Monday, January 23, 2017

2017 Newbery Medal and Honors

The American Library Association awarded the 2017 Newbery Medal  for “the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children” to The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.

Honors were awarded to

Freedom Over Me, Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life words and pictures by Ashley Bryan

The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Dog words by Adam Gitwitz and illustrated by Hatem Aly

I am in the middle of this book right now. Despite being set in 1242 AD in France, it is a book for our times. And it obeys the first rule of dog characters in children's books: the dog is the smartest one!

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

This was one of my two favorite middle grade books from last year. Another story for our times set in Pennsylvania in the early 1940's.

2017 Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal and Honors

The American Library Association gives the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the “most distinguished beginning reader book” We Are Growing : A Mo Willems' Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! Book written by Laurie Keller.

You can read my review here.

The Honor books are:

Good Night Owl written and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli. Three years ago Greg Pizzoli won the Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal for The Watermelon Seed a book that has delighted many of my students.

Oops, Pounce, Quick, Run! An Alphabet Caper words and pictures by Mike Twohy

Go Otto Go! written and illustrated by David Milgrim

The Infamous Ratsos words by Kara LaReau and pictures by Matt Myers

2017 Caldecott Medal and Honors

Each year the Caldecott Award is given to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. This morning the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of  the American Library Association, awarded the 2017 Caldecott Medal to Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat written and illustrated by Javanka Steptoe.

The Honor books are:

Leave Me Alone illustrated and written by Vera Brosgol


Freedom in Congo Square illustrated by R. Gregory Christie and written by Carole Boston Weatherford

Do Iz Tak? illustrated and written by Carson Ellis

They All Saw A Cat illustrated and written by Brendan Wenzel 

You can read my review here. This book is genius, the Honor is well deserved.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Fly Guy Presents Castles

Buzz and Fly Guy go on a field trip to learn about castles in Fly Guy Presents Castles by Tedd Arnold. Buzz and Fly Guy learn about when, where and why castles were built. They see moats and drawbridges, parapets and gatehouses and watchtowers and keeps. Weapons used to lay siege to a castle include a ballista, a battering ram and a trebuchet. The latter flung heavy stones, beehives and animal poop over castle walls. I believe this is the first time "poop" and in Fly Guy's case "poopz' have made an appearance in any Fly Guy book. This will cause some giggles, I am sure. Another first is Fly Guy speaks an entire sentence completely devoid of 'z's.

A brief history of castles includes a timeline and a discussion of the Middle Ages. There are pictures of castles from France (the birthplace of castles), Spain, Britain, Ireland, Germany, Romania, Prague, Japan, Russia, India and even New York City. Lots of information about who lived in the castles, including the Lord and Lady, Knights, Jesters, Gardeners, Blacksmiths, Tailors, Kitchen Workers and pets. 

The topic was picked and voted upon by Fly Guy readers. This should appeal to kids who like fairy tales, princess books and adventure stories. This book was published on Jan 6th. Neither the Sonoma County Library nor Accelerated Reader have it listed. Most of the Fly Guy Presents books have an AR around 3.2-3.7. 

Up next is a Tedd Arnold bonus book, Vincent Paints His House. Full disclosure:  have loved Vincent Van Gogh almost my entire life. In High School, I did a self-portrait in his painting style, spent two weeks in August many years later visiting places he lived in France including the sanitarium in Saint-Remy, ate lunch at The Little Yellow House in Arles and spent a day at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam viewing his paintings in chronological order. When I found this book, I had to buy it.

The story is simple, Vincent wants to paint his house. He thinks white might be nice. The next page shows four tubes of white paint: Snow, Ivory, Titanium and Cream. A spider says, "Stop! This is MY house and I like red". The next page has four tubes of red paint, each a different shade of red. And so it goes as a caterpillar, beetle, bird, butterfly, snake, mouse and bat state their preferences. Vincent decides to use all the colors and the last page has the multi-colored house in front of the Starry Night sky. 

This is a very accessible book for a beginning reader because there is so much repetition, picture clues, an easy to read font and lots of white space. The AR is 1.1. The Sonoma County Library has four copies.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Reading Aloud

I was having a conversation just this morning with a parent about this: