Tuesday, November 24, 2015

12 Books About Refugees

If you are not sure how to talk to your children about the current refugee crisis, start with a book. The titles below are picture books about refugees that are set in a variety of historical periods, as well as present day. In addition to teaching children to have compassion for refugees, it's important to look at how refugees have played a part in the making of countries throughout history. Be sure to read these books aloud to your older children as well,  since picture books are a great way to introduce advanced readers to tough topics.

Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams

How I Learned Geography by Uri Shulevitz

Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story by Ken Mochizuki

Journey Home by Lawrence McKay, Jr.

The Colour of Home by Mary Hoffman

Brothers in Hope: the Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan by Mary Williams

Dia's Story Cloth: The Hmong People's Journey of Freedom by  Dia Cha

How Many Days to America?: A Thanksgiving Story by Eve Bunting

The Blessing Cup by Patricia Polacco

Oskar and the Eight Blessings by Richard Simon

My Name is Sangoel by Karen Lynn Williams

My Two Blankets by Irena Kobald

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Book Review!

I am currently reading some new juvenile fiction books that I wanted to tell you about that I feel are
excellent reads and definitely worth your time. Today I will be telling you about the book The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin. This book is about a middle school girl named Suzanne. She is what you would call the weird, precocious kid. Her best friend Franny drowned. This is a shock to Suzanne because Franny was a strong swimmer. When her class goes to the aquarium and she wanders away from the class to the jellyfish exhibit, Franny reads about the Irukandji jellyfish and decides that Franny was stung by one of these fish and that is why she died, and not by drowning. Suzanne then fixates on the subject of jellyfish and takes it upon herself to learn about jellyfish experts and to pick one to speak with to help her confirm that yes, this is indeed why Franny died. It is the only way that she is able to make sense of her grief and of the death.

Suzanne is definitely is very precocious and smart and that is a good thing. However, she does not quite have the social skills of her peers and will not be one of the popular girls. Her classmates are busy flirting and discussing hair and clothes whereas Suzanne is interested in things like science and much, much more. There is sort of a contrast between Suzanne and the popular girls where they come across as vapid and she comes across as deep. Regardless, she comes across as a fully realized person flaws and all which is something that I personally liked reading.

The Trouble With Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin features a friendship that has hit rough waters. The book is written with some flashback chapters that tell us what happened between Franny and Suzanne. When the book opens Franny is dead, but you do not realize that although she was best friends with Suzanne, at the end of her life the two were on the outs. The popular girls had begun to take an interest in Franny but not Suzanne and Franny leaves Suzanne for those girls. Suzanne spends much of her time pondering the why of this, and how to send a message to Franny that what she is doing is wrong. I thought this was an interesting portrayal of friendship, especially in a middle grade book where it shows how people grow apart from their friends and maybe eventually get new friends. I loved the honesty of this book in how friendship is depicted. It is not always BFF bracelets and slumber parties, but sometimes social climbing and outgrowing. Franny is not the only culprit and I am also glad that is shown.

One wonderful aspect of The Trouble With Jellyfish is the role that science plays. There is a wonderful science teacher in the book who really encourages Suzanne and provides her with a safe place. Second, there is Suzanne’s obsession with science and research and being knowledgeable. Third, the book is set up into sections that use the steps of the scientific method which I thought was actually really cool. I liked this artistic decision and felt like it really reflected the themes of the book in such a competent way. It was a nice element to weave throughout the book and it follows along with the narrative of the decline of Suzanne and Franny’s friendship.

Readers who enjoy quiet reads about unique characters will love The Thing About Jellyfish. Ali Benjamin’s book is a carefully constructed look at grief, what it means to be at the bottom of the middle school hierarchy and moving on and making new friends.

