Children's Books

  • overheard 01

    Librarians tend to notice if someone proclaims their love for a book. Despite our best intentions, we can’t read everything on our shelves, so we pick up clues about books other people like in order to flush out our recommendations to patrons. I probably wouldn’t have picked up THE HERO’S GUIDE TO SAVING YOUR KINGDOM by Christopher Healy, if my little brother hadn’t belly laughed every time he sat down to read it—now it’s on my favorites list. Here are a couple of inadvertent recommendations I’ve gotten recently:

    Fires of InventionTHE FIRES OF INVENTION
    by Scott Savage
    (2015)

    While stuck on a houseboat during a rainstorm on Lake Powell, I watched as one of my brothers finished THE FIRES OF INVENTION. As he shut the book he proclaimed, “That was awesome!” Then he promptly flipped the book over and started reading it again. I figured that was a pretty good sign, so now I recommend the book to all sorts of patrons, especially 11-yr-old boys who are dying for something with a dragon in it. I actually haven’t read it yet because this steam-punk fantasy is never checked in.

     

    The Sisters GrimmTHE SISTERS GRIMM
    by Michael Buckley
    (2005)

    If I get asked to find the same thing multiple times, I get really curious about it. The Sisters Grimm is one of a dozen or so series I’ve looked into because I keep pulling it off the shelves for patrons. I recently checked out book one, THE FAIRY-TALE DETECTIVES, and I really enjoyed it. This modern fairy-tale spin-off is very reminiscent of the TV shows Once Upon a Time and Grimm, just a little more kid friendly. I’ll admit I now have to finish the entire series because I need to know what happens to Sabrina and Daphne. 

     

    Genuine SweetGENUINE SWEET
    by Faith Harkey
    (2015)

    I have a little sister who isn’t too fond of reading, so I perked up when I overheard her telling our mom about a book that she loved so much it made her cry. Intrigued, I asked if I could borrow it. GENUINE SWEET isn’t the best written piece of literature I’ve ever picked up, but what it lacks in powerful prose it makes up for in, dare I say, sweetness. It’s nice to pick up such a genuinely tender tale of hope and forgiveness—with a little bit of magic thrown in. 

     

     

    Echo   Blog SizeECHO
    by Pam Muñoz Ryan
    (2015)

    One day, while at the reference desk, I eavesdropped on a fellow librarian’s conversation with a patron. He was explaining that while ECHO was a great read, it had blown him away as an audiobook. As a lover of audiobooks, I was hooked—especially after I found out that it was essentially historical fiction (with a touch of fantasy), spanning the decades from the beginnings of the Nazi party in Germany through the Japanese internment in the US. After listening to the amazing (and musical) performance, I was every bit as impressed as my coworker had been. 

     

    So, what great books have you found by eavesdropping?

     

     

  • reading aloud

    Getting a child “ready” to start school seems to be on every parent’s mind as they look at preschool registration. There are plenty of ideas about what children need to be ready to learn. Parents often ask, "What do they need to know? Have I taught them all the things the teacher will expect?"

    What if I told you the absolute best thing you can do to prepare a child for Kindergarten is read to them from the day they are born? Really. No need to spend time using flashcards when they are toddlers or preschoolers in a drill and kill fashion. Just start reading to your child early on—every day. If you don’t have a routine yet or didn’t start early, start now: read stories and books 15-20 minutes each day. Spend time engaging with your child by asking questions, pointing to pictures, laughing and crying at wherever the story leads.

    Research has shown time and time again the success of children who have been read to. Children who were not read to spend years making up for lost time. From ages 0-3 the brain of a child is forming, making connections, and soaking up all the information and experiences in life. The best time to start exposing children to reading and new vocabulary is during these early years. Do you need more information to help you start? These will get you going . . .

    1.31 Read Aloud HandbookTHE READ-ALOUD HANDBOOK
    By Jim Trelease
    (2013)

    You know when a book is on its 7th edition that it must have some good information! Jim Trelease has continued to update the statistics of his handbook that was originally released in 1982. He answers the why, when, and how of reading aloud. He includes stories of people who have been impacted by experiences with reading aloud to their children. There is a treasury of read aloud books in the back which Trelease updates in every edition, especially for those who are new to the idea of reading aloud and are wondering what books to start with. 

     

    1.31 Reading MagicREADING MAGIC: WHY READING ALOUD TO OUR CHILDREN WILL CHANGE THEIR LIVES FOREVER
    By Mem Fox
    (2001) 

    Fox’s enthusiasm for reading to children is contagious. This quick read is a perfect jump-start to inspire parents and educators to implement more reading aloud. If you already have been reading aloud to children, it is the reminder that what you are doing is important. When a child is between the ages of 0-3 the benefits are not always as obvious right away; it is reassuring to know that spending the necessary time reading aloud to children is worth it. 

     

    1.31 Thirty Million WordsTHIRTY MILLION WORDS: BUILDING A CHILD’S BRAIN: TUNE IN, TALK MORE, TAKE TURNS
    By Dana Suskind
    (2015)

    This is a heavily research-based guide on the importance of speaking and engaging with children in the early years. Suskind, a medical doctor, has found through her practice that the success of cochlear implants depend on the involvement of parents who spend time talking and interacting with their children. It doesn’t matter if the children have the ability to hear if there is no one helping them exercise those new abilities. Suskind started an initiative to educate parents, using what she has learned about the importance of her easily implemented “Tune in, Talk More, and Take Turn” program. Every child benefits when they have caregivers who know how powerful these simple ideas are in the life of a child.

     
  • wordless picture books 1

    I have a confession. I am not always the most thorough reader—I’m a bit of a skimmer. I’ve actually found myself on so many occasions having to go back in books because I missed a crucial detail that I had decided wasn’t worth paying attention to at the time. It’s a horrible habit, and I don’t recommend it.

    However, if I am reading a book out loud to someone, it’s then that I am able to take in the full extent of the story. This is especially poignant in picture books. There are fantastic illustrations that narrate far more than you might realize that I have a habit of skipping over. For a long time, wordless picture books were particularly difficult for me because I wanted to skim them like I do everything else. And then I discovered why I love wordless picture books:

    1. It forces me to slow down and look at each illustration, to really focus on how it tells the story.

    2. Depending on the reader, there could be a different narration or interpretation.

    3. The illustrations can evoke a significant emotional response.Here are some of my favorite wordless picture books: 

    3.15 BluebirdBLUEBIRD
    By Bob Stakke
    (2013)

    This book is about a lonely boy wandering in New York City. A bluebird follows him and becomes his friend. When the boy is bullied by some kids in the park, the bluebird goes to protect him but is struck with a stick and dies. Saddened by the loss of his new friend, the boy is soon joined by a flock of birds that lift him to the sky while he lets the bluebird float away. I love this book. It handles many issues beautifully: loneliness, friendship, bullying, and loss. 

     

    3.15 The SnowmanTHE SNOWMAN
    By Raymond Briggs
    (1978)

    This is a beautifully illustrated book about a boy that builds a snowman who comes to life. The snowman comes into the house, tries on the father’s clothes, creates some disaster in the kitchen, and then goes flying off into the night with his creator on an adventure around the world. They return home, and the next morning the boy runs outside to find the snowman melted on the ground. Another great book about friendship, imagination, adventure, and loss.

     

    3.15 JourneyJOURNEY
    By Aaron Becker
    (2013)

    This story is the first of a trilogy about a lonely girl that draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and escapes into a world of wonder, adventure, and danger. With her red marker, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carries her on her journey. It’s a wonderfully illustrated story full of imagination and adventure. I accidentally read the third one first and was so impressed with the expanse of story without text that I immediately found the rest. It has such a strong visual narrative that it can appeal to a wider age range. 

     
  • millenial pink

    If you don’t know what Millennial Pink is, don’t feel bad. As a millennial—and being self-described “basic”—I make sure that I keep up to date on all of the latest trends. And since I love pink, I’m obviously all about this fad.

    For the un-initiated, Millennial Pink is that one shade of pink that seems to be popping up everywhere these days – hipster restaurants, indie album covers, food (Starbucks’ pink drink anyone?), crushed velvet ballet flats, etc. It’s that not quite peach, not quite coral, not quite Pepto Bismal hue that you’ve seen all over the place whether you realize it or not. If you google “Millennial Pink” you’ll find dozens of articles trying to over-explain its appeal to youths – and they will confirm one thing: it is in.

    Millennial Pink has even crept its ways into publishing houses and libraries – there are a ton of Millennial Pink covered books that have been published recently. I can’t say for sure whether or not you’ll understand young people better by reading a book with a visually appealing cover, but I can say that your Instagram will look a lot better.

    Here’s a list of books in our collection – some old, some new – to help you achieve that Millennial ~aesthetic~

    8.10 Alex and ElizaALEX & ELIZA: A LOVE STORY
    By Melissa De La Cruz
    (2017) 

     

     

     

     

     

    8.10 Dear Fang With LoveDEAR FANG, WITH LOVE
    By Rufi Thorpe
    (2016) 

     

     

     

     

     

    8.10 Tell Me How This Ends WellTELL ME HOW THIS ENDS WELL: A NOVEL

    David Levinson
    (2017) 

     

     

     

     

     

    8.10 White FurWHITE FUR: A NOVEL
    By Jardine Libaire
    (2017)

     

     

     

     

     

    8.10 The Rules Do Not ApplyTHE RULES DO NOT APPLY: A MEMOIR
    By Ariel Levy
    (2017) 

     

     

     

     

    8.10 Girl In PiecesGIRL IN PIECES
    By Kathleen Glasgow
    (2016) 

     

     

     

     

     

    8.10 The Husbands SecretTHE HUSBAND’S SECRET
    By Liane Moriarty
    (2013) 

     

     

     

     

     

    8.10 Rebel BelleREBEL BELLE
    By Rachel Hawkins
    (2014) 

     

     

     

     

     

    8.10 Broken Hearts Fences and Other Things to MendBROKEN HEARTS, FENCES AND OTHER THINGS TO MEND
    By Katie Finn
    (2014)

     

     

     

     

    8.10 The LuxeTHE LUXE
    By Anna Godbersen
    (2007) 

     

     

     

     

    8.10 PrettyPRETTY
    By Justin Sayre
    (2017)

     

     

     

     

     

    Hopefully these recommendations will make your #bookstagram a little more pink and a little more basic. Be sure to tag the Provo City Library in any of your #booksofinstagram finds!

  • Dog

    I want a pet. I don’t care if it’s a cat, dog, or hedgehog. I just want one. Unfortunately, I can’t get one right now. If you’re in the same boat, never fear. I have some books that will help you feel the love of having a pet without needing the finances or time to take care of one. 

    5.29 StormySTORMY
    By Guojing
    (2019) 

    STORMY is a wordless picture book about a dog. Each page shares a snapshot of the dog’s life alone. Will the sweet pup find a forever home? 

     

    5.29 TrumanTRUMAN
    By Jean Reidy
    (2019) 

    Truman is the most courageous and noble turtle you will ever meet. When his girl leaves for her first day of school, he is distraught. All he knows is that she’s missing. And what do the most courageous and noble turtles do when their girl goes missing? Brave the untold dangers of the living room to find her. 

     

    5.29 Wildwood DancingWILDWOOD DANCING
    By Juliet Marillier
    (2007) 

    If you like amphibians, then you may want to read this retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. In this version, one of the princesses owns an unusual frog that may be more important than anyone realizes. Or maybe not. 

     

    5.29 Because of Winn DixieBECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE
    By Kate DiCamillo
    (2000) 

    Those wanting to spend a summer in Florida with a big ugly dog won’t want to miss this read. BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE follows India Opal Buloni and her summer spent with her lovable mutt. 

     

    5.29 Pom Pom AnimalsPOM POM ANIMALS
    By Trikotri
    (2018) 

    If all the books above just make you want a pet even more, then that’s ok. You can make one. Follow the directions in this book to create your own cute pet using wool. You can make up to 45 different animals! From bears to cats, you’re sure to find an animal craft to soothe your heart as it pines for an animal friend.

     
  • A 12-ish year old boy came up to the desk with full purpose and asked my coworker- “What is your favorite book?”

    I was busy helping another patron and I didn’t hear much about that conversation besides that and didn’t expect him to return because he got his answer.

    A couple minutes later he came back to the desk in full stride and full purpose again, stood before me and asked, “what’s your favorite book” like it was a grand request and pronouncement.

    This isn’t a difficult question but not really one I get often, at least not so directly. People usually ask for suggestions or books like: Diary of a Wimpy Kid/Harry Potter/Percy Jackson. My mind went blank and all I could suddenly think of were princess/fairy tale retellings which felt way too girly to suggest to this young teen boy.

    I did pull out “The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman because that is one of my standard go-to’s but seriously- my mind blanked outside Ella Enchanted and Beauty. I told him this and he said he didn’t mind, he just wanted to get a variety. He went home with a stack of Louis L’Amour, Boy by Roald Dahl, The Graveyard Book and Goose Girl. It was a great stack but I’m annoyed at my brain for shutting off when he asked me a simple question.

    And in typical Amanda-fashion, as soon as he left my brain flooded with ideas of books I could have suggested. I really wished I could have found him again so I could tell him my actual suggestions.

    So here is a list of my *favorites I should have suggested- that I haven’t already written about already.

    *Listing a favorite book is subjective. I have the right to change this opinion at will and am catering more to age of patron asking.

    8.3 The Indian in the CupboardTHE INDIAN IN THE CUPBOARD
    By Lynne Reid Banks
    (1980)

    On Omri’s birthday his best friend gives him a little plastic Indian toy. Disappointed, he puts the toy in a metal cupboard and locks the door with a mysterious skeleton key that belonged to his great-grandmother. He finds out when he turns the key it transforms the toy into a real live man from a different time and place. I read this book a few times as a kid and loved the adventure and friendship between this boy and his little friends.

     

    8.3 HolesHOLES
    By Loius Sachar
    (1998)

    Stanley Yelnats is under a curse- a curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has followed the Yelnats family. Stanley is unjustly sent to a boys’ detention camp where they are required to dig holes all day long- five feed wide, five feet deep. Stanley realizes they aren’t just building character- that the Warden is looking for something as a mystery of the past unfolds before these campers. This was a really fun intriguing mystery. I love seeing how the past intertwined with the present and the “ah-ha” moments when they came together.

     

    8.3 SurvivorsSURVIVORS: EXTRAORDINARY TALES FROM THE WILD AND BEYOND
    by David Long
    (2017)

    This is a fantastic collection of 23 true stories of men and women who have survived seemingly impossible circumstances from a plane crash to quicksand. The stories are fascinating and the illustrations are fantastic. I would like to own this for my own book collection and give it to everyone. 

     

    8.3 A Monster CallsA MONSTER CALLS
    By Patrick Ness
    (2011)

    Twelve-year-old Connor O’Malley is dealing with a lot. A school bully, an estranged father, strict grandmother and a sick mother. One night at 12:07 am, a tree-like Monster comes to his window and tells Connor it is going to tell three stories over three nights- three truths and on the fourth night Connor had to tell the monster his truth. I love this book. It is beautiful and sad. If you read this I highly highly suggest getting the illustrated copy. It really adds to the story and is illustrated by Jim Kay, who is illustrating the Harry Potter series.

     
  •  Toddler Reading

    Finding books to help your child learn to read and eventually be a successful reader can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. If you’re not sure what books to start with, the library can help. We have a section of very easy reader books that help children who are just starting out on their reading journey. These books take a step-by-step approach with simple illustrations and simple words that focus on repetition. This helps build reading confidence as they practice short vowel sounds, blending, and important sight words. Eventually the books begin to introduce longer and more complex words as readers become better and more confident in their abilities.

    Reading is fun and everyone should have a good experience learning to read.  So, check out the very easy reader section at the library as you launch into an enjoyable reading adventure. 

    3.3 Bob BooksBOB BOOKS. SET 1, BEGINNING READERS
    By Bobby Lynn Maslen
    (2006)

    In these books, short vowels and single consonant words are introduced with very basic three-letter words. All the letters of the alphabet (except Q) are introduced in these engaging books that help build confidence. These little books bring big success. 

     

    3.3 Now Im ReadingNOW I’M READING! 
    By Nora Gaydos
    (2008)

    Learn all about mixed-vowel sounds with a hot yak, a sniffing sloth, a pet bat, and other clever critters in this collection of early reader tales. These simple sentences with clear text and a building block approach, help beginning readers have fun while learning key words. 

     

    3.3 First Little ReadersFIRST LITTLE READERS  
    By Deborah Schecter
    (2010)

    Jump-start reading success with this collection of motivating stories. Most pages feature just one line of simple, repetitive text to help children learn to read with ease and confidence. 

     

    3.3 Sight Word ReadersSIGHT WORD READERS  
    By Linda Beech
    (2003)

    These fun little books contain fifty common sight words that are some of the most frequently used words in print. Kids love these playful stories that help build their reading skills and confidence as they master sight words.

     
  • curved shelves

    “Do you have anything new?”  That is a question Children’s librarians hear all the time.  For several years new picture books have been marked with a yellow “New” label and put on their own shelf to make it easier for kids and parents to find the latest thing.  Starting this summer, the Children’s Department has “New” labels for children’s novels and nonfiction books as well. There is a shelf for new nonfiction (or as we say in Children’s “informational”) books at the beginning of the J Informational section, and a shelf for new J Fiction at the beginning of the J Fiction section.   

    So what is new?  Here are some books I am excited about that will be coming out in the next few months that will be getting those bright “New” stickers. If you see anything you like, ask a librarian to get you on the hold list today! 

    8.23 Lights Camera Middle SchoolLIGHTS, CAMERA, MIDDLE SCHOOL
    Babymouse, Tales from the Locker #1
    By Jennifer Holm
    On the shelves now!

     

     

     

     

    8.23 The Empty GraveTHE EMPTY GRAVE
    Lockwood & Co #5
    By Jonathan Stroud
    Coming out in September 

     

     

     

     

    8.23 Magnus ChaseTHE SHIP OF THE DEAD
    Magnus Chase #3
    By Rick Riordan
    Coming out in October 

     

     

     

     

    8.23 The Silver maskTHE SILVER MASK
    Magisterium #4
    By Holly Black
    Coming out in October 

     

     

     

     

    8.23 Harry PotterTHE PRISONER OF AZKABAN 
    Harry Potter #3 – The illustrated edition!
    By J.K. Rowling
    Illustrated by Jim Kay
    Coming out in October

     

     

  • Witchy Reads

    My fascination with all things witchy dates back to September 27th, 1996 - more than 20 years! Any guesses what inspired it?

    Ever since then, I've loved the idea of witchcraft, though not in a serious way. There's just something appealing about potions, spells, animal familiars, and covens of powerful women. Thanks to this fascination, fiction books with witchy protagonists inevitably catch my eye. In honor of the season, I thought I'd share a few exciting titles that feature wonderful witches.

    10.12 The Witches of New YorkTHE WITCHES OF NEW YORK
    By Ami McKay
    (2017)

    After reading several starred reviews of Ami McKay's new book, I knew I had to read it. It did not disappoint. THE WITCHES OF NEW YORK tells the story of Adelaide and Eleanor, two magical women who run Tea and Sympathy, a shop that offers tarot readings and herbal remedies in addition to tea and biscuits. When a naive young woman named Beatrice joins them as an assistant, mundane and magical forces combine to endanger the shop and the women who run it. A warning for cautious readers that this novel does include occasional sex and violence.

     

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

    This Newbery winner is an absolute delight. In this children's novel, the people of the Protectorate abandon a baby in sacrifice to the witch who lives outside their village. Little do they know that Xan is a kindly witch who is baffled by their offerings. Each year she takes the babies to a loving family across the forest, until one night she accidentally enmagics one of her charges. She then raises Luna alongside a swamp monster and a perfectly lovable, perfectly tiny dragon.

    THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON tells a lovely story and features the most charming and playful writing I've encountered aside from J.K. Rowling's. Even better, the audiobook reader gives what may just be my favorite narration of all time.

    10.12 The Black WitchTHE BLACK WITCH
    By Laurie Forest
    (2017)

    I've written about my love for this book before, but I had to include it again here. In THE BLACK WITCH, teenager Elloren Gardner leaves her small village to attend an international boarding school. She's the daughter of the Black Witch, Gardneria's rescuer and one of the most powerful mages of all time. When Elloren arrives at school, however, she discovers that the history she's been taught may not be accurate, and that the prejudices she's been raised with are undeserved and even cruel. THE BLACK WITCH deals with difficult topics in a complex but relatable way and in my opinion deserves every starred review it received.

     

    10.12 The Rules of MagicTHE RULES OF MAGIC
    By Alice Hoffman
    (2017)

    Full disclosure here: I haven't actually read this yet. After all, it only came out two days ago! Fans of Hoffman's 1995 book PRACTICAL MAGIC will be thrilled to know that she has returned to the story of the Owens family. For the members of this magical clan, love is a curse that inevitably results in death and heartache. THE RULES OF MAGIC follows an earlier generation of Owens siblings - Franny, Jet, and Vincent - as they navigate the heady days of the 1960s. I've read a few of Hoffman's other works, and her three-dimensional characters, detailed plots, and lush, lyrical writing never disappoint. And based on early reviews, this prequel is every bit as magical as its predecessor.

    Bonus: If you can't get enough fictional witchcraft, check out basically anything by Sarah Addison Allen. Within the pages of her sweet books, you're sure to find romance and magic in a small southern town.

  • Book Question

    When I was in high school, the game “Would You Rather?” was immensely popular. It became a silly part of lunch period and school bus rides—asking each other if we’d rather meet this celebrity or that celebrity, hold hands with the cute guy in our English class or the cute guy that we only ever see at football games. Comparisons would sometimes get pretty outlandish, and alliances were created based on our answers to those questions. Don’t even get me started on the Team Edward vs. Team Jacob fight. I thought it might be a lot of fun to make those choices based on popular books. I’ll give my answers and reasoning, and if you want, you can join in by commenting! 

    Would you rather… have Ron Weasley, or Hermione Granger by your side in a fight against Voldemort in HARRY POTTER

    For me, I think I’d have to go with Hermione. It’s a hard choice because Ron is such a loyal friend who would do anything in his power to help you defeat You-Know-Who. But, I’d have to pick Hermione because her exhaustive knowledge of spells, and magical history would be useful in fighting against He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. 

    Would you rather… live in Middle Earth, from THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, or Westeros, from A GAME OF THRONES

    As much as I’d like to see more of Westeros, this is kind of a no-brainer. Middle Earth has some downsides, but they’re far outweighed by the benefits. I mean, I could just live peacefully in the shire forever, not worrying about the rest. It’d be an exciting universe to explore and learn about, and I wouldn’t be nearly as worried about dying as I would be in Westeros. I’d definitely be a little sad about missing out on some of the specific lore of Westeros, but I think meeting Legolas would more than make up for it. 

    Would you rather… have the magical abilities of Matilda from MATILDA or Percy Jackson from THE LIGHTNING THIEF

    Another tough one! Here’s the thing. Matilda has some seriously cool telekinetic powers. Would I like to be able to move things without actually lifting a finger? It would certainly make doing my dishes and making my bed a lot more fun. But, Percy Jackson has some of the coolest powers, in my opinion. He can manipulate water, breathe underwater, and can communicate with marine and equine animals, amongst other abilities. Maybe it’s just the fact that I still have daydreams about being a mermaid, but I’m going to have to go with Percy’s powers here. And there you have it! This is a fun, limitless game that you can play all summer with your friends.