Monday, January 28, 2013

American Library Association Youth Media Awards

As you can see from the posts below, today, Jan 28, 2013 the American Library Association gave out the Newbery, Caldecott and Geisel awards. There were many other medals awarded today, including the Coretta Scott King, Michael Printz and YALSA Award for Excellence in Non-Fiction for Young Adults.  One award close to my heart was the Odyssey award for “best audio book produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States” is The Fault In Our Stars by John Green narrated by Kate Rudd. I wrote a review of this book for a blog that reviews young adult novels. The complete list of the ALA awards today can be found here

2013 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award

The American Library Association gives the Theodore Seuss Geisel Award for the “most distinguished beginning reader book”. This year’s winner  is Up, Tall and High! by Ethan Long.

Up, Tall and High   Geisel medal

The Honor books were Let’s Go for a Drive! and Elephant and Piggie book by Mo Willems, Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin, created and illustrated by James Dean and Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover by Cece Bell.

Let's go for a Drive Pete the Cat and his Four groovey buttons

rabbit and Robot The sleepover

I’ll be reviewing these books as I track them down and will add library links to the reviews.

2013 Newbery Medal and Honor Awards

The American Library Association awarded the 2013 Newbery Medal  for “the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children” to The One And Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. I am delighted by this choice because it is accessible to younger elementary students as well as being compelling enough for middle grade students. Three cheers!

The One and Only Ivan Newbery Medal

The Honor winners are Splendors and Glooms By Laura Amy Schlitz, Bomb: The Race to Build - and Steal - the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin and Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage.

Splendors and Glooms Bomb the race

Three Times Lucky 

The blog’s review of The One And Only Ivan can be found here. Three Times Lucky, Splendors and Glooms and Bomb: The Race to Build - and Steal - the World's Most Dangerous Weapon are all available at the Sonoma County Library .

2013 Caldecott Medal and Honor Awards

This morning, in Seattle, The American Library Association announced its 2013 youth media award winners. The 2013 Caldecott Medal winner for “the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children”  is This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen. Last year he won a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor award for I Want My Hat Back.

This is not my hat Caldecott medal

This is Jon Klassen’s year because Extra Yarn, a book he illustrated was given a Caldecott Honor. The author is Mac Barnett.

Extra Yarn  The other Caldecott Honor winners are Creepy Carrots written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown; Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger;  One Cool Friend written by  Toni Buzzeo and illustrated by David Small and Sleep Like A Tiger by Mary Logue and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski.

CreepyCarrots1 Green

One Cool Friend

Sleep Like A Tiger

Extra Yarn is the only book reviewed on this blog. As I gather the medal and honor books, I’ll be posting reviews and checking the libraries for availability. Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Picky Readers

Melissa Taylor has a post up on Imagination Soup with some ideas to motivate picky readers. She has struggled with this issue with her own daughters, so she speaks from experience. At the end of the post, she links to bloggers who have reviewed a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction books for kids from pre-school to middle grades.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What to Do on a Rainy Saturday

It is supposed to rain on Saturday. Lucky for us the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County has an event planned at The Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. The official announcement is below.


2030 logo

E V E N T   A N N O U N C E M E N T

Join the

Children's Museum of Sonoma County's

at the

I Learn Fair

Saturday, J

January 26th 


Wells Fargo Center for the Arts

Celebrate what interests, inspires and engages! Discover
local creative opportunities, resources, and ideas that
ignite a new passion for learning and success! Get
answers to your questions from local experts!

FREE Admission and fun for the whole family! 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Influence of Books on the Young Life of a Supreme Court Justice

Nina Totenberg interviewed Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor, about the role books played in her life. She grew up in the projects but traveled to other places and to other worlds between the pages of a book. You can listen to the interview here.

Extra Yarn

What prompted me to pick up this book was the news that a friend who loves to knit was having her first grandchild. Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen is about kindness and generosity, as well as about knitting and dare I say it on this cold morning, warmth.

Annabelle lives in a town where everything   is cold and white or covered in black soot. One day she discovers a box filled with colored yarn, so she decides to knit herself a sweater. When she is done, she has extra yarn, so she knits her dog a sweater. Her friend, Nate tells her they look ridiculous. She has extra yarn, so she knits Nate and his dog a sweater too. Her teacher, Mr. Norman, tells her her sweater is a distraction, so because she has extra yarn, she knits a sweater for everyone in class and Mr. Norman, too. Annabelle still has extra yarn, so she knits sweaters for everyone in town except for Mr. Crabtree, who can stand outside in shorts in the snow up to his knees. So she knits him a hat. Then, because she still has extra yarn, she knits sweaters for all the birds and woodland animals (if you read Jon Klassen’s I Want My Hat Back you may recognize some of the animals). Annabelle still had yarn left so she knitted sweaters for houses (boy, did this sound good this morning), pick up trucks and even trees. Annabelle and her box of endless yarn became famous and she became a tourist attraction. An archduke, from a far off country heard about the box that never ran out of yarn and decided he wanted it. He came to visit and offered Annabelle one million dollars, she declined. He offered her two million dollars, then ten million but she again said no. So the archduke hired three men to break into her house at night and steal the box. Back home, the archduke opens the box and it is empty. He throws the box out of the window and places his family curse on Annabelle “You will never be happy again”. But it turns out she was.

Extra Yarn The Sonoma County Library has several copies.

Friday, January 18, 2013

That Book Sounds Familiar

This afternoon, I stumbled across a blog called theroommom. What attracted me was a post titled “That Book Sounds Familiar”. It pairs classics like Charlotte's Web with new books like The One and Only Ivan. You can read the post here. As a rabid Nancy Drew fan back in the olden days, I am excited to check out The Red Blazer Girls by Michael D. Beil to see how it stacks up. When I do, I’ll be sure to let you know how I liked it.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Electronic Gadget Parodies

Many parents and kids got some kind of electronic gadget during the holidays. This family has at least one of each of the most popular ones. So, now is a good time to look at a couple of  picture books that poke fun at our growing reliance on our iPads, Androids, Nooks, laptops  and all the rest. 

Goodnight iPad by Ann Droyd is one of a growing number of parodies of the classic book, Goodnight Moon. The book opens with almost everyone in the household, watching, listening, texting or talking on an iPad, a huge wifi HDTV, 3 little Nooks with ten thousand books, mp3 player or Blackberry. The bings, bongs and beeps of e-mails and tweets are keeping awake one fed up  one old woman is trying to sleep. She starts rounding up and turning off all the gadgets, and we say “Good Night” to each one and finally everything is quiet and everyone is asleep.Goodnight iPad

The Sonoma County Library has several copies of this book.

Press Here by Herve Tullet  takes a completely different approach. The artwork is simple, just colored dots. On the first page is one yellow dot. The text says “Press here and turn the page”. Viola! There are two yellow dots! Each page has an instruction and tells you to turn the page. You rub, tap, shake, tilt, blow and you clap your hands to make amazing things happen on the next page. Last summer, I was sitting with a soon to be first grader as he read this book. He really got it! He was thoroughly delighted.

Press Here

Just a note: Viola  is a lovely French word that means see. It is pronounced vwa-lah not wah-lah. This is French, not German.

The Sonoma County Library has many copies of this book.

Accelerated Reader-Help or Hindrance?

Valarie Budayr has started a conversation about the benefits and the downside of the Accelerated Reading (AR) program on her website Jump Into a Book. Read the article and put in your two cents.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Happy Birthday Edgar Allen Poe

In honor of the 204th birthday of Edgar Allen Poe, the Salt Lake County Library Services’ provides the pun of the day

Happy Birthday, Edgar Allen Poe For the Queen impaired, a word play on ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.

Hat Tip: Reading is Fundamental

Dav Pilkey Interview

Well, never say never! Captain Underpants books are something I never thought I’d write about on this blog until I heard a radio interview with the author and a librarian this morning. It turns out that Dav Pilkey was a struggling  reader when he was a kid. As an adult, he wanted to write books that even kids like him would read. You can listen to the interview here.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Two Authors Who Sum Up My Ideas About Children’s Books

From the Tumblr blog of Amanda Patterson via Imagination Soup is a quote from John le Carre: “The cat sat on the mat” is not the beginning of a story. “The cat sat on the dog’s mat” is.

This should ring a bell for tutors using the PALS program!

And from the What Kids Are Reading blog a C.S. Lewis quote: “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest”.

Abe Lincoln’s Dream

Just in time to coincide with the movie “Lincoln” is a book by Lane Smith called Abe Lincoln’s Dream. Several times before momentous events , Abe Lincoln had a dream where he had seen himself “In an indescribable vessel moving rapidly toward an indistinct shore”. The last time he had this dream was the night before he was assassinated.

The story starts with several White House dogs who refused to enter the Lincoln Bedroom. Many people thought it was haunted. A young girl, named Quincy, gets separated from her school tour group and comes upon a tall man in a stovepipe hat standing over the Gettysburg Address. Just to interject a fact into this story, on the White House Tour, you don’t go anywhere near the Lincoln Bedroom. The tour is confined to the first floor of the Executive Mansion. Now back to the story. Quincy asks the man if he is lost, but he said, “No” as he walked through a wall. This is where the author inserts the first corny joke (actually a pun) about ghosts and fibs. Quincy tells him that his joke is very silly. Then Lincoln tells her about his troubling dream. Quincy keeps up with him as he paces the floor, taking four steps to his one. He asks her “Do you know how LONG a man’s legs should be? “No’ she replies. “Long enough to reach the floor”. He is still restless and worried about the country. She suggests he go out of the Executive Mansion to see what has changed since 1865. He did the flying and she answered his questions as they toured the country and even took a flight to the moon to see the American Flag planted there. When they returned, Lincoln took her back to her tour group and this time she had a knock-knock joke for him. Lincoln thought it was a silly joke.  That night Quincy had a dream about a tall man in a black hat on a boat moving towards the sun with a smile on his face.


Abe Lincoln's Dream

The Sonoma County Library has several copies. We have looked at a  2011 Caldecott Honor book from Lane Smith called Grandpa Green and a book by Judith Viorst that he illustrated, Lulu and the Brontosaurus.You can listen to an October interview with the author here

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Win a Visit to Your School by Jan Brett

How would you like children’s book author, Jan Brett,  to come to your school next year? The third annual win a visit to your school or library by Jan Brett Facebook Contest has started. It ends April 8, 2013. Is is simple to enter. Go to Jan Brett's Contest page, click like. A form will pop up. It asks for your first name, your e-mail address, the name of your school or library, the city, state and zipcode. That’s it. I entered this contest last year and had maybe a half dozen posts from Jan Brett  since. One entry per person. The 2nd to 10th place prize is 10 Jan Brett books and the 11th to 100th prize is a signed Jan Brett poster.

Jan’s visit would be sometime in the 2013-2014 school year.


Jan’s website has games, videos, coloring pages and cards. You can also find out about her books and find out how she writes and illustrates her books by reading her blog. Her next book is called Cinders, A Chicken Cinderella.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

BOB Books

BOB Books, sets  of  beginning phonics based readers, are helpful for developing reading skills. The first five books build skills, each set of books building on the skills learned in the previous set. A set contains 8-10 readers and/or activity books. They follow pretty closely the skills being taught in the California Treasures reading program in the first grade.  The stories are not great literature but they can provide the just right books a beginning reader needs.

BOB Books Set 1 BOB Advanced Beginners

BOB Word Families  BOB Compound Words

 BOB Long Vowels

The  Sonoma County Library has sets of the BOB Books. Costco carries them and they are available through Scholastic. For more information about the books and how to use them go to the BOB Books' website.