Wednesday, December 30, 2015

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Firefly Hollow

Firefly Hollow by Alison McGhee book coverFirefly Hollow
by Alison McGhee
illustrations by Christopher Denise
Atheneum Books (Aug. 18, 2015)
Fantasy Chapter Book


Firefly and Cricket each have been taught that “giants” are dangerous, but when they each leave the Hollow to pursue their dreams, they end up befriending one (albeit a small one).

Why You'll Love It:
  •  McGhee sensitively portrays the pains of growing up as well as themes of prejudice, death, overcoming fears, and the power of friendship.
  • Illustrations reminiscent of The Wind in the Willows further enhance a wise and lovely reading adventure. One can definitely imagine a film version of the book, and it is much deserved!
  • Author Alison McGhee has created a tiny world of wonder with a gentle, never heavy-handed, message. 

Who Should Read It:

For independent readers (grades 3-5) although this would be a great read aloud for younger children as well. Also check out this reader's guide for discussion questions and enrichment activities.

What Else You Should Read:
  •  The works of Kate DiCamillo (especially Despereaux and Edward Tulane)
  • The works of E.B. White (especially Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little)

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

This Librarian's Quick Picks: I'm Trying to Love Spiders

I'm Trying to Love Spiders by Bethany Barton book coverI'm Trying to Love Spiders
by Bethany Barton
Viking Books (July 7, 2015)
Nonfiction picture book


I'm Trying to Love Spiders will help you see these amazing arachnids in a whole new light, from their awesomely excessive eight eyes, to the seventy-five pounds of bugs a spider can eat in a single year! And you're sure to feel better knowing you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than being fatally bit by a spider. 

Why You'll Love It:
  • This is humorous nonfiction at its best! An unseen arachnophobe relates a series of fascinating facts about spiders  as she attempts to talk herself out of her fear after she encounters one.
  • Solid material on spiders is cleverly woven into the narrative, and fun facts about different spider varieties are incorporated into the endpapers.
  • Big, black brushstrokes give the illustrations and text the impact of still-wet pages, as if they'd just been completed.

Who Should Read It:

Great for K-2 as far as read alouds go, but I can see using this even in upper elementary as a mentor text for nonfiction writing.

bethany barton illustrations spiders

What Else You Should Read:

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

What I've been reading for me...Best of 2015

In addition to reading lots of kidlit, I've always got an "adult" book going on as well.

Here are my 5 star reads of 2015. What made your list??

  1. Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (historical fiction)
  2. Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer (mystery/thriller)
  3. The Guilty One by Sophie Littlefield (psychological thriller)
  4. The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly by Matt McCarthy (memoir)
  5. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (biography)
  6. You by Caroline Kepnes (thriller)
  7. Catch Me If You Can by Frank Abagnale (memoir)
  8. Defending Jacob by William Landay (mystery/thriller)
  9. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (fiction)
  10. Touch and Go by Lisa Gardner (mystery)
  11. Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (fiction)

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