Tuesday March 11, 2014
The talented Tomie dePaola
is one of my favorite children's book illustrators and authors. He has written and/or illustrated more than 200 books for children. If you have children wanting to know more about St. Patrick because of St. Patrick's Day on March 17, I recommend Tomie dePaola's Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland
, which is the story of St. Patrick and the legends about him. While the book is geared toward fchildren 4 to 8, older children will find it intriguing also. See my annotated list of Children's Books of Irish Folktales and Fairy Tales
to learn about some of my other favorite stories related to Ireland.
(Cover art courtesy of Holiday House)
Monday March 10, 2014
Matt Phelan's Bluffton
is historical fiction in graphic novel format. If you've read a lot about vaudeville or watched humorous movies from the era of silent films, you'll recognized one of the main characters: young Buster Keaton, who as a boy performed in vaudeville with his family and went on to star in silent movies. The story, beautifully illustrated in muted watercolors, tells of the friendship between Buster and a local boy during the family's summers in the Bluffton artists' colony in Michigan in the early 1900s. Ironically, as much as Buster yearns for the daily life of a boy like Henry Harrison, Henry longs to be a performer and lead a life like Buster's.
Another graphic novel I recommend is the entertaining Rapunzel's Revenge. Middle grade readers who enjoy both the graphic novel format and nonfiction may especially enjoy reading a graphic memoir like Little White Duck: A Childhood in China by Na Liu, with illustrations by Andres Vera Martinez.
(Cover art courtesy of Candlewick Press)
Saturday March 8, 2014
This week's news includes an interview with Brian Floca and some amazing statistics.
Brian Floca on Locomotive
- Brian Floca won the 2014 Randolph Caldecott Medal
for picture book illustration for Locomotive
, which he also wrote. What was his process in creating the book? You'll find out when you read the March 3, 2014 School Library Journal interview with Brian Floca
. It includes information on how he got started as a children's book illustrator and the challenges he faced in creating Locomotive
. The book is also on my personal top 10 list of the Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2013
How Many Books? How Many Languages? - When I visited a local bookstore this week, I picked up a bookmark flyer about the current National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, award-winning author Kate DiCamillo, and was amazed at the statistics it included. I had no idea that her books have been translated into 39 languages and that there are "20.5 million copies combined in print worldwide." I did realize that two of her books, Because of Winn-Dixie and The Tale of Despereaux, had also been made into feature films. I also learned about Kate DiCamillo's new Stories Connect Us website. It takes its name from the theme she has chosen as the 2014-2015 National Ambassador for Young People's Literature.
(Cover art courtesy of Simon & Schuster)
Friday March 7, 2014
If you are looking for an Irish tale to share, how about one about a legendary giant? Finn McCool and the Great Fish
provides an affectionate and amusing look at the giant Finn McCool, known far and wide both for his kindness and for not being very wise. Since Finn is a giant who is anxious to do his best for Ireland, this tale is about his successful search for the wisdom he lacks. Finn McCool and the Great Fish
is a picture book retelling by Eve Bunting of an Irish legend, with humorous illustrations by Zachary Pullen. See my annotated list of Children's Books of Irish Folktales and Fairy Tales
for more children's books to enjoy on St. Patrick's Day and all year round.
(Cover art courtesy of Sleeping Bear Press)
Thursday March 6, 2014
While there are many picture book biographies written for kids in upper elementary and middle school, there are far fewer for younger children. That's why I was particularly pleased to learn about The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos
. The book is for children 6 and older and details the life of gifted mathematician Paul Erdos. The author is Deborah Heiligman, who has written a number of award-winning nonfiction books for young people, and the illustrator is LeUyen Pham. The illustrations by Pham incorporate references to mathematics, including mathematical formulas.
(Cover art courtesy of Macmillan)
Wednesday March 5, 2014
If you're like me, you are sick of winter and ready for spring. As far as I'm concerned, it's time to think about spring and gardening weather. Who would have thought more than 65 years ago that a small picture book with simple illustrations and just over 100 words would become a classic? That's exactly what happened with The Carrot Seed
by Ruth Krauss, with illustrations by Crocket Johnson. Find out more about the book, the author and the illustrator by reading the review of The Carrot Seed
by librarian Nancy Snyder
. For more books related to seasonal activities, see my Top 10 Children's Picture Books About Gardens and Gardening
(Cover art courtesy of HarperCollins)
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom
by sports historian Sue Macy is a fascinating nonfiction book about the impact of the bicycle on the women's movement in the 1890s and later. The book will appeal to kids who like history and sports and an interesting true story. Tweens and teens will enjoy learning how women riding bicycles impacted fashion, recreation and social traditions. For more recommended books for Women's History Month and beyond, see my March 2014 Calendar of Children's Books
(Cover art courtesy of National Geographic)
Monday March 3, 2014
Check out my updated March 2014 Calendar of Children's Books
. You'll find books by, and articles about, authors and illustrators with March birthdays, including: Ezra Jack Keats, Dr Seuss
and Mem Fox
, books for Women's History Month, books for St. Patrick's Day
, books about spring, gardens and gardening, and much more. March is also the anniversary of the birth of Randolph Caldecott after whom the Caldecott Medal
for picture book illustration is named. This year, we're also celebrating 75+ Years of Caldecott Medal winners
(Cover art courtesy of Roaring Brook Press)
Sunday March 2, 2014
It's a special day at our house. Today is not only the birthday of Dr. Seuss, it is also the birthday of my husband, Dennis. If you're like me, you grew up with Dr. Seuss and his books
, and now you are sharing his books with your children. The story of Dr. Seuss
, whose real name was Theodor Geisel, is an interesting one. What is your favorite of the Dr. Seuss books
? Let me know your favorite, and learn about other people's favorites, by going to Readers Respond
(Cover art courtesy of Random House)
Saturday March 1, 2014
The news of the week includes information about two special events:
Children's Book Week - The 2014 Children's Book Week poster is now online. It features artwork by Robin Preiss Glasser who is well-known for her illustrations for the Fancy Nancy picture books and chapter books by Jane O'Connor. If you're not familiar with them, read my review of the first picture book, Fancy Nancy.
Multicultural Literature Conference - Teachers, librarians, scholars, writers, illustrators, college students, and others will gather at Kent State University for the 30th Annual Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature on April 3 and 4, 2014. According to the press release, keynote speakers are Newbery Medal winner Christopher Paul Curtis, Caldecott Medal winner David Diaz and author Andrea Davis Pinkney whose numerous books include Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America and Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters.
(Poster artwork courtesy of Children's Book Week)