Archive for December, 2017

Emily Carr University of Art + Design

Visit to Emily Carr University of Art + Design

We visited Emily Carr University of Art + Design at the weirdest possible time. They had closed their old campus on Grenville Island in preparation for their move to a new campus about a ten minute drive away.

Emily Carr University of Art + Design

Their new campus, however, wasn’t quite done yet. We walked to the old campus and drove by the new one. Read more…

Paul Revere House North End Boston

Paul Revere Museum in Boston

The Paul Revere House in the North End Italian section of Boston is a wonderful place to visit. It’s the oldest house in Downtown Boston and his colonial home during the time of the American Revolution.

Paul Revere House Boston Read more…

12 Wonderful Diversity Going to Bed Books & GIVEAWAY!

12 Wonderful Diversity Going to Bed Books & GIVEAWAY!

Please welcome author Carol Gordon Ekster today! She’s no stranger to bedtime stories, having written a few of her own. She shares her list of favorite diversity bedtime books and we are giving away a copy of her newest book, You Know What? Please use the Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter.

You Know What? by Carol Gordon Ekster, illustrated by Nynke Talsma 

Oliver should go to sleep. But there is so much he wants to tell his mother about: what happened that day at school, the things he read in books, everything he sees around him.
A touching and familiar picture book about (postponing) the ritual of going to sleep. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Diversity Going to Bed Books

Lala Salama: A Tanzanian Lullaby by Patricia MacLachlan, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon

This is a lovely lyrical and poetic read aloud. Beautiful language and soft gorgeous illustrations showing an African family’s love, make this a wonderful bedtime book to choose. [picture book, for ages 3 and up]

Flashlight Night by Matt Forrest Esenwine, illustrated by Fred Koehler

A lyrical poem uses a flashlight to shed light on the magic and wonder three children experience, one child being African American. At the end we see the children reading classics under a cover with a flashlight and understand that the books offered the adventures highlighted with gorgeous detail by the amazing artist, Fred Koehler. [picture book, for ages4 and up]

Imani’s Moon by JaNay Brown-Wood, illustrated by Hazel Mitchell

While this is not the typical bedtime story, it has dreams and sleeping, and lovely writing with beautiful illustrations with strong colors. I love that it teaches children to believe in themselves and not give into allowing others to make you feel badly. This takes place in Africa, showing another culture and meeting the needs for diverse books. [picture book, for ages 4 and up]

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My 2018 Newbery Predictions

My 2018 Newbery Predictions

The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

A Newbery Book Should Have Broad Age Appeal

There’s nothing worse, in my mind, with a Newbery winner that is too high such that only the most advanced elementary school readers can attempt it. The Westing Game is a good example of that for me. It won in 1978.

A Newbery Winner Does Not Have to be Middle Grade Chapter Book

Last’s year picture book surprise, Last Stop on Market Street, opened up the possibility that other genres are being seriously considered. Both Roller Girl and El Deafo took home Newbery Honor prizes too, putting graphic novels right in the hunt.

The Newbery Seeks Diversity?

Winning a Newbery does have a significant financial impact for an author which can not be underestimated. This award can affect what might get published in the future, showing that diversity books appeal to a broader audience than the characters they represent. Brown Girl Dreaming is a good example of that in showing the world that a girl about a brown girl would be read by non-brown girls.

p.s. My Caldecott/Newbery predictions are here: 2017201620152014, and 2013.

 

My 2018 Newbery Predictions

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

The only reason I suspect that this book won’t get Newbery recognition is because of previous honors via The One and Only Ivan which won in 2013. But this story is remarkable in its spareness that still conveys exquisite detail of multi-generations of intertwining stories as told by a special tree who has been rooted in place for centuries, assisting in the making of wishes come true. Applegate adds in an especially relevant theme of anti-Muslim bigotry which is a Very Important Message, pushing this book, at least for me, into Newbery recognition territory. It’s a kind of Charlotte’s Web meets [chapter book, ages 8 and up]

The Someday Birds by Sally J. Pla

Charlie has OCD and possibly also has Aspergers Syndrome. Accommodating his needs leads his crew on a cross country trip in search of birds in a circuitous path that finalizes at a hospital in Virginia caring for their brain damaged father. While Charlie’s siblings are on this trip — three siblings with their own strong personalities — it’s their caregiver, the mysterious Ludmila whose own backstory they discover throughout the course of their journey, that ties her, indirectly, to their father. And it’s during this adventure that includes meeting an assortment of people that pushes Charlie out of his usual routine and into a quest for both birds and a chance to meet a mysterious ornithologist that inspires him. Weaving these backstories together to such a satisfying ending is what makes this book Newbery caliber for me. It reminds me of Walk Two Moons and Moon Over Manifest, yet Pla manages to tie even more backstories together which is quite a feat. All the more remarkable that this is her debut book! [chapter book, ages 8 and up]

Read more…

Middle Grade Humor for Boys and 3 Signed Book GIVEAWAY!

