The youth librarians of Rockland County held a Mock Caldecott event yesterday to choose the most distinguished children’s book with respect to artistic excellence. It was quite an interesting experience: four groups were formed with 10 books each to whittle down eventually to one winner. Then the 4 winners were ranked by the entire group as a whole. The results were: winning with the most number of first place votes was “Blue Sky White Stars“, illustrated by Kadir Nelson; a picture book about patriotism whose original art was beautifully done in oils on canvas. Our honor award book with the most second place votes was “Windows“, written by Julia Denos and illustrated by E.B. Goodall. This is a story about a late afternoon- early evening stroll through the urban neighborhood of Somerville, Massachusetts. A young boy walking his dog peeks into neighbors’ windows to see the small scale theater that takes place within each. So on Monday, February 12, we will find out how close we came to the ALA Caldecott Committee’s choices for a winner! Here is a clip of the process of writing Windows, and a review of Blue Sky White Stars…
Love, Simon – the movie adaptation of popular YA book Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – is due out in March! If you haven’t read the book – you should- it is adorable.
“Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.”
Anyway, here is the trailer!
As she travels via train to Chicago from L.A., Rydr is heading for a new life once again. Since her grandmother has recently died, she is being taken in by an elderly uncle she has never met. But her current journey on the train is the book’s focus, not the destination; Rydr has no other family, since she has never known her dad, and she lost her mom to drugs. But the people she encounters on the train become her family, as their kindness and support affords her the opportunity to begin to start loving herself. This children’s novel by Paul Mosier is poignant, truthful, and tugs at one’s heartstrings as 13 year old Rydr finally finds the love and acceptance she has been craving her whole life. It is one of the titles in the LARC Youth Services Mock Newbery Group and I give it high marks. Recommended for ages 8 to 12.
I stumbled onto the site for the CBBC, or Cooperative Children’s Book Center, quite by accident while following other links, and discovered both archived podcasts and videos discussing the latest in children’s and young adult titles being released. I prefer the videos because of the visuals: book covers are displayed as the librarians discuss the titles. It’s helpful to see what’s new out there in libraryland and what titles I might have missed. If you are not familar with it, the CBBC is a research library of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It also publishes a journal, and lists of suggested books for children and young adults and is a great resource for librarians and teachers.
Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga is a (relatively) light book about Taliah, who despite writing letters to her absent-rockstar father since she was thirteen has yet to meet him until he shows up on her doorstep one day. The famous Julien Oliver asks if Taliah if she will drop everything and go with him to his hometown of Oak Falls, Indiana, to meet his father – her grandfather – who is nearing the end of his life. Taliah, torn between betraying her mother’s trust and meeting the family she has never known, goes.
With her best friend Harlow by her side, Taliah embarks on a three-day journey to find out everything about her ‘father’ and her family. But Julian isn’t the father Taliah always hoped for, and revelations about her mother’s past are seriously shaking her foundation.
Although the plot is a little bit far-fetched the characters in this book are complex and truly make the story engaging. Mixed in with a little bit of romance this book a is a great exploration of staying true to one’s past,present, and future.