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Pam: January 2010 Archives


Thursday Three: Notable Picture Books

Posted by Pam on January 28, 2010 at 1:07 PM in Picture BooksRecommendations
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Last Thursday I listed some of the American LIbrary Association's Youth Media Awards, and highlighted three winning books from among the Coretta Scott King, Schneider, and Pura Belpré awards. I had fully intended to go back to the other honors given at ALA, but was stopped by the appearance of one of my favorite things and its name is the 2010 Notable Children's Books List.

Each year a committee of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) identifies the best of the best in children's books. The list also includes the current year's Newbery, Caldecott,  Belpré, Sibert, Geisel, and Batchelder Award and Honor books. Now Notable Children's Books that have also received other ALA awards, such as the  Coretta Scott King Award, Michael L. Printz Award, Alex Award, and Schneider Family Book Award, are  noted as well. I hope that next year that they will include the age-appropriate winners of those categories, regardless of whether they were already chosen as Notable Books.

As a parent, this is the ultimate list to take to your library throughout the year to expand your exposure to different styles, genres, and cultures. I've talked about some of the books listed already in my other posts, but today I'll put the focus on three picture books that made the Notables list and that were also nominated for the Cybils Fiction Picture Book awards.

by Linda Newbery, illustrated by Catherine Rayner
PosyPosy is a most delightful kitten who tangles yarn, swipes crayons, and cuddles mommy. The abstract style may surprise those looking for a standard, sweet watercolor, but offers so much more in the artistic interpretation. The illustrations are amazing with a sense of texture and movement that springs from the page. The slight, rhyming text is geared to the youngest readers and the gentle story of exploration will bring them back again and again.

Waiting for WinterWaiting for Winter
by Sebastian Meschenmoser
Hearing about this wondrous thing called snow, a squirrel is determined to wait it out to see the first sign of the cold, white, soft stuff. As he involves Hedgehog and Bear in his wait, they each suspect things that are most definitely not snow, but that will make readers giggle. Of course, in the end the real snow falls in all its cold, white, soft beauty. Lovely pencil illustrations give interest and humor to the story.

My PeopleMy People
by Langston Hughes, photography Charles R. Smith Jr.
Langston Hughes' 1923 classic poem provides the muse for a photographic tribute of African Americans through different stages of life, shades of color, and state of being. The short poem is portioned out a bit at a time, allowing each word and each picture the space to resonate. Quiet, joyful, and ultimately moving.

Links to books in this post are affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which the site may receive a referral fee.


Thursday Three: Awards

Posted by Pam on January 21, 2010 at 10:05 AM in Awards
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On Monday, January 18th the American Library Association Youth Media Awards were announced. I had made some predictions on the Newbery and Caldecott Medals and NAILED IT! The books I covered did get a shiny gold or silver sticker, and some additional books were named.

For the Newbery Medal, I predicted the winner, When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead and two honor titles, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin and The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, by Jacqueline Kelly. Two additional honor titles were chosen: Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice, by Phillip Hoose and The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg, by Rodman Philbrick.

For the Caldecott Medal, I picked that the winner would be The Lion & the Mouse, by Jerry Pinkney and also suggested an honor title, All the World, written by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee. One additional honor title was named: Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors, written by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski

Not bad. Many other awards are given, which include the Coretta Scott King, Schneider, and Pura Belpré. Here are the winners of those awards, and I've selected one from each to share more fully.

Coretta Scott King Book Award

Recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults

Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award:
Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal, by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

CSK Author Honor Book:
Mare’s WarMare’s War, by Tanita S. Davis

Forced on a cross-country road trip with their eccentric grandmother, teen sisters Octavia and Tali discover more about their family history through a series of recollections of Mare's time in the Women's Army Corp. Along the journey, the teens develop a better understanding of their grandmother and themselves. A wonderful, engaging book, the positive and strong characters earned the author a nomination for a NAACP image award.

Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award:
My People, illustrated by Charles R. Smith Jr., written by Langston Hughes

CSK Illustrator Honor Book:
The Negro Speaks of Rivers, illustrated by E. B. Lewis, written by Langston Hughes

Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award:
The Rock and the River, by Kekla Magoon

Schneider Family Book Award
Honoring books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience

Picture Book:
Django, written and illustrated by Bonnie Christensen

Anything but TypicalAnything but Typical, by Nora Raleigh Baskin
Jason is a sixth-grade boy, who loves creative writing, and has been diagnosed with autism. He is comfortable in his online world, where he can shape his words of fiction and interaction. He is less comfortable among people, where he needs to turn to his lessons on social expectations and body language to interpret the world around him. When the two worlds are scheduled to mix, Jason faces a true conflict of interest and self. An interesting and well-written book, it slipped under the radar in children's literature - probably due to the attention given to the Young Adult book that focused on a character with Asperger's syndrome and its title is...

Young Adult:
Marcelo in the Real World, by Francisco X. Stork

Pura Belpré Award
Honoring a Latino writer and illustrator whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience

Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Award:
Book Fiesta!: Celebrate Children’s Day/Book Day; Celebremos El día de los niños/El día de los librosBook Fiesta!: Celebrate Children’s Day/Book Day; Celebremos El día de los niños/El día de los libros, illustrated by Rafael López, written by Pat Mora
It's Children's Day and Book Day and the kids are celebrating by reading their favorite books anywhere and everywhere. The bright lively pictures and joyful, bilingual text are engaging. The festive feeling is infectious. A fun picture book to extol books and reading as a cause of celebration.

Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor Books: Gracias Thanks, illustrated by John Parra, written by Pat Mora; My Abuelita, illustrated by Yuyi Morales, written by Tony Johnston and Diego: Bigger Than Life, illustrated by David Diaz, written by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand

Pura Belpré (Author) Award:
Return to Sender, written by Julia Alvarez

Pura Belpré Author Honor Books:
Diego: Bigger Than Life, written by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, illustrated by David Diaz; and Federico García Lorca, written by Georgina Lázaro, illustrated by Enrique S. Moreiro

Links to books in this post are affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which the site may receive a referral fee.


Thursday Three: Newbery Contenders

Posted by Pam on January 14, 2010 at 3:31 PM in Middle Grade BooksRecommendations
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Last week I shared three of the Cybils Fiction Picture Book finalists that I believe have a strong chance to win a Caldecott medal. So this week I could complete the list of Cybils finalists, or I can make my best guesses for the Newbery.

Following Susan's wonderful breakdown of the awards, and in the interest of putting you ahead of the library crowd in getting to read them, I'm guessing that one or more of these three books will make the list.

When You Reach Me
by Rebecca Stead
When You Reach MeMiranda is comfortable with her friends, family, and generally her New York City life. But it feels as if things start to shift when her best friend Sal pulls away from her. Left adrift in sixth grade, she meets new people and tries new things - but is most intrigued by the strange notes appearing for her eyes only. The story is clever, layered, interesting, and intelligent. The buzz is big, the hype is high, and the love is loyal for this title. I won't be surprised to see it somewhere on the list, and maybe even as the winner.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
by Grace Lin
Where the Mountain Meets the MoonSeeped in her father's fairy tales and pushed by her mother's sighs, Minli leaves home to search for the Old Man of the Moon to change her family's fortune. Along the way her kindness makes her many friends, who turn out to provide the help she needs. Incorporating Asian fairy tales with her own adventure, this is a beautiful book of love, friendship, and gratitude. The full color panel illustrations throughout add to the astonishing beauty of the book. And just look at the cover! Lots of people are hoping for a Newbery for the delightful book and author too, but it may be too light and happy for another award that tends towards death and calamity.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
Jacqueline Kelly
The Evolution of Calpurnia TateThe hardest thing about this book is making the one sentence description sound gripping. It's the story of a girl in 1899 who discovers the world of science under the tutorage of her grandfather. Calpurnia Tate is the youngest of a bunch of brothers, and can sometimes get lost in the shuffle to spend time at the creek looking at plant specimens or holed up in Grandfather's lab, testing the fermentation of pecans to wine. But for all this exposure to science, she's still growing into a woman at the turn of century and wonders when she'll have to put away her magnifying glass for a mop. Wonderful historical fiction that doesn't focus on death, dismemberment, or abject poverty - which is why it may not be taken seriously enough to win the Newbery.

The wonderful children's librarian, and former Newbery committee member has her predictions at School Library Journal with the discussion continuing in the comments. The results will be announced on by American Library Association on Monday.

Links to books in this post are affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which the site may receive a referral fee.


Thursday Three: Cybil Finalists

Posted by Pam on January 7, 2010 at 12:38 PM in Picture BooksRecommendations
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For the past few months, I've been working as a Cybils panelist to find the best picture books that combine literary value with a kid-friendly appeal. On January 1, 2010 Fiction Picture Book finalists were revealed - along with the finalists from all of the Cybils categories. Taking off on Susan's post on the upcoming Caldecott awards, I'm starting my focus on all of the Cybils winners with the ones more likely - in my opinion - also bring home Caldecott silver or gold.

The Lion & the Mouse
by Jerry Pinkney
The Lion & the MouseGorgeous. Jerry Pinkney has to win the Caldecott for this stunning book. Has to. The wordless book - unless you count the owl sounds and mouse squeaks - allows the reader to fill in the Aesop's fable of the mighty lion who releases a mouse, to find that the tiny creature comes back another day to save him. But by making the story wordless, it removes the arrogance of the lion and the meekness of the mouse, allowing a greater depth of interpretation. This spectacular book breathes new life to an old tale. And I must mention again, gorgeous.

All the World
by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee
All the WorldThe Lion & the Mouse is likely to find company on the Caldecott list with this enchanting book. The poetic text is simple, taking a multicultural family through a day that focuses on their connection with each other, with friends and neighbors, and the world around them. The sentiment is lovely and is made more so by the detailed illustrations and breathtaking panoramas. This title encourages repeat readings to expand on the stories contained in the pictures, and the beauty contained in the message.

The Curious Garden
by Peter Brown
The Curious GardenDon't rule out this title for the Caldecott list, with it's amazing artwork that takes a dark, smoggy urban area to a green, bright lushness. In the story, Liam discovers a little bit of greenery in a gray, bleak city and decides to care for it. He nurtures the struggling plants into a thriving, growing garden which creeps into the city and transforms the buildings and people. If the book is about the value of nature and the environment, it is also about the possibilities in each of us to affect change for the better.

Links to books in this post are affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which the site may receive a referral fee.

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