Middle Grade Humor for Boys and 3 Signed Book GIVEAWAY!

Please welcome author Mark Maciejewski with a book list on how to get boys reading, even reluctant ones. His answer? Humor! It works! He wrote a hilarious book about a bald, middle school outcast and we are giving away three signed copies!

I Am Farticus by Mark Jaciejewski

Chub is a short, accidentally bald, middle school outcast with no chance of ever becoming one of the popular kids. With help from his personal band of like-minded misfits (not to mention tactics gleaned from the Colonel, a US military vet with toenail issues), Chub’s determined to bring down his nemesis, class hero and now potential class president, Archer, or the Arch—the very guy who betrayed Chub with the lice-killing potion that left him bald as a billiard ball. If the Arch gets to be president, Chub knows his life is officially over. [chapter book, ages 9 and up]

To enter to win, please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom.

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I love to laugh, especially when I read. Some of my best memories as a kid were of losing myself in a giggle fit over a book (usually, one I shouldn’t have been reading at that age.) Back then there simply weren’t a lot of books written directly to middle graders, and of the ones that were, few of them were funny. So I ended up reading a lot of humor meant for grown-ups, which may or may not have had a positive effect on my developing brain.

Today, however publishers have gotten smart. They realize that if you make a kid laugh, that kid will probably keep on reading. Nowadays there are tons of hilarious book written for the Middle Grade set. If you know a middle Grader who thinks reading is a bore, put one of these books in their hands, sit back and watch them crack up. You might just turn them into a reader, or God forbid, a writer.

 

Middle Grade Humor for Boys and Other Reluctant Readers

Pickle by Kim Baker

Pickle is about a prank club at Fountain Point Elementary School which is so secretive they operate a full scale pickle making club as a front for their operations. This book features a wonderful, diverse cast of characters who pull off one hilarious prank after another. I love Kim Baker’s comic touch and the way she creates a full cast of utterly unique characters, dealing with real life challenges, that any middle school reader will completely relate to. [chapter book, for ages 8 and up]

Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Cofer

Magic and Mobsters. Need I say more? Artemis Fowl is the son of an Irish crime lord who tricks a fairy into giving up her book of spells so he can use it for his own criminal enterprises. I love the way Colfer blends action, adventure, fantasy, and humor to make us root for a great Middle Grade anti-hero. I also hear there’s a movie in the works. Bonus! [chapter book series, for ages 8 and up]

I have a post on Eoin Colfer when I met him at the Mega Awesome Event.

Read more…

#ReadYourWorld Book Jam 2018 & 78 Book GIVEAWAY!

#ReadYourWorld Book Jam 2018 & 78 Book GIVEAWAY!

We at Multicultural Children’s Book Day are thrilled to announce our #ReadYourWorld Book Jam 2018 in partnership with Children’s Book Council! We have fifteen authors and illustrators presenting diversity book lists and giving away a total of 78 books!

Are you ready for the line up? Be sure to subscribe to the Multicultural Children’s Book Day blog to get every post!

Sign up – Find out about all of MCCBD’s author visits, event news and book giveaways!

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#ReadYourWorld Book Jam 2018

January 4, 2018

Gaia Cornwall

We will be giving away 3 copies of Jabari Jumps

Read more…

Bookstagram Choice Awards

Bookstagram Choice Awards: Early Chapter Book Series #OwnVoices

If you haven’t been following Here Wee Read‘s Bookstagram Choice Awards, she’s rounded up 20+ bloggers, each of whom has selected a single book to award.

Bookstagram Choice Awards

The books are on the Instagram account, @bookstagramchoiceawards, with one blogger posting per day and two bonus bloggers: Read more…

My 2017 Caldecott Predictions

My 2018 Caldecott Predictions

Last year, I speculated on the criteria that I think makes a picture book a Caldecott winner and I did pretty well predicting the winners with four of the five! This is what I wrote last year:

Caldecott Picture Books Should Appeal to a Wide Audience

The Caldecott is determined by adults, first and foremost, so the picture book has to appeal to adult sensibilities who then imagine this book for a young audience. I think this broad audience is also a fundamental characteristic for winning a Caldecott. In fact, the broader the better, both in age and in subject matter.

Caldecott Books Should Have a Timeless Appeal

I think the picture book to win a Caldecott should also be able to transcend the vagaries of time in terms of staying relevant far into the future. There’s nothing sadder than an old Caldecott picture book that no one reads anymore, like an anachronistic relic from the past, dug up in a dusty attic to be ridiculed that someone actually read this book and liked it a long, long time ago. That’s where the story comes into play.

Caldecott Books Seamlessly Combine Story with Illustrations

I think it’s easier said than done. The graphic design of the pages which is often in the hands of neither the author or illustrator can make or break a picture book.

Caldecott Books Should Be a Discovery?

This is the outlier point for me. I think a great Caldecott winner is a discovery for a well read audience. It’s easy to give the award over and over again to the likes of say … David Weisner, Jon Klassen, Marla Frazee and others, but isn’t even more exciting to put a lesser known illustrator front and center?

This year, I’m adding another criteria: Important Messages for Children.  I’m thinking that now, more than ever, picture books that impart an important message to kids is higher on the list than ever.

With these points in mind, this is my list for predicting the 2017 Caldecott. In order to make this list, I researched many mock Caldecott lists and posts which gave me 25 books. After reading all these books, I’ve narrowed it down. I’m also favoring Important Messages for Children as part of my selection process.

p.s. My Caldecott/Newbery predictions are here: 2017201620152014, and 2013.

My 2018 Caldecott Predictions

Most Likely to Win Caldecott

After The Fall by Dan Santat

My front runner is Dan Santat’s latest fractured fairy tale/growth-mindset picture book that is both clever and moving. It’s the ambiguous ending that seals the deal for me though. The genius of this story is taking something that is well known and finding a spin that is both inspiring, provocative, and cleverly original. The growth mindset message is right on target as well. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Rooting Hard For These

Grand Canyon by Jason Chin

There has been a lot of buzz about this non-fiction picture book all year and the genius of this book is how Jason Chin packs a lot of information in beautifully designed page spreads, making it easy to read and understand. The Grand Canyon is a big place to explore, but Chin takes the reader through a logical progression following the waterways and then climbing out of the gorge to the top. This is really an exceptional non-fiction book with every detail of earth science meets biology with a side of ecology is edited to perfection. [nonfiction picture book, ages 7 and up]

Mighty Moby by Ed Young and Barbara Lacosta

This picture book is a clever riff off Moby Dick with twists and turns. What is exceptionally clever is that the reader is required to turn the book sideways from page spread to page spread, which gives a sense of movement as if on a rollicking ship. The mixed media artwork is both realistically rendered but also a puzzle to solve. I feel like Ed Young is due for Caldecott recognition and I am hoping it happens for his through this book. [picture book, ages 6 and up]

Read more…

24 Wonderful Chinese Folk Tales for Kids

24 Wonderful Chinese Folk Tales for Kids

I grew up with just one Chinese Folk Tale picture book. I had a tattered copy of The Five Chinese Brothers with cartoon-like illustrations. It wasn’t my favorite book and so I didn’t realize how many more great Chinese Folk Tales were out there.

For my own children, I read them more Korean and Japanese Folk Tales than Chinese, and it is heartening to see how many great Chinese Folk Tales have been published since I was a child. We especially enjoyed The Empty Pot and created a book club event around the sequel, The Greatest Power.

What are your favorite Chinese Folk or Fairy Tales? Thanks for sharing!

p.s. More folktales:

Native American Folklore and Creation Stories by Native Americans

21 Wonderful Japanese Folk Tales for Kids

Hawaiian Folk Tales and Children’s Books

Filipino Folk Tales

24 Wonderful Chinese Folk Tales for Kids

The Rock Maiden by Natasha Yim, illustrated by Pirkko Vainio

Ling Lee lived in a fishing village in Hong Kong and fell in love with a kind, young fisherman. When he was lost at sea, she never gave up hope of her return, climbing to the top of a cliff overlooking the sea to watch for him. Her lonely figure was noticed by a god who turned her and her baby into stone. About a year later, her husband returns and discovers what has happened. Tin Hau, the patron god of fisherman, again intervenes, rewarding true love. Natasha Yim retells this folk tale with a happy ending. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

The Magic Horse of Han Gan by Chen Jiang Hong

Han Gan lived 1,200 years ago in China. He grew up impoverished, but because a great painter of horses. Chen Jiang Hong painted the illustrations using the same technique than Han Gan used. In this story, Han Gan’s talent is rumored to bring real horses to life through the images he paints. A warrior asked for such a horse to fight the enemy at the gates. Han Gan’s horse is invincible and the warrior, while on his back, can not be hurt, however, the warrior’s thirst for conquest, and saddens the horse. The horse finally throws the warrior off his back and runs off. When the warrior searches for the horse, returning to find Han Gan, he find that one of the paintings has a new addition … the warrior’s horse. [picture book, ages 5 and up]

Read more…