Category Archives: readers’ advisory

More formidable than the Dora Milaje?

I first became aware of this queen (whose name is spelled various ways, including Njinga and Nzinga) when I was on my honeymoon. A statue of her stood in a museum we visited in Virginia.

The main book we own about her in the library is a work of historical fiction, part of the Royal Diaries series about real-life queens and princesses.

Nzingha: Warrior Queen of Matamba by Patricia C. McKissack

She is also highlighted in Lives of Extraordinary Women: Rulers, Rebels (And What the Neighbors Thought) and The Story of the World volume 3: Early Modern Times. You may be able to find some more information in our online resources such as Gale Virtual Reference Library.

Wintry Wordless Books


We have a wonderful collection of wordless picture books. They can be found in the book bins labeled Concepts. When I was browsing there recently, I was struck by the variety of stories with winter themes. Everyone can enjoy wordless books. Readers get to tell the story in their own words in any language. Try these.

Pancakes for Breakfast
by Tomie de Paola
With a smile on her face a woman imagines pancakes for breakfast. Off she goes to collect eggs from her hens and milk from her cow. After churning some of the milk into butter, she discovers she has no maple syrup! What to do? Tomi dePaola’s illustrations are good-humored and charming.

Flora and the Penguin
by Molly Idle
Flora steps out on the ice. A penguin appears through a hole in it. Their duet is elegant, comical and dramatic as they first glide together harmoniously and then fall out over a little fish caught by the penguin. Flaps help move the story forward to a satisfying conclusion.

Fox’s Garden
by Princesse Camcam
Why does a fox come out of the woods on a winter night, and why does it go into a greenhouse? Follow the child who trails the fox to solve the mystery. The enchanting papercut illustrations capture the frostiness of the night and the warmth of the child’s home. Tell this story in a whisper.

Wolf in the Snow
by Matthew Cordell
A human child and a wolf pup get lost in a snowstorm – and come face to face. Will they find their way home to their families? The expressive paintings of this page-turner emphasize the drama of the situation and the emotions of the characters.

by Scott E. Franson
What would happen if the sun shone under your umbrella onto the snowy ground? Flowers would bloom, snow would melt, and the frozen pond would become a swimming pool! This cheerful adventure explores an imaginative idea from one season to another.

Snowman’s Story
by Will Hillenbrand
In this generously sized book an owl drops a top hat, a rabbit hops into it, the wind picks up the hat, and it lands on a snowman’s head. The snowman has a book and the rabbit snatches it! From here the action is non-stop as the characters face one peril after another before arriving at a surprise ending.

– Ms. Wendy

Best new Jewish books for kids

On January 10, the 2018 Sydney Taylor Book Awards and the 67th Annual National Jewish Book Awards were both announced. Two books won awards in both:

The Language of Angels: A Story About the Reinvention of Hebrew by Richard Michelson, illustrated by Karla Gudeon
A picture book influenced by the style of illuminated manuscripts shows how Eliezer Ben-Yehuda and his son, Ben-Zion, created new Hebrew words for modern ideas and objects.

Refugee by Alan Gratz
Although separated by continents and decades, Josef, a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany; Isabel, a Cuban girl trying to escape the riots and unrest plaguing her country in 1994; and Mahmoud, a Syrian boy in 2015 whose homeland is torn apart by violence and destruction, embark on harrowing journeys in search of refuge, discovering shocking connections that tie their stories together.

We also own several of the books honored or recognized as finalists or notable:

Yaffa and Fatima: Shalom, Salaam adapted by Fawzia Gilani-Williams, illustrated by Chiara Fedele
Yaffa and Fatima live on neighboring date farms. When very little rain leads to a poor harvest, each woman goes to extra measures to make sure that her neighbor doesn’t go hungry.

Viva, Rose! by Susan Krawitz
In El Paso, Texas, in 1915, fourteen-year-old Rose Solomon seeks her missing brother’s return and inadvertently ends up running with Pancho Villa and his revolutionary army.

This Is Just a Test by Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang
In 1983 seventh-grader David Da-Wei Horowitz has a lot to worry about–his bar mitzvah is coming soon, his Jewish and Chinese grandmothers argue about everything, his teammates for the upcoming trivia contest, Scott and Hector, do not like each other, he is beginning to notice girls, and Scott has persuaded him to begin digging a fallout shelter just in case the Cold War heats up.

The Dollmaker of Krakow by R.M. Romero
At the beginning of World War II, Karolina’s spirit magically travels from the war-torn Land of the Dolls to the Krakow, Poland, shop of the Dollmaker, Cyryl, and together they take great risks to save their Jewish friends.

Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar
In 1960s New York, fifth-grader Ruthie, a Cuban-Jewish immigrant, must rely on books, art, her family, and friends in her multicultural neighborhood when an accident puts her in a body cast.

Martin Luther King, life and legacy

pinkneysA patron came in the other day and asked what new books we had on Martin Luther King. This year, 50 years since he was assassinated, there are some especially beautiful new works like Martin Rising. The poet (Andrea Davis Pinkney) and illustrator (her husband, Brian Pinkney) made a video that lets you see inside the book.

This year, The Great Read will focus on the life and legacy of Dr. King. Fountaindale and other local libraries will be offering special activities next month, and an art contest you can enter now through February 14.

Here are the latest books to inspire you:

Be a King: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s Dream and You by Carole Boston Weatherford; illustrated by James E. Ransome
In this picture book, a class of children learns about the life of Dr. King and how they can be like him.

Dream March: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the March on Washington by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson; illustrated by Sally Wern Comport
A book for beginning readers introduces the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. King’s famous speech.

Let the Children March by Monica Clark-Robinson; illustrated by Frank Morrison
Under the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, children and teenagers march against segregation in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963. This picture book includes historical notes and photographs.

Martin Rising: Requiem for a King by Andrea Davis Pinkney & Brian Pinkney
In a rich embroidery of visions, musical cadence, and deep emotion, Andrea and Brian Pinkney convey the final months of Martin Luther King’s life — and of his assassination — through metaphor, spirituality, and multilayers of meaning.

Friendship dolls in the library

Miss_Shimane_1 dollsofwar
Dolls of War by Shirley Parenteau just arrived at the library, a continuation of the story of the Friendship Dolls that started with Ship of Dolls and Dolls of Hope. The dolls were exchanged between Japan and the USA in the 1920s.

Kirby Larson also wrote about this exchange in The Friendship Doll. Seeing this book prompted a librarian in Minnesota to rediscover one of these dolls in the library’s collection (If you follow the link, there are photos of the doll Miss Miyazaki before and after her restoration).

You can also read about Miss Shimane (pictured above and to the left) at the Indianapolis Public Library’s Digital Indy website and take a closer look at the collection of miniature objects that traveled with her.

New picture books in Romanian


We have added new picture books to the collection to go with Ora Copiilor our new Family Storytime in Romanian!

Jonathan Swift at 350

Jonathan Swift was born on November 30, 1667. He’s best known in the world of children’s literature for Gulliver’s Travels (originally for adults). To find out more about him and the time in which he lived, you could check out The 18th Century: Artists, Writers, and Composers. You can also enjoy one of these adaptations of Gulliver’s story:

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
Unabridged Playaway audiobook

Gulliver by Martin Jenkins, illustrated by Chris Riddell
The voyages of an eighteenth-century Englishman carry him to such strange places as Lilliput, where people are six inches tall, and Brobdingnag, a land peopled by giants. This adaptation is long but full of pictures and recommended for grades 3 and up.

Gulliver in Lilliput by Lisa Findlay
On a voyage in the South Seas, an Englishman finds himself shipwrecked in Lilliput, a land of people only six inches high. This one is in our collection of books for beginning readers.

Gulliver’s Travels by Martin Woodside
An abridged version of the voyages of an eighteenth-century Englishman that carry him to such strange places as Lilliput, where people are six inches tall, and Brobdingnag, a land peopled by giants. The Classic Starts series is suggested for ages 7 to 9.

Gulliver’s Travels by Nick Eliopulos
The voyages of an Englishman carry him to such strange places as Lilliput, where people are six inches tall; Brobdingnag, a land of giants; and a country ruled by horses. This Stepping Stone book is recommended for ages 6 to 9.

Gulliver’s Travels by James Dunbar
The voyages of an eighteenth-century Englishman carry him to such strange places as Lilliput, where people are six inches tall, and Brobdingnag, a land peopled by giants. Illustrated notes throughout the text explain the historical background of the story.

Gullifur’s Travels by Brad Strickland
When Joe learns a valuable lesson in judging basketball players by their size, Wishbone imagines himself as Lemuel Gulliver, a seventeenth-century ship’s surgeon who is shipwrecked in two strange lands. In one place, everyone is only a few inches tall. The other land is populated by giants. Suggested for ages 8 to 12.

Lilliput by Sam Gayton
Three-inch-tall Lily has been trapped in a bird cage for half of her life while her giant captor, Gulliver, writes a book about his travels but she finally escapes and, aided by a clockmaker’s apprentice and his friends, makes plans to leave London and return home to Lilliput. Inspired by Jonathan Swift’s novel, Gulliver’s Travels.

Gulliver’s Travels: Gulliver’s Fun Pack
Jack Black plays a man shipwrecked on the island of Lilliput.

Gulliver’s Travels
Ted Danson plays Gulliver in a TV miniseries.

Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels: A Graphic Novel adapted by Donald B. Lemke
Retold in graphic novel form, Lemuel Gulliver voyage takes him to the strange lands of Lilliput, where people are only six inches tall, and Brobdingnag, a land of giants. This version is available through eReadIllinois in English and Spanish.

Gulliver’s Travels, retold by John Malam
When Lemuel Gulliver is washed up on the distant shore of Lilliput, he becomes a giant among men. As his travels continue, Gulliver is dwarfed by the people of Brobdingnag and bewildered by the customs of the Laputians. Will Gulliver find the humanity he seeks in the Land of the Talking Horses? A retelling of Jonathan Swift’s story in graphic novel format.

Travel & Adventure by Seymour Reit
Three classic stories of travel and adventure from Bank Street Graphic Novels.