Groovy Joe Returns

by Hal Patnott

One of my favorite story time dogs is back with a second book. This week, I am excited to share Groovy Joe: Dance Party Countdown. In keeping with our theme of selecting titles that uphold ALSC’s Core Values (collaboration, excellence, inclusiveness, innovation, integrity and respect, leadership and responsiveness), this week’s featured title represents collaboration and excellence. Stop by the Butler Center to check out our advanced review copy of this September 2017 release.

danceparty_new_b192b8641d

Groovy Joe: Dance Party Countdown by Eric Litwin, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld, Scholastic (2017)

Groovy Joe, the ice-cream-loving dog, returns with all new moves—bow wow. He’s dancing and singing at his own disco party when all of a sudden he hears a knock at the door. More dogs show up to join his fun. Although Joe has less room to dance each time, he never gets upset. “Goodness no!” He is happy to share his rocking fun with all his friends. At the end Joe invites the reader to join in on the action.

Fans of Groovy Joe: Ice Cream & Dinosaurs will recognize Joe’s upbeat and welcoming personality. Readers who enjoy Pete the Cat’s go-with-the-flow response to new challenges will discover the same laid-back attitude in this title.The purple and disco patterned backgrounds set the mood for Joe’s party. Rhyming and repetition make Dance Party Countdown an excellent read-aloud for story times. Litwin introduces simple addition skills every time more guests arrive to dance. An invitation at the end of the book presents an opportunity for readers to join the fun with a dance party of their own. Like the last Groovy Joe title, readers can download the “Disco Party Bow Wow” song from Scholastic’s website. Overall, Dance Party Countdown provides a fun story with a positive message about sharing and inclusiveness.

See You at ALA!

Attending ALA Annual Conference in Chicago this week? We are! The 2017 ALA Annual Conference, 6/23-26 at McCormick Place in Chicago, is jam-packed with children’s and teen related programming, including celebrations of the very best in books and media for youth. Connect (or re-connect) with us at the Dominican SOIS booth #4736 in the exhibit hall or on social media. Let us know what sessions you’re attending and what you’re most excited for.

Look for Butler Center Curator Diane Foote at the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Breakfast on Sunday, June 25, 7:00-9:30 a.m.; she’ll be chairing the event’s Local Arrangements Committee, and the Butler Center is sponsoring a table. Associate Professor Sujin Huggins, a member of the current Coretta Scott King Book Awards Jury (which will name its winners at Midwinter 2018), will be there as well. This year’s winners are particularly exciting, including Author Award Winner Representative John Lewis for March: Book 3, Illustrator Award Winner Javaka Steptoe for Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, and all of the Author and Illustrator Honorees.

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards Breakfast kicks off a full day of celebration that continues in the afternoon with the Pura Belpré Award Celebración and into the evening with the Newbery Caldecott Wilder Banquet.

Monday is a big day for ALSC, beginning with the 2017 ALSC Awards Presentation of the Geisel, Siebert, Batchelder, and Carnegie Awards; continuing with the ALSC Membership Meeting where Past President Ellen Fader will receive her Distinguished Service Award, and the Charlemae Rollins President’s Program,“Plugging Into the Digital Age: Libraries Engaging and Supporting Families with Today’s Literacy.” Since Annual wouldn’t be Annual without schedule conflicts, the Stonewall Book Awards program is also taking place Monday morning, where ALSC will receive the GLBTRT Award for Political Activism as a result of the cancellation of the ALSC Institute scheduled to take place in Charlotte, North Carolina in response to the HB2 legislation in that state.  The Odyssey Awards, co-administered by ALSC and YALSA for the best audibooks for kids and teens, will be presented Monday afternoon.

Speaking of YALSA, if you’re arriving early enough, don’t miss the Printz Award program and reception on Friday June 23, 8:00-10:00 p.m., administered by YALSA and sponsored by Booklist.

We hope to see you there!

A Review of Meet Cute

by Hal Patnott

Our featured title for this week is Meet Cute, an anthology of short stories by fourteen different authors. Continuing our theme of highlighting books that uphold ALSC’s Core Values (collaboration, excellence, inclusiveness, innovation, integrity and respect, leadership and responsiveness), our selection for this week demonstrates collaboration and excellence. Stop by the Butler Center to view our advanced reading copy of this January 2018 release.

9781328759870_lres

Meet Cute, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2018)

Trains pass in a busy city. Strangers lock eyes through the windows. Against all the odds, their hearts meet. Whether by statistical probability, fate, or magic, lives intersect—if only for a moment—and love changes them. Meet Cute, a collection of fourteen short stories by award-winning and bestselling authors, explores the power of unexpected encounters. This anthology includes stories across genres from realistic to futuristic and fantastic.  In “Click” by Katharine McGee, a dating app and a missing phone bring together a photographer and a computer scientist. Emery Lord tells the story of Cass and Johanna, two seniors bound for college in the Fall who meet in airport security. Cass is rethinking her future at NYU until Johanna encourages her to take a chance and step out of her comfort zone. On the Isle of Meridien, in “The Way We Love Here” by Dhonielle Clayton, Vio and Sebastian travel through time in search of their destinies. Some of the stories, like “Print Shop” by Nina LaCour, “259 Million Miles” by Kass Morgan, and “The Department of Dead Love” by Nicola Yoon, are about learning to move on from the past, while others, like “Somewhere That’s Green” by Meredith Russo, feature characters challenged to overcome prejudice. Every story sparks with tension. The cast of characters and writing styles are diverse. Meet Cute is a perfect match for teens who love romance.

A Review of Warcross by Marie Lu

by Hal Patnott

The title that I selected this week comes from an author already established for the popular appeal of her young adult literature, Marie Lu. Continuing with our theme of featuring books that demonstrate ALSC’s Core Values (collaboration, excellence, inclusiveness, innovation, integrity and respect, leadership and responsiveness), Warcross stands out for excellence and innovation. Stop by the Butler Center to take a look at our advanced galley.

Warcross

Warcross by Marie Lu, Penguin Random House/Putnam (2017)

Eighteen-year-old Emika Chen hunts alone. With her cracked phone and her second-hand, electric skateboard, she uses her hacking skills to track down the criminals in Manhattan that the police don’t have time for, Warcross Gamblers. The whole world is consumed by Warcross, a virtual reality game played by two teams that battle their opponents’ Artifact. Emika dreams of playing in the Warcross Championships, but her criminal record disqualifies her from ever entering the Wardraft as a one of the lucky Wild Card players that get selected by the teams each year. However, Emika’s dream comes true when one of her hacks accidentally glitches her into the All-Star Game of this Warcross season’s Opening Ceremony. The whole world sees and so does Hideo Tanaka, the mysterious, young billionaire who founded Henka Games and revolutionized virtual reality. Overnight, Emika’s world changes when Hideo flies her to Tokyo, enters her into the Wardraft, and hires her for her most dangerous and high-stakes bounty hunt ever.

Charged with suspense and action, Warcross is a fast-paced and immersive adventure. The story opens mid-hunt and the intrigue never dies away. Even the cliffhanger ending suggests Warcross is only the beginning of a much bigger plot. Cinematic action sequences and vivid, other-worldly, virtual landscapes add to the appeal. Although fans of team-based games like Overwatch and League of Legends will appreciate the style of gaming in Warcross, the mechanics of the game are well-developed throughout the book so that readers unfamiliar with video gaming terminology can get swept away by the action. This September release is an unmissable addition to young adult collections.

A Review of Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

By Hal Patnott

For this week’s post, I am excited to share my review of Mask of Shadows. It’s already one of my favorite upcoming young adult novels of 2017. In keeping with our theme of selecting titles that uphold ALSC’s Core Values (collaboration, excellence, inclusiveness, innovation, integrity and respect, leadership and responsiveness), Mask of Shadows demonstrates excellence and inclusiveness. Stop by the Butler Center to check out our advanced reader copy of this September release!

MaskofShadows

Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller, Sourcebooks Fire (2017)

All the nobles of Igna fear the might of the Queen’s Left Hand, four elite assassins known only as Emerald, Ruby, Amethyst, and Opal. When Sal Leon, a thief and a street fighter, steals a poster advertising auditions for the new Opal, they seize the opportunity to seek revenge on the nobles who betrayed Sal’s homeland during the last war. Kill or be killed, the auditions require strength and subtlety. Participants must eliminate their competition without arousing suspicion. Any moment might be Sal’s last.

A fusion of fantasy and political intrigue, Mask of Shadows is a dark and suspenseful read. Miller delves into themes of gender identity, prejudice, and privilege. The positive exploration of Sal’s genderfluidity makes this book an important addition to Young Adult collections. Sal’s identity is never portrayed as a hardship. Although Sal dresses to show how they wish to be addressed, they are not focused on cisnormativity, but rather on being who they are. They explain, “I always felt like Sal, except it was like watching a river flow past. The river was always the same, but you never glimpsed the same water. I ebbed and flowed, and that was my always.” Throughout the book, Sal grows as a character and learns to trust someone they initially saw as an enemy. Miller develops a compelling romantic subplot. The cliffhanger ending of this debut novel will leave readers dying for the next installment in the duology.

 

Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2017

By Alena Rivers

Bologna

Just over a week ago I returned from a trip to Bologna, Italy as part of a Dominican University SOIS graduate course on international children’s literature. The course featured attendance at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, an annual fair hosted in Bologna. It was an amazing experience!

This year the fair attracted 35,000 attendees and 1,300 exhibitors from 75 countries. At the fair, publishers have the opportunity to create impressive vignettes to showcase their books. The vignettes are creatively designed to look like tree houses, living rooms and other unique settings. The books were equally impressive. Picture books, in particular, really stand out here with a broad range of topics and illustrations. Given that most of the books were written in other languages, the illustrations were critical to telling stories we might not have otherwise understood.

