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Awards!

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Along with librarians around the country, the Youth Services staff here at the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library tuned in bright and early Monday, January 23rd, to catch the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards. Several committees work very hard each year to read as many qualifying books as possible in order to select the best, most distinguished works of children’s literature of the year, in several different categories. Here are some of their results, with selected responses from our librarians.

(descriptions of the awards taken from the ALA website at http://www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2017/01/american-library-association-announces-2017-youth-media-award-winners)



The John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature went to:

The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill
Ages: 10 – 14 years

Everyone in the Protectorate knows that the forest is a dangerous place. After all, the Witch from the horror stories lives there, the one who demands the life of the Protectorate’s youngest baby every year. But what if the stories are wrong? What if the Witch rescues those babies, and takes them someplace safe? What if, one year, she accidentally feeds magic to a baby girl, whom she then raises as her own? What would happen when that baby grew up? What if the danger really comes from inside the Protectorate? This is a fantastic story about family, sorrow, fear, memories, and love. Perfect for fantasy and fairy tale lovers.

Honorees:

Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought To Life written and illustrated by Ashley Bryan
Ages: 6 – 10 years

The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog  written by Adam Gidwitz, illustrated by Hatem Aly
Ages: 10 – 14 years

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
Ages: 10 – 13 years




The Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children went to:

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat written and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe
Ages: 6 – 9 years

This picture book biography of painter Jean-Michel Basquiat is indeed radiant. The illustrations are painted on bits of wood found in New York City, where Basquiat grew up. The colors are bold and bright, enhancing the story and emphasizing the various emotions within it. Basquiat showed an interest in art form an early age, when he was introduced to it by his mother. He also suffered through a car crash, and he was deeply affected by his mother’s mental illness. This book touches on all these topics lightly, in a way that will resonate with young readers and listeners. Truly, an excellent choice to share.

Honorees:

Leave Me Alone! by Vera Brogsol
Ages: 4 – 7 years

Freedom in Congo Square written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
Ages: 4 – 8 years

Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis
Ages: 4 – 8 years

They All Saw A Cat  by Brendan Wenzel
Ages: 3 – 8 years




The Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award, recognizing an African-American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults, went to:

March: Book Three written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, illustrated by Nate Powell
Graphic Novel
Ages: 13 years and older

Usually this blog does not cover teen books, but this final installment of a stellar trilogy calls for a breaking of the mold. Framed by Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009, these graphic novels are Congressman Lewis’ autobiographical account of his early life and career in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. They cover the Freedom Rides, sit-ins, the March on Washington, and other pivotal actions that helped mold the political landscape until African Americans were finally allowed the right to vote. Book Three has won five different awards since its publication, making it by far the most celebrated book of the year. Perfect for novices and experts alike.

Honorees:

As Brave As You by Jason Reynolds
Ages:  10 – 12 years

Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought To Life by Ashley Bryan written and illustrated by Ashley Bryan
Ages: 6 – 10 years




The Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award went to:

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat written and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe
Ages: 6 – 9 years

This picture book biography of painter Jean-Michel Basquiat is indeed radiant. The illustrations are painted on bits of wood found in New York City, where Basquiat grew up. The colors are bold and bright, enhancing the story and emphasizing the various emotions within it. Basquiat showed an interest in art form an early age, when he was introduced to it by his mother. He also suffered through a car crash, and he was deeply affected by his mother’s mental illness. This book touches on all these topics lightly, in a way that will resonate with young readers and listeners. Truly, an excellent choice to share.

Honorees:

Freedom in Congo Square written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
Ages: 4 – 8 years 

Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought To Lifeby Ashley Bryan written and illustrated by Ashley Bryan
Ages: 6 – 10 years 

In Plain Sight written by Richard Jackson and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
Ages: 4 – 7 years




The Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Award honoring a Latino writer and illustrator whose children's books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience, went to:

Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina
Ages: 5 – 8 years

Based on her own childhood experiences growing up in Colombia, Juana Medina has created the brightly illustrated world of the precocious and relatable Juana and her beloved dog, Lucas. Juana is a spunky kid who enjoys many things, but learning English is not one of them. She has no use for English, not to mention how difficult it is! She would rather just keep speaking Spanish. Juana soon discovers that her grandparents have planned a special trip to meet her favorite superhero, Astroman. The only problem is, Astroman only speaks English! Maybe Juana has a reason to learn English after all! This amusing book is peppered with some basic Spanish vocabulary, so while Juana learns English, readers can learn her native language, too!   (review by Miss Taylor)

Honoree:

The Only Road by Alexander Diaz
Ages 8 – 12 years




The Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Award went to:

Lowriders to the Center of the Earth written by Cathy Camper and illustrated by Raúl Gonzalez
Graphic Novel
Ages: 9 – 12 years

Lupe Impala, Elirio Malaria, and El Chavo Octopus are now the proud owners of their own garage--but when a series of earthquakes hit their town and Genie, their beloved cat, disappears they find themselves traveling to the realm of Mictlantecuhtli, Aztec god of the Underworld, who is keeping Genie prisoner.

