ALA Recap (a bit behind schedule)

I’m back from a lovely extended visit to the Gulf Coast, first to ALA Annual in New Orleans then some vacation time in the Florida Panhandle! Amazing and rejuvenating all the way around.

NOLA sign

I promised a quick recap when I returned, so here are some of the highlights:

The Opening Session with Michelle Obama was awesome! She was warm, funny, and inspired a great conversation about work/life balance and the importance of building a supportive community for yourself. Excited for her upcoming memoir Becoming (Penguin, 2018) to hit stores in November.michelle-obama.jpg

 

jason reynolds

I was this close (HA!) to Jason Reynolds.

Had an amazing morning at the Coretta Scott King book awards breakfast. The award and honor book winners were as eloquent as expected, but surprised me with their humility and respect for their readers. I was also fortunate to find myself at a table full of smart and resourceful women who reminded me why I love librarians so much!

emilio estevez

 

I was convinced (without much arm-twisting) to abandon my plans for a couple hours to attend a screening of The Public (which will come out this fall) and a Q & A with the movie’s writer/director/star Emilio Estevez and Ryan Dowd, author of The Librarian’s Guide to Homelessness (ALA, 2018). The movie was both heartwarming and heartbreaking– I highly recommend!

brangwain spurge

Was so lucky to be invited to lunch with M.T Anderson and Eugene Yelchin to discuss their new book The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge (Candlewick, 2018). Eugene and Tobin were smart and charming, and lunch was delicious— I couldn’t ask for more! The book is next up on my to-be-read list and with its elfin historian and goblin archivist promises to be as delightful as lunch!

And no New Orleans recap would be complete without a restaurant recommendation, so if you find yourself near the NOLA convention center, might I suggest:milkshake

  • Cochon Butcher—The roast beef sandwich was perfect and marinated brussels sprouts—WOW!
  • Auction House Market—This entire place is cool, but I highly recommend the vegan mint and brownie milkshake at Mac & Moon, it’s extra cool (and sweet)!

 

 

 

2018 Picture Book Poetry

April is National Poetry Month – celebrate with us by checking out new collections and illustrated poems. You can find these titles, novels in verse for older readers, and other lyrical picture books for children here at Butler Children’s Literature Center!

blackgirlmagic

Black Girl Magic (Macmillan/Roaring Brook Press, January 2018)
Written by Mahogany Browne
Illustrated by Jess X. Snow

With a dedication stating “This book is for you,” this spirited poem of strength and finding beauty in yourself despite what the world expects of you lifts up black women, acknowledging their accomplishments and struggles, and gives young black girls an anthem of support. The text is accompanied by striking black, white, and red illustrations that amplify the empowering message of the poem.

 

In the Past (Candlewick Press, March 2018)
inthepastWritten by David Elliott
Illustrated by Matthew Trueman

This collection of poems about ancient creatures ranges from the humble Trilobite to the mighty Quetzacoatlus and proves that anything can be poetic. Perfect for dinosaur fans of any age, In the Past includes a geologic timeline and notes for each ancient creature along with realistic mixed media images. The poetry is light-hearted and informative and plays on the illustrations on each page.

 

martinrisingMartin Rising: Requiem for a King (Scholastic Press, January 2018)
Written by Andrea Davis Pinkney
Illustrated by Brian Pinkney

In this collection of “docu-poems,” author Andrea Davis Pinkney presents the final months of Dr. King’s life. With a musicality of language and along with Brian Pinkney’s illuminating and spiritual paintings, each poem carries a different emotional tone and honors multiple facets of King’s life – his work, his family, and his ministry. This selection works on its own as a memorial of Dr. King’s life, but would also be a powerful read aloud in a classroom or theater setting, or as a part of a larger program for students at any age.

 

The Horse’s Haiku (Candlewick Press, March 2018)horseshaiku
Written by Michael J. Rosen
Illustrated by Stan Fellows

This collection of haiku about horses is organized into three sections: In the Field, At the Barn, and Under Saddle. Watercolor illustrations on each page allow the reader’s eye to graze while the mind contemplates the sparse verse. A note on haiku concludes the collection and teaches the reader how to enjoy haiku in everyday life. The Horse’s Haiku would be suitable for a read aloud for younger children, or as a read along as part of a larger poetry unit for older elementary students.

