With busy days of working and doing schoolwork at home, you may be looking for ways to break up the day a bit. Have you considered having a storytime at home? How about a family storytime that caregivers can sit back and enjoy? You can even set it up for the kids and take advantage of having a bit of free time for yourself while the kids are occupied by their story. Mead Library cardholders have access to Hoopla. Hoopla offers a variety of media for both children and adults to check out – up to 10 items per month. Included in this media selection are thousands of children’s audiobooks. There are short stories for younger listeners, as well as chapter books for older listeners. You can search for specific books, or simply browse the children’s selection. I have some recommendations for chapter books that will appeal to school-age children. Try pairing a story up with another relaxing activity, such as coloring or doing a puzzle. Listen to a couple of chapters, and enjoy a screen-free break in your day!
The American Library Association recently announced the winners of the 2020 Youth Media Awards. Materials for children and teens were selected by committees of literature and media specialists under different categories for their excellence. Below is a list of some of the notable award recipients. Be sure to click on the titles of those that interest you to reserve your own copy through our catalog.
John Newbery Medal
The John Newbery Medal is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. This year’s winner is New Kid, written and illustrated by Jerry Craft. This is a graphic novel about a boy of color who begins attending a prestigious school in an upscale neighborhood, with a mostly white student body. He finds himself struggling to belong in his new school, as well as in his own neighborhood with old friends.
Four Newbery Honor Books were also named this year:
- The Undefeated, written by Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Kadir Nelson
- Scary Stories for Young Foxes, written by Christian McKay Heidicker and illustrated Junyi Wu
- Other Words for Home, written by Jasmine Warga
- Genesis Begins Again, written by Alicia D. Williams
Randolph Caldecott Medal
The Randolph Caldecott Medal is awarded annually by the ALSC to the artist of the most distinguished illustrated American children’s book. This year’s winner is The Undefeated, illustrated by Kadir Nelson and written by Kwame Alexander. This is a beautifully illustrated poetic picture book about the trials and tribulations of black Americans.
There were also three Caldecott Honor Books named this year:
- Bear Came Along, illustrated by LeUyen Phamand and written by Richard T. Morris
- Double Bass Blues, illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez and written by Andrea J. Loney
- Going Down Home with Daddy, illustrated by Daniel Minter and written by Kelly Starling Lyons
Michael L. Printz Award
The Michael L. Printz Award is administered by the Young Adult Library Services Association and sponsored by Booklist. It is awarded annually to a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature. This year’s winner is Dig, written by A.S. King. This is a surreal story of white privilege and a legacy of hate as experienced by five teenage cousins in a dysfunctional family.
Four Printz Honor Books were also named this year:
- The Beast Player, written by Nahoko Ueshashi
- Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me, written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell
- Ordinary Hazards: A Memoir, written by Nikki Grimes
- Where the World Ends, written by Geraldine McCaughrean
Pura Belpré Awards
Pura Belpré Awards are awarded annually by the ALSC and REFORMA. They are awarded to a Latinx writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latinx cultural experience.
The Pura Belpré Author Award winner this year is Sal and Gabi Break the Universe, written by Carlos Hernandez. This is a story about Sal, a thirteen-year-old magician, who teams up with Gabi, the student council president. Together, they try to uncover the mystery of how Sal breaks the universe.
The Pura Belpré Illustrator Award winner for this year is Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln, illustrated by Rafael López and written by Margarita Engle. This is a delightfully illustrated picture book about the life of the Venezuelen born pianist Teresa Carreño, who by the age of nine, played the piano for President Lincoln at the White House.
Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal
The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal is awarded annually by the ALSC to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished informational book published in the United States in English during the preceding year. The winner is Fry Bread Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story, written by Kevin Noble Maillard and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal. This book shares the story of fry bread as a tradition for Native Americans across tribes and time. A recipe is included, along with an author’s note with more information on the history and cultural ties to fry bread.
Coretta Scott King Awards
The Coretta Scott King Awards are awarded annually by the ALA’s Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table. They are awarded to African-American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values. The King Author Book winner for this year is New Kid, written by Jerry Craft. The King Illustrator Book winner is The Undefeated, illustrated by Kadir Nelson and written by Kwame Alexander. New Kid also won the Newbery Medal and Undefeated also won the Caldecott Medal this year, scroll up for a summary for each of these.Continue reading “Children’s Award Books”
Create warm memories with the kids in your life while baking a delicious treat together! Baking is a fun and relaxing activity that also provides kids with experiences in measuring, reading/following directions, and developing fine motor skills. Kids will also have opportunities to express their creativity. The following baking books from our collection are great options for kids of all ages. In addition to delicious recipes, they include information on kitchen safety and hygiene, guides to cooking equipment, and cooking skill levels are listed on each recipe. Be sure to read through the entire recipe and organize your supplies and ingredients before getting started. Have fun and enjoy your delicious creation!
Baking Class: 50 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Bake! by Deanna F. Cook
This is a really well-illustrated book with photos paired with each step of the recipes. It also includes an illustrated baking vocabulary section and photos to inspire different ways to decorate your baked creations. There are also sidebar tips with the recipes. One of the tips makes the connection between baking and chemistry, and others include creative ways to alter the recipes. Included in this book are recipes for cookies, muffins, cakes, pies, toaster-oven tarts, garlic bread sticks, and brownie pizza.
The Complete Baking Book for Young Chefs by America’s Test Kitchen
This baking book includes loads of information and pictures for over 100 recipes. The very detailed instructions make these recipes easy to follow. There are a variety of sweet and savory recipes for a variety of skill levels. There are many recipes for cookies, cakes, muffins, and bars. There are also recipes for empanadas, pizza rolls, Brazilian cheese bread, and soft pretzels.
Good Housekeeping Kids Bake!: 100+ Sweet and Savory Recipes by Susan Westmoreland
The beginning of this book provides information on basic ingredients, how to measure accurately, nutrition info, baker’s lingo, and a guide to equivalent measurements. There are recipes for a variety of cookies, bars, brownies, cakes, pies, muffins, and pizzas. There is a statement from Good Housekeeping that gives a “Triple Test Promise”, which means each recipe in this book has been tested at least three times and is determined to be delicious, family-friendly, healthful, and easy to make.
Bake It: 150 Favorite Recipes From Best Loved DK Cookbooks by DK Publishing, Inc.
There is something for everyone in this book that is loaded with 150 recipes for cakes, muffins, pies, tarts, cookies, and breads. There are even some delicious no-bake recipes. A photo guide for baking equipment, and step-by-step instructions with photos for baking techniques are also included in this baking book that is designed for a variety of skill levels.Continue reading “Bakers Gonna Bake”
When the weather outside is cold and dreary, and the fun holiday events are over, kids may begin feeling a bit bored. Why not create a masterpiece or build something out of supplies you likely already have? Winter is a great time to try a new hobby or to expand on your skills. We have a wide variety of children’s books full of ideas and how-tos that are sure to pique the interest of kids fighting the inevitable boredom that comes from being cooped up inside on these cold days. I recommend the following books to keep kids busy and entertained.
Super Squishies Slime and Putty: 36 Easy Projects to Make by Tessa Sillars-Powell
This book has step-by-step instructions for 36 different squishy, slime, and putty creations. Not only are they fun to make, but playing with them helps to relieve excess energy and stress. You will likely already have most of the supplies needed for making these. Colorful photos and illustrations add to the appeal of creating projects such as: burger and fries squishies, narwhal squishies, fluffy unicorn milkshake slime, fried egg slime, farting putty, snowman putty, and so many more! These projects are recommended for ages 7+.
Disney Ideas Book by Elizabeth Dowsett
There is bound to be something appealing for any Disney fan in this book that includes more than 100 Disney crafts, activities, and games from classic and modern characters. Create an Aladdin shoebox theater, Inside Out memory spheres, Baymax origami, Ursula bath bombs, princess selfie props, Miguel’s guitar…and the list goes on. There are also several Disney games with detailed instructions on how to play. There are lots of options to keep you busy! The difficulty levels of these projects vary, but there are projects suitable for all ages.
Make This!: Building, Thinking, and Tinkering Projects for the Amazing Maker in You by Ella Schwartz
You get to be a maker with the projects in this book. Most of the materials required are commonly found at home. Scientific facts and prompts are also included to get you thinking about what is happening in each project. You can rescue a dinosaur from ice, create a rainforest in a bottle, prepare a skee-ball challenge, design a Rube Goldberg machine, build a truss bridge, and do so many more fun activities that will keep you thinking. This book is recommended for ages 8+.Continue reading “Make Something!”
Last month, I gave recommendations of graphic novels for early readers. This month, I have graphic novel recommendations with more complex storylines that are best suited for kids ages 8-12 years old. Though they are certainly not limited to these ages – teens and adults may enjoy them too! Fluency and reading stamina are more established for this age group. While these readers may be at a higher reading level, some may still be reluctant to read traditional chapter books – or they may simply enjoy the visual appeal of graphic novels. In either case, graphic novels are a great option! The full-length stories in the following graphic novels are longer and have more challenging vocabulary, but still have sequenced pictures paired with the text to allow readers to easily follow the plot of the story.
5 Worlds Book 1: The Sand Warrior by Mark Siegel and Alexis Siegel
This fast paced and engaging sci-fi/fantasy story, with beautiful illustrations is the first book in the series. War erupts and Oona Lee – a clumsy sand dancer, with the aid of an athlete, and a boy from the slums team up on a quest to save their world. Oona learns a lot about herself during their quest and gains control over her powers, leading to victory…for now.
Hilo Book 1: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick
The Boy Who Crashed to Earth is the first book in the science fiction Hilo series. DJ comes from a family of high-achievers, while he feels like he isn’t good at anything. His life changes when he meets Hilo, the loveable robot from an unknown origin, who falls to Earth. DJ and his friend Gina must help Hilo figure out his identity and save the world in this funny and action-packed story.
Amulet Book 1: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi
The Stonekeeper is the first book in the sci-fi/fantasy Amulet series. This story is a bit dark and intense at times, but exciting and fast-paced. Emily and Navin lose their father in a tragic accident, and then a while later they move with their mother to their great-grandfather’s abandoned house for a fresh start. Things take a strange turn pretty quickly when their mother disappears. The children track her down in an underground world full of strange creatures. An epic adventure ensues as they bravely battle to rescue their mother.
Phoebe and Her Unicorn by Dana Simpson
Phoebe releases the unicorn, Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, from a magic spell and is granted one wish. She wishes to become best friends! Readers will enjoy this witty story of the friendship between an awkward girl and an arrogant unicorn. This book has simple but expressive illustrations and is the first book in this lighthearted series.
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
Astrid has always done everything with her best friend Nicole, until Astrid decides to sign up for roller derby camp and Nicole signs up for dance camp instead. Astrid has to learn how to be strong on her own, and push through insecurities and self-doubt. This is a great story about perseverance, changing friendships, and becoming your own person at a vulnerable point in life.Continue reading “Graphic Novels for Kids Part 2”
Graphic novels provide fun, visually stimulating reading options for children of all ages and reading abilities. They are an especially great option for reluctant readers and new readers. Graphic novels are full-length stories that pair a limited amount of text with sequenced pictures. This format helps new readers to more easily follow the plot of the story and to help build the reading stamina needed to read chapter books with more text. We have a large collection of graphic novels in our children’s library that cover a variety of genres. This month, I have some recommendations for early readers.
A Good Team by Heather Ayris Burnell
This is the second book in the early reader series about the friendship between Unicorn and Yeti. These two friends have different abilities and enjoy different activities, but find ways to modify their activities so they can both participate in the fun. Humorous text and bold illustrations add to the appeal of this collection of three short stories.
Do You Like My Bike? by Norman Feuti
This is the first book in the Hello, Hedgehog early reader series. There are three humorous short stories about Hedgehog and his bike, and his friendship with Harry. The stories are relatable for young readers and show great examples of a supportive friendship.Continue reading “Graphic Novels for Early Readers”
Acts of kindness sometimes feel like they are in short supply when we as a society are so often bombarded by negative stories. But if you look for it, you will see that kindness can be found in many places. Children don’t always know how to show kindness, but they can learn through our examples. It’s important to model kind behavior and to be mindful of what we say to and about others. Setting examples of how to show gratitude and sharing encouraging words, as well as modeling how to feel empathy for others are wonderful ways to teach kind behavior. Sharing picture books with children about kindness is also a great way to provide different perspectives and methods of showing kindness. Through these stories, children will see how even small gestures of kindness can leave a lasting impression on others and how kind acts often multiply as the kindness is paid forward. There are many fantastic books about kindness in our library, that when shared with children, can lead to wonderful discussions on how we can choose to act with kindness in our own lives. The following are some of my favorite picture books about kindness.
Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller
Tanisha spills juice on her outfit at school and gets laughed at by other children. One of her classmates feels bad when she sees that happen and wants to try to make her feel better. This leads her classmate to ponder what it means to be kind and to wonder how she can help. Readers are taken through a series of thoughts on ways to be kind in small ways, and then shown how those simple acts of kindness can have a ripple effect that touches even more lives.Continue reading “Sharing Kindness”
Summer vacation has come to an end, and many of the children in our lives are getting back into the routine of more structured days, and reuniting with old friends as well as making new friends. For some, it is a brand-new experience that can be both scary and exciting! Reading picture books about school can help calm some of those fears, as well as share common experiences. As parents and caregivers, we can use these stories as a starting point to talk to our children about the experiences they are having at school. School should feel like a safe and enjoyable place to be. We have many stories about school in our children’s book collection ranging from serious to silly, and I will be highlighting some of my personal favorites here.
All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold
This is a must-read! With bold, detailed illustrations and a story that follows a day at school for a diverse group of students, children are given the message that they are all welcome at school. “We’re part of a community. Our strength is our diversity. A shelter from adversity. All are welcome here.” This book promotes acceptance and brings warm feelings to readers.Continue reading “Back-to-School Favorites”