Tag Archives: authors

Drop-in Storytime Saturday

7215562148_64276a439e_mPhoto by Kara Melissa Sharp

Do you love The Pigeon?  How about Elephant and Piggie?  We will be reading stories by Mo Willems when we get together in our Storytime Room on Saturday 1/30/16 at 11:00 a.m.till 11:30 a.m.

 All ages, preschoolers with an adult. Drop in until the limit of the room is reached.

Remembering Vera B. Williams

I only just found out that the author and illustrator of one of my favorite books ever, A Chair for My Mother, passed away in October.

chair for mm

Reading some obituaries for Vera B. Williams, I found out that the story is based in part on something that happened in her own family.



A Chair for My Mother came out in the early eighties, when I was a preschooler.  I think part of what made a big impression on me was the bright, colorful illustrations (I remember my mother pointing out the Caldecott Honor medal on the cover and telling me that meant it had won an award for especially beautiful pictures).

I remember the idea of a house fire made a big impression on me.  When I was explaining where my imaginary friend had come from, I told my parents he was at our house because there had been a fire at his house.

I was excited when I found out there was a second story about Rosa, Something Special for Me.  I didn’t find out about many of her other books until I became a librarian, but I enjoyed the episode of Reading Rainbow that featured Three Days on a River in a Red Canoe.

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“More More More” Said the Baby is a favorite that I learned about as an adult.  We own it in both English and Spanish.  It’s a picture book that shows three babies being cuddly with their grown-ups.  This title also won a Caldecott honor.

a and e
Amber Was Brave, Essie Was Smart is a book that has received lots of praise as a sensitive depiction of children coping with having a parent in jail.   This, too, appears to have been based on the author’s own experiences.

Scooter takes us out of the picture book section and into the chapter books, where a girl is making friends in a new neighborhood.  Each chapter features an acrostic poem and memorable characters.

These are just a couple of examples of Vera B. Williams’ work.  I encourage you to check them out!


Zora Neale Hurston at 125

January 7 marked 125 years since author and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston was born.  You can sample her work, read about her life, and even find her in works of fiction:

Roy Makes a Car by Mary E. Lyons; based on a story collected by Zora Neale Hurston, illustrated by Terry Widener
Roy Tyle, the best mechanic in the state of Florida, can clean spark plugs by just looking at them, and he takes a two-dollar bet that he can make an accident-proof car.

The Skull Talks Back  collected by Zora Neale Hurston; adapted by Joyce Carol Thomas; illustrated by Leonard Jenkins
A collection of six scary stories for middle grade readers

The Three Witches collected by Zora Neale Hurston; adapted by Joyce Carol Thomas; illustrated by Faith Ringgold.
Three hungry witches set out to eat two orphaned children while their grandmother is away at the market.

Zora!  The Life of Zora Neale Hurston by Judith Bloom Fradin and Dennis Brindell Fradin
Read the story of the author’s life, including her childhood, her role in the Harlem Renaissance, photographs, and excerpts from her letters.

A Song for Harlem by Patricia C. McKissack
In the summer of 1928, Lilly Belle Turner of Smyrna, Tennessee, participates in a young author’s writing program, taught by Zora Neale Hurston and hosted by A’Lelia Walker in her Harlem teahouse at the height of the Harlem Renaissance.  Part of the historical fiction series Scraps of Time

Zora and Me
Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon
A fictionalized account of Zora Neale Hurston’s childhood with her best friend Carrie, in Eatonville, Florida, as they learn about life, death, and the differences between truth, lies, and pretending.  Winner of the 2011 John Steptoe New Talent (Author) Award

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Waiting for your copy?


Enjoy this article about author Kevin Henkes and his lovely new book, Waiting:


If you remember Goosebumps, your childhood was awesome

It Came from Ohio

How many of you remember reading Goosebumps, and how many of you are now sharing them with your own kids?  There’s a new treat this fall for fans of either generation, and the Wall Street Journal has an article for you about R.L. Stine and the new Goosebumps movie:


Misty Copeland makes another milestone

It’s been a big year for ballerina Misty Copeland, as you can see in the news stories below:



When discussing the news, NPR replayed an interview with Ms. Copeland, which you can listen to here:


Among other things, the interview discussed the ballerina’s picture book, Firebird.

Firebird: Ballerina Misty Copeland Shows a Young Girl How to Dance Like the Firebird by Misty Copeland, illustrated by Christopher Myers (winner of the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award for 2015).

Here are a few more books that feature Black ballerinas:

Amazing Grace
Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman, pictures by Caroline Birch
Grace loves playing pretend, but she’s not sure whether to try out for the role of Peter Pan because her classmates tell her, “You can’t be Peter– that’s a boy’s name” and “He isn’t black.”  Her grandmother encourages her by taking her to see a performance of Romeo and Juliet featuring a ballerina from Trinidad.

Ballerina Dreams
Ballerina Dreams: From Orphan to Dancer by Michaela DePrince and Elaine DePrince ; illustrated by Frank Morrison.
“At the age of three, Michaela DePrince found a photo of a ballerina that changed her life. She was living in an orphanage in Sierra Leone at the time, but was soon adopted by a family and brought to America. Michaela never forgot the photo of the dancer she once saw, and quickly decided to make her dream of becoming a ballerina come true.”–Amazon.com.

Beautiful Ballerina
Beautiful Ballerina by Marilyn Nelson, photographs by Susan Kuklin
Poetic language is paired with photos of students at the Dance Theatre of Harlem.

A Dance Like Starlight
A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina’s Dream by Kristy Dempsey, illustrated by Floyd Cooper
A young girl growing up in Harlem in the 1950s, whose mother cleans and stitches costumes for a ballet company, dreams of becoming a prima ballerina one day, and is thrilled to see a performance of Janet Collins, the first “colored” prima ballerina.  This title is one of the nominees for the Monarch award in 2016.

Dancing in the Wings
Dancing in the Wings by Debbie Allen, pictures by Kadir Nelson
Sassy dances in the wings until she tries out for a summer dance festival and gets to dance on stage.

Who needs Poetry Month?


Fans of Greg Heffley probably already know about wimpykid.com, but if you haven’t visited the site in a while you may not know that April is Wimpy Kid Month!   Kids and teachers can find fun things like posters, games, and trivia.  The website is also featuring daily giveaways during the month of April.  You can also sign up to see a live webcast with author Jeff Kinney on April 27, during which he will reveal the cover for book 10 (coming out November 3).  (Just keep in mind– due to legal requirements, a parent or guardian needs to enter for prizes for kids under 18 and register for the webcast for kids under 13).