 

withmyhandsWith My Hands: Poems About Making Things (HMH/Clarion Books, March 2018)
Written by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
Illustrated by Lou Fancher & Steve Johnson

This collection celebrates the “joy of making” with over 20 poems about different creative activities, each written in unique styles. The illustrations are also varied, ranging from crayon and colored pencil sketches to mixed media collages and paintings. With My Hands would pair well with an arts and crafts session, or as inspiration for creative pursuits of all types.

 

Earth Verse: Haiku from the Ground Up (Candlewick Press, February 2018)earthverse
Written by Sally M. Walker
Illustrated by William Grill

Geographical concepts and natural events like minerals, fossils, earthquakes, and volcanoes are explored in this collection of haiku, accompanied by impressionistic and muted colored pencil illustrations. Each concept is explained in further detail at the end of the book, and a suggested reading list is also included, making this a perfect poetic tie-in or an added “layer” of a geology curriculum.

 

didyouhear

Did You Hear What I Heard? Poems About School (Penguin Random House/Dial Books, February 2018)
Written by Kay Winters
Illustrated by Patrice Barton

Over 30 poems fill this colorful collection – all about bus rides, fire drills, recess, field trips, tests, and teachers. Stylistically, the poems range from structured stanzas to free verse to singsong rhymes. Bright and playful illustrations make this collection suitable for younger students and perfect for classroom read-alouds or as a starting point for students to write their own school-themed poems.

A Review of All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson

by Hal Patnott

This week’s featured title is a highly anticipated September release by Victoria Jamieson, creator of the Newbery Honor book Roller Girl. In keeping with our theme of selecting titles that uphold ALSC’s Core Values (collaboration, excellence, inclusiveness, innovation, integrity and respect, leadership and responsiveness), All’s Faire in Middle School demonstrates excellence. Stop by the Butler Center to check out our advanced reading copy of All’s Faire in Middle School.

Alls faire

All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson, Penguin Random House/Dial (2017)

Every year, Imogene and her family work at the Florida Renaissance Faire. Her dad plays a villainous knight and her mom runs a shop selling flower crowns. For the first time ever, Imogene has a quest of her own—middle school. As much as she loves her geeky Ren Faire family, she isn’t sure what her new friend group will think. Between mean science teachers and learning the rules of popularity, the year ahead turns out to be a more fearsome challenge than Imogene expected.

Victoria Jamieson returns with another full-color graphic novel about navigating school, friendship, and identity. Not unlike Astrid from Roller Girl, Imogene shows determination throughout the story, even when she must confront her own mistakes. Although Imogene dreams of becoming a knight, she learns to recognize the dragon and the princess inside her heart too. All’s Faire in Middle School fully embraces the Ren Faire aesthetic. Each chapter begins with a page designed like an illuminated manuscript with dragons and jousters in the border art. This upcoming graphic novel is the perfect back-to-school read for tweens.

April B3: Immigration Stories

These days, it’s more important than ever for us to share stories about immigration with the young readers we serve; both for the sake of immigrant kids in our communities, and to encourage understanding among others of these kids’ experiences.

Join us on April 5, 2017 in the Butler Center from 5:30-7:00 (books & snacks out at 5:30; discussion from 6-7) to discuss the following list of recently published books with an immigration theme, from picture books to children’s fiction to teen fiction. We’re focusing on fiction this time; we know there are lots of excellent informational books too. You may remember the Butler Center’s “Big Read” bibliography from last year; this month’s list complements the selections recommended there.

PICTURE BOOKS

CallingtheWaterDrum
Calling the Water Drum
by LaTisha Redding, illus. by Aaron Boyd (Lee & Low, 2016)

PieceofHome
A Piece of Home
by Jeri Watts, illus. by Hyewon Yum (Candlewick, 2016)

CHILDREN’S FICTION

LongPitchHome
A Long Pitch Home
by Natalie Dias Lorenzi (Charlesbridge, 2016)

OnlyRoad.jpeg
The Only Road
by Alexandra Diaz (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman, 2016)

TEEN FICTION

GirlMansUp.jpeg
Girl Mans Up
by M-E Girard (HarperTeen, 2016)

Watched
Watched
by Marina Budhos (Random/Wendy Lamb, 2016)

Forthcoming from Past Award Winners

By Alena Rivers

Hot on the heels of this week’s ALA Youth Media Awards announcement, this week we are looking ahead to two forthcoming books from award-winning authors and illustrators. These awards, including the Newbery, Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Sibert, Geisel, Printz, awards, are the gold standard of excellence in children’s media.  In keeping with our review of books that highlight ALSC’s Core Values (collaboration, excellence, inclusiveness, innovation, integrity and respect, leadership and responsiveness), these books represent first of all excellence, and also collaboration and integrity and respect.

life-on-mars   dad-and-the-dinosaur

Life on Mars by Jon Agee (Penguin, 2017)

An astronaut arrives on Mars confident in his search for life on the barren planet. The reader follows the astronaut as he walks the planet carrying a gift to share with whomever he discovers. In the meantime, a creature reveals itself to the reader but remains unseen by the astronaut. Young children will delight in watching the creature follow the unknowing astronaut who grows more doubtful of finding life on the planet. Just as the astronaut gives up his search and leaves behind his gift, he finds life on the planet, but it is not the creature who has been quietly and curiously watching the young astronaut. Satisfied with his discovery, the astronaut makes his way back to his ship, which presents a new challenge. He no longer remembers where he left it.The remaining pages reveal clues of the creature’s existence that the astronaut overlooks but are obvious to young readers.

Agee’s text is clean, straightforward and engages readers in the astronaut’s search for life on Mars. The easily discernible illustrations are done in muted grays and browns depicting the barren planet which is contrasted by a black background highlighting the infinite space beyond. Life on Mars is an entirely amusing story perfect for a humorous read-aloud to children ages 3-8.

Dad and the Dinosaur by Gennifer Choldenko, illustrated by Dan Santat (Penguin, 2017)

Wishing to be as brave as his father, young Nicholas secretly finds comfort from his fears of the dark, giant bugs and hidden creatures by keeping with him a constant companion in the form of a small, toy dinosaur. Nicholas knows dinosaurs are not afraid of the dark and other unknowns so, with his dinosaur in tow, he finds the courage he needs to conquer a climbing wall, sleep in the dark and score a winning soccer goal against a tough goalie. That courage disappears as soon as he discovers he has lost his dinosaur on the soccer field. After a fruitless search, Nicholas finds himself vulnerable to the fears that have been kept away by his dinosaur. A touching moment is shared between father and son when Nicholas reveals the secret source of his strength to his father who offers to take Nicholas to the soccer field to find his missing dinosaur.

Choldenko’s text is vivid and astutely balances the ideas of fear and courage. Santat’s illustrations are done in deep blue, green and orange tones that span each two-page spread building a fully immersive depiction of every scene. Young readers will identify with the sense of security a special object can provide and the comfort in sharing its secret existence with someone special. Dad and the Dinosaur is a compelling read-aloud and provides opportunity for discussion with children ages 3-8 about their fears and how they overcome them.

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

by Hal Patnott

we-are-okay

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour (Penguin Random/Dutton, 2017)

The day after her grandfather disappears into the ocean forever, Marin boards a plane from San Francisco to New York determined to disappear too, even if it means leaving behind the people who care about her. At her college in the city, far away from her old life, she can become someone new, pretend her phone is secondhand and that the girl named Mabel sending her messages is a complete stranger. However, some relationships mean too much to end. As Marin’s grandfather once tells her, “[Sometimes] two people have a deep connection. It makes romance seem trivial. It isn’t about anything carnal. It’s about souls. About the deepest part of who you are as a person.” Neither Marin or Mabel can forget about their bond. After months of silence from Marin, Mabel still refuses to give up on her best friend, the girl she fell in love with during the summer of their senior year. She’s willing to fly three thousand miles to learn the truth and convince Marin to come home to the people who want to support her.

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour is a haunting coming-of-age story about love and moving on after betrayal. The novel is written in first-person from Marin’s perspective. Chapters alternate between the present and flashbacks to her senior year of high school. LaCour’s lyrical prose and her sparing use of dialogue beautifully convey Marin’s loneliness and longing. Despite the heavy sorrow that fills the pages,the book ends on a note of hope. Grab a box of tissues. We Are Okay is a must-read of 2017.

Check out our advanced reading copy of We Are Okay at the Butler Center!

Four Books for Four Hogwarts Houses

By Hal Patnott and Alena Rivers

In anticipation of the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child this weekend, we decided to feature four books and sort them into the Hogwarts Houses based on the traits of their main characters. The original idea for this post came from a post on the yalsa-bk listserv titled “Sort YA into Hogwarts Houses?” written by Rachel Moir, the teen services librarian at Worcester Public Library. The titles we selected are all middle grade fiction from our 2016 collection. Stop by the Butler Center to check them out for yourself!

Gryffindor

Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan (Disney/Hyperion, 2016)

When thirteen-year-old Thorn’s father disappeared, he promised his mother and little siblings that he would bring him home by harvest, but ever since he left his village, Thorn’s circumstances went from unlucky to a living nightmare. Bound into the service of an executioner, the road ahead of Thorn leads straight to Gehenna, a kingdom of shadows where necromancers wear the crown.

Lilith never wanted to wear the Mantle of Sorrows and assume the position as the Lady Shadow, ruler of al Gehenna, but after the brutal murder of her parents and older brother, she has no choice. Without her father’s sorcery, her kingdom is falling apart. Magic flows through her veins too, but the law forbids her from learning.

Shadow Magic begins in the thick of danger, and the stakes only get higher for Thorn and Lilith as they become ensnared in dark magic and a murder mystery. To survive and save Gehenna they need the courage to disregard the rules and unleash their own hidden talents.

Slytherin

The Gallery by Laura Marx Fitzgerald (Penguin/Dial, 2016)

The Gallery begins in present day New York where 100-year-old Martha O’Doyle is being interviewed by a young reporter sent to do a short piece featuring Martha as she crosses over her centennial year. The young reporter has discovered that Martha is the only surviving witness to the death of a newspaper tycoon and his wife who were in their home when it was bombed. Curious about the details of the bombing, the young reporter probes Martha for more information. Though the reporter doesn’t get her story, Martha decides it’s time to write out the details as she remembers them from nearly 90-years ago. She reflects on her year as a maid for Mr. J. Archer Sewell and his wife, Rose Sewell. In her younger years, Rose had been known to be a rambunctious, socialite who was not adverse to scandal. But when young Martha arrives at the Sewell house she finds that Rose has become a recluse, never leaving their home and only caring for the countless, priceless paintings she and her father collected over the years. Rose refuses to interact with anyone other than a small handful of people but Martha is curious, strong-willed and has little regard for rules so she devises a way to communicate with Rose and in doing so, discovers there is more to Rose’s story.

Told in retrospect, Martha’s character is independent, determined and resourceful. Readers will feel the tension between the story’s characters and Martha’s challenge to balance restraining her thoughts and opinions while pushing to learn the truth.

Hufflepuff

The Inn Between by Marina Cohen (Macmillan/Roaring Brook, 2016)

Eleven-year old Quinn’s best friend Kara is moving with her family from Denver to Santa Monica. Quinn and Kara have been best friends since kindergarten and the thought of them being apart has both girls dreading the impending move. Quinn is invited to join Kara’s family on their trip to their new home so she and Kara can spend more time together and to help Quinn reconcile some of her own personal issues. The story opens as the girls and Kara’s family drive through a long stretch of desert. As the evening approaches the weary travellers decide that they all could use a break from the road so they stop at a grand Victorian inn that seems out of place and isolated in the great expanse of desert. While The Inn Between is a magnificent and beautifully ornate building, only moments after checking-in, Quinn begins to feel uneasy about their temporary shelter. After spending the night in the hotel, Quinn, Kara and her brother, Josh, discover that Quinn’s parents are missing and not long after, Josh goes missing as well. These are not the only strange things the girls notice about the inn, its staff and its guests. Quinn and Kara must unravel the mystery of Kara’s missing family or risk never leaving The Inn Between.

Marina Cohen’s story explores the strong bond between Quinn and Kara. Readers will be touched by Quinn’s loyalty to their friendship and they will be drawn into Quinn’s intuitive distrust of their surroundings that is matched by her determination to find the answers to the mysteries that unfold.

Ravenclaw

Behind the Canvas by Alexander Vance (Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan, 2016)

Claudia Miravista has no friends in her sixth grade class, but she knows everything about art history. She spends her free time drawing, and reading about the great painters of the past. Her only companion, a mysterious blue-eyed boy named Pim, lives inside the canvas, where he has been trapped for over three-hundred years. Although Claudia has just begun to discover her powers as an Artista, she is the only one with the skills to save Pim and free him from his prison.

Footnotes of historical facts and commentary about art accompany the story in Behind the Canvas. Claudia’s enthusiasm for art is infectious. In spite of what her classmates may think of her at first, she holds onto her passion and learns to harness her artistic power.