Honorees:

Esquivel! Space-Age Sound Artist written by Susan Wood and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh
Ages: 6 – 9 years

The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh
Ages: 6 – 9 years




The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished beginning reader book went to:

We Are Growing!  A Mo Willems Elephant & Piggie Like Reading Book by Laurie Keller
Ages: 4 – 8 years

A clump of grass is hanging out in a field, when “BOING!” one of them grows! Pretty soon, they are all growing and coming into their own unique traits. Except for Walt – he’s the only one without a distinguishing feature, and he feels badly about it. What’s a blade of grass to do? This book is outrageously funny (especially considering the subject material) and it’s the perfect tool for getting your youngsters hooked on independent reading. Share one-on-one or in a group today!

Honorees:

Good Night Owl by Greg Pizzoli
Ages: 3 - 6 years

Oops, Pounce, Quick, Run!: An Alphabet Caper by Mike Twohy
Ages: 4 - 8 years

Go, Otto, Go! By David Milgrim
Ages: 3 - 5 years

The Infamous Ratsos written by Karen LaReau and illustrated by Matt Myers
Ages: 5 - 8 years

 

This is just a small sampling of excellent books that were distinguished this year. To see the complete list, or more information about the awards included here, please visit the ALA website at http://www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2017/01/american-library-association-announces-2017-youth-media-award-winners

Books Make Great Gifts

bow 1294066 640The Youth Services staff has selected some of their personal favorite children's books from this past year to help you decide which books you might like to buy as gifts for the holiday season and other occasions year-round.

You'll find this year's list in our annual guide, Great Books for Year-Round Giving: Our Favorite Books of 2016

 


Autumn Adventures

Winter is coming: days are getting shorter, temperatures are dropping, weather is changing. What better time to curl up with a literary adventure? As the cold winds howl, serve these up with a mug of cocoa and watch imaginations fly!

A Beginner’s Guide to Bear Spotting by Michelle Robinson
Ages 3 – 6 years
Picture book

This story is told in the form of an unseen narrator teaching a young child about bears on their first bear-spotting expedition. At first, the child doesn’t seem to be taking the narrator very seriously, but upon encountering two bears (one black, one brown), the kid starts listening. The droll tone of the text matches the comical illustrations beautifully, and the ending is just about perfect. Share with any young adventurers of your acquaintance, and prepare for some giggles.

How to Find Gold by Viviane Schwarz
Ages: 3 and up
Picture book

Anna and Crocodile are looking for something to do – so they decide to hunt for gold, even though it will be “dangerous and difficult.” They begin by planning: practicing their “secret” looks and making maps. They decide to hunt for sunken treasure, and then their adventure begins! The conversations between the friends sound so true-to-life, and the plot perfectly captures the spirit of imaginative play. It is the illustrations, though, that steal the show, especially the pages that show the friends’ maps and their time spent underwater. Brown-skinned Anna and her big green friend are sure to be a big hit. Read this with an adventure lover soon!

Rutabaga The Adventure Chef volumes I and 2 by Eric Colossal
Ages 8 – 12
Graphic novel

Some people go questing for fame, power, or wealth. Some people go questing to right a wrong and save people. But only Rutabaga goes questing for food! Unique ingredients with fantastic tastes keep him going, no matter whether he’s on a dragon hunt or following warriors of the North. With his trusty travel kitchen and pet pot, Pot, nothing can keep him down! This humorous ode to foodies and travelers has something in it for everything. Try a taste today!

Monster on the Hill by Rob Harrell
Ages 8 – 12
Graphic novel

Monsters are good for tourism in this book that takes place in an alternate version of 1800s England. Each town has its own monster to provide a little spice of life and extra income – every town, that is, except for Stoker-on-Avon, where the local monster, Rayburn, has been too depressed to play his part. Desperate for change, inventor-in-disgrace Dr. Wilkie and town crier lad Timothy take Rayburn on a quest to get his gumption back. Turns out, though, there’s more than one reason for every town to have a monster. Will Rayburn get back in time to defend his home? This clever and amusing novel has everything from friendship and adventure to inconvenient flora and a truly dark menace. Hand it to any kid who likes heroes and last-ditch stands, and they won’t come up for air until it’s done.

The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure by Caroline Paul
Ages 10 and up
Nonfiction/memoir

Part guide to living an exciting life, part episodic memoire about an exciting life, this is a quick, easy, engrossing read. The author, Caroline Paul, has had a great many thrilling (and occasionally ill-advised) escapades in her life, and has made it her goal to encourage young girls to dream big and do the same. In between her personal stories, she has journaling questions and tongue-in-cheek charts, checklists, and other amusing miscellanea. A perfect book to read between activities while keeping a busy schedule.

