Thursday December 12, 2013
If you are looking for books about Santa Claus, I have some I think you and your children will enjoy. I had no idea that L. Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
had ever written a Christmas story. I first picked up the picture book The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus
because of the wonderful portrait of Santa Claus on the cover. I was startled to find out the the author of the story was L. Frank Baum. He wrote the story in 1902.
Now this very entertaining tale is a picture book with dramatic illustrations by Charles Santore. Unlike many other stories about Santa Claus, this one is not based on the legends of St. Nicholas. Instead, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus is a fascinating fairy tale about the human baby who is raised by a wood-nymph and grows up to become Santa Claus. Another picture book about Santa Claus that I particularly like is The Christmas Magic by Lauren Thompson, with illustrations by Jon J. Muth. As for the classic story poem about St. Nick, "Twas the Night Before Christmas," I have several picture book versions on my list of Classic Christmas Stories.
(Cover art courtesy of Running Press Kids, an Imprint of Running Press Book Publishers)
Wednesday December 11, 2013
Have you been looking for a good children's Christmas book about the birth of Jesus? If so, I have a number of Children's Books About the Nativity
to recommend. All but one are Christmas picture books. If you have others to recommend, let me know by clicking on "Comments" below and posting a message.
(Cover art courtesy of Eerdmans Books for Young Readers)
Tuesday December 10, 2013
If it's too cold to go out, snuggle up and enjoy collections of winter stories for children with your family. I recommend The Winter Book
and Fireside Stories
. Another children's book I love for this season is Winter Lights: A Season in Poems & Quilts
, which includes poems about the lights of the winter solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Chinese New Year and more. In addition, I recommend these children's picture books about winter and snow
(Cover art courtesy of Barefoot Books)
Monday December 9, 2013
I've added another book to my directory of Award-Winning Historical Fiction for Middle Grade Readers
. There are now 14 books on the two-page list. The book I added is Dragon's Gate
by Laurence Yep; it's a 1994 Newbery Honor Book. Librarian Jennifer Kendall recommends Dragon's Gate
, which is part of the Golden Mountain Chronicles series, for ages 8 to 12. Yep's novel, set in 1867, includes both Chinese and American history in the coming-of-age story of a Chinese boy named Otter.
(Cover art courtesy of HarperCollins)
Sunday December 8, 2013
Nelson Mandela Cover
- The New Yorker
magazine has announced that the Nelson Mandela cover for its December 16, 2013 issue will feature artwork by Kadir Nelson, whose excellent picture book biography of Nelson Mandela
was released in 2013. (Source: The New Yorker blog, 12/5/13
The Latest Notable Book List - The New York Times has released its list of the Notable Children's Books of 2013. It's interesting to note that in the picture book category, not all of the books honored with one of The New York Times2013 Best Illustrated Children's Books Awards are on the Notable list, once again showing that different judges result in different results.
The Final Hunger Games Movies - If you've seen Catching Fire, the second movie based on Suzanne Collins' Hunger Game Trilogy, and are eager for the third, I wanted to let you know that the final movie, based on the third Hunger Games book, Mockingjay, will be divided into two parts, with Part I opening November 21, 2014 and Part II opening November 20, 2015. (Source: Cinema Blend: Mockingjay, Part I and Part II.
(Cover art courtesy of Scholastic)
Friday December 6, 2013
With the death of Nelson Mandela, his life and accomplishments are in the news. Help your children learn about the remarkable anti-apartheid leader, Nobel Peace Prize winner and the first black president of South Africa by sharing the picture book biography Nelson Mandela
with them. The book features a series of large, dramatic paintings that cover two facing pages, with free verse about Mandela embedded in them. Words and paintings combine to tell the story of the life and impact of Nelson Mandela. The author and illustrator of Nelson Mandela
, Kadir Nelson, has received numerous awards for his children's books, which include Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans
, which he wrote and illustrated and I Have a Dream
by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
(Cover art courtesy of HarperCollins)
Friday December 6, 2013
It's that time again. Like many families, we start our Christmas decorating in early December. This year, I again plan to use a very special children's Christmas book as one of my table decorations. It's The First Noel
, a pop-up book by Jan Pietnkowski, a master of artistry and paper engineering. WHen the book is closed, it gives no hint as to the beauty inside. When you untie the red bow holding the book closed and open the book so wide you can tie the front and back covers to one another, the result is a beautiful carousel book, with five separate scenes in silhouette related to the birth of the Christ child. For more books related to the season, see my December Calendar of Children's Books
(Cover art courtesy of Candlewick Press)
Wednesday December 4, 2013
Children, and a lot of adults (like me), love snow, and not surprisingly, they love picture books about winter and snow
. Some of the best picture books set in snowy winter include: The Snowy Day
by Ezra Jack Keats
, Owl Moon
by Jane Yolen, and Katy and the Big Snow
, by Virginia Lee Burton and The Snowman
by Raymond Briggs. What are your favorites? Click on "Comments" below and post your recommendations.
(Cover art courtesy of Harcourt Brace & Company)
Tuesday December 3, 2013
I can't say I have ever thought of Hanukkah and the poetic form haiku together, but in the case of the children's Hanukkah book Hanukkah Haiku
, the combination works well. With haiku poetry by Harriet Ziefert, plus joyous and colorful paintings by Karla Gudeon, Hanukkah Haiku
tells the story of a family's Hanukkah activities and celebration. I recommend it for 3 to 6 year olds. See my annotated list for additional recommended children's books about Hanukkah
and my December Calendar of Children's Books
for more books for the holiday season.
(Cover art courtesy of Blue Apple Books)
Monday December 2, 2013
From Christmas classics and favorite Christmas picture books to the best Hanukkah and Kwanzaa books, plus a lot of author and illustrator birthdays, my December Calendar of Children's Books
is growing. Bookmark it and keep coming back to see what I've added. A few of the authors and illustrators with December birthdays include Munro Leaf, author of The Story of Ferdinand
, Mary Norton, author of The Borrowers
, and Jerry Pinkney
, who won the 2010 Randolph Caldecott Medal
for picture book illustration for The Lion and the Mouse
(Cover art courtesy of Penguin)