This book is in our juvenile fiction section, call number J FIC Benjamin. Enjoy!
~Miss Elena

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Children's Book Award 2016 Shortlist

More amazing books are celebrated today as The Children’s Book Award 2016 shortlist is announced.
The award (formerly known as the Red House children’s book award) is the only books prize which is chosen and voted for entirely by children, and run by the Federation of Children’s Books Groups. Past winners include JK Rowling, Patrick Ness, Andy Stanton, Malorie Blackman, Anthony Horowitz and Michael Morpurgo who has already won a record three times, and now may achieve his fourth win!
The full shortlist for the Children’s Book Award 2016 is:
Books for Younger Children

Is There a Dog in This Book? by Viviane Schwarz (Walker)
Read, Steady, Jump by Jeanne Willis and Adrian Reynolds (Anderson)
This Book Just Ate My Dog by Richard Byrne (Oxford)
Fabulous Pie by Gareth Edwards and Guy Parker-Rees (Scholastic)

Books for Younger Readers

Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen (Doubleday)
Horrid Henry’s Krazy Ketchup by Francesca Simon, illustrated by Tony Ross (Orion)
My Headteacher is a Vampire Rat by Pamela Butchart, illustrated by Thomas Flintham (Nosy Crow)

Books for Older Readers
Listen to the Moon by Michael Morpurgo (Harper Collins)
Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan (Bloomsbury)
Smart by Kim Slater (Macmillan)
We’ll find out who wins each category after all the voting takes place, on 28 May 2016.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Napping House authors Don and Audrey Wood

Image result for napping house

Thirty years after the publication of The Napping House, husband-and-wife team Don and Audrey Wood hit the road in support of their follow-up, The Full Moon at the Napping House. The duo visited 13 stores and many schools along the way, from September 5-22, moving from Washington, D.C., through Texas, California and the Pacific Northwest. See photos from their events below.


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Now That's a Riot!

Book Riot Live

Book Riot Live

Date: Nov 07, 2015 - Nov 08, 2015
Location: New York, NY The first ever Book Riot Live will be held on November 7 and 8, at The Metropolitan West in New York City. The convention brings together book lovers, authors, publishing pros, and the team behind BookRiot.com.
Children’s and YA fans can look forward to panels featuring Alvina Ling (VP and Editor-in-Chief at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers); Jason Reynolds (author of When I Was the Greatest); Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak), and other pioneers of the genre.
For more info, go to http://bookriotlive.com/

The Rise of Latino Literature for Youth: NYPL Children’s Literary Salon

Date: Oct 31, 2015
Location: NY, NY
Time: 2:00 PM
Join authors Sonia Manzano (Becoming Maria), Danette Vigilante (Saving Baby Doe), Torrey Maldonado (Secret Saturdays), Adam Silvera (More Happy Than Not), Crystal Velasquez (Hunters of Chaos) and Daniel José Older (Shadowshaper) for a discussion of the past, present, and future state of literature written by and starring Latino-Americans.

This program will be moderated by Karen Ginman, Youth Material Selector, BookOps.

The NYPL’s Children’s Literary Salon is free an open to the public. It will be held in the Celeste Auditorium (formerly South Court Auditorium) in the Stephen A Schwartzman Building of NYPL (5th Avenue & 42nd Street).


Alice Live! at the NYPL

Date: Oct 02, 2015 - Jan 16, 2016

Location: New York, NY In honor of the 150th anniversary of the publication of Lewis Carroll’s novel, the New York Public Library will host the Alice Live! exhibit. The multimedia exhibit will include playbills, advertisements, and photos curated by author and collector Charlie Lovett.
Alice Live! will be on view at the Library for the Performing Arts’ Donald and Mary Oenslager Gallery within the Shelby Cullom Davis Museum.

According to the press release, Charlie Lovett, an author and collector, served as the curator. Some of the items on display include playbills, advertisements, and photos.
Visitors will find this exhibit at the Library for the Performing Arts’s Donald and Mary Oenslager Gallery within the Shelby Cullom Davis Museum. An opening date has been scheduled for Oct. 2, 2015 and the closing date will follow on Jan. 16, 2016.