All posts in Award Winning Books for Kids

Caldecott and Newbery 2016 Predictions

Caldecott and Newbery 2016 Predictions

This is my third year judging for the Cybils and I don’t dare compare it to the Caldecott or Newbery awards but I wonder if there is the same dynamic that we have in deciding a winner. For the Cybils, we work off of a short list that is presented to us by first round judges so there is a set number of books to consider but only one winner. A few of the books in each category, I’ve noticed, get a strong reaction that’s either love or hate. Thus a compromise situation is necessary so there’s always a book that everyone likes though it might have also made everyone’s second tier. But  this book is the book that tends to win.

I can see how picture books that win a Caldecott honor or award need to appeal to a young audience of 4 and older. Picture books that a four-year-old can not grasp might be eliminated and I can understand that but that might be why a picture book as gorgeously illustrated as Bird by Beatriz Martin Vidal might not win or even find its audience. Read more…

My Top 10 Banned Books for Kids

Top 10 Must Read Banned Books for Kids

Censorship makes me angry (but many things do) and it tends to make me go on the offensive. Instead of my diatribe, I found some words of wisdom by authors on how to handle censorship.

Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance.

Most of the censorship I see is fear-driven. I respect that. The world is a very scary place. It is a terrifying place in which to raise children, and in particular, teenagers. It is human nature to nurture and protect children as they grow into adulthood. But censoring books that deal with difficult, adolescent issues does not protect anyone. Quite the opposite. It leaves kids in darkness and makes them vulnerable.

from author Laurie Halse Anderson in the back notes of Speak

banned books for banned book week

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Top 10 Hispanic American Heritage Books For Kids

Top 10 Hispanic American Heritage Books For Kids

I was confused on the nomenclature of Hispanic American versus Latino American so I looked it up:

Hispanic: a person of Latin American or Iberian ancestry, fluent in Spanish. It is primarily used along the Eastern seaboard, and favored by those of Caribbean and South American ancestry or origin.  English or Spanish can be their “native” language.

Latino: a U.S.-born Hispanic who is not fluent in Spanish and is engaged in social empowerment through Identity Politics. “Latino” is principally used west of the Mississippi, where it has displaced “Chicano” and “Mexican American.” English is probably their “native” language. “Empowerment” refers to increasing the political, social, and spiritual strength of an individual or a community, and it is associated with the development of confidence of that individual or community in their own abilities.

A simple way of remembering the difference is this: though every Latino is a Hispanic, not every Hispanic is a Latino. Hispanic is the more inclusive term.

from Hispanic Economics

And now I’m ready to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with some of my favorite books for kids! How about you? What books am I missing? Thanks for sharing!

National Hispanic Heritage Month is the period from September 15 to October 15 in the United States, when people recognize the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States and celebrate the group’s heritage and culture.

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Top 20 Classic Books for Kids

Top 20 Classic Books for Kids #LoveThriftBooks

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For summer reading with your kids, why not stock up on Must Read classics especially when they are at bargain prices through Thrift Books? What’s the deal, you ask? Thank you for asking!

Any title marked with a DEAL tag on the detail page is priced:

  • 2 books for $7.00
  • 3 books for $10.00
  • 4 books for $12.00
  • each additional is $3.00

At these great prices, it’s easy to find fifteen twenty classic books for kids. These are the books I would buy even if it’s a few years before my kids can read them. Because at these prices, who can resist?! I can’t!!  Here are my picks! Read more…

16 Great Diversity Graphic Novels for Kids and Teens

16 Great Diversity Graphic Novels for Kids and Teens

Graphic novels are my secret weapon to get any kid reading. My recent discovery is that there are also multicultural, diversity and inclusive graphic novels that bring kids into different perspectives like what it’s like to have hearing loss or go through a civil war. Graphic novels also let us experience new worlds, both present, past and future. And it’s the illustrations that tell part of the story with a low word count. It’s actually this inferencing … getting the story from both the words and the pictures that make graphic novels a valuable reading comprehension tool for learning.

So there you have it. Kids love to read graphic novels. It’s fun for them. They don’t realize how much they are learning by reading the story from both the images and words, especially the reluctant readers. And they can get a wealth of experiences by reading multicultural/diversity/inclusive stories.

I’m not telling kids about the educational benefits. You shouldn’t either. Shh!!! Let’s just keep them in front of our kids! Read more…

Poetry in Sports Books for Kids and the Kid Lit Blog Hop

Poetry in Sports Books for Kids and the Kid Lit Blog Hop

My son has a poet in residence for fourth grade. For three sessions, he’s learning to write poetry. There’s even homework assignments that he agonizes over. He’s had a poetry unit every year — in 2nd grade, he wrote a color poem based on Mary O’Neill, but this is the first year that the poetry seems to flow out of him. To encourage the poet inside him, I’m introducing books about sports that use poetry to tell the story.

Hoops by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Stephen T. Johnson

The ball

like a piece

of the thin long reach

of your body.

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Five Amazing Diversity Read Aloud Books for All Ages

Five Amazing Diversity Read Aloud Books for All Ages & Kid Lit Blog Hop

It was such a challenge to entertain all three of my kids with just one book when they were smaller given their age differences. When my oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei, was in first grade, age 6 with younger siblings clocking in at 4 and 2, I read them all piles of picture books. That worked really well in terms of content, but we could read 10 picture books in one sitting so I was going to the library three times a week, searching for the “good books.”

Another approach which I wish I had thought of is to read a gentle chapter book to all. I compiled a separate list for girls and boys, but, upon reflection, wanted a list to share of diversity/multicultural/inclusive chapter books that would also work for kids ages 6 and up. The plot must be riveting but the action not too scary or confusing. Read more…

Top 10 Multicultural Picture Books on Bullying

Top 10 Multicultural Picture Books on Bullying

My boxing friend Mark has an idea for a reality tv show that is both of our fantasies-come-true. The show would set up you and your bully in a boxing ring. It would be a real fight with a set date so that you could train, a pre-determined number of rounds and a referee. Of course, your bully opponent might not have been training for a fight for years … and that’s what makes this a fantasy! In reality, it would probably be depressing to fight those middle school bullies thirty plus years later (though putting up a good fight would earn my respect of my bully tormentor).

My kids have each had a few incidences of bullying over their short life. It was nothing too momentous, especially by my childhood standards. It’s no longer politically correct to solve conflict through physical fights (my boxing trainer laments; he’s pretty old school) and anti-bullying training in school with greater awareness by teachers has made bullying less blatant. It still exists though … and the rise of cyberbullying probably is one result of not letting kids solve conflicts through physical fighting. I suspect there is an innate primal drive for humans, much like wolf packs or chickens, to assert pecking order in order to establish an alpha leader and perhaps bullying is one negative outcome of that impulse. Read more…

5 Amazing Multicultural Novels in Verse and the Kid Lit Blog Hop

5 Amazing Multicultural Novels in Verse and the Kid Lit Blog Hop

It’s been such a great year for those who love both multicultural/diversity/inclusive books for kids AND novels in verse! I picked five amazing favorites that I’ve loved from this past year and hope that the popularity of these books will encourage more diversity books to be published!

What are your favorite novels in verse? Please share! Thanks!

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