Tag Archives: Favorite books

Best Books of 2018 According to Me: Board and Picture Books

18 Dec

One of the things I’ve done for the past few years is offer, on facebook, to make suggestions of books for friends and family to purchase for the younger ones in their lives.* I’ve made suggestions for babies as young as 2 months up through YA, and I absolutely LOVE it. Seriously, sharing and recommending books is one of the absolute perks of being a children’s librarian. Not only do I get to READ these great books but then I get to TELL PEOPLE ABOUT THEM SO THEY CAN READ THEM TOO? Dreamy.

I’ve already made suggestions for those that asked for them, but I thought it might be helpful to make a post listing ALL of my faves for the year. You know, in case anyone still needs ideas. I’m totally not doing this for myself.**

So…drum roll….here are MY favorite board and picture books. Middle grade, graphic novels, and YA coming in separate posts!:

BOARD BOOKS 

(Babies – Toddlers. Not all board books are created equal; ask me if you  need specific age recommendations!)

Here, George by Sandra Boynton, illus. by George Booth (yes, of New Yorker Cartoon fame)

This book is so sweet and simple. George moves hardly at all, but his sentiment comes through. And the ending? Perfection.

Huggy the Python Hugs Too Hard (Wee Beasties) Cover Huggy the Python Hugs Too Hard/Roary the Lion Roars Too Loud (Wee Beasties Series) by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Alex G. Griffiths

A little social/emotional learning for the youngest set, with delightful line drawings. Can you show Huggy how to be gentle?

PICTURE BOOKS

Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse by Marcy Campbell, illustrated by Corinna Luykin

Adrian Simcox is telling everyone he has a horse – but Chloe knows that’s just not possible. She gets angrier and angrier at him for lying, until something changes her mind. The illustrations are the star of this story – filling each page with color and texture.

 

Baby Goes to Market by Atinuke, illustrated by Angela Brooksbank

Early math! As baby rides on mama’s back all around the market, he is given treats by various vendors. He eats one, but puts the rest in the basket on mama’s head. How many are left? The brightly colored illustrations effectively portray the energy and happiness of the market.

 

Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin

Little Star loves baking mooncakes with mama. But she musn’t eat them yet! What happens when Little Star just can’t resist a nibble? This original tale reads like a folktale and explains the phases of the moon.

 

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael López

Beautifully illustrated story about how we all begin feeling alone and different, but sharing our stories may bring us together. A perfect book to share with someone starting a new school.

 

Drawn Together by Minh Le, illustrated by Dan Santat

A boy and his grandfather, who speak different languages, find a common language: drawing. The illustrations start in two distinct styles that eventually merge!

 

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

Morales tells the story of her own arrival in the United States with her young son. They faced much uncertainty but brought their dreams and strength with them. Soon, the library and the many wonderful stories it contained helped them feel at home. Gorgeously illustrated with found objects which tell as much of a story as the words, this book will find a place in your heart.

 

Giraffe Problems by Jory John, illustrated by Lane Smith

Beginning with the sentence “I feel bad about my neck” (a nod to Nora Ephron?) giraffe laments the many challenges he faces. A turtle tries to convince him of the benefits of having a giraffe neck. This companion to Penguin Problems is laugh-out-loud funny and must be read aloud.

 

Fox and Chick: The party and other stories by Sergio Ruzzier

Fox and chick are different, but they are friends. New readers will enjoy their (well, mostly chick’s) silly antics, told in a series of short vignettes. Sure to make you smile!

 

How to Be a Lion by Ed Vere

This British import features the ‘King of the Jungle’ musing on what it means to be a lion. MUST he be fierce? MUST he roar? His friend Marianne, a duck, helps him figure it all out. Vere’s thick-lined illustrations and limited palette set the right tone.

 

I’m Sad by Michael Ian Black, illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

What if, sometimes, we’re sad for no reason? In this story, a girl and her friend potato (yes, I said potato) try to cheer up their friend flamingo (yes, I said flamingo). While flamingo is grateful for his friends’ efforts, he still feels sad. And that’s okay. This silly yet sweet story validates a child’s feelings.

 

Mad, Mad Bear by Kimberly Gee

Perfectly representing and acknowledging a toddler’s anger at having to leave the park when he’s not ready. Bear is SO mad, but after a bit of time being mad, he feels better. As Mr. Roger’s said, it’s good for kids to learn that feelings don’t last forever. You won’t ALWAYS be mad.

