Children's Books

  • Diversity

    What is your favorite book?

    As a librarian, I get asked this all the time. It’s a tough question, I know. And it’s okay to have more than one answer! But indulge me for a moment, and think of a favorite book or two.

    Why are these books our favorites? What is it about them that makes us like them?

    Often, I enjoy books I can relate to. It doesn’t have to be an exact replica of my life -- in fact, that might be pretty boring. But there’s a special something when I can relate to the characters, locations, and events in a book. The similarities I have with Harry Potter, for example, help me enjoy his adventures in magic.

    But some groups of people are not represented proportionately in literature. For example, the multicultural publisher Lee and Low Books released an infographic in May of 2018 based on statistics provided by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center. Despite the fact that 37% of the United States’ population are people of color (other races besides white), only 10% of children’s books published since 1994 have authors, characters, or content who are Native or people of color.

    Diversity Gap in Childrens Books

    Why are so many voices silenced or ignored in literature? There may not be clear answers, but everyone deserves to have their voice heard and to see themselves in the pages of a book. Reluctant readers are more likely to become enthusiastic about reading when they can relate to the books they read.

    In her 1980 article titled “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors,” Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop focuses on children of color who see the world through the “windows” of books they read; however, the world they see in literature is very different from the one they live in. Bishop said, “When children cannot find themselves reflected in the books they read, or when the images they see are distorted, negative, or laughable, they learn a powerful lesson about how they are devalued in the society of which they are a part.”1

    On the flip side of the coin, white children also suffer when they are kept from the nature of the world they live in by the underrepresentation of other races in literature. All can benefit from the richness of human diversity; after all, variety is the spice of life. Below is a list of books I personally have read that were written by or about people of color or people from multicultural backgrounds.

    This post is the first installment of Diverse Reads, a series that gathers books with diverse characters or authors: people who are LGBTQIA+, Native, people of color, gender diverse, people with disabilities, or ethnic, cultural, or religious minorities. I hope that these books help open a window for you into other worldviews.

    6.11 HoodooHOODOO 
    By Ronald L. Smith
    (2015)

    In 1930s Alabama, twelve-year-old Hoodoo Hatcher is the only member of his family who seems unable to practice folk magic, but when a mysterious man called the Stranger puts the entire town at risk from his black magic, Hoodoo must learn to conjure to defeat him. This book shows various elements of African-American culture that is often skimmed over or ignored, most notably folk magic.

     

    6.11 The ProposalTHE PROPOSAL 
    By Jasmine Guillory
    (2018)

    When freelance writer Nikole Paterson is unexpectedly proposed to at a Dodgers game, stranger Carlos Ibarra and his sister rescue her from the awkward situation and the prying camera crews. Nikole hooks up with Carlos for a casual relationship, but finds herself falling harder for him than she ever imagined. A superb example of representation (with a black main character, a Latino love interest, a black lesbian side character, and a Korean side character), this book showcases the racial melting pot of modern-day Los Angeles.

     

    6.11 Handas SurpriseHANDA’S SURPRISE 
    By Eileen Browne
    (1994)

    Handa carries seven delicious fruits to her friend Akeyo as a surprise. But thanks to some hungry animals she meets along the way, it's Handa who's in for a surprise! Giving an insight into Luo people of sub-Saharan Africa, this older work depicts the flora and fauna of an environment that may be foreign to many Western readers.

     

    6.11 Mango Abuela and MeMANGO, ABUELA, AND ME 
    By Meg Medina
    (2015)

    When Mia's abuela moves in with Mia and her parents in the city, Abuela can't read the English words in Mia's bedtime stories. While they cook, Mia helps her grandmother learn English. However, it is still hard for Abuela to learn the words she needs to tell Mia all her stories. But a colorful parrot named Mango might bring an unexpected solution to their communication problem. This book accurately portrays the cross-generational language barrier that often arises in Latinx immigrant families, like my own.

     

    6.11 The Rent CollectorTHE RENT COLLECTOR 
    By Camron Wright
    (2012)

    Sang Ly struggles to survive by picking through garbage in Cambodia's largest municipal dump. Under threat of eviction by an embittered old drunk who is charged with collecting rents from the poor of Stung Meanchey, Sang Ly embarks on a desperate journey to save her ailing son from a life of ignorance and poverty. This book shows a rare view of the extreme poverty rampant in contemporary Southeast Asia.

     

    6.11 Hair LoveHAIR LOVE 
    By Matthew A. Cherry
    (2019)

    A little girl's daddy steps in to help her arrange her curly, coiling, wild hair into styles that allow her to be her natural, beautiful self. This book highlights and extolls elements of Black culture that are often ignored or even treated derisively in mainstream media.

     

    1 Bishop, R. (1990). “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors.” Ohio State University. Perspectives: Choosing and Using Books for the Classroom, 6(3).

     
  •  Diverse Reads Deaf Culture

    The value of written language is immense in any culture. But what if your culture doesn’t have a written system? In fact, about half of the world’s languages have no written form today. Deaf culture uses sign languages as their primary means of communication, but many members of Deaf culture don’t know sign language.

    No culture deserves to be neglected or underrepresented because of its written form (or lack thereof). It is especially important for children to learn about cultures different from their own, and to see their own minority cultures reflected back at them in literature. Below is a list of books that feature individuals from Deaf culture, with a focus on literature for children.

    This post is the fourth installment of Diverse Reads, a series that gathers books with diverse characters or authors: people who are LGBTQIA+, Native, people of color, gender diverse, people with disabilities, or ethnic, cultural, or religious minorities. I hope that these books help open a window for you into other worldviews. 

    11.20 Hello UniverseHELLO, UNIVERSE
    By Erin Entrada Kelly
    (2017)

    Valencia finds herself thrown together with her classmates on a summer day in this Newbery Medal-winning novel. Like many deaf and Hard of Hearing kids, Valencia doesn’t know any sign language, and she wears hearing aids that don’t work well with loud background noise. Her self-confidence and perseverance give readers someone to root for. 

     

    11.20 She Touched the WorldSHE TOUCHED THE WORLD 
    By Sally Hobart Alexander and Robert Alexander
    (2008)

    At age two, Laura Bridgman lost her sight, hearing, smell, and taste. At the country’s first school for the blind, Bridgman paved the way for future generations of children with disabilities, making possible important advances in the way they would be educated long before the likes of Louis Braille and Helen Keller. 

     

    11.20 Song for a WhaleSONG FOR A WHALE 
    By Lynne Kelly
    (2019)

    An amazing Deaf character named Iris lives in a world where her intelligence isn’t recognized in her home nor at her school. Her loneliness is reflected in her attempts to reach Blue 55, a whale who cannot communicate with its own kind. Iris and her Deaf grandmother communicate via sign language, which is especially rare in children’s literature. 

     

    11.20 WonderstruckWONDERSTRUCK 
    By Brian Selznick
    (2011)

    The stories of two deaf children who were born 50 years apart: Ben’s story is told in words, while Rose’s in pictures. This work is a unique attempt to track the changes to Deaf culture in America through stunning illustrations. 

     

    11.20 You Dont Know Everything Jilly PYOU DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING, JILLY P!
    By Alex Gino
    (2018)

    When her new baby sister is born deaf, Jilly makes an online connection with a fellow fantasy fan, who happens to be black and Deaf, and begins to learn about the many obstacles that exist in the world for people who are different from her.

     
  • LGBTQIA

    Have you ever felt different? Like you didn’t fit in? I have! I think most people have felt different at some point. Different isn’t a bad thing. But sometimes being different is hard.

    Sometimes people are mean to you if you’re different. Sometimes they say being different is bad. They might say things to make you wish you were like everyone else. You might feel ashamed or afraid of being different.

    You should never feel ashamed of being different. Pride is the opposite of shame: you feel good about who you are and what makes you different -- and special. I hope that one day, everyone can feel pride about who they are, and no one has to live in fear.

    Here are some books for children about people who might be different from you. You should talk about your thoughts and feelings with a parent or trusted adult.

    This post is a special children’s installment of Diverse Reads, a series that gathers books with diverse characters or authors: people who are LGBTQIA+, Native, people of color, gender diverse, people with disabilities, or ethnic, cultural, or religious minorities. I hope that these books help open a window for you into other worldviews.

    9.2 Rainbow a First Book of PrideRAINBOW: A FIRST BOOK OF PRIDE 
    By Michael Genhart
    (2019)

    Children from different kinds of families show the original meanings of the colors in the rainbow flag. Then they come together at a parade to share in a day when we are all united.

     

    9.2 Prince KnightPRINCE & KNIGHT 
    By Daniel Haack
    (2018)

    Once upon a time, there was a prince in line to take the throne. His parents set out to find him a kind and worthy bride. While they were away, a terrible dragon threatened their land! The prince hurried to save his kingdom and was met by a brave knight in a suit of brightly shining armor. Together they fought the dragon and discovered that special something the prince was looking for all along.

     

    9.2 Julian is a MermaidJULIÁN IS A MERMAID 
    By Jessica Love
    (2018)

    While riding the subway home from the pool with his abuela, Julián notices three women spectacularly dressed up. When he gets home, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous mermaid costume. But what will Abuela think?

     

    9.2 Im Not a GirlI’M NOT A GIRL 
    By Maddox Lyons
    (2020)

    Nobody seems to understand that Hannah is not a girl. His parents ask why he won't wear the cute outfits they pick out, his friend thinks he must be a tomboy, and his teacher insists he should be proud to be a girl. But a birthday wish, a new word, and a stroke of courage might be just what Hannah needs to finally show the world who he really is.

     

    9.2 Plenty of HugsPLENTY OF HUGS 
    By Fran Manushkin
    (2020)

    Two mommies spend a sunny day with their toddler: on a bike ride, at the zoo, and finally back home. All along the way, there are “plenty of hugs for you and me.”

     
  • 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. 

     
  • Girl Reading Chapter BOok 

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

     
  • Hair

    I don’t know if you knew, but all librarians at The Provo City Library have fabulous hair. It’s a fact. Look at any one of us and you’ll see wonderful hair. Color, length, texture we have it all. You might even think great hair is a requirement to become a librarian, but I digress. 

    Beautiful hair isn’t just a librarian trait. Many book characters have some pretty awesome locks. Take a look at a few heroines with fierce hair! 

    8.3 Tristan StrongTRISTAN STRONG PUNCHES A HOLE IN THE SKY
    By Kwame Mbalia
    (2019) 

    Heroine: Gum Baby
    Hair level: Fierce

    Why: Throughout the book, Gum Baby changes her hairstyle to fit the mood. Whether it’s a powerful afro, corn rows, or fabulous pigtails, Gum Baby pulls off any hairdo with style. 

    This book is about a boy who falls into a world of folklore and legends. He meets Briar Rabbit, John Henry, and a sassy doll named Gum Baby. When Tristan first meets Gum Baby, he’s not sure what to think of her, but as they get into one pickle after another, Gum Baby and Tristan work together to survive and eventually become friends. 

     

    8.3 The Hero and the CrownTHE HERO AND THE CROWN
    By Robin McKinley
    (1984) 

    Heroine: Aerin
    Hair level: Fiery

    Why: Not only is Aerin a ginger with red curls, but in her society of beautiful cinnamon skinned people with sleek dark hair, she stands out like a sore thumb. She owns her unruly hair and doesn’t let her differences get in the way of her girl-power attitude. 

    This read follows Aerin, the princess of Damar. Due to rumors of her mother being a witch from the North, Aerin feels like she doesn’t belong. To prove her worth, she decides to become a dragon slayer and goes on a heroic adventure of self-discovery. 

     

    8.3 Battle of the Best FriendsMERMAID TALES: BATTLE OF THE BEST FRIENDS
    By Debbie Dadey
    (2012) 

    Heroine: Echo
    Hair level: Flawless

    Why: She’s a mermaid. Need I say more? 

    This story follows Echo. She is invited to the coolest party. Her favorite band will be performing and Echo is super excited. Well, at least she was excited until she found out her best friend, Shelly, wasn’t invited. Shelly wants Echo to go anyway, but Echo plans to involve Shelly in the festivities. 

     

    8.3 Claudia and Mean JanineTHE BABYSITTERS CLUB: CLAUDIA AND MEAN JANINE: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL
    By Ann M. Martin
    (2016) 

    Heroine: Claudia
    Hair level: Fabulous

    Why: Do you see her silky locks and magenta bangs? 

    In this graphic novel readers get to explore the relationship between Claudia and her sister Janine. No two sisters have been more different. Janine enjoys art and being a member of The Babysitters Club. Meanwhile, Janine is the most studious girl in town. Will anything help them stop their bickering? 

     

    8.1 Harry Potter and the Goblet of FireHARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE
    By J.K. Rowling
    (2000) 

    Heroine: Hermione Granger
    Hair level: Fantastic

    Why: Hermione’s frizzy locks are iconic and give thick haired girls everywhere a sense of kinship. In this specific book, Hermione tries taming her hair for a school dance, which goes over very well. However, she decides to keep her hair natural instead of constantly preening over it. This not only ignites the love of dress up, but also lets girls know that it’s ok to leave their hair natural. 

    This book follows Harry Potter on another adventure. He looks forward to this school year being easier than the previous three. With the Triwizard Tournament (think deadly Olympics for teens) taking place he’s sure to have fun with his best friends. But then, the unexpected happens. His name somehow is placed in the drawing and now he needs to face difficult challenges. Will he make it out alive? 

     

    There you have it! Five characters with great hair. Who would you add to the list? 

     
  • 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. 

     
  • Caldecott

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

     
  •  Girl Reading

    Earlier this week we excitedly announced that starting July 1st there will no longer be overdue fines for children’s materials! We’ve had some questions about this change and wanted to give the answers here.

    Q: Why are you eliminating fines on children's materials?

    A: It's easy: we want children to read. We know that life with children is hectic and sometimes it's hard to get to the library on time; we also know that it's not unusual for a child to have many books checked out at once and so late fees add up quickly. We would hate for a family to stop using the library because they feel they cannot afford it.  

    Q: But how will you make sure that the books come back?

    A: We will still have due dates on all library materials and we do still expect people to return items on time.  If a book is one month overdue it will be marked lost and the patron will be charged for the full cost of the item. We will still charge for lost or damaged books. If the book is returned, we will waive the "lost" fee. 

    Q: Does this apply to everything for children? 

    A: Almost everything; we will continue to charge late fees for Discovery Kits as they are a high-demand specialty item. But books, DVDs, and books on CD from the children's collection will all be fee exempt.  

    Q: Why just children's materials? Why not go fine free for everything? 

    A: This could be such a long answer, but it boils down to this: our readers of children's materials and our readers of adult/teen materials just behave differently. Our collections move differently. Adults and teens are more likely to want specific titles--the next in a series, the next from their favorite author--and so we find that we have long holds lists for lots of items. We have found that late fees for those materials provide a great incentive to bring things back and help us keep high-demand materials moving. 

    However, many children do not consume books in this way. They might want 50 picture books about dinosaurs, but many times they don't care about which 50 picture books about dinosaurs they have. We have found that having these materials returned a few days late does not negatively impact another patron's ability to enjoy the library (we have enough books about dinosaurs to satisfy many future paleontologists).  

    Q. Won't this make hold lists for kid's chapter books super long?

    A. This is a valid concern and a big part of why the policy change only applies to children's books right now. We've been watching data for several years now from libraries around that country that have instituted similar policies who have found that their patrons still return things in a timely manner. It just gives a little more grace when people forget or have complications come up. Most patrons still want to return their items on time or close to on time because they know other people are waiting. And many libraries have even found people are more likely to bring things back than before, because fear of fines they couldn't afford had previously kept them from ever returning with that book they'd had out too long. We're hopeful that will be the case here.

    We're committed to this not being a system that unintentionally penalizes, in this way, the patrons who always would have returned their materials on time, though. We'll continue monitoring hold lists for popular items, the way we currently do for all library materials, and will buy extra copies as needed to keep the holds/copy ratio low.

    Q: Okay, that makes sense. Do you have anything exciting to announce for adult and teen users?

    A: Thanks for asking! We wanted to talk about this in a previous question above, but that answer was getting too long. We are excited to announce that we're also instituting automatic renewals for library materials.  You have always been able to renew library materials, but we have turned on automatic renewals to save you a step. As long as no one has requested an item, it will automatically renew for you on the due date for an additional three weeks. Since each item may be renewed twice, this means that you could potentially have up to nine weeks to finish that 40-hour epic fantasy book on CD (as long as no one else has requested it). You can see how many times the item as been renewed by logging into your online library account from our website. 

    Q: What if you put a hold on a children’s book, how will that affect the book being returned?

    A: If you put a hold on a children's book that is currently checked out to someone else, that book will not automatically renew to them, and they will be expected to return the book on its original due date. The only change here is that they won't be fined at that point, but they will still receive the usual repeated reminders to return it. Once that book has been overdue for a month, it will be considered lost and the patron will be charged for it. BUT if they return it after that, we'll waive that fine. We're hoping some long-lost books will make their way back home this way.

    Like we mentioned in the last answer, we’ll be watching hold lists carefully and buying more copies as needed when the ratio of holds per copy gets too high. 

    Q: Is this going to affect the library's budget?

    A: Short answer? Yes. It will be a significant budget shortfall. We've made some adjustments; we think it's worth it to keep kids reading.  

  • 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.

     
  •  junior mysteries

    Last year I went to different schools around Salt Lake doing book fairs. It was a dream and a panic induced nightmare because while I was excited to tell the students about all the books we had available, it also meant that I was expected to know a lot of books in all the genres. (Not much has changed in my current librarian position.)

    Unfortunately no one has asked me for mystery suggestions lately, so I am offering them to you now. These are some of my favorite mysteries which we had at the book fair that are also at the Provo Library!

    4.27 HostageHOSTAGE
    By Willo Davis Roberts
    (2016)

    Kaci comes home in the middle of the school day to find her house getting robbed. The thieves take her hostage and when her nosy neighbor suspects something is wrong and starts nosing around the outside, she gets taken as well. Kaci discovers that her neighbor has more to offer than spying on her neighbors and they must band together to escape.

    Willo Davis Roberts has written a slew of other mysteries that also includes Babysitting is a Dangerous Game. I really enjoyed both of these and would absolutely recommend her. She does a great job creating suspense without it being too intense. 

     
     

    4.27 Tell Tale StartTELL TALE START: THE MISADVENTURES OF EDGAR AND ALLEN POE
    By Gordon McAlpine
    (2013)

    Think the Weasley twins. Ultimate tricksters who are able to read each other’s minds. In the first chapter Edgar and Allan Poe get kicked out of school for some legendary pranks. When their beloved cat is kidnapped and transported to the Midwest, they convince their guardians to take them on a road trip. Mayhem and mysteries ensue as they go on their adventure as well as more questions. This series has great witty banter and fun literary references.

     
     
     

    4.27 Wait till Helen ComesWAIT TILL HELEN COMES: A GHOST STORY
    By Mary Downing Hahn
    (1986)

    Twelve year old Molly is not happy when her mother remarries and is less thrilled that they are moving into an old converted church. The graveyard behind the church gives Molly the creeps, but her new stepsister Heather is drawn to it. Heather meets a lonely ghost who realizes that she doesn’t have to be lonely if she lures the lonely Heather to a similar death. It is up to Molly to thwart Helen’s plan.

     
     
     

    4.27 Friday BarnesFRIDAY BARNES, GIRL DETECTIVE
    By RA Spratt
    (2016)

    Friday Barnes, girl genius, solves a bank robbery and decides to use her reward money to send herself to the most exclusive boarding school in the country- and discovers a hotbed of crime! She starts investigating cases from disappearing homework to a yeti haunting the school swamp.

    It’s a great book full of mystery, adventure and great characters.

     
     
     

    4.27 Sweetness at the Bottom of the PieSWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE
    By Alan Bradley
    (2009)

    11 year old Flavia de Luce loves chemistry and poisons. In the summer of 1950 in a sleepy English village of Bishop’s Lacey, a dead bird is found on her doorstep with a postage stamp pinned to its beak. Hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and sees him take his last dying breath. Flavia is appalled and delighted and decides she’s going to follow the clues and solve the crime herself, to help the police of course.

    This is a brilliant series with a clever protagonist that uses the fact that she’s 11 to sneak her way through her village to solve the mysteries.

    The 9th book “The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place” came out the end of January. This book is technically not in junior or YA fiction. It’s regular adult mystery, but I still can’t help but recommend it to older readers that have an interest 

     
  • chapter books to films

    Children who can read chapter books independently open up a whole new world for themselves—and provide enjoyment for the whole family. I remember thinking that when my oldest son learned to read, it was equally as magical as when he learned to speak. As a family you can have extended activities that go along with reading. It can add some variety to the normal routine or inspire a child who doesn’t particularly love reading. You can create a family book club where each child reads the book, and after having a discussion about the book, everyone can watch the movie. You can also choose a fun read-aloud and as a family when you finish the book, watch the movie. Of course, the book and movie might be very different, but the discussion that comes will be enjoyable, and everyone can participate because they read the book or had the book read to them! Last year I wrote a post on movies inspired by picture books. Consider today’s post a follow-up with a list of our family’s favorite longer chapter books that have inspired movies.  

    3.9 Charlottes WebCHARLOTTE’S WEB
    By E. B. White
    (1952)

    Fern saves the runt of a litter of pigs and cares for it as her baby. When Wilbur, the pig, gets big enough, she takes him to her uncle’s farm. It’s easy to fall in love with both Wilbur and Fern. She is easy to relate to and the reader can feel happy and sad right along with her. Wilbur has to find a way to prove to the farmer it is worth keeping him around and he finds a true friend to help him on his quest. 

     

    3.9 Charlottes Web DVDCHARLOTTE’S WEB
    (1973)

    This cartoon classic is perfect for younger chapter-book readers. There is some sadness, but children can gain empathy for future experiences from both books and film. There is also humor throughout. The characters are lovable and it is an inspiring story of friendship children can learn from as they go through their elementary school years. 

     

    3.7 The Tale of DespereauxTHE TALE OF DESPEREAUX
    By Kate DiCamillo
    (2003) 

    This Newbery winner begins when a kingdom famous for its marvelous soup encounters tragedy. A rat falls into the queen’s soup, causing her to have a heart attack and die. Soup and rats are then outlawed. A smaller-than-average mouse with large ears, a big heart, and incredible bravery starts his adventure to return happiness and peace to the land, save a princess, and do other heroic things brave mice usually end up doing. 

     

    3.9 The Tale of DespereauxTHE TALE OF DESPEREAUX
    (2009)

    It seems that children identify with small creatures that defy the odds and are courageous in fighting for what they believe in. Despereaux is just such an inspirational character. Adults and children will enjoy this family friendly adventure. 

     

    3.9 HolesHOLES
    By Louis Sachar
    (1998)

    Yet another Newbery winner is perfectly crafted to include a mysterious curse that spans generations. Stanley Yelnats is framed for a crime he did not actually commit, but he serves the time at a camp for troubled youth. The campers dig holes to help build their character. Stanley meets a fellow camper who helps him solve the mystery of Kissin’ Kate Barlow and the real reason they spend every day digging those holes. 

     

    3.9 Holes dvdHOLES
    (2003)

    The film has something for everyone. It can be tricky to find a movie that everyone in the family truly enjoys, but this is it. Mystery, romance, and humor are all there and well done. There is seamless transition from present to past and back again. All the characters are well-developed and my favorite, of course, is Sam the onion seller. 

     

    3.9 The Lion the Witch and the WardrobeTHE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE
    By C. S. Lewis
    (1950)

    Four siblings are sent to live with their uncle. They play hide and seek one day and find a mysterious world, Narnia, on the other side of the wardrobe. The people of Narnia are under the terrible reign of an evil queen. The children go on a crusade to bring peace back to the land. 

     

    3.9 The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe dvdCHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE
    (2006)

    It seems every child has an inner hope to enter a magically secret world and escape the mundane regular world. The characters, costumes, scenery, and especially the music of this film bring to life the land of Narnia. It truly feels magical. 

     

    3.9 The BFGTHE BFG
    By Roald Dahl
    (1982)

    I remember reading this in the fifth grade, and it’s a classic that continues to make my kids laugh. Dahl has created characters that readers can really relate to. He understands what school-agers find hilarious. The detail he uses really helps the reader create a picture in their mind. 

     

    3.9 The BFG dvdTHE BFG
    (2016)

    There are some amazing things about technology. Creating a computer-generated Big Friendly Giant is definitely one of them. The giant really comes to life in a way that previous technology would not allow. My favorite is definitely the scene where the giant visits the queen. The magnitude of having a giant come to dinner is so fun to be a part of.

     
  • favoritefavorite 1

     Anyone who reads a lot can empathize with the pressure I feel, as a librarian, to pick a favorite book. It’s often the first question people ask me when I tell them that reading is my favorite hobby. The problem, of course, is that I don’t have a favorite book.  

    Or rather, I have way too many! I could easily come up with a categorized list of about 400 favorite books separated into genre, age group, guilty pleasure books, etc. But, if I had to pick, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll is my favorite book on my long list of favorite books. The story is fun and classic and well-known enough that you don’t seem pretentious when you say that you love it. And, like many childhood classics, there are always new interpretations to explore.  

    Here are a few favorite books based on my official favorite book:  

    Alices Adventures in WonderlandAlice’s Adventures in Wonderland 
    By Lewis Carroll
    Illustrated by Anna Rifle Bond
    (2015)   

    The illustrations in Alice have always been one of the best parts for me, and while hundreds of artists have taken the time to illustrate Wonderland, this edition offers a unique interpretation of a magical and fantastic world. Every page in this book is pretty and cartoonish, offering a fun new journey to Wonderland alongside Lewis Carroll’s original and unabridged text.  

     

    HeartlessHeartless
    By Marissa Meyer
    (2016)   

    In this prequel to Alice in Wonderland, Lady Catherine is reluctant to marry the King of Hearts, especially once she finds love with the king’s mysterious new jester. Marissa Meyer crafts her own beautiful version of Wonderland filled with romance and a little bit of darkness. I love this new look at Wonderland.  

     

     

     

    Queen of HeartsQueen of Hearts  
    By Colleen Oakes
    (2016)   

    This book offers another exploration into Wonderland before Alice, but here the future Queen of Hearts is called Princess Dinah, and she has yet to learn about the darkness that fills her future kingdom. I was not expecting to enjoy two new Queen of Hearts origin stories in the same year, but this book – the first in a new series – convinced me that there should be even more.  

     

     

    There are so many Fractured Wonderland stories that it was hard to pick out a few favorites (obviously). Are there other favorites that we missed? 

     

  • classics for kids

    We’ve got a lot of old stuff here in the children’s library, and I’m not talking about the carpet and the computers—I’m talking about old books. Some of which are so burned into our cultural consciousness that they still get a lot of attention, such as LITTLE WOMEN by Louisa May Alcott, which was first published in 1868; or the BOXCAR CHILDREN books by Gertrude Chandler Warner that started publication in 1924. Unfortunately, from my perspective as a children’s librarian, much of our older stuff doesn’t get enough attention.  

    It’s understandably hard to sift through everything there is to read. There are now ELEVEN Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, and Rick Riordan has written THIRTY-FOUR kids’ titles! So I understand that it can be hard to branch out if your kid wants to keep reading familiar stuff. But maybe it’s worth avoiding the next new series for awhile (who wants to wait a year between installments anyway) and pick up something a little more classic. Kids may find they actually like reading “old stuff.” Here are four of my favorite classic children’s novels that withstand the test of time. And if you need more ideas, come in and get one of our “Classics for Kids” booklists.    

    9.29 Doctor DolittleTHE STORY OF DOCTOR DOLITTLE
    Hugh Lofting
    1920 

    The idea that Doctor Dolittle taught himself to speak to animals was beyond amazing to me as a child, and the writing style of this story is just “old-fashioned” enough to make it sound “true.” Kids reading this may come away with a hopeful belief that if they just study hard enough, they can learn to talk to animals too! Doctor Dolittle’s adventures both in England and on the African continent supply all sorts of wild entertainment that will still interest kids in the 21st century. The second installment in the doctor’s adventures, THE VOYAGES OF DOCTOR DOLITTLE, won the Newbery medal in 1923.   

     

    9.29 The Call of the WildTHE CALL OF THE WILD
    Jack London
    1903 

    As a kid I was pretty typical: I loved books about dogs. Buck, this story’s protagonist, is a mix of whatever breeds create a dog big enough and hardy enough to survive both the dog fighting arena and the Alaskan wilderness. This book is a great place to learn about the harms of animal cruelty, as well as the reality of how harsh the Klondike gold rush was on would-be millionaires. The story is told from the dog’s perspective, so readers are bound to fall in love with this gentle canine giant, urging him on through thick and thin. And don’t worry, Buck gets a happy ending.

      

    9.29 Treasure IslandTREASURE ISLAND
    Robert Louis Stevenson
    1882 

    This feels like the pirate story that started them all. I mean, if there’s a muppet show about it, it must be good. And what child doesn’t want to join the intrepid Jim as he takes to the high seas? Trying to navigate the complicated relationship between Jim and the friendly but deadly John Silver can teach a hard but necessary lesson about the problem of attempting to see life in black and white, good and evil. On a lighter note, TREASURE ISLAND has all the fantastical elements, adventure, and daring that any fan of Percy Jackson could hope for.   

    9.29 Black BeautyBLACK BEAUTY
    Anna Sewell
    1877 

    As many 10-year-old girls do, I went through a serious horse phase. In my opinion, horse stories have produced some great classic reads for kids, and BLACK BEAUTY has to take the cake. Like CALL OF THE WILD, this book contrasts animal care with animal cruelty. The overall message is that an animal treated well will be loyal to it’s human, but there’s a deeper message about the importance of friendship in any situation. Readers will cheer on Black Beauty and come out a little bit better for it.

     

     

  • pete seeger

    For any 10-year-olds with an interest in the folk music of the 1960s, this blog post is for you!***crickets***Okay, okay. I know how it sounds, but one of the fascinating things about biographies written for children is that many are written about people that most children aren’t initially interested in. Don’t get me wrong, there will always be books about Einstein, Disney, and Muhammad Ali. But some of the real gems of our biography collection are about people that may not have obvious “kid-appeal” in 2017.Take Pete Seeger. I became a fan of his music as a sophomore in college when I became a little more politically active, a little more frustrated at “modern life,” and a little more convinced that the 1960s was the time to live. Ask me as a ten-year-old who Pete Seeger was, though, and I would have had no answer. I think the same is probably true of most kids.Still, for whatever reason there have been four well-written, fairly acclaimed children’s biographies about Pete Seeger published in the last year. Perhaps it is because he passed away in 2014 and publishers are eager to capitalize on a chance to make new biographies. Or perhaps it’s just because the stars aligned. We may never know. But if you’re interested in teaching your child the value of folk music and peaceful political activism – which might not be such a bad thing – here are all the Pete Seeger books our children’s department has to offer:

    10.13 Who Was Pete SeegerWHO WAS PETE SEEGER? 
    By Noel MacCarry
    (2017)

    The newest installment in a series of books that has written a biography for everyone. This book provides a good amount of detail and presents a charming caricature of the artist.

     

     

     

    10.13 Let Your Voice Be HeardLET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF PETE SEEGER 
    By Anita Silvey
    (2016)

    This book provides a lot of good information about the life of Pete Seeger and the causes that were important to him – enough for kids to go out and explore more on their own.

     

     

    10.13 ListenLISTEN: HOW PETE SEEGER GOT AMERICA SINGING 
    By Leda Schubert
    Illustrated by Raul Colon
    (2017)

    This is my favorite of the bunch—mostly because I like picture book biographies. But also because it shows the influence Pete Seeger had in unexpected ways. Plus, it includes the titles of all his songs, which is fun for fans.

     

    10.13 Stand Up and SingSTAND UP AND SING!: PETE SEEGER, FOLK MUSIC, AND THE PATH TO JUSTICE 
    By Susanna Reich
    Illustrated by Adam Gustavson
    (2017)

    This one is a little text heavy for a picture book biography, but it does maybe the best job of explaining the oppression that Pete Seeger sought to overcome by making a statement with his music. 

    10.13 AbiyoyoBONUS: ABIYOYO 
    By Pete Seeger
    Illustrated by Michael Hays
    (1986)

    This picture book version of Seeger’s own ballad was a Reading Rainbow pick back in the day and is an adaptation of a South African folktale. With a note from Seeger in the front of the book, this is perhaps the best way to introduce young music fans to Pete Seeger.

     

  • Gardening Kid

    As the weather gets warmer, it always makes me want to go outside and dig in the dirt. I enjoy planting things, taking care of them, and watching them grow. It’s a very satisfying and relaxing way to spend my time. I don’t know if you feel the same way, but even if you don’t enjoy digging in the dirt, I would bet that you probably enjoy the fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and strawberries that come from your own garden. Personally, I think they taste better when you have grown them yourself.

    Have you ever thought about growing a garden with your kids? You should give it a try! Children are naturally curious and they love digging in the dirt which makes gardening a perfect project, as well as a fun, hands-on learning experience that everyone can participate in. Gardening also teaches children important life skills as well as environmental awareness by exploring nature. You don’t have to be an experienced gardener to plant a garden with your children, you just need some dirt, seeds, or plants and a willingness to try.  Here are a few resources the library has to help you get started on your own gardening adventure.

    LET’S LEARN GARDENING

    This is a fun resource the library offers. There are gardening activities listed that you can do with your children as well as books and movies you can watch to get your little ones excited about gardening.

     

    5.11 Gardening Projects for KidsGARDENING PROJECTS FOR KIDS; 101 WAYS TO GET KIDS OUTSIDE, DIRTY, AND HAVING FUN 
    By Whitney Cohen
    (2012)

    This book helps you make gardening fun for your kids and teaches you how to design your own play-friendly family garden. It includes games, art, fun ideas for projects you can do in the garden, as well as instructions on how to cook what you grow from your own garden.

     

    5.11 Gardening with EmmaGARDENING WITH EMMA: GROW AND HAVE FUN: A KID-TO-KID GUIDE 
    By Emma Biggs
    (2005)

    Thirteen-year-old Emma shares her passion for gardening in this fun guide for kids. She will show you how to grow your own food, what kind of soil is best, and how to grow different kinds of gardens, including a flower stand garden. She also talks about different kinds of plants and shows you, with lots of fun pictures, how to make spaces for kids to play among the plants.

     

    5.11 Let It GrowLET IT GROW
    By Cynthia Stierle
    (2019)

    This gardening book is perfect for anyone who doesn’t want to plant a garden outside but would like to do fun gardening science experiments with their children. You can do experiments to learn about roots, leaves, stems, and how sunlight and water play a crucial role in helping plants to grow.

     
  • Robin Hood

    I love Robin Hood. The story of the man who steals from the rich to give to the poor has interested me ever since I first saw the Disney animated adaptation. Since then, I have constantly been on the search for books that allow me to be on the adventure with Robin, have chat with Little John, or simply plot a scheme against the Sheriff of Nottingham.And it seems that I am not the only person who is caught up at the idea of this noble thief. There are countless retellings, adaptations, or folktales written about Robin Hood. This list is a very small scrapping of what is out there, and although I haven’t read them all, each promises to include you in an epic adventure.

    4.24 The Merry Adventures of Robin HoodTHE MERRY ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD OF GREAT RENOWN, IN NOTTINGHAMSHIRE
    By Howard Plye
    (1883)

    For me, at least, it’s impossible to talk about Robin Hood without talking about Howard Plye. This work is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. It tells the story of Robin Hood, from the meeting of Little John to how the famous outlaw dies.  The prose is lyrical and poetic and it was actually written as a children’s book so it’s perfect for all ages!

     

    4.24 Rowan HoodROWAN HOOD, OUTLAW GIRL OF SHERWOOD FOREST
    By Nancy Springer
    (2001)

    The first of a five book series, this book hugs the line between middle grade and young adult. Rosemary is the daughter of Robin Hood, a famous thief that she has never met, and a healer named Celandine. When he mother dies, Rosemary disguises herself as a boy and goes out into the depth and perils of Sherwood Forest to find her father.

     

    4.24 The Outlaws of SherwoodTHE OUTLAWS OF SHERWOOD
    By Robin McKinley
    (2003)

    This novel attempts to adapt the legend of Robin Hood with the perspective of contemporary writing and, while it includes all the famous characters (Little John, Much, Friar Tuck, Marian and Alan-a-dale), the story focuses much more on Mariam, who is an accomplished archer in Robin’s troupe.

     

    4.24 HoodHOOD
    By Stephen R. Lawhead
    (2006)

    Lawhead sets his Robin Hood epic in a world full of Celtic mythology and political intrigue. Hood creates a new protagonist, Bran ap Brychan, and set him on a great adventure. He flees the kingdom of Elfael after his father is killed and leads a band of thieves as they try to battle the Normans in order to take back the kingdom.

     

    4.24 OutlawOUTLAW : THE LEGEND OF ROBIN HOOD : A GRAPHIC NOVEL
    By Tony Lee
    (2009)

    This graphic novel asks the question, “How did Robin of Loxley become Robin Hood?” With vivid color and incredible illustrations, this story places its reader within an England under the Sheriff of Nottingham’s control. Within the haunted Sherwood forest, a rogue rises up to become an outlaw. 

     

    4.24 Outlaw AngusOUTLAW
    By Angus Donald
    (2011)

    Donald’s retelling of the Robin Hood legends does not focus on the legendary outlaw himself but rather on young Alan Dale. This name should ring a bell for any Robin Hood fan. Outlaw tells the story of how Alan Dale was forced to leave his family, join a group of thieves, and question whether can trust the bloodthirsty leader, Robin Hood.   

     
  • great dads

     

    Fathers play an important role in children’s lives and in society, yet in the US about 1/3 of children live without a father in the home (datacenter.kidscout.org). Finding a great father figure in children’s literature is not an easy task, especially in the last decade,  but there are a few that are real gems. Here are some of Children’s Literature’s great fathers.  

    wonderAuggie’s Father in WONDER by R.J. Palacio

    Both of Auggie’s parents are amazingly supportive, but my favorite part in the book is when Auggie’s father tells him that it was he who got rid of Auggie’s space helmet (that Auggie wore to hide is facial deformity).  Auggie’s father says he did it because he missed seeing his son’s face.  There is no more validating message a father can send than “I love you, just the way you are.”  

     

    year of billy millerBilly’s Father in THE YEAR OF BILLY MILLER by Kevin Henkes

    Billy’s father uses wit and wisdom to help his son through his difficult year.  He isn’t perfect, and doesn’t have endless patience, but his gives Billy the most important thing, time and attention.  

     

     

    penderwicksMr. Penderwick in THE PENDERWICKS by Jeanne Birdsall

    What is not to like about the loveable, absentminded-professor father of the Penderwicks.  All through the series Mr. Penderwick obviously loves and delights in his children and in return, the children are utterly devoted to their father.  

     

     

    crossoverMr. Bell in THE CROSSOVER by Kwame Alexander

    Being a good father is not always about having fun and baking cookies. Mr. Bell, the father to the two basketball prodigies in Crossover, knows when it is time to pull one of his boys up short when he is out of line. Although Mr. Bell uses a firm hand, it is always motivated by love.  

     

  • standalone 01

    Our children’s section is filled with books beloved by both children and their parents, but exploring our collection can be a daunting prospect. Most of our highest-circulating titles are parts in larger series, some of which extend to seven, ten, or even more books! This is simply a reality of the current literary landscape – it’s far easier to maintain readership with long-running series. 

    But while many of our patrons love reading series, they often seek out a standalone title to read between installments their other favorites. A common misconception is that those standalone titles are only “classics,” or that publishers aren’t releasing great single stories anymore. This couldn’t be further from the truth! If you’re eager to check out a children’s book but don’t want a series-length commitment, we have many, many options.

    A great place to start are our Parent/Child Book Clubs, held on the fourth Tuesday and Wednesday of every month. We often showcase great standalone books in these clubs, like HONEY, EL DEAFO, and CIRCUS MIRANDUS – all of which are recently published. Registration for our final book clubs before summer reading begins on April 1 at provolibrary.com.

    hoodooEven you can’t make it to one of our book clubs, fear not: the Library has a huge supply of standalone stories. One of this librarian’s favorites from 2015 is HOODOO by Ronald Smith. HOODOO is set in the Deep South during the Great Depression, and features a young boy who belongs to a long tradition of practicing magic, but struggles with spells himself. He and his family face down a strange, evil visitor who threatens their town and entire way of life. This is a truly spooky story that is rich in period detail. And while it, like many great standalone titles, hints at a potential sequel, it more than holds its own as an independent piece. 

     

    Series are a huge part of our Library, and a big reason our patrons love to keep visiting, but there’s a big world of single-volume stories waiting for readers. Come visit one of our children’s librarians for even more recommendations!

  • grilled cheese

    I recently came upon a few books with a surprising commonality: grilled cheese. Who knew that grilled cheese was the comfort food of choice? These books are of different tones and genres but all of them will leave you with a desire to experiment with different grilled cheese recipes. 

    7.24 The listTHE LIST
    By Melanie Jacobson
    (2011)

    Ashley Barrett has a list of things she wants to accomplish before she gets married. One thing on that list is a summer fling. What better way to a man’s heart than through his stomach? Will Ashley’s grilled cheese seal the deal? Featured grilled cheese secret: sourdough bread. 

     

    7.24 The Optimists Guide to Letting GoTHE OPTIMIST’S GUIDE TO LETTING GO
    By Amy E. Reichert
    (2018)

    When Gina’s husband passed away he left her with a mopey teenage daughter, a cranky mother, and a grilled cheese food truck. Will Gina’s optimistic attitude be enough to keep her relationships and business afloat? Featured grilled cheese secret: cream cheese 

     

    7.24 Dont Worry It Gets WorseDON’T WORRY, IT GETS WORSE: ONE TWENTY SOMETHING’S (MOSTLY FAILED) ATTEMPTS AT ADULTHOOD
    By Alida Nugent
    (2013)

    In this autobiography you’ll meet Alida. She’s a college graduate attempting (and failing) to transition to adult life. Good thing she has good friends, great parents, and a life-altering grilled cheese sandwich. Featured grilled cheese secret: grease and insatiable hunger. 

     

    7.24 Grilled Cheese and DragonsGRILLED CHEESE AND DRAGONS
    By Nancy Krulik
    (2018) 

    Princess Serena doesn’t want to be a pretty little princess. She wants to be a knight. But she has to accomplish a quest before her father will let her go to knight school. Along the way she learns about teamwork, kindness, and how delicious grilled cheese can be. Featured grilled cheese secret: Eat it with a dragon! There you have it! A compilation of my recently read books that feature grilled cheese. If these books inspired you to make your own grilled cheese sandwich, then may I recommend one more read: 

     

    7.24 Grilled Cheese KitchenGRILLED CHEESE KITCHEN: BREAD + CHEESE + EVERTHING IN BETWEEN
    By Heidi Gibson
    (2016)

    This cook book contains recipes for grilled cheese, mac and cheese, soups, and more!

     
  • graphic to textual

    Let me start by saying there is nothing wrong with children reading graphic novels. There are a lot of wonderful graphic novels for kids and many have won critical acclaim as quality literature. We have a super graphic novel collection in the Children’s Department and for a lot of kids they first find a love of reading from graphic novels. 

    But let’s face it, being good at reading graphic novels is not going to help a child get through their high school English class. At some point kids need to become comfortable reading traditional literature. I frequently have parents ask me for suggestions for getting their comic loving child to try a more traditional book format. I usually suggest a transition book that is highly illustrated but has more text than a graphic novel. Then, a reader can move from a highly illustrated book to a more text rich book.

    Here are a few reading pathways starting at some popular graphic novels and leading to more text rich books. 

    pathway 1

    If you like: AMULET: THE STONEKEEPER
    By Kazu Kibuishi
    (2008)

    Emily's and Narvin's mother is kidnapped and dragged into a strange and magical world where, it seems, the children's great-grandfather has been before. It's up to the children to set things right and save their mother's life.

    Try (highly illustrated): DINOTOPIA
    By James Gurney
    (1999)

    An unabridged republication of James Gurney's influential 1999 story about the adventures of Gideon Altaire. The second half of the book includes 45 new images, including never-before-published storyboards, concept sketches, and production paintings, plus new characters, stories, and backstory notes from James Gurney's creative archives.

    Then (traditional format): GREGOR THE OVERLANDER
    By Suzanne Collins
    (2005)

    When eleven-year-old Gregor and his two-year-old sister are pulled into a strange underground world, they trigger an epic battle involving men, bats, rats, cockroaches, and spiders while on a quest foretold by ancient prophecy.

     pathway 2

    If you like: BIG NATE FROM THE TOP
    By Lincoln Pierce
    (2010)

    Nate Wright is an eleven years old sixth grader who has the distinction of setting the record for school detentions.

    Try (highly illustrated): DIARY OF A WIMPY KID
    By Jeff Kinney
    (2007)

    Acclaimed debut author Jeff Kinney brilliantly re-creates the typical humor and logic of middle school boys sidling into adolescence. Sixth grader Greg Heffley doesn't understand his annoying younger brother, obnoxious older one, or well-meaning parents. But he knows enough to record his daily thoughts in a manly journal—not some girly diary. In a unique novel brimming with laugh-out-loud moments, Greg chronicles his first turbulent year of middle school.

    Then (traditional format): THE TERRIBLE TWO
    By Mack Barnett
    2015

    When master prankster Miles Murphy moves to sleepy Yawnee Valley, he challenges the local mystery prankster in an epic battle of tricks, but soon the two join forces to pull off the biggest prank ever seen.

     pathway 3

    If you like: BABYMOUSE: QUEEN OF THE WORLD
    By Jennifer Holm
    (2005)

    An imaginative mouse dreams of being queen of the world, but will settle for an invitation to the most popular girl's slumber party.

    Try (highly illustrated): BABYMOUSE: TALES FROM THE LOCKER
    By Jennifer Holm
    (2017)

    Babymouse joins the school Film Club and writes the greatest cinematic masterpiece of all time! But when the movie gets shown to the entire school, will it be a box office hit or a flop?"-- Provided by publisher.

    Then (tradiational format): FROM THE NOTEBOOKS OF A MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCESS
    By Meg Cabot
    (2015)

    A middle-grade spinoff of The Princess Diaries, about the long-lost sister of Mia Thermopolis, Princess of Genovia.

  • frozen

    I spend a little time babysitting for my niece each week. She is happy, fun, really cute, and I love spending time with her. The only downside is that, like many kids her age, she could easily spend the whole day watching FROZEN. I love Disney movies, but even I can’t bear to listen to “Let it Go” as many times as she would like. 

    Here’s how the library helped me (and how it can help anyone else with little Disney Princess fans) to get a break. 

    1. Find a different Disney movie. The Provo City Library has a ton of great options, including older films that are harder to find (anyone else remember THE RELUCTANT DRAGON? Just me? Cool). Give yourself a break and see what hidden gems you can find on the shelf.

    2. Branch out from movies and look into some original source material. If this solution seems blindingly obvious, I apologize. But really, if you’ve gotten a little tired of Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, and Sven, consider reading THE SNOW QUEEN. The story is different, but some fans might like seeing how different the story used to be.

    3. Take a craft break. Always a good solution, consider checking out one of the many kids craft books in our collection. I’m a fan of ICE PRINCESS CRAFTS, to stick with the FROZEN theme, but there are plenty of other options to spark creativity.

    4. Learn to draw! If crafting isn’t your strength, try your hand at learning to draw – we even have LEARN TO DRAW DISNEY FROZEN if you want to stay on-brand.

    5. Grab a snack. Really this should be my first solution, because who doesn’t love food? Plus, our fairly sizable collection of children’s cookbooks is a real highlight of the J Informational section. There are a ton of fun ones to pick from like SWEET TOOTH!: NO-BAKE DESSERTS TO MAKE AND DEVOUR which has a tons of yummy treats, including some that are frozen (Forgive me. I had to do it).

    6. Check out a Discovery Kit. If you have preschoolers who are into themed fun (with, I promise, fewer bad jokes than this list) look into borrowing a DISCOVERY KIT from the Children’s Department. These kits are filled with books, toys, and a binder full of fun ideas all focused on a particular topic. 

    These ideas should buy you at least one Elsa-free afternoon. Go make the most of it!

  • wolf howl

    Every once in a while you hear about one of those totally random but strangely intriguing national celebration days, yes?  Well, did you know that October 26th is National Howl at the Moon Day? Unfortunately, this year there won’t be a full moon for the lupine celebration (did you catch that awesomely huge Harvest Moon a couple of weeks ago though?), but here are five fun picture books about wolves to help you get your howl on: 

    10.25 Wolfie the BunnyWOLFIE THE BUNNY 
    By Ame Dyckman
    (2015)

    When Mama and Papa Bunny find a baby – a wolf baby – they’re so excited to add another child to their family. But their bunny daughter Dot freaks out just a bit, convinced that “HE’S GOING TO EAT US ALL UP!” This highly rated, award-winning picture book offers a comical look at new baby angst and sibling rivalry (and at having each other’s back). A perfect treat for families that are expanding! 

     

    10.25 Wolf CampWOLF CAMP 
    By Andrea Zuill
    (2016)

    I wanted to go to Space Camp as a kid. Like really, really wanted to go to Space Camp. Who could blame me, what with growing up in Houston in the 80s and watching the movie SPACE CAMP? So it’s not that unreasonable to think that a dog might want to go to Wolf Camp, right? This canine twist on summer camp had me giggling at the reference desk as Homer and his friends attempt to connect with their primeval roots. And Homer’s letter home is just too, too good. 

    10.25 A Well Mannered Young WolfA WELL-MANNERED YOUNG WOLF 
    by Jean Leroy
    (2016)

    This poor wolf. His parents taught him impeccable manners, so he always asks for an animal’s last wish before he eats him. And he has to respect the last wish! However, because his prey do not have impeccable manners, they consistently use the opportunity as a chance for escape. But, no matter what, the young wolf always respects the last wish! Bright illustrations and a surprise karmic ending make for an amusing adventure in the forest. 

     

    10.25 The Wolf The Duck and the MouseTHE WOLF, THE DUCK, AND THE MOUSE 
    by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen
    (2017)

    This brand new offering from the Barnett-Klassen picture book dream team is a riot! Seriously, it’s so fabulous that when it arrived in our library director’s box, he immediately came down to the Children’s Department office and read it aloud to three of us librarians. And suddenly there were four adults cracking up over a tale about…well, you guessed it…a wolf, a duck, and a mouse. Your kids are going to love it too. These guys are geniuses. 

    10.25 The Wolves in the WallsTHE WOLVES IN THE WALLS 
    By Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean
    (2003)

    If you have a child who’s a little older and loves a delightfully creepy tale, this oldie but goodie doesn’t disappoint.  Lucy hears lots of noises in the walls of her big, old house – creeking and clawing and rustling and thumping. She’s convinced that there are wolves in the walls, but her family dismisses her concerns. Imagine their surprise when wolves do come out of the walls! You won’t want to miss this Neil Gaiman classic.

     

  • IB Books FB

    I care about the kids in my life. My nieces and nephews can be bundles of energy or calm, thoughtful thinkers; and my guess is that the children in your life are as changeable and important as my favorite munchkins. Each child needs a vast array of support and love. But there is one other thing that I believe every kid needs—books. 

    Books are tools for learning in so many ways:

    • Books teach language and thought processes

    • Books are entertainment—sometimes acting as an important escape from homework

    • Books help expand understanding and introduce new ideas

    • Books help navigate emotion and teach empathy

    All in all, books are pretty important for kids as they grow and develop. 

    Even though all kids need books, not all kids need the same type of book. A baby needs a book that she can hold (and often taste), while a child in early elementary school needs a book that is interesting but simple enough to read on his own. Thankfully, there are millions upon millions of books in the world! And a large collection of children’s books can be found here at the Provo City Library! We have books that span all types of subjects, formats, and reading levels. We have everything from baby board books to 800-page fantasy epics. There are Very Easy Readers for those just starting to sound out words and Discovery Kits for kinesthetic preschoolers who want to play as they learn. Basically, we have something for every child. 

    There is a saying that a child who doesn’t like to read just hasn’t found the right book yet. Here are just a few of the ways we help kids find what they need:

    • We have all kinds of book lists for those who only want a small amount of direction in their book hunting.
    • We also write a children’s books review blog, so you can know about some of the best books being published.
    • And, of course, we have amazing librarians who are trained to help youngsters find books that meet their individual needs.

    My hope is that every child can find something to read that they really enjoy. Because I believe children need books!

  • IB Stories FB

    When I was at grad school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (go Illini!), I took a class on storytelling. When I signed up for the class I didn’t totally understand what I was getting into or why storytelling was so important. The first thing that I noticed was that it wasn’t just youth services people who would take the storytelling class. There were students from law school or getting their MBA that were also in my class (even though it was taught by a librarian). I learned from the class and those law and MBA students that everyone tells stories. Lawyers argue cases using the storyline of events. MBA professionals report to shareholders using stories and statistics.

    Stories are also an important part of our daily lives—not just the lives of professional lawyers, business women, or journalists. Think about it: If you have a good or a bad day, don’t you go and tell a family member or friend all about it?  I sure do. And that is a story that we share. We all use stories. They are part of our lives—from the stories we tell or experience to the stories we read or watch on the big screen.

    The thing is, when we notice the stories all around us, we will discover that stories have power in our lives. If I watch a sad movie I am a little melancholy afterward. If I read a book where the heroine meets and falls in love with Mr. Darcy, I have an extra bounce in my step once I finish. Stories have a power. They can help me understand the world around me or the emotions inside myself—including amplifying or altering the emotions I currently have. And they can influence how I act in the future or who I trust. Stories have power—some seriously influential power.

    Because the Provo City Library believes that stories have power, we believe in introducing stories to even the youngest patrons. We have a program called Book Babies that helps babies (even those only a few days old) hear songs—another form of storytelling—so that they can be introduced to language, rhythm, and words. We have Story Time (and puppet shows) that focus on books and stories to help young children understand cause/effect or prediction/foreshadowing. And during this month we also have Stories in the Park, so kids who have a hard time getting to the library can experience stories. We want to empower children with the ability to understand and communicate through stories!

    Kids who attend story time can learn about stories. They can learn about narration and predict endings. They can learn about characters and imagining they are characters in a story. They can hear words and discover how putting the words together can make a story. Kids can then learn how to tell their stories when they participate in Story Time at the library.

    I believe that stories have power! If you do as well, then join me at the library this month. Come to Cuentos, Canopy Capers, Summer Story Time, Book Babies, or Stories in the Park. Join me in helping children realize the power of stories, and the power that comes to their lives when stories are in them.

  •  Tree

    I have a tree. It’s the tree that influenced my childhood. The tree provided fruit that stained my mouth and fingers. The tree scraped my hands and knees with its bark. The tree made the perfect amount of shade for my family’s Sunday picnics. 

    Do you have a tree? 

    Good! 

    We’re not alone. Many book characters have trees too. Here are a few of my favorites: 

    12.04 How I Learned How to Fall Out of TreesHOW I LEARNED TO FALL OUT OF TREES
    By Vincent Kirsch
    (2019)

    Edward and Adelia are best friends, but Adelia will move away soon. Adelia promises Edward that she will teach him to climb her tree before she leaves. This story of friendship and letting go is beautifully illustrated by more than just pictures in this read. I’m convinced Adelia’s tree is the perfect climbing tree and I wish to climb it myself. 

     

    12.04 The Giving TreeTHE GIVING TREE
    By Shel Silverstein
    (1964)

    A boy receives the love and generosity of a beautiful tree. She gives him her apples, leaves, branches, shade and more. The tree is a stalwart companion for the boy throughout his life.  I adore this tree. She is kind and generous with no thought of reward. THE GIVING TREE is a symbol of true friendship and love. This book is a must for any reader. 

     

    12.04 The Forever TreeTHE FOREVER TREE
    By Tereasa Surratt
    (2018)

    This tree is loved by animals, humans, the young, and the old. It provides food, enjoyment, shade, and fond memories. One spring day, the tree doesn’t wake up and the animals and humans need to figure out a way to save it. This book stimulates out of the box thinking and shows that trees are important to everyone. 

     

    12.04 Tesss TreeTESS’S TREE
    By Jess M. Brallier
    (2009)

    Tess is sad when her beloved tree is cut down. She doesn’t know what to do, but then she gets an idea. She decides to invite friends and family to celebrate the life of her tree and finds out how influential her tree was. This book is a good starter book for developing emotional intelligence. It shows Tess’s process of grief and reveals happiness is on the other side of sadness. 

     

    12.04 There Was a TreeTHERE WAS A TREE
    By Rachel Isadora
    (2012)

    If you are a fan of beautiful art and song, then this book is for you. THERE WAS A TREE takes the song The Green Grass Grows All Around and sets it in Africa. Isadora’s art style and chosen setting pair well together to bring this story to life.  A few added features of this book include: written music and pictures sprinkled throughout the text to ensure any child can sing along.

     
  • Untitled 1

    ...oh wait, maybe I'm not.

    Disclaimer: I’m no expert on speed reading. I’ve just been accused of it. As a child, my parents and friends started to notice that I’d finish books faster than everyone else around me. I grew increasingly aware of my super power when Harry Potter books took hours to complete instead of days, and when a book series took less time to absorb than a TV season binge. Then I learned about something called “speed reading.” I found out that rather than reading every word, many “speed readers” simply skim the page, their eyes skipping around to take in only key information.

    That’s when I went meta.

    Meaning I started to pay attention to the way I was reading. I was surprised to find that I didn’t actually read every word. I’d find myself only actually reading every few words, sometimes skipping by whole phrases and letting my brain fill in the gaps. I was reading more by page than by sentence—I was pretty impressed with myself.

    My brain had developed the ability to read junior and YA fiction quickly because the words and themes were familiar and a step below my actual reading level. Not only that, but my purpose for reading these books was purely to take in a fun story: it was easy entertainment and easy to absorb. Not too long after that, however, I entered college and things slowed down drastically. I found myself painstakingly reading my college level texts word by word, trying to glean deeper meanings, enjoying the overall artistry of each phrase.

    In the children’s section of the library, it’s common for parents to complain about children who are consuming books at incredible speeds. While I’m excited that they’re reading so much, I worry that it may be causing them to become stagnant in their reading progression as they read only what is familiar and easy. It’s tricky to find higher level novels with content that children enjoy, but I recommend helping them break into some more difficult content every once in awhile: Don’t be afraid to push them.

    If you have no idea where to start, here are some well known “classics” that are often overlooked by our younger patrons but can be found in the children’s department:

    WHITE FANG
    by Jack London
    (1906)

    THE STORY OF DOCTOR DOLITTLE
    by Hugh Lofting
    (1997)

    TREASURE ISLAND
    by Robert Louis Stevenson
    (1911)

    THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN
    by Mark Twain
    (1948)

    LITTLE WOMEN
    by Louisa May Alcott
    (1989)

    BLACK BEAUTY
    by Anna Sewell
    (1996)

    THE JUNGLE BOOK
    by Rudyard Kipling
    (2012)

    THE SECRET GARDEN
    by Frances Hodgson Burnett
    (1911)

    ANNE OF GREEN GABLES
    by L. M. Montgomery
    (1998)

    SHERLOCK HOLMES
    by Arthur Conan Doyle
    (1996)

    THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE
    by C. S. Lewis
    (1986)      

  • Harry Potter

    Book-lovers everywhere know the satisfaction of finishing a great read, and there’s an extra-special feeling that comes from completing a favorite story for the umpteenth time. In our house, the plot and characters of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series are well-known and cherished, and our copies are dog-eared and well-loved. I hope we never get too old for the magic of Hogwarts.

    In my fledgling career as a librarian, several people have asked me to recommend “something like Harry Potter” for them to read after finishing the series. With all the books in our beautiful library, it should be easy to find something that fits the bill, right?

    Well, that’s trickier than it seems.

    For starters, there’s no doubt that Harry Potter has deeply influenced our culture. Consider the following questions:

    • What house are you in?

    • What’s your Patronus?

    • Would you ever use Imperio or Crucio or Avada Kedavra?

    The fact that these questions even make sense is a testament to the impact of Harry Potter has had.But what makes Harry Potter so great? It stands out among fantasy for a number of reasons. The magic of Harry Potter extends beyond the pages into a vast and vibrant community which continues to flourish: think of the theme parks, merchandise, fan-fiction sites, screenplay sequel, and soon-to-be dozen feature films – and this is more than a decade and a half after the publication of the last book in 2007.

    Harry Potter is very relatable and accessible to readers of virtually all ages, from grade school to adult. Everyone who has read the series was convinced that they could be a witch or wizard themselves, with magic lying dormant in their veins: I know I was. And we’ve all met real-life versions of: Draco, the arrogant bully Hermione, the book-smart know-it-all Luna, the eccentric weirdo Lupin, the cool teacher and valuable mentor Fred and George, the set of joking pranksters Moaning Myrtle, the specter that haunts the local bathroom (…okay, maybe not that last one.)It's a tall order for any series to reach the same caliber as Harry Potter. But I think it’s healthy to branch out a little bit and take a chance on some rising stars that haven’t hit the same heights as Harry Potter – at least not yet.Below are some suggestions for Harry Potter read-alikes (librarian slang for books with similar elements). I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. 

    7.15 The Iron TrialTHE IRON TRIAL 
    By Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
    1st book of 5 in the Magisterium series
    (2014-2018)

    12-year-old Callum Hunt's father attempts to keep him from the Magisterium, a school where young mages are trained. Despite his best attempts to fail the entrance exam, Cal's inherent magical ability gets him accepted, and he begins the first of five years of his training.Whereas Harry Potter goes to school in the UK, Cal lives and studies in the US. But both series include a trio of students who learn to develop their magical talents and face dangers from all sides. I found Magisterium to be faster paced and more modern than Harry Potter. It hits the spot for a coming-of-age story with fantasy elements and unexpected twists. 

     

    7.15 Sandrys BookSANDRY’S BOOK 
    By Tamora Pierce
    1st book of 4 in the Circle of Magic series
    (1997-1999)

    During a medieval and Renaissance era in a fictional land, four young misfits enter a strict temple community and become magicians-in-training, each in a different form of magic. Together, the newfound friends learn to harness their hitherto unexplored inherent magical abilities.Circle of Magic delves deeper into interactions and combinations of different forms of magic than we ever saw in Harry Potter. The books are also considerably shorter than Harry Potter, which makes for easier reading. But if the story ends too quickly for your liking, fret not; Circle of Magic is followed by a sequel quartet, The Circle Opens (with the original cast as fully qualified teen mages) as well as a stand-alone novel The Will of the Empress (which takes place several years after that). 

     

    7.15 Midnight for Charlie BoneMIDNIGHT FOR CHARLIE BONE
    By Jenny Nimmo
    1st book of 8 in the Children of the Red King series
    (2003-2010)

    Charlie Bone is an ordinary boy who lives with his widowed mother and two grandmothers. But when Charlie realizes he can hear people in photographs talking, he is swept into an ages-old magical battle against the descendants of the ancient and powerful Red King.It’s easy to see why Children of the Red King made it onto this list. It features a school for young magicians in the UK (Bloor’s Academy for Gifted Children), which reminds us a great deal of Hogwarts. And despite significant plot differences, these two fast-paced stories both center on a magical war between good and evil. Especially recommended for younger Potterheads. 

     

    7.15 Harry PotterHARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE 
    1st book of 7 by J.K. Rowling
    (1997-2007)

    Oscar Wilde said it best: “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.”

     
  • Aladdin

    aladdin 01 

    Find them in the catalog:

    FAR FROM AGRABAH

    GENIE IN A BOTTLE

    WISHING MOON

  • It's National Poetry Month, and we're celebrating with more recommendations of fantastic novels in verse!

    award winning childrens novels in verse 01

    Find them in the catalog: 

    THE CROSSOVER

    BROWN GIRL DREAMING

    INSIDE OUT & BACK AGAIN

  • funny audiobooks 01

    Find them on Overdrive:

    THE HERO'S GUIDE TO SAVING YOUR KINGDOM

    A LONG WAY FROM CHICAGO

    RUMP: THE TRUE STORY OF RUMPLESTILTSKIN

  • funny audiobooks 2 01

    Find them in the catalog:

    THE UNLIKELY ADVENTURES OF MABEL JONES

    THE WORST CLASS TRIP EVER

    THE TRUE BLUE SCOUTS OF SUGARMAN SWAMP

  • funny friendship books 01

    Find them in the catalog:

    MY HAPPY LIFE

    BINK AND GOLLIE: BEST FRIENDS FOREVER

    DORY AND THE REAL TRUE FRIEND

  • girl power biographies 01

    Find them in the catalog: 

    VIVA FRIDA

    MAYA LIN

    GEORGIA IN HAWAII

  • illustrated intermediate 01

    Find them in the catalog: 

    THE BAD GUYS

    RICKY RICOTTA’S MIGHTY ROBOT

    GAME OVER, SUPER RABBIT BOY!

  •  middle grade historical fiction 01

    Find them in the catalog: 

    THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM - 1963

    CODE WORD COURAGE

    MOON OVER MANIFEST