Notable Books for a Global Society- Best of 2015 list

NBGS   The Children’s Literature and Reading Special Interest Group (IRA CL/R SIG) is a nonprofit organization chartered by the International Reading Association (IRA). Since 1996 they have produced a “Best of” list of children’s books.  These selections for levels PreK-Grade 12 reflect diversity in the broadest sense, celebrating a wide variety of voices and topics.   Here is the 2015 list:

I Remember Beirut  by Zeina Abirached

I Lived on Butterfly Hill   by Marjorie Agosín      Trans. by E.M. O’Connor; illus. by Lee White

El Deafo  by Cece Bell

Strike!: The Farm Workers Fight for Their Rights   by Larry Dane Brimner

Caminar by Skila Brown
Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal  by Margarita Engle

Angel Island: Gateway to Gold Mountain   by Russell Freedman
Grandfather Gandhi   by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus
Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out  by Susan Kuklin

Harlem Hellfighters by J. Patrick Lewis

Voices from the March on Washington by J. Patrick Lewis & George Ella Lyon

How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon

Migrant by José Manuel Mateo   Illus. by Javier Martínez Pedro

The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye

The Red Pencil  by Andrea Davis Pinkney

This Day in June by Gayle E. Pittman

Little Melba and Her Big Trombone  by Katheryn Russell-Brown

Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & her family’s fight for desegregation  by Duncan Tonatiuh

House of Purple Cedar by Tim Tingle

Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin by Chieri Uegaki

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman

Like Water ON Stone by Dana Walrath
Brown Girl Dreaming  by Jacqueline Woodson
Arcady’s Goal by Eugene Yelchin

Twenty-two Cents: Muhammad Yunus and the Village Bank by Paula Yoo

New YA Display

There is a new YA display up of books with RED covers. I wanted to do something festive for Valentine’s Day, but didn’t think the teen audience needed any more romance pushed at them so I went for “punny” instead. The sign with the display reads “Red anything good lately?” There’s a little of everything on the shelves (on purpose) and the bright colors make it really eye-catching, I think!

I’m also trying something slightly different with the new book display. Every week or two I’ve been highlighting just a few with little book blurbs taped on the covers. The plan is to augment the covers with just a few sentences that might grab a reader.

“A Tightly Raveled Mind”

9781935955924_p0_v3_s114x166  Who is killing the psychiatrist’s patients and why?  These are the key questions that must be answered in this first novel by Diane Lawson, who is herself a practicing psychiatrist.

Dr. Nora Goodman. the mother of two children, separated from her husband, Dr. Richard Kleinberg, also a psychiatrist, has a very limited practice.  She sees her patients for one hour each day and has been seeing them for several years.  Their progress is exceedingly slow.  Each patient suffers from a different problem ranging from sexual fetishes to severe depression.  Using the principles of Freudian psychology, Dr. Nora struggles to help her patients find their way.

One morning her 8:00 a.m. the very punctual Howard Westerman did not appear at her office door.  It is only later in the day that she learns that Westerman died in a fire in his chemical lab.  One week later, her 9:00 a.m patient Allison Forsyth also does not appear.  Later, she learns that Allison threw herself for a downtown building.

“A Tightly Raveled Mind” is filled with very disturbed people, including Dr. Nora Goodman herself.  Lawson uses her medical background to explain in detail the problems Goodman’s patients experience.  But sometimes all her explanations get in the way of the plot.  When Nora get romantically involved with an ex-San Antonio detective, now local private detective, I as a reader wondered what makes this lady tick.

I stuck with the novel for two reasons.  One it was set in San Antonio, specifically Alamo Heights, an area I have visited several times.  And two I had to see if my hunch as to “who was behind the murders” was right.  It was.

This book would appeal to readers who are interested in psychiatry and who favor a non-traditional type of murder mystery.

2015 book awards

This year the awards will be announced Monday February 2nd. Normally the winners are announced in late January.  I look forward to hearing what the committee selected as the winners. Our own Randall Enos is on the Newbery committee this year. I have my own picks for winners. I look forward to hearing the annoucement!

The Grolier Club exhibit

The Grolier Club on East 60th Street is currently presenting the exhibition “One Hundred Books Famous in Children’s Literature” through February 7th.  Free and open to the public, the exhibit contains books from the past 400 years as well as artifacts, antique toys and dolls, and other artifacts related to the field. I hope to make it there before it closes!