since Last Stop on Market Street is a picture book, a format that rarely receives this award. Of this book and his others, Matt said in his Newbery acceptance speech, “sometimes when you grow up outside the reach of the American Dream, you’re in a better position to record the truth. That we don’t all operate under the same set of rules. That our stories aren’t all assigned the same value in the eyes of decision Makers.”

    We are so happy to host Matt de la Peña at the library during BYU’s Books for Young Readers symposium, and hope you’ll take the chance to check out some of his books before his visit. Here are a few that can get you started:

    PICTURE BOOKS:

    7.13 Last Stop on Market StreetLAST STOP ON MARKET STREET
    By Matt de la Peña
    Illustrated by Christian Robinson
    (2015)

    “A young boy, CJ, rides the bus across town with his grandmother and learns to appreciate the beauty in everyday things.”

     

     

     

    A nations hopeA NATION’S HOPE: THE STORY OF BOXING LEGEND JOE LOUIS
    By Matt de la Peña
    Illustrated by Kadir Nelson
    (2013)

    “Biography of boxer Joe Louis and his historic fight with German Max Schmeling.”

     

     

     

    YA NOVELS:

    7.13 Mexican White BoyMEXICAN WHITEBOY
    By Matt de la Peña
    (2008)

    “Sixteen-year-old Danny searches for his identity amidst the confusion of being half-Mexican and half-white while spending a summer with his cousin and new friends on the baseball fields and back alleys of San Diego County, California.”

     

     

     

     

    7.13 The LivingTHE LIVING
    By Matt de la Peña
    (2013)

    “After an earthquake destroys California and a tsunami wrecks the luxury cruise ship where he is a summer employee, high schooler Shy confronts another deadly surprise.”

     

     

     

     

  • BFYR 5

    Author and Illustrator Melissa Sweet claims she has been making art ever since she could hold a crayon, scissors, Etch-A-Sketch, or coloring book. She can certainly back up this claim since she has now illustrated over 100 published picture books! We can’t cover all of them in this post, but I've selected a few of my favorite picture book biographies illustrated by Melissa Sweet that you do not want to miss out on. And don't forget that Melissa is coming to the library for the BYU Books for Young Reader's Symposium on July 13-14.

    7.11.17 Baloons over BroadwayBALLOONS OVER BROADWAY: THE TRUE STORY OF THE PUPPETEER OF MACY’S PARADE
    Written and Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
    (2011)

    It’s hard to imagine Thanksgiving without the Macy’s Parade and their giant helium balloons. In BALLOONS OVER BROADWAY, you learn how Tony Sarg, a puppeteer, brought his imagination and genius to the Macy’s parade with the introduction of helium balloons in 1928, forever changing the parade.

    7.11.17 Some WriterSOME WRITER: THE STORY OF E.B. WHITE
    Written and Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
    (2016)

    Sweet’s work and life motto is “Be tidy. Be brave.” from Charlotte’s Web, so it seems appropriate she would write a biography on the author E.B. White. Using a mixture of White’s personal letters and photos, intermixed with Sweet’s artwork, the life of E.B. White comes alive. Old and young will appreciate this picture book biography.

     

    7.11.17 The Right WordTHE RIGHT WORD: ROGET AND HIS THESAURUS
    Written by Jen Bryant
    Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
    (2014)

    Peter Mark Roget was a book worm who loved to organize words into lists. Lots and lots of lists that helped him find the right word to describe how he felt. Those lists grew to become one of the standard reference books in homes and libraries. Can you imagine trying to write a paper today without a thesaurus?

     

    7.11.17 A River of WordsA RIVER OF WORDS: THE STORY OF WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS
    Written by Jen Bryant
    Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
    (2008)

    A RIVER OF WORDS uses mixed media art that earned Sweet a Caldecott Honor award. It is the biography of Williams Carlos Williams, a physician who never gave up his dream of being a poet. Williams' free verse style of writing is perfectly accompanied by Sweet's artwork, which was researched to fit the time period when Williams was writing.

     

  • BFYR 3

    The Books for Young Readers Symposium is a pretty exciting event when we get to have some big names in Children’s literature come and visit our library. It’s always wonderful to have authors in our library, but it’s even more exciting when we get to have famous, local authors like Tess Hilmo stop by. 

    Tess Hilmo is a Southern California native who attended Brigham Young University where she studied Communications. She had a few different careers before becoming a published author here in Utah and then in California, where her family moved when her husband started medical school. What is so impressive about Tess Hilmo’s career is that even though she didn’t start as an author, once she decided to write she was very persistent. 

    She started her first novel while pregnant with her second child, and it took twelve years for WITH A NAME LIKE LOVE to be published. This debut novel achieved critical acclaim—receiving both a Kirkus and Booklist starred review. Since then, Hilmo has written two other middle grade novels, each met with positive critical attention. 

    Tess Hilmo’s repertoire is impressive—each of her three novels is unique in setting, and you could read all three back to back without a feeling of repetition. Her stories are engaging and interesting, and all feature likable characters who are easy to identify with but still different from one another. 

    To read more about Tess Hilmo and her journey to become a successful author, check out her website! You should also check out a few of these great books owned by the Provo Library: 

    7.6.17 With a Name Like LoveWITH A NAME LIKE LOVE
    Tess Hilmo
    (2011) 

    Thirteen-year-old Olivene Love gets tangled up in a murder mystery when her itinerant preaching family arrives in the small town of Binder, Arkansas in 1957. 

     

     


    7.6.17 Skies Like TheseSKIES LIKE THESE
    By Tess Hilmo
    (2014) 

    While visiting her eccentric aunt who lives in Wyoming, twelve-year-old Jade befriends a boy who believes he is a descendant of Butch Cassidy. 

     

     

     

    7.6.17 Cinnamon MoonCINNAMON MOON
    By Tess Hilmo
    (2016) 

    Historical fiction about two siblings and a friend trying to find a new family and a home after the Great Chicago Fire.

     

     

     

  • Baby Genius 

    Are you looking for resources to supplement your child’s learning? In the coming weeks, we’ll be doing a series of posts on child brain development and how the library can help.Today, we will be talking about infants, which are children up to 18 months of age.

    At every stage, the first recommendation (after love) is to read, sing, and talk to your child, which means that the library is a great place to start. For more exposure to reading, singing, and talking, bring your little one to story time! We have story time at a variety of times during the week where our storytellers read, sing, and talk to your children. For children under one year, we offer Book Babies on Mondays and Fridays at 10:00 am, while one- and two-year-olds can attend Toddler Time on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 10:05 and 11:05. 

    Beyond storytime, the library offers a number of resources to help your children learn and flourish. In particular, we have books and discovery kits that can help develop your baby's eyesight, tactile senses, and ability to identify and name objects.

    Eyesight

    Not having had the chance to hone his or her senses in the womb, your baby is in need of natural stimulation to help him or her progress, particularly for visual and tactile senses. Contrasting and bright colors help babies to focus on and distinguish between different visual stimuli. While you can (and should) read any and all books with your child, here are a few that might help specifically with their developing eyesight:

    5.7 My AnimalsMY ANIMALS
    By Xavier Deneux
    (2015)

    This board book has pictures of animals in black and white with pops of color to train your child’s eyes. Each animal is labelled (which is another great aspect for visual attention, as discussed below), and each page has holes so that your growing child can learn to turn the pages themselves. 

     

    5.7 Birds of a ColorBIRDS OF A COLOR
    By  élo
    (2018)

    Focusing more on color contrasts than just black and white, this board book has interactive elements to teach colors by placing them behind black and white patterns. 

     

    5.7 Patterns Jr. Discovery KitPATTERNS JR. DISCOVERY KIT

    Our Junior Discovery Kits come with books, toys, and suggested activities for a particular topic.The Patterns Jr. kit is filled with contrast perfect for aiding your little one’s visual development. 

     

    IDENTIFICATION AND NAMING

    A study done by Lisa Scott at the University of Florida showed that labels – like in MY ANIMALS – and names in books have a positive impact on infants' visual attention as they age. You can create the names yourself as you read, or read books like those below with recognizable characters. As you read, point to pictures and say the name of the character or object, even if it isn’t explicitly stated. 

     

    5.7 The Cat in the HatTHE CAT IN THE HAT
    bY Dr. Seuss
    (1957)

    This classic by Dr. Seuss has names for many of its characters that you can repeat again and again. 

     

    5.7 Berenstain Bears THE BERENSTAIN BEARS: WE LOVE THE LIBRARY
    By Mike Berenstain
    (2017)

    The Berenstain Bears books have repeating characters that you can point out in book after book. We like this one because we also love the library. 

     

    TACTILE RECOGNITION

    As their tactile senses develop, around 3-6 months, books with texture can be a great tool to introduce your baby to different sensations. We don’t typically keep these in the library, as they tend to get dirty or damaged very quickly travelling between children’s hands. One place where the library does offer them is in a few of our Junior Discovery Kits. 

     

    5.7 Night Night FarmFARM JR. DISCOVERY KIT

    Not only does this Junior Discovery Kit have textured materials, but farm animals, which can be used to teach names and sounds. 

     

    5.7 Numbers Jr. Discovery KitNUMBERS JR. DISCOVERY KIT

    The Numbers kit is great for reading, singing, and playing; along with textured materials for tactile senses. 

     

    5.7 Safari Jr. Discovery KitSAFARI JR. DISCOVERY KIT

    If your baby liked the Farm kit, they’ll love the Safari kit. It has more animals and textured materials! To wrap up, here is another book that discusses child brain development that might have some useful tips. You can check it out directly or get it in any of our Junior Discovery Kits. 

     

    FOR PARENTS

    5.7 The Whole Brain ChildTHE WHOLE-BRAIN CHILD
    By Daniel Siegel
    (2011)

    This book offers much more than I can say on the topic of child brain development and how to guide them in their growth. Be sure to follow the blog to learn about more library resources to aid brain development in older children!

     
  • Toddler Brain Development

    Welcome to part 2 of our child brain development series. Today we will be talking about toddlers, or children from 18 months up to 3 years of age. As I mentioned in part 1 of this series, on infants, it is important to read, sing, and talk to your child every day, no matter how old they are. Now that they are talking more and more, however, it is essential to encourage your child’s new skills.Here are a few activities you and your child should take advantage of within the library:

    STORY TIME 

    We recommended Story Time for infants, but now that your child is moving and talking more, they will get even more out of this activity. We have Book Babies and Toddler Time in the story circle, which are specifically geared toward this age group. Your child will not only get the chance to hear from our fantastic storytellers, but practice imitating their movements and sounds – key for development at this time.

    PRESCHOOL PLAY

    Although preschool typically starts around 3 years of age, the toys in the story circle during Preschool Play can be fun for your toddler as well. We also have several toys for young children next to the story room. Play is vital to child brain development, so letting them explore and learn both on their own and with your guidance is beneficial at this age.

    JUNIOR DISCOVERY KITS

    Explore a topic with your child using books, toys, and activities by checking out one of our junior discovery kits. In particular for toddlers, we recommend: colors, numbers, and shapes. These kits include toys that challenge their learning and level of play with stacking and matching.

    Now to what you typically think of when bringing your child to the library: books.

    You may have noticed your child loves to point at things and ask what it is or name it themselves. You can encourage this curiosity and connectivity through books with interactive and follow-along elements, like those below. Also, while reading together be sure to ask them questions, such as “Where is the dinosaur?” or, while pointing at the dinosaur, “What is that?” 

    5.28 WigglesWIGGLES
    By Claire Zucchelli-Romer
    (2018)

    This fun book gives instructions to your child on using different fingers to make patterns. It is a beautiful little book packed with activity! 

     

    5.28 Around the WorldAROUND THE WORLD: A FOLLOW THE TRAIL BOOK
    By Craig Shuttlewood
    (2015)

    Your child can follow this book around the world – with their finger! Not only do they learn as they go, and see pretty pictures, but they become more engaged with the book by utilizing this tactile attachment. 

     

    5.28 Baby DinosaursBABY DINOSAURS
    By Dawn Sirett
    (2018)

    Similar to Around the World: A Follow the Trail Book, this book teaches your child about dinosaurs while having them tag along on the paper trail. I am no expert on this subject, so I will continue to refer to the following book for any questions you may have about how to help your child’s brain develop, both in the library and at home. You can check this out directly, or find it in one of our junior discovery kits mentioned above. 

     

    5.28 The Whole Brain ChildTHE WHOLE-BRAIN CHILD
    By Daniel Siegel
    (2011)

    This book goes into much more depth about child brain development and ways you can help your child in their growth. For more recommendations about how the library can help with the brain development of your growing child, stay tuned for more in this series on the blog. 

     
  • childrens collection 01

  • There are three major classic children’s mysteries series: Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and The Boxcar Children. Who hasn’t read at least one of these timeless adventures? They are still hugely popular, and new incarnations are being released on a regular basis.

    Thinking about these great series reminded me of the “Head to Head” books, a series that makes predictions about what would happen if one person/animal/fantasy character went to battle with another. They analyze strengths and weakness of each opponent and make guesses about final outcomes. Just for fun, let’s pretend these mystery series were virtual warriors, and they were locked in literary battle with each other. Which one would emerge as the most “boss” children’s mystery series ever? Here are the stats. You decide.

    childrens mystery series 01

    If you haven’t read a Nancy Drew, Boxcar Children or Hardy Boys in a while, why not pick up a copy?

    Nancy Drew #1: THE SECRET OF THE OLD CLOCK 

    Hardy Boys #1 : THE TOWER TREASURE

    The Boxcar Children #1: THE BOXCAR CHILDREN

  • In honor of the most recent addition to the Star Wars franchise, here's a quick glance at the Star Wars offerings in the Children's Department! 

    star wars kids 01

  • threenager

    Over the past two years, I’ve checked in periodically to share my son’s favorite books. It’s been fun to look back on his past favorites (as a one-year-old and then as a toddler), and to see his interests growing up and diversifying as he gets older. It's possible that as his parent, I find these posts more interesting than anyone else, but I feel like it’s worth checking in on the blog every year, because whether you’re reading to a baby or a toddler or a threenager, you always need good books.

    Now that Calvin is three, he’s a little bit more interested in reading lots of different kinds of books rather than the same books over and over. As you’ll see, he spends a lot of time in the 500’s (nonfiction animal books), but he also loves Dr. Seuss and Mo Willems.

    It’s getting harder to pick his favorites; what I’ve chosen to highlight here are the books that Calvin keeps asking us to get every time he comes to the library (which is often). There’s also a strong bent toward books that I enjoy reading out loud, because if you are also someone who spends a lot of time reading to children, you will know that not all books are created equal in this regard. I want Calvin to have books he’s interested in, but our reading is a shared experience, and it’s nice if I can enjoy it too.

     

    4.19 SpidersSPIDERS
    by Nic Bishop
    (2007)

    Calvin is obsessed with bugs and creepy crawly things. When we go to the aquarium, he runs to see the bird-eating tarantula; when we play outside, much time is devoted to catching and attempting to feed various insects (Calvin is always dismayed that Box Elder Bugs don’t seem interested in sticking around for the feast he’s created out of grass and twigs). I credit a lot of this interest to a copy of SPIDERS by Nic Bishop that I brought home from our Used Book Store. 

    If you have small people living in your house and haven’t checked out Nic Bishop’s books yet, repent immediately and get them. Nic Bishop is a photographer first, and it shows. However, one of my favorite things about his books is that they offer a lot of information but remain easy to read aloud (a surprisingly difficult balance to strike!). Calvin’s favorites so far are SPIDERS, BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS, and SNAKES, but we haven’t really met a Nic Bishop book we haven’t liked.

     

    4.19 Zombie MakersZOMBIE MAKERS: TRUE STORIES OF NATURE’S UNDEAD 
    by Rebecca L. Johnson
    (2013)

    This book is cool and gross. Calvin loved it so much we exhausted our renewal options from the library. For the first week we had it, Calvin asked for this book by saying, “Can we read that book that has that worm coming out of that girl’s leg?” Great bedtime book or stuff of nightmares? You decide… 

    ZOMBIE MAKERS is about parasitic organisms that cause involuntary reactions in their hosts’ bodies. From a fungus that makes a fly stop flying (does that mean it’s called a walk?) to a virus that makes rats attracted to cats, this book makes you realize how bizarre the world can be. It also makes me realize that wasps are the biggest jerks in the animal kingdom. You’ll have to read more to find out why! 

     

    4.19 Pigeon NeedsTHE PIGEON NEEDS A BATH
    by Mo Willems
    (2014)

    It’s hard to choose which Mo Willems book is Calvin’s favorite; between the Elephant and Piggie books and the Pigeon books, there’s usually at least one of them in the bedtime lineup. But THE PIGEON NEEDS A BATH was our first, and I credit it for teaching my toddler the phrase “That is a matter of opinion!”, so it gets the feature here. 

    I love voicing the pigeon. He is witty; he is funny; he is easily exasperated. I laugh every time when he complains that the bath water is “too reflective.” The pigeon is, really, an eloquent toddler, incredibly stubborn until he’s forced to try something new and discovers that it’s his new favorite thing. I think the character of the pigeon hits on the sometimes absurdity of these small people that share our houses, and helps us all laugh a little at those times when someone refuses to bathe or asks again and again to do something that they aren’t allowed to do. 

     

    4.19 Bartholomew OobleckBARTHOLOMEW & THE OOBLECK
    by Dr. Seuss
    (1949)

    I said I only wanted to share books that I enjoyed reading, but I lied a little bit. Maybe you are more Dr. Seuss savvy than I, but the thing that surprised me when we first read this book together is that it does not rhyme! I try not to be bothered by it, but it’s a bit strange read a Dr. Seuss book without that Dr. Seuss signature cadence.   

    BARTHOLOMEW AND THE OOBLECK is the story of a king’s disastrous decision to try to rule the sky as well. In his hubris, he asks for his magicians to create something to fall from the sky other than the standard sun, rain, and snow his kingdom is used to. What he gets is oobleck, a sticky green goo that mucks everything up. I don’t know why Calvin loves this book, but he asked to check it out every time we came to the library, even if we already had it checked out (at one point we had two copies from two different libraries). My only thought is that he really likes the look of various people and livestock covered in green goop. 

     

    4.19 Ballet Cat SecretBALLET CAT: THE TOTALLY SECRET SECRET
    by Bob Shea
    (2015)

    Calvin really likes all the Ballet Cat books, but I think that THE TOTALLY SECRET SECRET is his favorite favorite. Like many easy readers, this one’s done all in dialogue, and is especially fun if you can have two readers to voice the different characters. We love the simple art; we love the different colored pages; we love this story about friends learning that it’s important to listen to each other. Our only complaint about the Ballet Cat books is that there aren’t more of them!

     
  • Reading in Sun

    With summer in full swing and temperatures rising, the best way to beat the heat is to curl up in your air conditioned room with a good book. These five books are stories about children in summer who go on adventures and face all kinds of mythical and very real problems. Check out any of the following books to stop sweating the heat and be sucked into a summerland tale. 