Speaking of illustrations, the Bologna Illustrators Exhibition showcased a stunning array of work by 75 illustrators representing 62 countries and selected from over 3,300 participants. One of these 75  illustrators will be selected to have his or her work featured as the main branding concept for the 2018 fair. After this year’s fair, the exhibition will travel to other countries including Japan, China and the United States. It provides these new and emerging illustrators with a tremendous opportunity for their work to gain exposure.

Ultimately, this was an incredible chance to view books that, many of which, will never reach the United States due to the inherent challenges in getting books translated, scheduled for publishing in an already competitive environment and finding the best way to market books that may look very different from those we regularly consume. Visiting the fair and discussing the merits of these books has enabled me to see the value in the few international books that do get published in the United States.

In the world of children’s literature, we are struggling to find ways to increase the diverse stories and perspectives from voices within our own country. Expanding those opportunities to include stories and perspectives from those currently living in other countries will continue to prove challenging but equally as rewarding. I encourage new and seasoned librarians to consider including books in translation from international publishers in your collections and make an effort to read them and share them with your family, friends, students and patrons.

Over the last few years, the Butler Center has purchased books from the International Children’s Book Fair. Some of the titles we acquired on this trip are listed below. We encourage you to visit the Butler Center to view these books and others in our international collection.

UN-TICKET-1E-DE-COUV-1024x787

Un Ticket Pour Shitamachi by Tadayoshi Kajino, Lirabelle (2014) – France

52e968864354e6c

El Camino de Marwan by Patricia de Arias, illustrations by de Laura Borras, Editorial Amanuta Limitada (2016) – Chile, a New Horizons Mention for the Bologna Ragazzi Award 2017

234_1945

‘45 by Maurizio A. C. Quarello, Orecchio Acerbo (2017) – Italy

SPELLBOUND-COVER-SHOTwebAWARD

Spellbound: Making Pictures with the A-B-C by Maree Coote, Melbournestyle Books (2015) – Australia, a Non Fiction Mention for the Bologna Ragazzi Award 2017

9782330064006

Planète Migrants by Sophi Lamoureux, illustrated by Amelie Fontaine, Actes Sud, Junior (2016) – France

Transgender Day of Visibility Storytime

By Hal Patnott

Last week at the Oak Park Public Library, I had the opportunity to celebrate Transgender Day of Visibility during story time for children ages four and up. Established in 2009, Transgender Day of Visibility is an international holiday honoring accomplishments and raising awareness about the lives of transgender and gender nonconforming people. While Day of Remembrance, observed on November 20th, mourns the lives of transgender folks lost to violence in the previous year, Day of Visibility combats transphobia through celebration and education. Visibility and dialog are more important than ever after the rollback of protections for transgender students in public schools. In her statement in February protesting the protections rollback, ALA President Julie Todaro said, “The Trump administration’s decision to revoke important protections for transgender students couldn’t conflict more with the library community’s fundamental values and principles upon which libraries are founded.” Although the conversation about equitable access for transgender and gender nonconforming patrons often focuses on bathrooms, libraries can and should offer more than just a safe place to pee.  

When I started planning what books and songs I would share, I knew I wanted to promote themes of love and friendship. Transgender is an umbrella term that encompasses a huge spectrum of identities. However, gender identity doesn’t need to be a complicated topic if it’s approached through the lens that everyone is happier when they get to be themselves. Since Day of Visibility is about celebrating the accomplishments of transgender people as much as it is about education and awareness, I also wanted to showcase music by a transgender artist. Before and after the storytime, I ended up playing songs by Steam Powered Giraffe. Their music is upbeat, so it fit the tone of the story time well.

Day of Visibility may be past, but transgender and gender nonconforming people still need allies to stand up and demonstrate their support. You don’t need to wait until next March or even Pride month to make your library and your programming more inclusive.

For those interested in running a story time at their library, here is a full list of the books and music I included in mine.

Books

I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas, Dial (2014)

Introducing Teddy: A Gentle Story About Gender and Friendship by Jessica Walton, illustrated by Dougal MacPherson, Bloomsbury (2016)

Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall, Greenwillow (2015)

Music & Rhymes

“Clap for Love” by Little Miss Ann (Clap for Love, 2008)

“Happy” by Pharrell Williams (GIRL, 2014)

The Hokey Pokey*

If You’re Happy and You Know It*

“Jumping and Counting” by Jim Gill (Irrational Anthem and More Salutes to Nonsense, 2001)

“Me & My Baby (Saturday Nights)” by Steam Powered Giraffe (The 2¢ Show, 2012)

The More We Get Together*

“One-Way Ticket” by Steam Powered Giraffe (The 2¢ Show, 2012)

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear*

*These we sang without accompaniment.