 


Reading Transitions

It’s that time of year again – when families are transitioning from summer to school! Here at the library, we’ve been getting a lot of questions about another transition: books for kids who are graduating from beginning readers to proper chapter books. So, this edition of Off-The-Shelf is meant to highlight some of our newer early chapter book favorites. Hope you enjoy!
- Miss Audrey

Big Bad Detective Agency by Bruce Hale
Chapter Book
Ages: 7 – 10
When the Three Little Pigs’ homes are wrecked, all eyes turn toward the traditional Suspect Number One: Wolfgang, otherwise known as the Big Bad Wolf, who swears he’s innocent. Prince Tyrone of Fairylandia gives him just one day to solve the crime. Short on time and desperate, Wolfgang grudgingly accepts the help of Ferkel, the fourth little pig, and off they go to interview other potential criminals. Was it Hansel and Gretel, known housebreakers? Cinderella, who used to date one of the pigs? Jack? Goldilocks? Or someone else altogether? This humorous story is a great crowd pleaser, appealing to anyone familiar with traditional fairy tale characters. Excellent for independent reading or for sharing out loud, it is highly recommended.

The Boulder Brothers: Meet Mo and Jo by Sarah Lynn
Ages: 5 – 8
Meet the caveboys! Mo and Jo are trying to solve some everyday problems: what smells so bad in their cave? How does one play hide-and-seek? How can they stay warm in cold weather? The boys’ silly solutions will tickle the funny bones of early elementary readers, and the easy-to-read cave-speak will make them giggle, too. The boys speak in simple word bubbles, while full-page illustrations and extra narration at the top of each page provide the details. Designed for kids ready to transition to chapter books, this should be a big hit with most young readers. Feel free to give it a try!

Detective Gordon: The First Case and Detective Gordon: A Complicated Case by Ulf Nilsson
Grades: 1 – 4
Detective Gordon, an elderly toad with a fondness for the simple things in life (cakes, warmth, tea), is famous throughout the forest for his police skills, but he’s not as young as he used to be. When an anxious squirrel shows up to report a missing cache of nuts, Gordon goes to investigate. During the stakeout, he encounters a young mouse, who he names Buffy. With his new, energetic, and quick-thinking protégé, he knows he’ll have the crime solved in no time. In the sequel, someone is saying nasty things in the forest. Can our intrepid duo stop the culprit? The charming illustrations match the plotlines perfectly. These appealing and entertaining mysteries – with clever twists at the end – are a good entry to beginning chapter books, and would also make a fun read-aloud. A good choice for fans of talking-animal books.

Dory Fantasmagory and Dory and the Real True Friend by Abby Hanlon
Chapter Book
Ages: 6 – 8
Dory’s older siblings call her Rascal for a reason. She wants nothing more than to play with her brother and sister, but they have drastically different ideas of fun and consider Dory a baby. In an effort to gain some peace from her wild imagination, the sibs tell Dory a story about Mrs. Gobble Gracker, who steals baby girls, inadvertently kicking off an even zanier flight of fancy. Dory immediately starts planning her defense against Mrs. Gobble Gracker, which includes everything from shooting darts at her to pretending to be a dog. Happily, her brother has always wanted a dog...has Dory finally found a way to play with her siblings? In the sequel, Dory faces her biggest challenge yet: School. Her brother and sister suggest she tone down some of her weirdness if she wants to make friends, but Dory would rather meet someone who likes her for herself, Rascally behavior and all. Perhaps the princess in her class would be interested. And what is Mrs. Gobble Gracker doing in the park? These stories are a hilarious romp from beginning to end, with fantastic drawings on every page and just the right kind of subversive tone to tickle most children’s funny bones. Read independently or shared, and prepare to laugh out loud.

Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny and Bunjitsu Bunny’s Best Move by John Himmelman
Chapter Book
Ages: 6 – 8 years
Isabel is the best Bunjitsu artist in her martial arts school. Not only does she hit the hardest, kick the highest, and throw people the farthest, she also knows when to use her techniques, and when to seek a more peaceful solution. Each chapter in these slim books is a short story in its own right, excellent for kids just starting to read longer works. The stories themselves are a perfect blend of humor and wisdom, often with surprising endings that will keep readers hooked until the end. A wonderful, quieter selection for any young reader.

The Princess in Black; The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party; and The Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Horde by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale
Ages: 5 – 8 years
Prim and proper Princess Magnolia has a secret: when her hidden Monster Alarm goes off, she transforms into the mighty, monster-fighting, Princess in Black! With her noble steed, Blackie, she races to the rescue of her kingdom’s goats, all while maintaining her secret identity. Whether she’s entertaining people at her castle or facing down hungry (monster) bunny hordes, this multi-tasking, super-hero princess has what it takes to save the day! The illustrations, by LeUyen Pham, just add to the fun. Extremely popular as a read aloud or independent read, try with your youngster before the next Monster Alarm!

 


Nonfiction Books We're Reading

Welcome to the first Off the Shelf post of 2016. This month, we are featuring a number of nonfiction books that we have been reading and enjoying. We hope you and your young readers like them, too! If you, or your young reader, have a nonfiction book that you would suggest to us, please feel free to send us an email at mnchild@wtcpl.org. Happy Reading!
– Ms. Amanda

Pink Is For Blobfish: Discovering the World's Perfectly Pink Animals
By Jess Keating
Ages: 5 – 8 years

This off-beat piece of non-fiction features 17 different animals with one thing in common – they are pink. There are insects, mammals, birds, reptiles, and more, each with their own two-page spread. In addition to excellent photos, each subject is treated to an explanation of why they are pink and a paragraph of other interesting information. A sidebar lists the animals’ names, sizes, diets, habitats, and predators and threats. This is a highly browsable, interesting, informative book, sure to catch peoples’ eyes: a budding zoologist’s delight! (Review by Miss Audrey)

Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet
by Buzz Aldrin with Marianne J. Dyson
Ages: 8 years and up

Have you ever wondered what it would take to colonize Mars? If so, then this is the book for you! Crammed with information regarding Martian geography, geology, history, and more, the authors break down sometimes quite challenging concepts for younger audiences. Occasional activities help illustrate some of these ideas, and the last couple chapters about what life for early colonists might be like on Mars capture the imagination. For any kid interested in exploring humankind’s final frontier, this book is exactly what they’ve been waiting for. (Review by Miss Audrey)

A Year Without Mom
By Dasha Tolstikova
Ages: 10 years and up

Life for twelve year old Dasha is complicated enough, but then her mother travels to America for a year to study at graduate school. Dasha Tostikova’s graphic memoir is set in the early 1990s in Moscow. While her mother is in America, Dasha lives with her grandparents. This year spent without her mother is tumultuous, with crushes, difficult friendships, and school issues. Then things get even more complicated when her mother returns with the news that Dasha will be joining her in America. Tolstikova’s quirky artwork perfectly complements her life’s story. Hand this memoir to any middle grader that enjoys realistic fiction or biographies. (Review by Ms. Amanda)

When the Slave Esperanca Garcia Wrote a Letter
By Sonia Rosa; Illust. by Luciana Justiniani Hees
Ages: 8 years and up

This is the fictionalized account of Esperanca Garcia, a slave living in Brazil in the late half of the 18th century. For the first half of her life, she was owned by Jesuit priests and worked on a farm. She had a husband and 4 children. She was taught religion and to read and write, a highly unusual thing to be taught a slave. Suddenly, she and her two youngest children were sold to another owner. The new owner was much more violent and abusive then the Jesuit priests (not that being a slave for anyone is a happy life to have, the book is quick to point out). Esperanca Garcia decided to write to a governor complaining of her treatment. It is for this act of bravery and defiance that Garcia is celebrated today. This book is a powerful introduction to a little known figure in the history of slavery in the Americas. (Review by Ms. Amanda)

Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled All of France
By Mara Rockliff; Illust. by Iacopo Bruno
Ages: 8 – 11 years

Dr. Mesmer and his iron wand were all the rage in France when Ben Franklin arrived in 1776. Dr. Mesmer claimed to be able to cure illnesses and control the mind, all, of course, for nice sums of money. Franklin, using the scientific method, disproved this charlatan and his ability to mesmerize. An interesting anecdote in the vast and varied life of the extraordinary Ben Franklin, this book also serves as a top notch introduction to the scientific method. Bruno’s illustrations are quirky, highly stylized, and thoroughly enjoyable. (Review by Ms. Amanda)

Creaturepedia: Welcome to the Greatest Show on Earth
By Adrienne Barman
Ages 5 and up

This collection of illustrated animals, in such wonderful categories as “The Show-offs,” “The Lilliputians,” “The Unlucky,” and “The Endangered” (in which every animals is teary-eyed), is a browser’s paradise. With very little text, these cartoony illustrations will be poured over by animal lovers, particularly reluctant readers. Silliness abounds in the illustrations. With over 200 pages of animals from around the world, this Creaturepedia has something for everyone! I, personally, can’t wait to take it home to share with my young animal-lover! (Review by Ms. Amanda)


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UPCOMING LIBRARY EVENTS


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

  11:00 AM Movin' & Groovin' @ Liberty
  1:00 PM Preschool Storytime @ Main
  2:00 PM - 4:00 PM Intro to Email @ Cortland
  4:30 PM - 6:00 AM Book Buddies @ Main
  6:00 PM Cortland Chocolate Challenge @ Cortland
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