    8.5 The Remarkable Journey of Coyote SunriseTHE REMARKABLE JOURNEY OF COYOTE SUNRISE
    By Dan Gemeinhart
    (2019)            

    Coyote is a twelve-year-old girl who has been living on the road with her father, Rodeo, for the past five years. They travel all around the U.S. in motorhome converted from an old school bus. They drive for adventure, but also to escape the home where her mom and two sisters were lost in a car crash. But when a park is planned to be demolished in their hometown, the park that holds a buried memory box their whole family hid, they must make the trip back to rescue it. Their fun, care-free lifestyle embodies the feel of a summer vacation and makes the book a captivating read. 

     

    8.5 The Last Last Day of SummerTHE LAST LAST-DAY-OF-SUMMER
    By Lamar Giles
    (2019)            

    With the last day of summer bringing that feeling of dread, Otto and Shead, cousins who can’t help their desire to spy and uncover the secrets in their little town in Virginia, mistakenly stop time. While frozen in the last day of summer, they meet strange people and creatures and roll off into the adventure of a lifetime. But having a perpetual summer day isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. If they don’t unfreeze time, time could stop for good. 

     

    8.5 Where the Watermelons GrowWHERE THE WATERMELONS GROW
    By Cindy Baldwin
    (2018)            

    Della discovers her mother picking black seeds out of a watermelon one summer’s night and can tell something isn’t quite right. Her mother has struggled with mental illness in the past to the point of hospitalization. With her father’s farm in trouble, Della sees that she needs to be the one to help her mama heal before her home falls apart. What does she use as medicine? Her neighbor’s magic honey. It may just heal the heartache in her life. 

     

    8.5 Counting to PerfectCOUNTING TO PERFECT
    By Suzanne LaFleur
    (2018)            

    All of Cassie’s problems seem to be because of her sister, Julia, who is the favorite daughter and receives all the attention now that she has a daughter of her own. It seems no one cares about her competitive swim meets and collapsing group of friends. So when Julia tells Cassie that she’s going on a road trip with her daughter and isn’t telling their parents of her plans, Cassie forgoes her summer plans and hops in the car with her sister for a road trip that will change her perspective completely. 

     

    8.5 SummerlostSUMMERLOST
    By Ally Condie
    (2016)            

    After the devastating death of her father and brother, Cedar’s family packs up to spend the summer in Iron Creek. While settling into their house, Cedar sees a boy dressed randomly in a costume riding his bike through town. When she follows him, she finds herself at the town’s Summerlost theatre festival. She gets a job in concessions, makes new friends, and discovers the mystery that shrouds the festival and follows her. 

     
  •  Choose Your Own Adventure

    Before there were video games there were Choose Your Own Adventure books.

    I remember the thrill I got as a kid coming to the end of a chapter and having to decide, do I go down the shadowy path (turn to page 25), or knock on the heavy oak door (turn to page 56). There was something delightfully delicious about being able to choose how the story would turn out.

    I am happy to say that even with modern computer adventure games Choose Your Own Adventure books are still popular. Now readers have a variety of adventure options in both the fiction and informational sections. 

    Choose Your Own Adventure

    11.19 Abominable SnowmanTHE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN
    By R. A Montgomery
    (2005)

    This is the classic series that you may have read as a child.  Still kind of silly, but guaranteed to be fun.The library has over 30 different titles in this series, including some featuring popular super heroes. 

     

    Choose Your Own Adventure JR.

    11.19 CaravanCARAVAN
    By R.A. Montgomery
    (1987)

    This is a version of the original series for a younger (2nd-3rd grade) reader.  It is even more silly, and has fun cartoonish illustrations. 

     

    Interactive History Adventure

    11.19 Ancient ChinaANCIENT CHINA
    By Terry Collins
    (2012)

    Do you have a kid who loves the I Survived series?  This is an informational series that has interactive adventures based on real historic events.  The library has more than 50 titles in this series, but they are scattered throughout the informational section.  The best way to find them is to type “interactive history adventure” in the search box in the online catalog. 

     

    Midnight Arcade

    11.19 Crypt QuestCRYPT QUEST/SPACE BATTLES
    By Gabriel Soria
    (2018)

    When some kids get trapped in a haunted 80's era video arcade, the Midnight Arcade, they must play their way out of danger, ultimately controlling whether they live . . . or die!  This is a new series in the Choose Your Own format.  The second in the series comes out in September. 

     
  • Christmas Read Alouds

    It's almost Christmas break and kids will be spending more time with their families. This is a great time to snuggle around the fireplace and read a novel aloud together. Or maybe you are going on a road trip and want a Christmas themed book to listen to in the car.  Here are some of my favorite feel good family Christmas novels.   

    12.11 The VanderbeeksTHE VANDERBEEKERS OF 141ST STREET
    By Karina Yan Glaser
    (2017)

    The Vanderbeeker family includes two parents, four kids and three pets.  They have lived in the same brownstone in Harlem as long as any of the kids can remember.  One day, right before Christmas, their landlord and upstairs neighbor decides he is not going to renew their lease. The kids are horrified at the thought of having to move, so they start a campaign to convince reclusive old Mr. Biederman that he really does not want to make them leave. The antics of the kids are funny and each child has an individual and endearing personality.  It has great parent/child relationships, and all the protagonists are trying to do what is right 

     

    12.11 A Season of GiftsA SEASON OF GIFTS
    By Richard Peck
    (2009)

    Grandma Dowdel, the star of the Newbery winner, A Year Down Yonder, returns in this heart warming Christmas book.  It is 1958 and a new preacher and his family has moved into town.  When their son, Bob, is attacked by bullies and tied, naked to Grandma Dowdel’s privy, Grandma Dowdel decides to take the family into her care using her own brand of unconventional love. 

     

    12.11 A Boy Called ChristmasA BOY CALLED CHRISTMAS
    By Matt Haig
    (2016)

    Nicholas lives with his father, Joel, who is a woodcutter in Finland. They are poor, but Nicolas is relatively happy and enjoys spending time in the forest with his dad. When Joel goes away with some strange men and doesn’t return, Nicholas goes on a grand quest to find him. This is an origin story about how Nicolas becomes Father Christmas. The story is definitely told from a British point of view. Nicolas becomes Father Christmas, not the more American Santa Claus, but even American readers will enjoy the many references to Christmas traditions. 

     

    12.11 The Best Christmas Pageant EverTHE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER
    By Barbara Robinson
    (1988)

    The Herdman’s are the worst family in town.  They are dirty, uneducated, and wild.  When they find out that the Sunday School offers snacks, they volunteer to be in the church’s Christmas pageant. As the crazy kids take over the production, the long-suffering director and her family marvel to see how they are transformed by the Christmas story.  This one is an older book that is becoming a classic worthy of being re-read to each new generation.

     
  • Coding 

    Every Tuesday from 4:00pm-5:00pm, kids ages 9-12 fill the story room in the children’s department for Coding +. After taking the Coding + Basics class on the first Tuesday of the month, they are free to come to other classes that teach them coding skills using Bitsbox, Harry Potter, Codecademy, and more. Not only do they learn a thing or two about coding, but they have fun and make new friends. For those outside of the age range, or looking to learn more about coding at home, below are a few books and websites to get them ready for their future as a programmer. 

    Books

    3.15 Computer CodingCOMPUTER CODING
    By Jon Woodcock
    (2014)

    This workbook provides detailed instructions to take your child from a novice to a programmer using Python. The tasks can be done alone or with a parent to help them along. 

     

    3.15 Get CodingGET CODING!: LEARN HTML, CSS, AND JAVASCRIPT AND BUILD A WEBSITE, APP, AND GAME
    By Duncan Beedie
    (2016)

    If your child is interested in building websites and applications, this is a great book to check out. It teaches the basics of HTML, which provides the basic layout of the site; CSS, which adds style and flair; and Javascript, which makes the site interactive. 

     

    3.15 Python for KidsPYTHON FOR KIDS
    By Jason R. Briggs
    (2012)

    A Python textbook made fun, this book takes kids through the basics and into the nitty gritty of programming in Python. With sections dedicated to particular topics and fun programming tasks along the way, this is a great in-depth introduction to programming for kids and adults alike. 

     

    3.15 Star Wars Coding ProjectsSTAR WARS CODING PROJECTS: WITH SCRATCH
    By Jon Woodcock
    (2017)

    Using the website Scratch (https://scratch.mit.edu/), your child’s favorite Star Wars characters show them how to make games and animations that teach coding principles along the way. 

     

    Websites

    • Code.org uses games and recognizable characters to teach kids coding basics at their learning level.

    • Codecademy has a step by step approach to real coding that is good for kids and adults.

    • Codemoji teaches web development in a kid-friendly way.

    • Scratch is a creative outlet for kids that utilizes block coding.  
     
  • construction books

     

    I am the parent of a toddler. Right now, he’s pretty well obsessed with three things: dogs (Paw Patrol specifically, though he likes dogs generally), cats, and construction vehicles. Lucky for us, it’s not hard to find books to satisfy all these obsessions, especially since our children’s department has a “Things that Go” hot topic section.

    Before I get to my list of favorite books from the “Things that Go” section, let me gush a little about Hot Topics. Before I became a parent, it seemed like a good idea to reorganize a large number of our picture books by topic rather than by author. Now that I’m a parent, I realize it's genius. Kids tend to go through phases of intense interest, and it’s SO NICE to be able to go to one place to find all the construction vehicle picture books instead of having to hunt them down in the stacks with a toddler in tow. We’ve found books we probably never would have checked out and they’ve become some of our favorites. I can reliably walk out with a stack of 10-15 books and know my son will be interested in all of them. With topics like ABCs, Colors, Princesses, Super Heroes, Potty Training, and more, the Hot Topics section is one of my favorite library parenting hacks. 

    That said, here are some of our favorite books we’ve found during our many visits to the “Things that Go” section that are sure to please your construction-loving toddler.

    9.7.17 ConstructionCONSTRUCTION
    by Sally Sutton, illustrated by Brian Lovelock
    (2014)

    Construction is a book about—you guessed it—construction! This great read-aloud has illustrations that I find interesting, great rhymes and rhythm, and sound effects that you get to decide how to pronounce! These are Calvin’s favorite part, though he’s at an age where he’s asking what every unfamiliar word means and I don’t really know what to say when he asks me what “Thwock” means. 

    9.7.17 DemolitionDEMOLITION
    by Sally Sutton, illustrated by Brian Lovelock
    (2012)

    This is the second book in the Sutton/Lovelock construction trilogy (the first is actually ROADWORK, which is great but not quite as much of a favorite), and the things I said about CONSTRUCTION pretty much apply here too. One thing I appreciate about these books is that I feel like I learn things too. Did you know that old concrete gets crushed up and recycled into new concrete? Also, these two books are the only two books my son has actively protested returning to the library.

    9.7.17 Dig Dogs DigDIG, DOGS, DIG: A CONSTRUCTION TAIL
    by James Horvath
    (2013)

    This one follows a sort of “day in the life” of a dog at a construction site (where dogs are fully capable workers and not just tag-a-longs). It’s another good read-aloud, and it’s got dogs and constructions vehicles and a DINOSAUR BONE, so it’s right up Calvin’s alley.

     

    9.7.17 Mighty MightyMIGHTY, MIGHTY CONSTRUCTION SITE
    by Sherri Duskey Rinker, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
    (2017)

    I’ve already written about GOODNIGHT, GOODNIGHT CONSTRUCTION SITE (which we still read often), so I thought I’d share the sequel, MIGHTY MIGHTY CONSTRUCTION SITE. Every bit as charming as its predecessor, this volume introduces some new friends to help build a building! I loved the emphasis on partnership, I love the introduction of the new trucks, and I love the way the two books complement and frame one another. 

    9.7.17 Construction KittiesCONSTRUCTION KITTIES
    by Judy Sue Goodwin-Sturges, illustrated by Shari Halpern
    (2013)

    I’m going to be honest: this one was not my favorite, but Calvin LOVED it. This reminds me a lot of DIG, DOGS, DIG!, from the “day in the life” aspect to the actual thing they’re building (spoiler alert: it’s a park. In at least half of the kids’ books about construction, they build parks).  But there are cats, and there are construction vehicles, and sometimes that’s all you need. He'll sometimes end the book by asking, "Can we be construction kitties?" which, of course, we can. If you need me, I'll be meowing and driving a backhoe loader. 

     

  • Discovery Kit FB

    If you didn’t know already – play is a really important part of developing good readers and thinkers. “Pretend play” is especially important to help kids develop their imaginations, reasoning skills, social skills, and pre-reading skills. What better way to foster play than with a Discovery Kit chock full of ideas to inspire little ones? Whether you have a pirate, fairy, or monster-lover we have a kit for you. 

    Many of our patrons have already discovered Discovery Kits (one of the best kept secrets of the Children’s Department) and know just how fun they can be. For our patrons who don’t know what a Discovery Kit is, now is a great time to get acquainted. Discovery Kits are a selection of themed books, toys, and activity ideas appropriate for kids ages 3-5, and each one is filled with enough fun to fill days and days. The Discovery Kits check out as a set and you can keep them for three weeks. That means you have three weeks to play with all the toys, read all the books, and do all the things suggested in the included activity binder. When your three weeks are up, just bring the kit back to the Children’s Reference Desk and you can make a reservation for another one. The best part is that you can now make a reservation for a Discovery Kit online on the library website

    I recently wrote a blog post about finding fun things to do with my niece who loves Frozen. The process of finding things she might like were similar to the steps the children’s librarians go through when creating new Discovery Kits – but on a much smaller scale. Believe me, we put a lot of thought into helping our little patrons grow and develop into the best people they can be, and Discovery Kits are just one (of many) ways we try to foster that. 

    Check out provolibrary.com/discovery-kits to see which adventure to take your kids on next.

  • early literacy

    If you have been to any of our many story times, you’ve probably heard us belt out the “Talk, Sing, Read, Write, Play” song. You’ve also probably received a few early literacy tips and a fun star-shaped handout as a reminder. So why do we focus so much on talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing? Because these tools for early literacy have been shown to be the most important activities parents and caregivers can do with their children to help them learn, grow, and develop. 

    Very young children aren’t specifically being taught to read—they are getting ready to read. It is important that a distinction is made between the two learning processes. The process of learning to read begins at birth as children are exposed to language and sounds. Forming relationships and learning to love books as they grow will help them understand that reading and writing have power in their lives. They will be so excited to have and use this power if they have had positive early literacy experiences. Reading will come naturally to them. 

    During the few short years of early childhood before entering school, kids need to play, explore, and engage in conversation with caregivers. “Talk, sing, read, write, play” is an easy mantra to remember and is simple to incorporate in just minutes throughout the day. Caregivers can make it a fun and enjoyable experience to learn. And if you need some good books that facilitate both reading and playing, check out this list of my favorite interactive picture books to share with your children. 

    Don’t forget that the children’s department also teaches an Early Literacy Class for parents and their 2-3 year olds that is held on Monday mornings at 9:30AM in the story room. This 30 minute class provides hands-on learning and ideas to help you incorporate talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing into a child’s daily experiences. Be sure to check out the website to register the week before class!

  •  Letter Writing

    There is a lot of excitement around our house when the mail carrier drives down the street every afternoon. We are lucky and our mail is delivered after school.  My kids inevitably fight over whose turn it is to get the mail. If it happens to be close to someone’s birthday there will be a birthday card from my grandma, but other than that, it ends up mostly being junk. I have started wondering . . . 

    Do children even know what an actual, real-live letter is? The digital world has taken over and understandably so. Communication is much quicker through texting and email. The up and coming generation’s knowledge of “mail” mostly consists of fliers with a few bills mixed in (and even most of those are now paperless). I have realized they don’t have very many opportunities to experience true letter writing. The idea of writing a letter and having to wait for a response almost seems to be a foreign concept in today’s world. All types of news can be received almost instantaneously. I wanted to have my children understand what it used to be like, when all communication had to be through letters. Enter the world of reading. A person can be engulfed in a pretend sequence they have never experienced for themselves. I am intrigued and amazed by authors who use letters back and forth to characters in order to tell the story. It adds an interesting element for the reader. Around our house we have read some books recently that reminded us how exciting the process of letter writing can be.   

    6.25 Love Ruby LavendarLOVE RUBY LAVENDER
    By Deborah Wiles
    (2001) 

    Nobody likes it when their grandma moves away. Ruby had been living with her grandma and they were basically best friends until her grandma moves to Hawaii—of all places—to be with a new grandbaby. Ruby sends letters to her grandma to keep her informed of all the happenings in their small town and to ask, every letter, when she is coming home. Ruby is taking care of some chickens she rescued and the chickens have babies. There are some hard elementary school friend growing pains she experiences, which are harder because her grandma isn’t around.  

     

    6.25 Extra CreditEXTRA CREDIT
    By Andrew Clements
    (2009) 

    Abby does not want to flunk the sixth grade, so when her teacher offers an extra credit assignment to have a pen pal in Afghanistan, she signs up. Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, Sadeed wants to do the pen pal assignment as well, but deeming it inappropriate for an 11-year old girl and an 11-year old boy to be pen pals, Sadeed enlists his little sister to be Abby’s pen pal. Abby has to post the letters she receives on the bulletin board to receive the full extra credit points. Some interesting twists and turns make it tricky to decide if she can post all the letters she receives. She comes up with clever ideas to get her extra credit, but also be true to her pen pal—or pals as the case may be.  

     

    6.25 Dear Mr. HenshawDEAR MR. HENSHAW
    By Beverly Cleary
    (1983) 

    Leigh Botts writes a letter to his favorite author, Boyd Henshaw, every school year. He finally receives a reply and Mr. Henshaw asks Leigh questions and asks for his reply. Reluctantly, Leigh answers the questions Mr. Henshaw asked in his letter. Leigh decides he might actually like writing and Mr. Henshaw encourages him to keep a diary to help him cope with his parent’s divorce and some hard relationships at school, including someone who is daily stealing from his lunch. 

     
  • fall into a good book 1

    There is a place between awake and asleep that is so blissful and wonderful that to be wrenched from it incurs my wrath and leaves me in a stupor for some time afterwards. There is also a beautiful place like this that you can find while reading: when the author has woven the tale so perfectly that the story, characters, and imaginary world come to life. And you can’t help but get dumped in head first—swallowed whole. 

    Off the top of my head, there are three books I can think of which so engulfed me in a story that pulling me out of it left me in a daze. I can remember distinct moments when, after someone interrupted my reverie, I was unsure of my surroundings or even what the person was saying—because it didn’t sound like English. At those times I was perturbed to be taken from that fictional place because I worried that I wouldn’t be able to sink so deeply again. 

    If you want to fall into some really good books, these are those stories: 

    11.27 BeautyBEAUTY
    By Robin McKinley
    (1978)

    The story of a wealthy merchant who, after learning he has lost everything, comes across a magical and beautiful estate. When he picks a rose for his daughter Beauty, a beast appears—angry that his hospitality would be thanked with thievery. The beast lets the merchant go only because he promises that his daughter will return and live in the castle. Beauty is a formidable character for the Beast: She’s intelligent and has a loving family that she would do anything for. In this beautiful retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Robin McKinley spins a tale so magical that I can’t help but be drawn in.  


    11.27 Harry PotterHARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE
    By J.K. Rowling
    (1998)

    Boy wizard. Dastardly villain. True friends. Ultimate war between good and evil.  

     

     

     

    11.27 Daughter of the ForestDAUGHTER OF THE FOREST 
    By Juliet Marillier 
    (2000)

    A retelling loosely based on a Celtic Myth called “The Children of Lir” combined with “The Six Swans” by the Brothers Grimm. A girl must sew six shirts from a painful nettle plant in order to save her six brothers from a witch’s enchantment, remaining completely mute until the task is finished. This task becomes especially difficult when she is taken from her homeland by a British lord who is sure she has information about his missing brother. Marillier creates some fantastic characters, beautiful worlds, and an interesting crossover into the land of faerie. 

     

     

  •  Fountain Pen

    Cricket

    Snickerdoodle

    Preposterous

    Cannonball

    Nose

    Lovely

    Partition

    Heuristic

    Mud  

    Words are awesome.

    But, add a little syntax, and you can string them together into sentences that, if possible, are even more awesome. I can appreciate a good line, so I always have my eye out for exceptional sentences. And while perusing the books over on the children’s side, I’ve discovered plenty of opening lines that make me want to read on. Can you guess which of our popular children’s chapter books begin with these intriguing first words?  

    1. There is a witch in the woods. There has always been a witch.

    2. Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood.

    3. There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.

    4. The sun sets in the west (just about everyone knows that), but Sunset Towers faced east. Strange!

    5. Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.

    6. You wouldn’t think we’d have to leave Chicago to see a dead body.

    7. I am on my mountain in a tree home that people have passed without ever knowing that I am here.

    8. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake.

    9. Long ago, on the wild and windy isle of Berk, a smallish Viking with a longish name stood up to his ankles in snow.

    10. There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.

    11. Once upon a time, many years ago— when our grandfathers were children— there was a doctor, and his name was Dolittle— John Dolittle, M.D. “M.D.” means that he was a proper doctor and knew a whole lot.

    12. When Mrs. Frederick C. Little’s second son arrived, everybody noticed that he was not much bigger than a mouse.

    13. That fool of a fairy Lucinda did not intend to lay a curse on me.

    14. I am Ivan. I am a gorilla. It’s not as easy as it looks.

    15. Prince charming is afraid of old ladies. Didn’t know that, did you? 

    Answers:

    1. THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON by Kelly Barnhill

    2. THE LIGHTNING THIEF by Rick Riordan

    3. THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman

    4. THE WESTING GAME by Ellen Raskin

    5. HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE by J.K. Rowling

    6. A LONG WAY FROM CHICAGO by Richard Peck

    7. MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN by Jean Craighead George

    8. HOLES by Louis Sachar

    9. HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON by Cressida Cowell

    10. THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER by C.S. Lewis

    11. THE STORY OF DOCTOR DOLITTLE by Hugh Lofting

    12. STUART LITTLE by E.B. White

    13. ELLA ENCHANTED by Gail Carson Levine

    14. THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN by Katherine Applegate

    15. THE HERO’S GUIDE TO SAVING YOUR KINGDOM by Christopher Healy
  • substitute moms

    This time of year we think about moms and the important place they have in our hearts. It is also a time to remember that not everyone has a wonderful mother or a mother who is still a part of their lives.  For those people often other women come into their lives and give them a mother’s love.  So many wonderful women have “mothered” children not their own and they deserve to be celebrated, too.  Luckily, there have been several children’s novels published lately with great “substitute mom” characters.  Here are five of my favorites. 

    5.16 The War That Saved My LifeTHE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE
    By Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
    (2015)

    Ada and her little brother, Jamie, live with a abusive mother in a flat in London at the beginning of WWII.  When the children are evacuated from London because of bombings Ada and Jamie are sent to a small village in Kent.  There they are taken in by a single lady who "doesn't like children." Miss Smith soon finds that caring for the neglected children fills a space in her own empty heart. 

     

    5.16 Betty Before XBETTY BEFORE X
    by Ilyasah Shabazz
    (2018)

    When Betty Sanders is two, her aunt takes her away from her mother because she feels that Betty is being neglected.  When Betty is six her beloved auntie dies, and she goes to live with her biological mother again. Betty finds herself drawn to the women of the House Wife's League, a women's civil rights group, so when her relationship with her birth mother falls apart again, she goes to live with one of the League women who prepares her for the role she will later play as the wife of Malcom X. 

     

    5.16 Beyond the Bright SeaBEYOND THE BRIGHT SEA
    By Lauren Wolk
    (2017)

    When Crow was an infant, she washed up on the shore in a small boat on one of the Elizabethan Islands in Massachusetts. She is adopted by kindly hermit, Osh, and raised by him and a neighbor woman, Maggie.  When Crow is twelve, begins to wonder about where she was born and why she was abandoned.  Even though her curiosity is painful to Osh and Maggie, they give her the support and love she needs as she searches for her origins.   

     

    5.16 The Wardens DaughterTHE WARDEN’S DAUGHTER
    By Jerry Spinelli
    (2017)

    Cammie lives with her father who is the warden of the local prison.  Cammie's mother died saving Cammie from a pedestrian/car accident when Cammie was a toddler, and Cammie desperately misses having a mother.  She decides that one of the inmates who works as a housemaid for the Warden should be her surrogate mom.   

     

    5.16 The Detectives AssistantTHE DETECTIVE’S ASSISTANT
    By Kate Hannigan
    (2015)

    Recently orphaned, Nell gets sent to her maiden aunt who is her only remaining relative.  The year is 1859 and Aunt Kitty is the first and only female detective in the Pinkerton Detective Agency.  At first Aunt Kitty wants to find a respectable boarding school for Nell, but gradually she comes to realize that Nell is not such a bad detective herself. 

     
     
  •  abc books

    I have always loved alphabet books. My grandparents had a Sesame Street book where Grover forms his body into each letter of the alphabet. I remember trying to shape myself into the letters by watching how Grover did it. ABC books span from beginner to advanced. The library has alphabet books about every subject you can imagine. When you read you begin with ABC, when you write it seems as though you do too.  When I think of ABC books, though, I generally think of picture books that I read to children to help them develop their early literacy skills. Reading is fun, of course, but reading to a child also helps  them gain the skills necessary to be ready to read. 

    We currently have an alphabet book section in our Hot Topics area of the Children’s Department. Early literacy is important at the library and ABC books are an important element of early literacy. They are also just plain fun to read. The reader feels a sense of completion when the author’s subject utilizes every letter of the alphabet (even if I secretly come to “x” in every book wondering, what creative word the author was able to stretch to fit their subject). Here are some of my favorites:  

    1.14 Dr. Seusss ABCsDR. SEUSS'S ABCs
    By Dr. Seuss
    (1960)

    This is my favorite ABC book of all time. The rhyming is classic Dr. Seuss. It makes reading fun and enjoyable for the caregiver and the child. I ended up memorizing some parts because we read it so many times. It includes a lot of alliteration helping children hear the beginning sounds of the letters over and over again. 

     

    1.14 On Market StreetON MARKET STREET
    Written by Arnold Lobe
    lIllustrated by Anita Lobel
    (1981) 

    This Caldecott Honor book is another classic I remember being read while I was in elementary school. The character in the book goes to the market and the pages are items from the market designed as a person for each letter of the alphabet. The illustrations are incredibly detailed and imaginative. 

     

    1.14 Eating the AlphabetEATING THE ALPHABET
    By Lois Ehlert
    (1989) 

    Children need to be exposed to different foods sometimes before they are willing to try them. This is a perfect book with different fruits and vegetables for every letter of the alphabet! 

     

    1.14 Bad KittyBAD KITTY
    By Nick Bruel
    (2005) 

    Silly books make for the best books to read aloud to children. Bad Kitty is pretty particular about the food she eats. When the food runs out and there is no time to go to the grocery store, bad kitty gets pretty upset and does a mean thing for every letter of the alphabet. When a trip to the grocery store happens, there is a list including a type of food for each letter of the alphabet, crazy concoctions you will have never heard of that Bad Kitty absolutely loves. She is so happy she does one thing for every letter of the alphabet to make up for the bad behavior. 

     

    1.14 I StinkI STINK
    By Kate and Jim McMullan
    (2002) 

    Children have a fascination with garbage trucks. They are pretty interesting if you think about it. When my kids were really little we would run like the wind when we heard the garbage truck coming. They loved watching it pick up the big dumpster and empty the trash into the incredible truck. Of course, this has been a favorite of ours to read together. It mentions a type of trash for each letter of the alphabet.

     
  • Audiobook

    One of my favorite things to do during the hot summer months is to work on a project and listen to a great audiobook. Whether I am working on crocheting an afghan or cleaning out my closet, there is just something so relaxing about being read to while working with my hands. Summer is also the time for vacations, and audiobooks are a great accompaniment for long drives and hot afternoons by the pool.  Summertime is the perfect time to listen to your favorite book. Here are some of mine: 

    7.24 The Wednesday WarsTHE WEDNESDAY WARS
    By Gary D. Schmidt
    (2009) 

    It’s 1967 and Holling Hood Hood is sure that his junior high homeroom teacher, Mrs. Baker, hates him. He’s the only one who doesn’t go to Hebrew School or Catechism School on Wednesday afternoons, so he and Mrs. Baker are stuck with each other. At first, Mrs. Baker has Holling clean chalk board erasers and do other odd jobs. But eventually Mrs. Baker realizes that there is more to Hoilling than meets the eye. Every Wednesday they read Shakespeare together.  Holling soon realizes that somehow Shakespeare knew what it was like to be a teenager in 1967. Shakespeare knew about first love and first loss, political upheaval, war, and fear about the future.  He even knew about bullies like Doug Swieteck’s brother!  Joel Johnstone does a fantastic job narrating this funny and poignant snapshot of what it was like to be a kid in the late sixties.    

     

    7.24 Mr. Penumbras 24 HourMR. PENUMBRA’S 24 HOUR BOOKSTORE
    By Robin Sloan 
    (2012)

    Clay Jannon, graphic designer and all around geek, needs a job. When he sees the help wanted sign on the door of Mr. Penumbra’s 24 hour bookstore, he applies and gets the job and his life will never be the same again.  Something strange is happening at Mr. Penumbra’s.  Odd people show up to check out books like the store is a library. It’s like they are following the same reading list or something. Then Clay opens one of the books and discovers it is written in code! Clay gets sucked into a word of cryptography and Renaissance publishers in a mystery that is old as books themselves. Ari Fliakos narrates all the different voices in a way that is charming, not annoying.  His intensity keeps the story moving until you are sad to see that it is over.     

     

    7.24 SourdoughSOURDOUGH
    By Robin Sloan 
    (2017)

    Lois Clary works at a San Francisco robotics firm, where long hours move her to regularly order in from a sandwich shop. The place is peculiar, but the food is amazing, especially the sourdough bread. When the brothers who run the shop leave town, they eagerly bestow their sourdough starter on their "number one eater."  Though Lois is hapless in the kitchen, she soon masters baking so well her loaves catch the attention of her employer's in-house chef and, eventually, an elite invite-only farmers market. When Lois comes before the jury that decides who sells what at Bay Area markets, she encounters a close-knit club with no appetite for new members. But then, an alternative emerges: a secret market that aims to fuse food and technology. But who are these people, exactly? Therese Plummer does such a great job narrating this story from Lois’s perspective. She brings humor and tenderness to the story through her voices.  

     

    7.24 Anne of Green GablesANNE OF GREEN GABLES
    By Lucy Maud Montgomery 
    (1908)

    Anne Shirley ought to have been a boy, at least then the Cuthbert’s would want to adopt her. She is an eleven year old orphan who was sent to Avonlea by mistake. When they take her out of duty, Anne unexpectedly blossoms and fills the hearts of the lonely brother and sister, Matthew and Marilla. This is a true classic when it comes to young adult literature and narrator Barbara Caruso’s storytelling power is phenomenal. 

     

    7.24 Ready Player OneREADY PLAYER ONE
    By Ernest Cline
    (2011)

    In the near distant future, humankind lives in the virtual reality of the OASIS. Wade Watts is a Gunter--one who searches for James Halliday’s Easter Egg, the prize of the richest geek in the world's contest to find a heir. Through following the clues, Wade finds himself in the greatest and most dangerous video game of his life. Read by Will Wheaton, this audiobook is a perfect choice for fans of 80s pop-culture and classic SCI-FI. This book has some language in it, so you may want to listen with head phones if there are kids around. 

     
  • Bedtime Story

    Bedtime can be a challenge. There are baths to take, teeth to brush, and pajamas to get on. Add to that the fact that kids are often bouncing off the walls because they are too wound up or are too tired to understand that they should want to sleep. I totally get it! I have had my fair share of times I couldn’t get a small kiddo to go to sleep. So here are my five favorite books to help with those bedtime blues.

    3.22 Dont BlinkDON’T BLINK 
    By Amy Krouse Rosenthal
    (2018)

    The idea behind this book is that every time you blink, you have to turn a page. But if you don’t blink, you won’t get to the end of the book—and thus you won’t have to go to bed! This is a hilarious bedtime book that just dares kids to not blink and to try to stay awake. As the adult reader, I have to watch to see when the child blinks (and thus to turn the page). And if the kid stares for a while, we just sit on that page for a bit. It is totally a good way to try to get kiddos to close their eyes and keep them shut until morning—or at least to get them to try!

     

    3.22 Hooray for TodayHOORAY FOR TODAY 
    By Brian Won
    (2016)

    This is a great picture book. Owl wakes up and is excited to play—only it is nighttime and all his friends are sleeping (or trying to sleep). This is a good book to read to help little ones realize that sleep is important for all sorts of animals (and people) and they shouldn’t keep others awake. This is also a good book to start a discussion about day or night.

     

    3.22 How do Dinosaurs Go to SleepHOW DO DINOSAURS GO TO SLEEP?
    By Jane Yolen
    Illustrated by Mark Teague
    (2000)

    Jane Yolen is a master at helping kids understand the right and wrong ways to act at certain times—such as bedtime. By showing dinosaurs doing the wrong (and then the right) ways to go to bed, kids can learn how good little dinosaurs (and children) should approach bedtime. And if a youngster loves dinosaurs, then bonus! Teague shows a plethora of dinosaurs and has names for the little aspiring paleontologists.

     

    3.22 Hush a Thai LullabyHUSH! A THAI LULLABY 
    By Minfong Ho
    Illustrated by Holly Meade
    (1996)

    This is one of my all-time favorite bedtime books. It is a classic! This book was first published in 1996, and it is still one of the best! In this story a mother keeps telling all sorts of animals to be quiet since baby is sleeping—only she doesn’t see that baby is actually awake and moving around. Kids will like seeing where baby goes and will potentially be lulled to a calmer state due to the soothing cadence of the rhythms and rhymes.

     

    3.22 The Perfect SiestaTHE PERFECT SIESTA 
    By Pato Mena
    (2017)

    In this book jaguar is very hot and tired in the jungle—so he decides that he wants to take a nap, a siesta. Only he wants to wake up in 10 minutes so that he can get up and go about his day. So he asks coati to wake him up. Coati agrees, then gets tired and wants to take a nap as well so he asks cockatiel to wake him up (and so on and so on down the animal alarm-clock chain). This is a fun book that shows kids how naps (which are often similar to bedtimes) are a happy thing that animals (and people) should be excited about. 

     
  • adult kid books 

    There are plenty of books in the children’s department here at the Provo City Library that adults love to read. The same is true in reverse. We often send our smaller patrons over to the adult’s department to find a specific title they are interested in. Here are 5 of my favorite titles that kids can enjoy, but which can’t be found in our Juvenile Fiction collection.   

    10.05.2018 SweetnessTHE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE
    by Alan Bradley
    (2009)

    A new favorite character among readers, Flavia de Luce is a witty 11-yr-old sleuth and an aspiring chemist. Previously, Flavia’s time has been spent trying to make her sisters’ lives miserable and being made miserable in return. That’s until she finds a dead man in the garden and realizes she’s finally found something to truly put her mind to. This is the perfect book for young mystery-lovers that need to be challenged just a bit.  

    Why it’s on the adult side: While only 11, Flavia often speaks, thinks, and acts like an adult. There is also a smattering of swearing and the occasional Agatha-Christie-esque murder.   

     

    01.05.2018 Book ThiefTHE BOOK THIEF
    by Markus Zusak
    (2005)

    As soon as it was published, The Book Thief became an instant classic. The tale of young Liesel Meminger and her hodge-podge family is narrated by Death. He is a thoughtful and beautiful storyteller, following the little “book thief” during the first half of WWII in Nazi Germany. This is a great read for anyone, but especially for the many kids who love WWII historical fiction.  

    Why it’s on the adult side: The Book Thief can at times be both a little slow and very sad. It touches on themes of wartime violence and Nazi philosophy. It also has quite a bit of language in it both in English and German. I enjoyed listening to this book because the reader gave those words the appropriate color.   

     

    01.05.2018 To Kill a MockingbirdTO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
    by Harper Lee
    (1960)

    With over 3 million reviews on Goodreads, most people are familiar with Lee’s tale of childhood antics and the cancer of racism. Scout is an adventurous but naive character who only experiences racism from a distance until it’s thrust violently into her life. Seeing the small southern town through Scout’s eyes can be a wonderful, if gradual, first step into an eye-opening recognition of injustice.  

    Why it’s on the adult side: The main conflict of this book is the accused rape of a white girl by a black man. Both the racism and the believability or un-believability of the girl are sensitive topics. There are also the obvious racial slurs, other language, and violent scenes.   

     

    01.05.2018 Hitchhikers GuideTHE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY
    by Douglas Adams
    (1979)

    Arthur Dent discovers his good friend is actually an intergalactic hitchhiker when he’s plucked from earth just moments before it’s destroyed. Hilarious and very British, chaos ensues as a ragtag group travels the universe. While this one may be a bit of a stretch for some kids, many enjoy both its hilarity and thoughtfulness. 

    Why it’s on the adult side: To be fair, this is an adult book. It’s both witty and, at times, philosophical. Be prepared for a smattering of language and sexual innuendos of varying degrees.   

     

    01.05.2018 Michael VeyMICHAEL VEY: THE PRISONER OF CELL 25
    by Richard Paul Evans
    (2011)

    At our library, this book is cataloged as “young adult,” but it’s enjoyed by all ages. 14-yr-old Michael Vey has Tourette's syndrome, but he also has incredible electrical powers. After discovering that one of the most popular girls in school (and his crush) has similar abilities, the two embark on a quest to discover the origin of their mutation. This story is action-packed and a lot of fun.  

    Why it’s on the adult side: Although plenty of kids love this series, I was surprised at the amount of violence. There is also moments of psychological torture that, if really considered, can be quite emotional.   

     
  • fashionable

    Working at a library as a grown-up, I’m often really jealous of kids who get to read books I would have loved when I was their age but which didn’t exist yet. These days, kids interested in fashion have a bevy of books to choose from—something I will always be jealous of. Here are my favorite books for fashionable kids. 

    3.16 For Audrey with LoveFOR AUDREY WITH LOVE: AUDREY HEPBURN AND GIVENCHY
    By Philip Hopman
    (2018)

    This dual biography of Hubert de Givenchy (who passed away just last week) and his most famous client, Audrey Hepburn, is a beautiful, fashionable, and colorful story of two best friends. Young readers may not appreciate the depictions of a fish-out-of-water Audrey in famous movie costumes yet, but will still enjoy the water colors of beautiful dresses. 

     

    3.16 BloomBLOOM: A STORY OF FAHION DESIGNER ELSA SCHIAPARELLI
    By Kyo Maclear
    Illustrated by Julie Morstad
    (2018)

    This new picture book biography is about Elsa Schiaparelli, a fashion designer known for creating innovative dresses that were works of art. This book is inspiring—reminding young readers that they can accomplish great things and “bloom” into something beautiful—and filled with illustrations of flowers and dresses in Elsa’s signature shade of hot pink. 

     

    3.16 CinderellaCINDERELLA: A FASHIONABLE TALE
    By Steven Guarnaccia
    (2013)

    In this fashionable and “mod” retelling of Cinderella, the titular character is transformed into haute couture by a fairy godfather who looks suspiciously like Karl Lagerfeld. Fashion aficionados will love the references to some recognizable styles of the 20th century (the end pages will help you identify them) and little fashionistas will love the bright and unique illustrations. 

     

    3.16 When Royals Wore RufflesWHEN ROYALS WORE RUFFLES: A FUNNY & FASHIONABLE ALPHABET
    By Chesley McLaren and Pamela Jaber
    (2009)

    This ABC book takes kids on a simple tour through the history of fashion mentioning ruffs, chopines, flappers, and more. The swirly, often silly, illustrations enhance the goofy (and true) stories about high fashion through time. This book is a must for fashionable readers and the pink cover definitely adds to the kid appeal. 

     

    3.16 Bad Girls of FashionBAD GIRLS OF FASHION: STYLE REBELS FROM CLEOPATRA TO LADY GAGA
    By Jennifer Croll
    Illustrated by Ada Buchholc
    2016 

    This is the only book on my list that isn’t a picture book, but it is still filled with illustrations of fashionable ladies and the clothes that made them famous. This book tells the story of famous women who made history because they were well-dressed and not in spite of it. Slightly older readers with an interest in celebrity and fashion will love this in-depth look at the power of clothes.

     
  •  mother child books

    It’s Mother’s Day month and the library has a lot of books that focus on the relationship of mother and child. I can’t help but reflect on my relationship with my children and feel nostalgic about when they were really little. There are little mothering moments that I remember and cherish. Reading, of course, happens to be my favorite. These days instead of picture books, my children have the attention span to listen to a chapter from a longer novel, and it is still my favorite thing in the world. Nothing really compares to snuggling on the couch and reading all together. Right after having my first child we created a nightly ritual. It makes all the hard moments worthwhile, even though it turns “getting ready for bed” into a marathon-long nightly routine. Every so often we pick a book about the relationship of mother and child, and as the pages continue to turn, tears eventually come to my eyes because the story is that touching. With all the adorable mother-child relationship books I see, I decided to share my favorites.    

    When I Carried You In My BellyWHEN I CARRIED YOU IN MY BELLY
    by Thrity Umrigar. illustrated by Ziyue Chen
    (2017)

    A mother looks back and describes to her child all the experiences she had while she was pregnant, and how they helped create who she is today. The strong relationship shared between her and the child is perfectly experienced by the reader. 

    Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little ToesTEN LITTLE FINGERS TEN LITTLE TOES 
    by Mem Fox
    (2008)

    This simple story has always been one of my favorites. The board book version is perfect for reading with babies. It goes through the experience of babies from different parts of the world. Even though they come from different places, they are all similar in so many ways, but of course, each baby has their own special mama.    

    SomedaySOMEDAY 
    by Allison McGhee and Peter H. Reynolds
    (2007)

    Mcghee and Reynolds have captured the memorable, special mothering moments and combined them with the hopes and dreams every mother has for her own children. This sweet, simple story can be shared with children and treasured by mothers.

    The Kissing HandTHE KISSING HAND 
    by Audrey Penn
    (1993)

    This story is perfect for the beginning of the school year, especially for a child who is nervous about the experience. I still give my daughter a kissing hand every night before she goes to bed, and she says, “Mama loves me.” We first read this book together a few years ago, but she has carried on the nightly tradition. Penn also perfectly describes a mother’s feelings in sending a child to school for the first time. Sometimes it is just as hard as it is for the child.  
     

    The Runaway BunnyTHE RUNAWAY BUNNY 
    by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd
    (1942)  

    This timeless classic continues to be a staple of every reading collection. Brown captures the lengths a mother will go to be with her child, and Hurd’s pictures perfectly accompany the story. Every other spread contains illustrations with no words, which provides time to have the children tell the story and describe what is happening along with the reader. This story is perfect for a child of any age, especially the youngest listeners.

     

  • 2.16 Presidents Day Mount Rushmore

    I know we’re all excited for the long President’s Day weekend, so to celebrate George’s B-day, here are a few fiction faves for kids featuring our first president.   

    2.16 Rush Revere and the PresidencyRUSH REVERE AND THE PRESIDENCY
    By Rush H. Limbaugh
    (2016) 

    Rush and his friends head back in time on the back of their talking horse, Liberty, to see what it was like when our first presidents had to make tough decisions.   

     

    2.16 Revolutionary War on WednesdaysREVOLUTIONARY WAR ON WEDNESDAY
    By Mary Pope Osborne
    (2000) 

    Join Jack and Annie once again as they try to keep history on the right track—this time they are helping General Washington cross the Delaware.   

     

    2.16 George Washingtons BreakfastGEORGE WASHINGTON’S BREAKFAST
    By Jean Fritz
    (1969) 

    George Washington Allen is named after a pretty incredible person, and George is determined to learn everything about his famous namesake—even what he had for breakfast!  

     

    2.16 Oh Say I Cant SeeOH SAY, I CAN’T SEE
    By Jon Scieszka
    (2005) 

    The Time Warp Trio is at is again—this time they manage to inspire George Washington to sneak attack the Hessian army on Christmas night.   

     

    2.16 George Washingtons SocksGEORGE WASHINGTON’S SOCKS
    By Elvira Woodruff
    (1991) 

    Another great time travel tale—via magical rowboat—allows Matthew, Quentin, Hooter, Tony, and Katie to experience some of the realities of the Revolutionary War first hand.

     
  • christmasy

    So much of the Christmas season is simply magical during childhood:  twinkling lights, glittering snow, crackling fires, the smell of warm cookies, favorite holiday songs, an abundance of decorations, the anticipation of giving and receiving gifts, etc…  However you celebrate, what you love most is probably steeped in personal traditions that you look forward to every single year.  Of course, a favorite tradition for many people is breaking out their beloved childhood Christmas books.  You gotta love a good Christmas book!  Whether your favorite characters include Scrooge, Charlie Brown, Rudolph, or the Grinch, surely there’s at least one story that you love to read every single year.  I’ve realized, however, that some of my favorite Christmas stories aren’t really Christmas stories at all!  But they have beautiful Christmas scenes that pull at my heartstrings whenever December rolls around.

    So whether you’ve overdosed on too many Hallmark movies and need to take a step back, or all of a sudden it’s next June and you’re yearning for a little holiday spirit, here are five not-Christmas kids’ books with Christmas scenes that will put the warmth and magic right back in your heart:

    12.22 Harry PotterHARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE 

     
    12.22 Little WomenLITTLE WOMEN

     
    12.22 The Lion the Witch and the WardrobeTHE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE
     

    12.22 The Mysterious HowlingTHE MYSTERIOUS HOWLING

     
  • Fairy books

    It’s almost March, which means that at the Provo City Library it is almost time for the Fairy Tea Party. In fact, tickets for the Fairy Tea go on sale tomorrow and will most likely sell out within the first hour or so (if ticket sales are similar to how they have been for the past half a dozen years). In honor of the fairy festivities that are soon upon us, I have put together my list of my five favorite fairy books.

    1THE VERY FAIRY PRINCESS
    by Julie Andrews & Emma Walton Hamilton
    (2010)

    In this fabulous picture book by Julie Andrews (yes, THAT Julie Andrews) and her daughter, Geraldine desires to show everyone that she is a princess fairy. And even though she also likes things that tend to bring dirt and grime, being a princess fairy does not mean that she can’t have fun doing all sorts of activities. Geraldine is one sweet girl that little girls everywhere will love to read about again and again.

    2The Fairy’s Mistake
    by Gail Carson Levine
    (1999)

    In this retold-fairy tale the fairy Ethelinda decides to bestow two gifts on a couple of sisters. One sister is kind and good, so Ethelinda makes it so that when the good sister speaks jewels and flowers fall from her lips. The mean sister on the other hand has toads and snakes and lizards that come out when she speaks. And though the fairy’s gift was meant to punish the cruel and reward the good…it really doesn’t turn out that way. This is a fun chapter book that is really quite easy to read for those that find reading chapter books difficult, and is a great choice to read aloud to young fairy aficionados. And the fact that nothing works out the way that it is intended is sure to keep youngsters giggling.

    3FAIRIE-ALITY STYLE: A SOURCEBOOK OF INSPIRATIONS FROM NATURE 
    by David Ellwand
    (2009)

    This next book is one that those who love looking at details will quite enjoy. This book is a fairy fashion magazine. There are all sorts of fairy styles of fairy clothing—all created from different bits of nature. There are feathers and leaves and acorns and other such oddments that are crafted into fairy outfits. Those kiddos who enjoy fashion and how things are put together to make a statement will love poring over each intricate design.

    4FAIRYOPOLIS: A FLOWER FAIRIES JOURNAL
    by Cicely Mary Barker
    (2005)

    In this pretend flower fairy journal, Cicely Mary Barker tells all her secrets as to what happened in 1920 when she discovered the world of fairies. There are loads of lift-the-flaps and pretend mementos that accompany each journal entry. The book gives a nod to the flower fairies that are some of the biggest icons in fairy illustration history. Those readers who actually read the journal entries will enjoy the story of what happens to Cicely and her encounters with the fey. Those who are not as inclined to read all of the journal entries will take pleasure in reading the side-notes and facts (and looking at all the “extra” bits) included with the illustrations.

    5CINDERELLA
    by K.Y. Craft
    (2000)

    This is one of those pretty books that I can look at again and again. Not only is the text lyrical and descriptive, but the illustrations are just—well, magical. Cinderella has a hard life with her stepmother and stepsisters constantly belittling her. However, her kindness to a bluebird in the forest captures the attention of the prince (oh how I love that Cinderella and the prince meet and share a bond before the ball!). Of course, that bluebird turns out to be the fairy godmother. And this fairy looks young and strong and powerful. Seriously, this is one book to gawk at just for Craft’s amazing illustrations. 

  • great musicals

    So anyone who knows me knows that I love most every musical that I have come across. The only one I have seen so far and do not like is Carousel. I love the signature song but hate the plot. Musicals have a lot of different backgrounds for their stories. There are musicals like MAMMA MIA that were written to fit the music, or there are some like SHREK and THE ADDAMS FAMILY that were based off of a movie or a television show, and there are some like THE MUSIC MAN that are a representation of life experiences.  But did you know that there are many musicals that are either loosely or strictly based off of a book? Oh yes! This makes me so happy because it combines two of my most favorite things. So let me share with you some of my favorite book to musical adaptations.

    9.15 Oliver TwistOLIVER TWIST
    By Charles Dickens
    (1838)

    OLIVER!: This is one of the few cases where I loved the musical more than I liked the book. I think that Charles Dickens helped try to start a revolution of change that sadly did not really start rolling until much later, but it is such a sad story with not a particularly happy end. I love how the musical keeps the spirit of how desperate things are and then brings hope for Oliver at the end.

     

     

    9.15 Alexander HamiltonALEXANDER HAMILTON
    By Ron Chernow
    (2004)

    HAMILTON: So weirdly enough I loved this musical. I say weirdly because 99.99% of the time I HATE Rap music. It does absolutely nothing for me and I don’t enjoy it. But I love the story/ tragedy of Alexander Hamilton. Even more than his story I love the story of his wife Eliza. She was the one who really worked to make sure that her husband’s legacy lived on and that he was a name that people would recognize in the history books.

     

     

    9.15 A Little PrincessA LITTLE PRINCESS
    By Francis Hodgson Burnett
    (1905)

    A LITTLE PRINCESS: My favorite song from this Musical is "Good Luck, Bonne Chance." I love how they bring out the storytelling talent that Sarah Crew has in the book paring it with a fun, catchy tune. I love this story so much! I like stories where people are still good and kind even when life kicks them while they are down, then karma comes and bites everyone else, and then good things happen to the main character.

     

    9.15 The Wizard of OzTHE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ
    By L. Frank Baum
    (1900)

    THE WIZARD OF OZ: So if you didn’t know The Wizard of Oz is an entire series of books. There are 14 books written by L. Frank Baum which all provide a different facet of the world of Oz. The first book came out almost 40 years before Judy Garland played as Dorothy. I love the song "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." It has always been one of my favorite songs.

     

     

    9.15 The Scarlet PimpernelTHE SCARLET PIMPERNEL
    By Baroness Orczy
    (1905)

    THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL: This is one of my all-time favorite stories in almost every single version I have ever seen. Each version is slightly different, but consistently my favorite part is when Percy finds out that Marguerite loves him and never betrayed him. I love how they adjust that part of the story every time.

     

     

  •  interactive picture books

    I have memories from when I was about two or three of my grandpa reading me MR. BROWN CAN MOO by Dr. Seuss. I vividly remember him doing all the fun noises Mr. Brown does when the book itself poses the question, “Can you?” A child can’t help themselves: They have to make the noises too. The words in this book are multi-colored, enlarged, and enticing. Words like “M-O-O-O-O-O” are drawn out to make the sounds come alive on the page. When it’s time to “whisper, whisper” like a butterfly, the letters are light and tiny, visually signifying how to make the noise. I’ve made these sounds once again as an adult while reading “Mr. Brown” to my children, and I hope they cherish the memories as I have.

    Picture books are often about more than just reading—and sometimes about even more than just the pictures and the story. Children learn with all their senses. This is what makes interactive picture books so much fun for them. They involve touching, listening, seeing, moving and experiencing all at the same time. They facilitate play on many different levels: some are even specifically meant to be a game. My kids love when I bring home interactive picture books. They make sure they each get a turn reading and playing.

    These are some of our favorite Interactive picture books: 

    8.8 The Monster at the End of this BookTHE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK
    By John Stone
    Illustrated by Michael Smollin
    (1971)

    This classic continues to live on. I remember this book being read to me when I was little and feeling torn as to whether we should really turn the page, since Grover pleads so adamantly not to. Grover remains his lovable self throughout and, although intense in the middle, it turns out ok in the end. 

     

    8.8 Press HerePRESS HERE
    By Hervé Tullet
    (2010)

    Tullet has created a fun, interactive experience that requires no screens! The reader is empowered to change what happens as they touch the dots. Each page gives instructions of when and how to touch the dots and it is exciting to see what happens. 

    8.8 This Book is MagicTHIS BOOK IS MAGIC
    By Ashley Evanson
    (2017)

    Although I believe reading is always magic, a child can become a true magician as the pages instruct the reader to “wave their hand” and recite specific magic words. As each page turns the magic is revealed! 

     

    8.8 Tap the Magic TreeTAP THE MAGIC TREE
    By Christie Matheson
    (2013)

    It begins with a tree that has no leaves. The reader is instructed to tap a certain amount to give the tree different qualities. The tree and its leaves then change through the season, each phase having its own beauty. 

     

    8.8 Bunny SlopesBUNNY SLOPES
    By Claudia Rueda
    (2016)

    You get to help the bunny go on a ski trip. You are required to turn the book at certain points to make sure the bunny goes where she is supposed to. Children and adults alike will enjoy becoming an integral part of the character’s experience. 

     

  • CBF 2018 FB event

    I Love Jessica Day George! I credit her with being the one who helped my daughter discover that books could be fun and exciting to read. ( Which is one of the reasons I love her so much.) We read her book DRAGON SLIPPERS together and for the first time ever my daughter didn’t want to stop reading. What more could a parent ask for from an author?

    Her books were not only what got my daughter started reading, but they have kept her reading. She has become one of my personal favorites and many of her books sit on our bookshelves at home. Her books are perfect for anyone who enjoys reading fairytales with a twist, which I love, or stories with dragons and enchanting tales with a sprinkle of magic.  This year in celebration of  Children’s Book Festival, Jessica Day George will be coming to the Provo City Library. I am very excited to hear her talk about her new book THE ROSE LEGACY which is the perfect book for anyone who loves fantasy books about magical gifts and horses. I would recommend any of her books, but here is a list of my favorites:  

    4.30 Dragon SlippersDRAGON SLIPPERS
    (2007)

    Creel is an orphan living with her aunt and uncle, and she has no prospects for marriage. As a solution to what she sees as a big problem her aunt tells Creel to go to the dragon, who has a cave not far from their town, and sacrifice herself in hopes that a knight will come to rescue and marry her. But Creel isn’t a girl who will wait to be rescued.  She decides to conquer the dragon herself and goes into his cave to face her future.  She finds a friend in the dragon, and with a dragon's treasure in hand she begins a path which will change the course of her life. 

     

    4.30 Sun and Moon Ice and SnowSUN AND MOON, ICE AND SNOW
    (2008)

    Based on one of my favorite Nordic legends, EAST OF THE SUN, WEST OF THE MOON, this is the story of an impoverished girl who is offered riches for herself and her family if she will follow a polar bear to his home and remain there for a year. She agrees and begins a journey that she could never have imagined. During the year she spends in the castle of the bear she begins to unravel a mystery with a curse and finds a love she never imagined for herself.   

     

    4.30 Princess of the Midnight BallPRINCESS OF THE MIDNIGHT BALL
    (2009)

    One of my daughter's favorite fairytales was The Twelve Dancing Princesses. In PRINCESS OF THE MIDNIGHT BALL, Jessica Day George has taken the traditional telling of the story and spun a new tale with delightful characters. She draws you into the royal family, where you begin to feel a connection with the twelve sisters and their struggles to undo a curse that was placed on their family many years ago. The perspective you gain from the oldest daughter makes you want to cheer them on as they dance their way to freedom. 

     

    4.30 Silver in the BloodSILVER IN THE BLOOD
    (2015)

    Do you know all of your family secrets? In the telling of this book you meet twin sisters, Dacia and Lou, who on their 17th birthday are told they must travel to Romania to meet their mother's relatives as well as their tyrant of a grandmother. They leave behind their life in 1890 New York society to embark on a treacherous journey.  While in Romania they discover dark family secrets and find that they are to take their place as one of the loyal servants of the Draculas. They must then decide if they have the courage to change their destiny. 

     

    4.30 Princess of GlassPRINCESS OF GLASS
    (2010)

    Poppy, one of the twelve sisters from PRINCESS OF THE MIDNIGHT BALL, hopes to escape the problems developing in her kingdom by offering to go on a royal exchange program. Poppy, who is one of my favorite fictional characters, has no idea what events are about to unfold for her. She finds herself involved in a plot laid out by a wicked fairy. Poppy is a beautiful dancer, but she despises dancing and has no happy memories of dancing at a ball. So when she is invited to a royal ball she reluctantly agrees to go but has no intention of dancing. However things may not go her way. This is an enchanting retelling of the classic fairytale Cinderella and it will “Knit” you tightly into its clutches.