The 2017 Newbery Award

An image ingrained in mind from elementary school is the Newbery Award poster hanging in the school library and my fourth grade classroom.  As a librarian it has become my goal to read each and every winner of the medal and then move on to the honor books.  This is not an easy feat especially going back to the early winners, some of which I found hard to get through.  Each year the medal is awarded to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children by the Association for Library Service to Children.  Add four more books to my to read list, the winner and three honor books…

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill The Girl Who Drank the Moon
By: Kelly Barnhill
An epic fantasy about a young girl raised by a witch, a swamp monster, and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, who must unlock the powerful magic buried deep inside her.  Ages 10-14
Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk Wolf Hollow: A Novel
By: Lauren WolkTwelve-year-old Annabelle must learn to stand up for what’s right in the face of a manipulative and violent new bully who targets people Annabelle cares about, including a homeless World War I veteran.  Ages 10 and up
Freedom Over Me by Ashley Bryan Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought To Life
By: Ashley BryanUsing original slave auction and plantation estate documents, contrasts the monetary value of a slave with the priceless value of life experiences and dreams that a slave owner could never take away.  Ages 6 to 10
The Inquisitor's Tale by Adam Gidwitz The Inquisitor’s Tale, Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog
By: Adam GidwitzA peasant girl and her holy greyhound, an oblate on a mission from his monastery, and a young Jewish boy travel across medieval France to escape persecution and save holy texts from being burned.  Ages 10 and up



Ordinary People Change the World

I am ordinary.  I wake up every morning, change a diaper (or 2), eat breakfast, brush my teeth, etc… There is nothing extraordinary about my life in the traditional sense of the word. I am no Rosa Parks or Amelia Earhart.  I have not united this country like Abraham Lincoln or lived among chimpanzees like Jane Goodall. You won’t find a book on the shelf with my name in the title yet I know I have the capacity, as we all d,o to change this world even if it is within my own little piece of it.  I have embraced the message of Brad Meltzer’s biography series for kids, “Ordinary People Change the World”.  These picture book biographies bring history to life for readers and show that people that we view as extraordinary started out in this world the same as everyone else, a baby born to make their own path.  “We Can All Be Heroes” is the theme of these books and the message to young readers.

January 16 is Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.  As we prepare to celebrate one of the most extraordinary ordinary people in our history share these stories with children to let them know that they have the capacity to do good and that someday their birthday could be celebrated by all.

I Am Sacagawea I am Sacagawea
By: Brad Meltzer

A biography of Sacagawea, the Shoshone woman who served as a translator for the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

I Am Rosa Parks I am Rosa Parks
By: Brad Meltzer

Recounts Rosa Parks’ daring effort to stand up for herself and other African Americans by helping to end segregation on public transportation.


I Am Martin Luther King Jr. I am Martin Luther King Jr.
By: Brad Meltzer

A biography of Martin Luther King Jr. that tells the story of how he used nonviolence to lead the civil rights movement


I Am Lucille Ball I am Lucille Ball
By: Brad Meltzer

A biography of Lucille Ball who could make any situation funny. By making people around the world laugh, she proved that humor can take on anything.

I Am Jane Goodall I am Jane Goodall
By: Brad Meltzer

A biography of Jane Goodall, the scientist and conservationist who is famous for her work with chimpanzees.


I Am Jackie Robinson I am Jackie Robinson
By: Brad Meltzer
I Am Helen Keller
I Am George Washington
I Am Albert Einstein
I Am Amelia Earhart
I Am Abraham Lincoln

From Page to Screen in 2017

Happy New Year!I hope you have made and are sticking to your resolutions this first week of 2017.  A constant resolution in my world is to always read the book before watching the movie adaptation (if either is worth it).  It looks like this year I will have an easy time keeping my resolution, at least in the children’s and YA categories.  2017 will see just 5 books turned into movies from these categories.  Still, I am super excited about 3 of the 5 titles (I’ll let you try to guess which ones) and I hope to be able to leave my little ones with Mima for at least one movie date this year.  In the meantime I’ll reread my favorites and maybe even catch up on some adult books to movies.


The Reader’s Have Spoken…

The winners of the 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards have been announced.  This is one election where popular votes do count.  Goodreads users vote on their favorite books in almost every genre.  Below are the nominees of the Middle Grade & Children’s Category.  Rick Riordan’s The Hidden Oracle claimed the top honor with 46,348 votes. Visit Goodreads for a complete list of winners and nominees.

For Teens By Teens

When I was a teenager I was busy playing sports and riding around town on my bike with friends.  I in no way had the drive or talent to write a book.  Now, half way through my 30’s, I still don’t come anywhere near to having the commitment to writing a book but I know young people who love writing and dream of publishing a book some day.  A recent chat with author Ben Clanton who began writing children’s books in college led me to look into young people who were published before they left their teen years behind them.  Check out the books below and start kicking yourself for not being as productive in your teens as these folks…

Winter is for Snow

As I sit here today looking out my window at the patches of snow in my yard and a forecast including temperatures in the 50s, it is hard to believe that just a week ago I was up to my knees in the white stuff and schools were closed for 1.5 days.  Then again, I shouldn’t be surprised at all.  I live in Central NY where it is not uncommon to get inches upon inches of snow to get you in the holiday spirit only to be disappointed in a few weeks as you wear your raincoat to holiday festivities.  Winter Storm Argos hit us hard and it was beautiful while it lasted.  Fun was had by all in the form of sledding, snowman building, and even a little cross country skiing.  I have always said that if it can’t be 70s and sunny and is bound to be cold then give me snow!  After all winter is for snow.   Check out these fun picture books to get a taste of the winter season…

Celebrating Picture Books

November is Picture Book Month. Author and storyteller Dianne de Las Casas founded the international initiative to celebrate the importance of picture books.  To me picture books are a link to my past, a staple in my present, and an eye to the future.

As a librarian it was always a great joy to see the excitement in children’s eyes when I’d pull out a book they already knew or had during storytime.  Just as scent can connect us to a certain memory a picture book can do the same.  I have very strong memories of my favorite picture book as a child,  The Puppy Who Wanted a Boy.  For me it brings back memories of the holidays, my favorite time of the year.

Now as a mother who has no boundaries when it comes to buying picture books resulting in a rather large collection, I have no qualms reading my 2 year old daughter’s favorite, The Little Blue Truck, over and over (with my eyes closed most times).  I know it brings her joy and what’s more is I can see her developing language skills as she says the rhyming word or retells the story in her own way.  That is what gives me an eye towards the future.  Picture books are important because they bring us happiness or other emotions and as an added bonus they certainly help develop literacy skills and a lifelong connection to books.

Enjoy the following list composed of not only my favorites old and new, but my daughter’s as well as friends from social media.  Click to learn more about Picture Book Month including daily posts from picture book champions.

The Buck Stops Here — Presidential and Election Books to Make You Smile

Without getting too involved in any deep political conversation here is a list of picture books, both fiction and nonfiction, to make you smile because let’s face it, I’d rather read about the ridiculous antics of Amelia Bedelia or learn about which president had the most pets in the White House than listen to the current state of affairs.  However you feel Election 2016 is what everyone is and will be talking about this week. So grab a picture book, read, enjoy, and escape.

And to add to your bank of knowledge, the phrase “The Buck Stops Here” was popularized by Harry S. Truman and ultimately means the President has to make decision and accept responsibility for those decisions, (as do the voters). Here’s to hoping!