 

Niblet and Ralph by Zachariah O’Hora

Niblet and Ralph are two cats who look very much alike and are friends, but also are, in fact, quite different. When, on an attempt to visit each other, they get mixed up, their people know right away that something isn’t right. Will this mix-up get fixed? O’Hora’s retro art style fills me with happiness. Also, the next cat I get will be named Niblet BECAUSE.

 

Penguin and Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime by Cate Berry illustrated by Charles Santoso

I’ve already shared this in storytime a couple of times and it’s a winner. Penguin and Tiny Shrimp (see? It’s already funny) try a number of stall tactics to convince the reader it’s not time for bed. The illustrations are filled with silly details that will demand multiple readings.

 

The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld

When Taylor’s blocks are knocked over, they are sad and mad. Lots of animals suggest ways to feel better, but none of them suit. The rabbit? The rabbit just…listens. And this turns out to be just what Taylor needs. A beautiful sweet validation of feelings.

 

Thank You, Omu by Oge Mora

The scent of Omu’s stew draws everyone in the neighborhood to her home, and she gives them all a taste. But soon there’s nothing left! The cut-paper illustrations add to the story’s warmth. This tale of generosity and friendship will make your heart smile. And want to eat stew.

 

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

Starting school is HARD – especially if you are a little dinosaur in a class full of humans! This little dino is learning how to make friends, and that includes NOT snacking on her classmates. How would she feel if someone wanted to eat her? This is easily one of the funniest, and best, early-elementary-appropriate first-day-of-school picture books out there.

Stay tuned for my middle grade, graphic novel, and YA faves!

*I absolutely can’t take credit for this idea; I stole it from one of my many genius children’s librarian friends.

**I am 1000% doing this for myself. I. LOVE. BOOKS!

Flannel Friday! Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons

25 May

It’s no secret that I LUUURRRRVVEEEE Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin and illustrated by James Dean. I loved the first book, liked the second book, and now am in love again with Pete’s latest adventure. And I was inspired to make a flannel out of it.

Here’s Pete wearing his favorite shirt with its 4 groovy buttons. I photocopied a page from the book to use as my template:

One by one, each of the buttons pops off and rolls away. Does Pete cry? “Goodness no! Buttons come, and buttons go.” When all of the buttons are gone, Pete discovers he still has 1 button left: his belly button!

Here he’s showing it off, along with the 4 buttons. Each button is 2 layers of felt with a tiny bit of velcro attached to the back to keep it on the shirt (but not pull on the felt too much). The shirt is glued down only on the outside edges, so it can be pulled open to reveal his belly button.:

Finally, I also made a set of numbers so that we can count down how many buttons he has left, and as a visual clue for when we sing: “My buttons, my buttons, my 4 groovy buttons!”

Go Pete!

The roundup today will be hosted by Melissa at Mel’s Desk.  Check there later to see all of this week’s flannels! For more information about Flannel Friday, visit our website. To see all past flannels (its a lot of flannels!) click on the icon to the right to see our pinterest page.

Happy flanneling! It’s all good!

Happy Book Birthday to Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons!

1 May

I am in possession of a copy of this book RIGHT NOW and I can’t TELL you how excited I am. It’s wonderful! A good match for the first book. And the colors are bright and glorious. Plus there’s a very catchy chant:

I do NOT apologize for getting that stuck in your head. “My buttons, my buttons…”

Pete the Cat Visits the Library!

15 Aug

A few months ago, Pete the Cat visited my library. Of course, I decided to document his visit, as he’s such a celebrity around here. I think he had fun, but you be the judge.

He started by checking out the picture book collection. of course, his story was checked out:

He did find another book about cats he thought he’d like to read, though (the lovely blue cover caught his eye): Vivianne Schwarz’s There Are No Cats In This Book.

No cats IN the book, but one cat ON it! Ba-dum-dum!

 

He went to check it out but had a little trouble with the self-check; luckily a friendly staff person was ready to help:

No, Pete, I don't think that's where the RFID tag is.

Next, he went to try out the internet. Those cordless mice are tricky!

Especially when you don't have clicking fingers

Needless to say, he went right to his favorite website:

It's PetetheCat.com!

He also checked out StoryBlocks, and learned a few new songs:

It was time for me to head off to a preschool for storytime, so Pete decided he wanted to go along and be the special guest star:

Pete ALWAYS wears his seat belt

Here he’s relaxing in the book bag, waiting for his surprise appearance!

When he got back to the library he was a bit hungry, so he checked out what was in the vending machine (sadly, no goldfish crackers, but there was a can of tuna salad):

Luckily, someone had left a bag of chocolate truffles unattended:

After renewing his strength with a snack, he ran into a few friends:

Frog and Toad:

(Pete can't remember which one's Frog and which one's Toad)

Tacky the Penguin:

Lookin' good there, Tacky!

And Splat the Cat:

And he made some new friends!:

Pete phone home?

He did a little more exploring around the work rooms of the library, and was almost shipped to another branch when he fell into a delivery tub! Better be more careful, Pete!:

What a busy day! Pete had such fun at the library, but it was time to head home. But not before one last look at the books!

Err...one last pose on the books?

Thanks for stopping by, Pete! We enjoyed having you! You were rockin’ (in your school shoes)!

Sometimes it just takes One.

20 Oct

I want to share a story with you. When I was in 6th grade, I was a geeky, gangly kid who read a lot, had unruly red hair, and did well in school.  I remember one particular day walking to school, and as I crossed the playground a girl yelled at me from the other side. That girl’s name was Heather. I remember very specifically what Heather said to me: “Hey Mary, why are you so ugly?”

I was a bullied kid.  Not physically, and not so much that I didn’t want to go to school.  But enough so that by the time I was in 8th grade, I had pretty low self-esteem and was pretty shy.  Being smart was not cool, and while I had friends, I still didn’t feel very good about myself.  My parents worried about me, and, fortunately for me, took steps to help me, which included offering me the chance to go to a private school.  I was lucky.

I’ve come a long way since then.  I worry a lot less about what others (well, others that I don’t know) think of me.  I think I’ve figured out who I am and I really like the person I’ve become.   But I still think about what that girl said to me, and I still have some self-esteem issues.

Given some of the terrible, tragic events that have resulted from school

One by Kathryn Otoshi

bullying lately, I have been especially motivated to share a particular book with my preschoolers.  I wasn’t sure they’d be able to sit through it, as it’s kind of abstract, but the kids I’ve read it to have been transfixed.  It’s called One, and it’s by Kathryn Otoshi.

The premise of One is this: Blue is happy to be Blue – a quiet color, who likes looking at the sky, and occasionally, when he’s feeling bold, splashing in puddles.  The other colors, Yellow, Purple, Green and Orange, like Blue also, and tell him so. Sometimes, Blue wishes he had more of their traits, but mostly, he’s happy being Blue.

Except when he’s around Red. Red is “a hothead”. Red shouts things at Blue, like “Red is HOT. Blue is NOT.” This, obviously, makes Blue feel sad.  The other colors reassure him, but when Red is around, they do not stand up for him. They do not tell Red NO.

Then 1 arrives. 1 is bolder, and brave, and when Red tries to tell 1 what to do, 1 says NO. He refuses to let Red bully him.  This causes the other colors to become brave, and so, Yellow becomes 2, Green becomes 3, and so on.  It takes Blue a bit longer, but with a little more bullying from Red, Blue stands up for himself and says NO! He becomes 6.

Red feels left out. He tries to skulk away, but Blue sends out an olive branch, by saying “Can’t Red be hot, AND Blue be cool?”. Red becomes 7.

This is such a simple, yet powerful,  story about standing up for yourself, but also about standing up for others. While I’m not sure the kids got the WHOLE message, they did understand that Red was not being nice. They didn’t like his behavior.

Obviously it takes more than one story to stop bullying.  But I think that planting the seeds of tolerance and acceptance in preschool is a good thing. I’m trying to do my part.

Sometimes, it just takes 1.

Brand-new books the preschoolers (and I) like

16 Aug

In addition to Pete the Cat and Jump!, this summer I’ve been collecting fun newly-published (or just new to my library) books that I want to add to my storytimes this year.  It’s always fun to try out a new title on the preschoolers; sometimes (oftentimes) it works, and sometimes, to my surprise, it falls flat.  But I really enjoy sharing a book that I’ve just discovered and really love, and it makes it all the more sweet when the little guys like it too.  Here are some of my new faves:

  • Geringer, Laura.  Boom Boom Go Away. This one has a great refrain that the kids I read it to picked up on right away. They always came in on the “go away!”  Lots of sounds to make, which reinforces phonological awareness.
  • Hendra, Sue.  Barry, the Fish With Fingers. Okay, so maybe here in the U.S. we don’t call fish sticks “fish fingers”.  But that doesn’t make this book any less silly.  After you read it, you can talk about things we can do with our fingers.  And things we probably shouldn’t (*cough* sticking them in your nose *cough*).

    Wiggle those fish fingers!

  • Doodler, Todd H.  Animal Soup. Take a squirrel, cross it with a whale, and what do you get? A SQUALE, of course! This pictures are the best part of this book, although this book can be used for print awareness: I run my fingers under the words squirrel, whale, and squale to show the kids what I was reading.
  • Silly daddy!

    Shea, Bob. Oh, Daddy! Daddy can’t do anything himself, like get dressed, get in the car, or hug. His little hippo has to show him every time. Oh, daddy!  Can’t wait to see Shea’s Dinosaur vs. the Potty, too – it’s coming out in September!

  • Thomson, Bill.  Chalk. Okay, so I’m not yet sure how this is going to play in storytime as I haven’t used it yet. And it has NO WORDS. This will be a great one for narrative/storytelling kids as I hope to have the preschoolers tell me what’s happening rather than me reading the story.  I’ll let you know how it goes. I CAN say, for sure, that this one will be GREAT for one-on-one sharing.
  • Bloom, Suzanne.  What About Bear? Bear and Goose. Such good friends. In fact, you could say they are splendid friends, indeed.  But what happens when tiny Fox enters the scene, and deems bear too big, too grumpy, and too far away to play with? Will Goose abandon his old friend in favor of a new one? Read it and find out! And if the picture of little Fox hiding behind his tail doesn’t make you go “awwwww”, then, well, I don’t know what’s wrong with you.

    Mem Fox! Jan Thomas!

  • Fox, Mem. Let’s Count Goats. Okay, so I’m cheating a little here. I haven’t actually seen this one, so I don’t really know ifI like it yet. But, given the factors involved (Mem Fox, illustrator Jan Thomas, goats!?), I can predict that I will probably LOVE it.  And since the preschoolers have always reacted well to both Fox and Thomas (haven’t tested goats on them), I can be pretty sure they will love it too.

Which books are you looking forward to sharing? I polled some fellow librarians on twitter, and these are the titles they shared: How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills (looks cute to me!), Amelia Bedelia’s First Apple Pie by Herman Parish,  City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems, and Ladybug Girl by Jacky Davis.

And the Caldecott goes to: In my completely uneducated, non-humble opinion

21 Dec

Children’s book award season will soon be upon us.  On January 18, 2010, librarians, authors, and children’s literature enthusiasts will be glued to their computers (those of us not lucky enough to attend the announcements in person) to find out the winners of the Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, Coretta Scott King, Pura Belpré and other youth media awards bestowed by the American Library Association.  As I am both a librarian and an enthusiast, I thought I would share with you my completely non-scientific, uneducated, random, gut-feeling picks for two of the awards:

When You Reach Me

  • Newbery Medal:  Stead, Rebecca.  When You Reach Me.  I would have LOVED this book as a girl.  As an adult, I loved it.  Miranda, a New York City 6th grader, relates certain incidents in her life after being asked to do so in four strange anonymous notes.  Who’s sent the notes, why do they want her to write a letter, and why does this person know things about Miranda’s life, her friends, and the future?  The story is like nothing I’ve ever read before, and yet, I felt something warm and familiar about the characters and story.  Confusing, heartwarming, realistic and fantastical all at the same time.  Read it, and see if you can figure it out.

The Lion and The Mouse

  • Caldecott Medal:  Pinkney, Jerry.  The Lion and the Mouse.  In a nearly wordless picture book, Pinkney retells the Aesop’s fable about a mouse who returns a lion’s favor when the lion finds himself trapped in a net.  The gorgeous watercolor illustrations give us all the information we need without words, and as the Caldecott medal is all about the illustrations, this one should be a shoe-in for at least an honor.  It’s simply a beautiful book, one of those that you’d buy for your kids and hang on to for years, even after they’ve long grown up.  It’s a share-with-your-grandkids kind of book (which I will share with mine, if I ever have any).  Oh, and as there are so few words, it’s a great one for a child to “read” to an adult (hello, narrative skills!).

I’m often completely off base, nor have I read all of the books that are getting awards buzz, so by no means should you go to Vegas put any wagers on my picks.  This is just what I liked best.  What are your picks?  I didn’t do the Printz because I haven’t read enough YA (I’m still waiting on my copy of Catching Fire), but I’d be interested to hear what you think!

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