Tuesday, November 24, 2015

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Night World

Night World
by Mordicai Gerstein
Little, Brown (June 2015)
Picture Book


Sylvie the cat persuades her boy to go into the darkness very late at night, where they are greeted by the shadows of roses and other flowers, and by nocturnal animals who whisper, "it's almost here." 

Why You'll Love It:
  •  This book will stand the test of repeated readings. The illustrations are full of seek-and-find elements that will have readers looking through the book again and again.
  • Bedtime stories are perennial favorites, but this celebration of sunrise adds a new twist: could work as both a morning and nighttime read.
  • Educators will see numerous science curriculum tie-ins here: animal behavior; concepts of day, night, and dawn.

Who Should Read It:

Great for PreK-2nd graders.

What Else You Should Read:


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Welcome to Mars

Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet
by Buzz Aldrin & Marianne Dyson
National Geographic (Sep. 1, 2015)


Astronaut Buzz Aldrin challenges curious kids to think about Mars as not just a faraway red planet but as a possible future home for Earthlings! What will your new home be like? How will you get there? What will you eat for breakfast? 

Why You'll Love It:
  •  Besides being a living legend in the aerospace field, Aldrin isn't new to writing children's books -- check out one of his other successful writing ventures below in the "What Else You Should Read" section.
  • The book contains a topographical map of Mars as well as a description of tools you'd need on Mars in order to explore.
  • The book incorporates real photography and digital illustrations throughout and they enhance but never overwhelm the enthusiastic writing.
Who Should Read It:

Great for grades 4-7...and here's the educator's guide!

What Else You Should Read: 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Koala Hospital

Koala Hospital
by Suzi Eszterhas
Owlkids, October 13, 2015


Koala Hospital features a koala rescue center in Australia. It shows why koalas are in danger, how they come to be in the sanctuary, and the process of healing and rehabilitating koalas for return to the wild. Koala Hospital also focuses on the people who work at the rescue center and how they aid the animals. 

Why You'll Love It:
  • Topic-specific spreads make it easy for kids to dip in and out of the book, but they will likely read it from cover to cover. Interesting facts are incorporated throughout, even in the back matter. For example, koalas are one of the few mammals besides primates that have fingerprints; and “the word 'koala’ comes from an old Aboriginal word meaning 'no drink.’” (Koalas get moisture from their meals of eucalyptus leaves. While the leaves are poisonous to most animals, “koalas have a special digestive system that can break down the toxins”—though they sleep eighteen hours a day to recover from this hard work!)
  • Readers will enjoy learning about how hospital staff and volunteers care for the animals. For instance, a laundry basket creates a small space “like a nest that keeps koalas contained while making them feel safe,” and “a healthy joey will go to a human foster mother and live in her house full time.”
  • The cute marsupials practically pop off the page. Each spread features at least two photos, one of which usually fills a full page or bleeds across the gutter. Many are close-ups, while others show koalas in the hospital setting, with their foster mothers, or in their natural environment. Some especially endearing images include a joey dribbling milk during a feeding, a koala cuddling with a stuffed likeness of itself, and a marsupial snoozing high among tree branches.

Who Should Read It:

Great for grades 2-5...and here's the koala hospital's website!

What Else You Should Read:

Saturday, October 31, 2015


Just had to share these gems from yesterday at school!

The kindergarten team channeling Pete the Cat.

Our art teacher helped out too...

Camilla Cream!

 Then Harry showed up...that's me in the Slytherin hat. Represent.


What they're (really) reading: October 2015

photo by Toby Neal

By keeping a pulse on what my kiddos are checking out and keeping a close eye on which books are circulating heavily, I feel that I can spend the small budget I have more wisely by choosing books I know will have a greater likelihood of circulating widely.

Each month I'll feature a few fiction and a few nonfiction books that are on the "heavy rotation" list at our elementary library. They're not necessarily new, shiny, or covered with awards -- they're just what the kids want.

This Month's Selections:

Never Smile at a Monkey
by Steve Jenkins
Informational Picture Book

An illustrated discussion of what not to do around various dangerous animals, with warnings about petting a platypus, touching a tang fish, or pulling a python's tail.

Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum
by Meghan McCarthy
Informational Picture Book

Gum. It's been around for centuries—from the ancient Greeks to the American Indians, everyone's chewed it. But the best kind of gum—bubble gum!—wasn't invented until 1928, when an enterprising young accountant at Fleer Gum and Candy used his spare time to experiment with different recipes.

Penguin and Pumpkin 
by Salina Yoon
Picture book

Curious about what fall is like in places that are not always white, Penguin and his friends go to a pumpkin farm and bring back a surprise for Penguin's brother, Pumpkin, who couldn't come with them.

Pumpkin Trouble
by Jan Thomas
Picture book

When Duck decides to make a jack-o-lantern, he and his friends Pig and Mouse are in for a scary adventure.

by Neil Gaiman
Chapter book

Looking for excitement, Coraline ventures through a mysterious door into a world that is similar, yet disturbingly different from her own, where she must challenge a gruesome entity in order to save herself, her parents, and the souls of three others.

No Talking
by Andrew Clements
Chapter Book

The noisy fifth grade boys of Laketon Elementary School challenge the equally loud fifth grade girls to a "no talking" contest.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Fright Club

Fright Club
by Ethan Long
Bloomsbury (August 11, 2015)
Picture Book


Each year, on Halloween eve, Fright Club meets to go over their plan: Operation Kiddie Scare. Only the scariest of monsters can join Fright Club-Vladimir the Vampire, Fran K. Stein, Sandy Witch, and Virginia Wolf have all made the cut. They've been practicing their ghoulish faces, their scary moves, and their chilling sounds. But when a band of cute little critters comes along asking to join in the fun, the members of Fright Club will find out who really is the scariest of all!

Why You'll Love It:
  • I read this to a few classes one day last week and the book immediately had a hold list. 'Nuff said.
  • The monsters make pathetic attempts at ghoulish faces and goofy dance moves. Kids will enjoy laughing at the delightfully not scary creatures, especially when the Fright Club is shown up by the cute little animals.
  • Punchy dialogue and a range of characters offer opportunities for lively read alouds: “Awwwwwww, look! An adorable little bunny!” coos Vladimir, a vampire.
  • Ethan Long’s illustrations, primarily in moody gray tones with washes of color, will appeal to those looking for a spooky book, while the humorous details, such as the bunny’s innocent, wide eyes, will make readers giggle. 

Who Should Read It:

Great for PreK-2, but even some of my fourth graders said it caught their eye on the bookshelf and requested it...also, here's the book trailer.

What Else You Should Read: