Category Archives: Celebrate children’s lit!

2017 London Book Fair: a librarian’s recap

Last week was the 2017 London Book Fair.  The conference center where it was held was a mere 20 minute walk from my temp flat AND the cost was only £20 for three days. Having read their website, I wasn’t sure if it was for me…but I went. As my friend Shauna says, because why not?!

It was, in a word, massive.  Literally tens of thousands in attendance.  A gigantic, two-story conference floor with the most beautiful, diverse displays from publishers, companies, and countries across the world.

It was not, however, a “book fair” in the typical understanding of a librarian who has hosted book fairs.  Not so many books were on display, especially considering what is commonly seen at ALA, TLA, AASL, BookExpo and the like.  None were for sale.  No authors were there (okay, that’s a lie…there was one featured author each day on site).

What was it, then?  A time for publishers, buyers, agents, and studios to do business.  It was meetings, not sessions.  The publisher booths were packed with people, sitting at tables, discussing titles to be translated or foreign rights sold or merchandising deals made or sales abroad.  It was intense.  BUSY.  Less about readers and books, more about the business of books.  So I, who love reading and talking and connecting readers and new books, was so very out of my element.  It was okay, though.  Careful observation of booths led me to some new titles.  Chronicle Books came through as a huge winner with a display of new American books that made my heart soar.  Living in London, I’m finding, means a limited access to American titles – and certainly not immediate access. There were many fewer middle-grade and YA titles on display that I’d hoped, but that’s okay: ALA is in a few short months, after all.

So what did I see?  What stood out in the world of kidlit?  Take a look.  Look for reviews of these titles in the coming days and weeks – only the best quality books rated a photograph!  And enjoy an inside view of one of the largest book fairs in the world.

Cheers, y’all! 🙂 arika

 

 

The 2018 WCCPBA Nominees

Over the weekend, my colleagues on the Washington Children’s Choice Committee met to select the nominees for the 2018 WCCPB Award. And what a list!  With twenty nominees, there’s something for everybody here (or at least for the students in K-3 in WA State).

Here they are, in ABC order by author. And…new this year: which is your favorite COVER? Which are you most excited to share with children? My votes: cover = Stick and Stone, sharing = More-igami.  Share your opinion and vote HERE!  Bonus: by voting, you can see what other’s think…so take a moment and VOTE!

2017-2018 Washington Children’s Choice Picture Book Award Nominees:

  • Thunder Boy Jr. written by Sherman Alexie, pictures by Yuyi Morales
  • The Magic Word written by Mac Barnett, pictures by Elise Parsley
  • A Bike Like Sergios written by Maribeth Boelts, pictures by Noah Z. Jones
  • The Highest Mountain of Books in the World written and illustrated by Rocio Bonilla
  • Everyone Loves Bacon! written by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Eric Wight
  • Pirate’s Perfect Pet written by Beth Ferry, pictures by Matt Myers
  • Stick and Stone written by Beth Ferry, pictures by Tom Lichtenheld
  • The Marvelous Thing that Came from a Spring written and illustrated by Gilbert Ford
  • The Darkest Dark written by Chris Hadfield, pictures by The Fan Brothers
  • Plants Can’t Sit Still written by Rebecca E. Hirsch, pictures by Mia Posada
  • Quit Calling Me a Monster! written by Jory John, pictures by Bob Shea
  • More-igami written by Dori Kleber, pictures by G. Brian Karas
  • A Well-Mannered Wolf written by Jean Leroy, pictures by Matthieu Maudet
  • The Cow Who Climbed a Tree written and illustrated by Gemma Merino
  • Hare and Tortoise written and illustrated by Alison Murray
  • Madeline Finn and the Library Dog written and illustrated by Lisa Papp
  • Don’t Call Me Choochie-Poo! written by Sean Taylor, pictures by Kate Hindley
  • The Princess and the Warrior written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh
  • Nanette’s Baguette written and illustrated by Mo Willems
  • Quackers! written and illustrated by Liz Wong

 

 

Love for AKR

Yesterday – March 13, 2017 – a bright light went out entirely too early.

Amy Krouse Rosenthal, author/writer/creater/maker/human extraordinaire – died of ovarian cancer.

I cried. Big, real tears. And at first I couldn’t figure out why. Because I’d never met Amy. Didn’t go out of my way to shower her with book-love. But damn if she didn’t have a huge impact on me as a human.

From the first book of hers that I read – Cookies: bite size life lessons – I was captivated. Here was someone who could explain abstract concepts and help humans lead a better life through clear metaphors and clever wit. I was sold.

I kept reading, and my appreciation deepened.  Her books always delivered a clear message, applicable to children and adults alike. She challenged readers to be okay with who they are in The OK Book. To say YES to fun and life in Yes Day!. To consider different perspectives (that both could, in fact, be correct) in Duck! Rabbit!.  To look past appearances and form lasting relationships in Friendshape. To make our unique mark, literally, in ! (Exclamation Mark). To think positive and be more in I Wish You More.

There are more books. These stand out. (Side note: Tom Lichtenheld, your illustrations are perfection. I wish you more peace.)

Then there is her essay. THE essay, published by the New York Times. To write so candidly, to be so honest and open (and witty!) in the face of cancer, was utterly heartbreaking. But it was true AmyKR- she explained life, from start to finish – as only she could.

From that, #loveforAmyKrouseRosenthal emerged. The sunny yellow umbrella was seen across the globe, a beacon of light to shine on during dark days, thanks to her publisher Chronicle.

I didn’t follow her online until recently (shame on me). And wow. Was I missing out. AmyKR’s Project 1-2-3 was pure brilliance. A list of three, posted by 1:23 each day. Looking back over her creations in the last weeks, I am drawn to this one:

It’s a daily reminder – literally, I see it every time I turn on my phone – to Be Present, Come Alive, Every Day.

There’s so much AmyKR to explore: TED Talks, adult memoirs, YouTube videos, blog posts…and then there are the books, of which there are still more (an apt AmyKR word).  Make the most of your time here: read her words. Watch her videos. Then make the most of your time here. I will.

The London Adventure: I Spy literature!

I’m back, y’all.  The plane landed, the suitcases made it, and I’m in London! Here’s a peek of what our temp space looks like at the moment:

Actually, that photo makes a lovely little game of I Spy…with a London twist.  

In my London flat, can you spy: a Cadbury bar, a mug for tea, the electric kettle, a place for laundry?

A little bit of Seattle snuck into the photo by way of two votives, given to me by my colleagues and a dear family prior to moving. And a book. Because there are always books around…

Speaking of I Spy and books – the first two weeks in the city we took time to get out, see the sights, and visit some museums and shops. And boy is there a whole lot of literary love in London! Some photos, the connection is obvious. Others remind me of books and authors. All of it made my heart happy as I attempt to settle my family in.

Victoria & Albert Museum: Home of the National Art Library. I squealed upon finding original sketches from Beatrix Potter AND Randolph Caldecott (he of the Caldecott Medal). Excellent books in the gift shop, including Du Iz Tak?

The British Museum: Mummies – including cat mummies – reminded my kids and I of Mummy Cat. Too bad we couldn’t find this version their gift shop (they had MANY other books, though). And real-life amulets caused my kids to ooh and aah and remember their favorite graphic novel series of the same name.

Magical Lantern Festival in Chiswick Garden: The massive lanterns were inspired by the silk road, and these reminded me of the folktale Aladdin and the fairy tale Thumbelina.

LEGO store on Leicester Square: Three words – Life-size Lego Shakespeare! I had to get in this picture 🙂

Waterstone’s book shop: Comparing U.K. covers to some U.S. favorites…including a not-yet-released-in-the-U.S. Andy Griffiths book!

Gosh! Comics book shop: Shopping the outstanding selection of quality comics, graphic novels, and picture books. And the piece of Dickens ABC art didn’t go unnoticed 😉

Paddington Station: Paddington. LOTS of Paddington. Books, toys, pencils, hats…

John Lewis (an all-in-one store, a bit like a huge Nordstrom+BBB+Crate&Barrel): This journal. I love journals. And while not a piece of “literature”, this one brought a smile to my face, for I often wake up at 3am – wide awake, with swirling thoughts, usually about details relating to our move here.  Upon opening the journal, I had a moment of clarity. Because these are the words I need to remember on this London Adventure: It might be hard, but it’s worth it.

Cheers, y’all.  ♥ arika

2017 Mock Predictions

Tomorrow morning – less than 10 hours, really – ALSC and ALA will announce the 2017 Youth Media Awards.

I’m not lying when I say that this is my favorite morning of the year.  I *might* get a little excited. (Read: I’ve woken up my kids by cheering each of the last 3 years). This was last year:

There’s the lead-up. Waking up at 4am PST. Making tea. Prepping breakfast. Getting devices ready – phone to Tweet, iPad to photo, desktop to view the live feed. And the, the main event. The live feed. You can find it HERE: https://www.facebook.com/ILoveLibraries/

My predictions for Newbery, Caldecott & Geisel: The Wild Robot. They All Saw a Cat. Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea.

Now, to get a good night sleep. The day is almost here!

Best of 2016: Early Readers, Graphic Novels, Nonfiction…

Broad category here, so please forgive me. As usual, I didn’t read enough nonfiction. Or graphic novels (to my daughter’s chagrin). I did read lots of beginner readers/transitional books, and these are exceptional.  Here are some great choices from 2016:

Best retelling of a fairy tale in graphic novel format: Snow White by Matt Phelan

Best cover of the year that also happens to be a stellar graphic novel for young readers: Narwhal: unicorn of the sea! by Ben Clanton

Best for super-fans of Ezra Jack Keats (um, ME!): A Poem for Peter by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Best use of language to describe the essence of seasons: When Green Becomes Tomatoes by Julie Fogliano

Best nonfiction story to use to develop growth mindset among students: Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s super-soaking stream of inventions by Chris Barton

Best math concept book since The Greedy TriangleThe Cookie Fiasco by Dan Santat

Best gift for teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week: The Thank You Book by Mo Willems

Best realistic portrayal of divorce through a child’s eyes: Weekends With Max and His Dad by Linda Urban

Best “bad boys…but not really” story: The Infamous Ratsos by Kara LaReau

Best must-read of the year as chosen by my 7-year-old son: Dog Man by Dav Pilkey

…and now, a little lagniappe.

What is lagniappe?  A bonus or unexpected gift. Also, a little bit of my Louisiana years coming out. 🙂

I didn’t read much YA this year (shame on me!), but these stood out:

Three completely different stories, characters, problems – but similar in that they’re each unforgettable. Like YA? You won’t be disappointed by these.

Happy reading, y’all!

Best of 2016: Middle Grade/Chapter Books

It is nearly impossible to quantify what “Best” means, especially in books. To me, it means a story that I can clearly recall that did something exceptional: plot, characters, theme, mood, language, or overall feel.  These books envelop most of the previous traits…truly 16 of the Best of 2016 for middle-grade readers. I promise there is something for everyone!

Best thing I’ve read this year and can’t stop talking about and think EVERY SINGLE PERSON should read because it’s the best (and worst) of humanity with nary a human in sight: The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

Best fast-paced book with a lasting message: Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Best villain EVER: Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

Best feel-good story on mistakes, consequences, and second chances with a solid helping of love: All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor

Best overarching depiction of 9/11 in a realistic narrative: Nine, Ten: a September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Best happy-dog-but-heartstrings-sad story of friendship: When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffin

Best magical realism: Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eager

Best action/adventure/historical fiction mash-up: Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart

Best portrayal of the effects of addition on a family in a true middle-grade novel: The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner

Best “I wish I had this in middle school” illustrated novel: Frazzled by Booki Vivat

Best first two sentences of a novel “Let’s get this part over with – it’s no secret. My dog, Maxi, dies.”: Maxi’s Secret by Lynne Plourde

Best rum-running, fire-alarm-pulling, baby-toting main character: Full of Beans by Jennifer L Holm

Best true fantasy with a dash of folklore: The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Best baseball book featuring a female protagonist (something that hasn’t happened since The Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson)The Distance to Home by Jenn Bishop

Best secondary characters who steal the show: Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo