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

 

Picture Books

  • books of christmas

     

    Yes, any countdown in December must start at 12. Here’s our own 12 Days of Christmas picture book countdown:

    12 BOATS A BLINKING

    12 Washington

     

    THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS IN WASHINGTON 
    by John A. Nez  

     

     

    11 WRAPPINGS RUMPLED

    my puppy gave to me

     

    MY PUPPY GAVE TO ME
    by Cheryl Dannenbring   

     

     

     

    10 LABS A LEAPING

    12 days christmas dogs

     

    12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS DOGS
    by Carolyn Conahan 

     

    9 MERMAIDS SINGING

    12 pirates christmas

     

    A PIRATES 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
    by Philip Yates 

     

    8 MAIDS A MILKING

    12 Days of Christmas African

     

    12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
    by Rachel Isadora (African Illustrations) 

     

    7 SQUIRRELS SKIING

    12 Days Cabrera

     

    THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
    by Jane Cabrera 

     

     

     

    6 TROMPOS GIRANDO

    pinata pine tree

     

    A PIÑATA IN A PINE TREE
    by Pat Mora 

     

     

    5 GOLDEN RINGS

    12 Days Pham

     

    THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
    by LeUyen Pham (around the world)   

     

     

     

    4 CALLING BORGS

    12 bots christmas

     

    THE TWELVE BOTS OF CHRISTMAS
    by Nathan Hale 

     

     

    3 THISTLE DUSTERS

    firefly fir tree

     

    A FIREFLY IN A FIR TREE
    by Hilary Knight 

     

     

     

    2 TAWNY TABBIES

    12 cats christmas

     

    THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS CATS
    by Don Daily 

     

     

    AND A STINKY BABY MESSING WITH THE TREE

    12 worst days

     

    THE WORST TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
    by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen 

     

     

     

  • princesses and animals 01

    Ever wonder how librarians hone their recommendation skills? Sometimes, our librarians play a game we call the 6 Degrees of reading. The rules are simple: choose six books, each connected somehow to the book above it, with the last book in the list connecting to the first. Periodically, we like the results enough to share them with you.So, with no further ado, we bring you 6 Degrees of Reading, Princesses and Animals (picture books).

    FALLING FOR RAPUNZEL
    by Leah Wilcox; illustrated by Lydia Monks
    (2003)

    Upon hearing a prince’s call, princess Rapunzel throws out what she thinks the prince is asking for—but from clothes to maids, Rapunzel tosses the wrong items out, much to the prince’s chagrin. 

    PETE THE CAT AND HIS FOUR GROOVY BUTTONS
    by Eric Litwin; illustrated by James Dean
    (2012)

    As Pete the Cat goes about his day, he deals with a constant problem with his clothes—his buttons keep falling off! Can Pete the Cat still keep a smile even while counting and losing his buttons?

    CHA CHA CHIMPS
    by Julia Durango; illustrated by Eleanor Taylor
    (2006)

    Ten little chimps sneak off to dance the cha-cha, and one by one, readers count down as various chimps get distracted by other types of dancing—until Mama Chimp comes to find her wayward children and send them all off to bed.      

    WIGGLE
    by Doreen Cronin; illustrated by Scott Menchin
    (2005)

    Told in rhyme, this book features a dog who shows little readers how to dance or wiggle before falling asleep.

    SILLY DOGGY!
    by Adam Stower
    (2012)

    A young girl named Lily finds a bear in her garden and assumes it is a dog. The mistaken identity causes loads of mishaps and comedy as she discovers what really makes a “silly doggy.”

    THE PRINCESS AND THE PIG
    by Jonathan Emmett; illustrated by Poly Bernatene
    (2011)

    When a baby princess and a baby pig are accidentally swapped, the pig is raised as a princess and the princess is raised on a farm. Can the princess, pig and the rest of the kingdom ever figure out this case of mistaken identity

  • 6 degrees header 01

    So there are a lot of bunny picture books. Even better there are A LOT of GOOD bunny picture books. There are so many that I can play the 6 Degrees of Reading game just with bunny picture books! So, not only will I tell you how all these books are connected…but just keep in mind that all these books have BUNNIES in them as well. 

    bunnies bunnies bunnies 01

    LION VS. RABBIT LION VS. RABBIT
    by Alex Latimer
    (2013)

    Lion is a bully. He is mean to all the other animals. One day the animals have decided that they have had enough! So they put out an ad to hopefully find someone who will teach lion a lesson. In comes Rabbit. Lion doesn’t think Rabbit is any match for him, so Lion let’s Rabbit decide what the contest will be. If Rabbit wins, Lion will need to be nice. Only Lion’s plan isn’t going so well for Lion. He loses. Then he loses again. Finally he admits defeat to Rabbit and promises to be nice. All the other animals are happy. And while they thank Rabbit for all his hard work they realize that their perception of Rabbit was wrong—for there were really LOTS of Rabbits (not just one Rabbit). And the group effort is what saved the day.

    DUCK! RABBIT!
    By Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld
    (2009)

    An illustration causes a lot of commotion in this book. Two unseen narrators have conflicting opinions as to whether what they see is a duck or a rabbit. Therefore readers must determine which perception is correct—is the illustration really a duck or a rabbit? With bold black lines and white space readers really will have no other clues as to what the illustration could be and therefore must use their imagination.

    LITTLE WHITE RABBIT
    by Kevin Henkes
    (2011)

    A little white rabbit hops along through fields. While hopping along the little white rabbit uses his imagination to think about what life would be like if he was green like the grass or as tall as the fir trees. Each moment of moving through the field sparks another thought as to what life could be like. However, when the little white rabbit notices a cat he hurries and hops back to his family where he feels safe and loved.

    BETTY BUNNY LOVES CHOCOLATE CAKE
    by Michael B. Kaplan, illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch
    (2011)

    Betty Bunny is very sure about a lot of things—and she has no qualms about telling her family her opinions. One day when Betty’s mom introduces her to chocolate cake Betty is SURE that she WILL NOT like eating that strange thing. After a lot of cajoling and coaxing Betty tries the cake—and discovers that she LOVES it (enough that she wants to marry the chocolate cake). Eventually Betty learns lots of other lessons about chocolate cake (such as she shouldn’t put it in her pocket). But the biggest lesson she learns (maybe, she still is really opinionated) is that she might need to try other food that her mom suggests that she should try.

    HANDS OFF MY HONEY!
    by Jane Chapman, illustrated by Tim Warnes
    (2013)

    A great big scary bear stomps into a hollow and yells, “I have a great big jar of delicious honey! And it is ALL mine!” Then Bear sits down to slurp the sweet, sticky food. A mouse, two rabbit brothers, and a mole decide that they want some of the sweet stuff and start to sneak toward Bear to see if they can nip some. With a surprising (and happy) ending, readers will laugh at the conclusion and may want to play their own sort of “bear game.” Seriously, little kiddos will want to read this book again and again.

    THE TERRIBLE PLOP
    by Ursula Dubosarsky, illustrated by Andrew Joyner
    (2009)

    A group of little bunnies are eating cake by a lake when all of the sudden they hear a terrible noise! The scared little creatures hightail it though the forest where they alert other animals (anything from elephants to kangaroos) why they are running for their lives. Just as they are all about to get away a big bear asks what is going on. When he declares that there couldn’t be anything that is bigger and scarier than him he bullies the smallest little rabbit to show him the horrible creature. The scared little bunny takes Bear back to the spot where they heard the horrid noise—and once again they hear it. Only this time the bear runs for his life while the little bunny realizes that he really shouldn’t be afraid of a “silly old plop.”               

  • 6 degrees header 01

    dinos and moose

    ELOISE AND THE DINOSAUR MUSEUM
    (2007)
    By Lisa McClatchy

    Precocious Eloise’s boring tutor takes her to the dinosaur museum, but she’s determined to have an exciting time.

     

    FANCY NANCY HAIR DOS AND DON’TS
    By Jane O’Connor
    (2011)

    Nancy, a precocious little girl, has picture day at school, and she needs the perfect look. She realizes that her hair-do will be critical for such an important day, so she sets out to curl, style, and trim until it’s flawless.

    MOOSESTACHE
    By Margie Palatini
    (1997)

    Mr. Moose has more mustache than he can control. It causes all sorts of problems until the day he meets Ms. Moose, a lady with luscious locks to rival his facial hair.

    TOO MANY MOOSE
    By Lisa M. Bakos
    (2016)

    Martha wants a pet, so she orders a moose. When her new pet arrives, they have such a marvelous time together that she throws caution to the wind and begins ordering moose after moose.

    WHAT PET SHOULD I GET
    By Dr. Seuss
    (2015)

    Even though a little boy and his sister want every pet in the pet store, they get to choose only one. Told in Dr. Seuss's characteristic rhyming style.  

    DINOSAURS LOVE UNDERPANTS
    By Claire Freedman
    (2008)

    Do you really know why dinosaurs are extinct? Rhyming text reveals it was because of the Mighty Underpants War.

     

  • 6 degrees header 01

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

    This week we're turning to picture books to make our way from a duck with an identity crises, through misbehaving objects and pets, and back again! 

    Identity Crisis and Correspondence 01

    DUDDLE PUCK: THE PUDDLE DUCK
    by Karma Wilson
    (2015)

    Duddle Puck, the puddle duck, is one farm animal who seems to be experiencing an identity crisis . Although he doesn’t seem to mind the fact that he never quacks, the rest of the farm is bothered by his clucks, oinks, honks, and neighs. Will Duddle Puck ever quack?

    RED: A CRAYON’S STORY
    by Michael Hall
    (2015)

    It says “Red” on his label, but every time Red tries to color, it comes out blue. He tries his best but he just can’t do it and everyone notices. Red is having an identity crisis and wants to act like the other crayons . However, perhaps he needs to learn how to just be himself.

    THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT
    by Drew Daywalt
    (2013)

    Duncan’s crayons are writing him to let him know that they cannot keep working under the current conditions and are, therefore, quitting. Through their letters , they explain their hilarious demands to him and Duncan learns more about his trusty friends. 

    DEAR MRS. LARUE: LETTERS FROM OBEDIENCE SCHOOL
    by Mark Teague
    (2002)

    Ike has been sent to obedience school and he is not happy about it. Through a series of letters to his owner, he makes his feelings about the situation clear. He eventually runs away from school and lives on the lamb but in the end makes his way home under exciting circumstances.

    THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO RUNNING AWAY FROM HOME
    Jennifer LaRue Huget
    (2013)

    A young boy explains everything you need to know if you want to run away. The boy himself runs away but his memories of home aided by his imagination are making him have second thoughts.

    Bonus connection: Two LaRues! 

    NOT A STICK
    by Antoinette Portis
    (2007)

    A stick is not a stick. When you use your imagination, a stick can be anything. In fact, this little pig is not just a simple farm animal —it can be an artist or a weightlifter or whatever the pig chooses to be. 

     

  •  Book giving 1

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

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

     

    Is a master at bedtime avoidance-

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

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

     
     

    Is working through big feelings-

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

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

     
     

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

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

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

     
     

    Sometimes wonders how to make friends-

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

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

     
     

    Loves to chat (but not always listen)-

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

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

     
     

    Doesn’t usually see their life in picture books-

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

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

     
  • BB 2017 FB

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

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

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

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

     

    2.14 Orphan IslandORPHAN ISLAND
    By Laurel Snyder

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

     

    2.14 Real FriendsREAL FRIENDS
    By Shannon Hale
    Illustrated by LeUyen Pham

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

     
  • bilingual chinese

     

    Provo Library has a good collection of Spanish materials, and quite a few bilingual dictionaries in a variety of languages, but it does not really collect other foreign language materials.  There are, however a number of picture books that just happen to be bilingual.  The language most often represented is Chinese.  Since there are a lot of people in Provo with an interest in Chinese, especially through the dual emersion program at Wasatch Elementary, and since Chinese New Year is coming up, I thought I might post a list of Chinese/English picture books. 

    FULLY BILINGUAL  

    MULAN: A STORY IN CHINESE AND ENGLISH
    By Li Jian
    (2014)
    THE YEAR OF THE MONKEY: TALES FROM THE CHINESE ZODIAC
    By Oliver Chin
    (2016)   
    THE LITTLE MONKEY KING’S JOURNEY
    By Li Jian
    (2013)   
    THE SHEEP BEAUTY
    By Li Jian 
    (2015)
    ZHENG HE, THE GREAT CHINESE EXPLORER
    By Li Jian 
    (2015)
    THE WATER DRAGON
    By Li Jian 
    (2012)

    SMALL PICTURE BOOKS (BOARD BOOKS)  

    HURRY HOME HEDGEHOG!
    By Belle Yang  
    (2015) 
    SQUIRREL ROUND AND ROUND
    By Belle Yang 
    (2015)

    BOOKS WITH JUST A FEW CHARACTERS  

    THE LEGEND OF THE COWBOY NINJA BEAR
    By David Bruins 
    (2009)
    IN THE SNOW
    By Huy Voun Lee
    (1995) 
    IN THE LEAVES 
    By Huy Voun Lee 
    (2005)
    BEYOND THE GREAT MOUNTAINS
    By Ed Young 
    (2005)
    SHOULD YOU BE A RIVER
    By Ed Young 
    (2015)
  •  Bookish Halloween

    When you ask a book lover what their favorite season is, there’s a decent chance they’ll say fall. And what’s not to love? It’s the perfect temperature outside to curl up inside with a cozy blanket, a warm drink, and a good book. Anne Shirley herself even said “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers”. And I can’t say I blame her. There really is something utterly romantic about autumn.  I also really love the spooky side of fall. Pumpkins and skeletons, and Halloween parties—but especially the costumes. For the last few years I’ve made it a goal to wear a bookish Halloween costume. Costumes inspired by books are not in short supply, and they’re such a fun conversation starter. I’m going to share with you some of my favorite bookish Halloween costumes for recreating with things you either already have, or can find really easily. 

    COOKIE MOUSE

     cookie mouse

    The mouse from IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE is an easy one. Any pair of overalls will do, whether they’re long pants, shorts, or a skirt. Layer a t-shirt underneath and you’ve already got the outfit. To complete your look with a pair of ears you have a few choices. An old pair of Disney mouse ears will work, or putting your hair in high double buns, or even making your own out of a headband, cardboard, and tape. Draw whiskers near your nose and you officially resemble a mouse. As a bonus, you get to carry a cookie around all night. No one will know if you keep a box of cookies in your bag and just replace the one in your hand every time you eat it.  

     

    ARTHUR DENT

    arthur dent

    If comfort is your aim, shoot for dressing as Arthur Dent from THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY. Wear a pair of pajama pants, a white t-shirt, slippers, and a bathrobe out of the house and it should be pretty clear who you’re trying to be, especially if you keep a towel on hand and repeat “Don’t panic” to everyone you meet. And who knows? You might just end up on an adventure of your own.    

     

    MADELINE

    Madeline

    Madeline may be tiny, but she’s mighty—and her costume packs a punch. Anybody who read MADELINE as a kid will instantly know who you are, and luckily, it’s a pretty simple costume too. Start with a simple blue dress. A white collar made from white felt and ribbon isn’t too hard to make, but you can also wear a blouse underneath your dress to the same effect. Add a pair of white knee socks or tights, and black flats. To round out the look, wear a straw hat and a pair of white gloves. You can up the ante on this costume by finding eleven other people to dress up as her school mates, and another person who wouldn’t mind dressing up as Miss Clavel.   

     
  •  Girl Smelling Flowers

    I’ve never met a Hannah that I didn’t like. Maybe I’m biased, but I think all Hannahs are pretty swell people. It doesn’t hurt that the name is beautiful. It’s just a fact that the name Hannah is one of the best names out there. Don’t believe me?

    Well, then here is a list of a few wonderful Hannahs with a reason why they are great: 

    8.25 Hannahs NightHANNAH’S NIGHT
    By Komako Sakai
    (2013) 

    When Hannah wakes up in the middle of the night, her sister and parents are still fast asleep. Hannah and her cat decide to entertain themselves. They explore the house without anyone to tell them no. This book’s beautiful and unique illustrations compliment the elementary language while honoring the author/illustrator’s Japanese culture. 

    Why this Hannah is awesome: She’s a toddler that doesn’t wake her parents up in the middle of the night and is potty trained. Can you say miracle? 

     

    8.25 Hannah SparklesHANNAH SPARKLES: HOORAY FOR THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL
    By Robin Mellom
    (2019) 

    It’s the first day of first grade, and Hannah is ready. She has her sparkly pens, her butterfly net, and her best friend, Sunny. But what happens when Hannah is forced to sit across the room from Sunny? Will she be able to make new friends? Or will it be too hard? 

    Why this Hannah is awesome: She’s a great listener and has a butterfly net.

    A BUTTERFLY NET.  

     

    8.25 Hanah DuckHANNAH DUCK
    By Anji Yamamura
    (2008)

    Hannah Duck is pretty happy and relaxed. Except on Sundays. On Sundays, Hannah goes for a walk. This doesn’t sound so bad, except for one thing: Walks terrify Hannah. Luckily, she has good friends to help her overcome her anxiety. 

    Why this Hannah is awesome: She tells her friends about her feelings.  

     

    8.25 Hannah and SugarHANNAH AND SUGAR
    By Kate Berube
    (2016) 

    Hannah sees her friend’s dog, Sugar, after school every day. This sounds pretty great, until you find out one problem: Hannah is afraid of dogs. Then one day Sugar goes missing. Will Hannah help find Sugar? 

    Why this Hannah is awesome: She faces her fears.  

     

    8.25 Hannahs Tall OrderHANNAH’S TALL ORDER: AN A TO Z SANDWHICH
    By Linda Vander Heyden
    (2018) 

    This book, told in rhyme, follows Hannah and her lunch order. She asks for enough things on her sandwich to cover the alphabet. Her request is enough to make McDougal, the chef, sweat. This is a great read for those who want a little laugh while learning the alphabet.  

    Why this Hannah is awesome: She’s a ginger, is a master rhymer, AND. SHE. CAN. EAT. 

     

    Who are some of your favorite Hannahs in literature?

     
  • Audrey Hepburn

    May 4th would have been Audrey Hepburn’s 90th birthday, so now’s the perfect time to celebrate her remarkable life. (When isn’t it, really?) We all know Audrey for her classic movie roles (ROMAN HOLIDAY, MY FAIR LADY, WAIT UNTIL DARK, CHARADE) and iconic fashion moments (the little black dresses in BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S, the post-Paris ball gown in SABRINA, The lace eye mask and sparkly eyeshadow in HOW TO STEAL OF MILLION, the entirety of FUNNY FACE), but she was so much more than that.

    Though she never thought much of herself, Audrey Hepburn was a woman of compassion, courage, humility, selflessness, intelligence and gentleness. She enjoyed her acting career, but throughout her life she was most passionate about children – both her own two sons and the impoverished children she advocated for through her work with UNICEF (The United Nations Children’s Fund). Audrey spent the last years of her life tirelessly traveling the globe to meet with, serve, and fight on behalf of suffering children.

    Because I loved MY FAIR LADY, I wrote a report on Audrey my sophomore year of high school, and I was blown away by her goodness. Ever since, I’ve been joking that I’ll find a way to become her best friend in the afterlife. In addition to watching her films, I’ve read a number of books about her inspiring life over the years. Here are a few of my favorites: 

    5.1 Audrey Hepburn An Elegant SpiritAUDREY HEPBURN, AN ELEGANT SPIRIT
    By Sean Ferrer
    (2005)

    This biography, written by Audrey’s son Sean, is the one I most often recommend. It features personal memories and gorgeous family photographs that reveal her love for gardening, ballet, animals (she adored her dogs), motherhood, and a quiet life at her home in Switzerland. It also discusses her insecurities and the heartache she experienced when her father left the family and when she experienced miscarriages as an adult. Ferrer makes a special point to emphasize his mother’s work as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador in her later life, and he donated proceeds from the book to the Audrey Hepburn’s Children Fund.

     

    5.1 Audrey at HomeAUDREY AT HOME: MEMORIES OF MY MOTHER’S KITCHEN
    By Luca Dotti
    (2015)

    Audrey’s younger son, Luca, compiled this collection of memories, recipes, letters, and hundreds of previously unpublished photographs. It feels more like a scrapbook than a biography, which is why I recommend starting with Ferrer’s book first if you only know Audrey from a movie or two. If you’re already familiar with her backstory, though, AUDREY AT HOME is charming. I love how intimate it feels, particularly in sharing Audrey’s favorite recipes like Penna alla Vodka. I’m grateful that Audrey’s sons have been so generous in sharing their private memories with the loving fans who miss her.

     

    5.1 Dutch GirlDUTCH GIRL: AUDREY HEPBURN AND WORLD WAR II
    By Robert Matzen
    (2019)

    Though other biographies discuss Hepburn’s experiences living through the Nazi occupation of Holland as a teen, this is the first book to cover those years of her life in depth. Though her father and initially her mother were Nazi sympathizers, an uncle helped lead the resistance in the Netherlands, and as a teen Audrey carried messages for the underground movement and raised funds through secret ballet performances. Matzen reveals that Audrey and her mother even sheltered a downed English pilot for a time. Later in life, the memory of food and medical relief at the end of the war fueled Audrey’s passionate work on behalf of children. Matzen’s new book offers a fascinating glimpse at this formative time in Audrey’s life.

     

    5.1 Audrey and GivenchyAUDREY AND GIVENCHY: A FASHION LOVE AFFAIR
    By Cindy De La Hoz
    (2016)

    If you idolize Audrey for her fashion sense, it’s important to know the man behind many of her most iconic looks: Hubert de Givenchy. When Audrey, a Hollywood newcomer, first went to meet the young designer in the 1950s, he famously expected a different Miss Hepburn at the appointment. That mishap led to a forty-year friendship and collaborative working relationship, however. AUDREY AND GIVENCHY provides wonderful insight into their personal bond and the designs they made famous.

     

    5.1 Just Being AudreyJUST BEING AUDREY
    By Margaret Cardillo
    Illustrated by Julia Denos
    (2011)

    This sweet picture book provides a lovely overview of Audrey’s life, career, and charity work, and the beautiful illustrations by Julia Denos perfectly capture Hepburn’s personality and charm. Readers of all ages are sure to draw inspiration from JUST BEING AUDREY. 

     

    5.1 Gardens of the World with Audrey HepburnBonus: GARDENS OF THE WORLD WITH AUDREY HEPBURN
    Directed by Bruce Franchini
    (1999)

    This emmy-winning documentary series helped make Audrey one of only fifteen EGOT winners in history. She was a passionate gardener, in part because of the deprivation she experienced during World War II; her son Luca said “Her garden in Switzerland which has fruit trees was proof of this – it was beauty in the form of protecting your family.” GARDENS OF THE WORLD reflects her love for the topic. Beautiful shots of roses, tulips, and famous gardens combine with Audrey’s lilting voice for a very relaxing viewing experience. It’s practically ASMR.

  • Blippi

    Parenting confession: my kids watch YouTube videos. A lot of YouTube videos. Some days, probably too many. If you are a parent that has succeeded in keeping toy unboxing videos, random family vlogs, and disembodied hands playing with children’s toys out of our life, I sincerely applaud you. 

    If you, like me, have resorted to some time with semi-creepy animated characters singing nursery rhymes (I’m looking at you, dead-eyed Little Baby Bum kids!) in order to make dinner or clean or just have a moment to yourself, this post is for you. 

    As I started writing this post, I realized that either I have too much to say about books or my kids watch way too many things (surprise! It’s both!). I’m going to split my responses into multiple installments. Today, we tackle Blippi. 

    When my oldest turned five, his interest in Blippi waned and I thought maybe we were rid of that bespectacled monster. Sadly, my two-year-old has taken up the mantle and is a die-hard fan. 

    My oldest loved Blippi for his tours of various vehicles, especially the construction equipment. If you have a child that loves construction equipment, I direct you to this list of construction books for toddlers. However, my younger son loves Blippi for his goofiness. He loves the antics: the voices, the slapstick, all of it. And so that’s probably why he loves the following books: 

    7.10 Listen to My TrumpetLISTEN TO MY TRUMPET
    By Mo Willems
    (2012)

    I could really have listed any of the Elephant and Piggie books. They are all a hit with my boys. This one is a favorite, though, because of all the hilarious sounds the reader needs to make as Piggie with a trumpet. 

    Mo Willems does so many great things with these books. The varied typography is genius, because even non-readers can see the shape, size, and color of the text and interpret the tone. My kids can always tell when a character is yelling, when they are sad, when they are excited. Add to that fact that Piggie is almost constantly in motion. She’s jumping, she’s cartwheeling, she’s flying around because someone else is yelling, she’s racing to get the next thing. Piggie is a kinetic character, and matches Blippi’s sometimes frenetic energy.

    We’ve done enough repeat readings of these books that the two-year-old will narrate them to himself. So sometimes, when he asks for Blippi, we give him Piggie; usually, he doesn’t mind. 

     

    7.10 No DavidNO, DAVID!
    By David Shannon
    (1998)

    Similarly, I could list most David Shannon books here, but my toddler’s favorite is No, David. Again, there’s a goofiness here. David gives some (naughty) examples of ways to play. I’d like to think seeing David’s various “problem” behaviors lets my children live vicariously through him so they don’t have to do it themselves (they can enjoy David’s splashy bath without needing to have their own), but I think I’m delusional. I just also know that my boys think this book is hilarious. My five-year-old actually loves to voice the mother, and I worry that it’s an impression of me, and then I question all of my life choices. It’s fine. 

    Blippi fans might also very much enjoy DUCK ON A BIKE and DUCK ON A TRACTOR, because it’s a combination of vehicular travel, animal noises, and one plucky duck. 

     

    7.10 Curious George Flies a KiteCURIOUS GEORGE FLIES A KITE
    By Margret & H.A. Rey
    (1958)

    My final recommendation shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, but I think one of the appeals of Blippi for young kids is the way he explores lots of different places. He goes to aquariums and zoos, he goes to parks, he goes to play places. Sometimes he just goes to a grocery store or a car wash. Blippi does his best to make even ordinary places into spaces for exploration and play (did he have to do it in that voice, though?). 

    My favorite character for finding play in ordinary spaces is Curious George. I’m not even a snob about him; even though I love Margret and H.A. Rey’s original books, I also very much enjoy the PBS kids show and the numerous books to come out of it. I love George as a character, and I think he offers that creative exploration that kids are looking for when they turn to Blippi.

     
  • doctor visits

    If you have a child that doesn’t like the doctor, then you’re not alone. There are a lot of children who are scared to visit the doctor’s office. It can be frightening: strange metal objects, foreign smells, and weird noises are enough to give anyone reason to pause. Here are five books to help your child know what to expect from their next doctor visit. 

    2.3 Froggy Goes to the DoctorFROGGY GOES TO THE DOCTOR
    By Jonathan London
    (2002)

    Froggy has to go to the doctor and doesn’t know what to expect. Will he get a shot? What if he forgets something? Will he get a lollipop? This fun read will entertain Froggy fans everywhere and might convince some kids that doctors aren’t that scary. 

     

    2.3 Katie Goes to the DoctorKATIE GOES TO THE DOCTOR
    By Liesbet Slegers
    (2011)

    Katie is sick and has to go to the doctor. Katie’s mom and her doctor explain what’s happening and what will make her feel better. The simple illustrations and phrasing make this book a great choice for preparing for a doctor’s visit.   

     

    2.3 Splat the Cat Goes to the DoctorSPLAT THE CAT GOES TO THE DOCTOR
    By Cathy Hapka
    (2014)

    Splat the Cat is scheduled to go to the doctor. At first he’s excited, but then his friends start telling him all the scary things that could happen. Fortunately, his mom and doctor help him see that visiting the doctor doesn’t have to be scary! If your child is a worrier, then they can relate to Splat the Cat. 

     

    2.3 Dentist TripDENTIST TRIP
    By Neville Astley
    (2016)

    It’s important to take care of our teeth as well as our bodies. That’s why Peppa and George visit the dentist. Peppa makes sure George is ready to meet the dentist, but George is still a little nervous. Luckily, Dr. Elephant knows what to do to help George feel better. 

     

    2.3 Dr. Potts My Pets Have SpotsDR. POTTS, MY PETS HAVE SPOTS
    By Rod Hull
    (2017)

    Animals can get sick too and it’s important to take them to the vet. Good thing Dr. Potts can cure animals with any sickness! Does your cat have purple stripes? Maybe your parakeet has yellow spots? Never fear, Dr. Potts can help. This book is unique because it not only teaches about visiting the vet, but it teaches colors and patterns. 

     
  • Jen Bryant

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

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

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

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

     

     

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

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

     

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

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

     

     

     

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

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

     

     

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

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

     

     

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

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

     

     

     

  • Reading Together Mother and Daughter 

    When I was learning to read, I was taught that books are written to be read from left to right. I bet that you were taught the same thing. Did you know though that sometimes books don’t follow that rule? It’s true! Some books are meant to be read backwards and forwards, bottom to top, or right to left. 

    Books that you can read backwards and forwards have always made me smile. Here are a few fun books that don’t follow the rule to read left to right: 

    7.13 Little Bro Big SisLITTLE BRO, BIG SIS
    By Rocio Bonilla
    (2019)

    Big sister thinks that her little brother is the worst: he’s so annoying and will not leave her alone. Little brother thinks that his big sister is the worst: she is always bossing him around and telling him what to do. It is so fun to see how each part of this sibling relationship views the other half, and the appreciation they come to have for one another, in this book you have to read from both left to right and right to left to fully understand. 

     

    7.13 The HugTHE HUG
    By Eoin McLaughlin
    Illustrated by Polly Dunbar
    (2019)

    Reading this book from left to right you discover the story of hedgehog too spiky to receive a much-wanted hug. Reading this book from right to left you will find the story of the tortoise too bony to be hugged. Both problems are solved when the two stories meet in the middle and hedgehog and tortoise find one another. This book is full of the most darling illustrations and is not one you will want to miss out on. 

     

    7.13 A Long Way AwayA LONG WAY AWAY
    By Frank Viva
    (2013)

    Start from the top of this story and join in on an adventurous journey from outer space to the deep ocean. Or start from the bottom of the story and climb from the depths of the sea to far away planets. The top to bottom reversibility of this book makes it one that is just too fun to pass by. 

     

    7.13 Mamas Wild ChildMAMA’S WILD CHILD, PAPA’S WILD CHILD
    By Dianna Huts Aston
    Illustrated by Nora Hilb
    (2006)

    Reading this book forwards will tell you about some of the mamas in the animal world and how they love their babies. Reading this book backwards will tell you about some of the papas in the animal world and how they love their little ones. Reading this book in either direction provides you with a sweet look at how parents both human or animal love their children and would do anything for them. 

     

    7.13 What Aunts Do BestWHAT AUNTS DO BEST: WHAT UNCLES DO BEST
    By Laura Numeroff
    Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
    (2004)

    Aunts are good for all sorts of fun things, like going shopping, watching the late night show or buying you cotton candy. Uncles are good for fun things like going on the roller coaster, building forts and telling silly jokes. Read this book from either end to discover all the great things that aunts and uncles are best at.  Also, be sure to check out the other reversible books in this series about the things that other relatives are good at.

     
  • Toddler Brain Development

    It’s time for another child brain development blog! Today we'll cover preschool-age children, or those 3-5 years of age. If you are new to this series, check out our other posts on infants and toddlers. If you’ve been following along, you are probably tired of hearing this, but:

    What are the best things we can do for our children’s brain development?

    Read, sing, and talk to them!

    Where’s a great place to get help with that?

    The library!

    I probably sound like a broken record, but here at the library we have a great program called Story Time where our fantastic storytellers do all three of our favorite activities with your children: read, sing, and talk. They also get your children moving and interacting, which is great for their social development.

    During the school year we have a special Story Time for preschoolers in the Story Room, which looks like a castle and has a special child-sized entrance. Children are locked in for their safety and get some time with other children without their parents. During the summer we instead have Story Time on the lawn and at various parks around Provo, so they can get some fresh air.

    As you might expect from the name, our Preschool Play time is specifically geared towards children this age. We bring out different age-appropriate toys from dress up clothes to wooden trucks for your children to play with. We also have puzzles available all day long which are a great resource for stimulating child brain development at this age.

    For library resources you can use at home, look for books with repetition and rhyming, which is beneficial for your child’s language development. As you read, ask open ended and who/what/where/why questions to stimulate your child’s engagement with the books. Here are some classic options:

    9.16 Brown Bear Brown BearBROWN BEAR, BROWN BEAR, WHAT DO YOU SEE?
    By Bill Martin
    (1983)

    This children’s classic is beautifully illustrated and filled with rhyming. 

     

    9.16 Hop on PopHOP ON POP
    By Dr. Seuss
    (1987)

    Dr. Seuss is one of the most recognizable children’s book authors for a reason! His repetitive rhymes are a great way to get your child learning and reading at a higher level. 

     

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

    All of Shel Silverstein’s poetry books are whacky and fun – which is just what kids love! Along the way, they are interacting with valuable literary elements to help them learn, too. 

     

    You can also check out our Discovery Kits (the full size ones, now), which include books, toys, and activities to explore a specific topic. Some great ones are Shapes, which has great puzzles; Multicultural, which has memory matching; and All About Me, which teaches children to recognize emotions.

    For more information on how to help with your preschooler’s brain development, see the book below. If you have older children, be sure to follow along with the blog for upcoming brain development posts! 

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

    This book offers much more than I can say on the topic of child brain development and how to guide them in their growth.

     
  • SUPERHERO 01

  • threenager

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

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

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

     

    4.19 SpidersSPIDERS
    by Nic Bishop
    (2007)

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

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

     

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

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

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

     

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

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

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

     

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

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

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

     

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

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

     
  • construction books

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

     

  •  

     

    cooking with kiddos

    Cooking and libraries are friends. It may not seem like it due to the fact that libraries don’t have kitchens where people can come and cook. But they do have shelves and shelves of cookbooks. Seriously, there are so many books that people can check out that teaches them how to make so many scrumptious things. And every month one of our staff members blogs about a recipe she has made from one of our cookbooks. Seriously. Check out her last Cooking the Books post. Once you read it you will know that the library loves cooking!  

    Since I work in the Children’s Department, I am interested in the cooking books we have for kids. We also have some shelves with kid cookbooks. And I know a lot of kids who like to cook. They love being “helpers” that measure, dump in, or mix ingredients (although really they specialize in making messes…). Then I got to thinking about what picture books there are that deal with cooking. These aren’t the cookbooks that have recipes to make things, but more of the stories where characters actually do some cooking.  

    Turns out there are A LOT of picture books that talk about cooking. And in looking at my favorites of these books I realized that there are quite a few specifically about making soup. Who knew?!? So next time you make soup, let the little ones dump stuff in, stir it around a bit, and then pull out one of these fun soup making books and read while dinner simmers.   

    rainbow stewRAINBOW STEW
    by Cathryn Falwell
    (2013)

    In this book three kiddos are visiting their grandpa. It is raining so Grandpa suggests that they make rainbow stew. This means they tromp outside in their raincoats and pick all sorts of colors from Grandpa’s garden. Then they come inside and get cooking. While the soup is simmering, Grandpa reads books to the kiddos. (See, totally a good idea, eh?) Plus as a bonus there is a recipe for the rainbow stew at the end of the book.  

    gazpacho for nachoGAZPACHO FOR NACHO
    by Tracey Kyle,  illustrated by Carolina Farías
    (2014)

    This is another book where a kid is cooking soup (I did warn you about that, right?). In this case it is gazpacho soup for a kid named Nacho. Nacho is a kid that is super picky. He doesn’t want to eat anything other than gazpacho—so his mom teaches him how to cook. Then Nacho realizes that he likes cooking and just maybe he should eat more than just his favorite soup. And just like RAINBOW STEW there is the bonus of a recipe at the end of the book.  

    stone soupSTONE SOUP
    by Marcia Brown
    (1986)

    This book is a classic! It is a tale about three soldiers who are on their way home from war. They stop in a village and try to get something to eat. Only, not many people are willing to help—until they trick them all into making stone soup! So, not only does the whole town make soup together, but this book could be a catalyst to talk to kiddos about what being nice and neighborly means to you.  

     

    fandango stewFANDANGO STEW
    by David Davis, illustrated by Ben Galbraith
    (2011)

    This is a retelling of the classic tale STONE SOUP (see above). The twist in here is that the characters and the setting have a Wild, Wild West flare as well as some Spanish words sprinkled in the text. Anyway, the grandpa and grandson in this story help the people of the town of Skinflint realize that being generous is just as important as anything else. And there are cowboy hats. Imagine cooking soup with cowboy hats! Wouldn’t that be fun?  

     

    is that wise pigIS THAT WISE, PIG?
    by Jan Thomas
    (2016)

    In this silly story Cow, Mouse, and Pig are making soup. (But you probably figured that out since all of these books have been about soup, right?) Cow and Mouse add sensible ingredients (like vegetables). But Pig is silly and tries to add things like galoshes. This book is especially fun since little kiddos will giggle at the fact that they know not to add umbrellas to soup and Pig doesn’t! Seriously. This is hilarious! If you only read one making soup book with toddlers…then this is the book you should choose to read.  

    that is not a good ideaTHAT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA
    by Mo Willems
    (2013)

    So, this is a bonus book for you. It is a book about making a soup for dinner—only there is a secret ingredient that might not be 100% something that you would add to your soup dinners. So, please read this. And laugh. (Just don’t blame me if the kiddos wonder if the secret ingredient is in your soup…)  

     

    Hopefully you and the kiddos in your life will love making soup and reading these books. What type of soup is popular in your households?   

  • Covering the Artists 

    Book illustration has always been a great love of mine. As I child, I was always taken in by these drawings, especially in the fairy tales I read. As I got older, and the books I read had less and less pictures, but I was still fascinated by the pictures found on the covers of the books I read. To this day, I definitely have a weakness for “judging a book by its cover.” Part of that weakness is because some of my favorite books had covers illustrated by the same artists who created the picture books I read as a child. In celebration of these books, I have compiled a list of the best illustrators whose work is enjoyed by readers of all ages.  

    Kinuko Y. Craft

    8.2 Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the BraveBABA YAGA AND VASILISA THE BRAVE
    By Marianna Mayer
    (1994) 

     

    8.2 Winter RoseWINTER ROSE
    By Patricia A. McKillip
    (1996)

    Also known professionally as K.Y. Craft, Kinuko studied fine arts in Ishikawa, Japan. After graduating in 1962, she moved to Chicago, studying and working at local design studios. Her work is heavily influenced by traditional European masters, as well as 19th century Romanticism and Symbolism. In addition to being published in magazines like Time, her work has also been displayed at the The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.  

     

    Trina Schart Hyman

    8.2 Hershel and the Hannukah GoblinsHERSHEL AND THE HANUKKAH GOBLINS
    By Eric A. Kimmel
    (1989) 

     

    8.2 A Hidden MagicA HIDDEN MAGIC
    By Vivian Vande Velde
    (1985)

    One of the most applauded illustrators of her generation, Trina was awarded the Caldecott medal in 1984, the highest achievement for illustration in the U.S. She would go on to win three additional Caldecott awards for her work. Though she would also study at institutes in Boston and Stockholm, she was originally born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Sadly, she passed away in 2004, but not without leaving a legacy of revered work.  

     

    Leo and Diane Dillon

    8.2 The People Could FlyTHE PEOPLE COULD FLY
    By Virginia Hamilton
    (2004) 

     

    8.2 AbhorsenABHORSEN
    By Garth Nix
    (2003)

    This husband and wife have worked together to create award-winning illustrations. Also awarded the Caldecott, they have the distinction of being the only consecutive winners — in 1976 and 1977. Each of their works is a collaboration between their styles. Occasionally, Lee Dillon, their son, a gifted sculptor, painter and craftsman, is also featured in their works.

     
  • 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).

     
  • 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.”

     
  •  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.

     
  • 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.

     
  • bilingual

    Provo Library carries quite a few Spanish materials. On the children’s side, we often get parents wanting bilingual books in Spanish and English to help younger patrons learn a second language while they’re small. Like our patrons, our Spanish collection isn’t the biggest, but we’re growing! We even have bilingual board books to start breaking language barriers early. Here are five bilingual board books you can find in the children’s Spanish section.

    baby animalsBABY ANIMALS - BEBÉS ANIMALES
    by Say and Play Bilingual
    (2012)  

    This adorable board book taught me that “duckling” in Spanish is “patito.” Cute in both languages! This board book keeps it simple: each page has one baby animal with both its English and Spanish name.

    oink moo meowOINK, MOO, MEOW - OINK, MUU, MIAU
    by Say and Play Bilingual
    (2012)

    Another by Say and Play Bilingual, but this book takes it to the next level. Each page still features one animal, but it’s focused on the animal sounds. Learn that the frog says Ribbit! in English, but la rana dice ¡Croac! en Espanol. It’s a great intellectual exercise to realize that even animal sounds are portrayed differently in different languages and countries.  

    mis numerosMY NUMBERS - MIS NUMEROS
    by Rebecca Emberley
    (2000)

    This simple board book introduces readers to numeros uno a diez. As a bonus, each number corresponds with an everyday object. Five carrots becomes cinco zanahorias and seven stars becomes siete estrellas.  

    a color of his ownA COLOR OF HIS OWN - SU PROPIO COLOR
    by Leo Lionni
    (2016)

    The Chameleon realizes every animal and plant can claim a color except him. He feels pretty lonely without a color to call his own until the day he meets another chameleon who explains that they can change color together! This classic story is told in English with Spanish translations on each page.  

    don quixoteDON QUIXOTE: A SPANISH LANGUAGE PRIMER
    by Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver
    (2015)

    These BabyLit classics crack me up! In board book format, each “classic” uses a notable literary work to explain a simple concept. Some focus on counting or opposites; this one highlights Spanish. You’ll learn that Don Quixote is a man or el hombre, that windmills are also los molinos de viento, and that the faithful Sancho Panza is Don Quixote’s friend or amigo. The illustrations in this series are some of my favorite.

     

  • 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.

     

  • covers

     

    I absolutely, definitely judge books by their covers. I’m always scanning the shelves (and the floor, and patron’s hands) for covers that are unique in design and childlike in sensibility. When a book’s cover catches my eye, I pick it up. That is how I choose the books I want to read. It’s not a perfect approach. But I have found that form usually follows function and more often than not, an interesting book cover contains an interesting story inside.  

    Here are five books I simply happened across in the children’s section: books I'd never heard of before, but which had graphically bold or visually detailed covers that I was drawn to. Once I opened up these books, I found stories and illustrations inside that confirmed what the covers suggested. Not all books should be judged by their covers, but it’s working out pretty well for me so far.  

    (Interestingly, all five of these books are by Japanese authors and illustrators.)              

    issun boshiISSUN BOSHI
    By Icinori    
    (2014)

    Issun Boshi is the first book I checked out as a librarian. I was sucked in by the cover illustration boldly rendered in orange, teal, yellow, and black with stark negative space. I picked it up partially because I couldn’t tell how old it was from looking at the cover. Like a lot of less familiar folktales, ISSUN BOSHI feels at once fresh and ancient. It is the story of a one-inch tall boy who leaves home to find adventure, armed with a rice bowl and a needle. The words and images create a striking picture book of unusual peril but also unusual subtlety.

     

         

    you are my best friendYOU ARE MY BEST FRIEND
    By Tatsuya Miyanishi    
    (2004) 

    This cover is densely patterned, boldly colored, and full of glaring dinosaurs—which makes its sweet title intriguing. Inside, we get the story of a destructive and violent Tyrannosaurus who learns about gratitude and friendship when the Elasmosaurus saves his life. I like that YOU ARE MY BEST FRIEND is extremely aware of its audience, both in word and image. It feels like a story a child would tell accompanied by drawings a child would draw, but with the finesse and sophistication of a hugely talented adult author/illustrator.      

                         

    annos counting bookANNO’S COUNTING BOOK
    By Mitsumasa Anno
    (1975)  

    I liked the careful little scene on the cover of Anno’s Counting Book and was rewarded with an exceptional presentation of natural mathematics inside. The development of a village and its countryside is depicted only with pictures and numbers. The landscape and its inhabitants change and expand and multiply in patterns and sequences throughout seasons of the year. Anno’s delicate little drawings are full of life and detail. Every plant, animal, person, and building is worth discovering because each countable feature (windows, branches, petals) is significant in relation to everything else.        

     

    kuma kumaKUMA KUMA CHAN’S HOME
    By Kazue Takahashi  
    (2016) 

    Sometimes just the color of a book jacket or the typeface of the title or even the size of a book is enough to make me want to pick it up. This slim little pale pink book fit so nicely in my hands - how could I resist? KUMA KUMA CHAN’S HOME is a tiny book, sweetly and simply rendered, about an imperfect but ultimately nice visit between friends. The story, like the cover art, is understated, gentle, and minimal.    

           

    how to draw almost everythingHOW TO DRAW ALMOST EVERYTHING
    By Chika Miyata  
    (2016) 

    The childlike drawing style featured on the cover of HOW TO DRAW ALMOST EVERYTHING feels similar to Anno’s, which is probably why this book caught my attention. Invitingly simple but engagingly specific, this “Illustrated Sourcebook” teaches the reader how to doodle just about anything you might need to doodle. The step-by-step illustrations are encouraging and accessible and the book really does cover a huge breadth of subjects: animals, plants, faces, clothing, foods, vehicles, emotions, actions.  

     

  • calvin

    Whenever someone learns that I work at a library, they usually ask one of three questions:

    1. What’s your favorite book?
    2. What are you reading?
    3. What do you recommend?

    The last two are usually more enjoyable to answer than the first question, but lately those questions have been very difficult for me. I’m going to be honest here. Yes, I work at a library, but I am not a librarian. I’m also the parent of a one-year-old, and so right now between working full time and parenting that little fellow, the answer is that I read a lot of the same five books. Over, and over, and over again. I hope that some time in the next year I will learn how to get dinner on the table before 8:30 at night; I hope that I will find time and space to read for myself again; I hope that maybe Calvin will learn to like more books (he will). But for now, it’s these five. So I present to you Calvin’s (the one-year-old) favorite five books, which I somehow still don’t hate even though I read them each at least five times a day.

    1ORANGE PEAR APPLE BEAR
    by Emily Gravett  
    (2011)

    The premise of this book is simple: four words, combined in varied ways, create new pictures. I don’t want to spoil the jokes, so I’ll leave the description there. Calvin loves to be asked, “Where’s the bear?”; the bear looks slightly different on every page, so it feels like a challenge. Plus, I roar when he finds it, so there’s that.

    2HAPPY HIPPO, ANGRY DUCK 
    by Sandra Boynton
    (2011)  

    This was the first book Calvin actually listened to in its entirety. And then asked to hear again. And again. In Calvin’s eyes, this book has three real strengths: first, it’s not too long. Second, it’s filled with a variety of animals. Third, as each animal represents a different emotion, the opportunities for silly and changing voices abound. This one’s a great read-aloud for little ones, and I’m still amused by the book’s final insistence that “A difficult mood is not here to stay. Unless you’re that duck. He’s always this way.”

    3THE FOOT BOOK
    by Dr. Seuss  
    (1968)

    It’s always satisfying when your child loves a book that you loved as a child, so when Calvin willingly sat in my lap and listened as we read about all these variously positioned, colored, and tempered feet, we both felt as fuzzy inside as “fuzzy fur feet”. This book is fun for all the usual reasons that a Dr. Seuss book is fun: delightfully silly rhymes, that signature art style, the way that something so ordinary becomes whimsical. After we’re done reading, Calvin loves to open up to either the very front or very back pages (which have tons of images of the main character) and we just keep saying, “Feet! Feet! Feet! Feet!” This is a part of the story his Dad invented, and it’s his favorite.

    4MY BIG ANIMAL BOOK
    by Richard Priddy  
    (2011)

    This is probably the book we spend the most time with. Our copy is a large board book that we picked up at the Library’s Used Book Store, and Calvin loves to carry it around because his first love is carrying objects that seem much too large for him (at grandma’s house, his favorite thing to play with is her steam mop. But I digress…). This one is great for especially young kids; lots of animals, each isolated on a bright colored background (making it easy to distinguish them from one another and point to your favorites). Calvin’s favorite is the bunny. The chicken and the giraffe are close seconds. 

    5I LOVE YOU, STINKY FACE
    by Lisa McCourt  
    (1997)

    I fully expect Calvin to move on from a few of these books before he can really comprehend their message, but this is one I hope he sustains interest in long enough to really understand the story. In I LOVE YOU, STINKY FACE, a child prolongs his bedtime routine by posing an escalating series of “what if?” scenarios to his patient, patient mother. “What if I smelled so bad my name was Stinky Face? What if I was a terrible meat-eating dinosaur? Would you still love me?” The book is silly and playful, but reinforces maybe the best lesson: that no amount of bad breath, big teeth, or bug-eating can stop a parent from loving their child.

  • toddler faves

    Last year I shared my son Calvin’s favorite books. He was one at the time, and was just barely at a place where he enjoyed being read to. The last year of parenting has had its ups and downs, but one thing we’ve done right is to continue to read to him. It’s now a several-times-daily activity. Calvin is branching out and learning to like new books, but he does have some tried and true favorites that he keeps coming back to.  

    Though we’ve done our best to expose Calvin to lots of possible interests, he is obsessed with trucks, trains, and construction vehicles right now. You’ll notice a strong bias in that direction.  

    goodnight goodnight construction siteGOOD NIGHT, GOOD NIGHT CONSTRUCTION SITE
    by Sherri Rinker
    Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
    (2011)

    This is the book Calvin asks for every. single. night. The text has a great rhyme scheme, Lichtenheld’s illustrations are just the right blend of cutesy and beautiful, but really it’s the trucks that interest Calvin. After a hard day’s work, a variety of large vehicles are tucked safely away to rest. I credit this book for my son’s ability to correctly identify an “excavator.”   Side note: before I had a child, there were basically two kinds of construction vehicles to me: cranes and bulldozers. I have now seen the error of my ways, and can tell you the difference between a front-end loader, a grader, an excavator, and a bulldozer.

    babiesBABIES
    by Gyo Fujikawa
    (1963)  

    The library doesn’t actually have a copy of this book, but we do have several by Fujikawa so you can get a sense of her illustration style. I don’t quite know what it is about this book that fascinates Calvin. The book talks about all the different things babies do (which is basically eat, sleep, repeat). He does like seeing the babies learn things like putting on shoes and eating with a spoon. Plus there are puppies and kitties and small children romping through fields of flowers. It’s a bit cutesy for my taste, but I guess this list isn’t about me.

    curious george takes a trainCURIOUS GEORGE TAKES A TRAIN 
    by H.A. Rey, Margaret Rey & Martha Weston
    (2002)  

    The love that Calvin has for Curious George knows virtually no bounds. He has seen every episode of the show at least 7 times (I don’t know what that says about us as parents. Probably nothing good…also, I’m lying. It’s probably at least 12 times). He clapped when we finally decorated his room and put up some Curious George art; my mother gave him a Curious George blanket that he wants to take on every car ride even though he’s historically been a blanket-hater. Though I prefer the Curious George books written by Margaret and H.A. Rey (rather than the new series inspired by them), this one is pretty short and has a train, so it wins for Calvin.

    i am a bunnyI AM A BUNNY
    by Old Risom
    Illustrated by Richard Scarry
    (1963)  

    I was surprised and a little sad that the library doesn’t own a stand-alone copy of this book, though the compilation linked here is definitely worth your time. I first became interested in I AM A BUNNY when we had some of Scarry’s original art on display in The Attic. I typically think of Scarry as the illustrator who created the worm with the bowtie, but the art in I AM A BUNNY is gorgeous. The text that follows a bunny throughout the seasons is simple; in fact, Calvin has it memorized, and I’ll usually have him complete the sentences. I challenge you to find something more adorable than a two-year-old saying, “Butterflies chase me!” in a sing-song voice. It’s the cutest thing ever.  

    freight trainFREIGHT TRAIN
    by Donald Crews
    (1978)  

    With so much available for kids to read and watch, I’m sometimes baffled by the things that Calvin likes. “This?!? Out of all that is good and beautiful for you to love in the world, you like THIS?!?” Happily, FREIGHT TRAIN is not like that. The art is interesting and graphic and beautiful, but it’s also really accessible to very young readers. FREIGHT TRAIN names all the cars of the train (each a different color), and then has the train go until it’s going, going, gone! At the end of the book, Cal always asks, “Where’d the train go?”, which isn’t the cutest thing EVER but is amusing every time.  

    Also, I’m only talking about books here, but if you have a small person in your life that is obsessed with vehicles and construction equipment, you’ve probably got to share MIGHTY MACHINES with them. MIGHTY MACHINES features live action footage of large vehicles doing what they do with narration that is both informative and silly (why does the small crane have a terrible Italian accent? We’ll never know…). We stream it in Netflix, but the library has several compilations that will surprise and delight again and again (and again. And again. And again…).  

    Possible side effect: Your child may ask to “watch garbage” every day for a month. And you will let him, because that garbage episode is gross and fascinating and one of the bulldozers randomly sings about crushing garbage and going to the disco, which sounds like a great way to live. 

  • Dan Santat

    Caldecott Award-winning author and illustrator Dan Santat is coming to the Provo City Library! (I just did another happy dance!) If you haven’t had the wonderful opportunity to read any books by or illustrated by Dan Santat then you are missing out! He is amazing! How many exclamation marks can I add to this introductory paragraph? I mean, this is happiness on epic proportions for me!! (Was that bad that I just added two exclamation marks to the end of one sentence? Does this help you understand just how amazing this is?)

    Anyway, in honor of such a great force in children’s literature coming to our library, I am going to tell you about five of my favorite books that he wrote/illustrated. (I know, you are asking yourself the same question: How could you just pick five? And I cheated. There are a couple where I picked certain books so I could sneak a few more your way. I had to. Dan Santat has written and illustrated SO MANY good books that really five is just too few to share just how amazing he is.)

    Oh NoOH NO! (OR HOW MY SCIENCE PROJECT DESTROYED THE WORLD)
    Written by Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Dan Santat

    This is a great book. Basically this girl gets first place on her science project…only just as she is accepting her first place blue ribbon she realizes that the robot is headed out on a rampage into the city. She has to go and stop her robot! Of course she forgot to give the robot ears so it can’t hear her tell him to stop (or teach him to read for the same reason). Basically, she has to create a giant monster that can then stop the robot. (Only creating a giant monster that can take care of a giant robot comes with its own set of problems.) One of the things I really like about this book is that it is a girl scientist. There aren’t that many books that showcase just how smart girls are (not just can be) in the science fields.  And the end pages are just funny. Dan Santat totally nailed these illustrations—which is why this book is on the list. [And as an added bonus there is a sequel! OH NO! NOT AGAIN! (OR HOW I BUILT A TIME MACHINE TO SAVE HISTORY) (OR AT LEAST MY HISTORY GRADE) is also written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Dan Santat.]

    Are We There YetARE WE THERE YET?
    Written and Illustrated by Dan Santat

    This book is fun on so many levels. In this story a kid and his parents are headed to a birthday party for Grandma. Of course while on the long drive to grandma’s house there is a lot of “Are we there yet?” questions. And then the kid’s imagination starts to take over. The book’s pages are turned upside-down and the adventures are bigger and better than any road trip I have ever taken. Then eventually the family gets to grandma’s house and the party. Which means that the question soon becomes, “Can we go now?” when too many relatives start pinching cheeks.

     

    Beekle1THE ADVENTURES OF BEEKLE: THE UNIMAGINARY FRIEND 
    Written and Illustrated by Dan Santat

    Dan Santat received the Caldecott Award for this book. It is amazing! Basically in the book Beekle was born where all imaginary friends are created. He waited and waited (and waited) for someone to imagine him. Only nobody ever did. So Beekle decided to take matters into his own hands. Off he goes to the real world where he is in search of his friend—which he finds! And there is much happiness!

     

    sidekicks

    SIDEKICKS 
    Written and Illustrated by Dan Santat

    Captain Amazing is in need of a new sidekick to help him fight crime. There are a couple of candidates that really want the job—including some of Captain Amazing’s pets. Basically there is a lot of fun superhero bits to this story along with a lot of figuring out who you are (as a sidekick pet especially). I love the depth of this book. I love that it is a whole graphic novel of amazingness. I love that the solution to who the new sidekick(s) is/are. And I can’t tell you much more than that…because it will spoil the ending. Just know I love this book. And I will be asking Dan Santat to sign my copy—which will induce yet another dance of joy.

     

    Three Ninja PigsTHE THREE NINJA PIGS 
    Written by Corey Rosen Schwartz, Illustrated by Dan Santat

    This is my favorite book that Dan Santat has illustrated. Ever. Possibly because I like ninjas. But also because the illustrations are just plain awesome. This is a fractured fairy tale of the three little pigs (if you couldn’t guess by the title)—only with NINJAS! Basically the three siblings (two brothers and a sister) set off to learn martial arts so they can defeat the Big Bad Wolf who is quite a bully. Only the sister sticks with her training enough to inspire fear in the wolf when he learns of her power and skill. And if it wasn’t cool enough that this book existed, there are also two others in this series. NINJA RED RIDING HOOD and HENSEL AND GRETEL: NINJA CHICKS are also spectacular—though the first book will always be my most favorite! (And do you like how by telling you about this series I get to talk about three books for the price of one Friday Fave?)

    So my friends, if this round of Friday Faves hasn’t inspired you to come to the Children’s Book Festival and meet the AMAZING Dan Santat, then you need to come to the library to check out these books. Because I know that once you read them, you will love Mr. Santat’s work just as much as I do!

  • caldecott

    As you may or may not know, the winner of the Caldecott medal (given to the most distinguished picture book of the year) will be announced this weekend during the American Library Association's Midwinter Conference. Our Library Director, Gene Nelson, has served on the Caldecott committee in the past, and this Friday we've asked him to pick his five favorites to win the medal or to be named honor books. Here are his picks; we'll see how close he gets! 

    1Drum Dream Girl
    written by Margarita Engel, illustrated by Rafael Lopez
    (2015; acrylic )

    Based on the true story of young girl breaking down the gender barrier in drum playing in Cuba, this bright surrealistic picture book is eye catching

     

    2Waiting
    written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes
    (2015; ink, watercolors, colored pencil)

    Previous Caldecott winner Henkes assembles an unlikely group of very patient characters waiting, but for what?

     

    3If You Plant a Seed
    written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson
    (2015; oil)

    Coretta Scott King winner deftly uses oils in creating a colorful fableish tale of planting seeds.

      

    4Lenny and Lucy
    written by Philip Stead, illustrated by Erin Stead
    (2015; mixed media)

    The 2011 Caldecott Winner is back with a story about apprehension and friendship.

     

    5The Whisper
    written and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
    (2015; mixed media)

    Magical and whimsical in color and style, Zagarenski does it again with a heart-warming story about story.

     

  •  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. 

     

  • picturebookdiggie

     

    I love reading books to little kiddos. And I love libraries. So it will probably come as no surprise that I have some favorite books that I read to little ones that are about libraries and books. If you like reading about reading or libraries, you may enjoy these as well.

     

    library

    THE LIBRARY
    by Sarah Stewart; Illustrated by David Small
    (1995)

    Elizabeth Brown loves to read. She reads and reads and reads. But as she continues to collect books to read, she realizes that she has an overwhelming collection and she must do something! Find out what Elizabeth Brown does in this charming picture book.

     

    library lion

    THE LIBRARY LION
    by Michelle Knudsen; Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
    (2006)

    Something is a little different in this particular library—they have a lion! Not just a pretend lion, a real lion that likes to listen to story time and read books. Only, when the lion breaks a library rule in order to help a friend, he knows he must face the consequences. What is the lion (or the library) to do?

     

    book book book

    BOOK! BOOK! BOOK!
    by Deborah Bruss; Illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke
    (2001)

    When all of the children go off to school the animals on the farm are bored. Finally a chicken comes up with an idea to head to town. While there the animals discover a library. However, the librarian can’t understand the animals so doesn’t know quite how to help them—until the chicken figures out the perfect way to ask for help.

     

    mimiMIMI
    by Carol Baicker-McKee
    (2008)

    Mimi is an adorable little pig who spends the day going to the library, the park, and back home. She loves all the things she does…but she is also thinking about her pet roly-poly bug that has been missing. This is a sweet story that mimics everyday life for little ones. And little ones will enjoy recognizing the similarities between Mimi’s day and their own.

     

    boy who was raised by librarians

    THE BOY WHO WAS RAISED BY LIBRARIANS
    by Carla D. Morris; Illustrated by Brad Sneed
    (2007)

    Of course I couldn’t make a list of library-related books without talking about this one. The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians was written by a Provo City Library librarian! This book talks about a boy who felt like the library was his home-away-from-home. In fact, he was at the library so much it seemed that he was raised by librarians. This book explains the joy that comes when a youngster discovers the joy of feeling at home in his neighborhood library. This is one library book you don’t want to miss—especially since it was based on a story that happened here in Provo!

     

     

  •  Boy Reading

    One of the joys of being a Children’s Librarian is sharing both new and classic picture books with kids during our programs. Even in our Library Kids, Jr (ages 5-8) craft program and our Lego Crew (ages 5-8) program, we always start by reading a picture book aloud. 

    Over the years I’ve gotten a lot of laughs, a lot of “awwws,” and a lot of funny or deep questions from my audience. I’ve had to learn which books appeal to adults but not necessarily to kids, and vice versa. I’ve been surprised by the children’s comprehension of subtle humor and their ability to recall specific details of stories we read weeks before. 

    While each child, of course, has their own individual tastes in reading, and while both boys and girls enjoy the following books, I have found that the following five picture books have a special appeal for young boys. They feature epic battles, outrageous humor, over-the-top situations, exaggerated technical and imaginative details, and funny voices.  

    3.2 If I Built a HouseIF I BUILT A HOUSE
    By Chris Van Dusen
    (2012) 

    Jack describes the house of his dreams that he plans to build, complete with self-cooking kitchen, indoor racetrack, and a scuba diving room. 

     

    3.2 Im a SharkI’M A SHARK!
    By Bob Shea
    (2011) 

    This shark is not afraid of anything! Not the dark, not giant squids, not big mean bears. But the reader begins to suspect that there is one thing that Shark is scared of. 

     

    3.2 Mustache BabyMUSTACHE BABY
    By Bridget Heos
    (2013) 

    Baby Billy is born with a mustache. The doctor says that only time will tell if it’s a good-guy mustache or a bad-guy mustache. At first Billy’s cowboy mustache and cop mustache help him bring justice and order. But soon his mustache starts curling at the ends… 

     

    3.2 The Legend of Rock Paper ScissorsTHE LEGEND OF ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS
    By Drew Daywalt
    (2017) 

    Inspired by the childhood game of rock, paper, scissor, this is an outrageous and hilarious depiction of the original epic battle between the three mighty warriors. 

     

    3.2 Shark vs. TrainSHARK VS. TRAIN
    By Chris Barton
    (2010) 

    Shark and Train pit themselves against each other in one competition after another, including swimming, bowling, pie eating and more. Who will win?

     
  • picture book films 01

    It’s exciting when a movie is announced that’s about a book you have read. Often, people are eager to criticize a movie for not being “as good as” a book. My husband has a film degree and loves movies, so in our family there is less of a debate between which is better. He brings up the fact that each is a different art form; so instead of debating, we discuss how the story was portrayed differently. What had to be changed for the story to make sense in a new medium? What details had to be described in the book in detail, but were easily portrayed in film? Either way, it’s possible to enjoy both formats, book and movie, no matter who you are. It’s fun to see how someone else interpreted the book you enjoyed. 

    In our family, even the youngest loves watching movies that were made from books. Young children can have a picture book read to them, and then enjoy a family-friendly movie. You can easily make a family activity out of reading the book, watching the movie, then discussing which elements were the same or different. Even though a full-length movie can only be inspired by a picture book, it’s fun to see what elements are still present. Here are a few of our favorites . . . 

    11.3 JumanjiJUMANJI
    By Chris Van Allsburg
    (1981) 

    This is the Caldecott winner for 1982. The illustrations have amazing precision and detail. They look like black and white photos. The idea is so clever and imaginative, a game where the creatures and plants appear in real life when it falls on your turn. 

    11.4 Jumanji movieJUMANJI
    1995

    I grew up watching this movie and have always enjoyed it. We recently watched it as a family and it’s nice to find a movie that the parents enjoy watching as much as the kids. It does involve action an adventure, with some intense jungle scenes, but it also has a lot of comedy weaved throughout. 

     

     

     

    11.4 The Night at the MuseumNIGHT AT THE MUSEUM
    By Milan Trenc
    (1993)

    Larry is excited for his new job as a night guard at the Natural History Museum. His first night on the job his duties end up being different than he expected! This story is fun with cartoon drawings and geared for even the youngest children. 

     

     

    11.4 Night at the Museum movieNIGHT AT THE MUSEUM
    (2007)

    This is a movie I didn’t realize was inspired by the book! There are so many fun characters and lots of fun and adventure. Again, it is fun to watch with the whole family and the kids will laugh out loud. 

     

     

     

    11.4 ShrekSHREK
    (1990)
    By William Steig

    Shrek is an ugly, fire-breathing ogre, who encounters a witch who predicts he will go on a journey and find a princess who is even uglier than he, and he will marry her. There is poetry throughout his epic journey. The story is funny, but more suited to older children who will understand the humorous situation. 

     

    11.4 Shrek movieSHREK
    (2001)

    This will forever be my sister’s favorite movie! Some of the jokes will go above the heads of children, but the message in the end is positive, and it’s fun that it is different than the normal “happily ever after”. 

     

     

     

    11.4 Curious GeorgeCURIOUS GEORGE
    By H. A. Rey
    (1941)

    I have linked to the library’s copy of a collector’s edition printed from H. A. Rey’s original watercolors, with an introduction that discusses the life and experiences of H. A. and Margaret Rey. They had to escape During World War II and come to the United States where they were able to publish the classic Curious George books. 

     

    11.4 Curious George movieCURIOUS GEORGE
    (2006)

    The whole family can go on an adventure with fun, lovable George.

     

     

     

     

    11.4 Cloudy with a Chance of MeatballsCLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS
    By Judi Barrett
    Illustrated by Ron Barrett
    (1978)

    A grandfather tells a tall tale to his grandchildren that involves a world filled with food that falls from the sky instead of rain. It works at first, but it starts to be overwhelming and the people of the town eventually have to leave their town of food. 

    11.4 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs movieCLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS
    (2010)

    Inspired by the book there is a town that has food come from the sky, but it is because one of an inventor’s many machines gets stuck up in the clouds and drops food from the sky. This is exciting at first, until the machine starts malfunctioning and has to be stopped! This one is definitely more fun for the kids, lots of silliness and jokes meant for them.

     

     

     

  • 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.

     

  •  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.

     
  • twas header 01

     

    Want to feel that holiday feeling with your little one? Here are some laugh-out-loud Christmas books parodying the ubiquitous "'Twas the Night Before Christmas." 

    twas 01

    Find them in the catalog: 

    A PIRATE’S NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS 

    THE KNIGHTS BEFORE CHRISTMAS 

    FRANKENSTEIN’S FRIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS   

  • You may notice a theme here...David Wiesner will be here this weekend! If you like award-winning picture books, not only should you try these books, but you should get yourself down to the Library on Friday or Saturday to meet David Wiesner himself!

    award winning picture books 01

  • If you are the type that likes to sing “Home on the Range” while rustlin’ up some Texas chili with extra hot peppers, then you also might be the type that enjoys a tall tale or two that have to do with cowboys. These tall tales are sure to get you into a cowboy mood that may even warrant saddling’ up a horse and rounding up some cattle…or a bad guy or two.

    cowboys 01

    Find them in the Catalog: 

    KID SHERIFF AND THE TERRIBLE TOADS

    LITTLE RED HOT

    FANDANGO STEW

  • girl power biographies 01

    Find them in the catalog: 

    VIVA FRIDA

    MAYA LIN

    GEORGIA IN HAWAII

  • knitting 01

    Find them in the catalog: 

    EXTRA YARN

    A HAT FOR MRS. GOLDMAN

    KNIT TOGETHER

  • Do you find yourself daydreaming about becoming a ninja? Or perhaps others have noticed (or, rather, not noticed...) that you are as sneaky as a ninja? Or perhaps…you just really like ninjas? Well, these books just might be for you! Here are three great books that all ninja fanatics will enjoy!

    ninjas 01

    Find them in the catalog: 

    THE THREE NINJA PIGS

    NIGHTTIME NINJA

    THE LEGEND OF NINJA COWBOY BEAR

  • Our juvenile Spanish collection has a great selection and is always growing. Whether you want authentic literature, a translation of your favorite English title, or more bilingual books, come check out our materiales en Español.

    spanish english picture books 01

    Find them in the catalog: 

    MY DIARY FROM HERE TO THERE/ MI DIARIO DE AQUI HASTA ALLA

    GOOD DREAM BAD DREAM/ SUEÑO BUENO SUEÑO MALO

    DON QUIXOTE: A SPANISH LANGUAGE PRIMER

  • Full of food puns and anthropomorphic ingredients, kids and adults will get a kick out of these witty breakfast adventures.

    funny food books 01

    Find them in the catalog: 

    ARNIE THE DOUGHNUT

    EVERYONE LOVES BACON

    LADY PANCAKE & SIR FRENCH TOAST

  • illustrated songs 01

     

    I listen to a lot of music. I always have. I grew up listening to music on road trips with my family, I listen to music when I am with friends, and I almost always listen to music when I am alone. Even though I am not really musical, I love music and I love listening to music because I love the lyrics. I love to sing along with songs even when I don’t know them very well. The lyrics are the best part of a song for me, and I often feel like if people would only read songs and not hear them they would still like them just as much – maybe more.

    One trend in picture books that I really like are books that do just that – illustrated song lyrics, just for reading. These can be a good way to introduce kids to classic songs, and a good way to really appreciate some of your favorites. There are dozens in our picture book section but here are some favorites.

    forever youngFOREVER YOUNG
    by Bob Dylan
    illustrated by Paul Rogers
    (2008)

     

     

    what a wonderful worldWHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD
    by  Bob Thiele & George David Weiss (Most famous as a Louis Armstrong song)
    illustrated by Tim Hopgood
    (2014)

     

    coat of many colorsCOAT OF MANY COLORS
    by Dolly Parton
    illustrated by Brooke Boynton-Hughes
    (2016)

     

     

    octopuss gardenOCTOPUS’S GARDEN
    by Ringo Starr (Most famous as The Beatles song)
    illustrated by Ben Cort
    (2014)

     

     

     

    Plus, you can always use Freegal to listen to and download any of the new songs you discover for yourself!

  •  Halloween Costumes

    I love children’s books and dressing up, so what could be more fun than dressing up as a character from a book? 

    Every year when I went to the store to pick out a costume for Halloween I was always disappointed. I never liked the choices that I found.  I also didn’t like seeing my costume again and again on everyone else. I love having a costume that is unique to me and my personality. But I also didn’t want to spend a bunch of money on something I was only going to wear one day out of the year. Another frustration in picking a costume was what to be and what person to dress up as.

    Then one year I discovered literary characters. I love books so why not choose my favorite book character and dress up as that particular character! For the last 5 years or so I have had some really fun costumes and most of the time people know who I am. I get lots of comments like, “That is one of my favorite books”, which makes me happy.           

    Usually a book character costume doesn’t require much. I was surprised at how many things I had at home to use for my costume. Sometimes I would have to hunt for an accessory that I needed or make an item or two for my costume but usually it was just hanging in my closet waiting to be put together. I have over the years added to my wig collection but that is something that can be used again and again. I also bought a latex witch nose and I have used that many times to change the look of my face.   

    This year because I have so many ideas and options to choose from my struggle is deciding which character I want to be. I thought it would be fun to share five of my favorite literary costumes and hopefully inspire you to also dress up as a literary character.

    10.15 Fancy NancyFANCY NANCY: FANCIEST DOLL IN THE UNIVERSE
    By Jane O’Conner
    Illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser
    (2013)

     

    Fancy Nancy

     

    10.15 Amelia BedeliaAMELIA BEDELIA
    By Peggy Parish
    (1963)

     

    Amelia

     

    10.15 Miss Nelson is MissingMISS NELSON IS MISSING!
    By Harry Allard and James Marshall
    (1977)

     

    Viola Swamp

     

    10.15 Lillys Purple Plastic PurseLILLY'S PURPLE PLASTIC PURSE
    By Kevin Henkes
    (1996)

     

    Lilly

     

    10.15 The WitchesTHE WITCHES
    By Roald Dahl
    (1983)

     

    Witch