Tuesday, January 26, 2016

What they're (really) reading: January 2016

Children reading books outside faces covered
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:

Lunch Lady by Jarrett Krosoczka book cover
Lunch Lady and the Video Game Villain
by Jarrett Krosoczka
Graphic Novel

The race is on for a new student council president, and the Breakfast Bunch is rallying for Hector! The competition is already heavy, but the race heats up when school security is at stake: student and staff high-tech gadgets are disappearing left and right. Whoever the culprit is, this is one stealthy thief--and the school is so busy with the election that he gets away with it every time.

I Scream Ice Cream by Amy Krouse Rosenthal book coverI Scream, Ice Cream! A Book of Wordles
by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Picture Book

The ever-surprising Amy Krouse Rosenthal unleashes her prolific wit in this silly and smart book of wordplay. Perfectly complemented by equally clever illustrations from the talented and internationally renowned Serge Bloch, this mind-bending book will have young readers thinking about words in an entirely new way!

Screaming with laughter by Michael Dahl book cover jokesScreaming With Laughter
by Michael Dahl
Nonfiction/Joke Book

Seriously...it's a joke book about ghosts and monsters. Need I say more?

STAT Amar'e Stoudemire book cover basketballDouble Team
Amar'e Stoudemire
Chapter Book

Eleven-year-old Amar'e Stoudemire is doing well in the basketball tournaments he is entering with his two best friends, Deuce and Mike, but when some of the older and more skilled players want him on their teams, Amar'e realizes that elevating his own game will mean disappointing his friends. 

If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson rabbit book coverIf You Plant a Seed 
by Kadir Nelson
Picture Book

With spare text and breathtaking oil paintings, If You Plant a Seed demonstrates not only the process of planting and growing for young children but also how a seed of kindness can bear sweet fruit.

Amazing Football Records by Paul Hoblin book coverAmazing Football Records
by Paul Hoblin

Presents records of amazing players, teams, and games in the sport of football, including a short history of the game. Large, attractive, captioned, color and black-and-white photographs and reproductions are surrounded by sidebars of trivia on each spread.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Women Who Broke the Rules

nonfiction Mary Todd Lincoln reviewMary Todd Lincoln: Women Who Broke the Rules
by Kathleen Krull
illustrations by Elizabeth Baddeley
Bloomsbury (Dec. 1st, 2015)


Mary Todd Lincoln was witty and highly educated, although that wasn't popular for women of her time. Though born and raised in the South, she opposed slavery and supported her husband's quest to save the Union. No matter what criticism or hardship she faced, including her husband's assassination, she remained loyal to her country.

Why You'll Love It:
  • Presenting a fresh view and focusing on these individuals' determination and resulting achievements, the author adroitly tells their stories from birth to death.
  • In Mary Todd Lincoln, Lincoln is portrayed as a clever woman who used her intelligence to promote herself and her husband. Neither opposition from her family regarding her marriage nor the contempt she suffered from Abraham Lincoln's cabinet daunted her, as Krull makes clear.
  •  Despite the upbeat, positive tone, the author does not shy from the less pleasant aspects of Lincoln's life, including her arguments with her husband while she was redecorating the White House and her enforced confinement in a mental institution by her son, Robert Todd Lincoln.

Who Should Read It:

Great for grades 2-5...and here's the teacher's guide!

Mary Todd Lincoln as a child illustration

What Else You Should Read:

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Crenshaw

Crenshaw Katherine Applegate book coverCrenshaw
by Katherine Applegate
Feiwel & Friends (Sep. 22, 2015)
Fantasy Chapter Book


Jackson can’t believe his eyes when his imaginary friend—a huge, talking, skateboarding cat—returns. Meanwhile, his family’s financial troubles are all too real to ignore.

Why You'll Love It:
  •  Though the story is weighty, it is a quick read that encourages people of all ages to be honest with one another and value family and friends (real and imaginary!).
  • The tone is warm and, occasionally, quirkily funny, but it doesn’t sugarcoat the effects of hunger and vulnerability.
  • While sardonic Crenshaw may not be the warm and cuddly imaginary friend readers are expecting, he's the companion that Jackson truly needs as he begins to realize that he doesn't need to carry the weight of the world upon his shoulders. 

Who Should Read It:

 Great for grades 4-6...and here's the book trailer.

What Else You Should Read:

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