Tag Archives: “children’s books”

Illinois Award Winners

The winners of the Illinois Readers’ Choice Awards have been announced!

Monarch Award (Kindergarten-3rd Grade):

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Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Christian Robinson
A proper bulldog raised in a poodle family and a tough poodle raised in a bulldog family meet one day in the park.

Bluestem Award (Grades 3-5):

El Deafo
El Deafo by Cece Bell
The author recounts in graphic novel format her experiences with hearing loss at a young age, including using a bulky hearing aid, learning how to lip read, and determining her “superpower.”

Rebecca Caudill Award (Grades 4-8):

The Crossover
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
Fourteen-year-old twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health. A novel written in poetry.

New Spanish books and new Spanish blog

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Thanks to a tip from a wonderful teacher, we were able to stop at a local book fair and pick up a box full of great new children’s books in Spanish!  They will be added to the collection soon.  If you would like to stay up-to-date on library programs and new books in Spanish, check out Fountaindale’s new OYE blog.  This Spanish language blog will have information for children and adults on library services, events, and new items in our collection.

Thoughts of home

Lately the news has been making me think of the place I grew up, which was historically a Jewish suburb.  There was a centrally located Jewish Community Center, and I was familiar with seeing a sukkah outside in the fall or girls in knee-length skirts (the Jewish community was largely, but not exclusively, Orthodox and Hasidic) playing softball in the parking lot in spring or summer.

Last night I was on Facebook and saw one of my friends join in a conversation with several of her friends about how to talk to their young, Jewish children about recent acts of anti-Semitism.  One mom described her preschooler talking about lockdown practice (Many of the Jewish Community Centers receiving bomb threats house preschools, and they have to be prepared).

The first resources I thought about were ones I had turned to in other cases of violence, prejudice, and scary topics in the news.  The American Psychological Association has some resources for parents and Teaching Tolerance has classroom resources.  Not surprisingly, I found the most at the Anti-Defamation League, which has a whole section on confronting anti-Semitism and recommended books for children and teens (“The Best Kid Lit on Bias, Diversity and Social Justice”).

Here are some titles from their Jewish Culture and Anti-Semitism list:

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Always Remember Me: How One Family Survived World War II by Marisabina Russo
After many years during which her grandmother skirted the issue, a young girl finally hears the story of how several of her female relatives survived the Holocaust.

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I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy
Traces the achievements of the celebrated Supreme Court justice through the lens of her many famous acts of civil disagreement against inequality, unfair treatment, and human rights injustice.

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Molly’s Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen
Told to make a Pilgrim doll for the Thanksgiving display at school, Molly is embarrassed when her mother tries to help her out by creating a doll dressed as she herself was dressed before leaving Russia to seek religious freedom.

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Mrs. Katz and Tush by Patricia Polacco
A long-lasting friendship develops between Larnel, a young African-American, and Mrs. Katz, a lonely, Jewish widow, when Larnel presents Mrs. Katz with a scrawny kitten without a tail.

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Sharing Our Homeland: Palestinian and Jewish Children at Summer Peace Camp by Trish Marx
Photo-essay focusing on two Israeli children, one Jewish and one Palestinian, who, in spite of their differences and the longstanding conflicts in the region, learn to play, work, and share ideas together at Summer Peace Camp, a day camp located in Israel. Includes glossary, map, and resources for readers.

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The Whispering Town by Jennifer Elvgren
In Denmark during World War II, young Annet, her parents, and their neighbors help a Jewish family hide from Nazi soldiers until it is safe for them to leave Annet’s basement.

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The Yellow Star: The Legend of King Christian X of Denmark by Carmen Agra Deedy
Retells the story of King Christian X and the Danish resistance to the Nazis during World War II.

If you’re looking for more books besides the ones on the ADL lists, you might try the page for the Sydney Taylor Book Award, presented by the Association of Jewish Libraries “to outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience.”  There are also children’s and young adult literature categories for the National Jewish Book Award (It looks like this year’s winners will be announced March 7).

The first time I encountered the story of the golem was when I pulled it out of a book display at the public library (I wasn’t really thinking about it at the time, but it was probably a Passover display).  That book was the first window I had to try to understand what it meant to be in danger from anti-Semitism.  This memory is part of why I try to do displays of everyone’s holidays– both so people can see themselves reflected, and also so people can see where their neighbors are coming from.

Love Stories

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Heart to Heart by Lois Ehlert
Alphabet letters and bold, graphic images of fruits and vegetables come together in this book of pun-filled rebuses about love and friendship.

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I Heart You by Meg Fleming; illustrated by Sarah Jane Wright
A rhyming picture book about the loving parent-child relationship in animal and human families

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I Will Love You Anyway by Mick Inkpen; illustrated by Chloe Inkpen
Dog is very badly behaved; he destroys everything, chases cars, rolls in poo, and won’t stop running away! But when he finds himself lost and alone there is one person he knows he can always count on.

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Pete Likes Bunny by Emily Arnold McCully
Pete likes Bunny, the new girl in his class; and despite teasing from classmates, Bunny likes Pete too.

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Psst! I Love You by Marjorie Blain Parker; illustrated by Sydney Hanson
Celebrates the love between parents and children of every species. In lilting rhyme, the book introduces toddlers to an array of super-adorable animal parents and babies, including cows, horses, sheep, cats, owls, ducks, roosters, and, of course humans. What do they all say to each other? I LOVE YOU! This is the perfect read-aloud and goodnight story.

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The Secret Life of Squirrels: A Love Story by Nancy Rose
Mr. Peanuts, a most unusual squirrel, is lonely as Valentine’s Day nears but he meets Rosie in the bookstore and soon they are nuts about each other.

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What Do You Love About You? by Karen Lechelt
Different animals show there is a lot to love about each of us.

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When an Elephant Falls in Love by Davide Cali; illustrations by Alice Lotti
When an elephant falls in love, he does many foolish things, and never tells her how he feels–until one day the doorbell rings.

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XO, OX: A Love Story by Adam Rex; illustrated by Scott Campbell
The hilarious tale of an ox who is in love with a gazelle, told in correspondence

Quick Pick: The Tree in the Courtyard

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The Tree in the Courtyard: Looking Through Anne Frank’s Window by Jeff Gottesfeld, illustrated by Peter McCarty

“The tree in the courtyard was a horse chestnut. Her leaves were green stars; her flowers foaming cones of white and pink. Seagulls flocked to her shade. She spread roots and reached skyward in peace.

“The tree watched a little girl, who played and laughed and wrote in a diary. When strangers invaded the city and warplanes roared overhead, the tree watched the girl peek out of the curtained window of the annex. It watched as she and her family were taken away—and when her father returned after the war, alone.

“The tree died the summer Anne Frank would have turned eighty-one, but its seeds and saplings have been planted around the world as a symbol of peace. Its story, and Anne’s story, are beautifully told and illustrated in this powerful picture book.” -Random House

Tu Bi-Shevat (also spelled Tu Bishvat or Tu B’Shevat) is a Jewish holiday sometimes called the New Year of the Trees or “Jewish Arbor Day.” This year it begins at sundown on February 10. It is a time to appreciate trees (and plant them, if you live where the climate is right at this time of year). You can click on links above to see other stories and information about the holiday in our collection.

Read, Vote and Eat Pizza!

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It’s time to vote for your favorite Monarch Award Book from February 1–15.

If you’ve read or listened to at least five of the nominees, you can cast your ballot at the Children’s Services Desk.

Monarch Award Pizza Party
Friday, February 24, 2–3 p.m.
Grades K-3

Any Fountaindale cardholders that voted for their favorite book may register for the party.  Be there when we reveal the library winner! Register by February 15 (call 630.685.4181 or come to the Children’s Services Desk to vote and register).

New African American Historical Fiction

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Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan
From the author’s note: “…I chose the Fairchilds Appraisement of the Estate document from July 5, 1828 to tell this story.  Eleven slaves are listed for sale with the cows, hogs, cotton; only the names and prices of the slaves are noted (no age is indicated). I was inspired by this spare information to bring these slaves to life and have them tell their stories.”
The stickers on the cover indicate that it is a Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book, a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book, and a Newbery Honor book in the 2017 Youth Media Awards.

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The Hero Two Doors Down: Based on the True Story of Friendship between a Boy and a Baseball Legend by Sharon Robinson (Jackie Robinson’s daughter)
Eight-year-old Steve Satlow is thrilled when Jackie Robinson moves into his Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn in 1948, although many of his neighbors are not, and when Steve actually meets his hero he is even more excited–and worried that a misunderstanding over a Christmas tree could damage his new friendship.

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Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring by Enigma Alberti, illustrated by Tony Cliff
During the Civil War, African American Mary Bowser becomes a maid in the Richmond mansion of Confederate States of America president Jefferson Davis as part of a plan to pass along secrets to help the Union. Includes a replica of a Confederate decoder, plus other spycraft materials, in a sealed envelope to help the reader discover clues found in the text and illustrations.

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My Name is James Madison Hemings by Jonah Winter; illustrated by Terry Widner
Here’s a powerful historical picture book about the child of founding father Thomas Jefferson and the enslaved Sally Hemings.
In an evocative first-person account accompanied by exquisite artwork, Winter and Widener tell the story of James Madison Hemings’s childhood at Monticello, and, in doing so, illuminate the many contradictions in Jefferson’s life and legacy. Though Jefferson lived in a mansion, Hemings and his siblings lived in a one-room shack. While Jefferson doted on his white grandchildren, he never showed affection to his enslaved children. Though he kept the Hemings boys from hard field labor—instead sending them to work in the carpentry shop—Jefferson nevertheless listed the children in his “Farm Book” along with the sheep, hogs, and other property. Here is a profound and moving account of one family’s history, which is also America’s history.
An author’s note includes more information about Hemings, Jefferson, and the author’s research.

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Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson
Rose Lee Carter, a thirteen-year-old African-American girl, dreams of life beyond the Mississippi cotton fields during the summer of 1955, but when Emmett Till is murdered and his killers are unjustly acquitted, Rose is torn between seeking her destiny outside of Mississippi or staying and being a part of an important movement.

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Steamboat School: Inspired by a True Story, St. Louis, Missouri, 1847 by Deborah Hopkinson; illustrated by Ron Husband
In 1847 St. Louis, Missouri, when a new law against educating African Americans forces Reverend John to close his school, he finds an ingenious solution to the new state law by moving his school to a steamboat in the Mississippi River. Includes author’s note on Reverend John Berry Meachum, a minister, entrepreneur, and educator who fought tirelessly for the rights of African Americans.