The most exciting day in the world of children’s and teen literature happened just last week; the American Library Association announced the winners of the 2015 Youth Media Awards! I was thrilled that the winners for many of the more “mainstream” awards, such as the Newbery, reflected varied experiences. “We Need Diverse Books,” a campaign to “address the lack of diverse, non-majority narratives in children’s literature,” began just last year. African-American author Jacqueline Woodson’s childhood experience explains why this movement is crucial, “I’d never have believed that someone who looked like me could be in the pages of the book, that someone who looked like me had a story.” Every child should be able to identify themselves in literatures, and be secure and informed in the knowledge that their cultural group’s history is America’s history. Here’s a small sampling of the diverse award winners; visit ala.org/yma for a complete list.
Looking for family fun?
The library provides opportunities for togetherness and nourishment for developing brains, including our Grow a Reader and STEM classes and music events. We also regularly offer engaged educational opportunities for the whole family. Each issue of @ Your Library, CRRL's quarterly magazine, features "great stuff for all ages."
Donna Jo Napoli and Amy Bates’ Hands & Hearts is a sweet picture book for children who might be interested in learning a few ASL signs. It’s a beach day story of a mother and daughter having a wonderful time together. Off to the side of each page is an illustration of how to sign one of the words in the text.
When David Small was, well, small, he was often sick and had to stay home from school. He would spend hours drawing and making up stories for fun to keep from being bored. He grew up in the very big city of Detroit, but he spent his summers out in the countryside with his grandparents. David was shy, but he enjoyed being with the animals on the farm, and he loved visiting museums with his parents and taking art lessons.
I know what you’re thinking, wrong holiday, but if your winter vacation time is anything like mine you will be on the open road as much as you’ll be at home. Our family will while away the traffic by listening to audiobooks. This past year I’ve started listening more regularly. It’s been a great way to increase the number of books I “read” and makes my short commute go even more quickly. Here are some of my favorite audios that promise to entrance a car full of family no matter how long the journey.
Forbidding outside temperatures aside, there are so many reasons to curl up with a great book. Readers meet a variety of fascinating characters and there’s an empathy that comes from reading about different lives and experiences that carries over to the real world. They learn new perspectives and have vicarious experiences. Personally, I have no ambition to ever sail around the world, but I love to read books about those who do. Books can also create an atmosphere that oozes from the pages and there’s just something wonderful about the lushness of great writing and the aha moment of discovering new words. Here are a few books that encompass all of these characteristics.
Princesses do not run. They also don’t hide their frilly, pink dresses in a broom closet, slide down secret chutes, or jump over castle walls. And princesses definitely do not wear black. But Princess Magnolia is no ordinary princess… she’s a monster-fighting superhero in disguise, The Princess in Black!
Birds of a feather may flock together in Telephone, by Mac Barnett, but that does not mean they understand each other. Taking place on an actual telephone wire, the story begins with Peter the pigeon's mother asking a friend to tell him to fly home for dinner. Anyone who has played a game of telephone before will know what happens next.
Looking for a book to share on a frosty day? Virginia Brimhall Snow’s Winter Walk is a lovely and informative stroll through nature’s quiet season. Grammy leads the children to all sorts of interesting discoveries. “Why is this tree green, Grammy, when others are brown?”
From the perspective of learning, this book is just right for young ones, and its design allows different ages to enjoy it. The figures of the people are only sketched, almost fading into the white backdrop as they make snow angels, fill a bird feeder, and have a snowball fight. But the images of what they notice and talk about are incredibly vivid: a cardinal, a snowshoe hare, a chickadee, a fox… and a gleaming icicle.
Ancient cities grew up around rivers, for the rivers were the source of life for all the people and animals who lived there. The waters of the Nile were no different. They flooded every year, making the soil rich for growing crops.
In time, a civilization arose by the Nile whose wonders can still be seen today. From the Valley of the Kings to the great pyramids and the Sphinx, the almighty kings of Egypt left monuments to celebrate their glory for eternity.
You needn't take a boat, an airplane, or even a camel to discover this ancient place. You can discover lots about Egypt on the Web and in the library. Unearth the Nile's secrets with our Ancient Egypt Book List to guide you.