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Elizabeth Kennedy

Children's Books

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It's Time to Thank a Librarian

Tuesday April 15, 2014
Cover art of the picture book The Boy who was Raised by LibrariansCelebrate School Library Month and National Library Week by thanking a librarian. I not only recommend The Boy who was Raised by Librarians for 4-8 year olds, I also recommend it as a thank you gift for a favorite librarian. This amusing, warm-hearted picture book celebrates the impact of libraries and librarians. The author, Carla Morris, is a children's librarian herself. The illustrator, Brad Sneed, has created full page illustrations alive with fun and action.

For tips on all that public libraries have to offer, see my article Save Money at Your Public Library. For more books, read my article about the Best Children's Picture Books About Libraries and Librarians. It includes six excellent books for kids in preschool to middle school.

Do you have a special librarian that you'd like to honor? Click on "Comments" below and share what makes that librarian special. I still fondly remember Miss Wright, the children's librarian at the Westfield Public Library when I was growing up in Westfield, New Jersey.

(Cover art courtesy of Peachtree Publishers)

A Special Passover Birthday Cake

Monday April 14, 2014
Max Makes a Cake - cover artWhat do you do when it's Passover and you're a little boy waiting for your dad to help you make your mom a special birthday cake, but you are running out of time because he's dealing with your fussy baby sister? If you're Max, you get impatient; then, you get worried; then, you get a bright idea and figure out a way to make a very special cake all by yourself. That's the story of Max Makes a Cake by Michelle Edwards, with illustrations by Charles Santoso. It's a good story to share with children 3 to 7 years old. For more good children's books about Passover, see my Top 10 Children's Books About Passover.

(Cover art courtesy of Random House)

Children's Books Buzz: April 12, 2014

Saturday April 12, 2014
Ramona's World by Beverly Cleary - cover artThis week's news includes a special birthday and the question of celebrities writing children's books.

Celebrity Authors of Children's Books - Several years ago, when I did an interview with author Jane Yolen, she talked about the influx of celebrity authors of children's books and her concerns. I was interested to see an article on April 5, 2014 on the subject, Should celebrities stop writing children's books? in The Guardian. How do you feel about celebrity authors? Click on "Comments" below and share your views.

Happy Birthday! - Today is the 98th birthday of beloved author Beverly Cleary. For several generations, Beverly Cleary has delighted young readers, particularly 8-12 year olds, with her humorous, yet realistic, stories about the ordinary lives of children. Her popular young characters include Henry Huggins, Ramona Quimby, and Ramona's older sister, Beatrice "Beezus" Quimby. To learn more about the author, read my article about Beverly Cleary and watch the About.com video profile of Beverly Cleary.

(Cover art courtesy of HarperCollins)

Children's Easter Picture Books and Board Books

Friday April 11, 2014
Cover Art The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes There are a variety of excellent Easter books for children, including Easter picture books and, for very young children, Easter board books. You'll find children's books about Jesus and the story of Easter from the Bible as well a lot of children's Easter books about the Easter Bunny and family celebrations. I was delighted to learn that in honor of its 75th anniversary, a special hardcover edition of one of my favorite Easter picture books, The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes, was recently released with new cover art.

(Cover art courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

A Classic Tale of a Boy and a Dog

Thursday April 10, 2014
Shiloh cover artThere's something about a story about a boy and his dog that's so appealing that it can even attract reluctant readers. When you have a well-written story about a boy and a dog with lots of drama and things to think about that is also under 150 pages long, it's even more appealing. Learn more about the novel Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor and what age ranges it's most appropriate for when you read librarian Jennifer Kendall's book review of Shiloh. For other recommendations, watch About.com's Video: 5 Dog Books for Middle Readers, which includes the Newbery Honor Book Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo.

(Cover art courtesy of Simon and Schuster)

Children's Easter Books for Easter Baskets

Wednesday April 9, 2014
Cover Art of the Children's Picture Book The Easter Egg by Jan BrettEaster picture books and board books make a nice addition to children's Easter baskets. For example, I recommend Jan Brett's picture book The Easter Egg for children ages 3 to 6. It's about a bunny named Hoppi, an Easter egg decorating contest, kindness and a surprising outcome. For more recommended Easter books, see Best Easter Picture Books and Easter Board Books for Little Ones. Another excellent seasonal book is the picture book And Then It's Spring.

(Cover art courtesy of The Penguin Group)

Celebrate National Poetry Month With Concrete Poems

Tuesday April 8, 2014
Cover Art of A Poke in the I A Collection of Concrete PoemsBe sure to include concrete poems in your celebration of National Poetry Month and Young People's Poetry Week. Get your child thinking, and inspired to write, with a book of concrete poems. A Poke in the I: A Collection of Concrete Poems is one of my favorites. In concrete poems, the words are arranged into a particular shape to reflect the poem's meaning.

For example, in the poem "Popsicle," all the words of the poem are arranged so as to make the shape of the icy confection. A Poke in the I contains 30 concrete poems. Poet Paul B. Janeczko edited A Poke in the I. The clever collage illustrations by Chris Raschka add to the fun. I recommend the book for 8- to 14 year olds. Paul B. Janeczko and Chris Raschka also collaborated on A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms, another excellent book.

(Cover art courtesy of Candlewick Press)

A Special Passover Book for Families

Monday April 7, 2014
Cover Art Wonders and Miracles: A Passover Companion Celebrate Passover with Wonders and Miracles: A Passover Companion. It's a book that the entire family will cherish. While Wonders and Miracles: A Passover Companion will be of particular interest to Jewish families, I would suggest it to a much wider audience - anyone eager to learn more about the religious holiday Passover, its history and celebration. The elegant design, exquisite artwork, and fascinating contents make it a recommended book for both children and adults. Do you have Passover books for children that you particularly like? If so, please click on "Comments" below and post your recommendations.

(Cover art courtesy of Scholastic)

Kids' Books Buzz - 4/5/14

Saturday April 5, 2014
Cover art for My Side of the MountainA New Children's Book From An Unfinished Manuscript - If your kids are fans of books by the late Jean Craighead George, they'll be glad to know that her son and daughter have completed her unfinished middle grade novel and it will be available in bookstores on April 3. The new novel, Ice Whale, is set in Barrow, Alaska. (Source: School Library Journal, 4/2/14) George's novel My Side of the Mountain, a 1960 Newbery Honor Book, is a classic adventure story.

Children's Book Week Resources - May 12-18, 2014 is the 95th anniversary of Children's Book Week. There are a lot of resources available online. For example, you can download free Children's Book Week posters and bookmarks. There will be official 2014 Children's Book Week events in all 50 states.

Response to Rush Limbaugh Controversy - There's been a lot of buzz about Rush Limbaugh being a finalist for the 2014 Children's Choice Author of the Year. To learn more, read the March 23, 2014 post by Debbie Reese on the American Indians in Children's Literature blog titled Rush Limbaugh's Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims and the letter from the Children's Book Council and Every Child a Reader in response to the public concerns expressed by individuals and groups. To express your opinion, scroll down to "Comments" and share your views on the controversy.

(Cover art courtesy of Penguin)

It's Autism Awareness Month

Friday April 4, 2014
Cover Art of Ian's Walk A Story About AutismApril Is Autism Awareness Month and one of the benefits is the emphasis on available resources. That's how I found out about Ian's Walk: A Story About Autism, a picture book that I recommend for children ages 6-10. The author, Laurie Lears, and the illustrator, Karen Ritz, do a good job of showing what it is like to be an autistic child and what it is like to be an autistic child's sibling. Thanks to the Internet and the increasing number of books about autism, there are a lot of autism resources available year-round. Among the autism resources on About.com are the following:

(Cover art courtesy of Albert Whitman & Company)

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