Picture Books

  • 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

     
  • fun reading aloud

    Have you ever wondered how you could make reading aloud at home as fun as it is at the Library?  Even if you don’t have puppets or other props, reading can still be fun at home. Looking for a bonus? Since our new Winter Reading Challenge tracks minutes read rather than books, all the time you spend reading to your kids can count as reading time for you as well!

    Here are a few ideas for making your read-aloud time as fun at home as it is during story time.

    1. Read the book first so that you know what the story is about and you won’t have any surprises you aren’t prepared for as you are reading.
    2. Have a designated area in your home where you can go to read aloud. It can be a special carpet, the couch or a reading tent that you build together. A special place for reading makes the time together more magical.
    3. Look at the book cover together and try to guess what the book is going to be about before you even start reading.
    4. If you are reading a picture book make sure that they can see the pictures. Turning the book so you can read the text and then showing them the pictures is not fun for little ones. They like to really study the pictures. If you have read the book previously you already kind of know the text which can help. You can also add to the text to make the story funny. Most small children won’t be following the text so they won’t know if you change it just a bit. Don’t be afraid to insert things like your children’s own names. It will help them love the book even more if they think it was written just for them.
    5. Read with enthusiasm and with different voice inflections. If you have listened to audiobooks the reader gives each character a different voice to distinguish them. This adds so much to the story for little ones. Don’t be afraid of being silly with your children: it helps them develop their imaginations as they listen to the story. Give it all you've got – add hand motions, facial expressions, and sound effects; this only adds to the experience and makes it fun for your children. Even older children enjoy hearing stories read in a fun way. It will transport the audience into the story in a more vivid way.
    6. Notice how your audience is reacting to the story. If the story has long text that is boring, make up your own text that goes along with the pictures or shorten the text by telling it in your own words. If they are bored they start to associate reading with boredom. Make reading enjoyable.
    7. Children love to ask questions, but stopping too frequently during the story interrupts the flow so try to wait until the end to answer any questions. It's always fun to discuss the book after it is over to see how everyone felt about it.
    8. Just have fun!  

    Here are some of my favorite picture books to read aloud.

     

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

    Everyone has played the game Rock Paper Scissors, but learning how this legendary game started is not for the faint of heart. This is a hilarious book that tells the point of view of each of the warriors – Rock, Paper, Scissors – who have never been defeated in battle. It’s a great book to read aloud because each warrior has its own personality and you can use voice inflections to really make the story come alive. Be prepared to read this book out loud again and again. It’s a real favorite.

     

    12.13 Bark GeorgeBARK, GEORGE
    By Jules Feiffer
    (1999)

    This is an older book, but it’s become one of my favorite read-aloud books because you can have everyone who is listening participate in the reading. George has lost his bark and can’t seem to figure out how to get it back. He meows like a cat and moos like a cow, but he just can’t seem to bark like a dog. Younger listeners will love helping you make all the animal sounds as you read this book together.

     

    12.13 True Story 3 PigsTHE TRUE STORY OF THE THREE LITTLE PIGS
    By Jon Scieszka
    (1989)

    Everyone knows the story of the three little pigs, but have you ever heard it told from the point of view of the poor wolf? He wasn’t actually a bad guy. He just needed to borrow a cup of sugar to make a cake for his dear old granny, but no one would loan him some sugar. This classic tale can be read with so many different voices and you can have help from your listeners to make all of the sound effects in the story. They can help you knock on the door, blow and sneeze like the wolf, and make the crashing sounds as the house falls down.

     

    12.13 Book with no PicturesTHE BOOK WITH NO PICTURES
    By B.J. Novak
    (2014)

    This book, as the title states, has no pictures. You would think that a book like that would be very boring for someone to read, but it’s the language in the book that makes everyone laugh. As a child, you don’t get to hear adults say silly ridiculous words like “blurp,” but this book is all about saying the ridiculous. This is also a favorite book for many children and one that will be asked for again and again.

     

    12.13 Sam and Dave Dig a HoleSAM & DAVE DIG A HOLE
    By Mac Barnett
    (2014)

    Best friends Sam and Dave decide one afternoon that they are going to dig a hole all the way to China. They are planning to have lunch in China and then come home for dinner. Children are captivated by this story because who doesn’t enjoy digging a nice big hole? The character that gets the most attention in this story, however, is the dog. Pay close attention to what he is doing as you read this fun story. There are a lot of details in the illustrations that make this a fun book to look at together. 

     
  • dan santat

     

    Dan Santat is coming to the library for Children’s Book Festival on April 28th & 29th!    

    If you’re like me, it’s easy to rattle off a long list of fiction authors. Unfortunately, the names of picture book authors and illustrators are often more elusive. I think the pictures distract me. However, Dan Santat is one name worth remembering.  

    A bit of research uncovered that Santat’s parents originally hoped he’d become a doctor. With this goal in mind, Santat attended the University of California, San Diego where he graduated with a degree in Biology. Fortunately for us, he decided to embrace a different passion. He went on to study illustration at the Art Center College for Design and graduated with honors.  

    Santat is widely known as one of the most hardworking in his field, churning out an incredible number of illustrations yearly. He has revealed on several occasions that one of the factors that helped him work so tirelessly was trying to support a family on an artist’s paycheck. At one point, Santat was offered a position as a google doodler—a dream job. This would have finally given him financial stability, but he also knew it would take all of his time away from illustration. Incredibly, he turned the offer down.  

    Santat’s work ethic pushed him to his emotional, physical, and creative limits. THE ADVENTURES OF BEEKLE was the book that changed everything for him. It is one of the few books that Santat both authored and illustrated, and its tone is a little more simple and sweet than his usual style. In fact, even the main character’s adorable name, Beekle, has an adorable story: it was how his son first learned to say “bicycle.” When Santat heard the Caldecott committee was looking at Beekle, he couldn’t believe it. When the Caldecott medal was officially awarded to him in 2015, he admits that he broke down in tears.  

    We can’t wait to hear from this amazing artist! Here’s just a couple of the titles we have by him that you can check out before his visit:  

    beekle

     

    THE ADVENTURES OF BEEKLE : THE UNIMAGINARY FRIEND
    Written and Illustrated by Dan Santat
    (2014)  

     

     

    sidekicks

     

     

    SIDEKICKS
    Written and Illustrated by Dan Santat
    (2011)    

     

     

    hensel and gretel ninja chicks

     

    HENSEL AND GRETEL, NINJA CHICKS
    Written by Corey Rosen Schwartz, Illustrated by Dan Santat
    (2016)  

     

     

    ricky ricottas mighty robot

     

    RICKY RICOTTA'S MIGHTY ROBOT 
    Written by Dav Pilkey, Illustrated by Dan Santat
    (2014) 

     

     

     

     

  • Kids Meditation 

    After being socially-distanced and cooped up all summer long, mindfulness is more important than ever. If your kids are like mine, the first couple of weeks school let out, being home was a novelty and everyone enjoyed playing games together and getting creative. As time wore on, the squabbles and grumpiness increased as each day passed. With life continuing in a sort of limbo between chaos and normalcy, the stress in our house is almost unbearable. Cue mindfulness practice! Focusing on breathing and regulating emotions can improve the energy in your whole house. If not a total revamp, then at least a few moments of peace and quiet.  

    Here are some books to get your family started on lowering the stress and pent up energy in your home: 

    11.30 Happy A Beginners Book of MindfulnessHAPPY: A BEGINNER’S BOOK OF MINDFULNESS
    By Nicola Edwards
    (2018)

    Young readers are encouraged to explore their emotions and notice the beauty around them through stunning illustrations and powerful rhymes. This poetic journey to a place of happiness and calm will inspire and empower your child to enjoy the practice of mindfulness. 

     

    11.30 I Am PeaceI AM PEACE
    By Susan Verde
    Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
    (2017)

    Susan Verde tells the story of a young boy whose emotions and rushing thoughts start to take over. He takes a deep breath, steadies himself, observes his thoughts, and focuses on feeling thankful and kind to reset himself and be at peace. Peter H. Reynold’s iconic illustrations help bring the message home for the wiggliest of readers. 

     

    11.30 Big BreathBIG BREATH: A GUIDED MEDITATION FOR KIDS
    By William Meyer
    (2019)

    We breathe all day long and don’t even spend a moment to think about it. But what if we did? William Meyer helps kids learn to use their breath to go on adventures without leaving their favorite comfy spot. By the time your kids open their eyes, they will feel calmer and more relaxed. 

     

    11.30 AlphabreathsALPHABREATHS: THE ABCS OF MINDFUL BREATHING
    By Christopher Willard
    (2019) 

    Children can learn their ABCs and basic mindfulness techniques through creative breathing exercises that connect them with nature and remind them to fill their heart with thankfulness. The simple and playful illustrations are a wonderful introduction to the power of breath awareness. 

     
  • mock caldecott 01

    The Provo City Library has a tradition of hosting a Mock Caldecott every January before the Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC) picks the real 2017 Caldecott Award winner. We narrowed down what books we would be talking about to 39 books. Then we looked at the books, had some discussion as to what makes a “distinguished” picture book, and then we voted. It took many, many rounds of voting (and a lot of discussion) but we finally came out with one winner and four honors for our Mock Caldecott.

    2017 Mock Caldecott Winner

    they all saw a cat 1

    THEY ALL SAW A CAT
    by Brendan Wenzel
    (2016)

    This is a clever book. The concept is that a cat goes through the book and different people/animals see the cat—only since each creature has a different perspective the different things see the animals in a different way. For example, a mouse that might be very frightened of a cat sees a fierce creature. The illustrations then show a lot of red and sharp edges (with the exception of the mouse who is rounded and quite afraid of the cat).

    cat mouse

    In contrast when readers turn the page they see the cat from a bee’s perspective which is more of a pointillism style which goes along with the type of eyes a bee would have—except for the bee, which is not depicted in pointillism since the reader is looking at the bee and the bee’s perspective of the cat.

    cat bee

    Like I said, this is a clever book. And hopefully you all can see why our Mock Caldecott committee picked this for our winner.

    2017 Mock Caldecott Honor Books  

    Du Iz TakDU IZ TAK?
    by Carson Ellis
    (2016)

    In this stylized portrayal of the insect world (complete with their own insect language) readers will watch insects discover a plant and what it grows into. With the brilliant use of white space the growth of the plant and dramatic entry of the bird will wow readers as they view this glimpse into a microscopic world. 

     

    Henry and LeoHENRY & LEO
    by Pamela Zagarenski
    (2016)

    Henry loves his stuffed toy lion named Leo. One day Henry and his family go for a walk in the woods and Henry loses Leo. The layered textures of the illustrations show the magical way that Leo finds his way back to Henry despite the family’s lack of belief in how real toys—and best friends—can be.    

     

     

    night gardenerTHE NIGHT GARDENER
    by The Fan Brothers
    (2016)

    A young boy watches a night gardener change the atmosphere of a small town when he creates topiaries overnight. The subtle shift of colors from the beginning to the end of the story heightens the magic and drama of the amazing gardening and this enchanting tale.  

     

     

     

    snow whiteSNOW WHITE
    by Matt Phelan
    (2016)

    This graphic novel is a fairy tale retelling set in 1928 New York City of Snow White. The colors and style of the illustrations add to the ambiance of the setting (and the subtle addition of color(s) heightens the tension of the climax and happiness of the denouement). 

     

     

     

  • Moon Landing

    By now, most people are probably aware that 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing on July 20, 1969. Many moments in history are forgotten or their anniversaries are overhyped. Other moments, like the moon landing, really are a Big Fat Deal – even fifty years later. As we celebrate this lunar anniversary, here are some books all about the moon landings for even the youngest readers. 

    7.22 Rocket to the MoonROCKET TO THE MOON!
    By Don Brown
    (2019) 

    This nonfiction comic book tells the story of the Apollo 11 mission, and not just the story of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. This well-illustrated book is more than an introduction to lunar travel – it takes readers on a journey through the history of rockets and fleshes out the story with less-known details of the famous mission. All of this rolled into a bite-sized graphic novel good for kids or older readers. 

     

    Apollo 8 The Mission That Changed EverythingAPOLLO 8: THE MISSION THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING
    By Martin W. Sandler
    (2018)

    This book is a little different, because it isn’t about Apollo 11 – the mission that resulted in the first lunar landing. Instead, this is the story of Apollo 8 the first manned spacecraft to leave Earth’s orbit and circle the moon. With a good overview of the Cold War and space race, this book gives historical context to the lunar missions that young readers may not know. This book is also filled with full-color photographs including the famous Earthrise. 

     

    7.22 The Far Side of the MoonTHE FAR SIDE OF THE MOON: THE STORY OF APOLLO 11’S THIRD MAN
    By Alexander Irvine
    Illustrated by Ben Bishop
    (2017) 

    Another nonfiction comic book, this very small little number focuses almost entirely on the third member of Apollo 11’s crew – Michael Collins, the one who never set foot on the moon. He doesn’t always get a lot of credit, but this book honors his essential role in the mission; orbiting the moon, keeping the command module functioning, and getting everyone home safely. In a limited palette of black, white, and deep purple we see the details of the moon landing play out with stark reality. 

     

    7.22 Man on the MoonMAN ON THE MOON: HOW A PHOTOGRAPH MADE ANYTHING SEEM POSSIBLE
    By Pamela Dell
    (2011) 

    We might forget, fifty years later, that the world was watching Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin take their first steps on the moon. We might forget that for so long this had seemed completely impossible – it was a moment that changed the world. The photograph of Buzz Aldrin in his spacesuit on the moon was called one of the 100 photographs that changed the world by Time magazine. This book is all about the legacy of that picture and just what it took to get there. A totally unique lens through which to view the past. 

     

    7.22 Reaching for the MoonREACHING FOR THE MOON
    By Buzz Aldrin
    Illustrated by Wendell Minor
    (2005) 

    Written in first person by Buzz Aldrin, this book has a personal touch that few books about the lunar landing can offer. This picture book autobiography is an unusual look at space travel told with lots of personal detail and heart. Illustrations throughout offer new vantages on an iconic moment in history, all culminating with the words left by Aldrin and Armstrong on the moon: 

     

    “Here men from the planet earth
    First set foot upon the moon
    July 1969. A.D.
    We came in peace for all mankind.”

     
  • Little Girls Holding Hands

    It is so important for young readers to see themselves and their experiences represented in the books they read. But it is just as important for children to read about experiences of people who are different from them. Reading diversely can help readers understand different cultures and challenge their own racial biases. 

    Still, no one said that these conversations are easy. In our community, many of us are fortunate that we don’t need to think about how our race affects how people see us. It’s easy to want to keep young children innocent from the uglier realities of the world, but often innocence makes children susceptible to misinformation. If you’re struggling to initiate discussions about racism and hate with your children, know that books and media can help. Books can make difficult conversations feel less threatening and are a good way to naturally bring up issues like race and diversity. Here are our recommendations from Black authors to help facilitate those conversations. 

    10.2 SulweSULWE
    By Lupita Nyong’o
    Illustrated by Vashti Harrison
    (2019) 

    Sulwe, whose name means star, has skin the color of midnight. She has the darkest skin in her family and the darkest skin of anyone in her school. She longs to be light and bright like her sister and mother and does everything she can think of to lighten her skin until her mother, and a magical journey into the midnight sky help her see her own brightness. Academy Award winning actress Lupita Nyong’o handles racism and colorism in a picture book begging to be a bedtime read aloud. This book can help facilitate important conversations about systemic racism and how it affects the self-worth of others. 

     

    10.2 Going Down Home with DaddyGOING DOWN HOME WITH DADDY
    By Kelly Starling Lyons
    Illustrated by Daniel Minter
    (2019) 

    Alan is excited for his family reunion and the chance to see his cousins and great-grandmother, but he’s also hesitant because he knows he’ll have to find a way to contribute to the family celebration. As he spends time with his family and appreciates their property and crops that they own, he realizes that the best tribute he can offer his family is to celebrate their heritage. Gorgeous Caldecott Honor winning illustrations enrich this story about African American history. 

     

    10.2 The Day You BeginTHE DAY YOU BEGIN 
    By Jacqueline Woodson
    Illustrated by Rafael Lopez
    (2018) 

    When a new student, an immigrant from Venezuela, joins Angelina’s class she is keen to show him that he is not the only one who feels like an outsider. Jacqueline Woodson’s poetry reflects the apprehension that kids feel on the first day of school and the joy of a new friendship and is matched by big, bright illustrations filled with flowers and swirling vinery. At the center of the book, Angelina finally sees value in the places she’s visited via books and a rich imagination. This is a great back-to-school book, and a non-didactic message about being kind to classmates who may look or act differently than you. 

     

    10.2 I Am EnoughI AM ENOUGH 
    By Grace Byers
    Illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo
    (2018) 

    The simple text of this self-affirming picture book begs to be read over and over. The message here is clear and straightforward – no matter who you are or what you look like, you are enough. This book focuses on young girls of every color being celebrated just for being themselves – and insists that what makes girls beautiful is how they are different. This book belongs in the hands of all young readers, but it is an especially good conversation starter for talking about racism. 

     

    10.2 Nana AkuaNANA AKUA GOES TO SCHOOL
    By Tricia Elam Walker
    Illustrated by April Harrison
    (2020) 

    Zura loves her grandma, Nana Akua, more than anyone in the whole universe. But she is still not excited to bring her grandmother to school for Grandparents Day. She worries that her classmates or their grandparents might laugh at the marks on Nana Akua’s face – placed there when she was a child to designate her tribal family according to Ghanaian tradition. Nana Akua handles it in stride, explaining to Zura’s classmates the importance of the symbols she wears on her face and inviting the kids and grandparents to choose their own symbols. This wonderfully inclusive book is a bright and heartwarming story of heritage and inclusion. Zura’s diverse classmates are welcoming of Nana Akua’s culture and eager to learn more for themselves – a good model for kids learning to celebrate differences.

     
  • Rodent Picture Books

    My family had an eclectic collection of pets growing up: birds, horses, bunnies, dogs, lizards, cats, you name it. Granted, we didn’t have them all at once, but we did go through many different species. One pet that belonged to my brother was a fat rat. He was loved and well fed. 

    I’ve recently noticed more and more rodent protagonists popping up in children’s literature. This development made me think of my brother as a little boy and how he would have loved more picture books featuring the underrepresented population of rodents. So, this post is dedicated to those rodent loving kids out there. 

    11.11 Im DoneI’M DONE!
    By Gretchen Brandenburg McLellan
    Illustrated by Catherine Lazar Odell
    (2018) 

    Featured Rodent: Beaver

    Little Beaver doesn’t want to build his dam. That’s too much of a chore. He would much rather go out and play with the other animals. Will he ever finish building his dam so that he can play? 

     

    11.11 Cyril and PatCYRIL AND PAT
    By Emily Gravett
    (2018) 

    Featured Rodent(s): Squirrel and Rat

    Cyril is the only squirrel at the park. That is, until Cyril meets Pat! They do everything best friends do. Eat, play games, skateboard, but then Cyril finds out that Pat isn’t a squirrel. Will their friendship survive? 

     

    11.11 Snickerdoodle Takes the CakeSNICKERDOODLE TAKES THE CAKE
    By Ethan Long
    (2017) 

    Featured Rodent: Chinchilla

    When Snickerdoodle wakes up, he’s excited to find a cake on the table. However, there is also a note that says, “Do Not Touch.” Will Snickerdoodle be able to withstand the temptation? Or will he find a way to bend the rules? 

     

    11.11 The Tall Man and the Small MouseTHE TALL MAN AND THE SMALL MOUSE
    By Mara Bergman
    Illustrated by Birgitta Sif 
    (2018) 

    Featured Rodent: Mouse

    Tall Man and the Small Mouse both live in the same tall house. However, Tall Man has never seen Small Mouse and Small Mouse has never seen Tall Man. They go about their separate lives until they unexpectedly meet. Can Tall Man and Small Mouse live together now that they know about each other? 

     

    11.11 SweetySWEETY
    By Andrea Zuill
    (2019) 

    Featured Rodent: Naked Mole Rat

    Sweety is a unique Naked Mole Rat. She likes collecting fungi, interpretive dance, and much more. Others think she’s a little strange, and it can be hard for Sweety to make friends. But a visit from her aunt helps her see that it’s ok to be different.

     
  • Boy Reading

    One of the best things to witness is the learning process. People learn step by step, but before you know it, each step has turned into a mile of progress. Reading is a step by step process too, and a great stepping stone to that learning goal is practicing phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness is manipulating letters and sounds within a word to better hear the individual phonemes. The most common way that you probably see phonemic awareness practiced is in the element of rhyming. Rhyming allows those learning this ability to hear the individual sounds of a word by comparing other words that have the same sounds in part. Here are a couple of great books to check out to practice phonemic awareness. 

    12.14 Edward the EmuEDWARD THE EMU
    Written by Sheena Knowles
    Illustrated by Rod Clement
    (1988) 

    Edward the Emu decides that his life at the zoo is boring, so he decides to become different zoo animals until he finds a more exciting enclosure where he can be happy.  

     

    12.14 The HoneybeeTHE HONEYBEE
    Written by Kristen Hall
    Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
    (2018) 

    In this charming book, explore the life of a honeybee by following it through its daily routine. 

     

    12.14 Bear Cant SleepBEAR CAN’T SLEEP
    Written by Karma Wilson
    Illustrated by Jane Chapman
    (2018) 

    Bear can’t fall asleep for winter, so his friends work together and try different bedtime routines to help Bear get sleepy. 

     

    12.14 Remarkably YouREMARKABLY YOU
    Written by Pat Zietlow Miller
    Illustrated by Patrice Barton
    (2019)

    This inspiring book focuses on the importance of each individual person and what they can contribute to the world. 

     

    12.14 The ScarecrowTHE SCARECROW
    By Beth Ferry
    (2019)

    Scarecrow feels lonely and useless in his field. One day an injured crow steps into Scarecrow’s life and they become the most unlikely friends when Scarecrow decides to takes care of the crow.

     
  • Ghost

    As I was looking up some books, I realized that a lot of picture book titles can be foreboding. Some sounded like they belonged to horror films rather than picture books. With that thought spiraling out of control, I decided to create my own horror film synopses for different children’s book titles. 

    10.7 Bye Bye Baby BrotherBYE-BYE BABY BROTHER!
    By Sheena Dempsey
    (2013) 

    Actual Book: This is a story for children who are about to become older siblings. It addresses the jealousy children may feel when they have to share their parents. 

    Horror Movie Idea: An older sibling decides to oust their new baby brother. Is there a changeling in the midst? Or a demonic spirit? Don’t know. But this title could be truly frightening. 

     

    10.7 Ruby Red ShoesRUBY RED SHOES
    By Kate Knapp
    (2012) 

    Actual Book: This book is about a rabbit named Ruby and her life with her grandmother. They love quilts, buttons, tea and more. This book is a calming and lovely. 

    Horror Movie Idea: Think a twisted Wizard of Oz prequel that explains how the ruby slippers got their color. The Witch of the East loved the blood of her victims (I know. The original slippers were silver, but the movie slippers are so pretty!). 

     

    10.7 Youll Find MeYOU’LL FIND ME
    By Amanda Hill
    (2020) 

    Actual Book: This book is told in rhyme and encourages hope throughout the grieving process. Losing someone can be hard, and this story helps create a space for parent-child conversations on the tough topic. 

    Horror Movie Idea: A girl with a loving boyfriend starts receiving life threatening notes. She and her boyfriend go to the police but they can’t find substantial evidence. She eventually figures out that her boyfriend has dissociative identity disorder and his alternate personality is a serial killer who’s chosen her as the next target.  The nice side of her boyfriend tells her to run away when he finds out the truth. Now the question is, will the crazy half of the boyfriend find her or will her feminine wiles find the hero beneath the monster? 

     

    10.7 Swim Swim SinkSWIM SWIM SINK
    By Jennifer Harney
    (2020) 

    Actual Book: This is a cute book about three ducklings following their mama out for a swim, but then something strange happens. One of the ducklings sink! The little one tries and tries again to swim but it takes a little creativity to keep the duckling afloat. 

    Horror Movie Idea: A family decides to vacation at a rented beach house. A storm comes in and they spend the day indoors. Then they realize the house is flooding and slowly sinking into the ocean. They try to leave, but they’ve been locked in with no way out. The family swims from furniture to rafters as the house sinks deeper into the ocean. Oh, and there’s a creature in the water. 

     

    10.7 Everyone AwakeEVERYONE’S AWAKE
    By Colin Meloy
    (2020) 

    Actual Book: Told in rhyme, this book talks about what happens when everyone stays awake at night. Someone practices their trapeze skills while others do house chores. The whimsical illustrations bring the story together in a delightful way. 

    Horror Movie Idea: No one on earth has been able to fall asleep for 42 days. Anesthesiologists can’t even put their patients to sleep for surgery. Everyone is growing tired, weary, and more irritable. Then people start seeing things and people realize that their childhood nightmares are coming to life.  What are some titles you’d rewrite as horror movies?

     
  • Little Girls Holding Hands

    If you’re wondering whether your child is old enough to talk about diversity, equality, and racism -- they probably are. Little kids are keen observers and will start to notice and point out differences in people they see around them at a younger age than you might think. As a parent, you can encourage your children to recognize and celebrate differences in others and let them know that they can ask you questions. 

    Encouraging children to celebrate diversity can start at home, by choosing books written by Black authors featuring Black characters in lots of different settings. It is important for children to be exposed to a wide range of people, experiences, and cultures, and, while every family will handle this topic in their own way, the earlier families start having conversations about race the better. Here are books to help you do just that. 

    9.23 The UndefeatedTHE UNDEFEATED
    By Kwame Alexander
    Illustrated by Kadir Nelson
    (2019) 

    This powerful picture book is an anthem to the courage, strength and triumph of Black Americans throughout history. This evocative book is a celebration of how far we have come and a reminder of how far we still have left to go. This powerful text is matched with gorgeous illustrations against stark white pages. This book was the recipient of the 2020 Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards as well as a Newbery honoree.   

     

    9.23 Magnificent Homespun BrownMAGNIFICENT HOMESPUN BROWN
    By Samara Cole Doyon
    Illustrated by Kaylani Juanita
    (2020) 

    A celebration of the color brown – in all of its many expressions. Never has the color brown seemed more multi-faceted than to hear it described as feathery, amber, radiant, cozy, and thundering. This book is a celebration of inclusivity with illustrations showing girls with a variety of families, and with all shades of brown skin. This celebratory book is filled with expressive, poetic text well-suited for a quiet lap-time read aloud and is a must read for how it makes ordinary things seem magical. 

     

    9.23 Crown An OdeCROWN: AN ODE TO THE FRESH CUT
    By Derrick Barnes
    Illustrated by Gordon C. James
    (2017) 

    One of the most celebrated books of 2017, this book was a Newbery, Caldecott, and Coretta Scott King honoree for both the text and illustrations. This book portrays a significant moment for a young black boy – visiting the barbershop to have his hair cut. As he sits in his barbershop throne, he is transformed and imbued with self-esteem, self-pride, and all the confidence a fresh cut gives you. For Black boys, this book is an affirmation of their importance. But all readers will benefit from the visual splendor of this triumphant book.

     

    9.23 You MatterYOU MATTER
    By Christian Robinson
    (2020) 

    An affirmation that all people, especially children, should hear but too few do. “You matter” is a quiet reminder and a rallying cry in this new picture book that makes use of bright, colorful, wonderfully inclusive cut-paper illustrations -- characteristic of Christian Robinson’s work. Told from the perspective of lots of different people and creatures, the very simple text shows how humanity is connected now, throughout history, and into the future. This is a book that is both simple and sophisticated and will provide an easy opportunity to talk about race, diversity, and the importance of saying “Black Lives Matter” with your children. 

     

    9.23 Black is a Rainbow ColorBLACK IS A RAINBOW COLOR 
    By Angela Joy
    Illustrated by Ekua Holmes
    (2020) 

    This uplifting book explores what it means to be Black for a child. A young Black girl, realizes that though there is no black in the rainbow, being Black is its own rainbow filled with people with different background and lived experiences.  Like other books on this list, this story is directed to young readers and is a beautiful celebration of Black culture – sharing the poetry, music, and art of Black Americans and acting as an introduction to Black history as well. The incomparable Ekua Holmes uses stained-glass inspired art featuring Black figures with all shades of Black skin to support Angela Joy’s debut book for children. 

     
  •  refugees

    Let’s face it. The world isn’t always a wonderful place. No matter how much you look at it there are just some events that are awful. But how can grownups help little ones understand what is going on without scaring them or shocking them with too much information? Enter these two new picture books that portray refugees fleeing their home countries—yet deal with the events in such a sensitive way that little readers are not too upset after having read the book.

    journeyTHE JOURNEY
    by Francesca Sanna
    (2016)

    This book tells the tale of a family who used to love to spend weekends together at the beach. But then war came and the “war took my father.” Life gets darker. The illustrations get darker (as in more black and dark colors, not in gruesome details). The mother decides to flee with her two children. Thus the title’s “journey” begins.

    At the beginning of their travels the people that are helping the family look very detailed. Then later when the family encounters soldiers or “a man we have never seen” the details are more generic or downright basic (the soldiers all look the same, the “man” is depicted as just a shadow). This gives a sense that the story is building to a crescendo (will they be able to leave and is this story bigger than just this one family?). There is also one picture that melts my heart. At one point the children are being comforted by their mother. Eventually the kids go to sleep and “mother is with us and she is never scared.” However, the illustration of the mother is of her with tears streaming down her face while she holds her sleeping children. The power of the mother’s hopefulness for her children just touches me.

    With a hopeful ending and darkness in color rather than disturbing imagery, this is a powerful story that can help young readers understand what is happening in other parts of the world.

     

    adrift at seaADRIFT AT SEA: A VIETNAMESE BOY’S STORY OF SURVIVAL
    by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch with Tuan Ho
    Art by Brian Deines
    (2016)

    In this biographical story, readers learn about Tuan and his journey out of Vietnam with his mother and two sisters. Tuan’s father and oldest sister had already left Vietnam and had made it safely to Canada. Now Tuan, his mother, and two more sisters start their journey to have a better life (and how heartbreaking that they had to leave the youngest sister because she was too little to travel yet). The family along with an aunt and some cousins sneak away in a truck. Then they must run to a skiff amid a volley of bullets from soldiers in the distance. There is the long period of drifting on a boat and hoping that they will be found and rescued. Finally, there is an American ship that rescues them and helps them survive.

    This is a powerful story about a family’s courage. Topics such as soldiers shooting at them, hunger, and survival are interwoven into the story; however, it is done in such a way that some of the sensitive readers will still be able to handle reading the book. The book also includes photographs and extra information to explain what happened to this real family (and don’t worry—it is a happy conclusion).

    So, if you know children who are concerned about what is happening around the world, these are two excellent books that can help start a conversation about what is going on. These books don’t explain everything that is going on and they don’t touch on the humanitarian horrors that are happening. But it is a good starting place to open a conversation and help a child understand the importance of some journeys. And with a little touch of hope at the end, the stories also remind us that there still is good in the world—even amidst some of the darkness. 

  •  Mock combined

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

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

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

     

    2.12 Grand CanyonMock Caldecott Honor: GRAND CANYON
    By Jason Chin 

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

     
  • mock caldecott 01 

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

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

    Winner:

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

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

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

    Yeah, we really liked this book. 

     

    Honor Books (in alphabetical order by title):

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

     
  •  Reading Together Final

    The Provo City Library is excited to announce our new collection of Read Along Books! Each Read Along Book comes with an attached audio player—that way young listeners can hear the audio recording of the book, complete with page turn signals, as they read. We were so excited about our new collection that we wanted to show you what Read Alongs are, where they are located in the library, and how you can find them in our catalog.

    WHAT READ ALONGS LOOK LIKE

    Be aware that some of the book covers for these Read Alongs may look different from what you are used to with regular library books. For example, the dust jacket (that paper that covers the hard bit of the book) for COME HOME ALREADY looks like this:

    10.16 Come Home Already Regular Cover

     

    While GIRAFFES CAN'T DANCE looks like this:

    10.16 Giraffes Cant Dance

     
     

    The Read Alongs look a little bit different, like this:

    10.16 Come Home Already Vox Cover

     

    or this:

    10.16 Giraffes Cant Dance Wonder Cover

     
     

    This is different from the regular book covers in that they have either this Vox Books sticker:

    10.16 Vox Sticker

     

    Or a Wonder Book sticker:

    Wonderbook Sticker

     
     

    HOW THEY WORK

    Vox Books and Wonder Books are two different companies that create Read Along books. Just like there are different book publishers for regular books, there are different publishers for Read Along books.

    The Vox Books player that produces the audio for the book looks like this:

    10.16 Inside a Vox Book

    On the side of the Vox player is where you can turn on the device.

    10.16 Side of a Vox Book

    You can press play on the top part of a Vox Book here:

    10.16 Vox Press Play

     
     

    The Wonder Books are similar; here is what a Wonder Books device looks like:

     10.16 Wonder Device

    Here is  the power button for a Wonder Book:

    10.16 Wonder Power Button

    And this is where you would press “play” for a Wonder Book:

    10.16 Wonder Press Play

     
     

    WHERE TO FIND THEM

    These fabulous Read Alongs are located in the Children’s Department on our Audio/Visual shelves.

    10.16 Read Along Shelf Sign

    just above the hanging book/cd collection.

    10.16 Read Along Shelf

     
     

    HOW TO FIND PICTURE BOOK READ ALONGS IN THE CATALOG

    As you can see, there aren’t that many books on the shelf right now—most of them are all checked out! So, you can find out which read alongs are available in the library catalog by:

    1. Pulling up the library’s website.

    2. Looking in the upper right hand corner of our website to find the catalog search box. Then type “jrp” (which stands for “Juvenile Read Along Picture Books”) and hit enter.

    10.16 Enter JRP in catalog

    3. Once you hit enter, a search results page will open. Scroll down. On the left hand side there is a string of ways to “Limit Search Results”. The very last (on the bottom) of these is the way you can limit by “collection”. Check the box that is by the “JRP” as a collection type.

    10.16 Collection JRP

    4. Press the “Include” button.

    10.16 Collection JRP Include

     
     

    HOW TO FIND EASY READER READ ALONGS IN THE CATALOG

    The second type of Read Alongs that we have are the Juvenile Read Along Easy Readers, like DINOTRUX GO TO SCHOOL.

    10.16 Dinotrux Easy Reader Wonderbook Cover

     

    To find these in the catalog you would do the exact same thing that I described above, only you would:

    1. Enter “jre” in the catalog search box (instead of “jrp”).

    10.16 Enter JRE in Catalog

    2. Down at the bottom of the “Limit Search Results” boxes you would find the limit by “collection” box and check the box by “JRE” as a collection type.

    10.16 Collection JRE

    3. Then press the “Include” button.

    10.16 Collection JRE Include

     
     

    There is a limit of three Read Alongs that can be checked out on a library card at any given time. So just remember that if you have multiple holds come in all at once you are still limited to only checking out three Read Alongs at a time. Like other library materials, this collection can be checked out for three weeks.

    There you go. Hopefully, now you know more about the brand new Read Along collection, a little bit about how they work, and how to find them in the library and in the catalog. We hope you enjoy this fun new way of interacting with books!

    Forgive me for such a long blog post! I just want to make sure I give you all the information about this fun new collection! If you still have questions after this lengthy post, please feel free to talk to a Children’s Librarian about the Read Alongs.

  •  lemony snicket

    Everybody knows Lemony Snicket, the pen name of author Daniel Handler, but few people can name any of his books outside of A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS. I was certainly in this boat until a few months ago when I came across his ALL THE WRONG QUESTIONS series when finding another book for a patron. Intrigued, I did a quick google search and was surprised at how many titles he’s written beyond his most famous series. I was especially delighted to find that the library owns a handful of his picture books.  

    That day I quickly checked out the following three picture books and discovered that the Lemony Snicket wit is perfectly suited to such a short, fun format.  

    The DarkTHE DARK 
    by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Jon Klassen
    (2013)   

    Are you afraid of the dark? Laszlo is; but unfortunately, the dark lives in his big, creaky old house with him. Sometimes it hides in the closet or behind the shower curtain. But mostly the dark stays in the basement where it belongs. One night, however, the lightbulb on Laszlo’s nightlight burns out and the dark comes to visit his bedroom. Fortunately, the dark is very helpful when it comes to finding a replacement bulb.   The way the dark is imagined in this book is so clever! It’s a fun way to think about this “dark” that children are often so afraid of.  


    13 Words13 WORDS  
    by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Maira Kalman
    (2010)   

    Admittedly this book is a little off the wall. But kids will laugh at the funny situations and adults can appreciate the absurdity. I think it’s great. At first glance it seems as if Snicket has created a picture book to help children learn new words and place them inside sentences, a common children’s book theme. However, the words he chooses, such as haberdashery and goat, create a chaotic tale that just makes me laugh every time. Kalman’s illustrations are bright and fun and a perfect addition to the meandering text.  


    The Composer is DeadTHE COMPOSER IS DEAD 
    by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Carson Ellis 
    music by Nathaniel Stookey and the San Francisco Symphony
    (2008)

    This is one of my FAVORITE picture books. Although I’ll admit that it doesn’t hurt that I’m a bit of a band/orchestra nerd. This book has an accompanying CD with a narration by Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler) himself. The voice performance is awesome and is accompanied (literally) by some orchestral music that is pretty crucial to loving this story.  

    The book opens with a dead Bach-esque composer who is “De-composing.” The very handsome and intelligent inspector must question each section in the orchestra to determine who did it and chaos ensues. I think it’s a wonderful way to teach children a little about orchestral music while having a great time.  

     

  • wordless picture books 1

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

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

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

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

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

    3.15 BluebirdBLUEBIRD
    By Bob Stakke
    (2013)

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

     

    3.15 The SnowmanTHE SNOWMAN
    By Raymond Briggs
    (1978)

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

     

    3.15 JourneyJOURNEY
    By Aaron Becker
    (2013)

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

     
  • Dog

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

    5.29 StormySTORMY
    By Guojing
    (2019) 

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

     

    5.29 TrumanTRUMAN
    By Jean Reidy
    (2019) 

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

     

    5.29 Wildwood DancingWILDWOOD DANCING
    By Juliet Marillier
    (2007) 

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

     

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

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

     

    5.29 Pom Pom AnimalsPOM POM ANIMALS
    By Trikotri
    (2018) 

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

     
  • curved shelves

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

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

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

     

     

     

     

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

     

     

     

     

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

     

     

     

     

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

     

     

     

     

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