Thursday, August 27, 2015

What They're (Really) Reading: August 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:

Michael Jackson (Big Buddy Biographies)
by Sarah Tieck

Highlights the life and career of Michael Jackson, discussing his family, childhood, success while singing in the Jackson 5, solo career, and other related topics.

Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World
by Steve Jenkins

Profiles a series of animals with unusual eyes, and explains how such animals use their uniquely evolved eyes to gain essential information about the biological world. It makes me so giddy that kiddos continue to love Steve Jenkins' fabulous books.

An Amazing Snowman (Frozen)
by Barbara Jean Hicks
Picture Book

Featuring Olaf, the happy-go-lucky comic relief of Disney's Frozen, this humorous tale of what it means to dream is told in verse and features charming illustrations. Frozen. Duh.

Sweet Tooth
by Margie Palatini
Picture Book

Stewart's loud, obnoxious sweet tooth constantly gets him into trouble, until Stewart uses a healthy diet to take control of the situation. This is absolutely hands down my favorite book to read aloud.

The Mouse With the Question Mark Tail
by Richard Peck
Chapter Book

A very small mouse of unknown origins runs away from school in the Royal Mews of Buckingham Palace shortly before the celebration of Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee, celebrating her sixty years on the British throne. Ah, the power of booktalking...

Splendors and Glooms
by Laura Amy Schlitz
Chapter Book

When Clara vanishes after the puppeteer Grisini and two orphaned assistants were at her twelfth birthday party, suspicion of kidnapping chases the trio away from London and soon the two orphans are caught in a trap set by Grisini's ancient rival, a witch with a deadly inheritance to shed before it is too late.


Saturday, August 22, 2015

This Librarian's Quick Picks: The Day the Crayons Came Home

The Day the Crayons Came Home
by Drew Daywalt
illustrations by Oliver Jeffers
Philomel Books (August 18, 2015)
Picture Book


In this sequel to the fabulous The Day the Crayons Quit, instead of letters, Duncan receives a stack of postcards from crayons that have been misplaced or maligned, or are ready for adventure.

Why You'll Love It:
  •  Oh happy day, another book featuring the crayons! There's so much you can do with this book as a mentor text, just like its predecessor. This time the mode of writing is postcards instead of letters, but it's still a great model for writer's workshop. 
  • One of the pages glows in the dark. Nuff said...
  • These postcards are sure to please the kiddos. Each crayon is in need of some sort of help: for example, the tan crayon was eaten by a dog and puked back up. Sure to entertain any young reading audience (and most older ones, too).
Who Should Read It:

Great for grades 1-4...and don't forget to check out the website that goes along with the Crayon books!

What Else You Should Read:


Saturday, August 8, 2015

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Dory and the Real True Friend

Dory and the Real True Friend
by Abby Hanlon
Dial Books (July 7, 2015)
Early Chapter Book


Dory, a highly imaginative youngest child, makes a new friend at school but her brother and sister are sure Rosabelle is imaginary, just like all of Dory's other friends. 

Why You'll Love It:
  • Dory’s lively first-person narrative is illustrated with similarly expressive line drawings, which take up about as much space as the text in this appealing early chapter book.
  • The humor and familiar school setting will invite new fans. Old friends and new will hope this highly successful sequel will not be the last starring this inventive, original child.
  • Fans of Annie Barrows's "Ivy and Bean", Barbara Park's "Junie B. Jones", and books with a little bit of humor and fantasy mixed into a school setting will enjoy reading this second installment in the "Dory" series.  

Who Should Read It:

Great for grades 2-4.

What Else You Should Read:

Saturday, August 1, 2015

This Librarian's Quick Picks: First Grade Dropout

First Grade Dropout
by Audrey Vernick
illustrations by Matthew Cordell
Clarion Books (July 7, 2015)
Picture Book


Everyone laughs when a boy does something embarrassing in class. He considers his options: magic, time travel, disguise. Or maybe he can just quit school. . . . 

Why You'll Love It:
  •  Readers will sympathize with this first grader as he describes being laughed at by a “big marching band“ of classmates (including his best friend!) after he accidentally calls his teacher “Mommy.“
  • From the opening lines, the narrator’s voice stands out (“I’ve been lots of things. Hungry. Four years old. Crazy-bored. Soaking wet.“) and makes for an amusing read. For example, after he decides he has no choice but to drop out of school, he says, “It’ll be fine. I’ll stay at home for a bunch of years, no big deal, work on my jump shot, and maybe when I’m a teenager, I’ll get a job.“
  • The story concludes in an entertaining and satisfying way: at soccer (the first grader is ready to drop out of that, too), his best friend, Tyler, doesn’t remember—or care about—the narrator’s mistake earlier in the day. And then Tyler makes his own verbal faux pas, providing some gentle and valuable perspective.

Who Should Read It:

Great for K-grade 2.

What Else You Should Read: 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Woodpecker Wham!

Woodpecker Wham!
by April Pulley Sayre
illustrated by Steve Jenkins
Henry Holt (May 12, 2015)
Informational Picture Book


Enter woodpecker world and get a bird's eye view of everyday life: hiding from hawks, feeding hungry chicks, and drilling holes to build homes. Woodpeckers are nature's home builders, creating holes that many other animals live in when the woodpeckers move on.

Why You'll Love It:
  •  As well as being a great scientific text, the language lends itself naturally to a lesson on onomatopoeia or action words. “Wedge it. Sledge it. / Wham by wham. / Clear those chips. / SLAM, SLAM, SLAM!”
  •  Six pages of additional information about woodpeckers add new and interesting details about anatomy, behaviors, and the ways in which people can observe and protect these birds.
  • Jenkins' signature cut-and-torn-paper illustrations are vibrant and colorful; a perfect match for the bouncing text.
  • Although the text is spare, don't be fooled: Youngsters will learn lots here. Readers learn how these birds forage, build shelter and nests, avoid predators, and instruct their young, among other topics. 

Who Should Read It:

Great for PreK - grade 3.

What Else You Should Read: 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Super Hockey Infographics

Super Hockey Infographics
by Jeff Savage
illustrations by Vic Kulihin
Lerner (Jan. 1, 2015)


A collection of infographics that provides facts and statistics about hockey. 

Why You'll Love It:
  • The visuals are dynamic and eye-catching, incorporating motifs of pucks, sticks, and players throughout.
  • Each theme-specific spread includes one or two paragraphs of clear, descriptive text and plenty of easy-to-read facts and figures. For example, sports fans will be interested in the “Count Me In“ spread, which charts a steady increase in the number of people to “hit the ice each year“ since 1990–1991, when USA Hockey’s statistics first became available. An inset graph highlights the six states where participation grew the most between the 2010–2011 and 2011–2012 seasons (Hawaii had 71.4 percent growth!).
  • One of the most interesting infographics, “The Price to Play,“ contrasts the 2013 costs of hockey gear to the prices of equipment for baseball, basketball, and soccer (hockey skates cost $200, almost twice as much as basketball shoes and five times more expensive than both soccer and baseball shoes).
Who Should Read It:

Great for grades 3-5.

What Else You Should Read: