Tag Archives: picture books

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.

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.

African American History, Library History

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Something unusual happened at the Youth Media Awards on Monday.  A single book, March: Book Three (written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell), won 4 major awards:

  • Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award, recognizing an African-American author and of outstanding books for children and young adults
  • Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults
  • Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children
  • YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults

The book already won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in November.  You might have heard Representative John Lewis give an emotional acceptance speech, in which he recalled “I remember in 1956 when I was 16 years old, going down to the public library, trying to get library cards, and we were told that the libraries were whites-only and not for coloreds…To come here and receive this award — it’s too much.”

The history of library services for African Americans has included both exclusion and inclusion.  Here are some books (for a slightly younger audience than March) that help tell the story:

Finding Lincoln
Finding Lincoln by Ann Malaspina
In segregated 1950s Alabama, Louis cannot use the public library to research a class assignment, but one of the librarians lets him in after hours and helps him find the book that he needs. Includes an author’s note with historical information about library segregation in the South.

Goin' Somplace Special
Goin’ Someplace Special by Patricia McKissack
In segregated Nashville during the 1950s, a young African American girl endures a series of indignities and obstacles to get to the public library, one of the few integrated places in the city.

Richard Wright and the Library Card
Richard Wright and the Library Card by William Miller (also available in Spanish)
Based on a scene from Wright’s autobiography, Black Boy, in which the seventeen-year-old African-American borrows a white man’s library card and devours every book as a ticket to freedom.

Ron's Big Mission
Ron’s Big Mission by Rose Blue and Corinne Naden
One summer day in 1959, nine-year-old Ron McNair, who dreams of becoming a pilot, walks into the Lake City, South Carolina public library and insists on checking out some books, despite the rule that only white people can have library cards. Includes facts about McNair, who grew up to be an astronaut.

7 Principles

2016 is the 50th anniversary of the creation of the holiday Kwanzaa.  There still aren’t a lot of picture book published about the holiday (Kevin’s Kwanzaa is the only new one in the collection since I last wrote about the topic), so instead I’m going to suggest some titles that go along with the principles of Kwanzaa:

Umoja (unity)

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Goal! by Mina Javaherbin
In a dangerous alley in a township in South Africa, the strength and unity which a group of young friends feel while playing soccer keep them safe when a gang of bullies arrives to cause trouble.

Kujichagulia (self-determination)

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I, Too, Am America by Langston Hughes, illustrated by Bryan Collier
Presents the popular poem by one of the central figures in the Harlem Renaissance, illustrated with images of Pullman porters and a contemporary child riding the subway.
Some other suggestions for this principle would be Princess Grace or My Friend Maya Loves to Dance (which could both also be used to introduce kente cloth), Thunder Rose (an original tall tale about a girl who starts life by controlling the lightning and picking her own name), or another Langston Hughes poem, My People.

Ujima (collective work and responsibility)

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The Hula Hoopin’ Queen by Thelma Lynne Godin, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
Kameeka yearns to continue her hula hooping competition with her rival, Jamara, rather than help prepare for Miz Adeline’s birthday party, and “the itch” almost ruins the party before a surprise ending.

Ujamaa (cooperative economics)

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Destiny’s Gift by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley; illustrated by Adjoa J. Burrowes
Destinys favorite place in the world is Mrs. Wade’s bookstore, so when she finds out it may close she stirs the community to help out, then works on a special gift of her own to encourage Mrs. Wade.
Two more books about this principle are The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth, & Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore and Uncle Jed’s Barbershop.

Nia (purpose)

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Giant Steps to Change the World by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee, illustrated by Sean Qualls
Pursuing one’s own path in life takes courage, strength, and perseverance, as demonstrated by such inspirational leaders as Barack Obama, Albert Einstein, and Muhammad Ali.

Kuumba (creativity):

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Metal Man by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Paul Hoppe
One hot summer day, a man who makes sculpture out of junk helps a boy create what he sees in his mind’s eye.

Imani (faith)

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Shouting by Joyce Carol Thomas
A colorful salute to faith and gospel music links Black church traditions to the rhythms of Africa.
You might also like a story about a character named Imani, like Imani in the Belly or Imani’s Gift at Kwanzaa.

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Never Forgotten by Patricia McKissack, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon, is a fable-like book that brings together themes of family unity and creativity.  It’s longer than a standard picture book, but beautifully illustrated throughout.  A boy and his father are cruelly separated, and the elements Earth, Fire, Water and Wind bring the father news of the son’s fate.  In a note at the end, the author writes, “…I have tried to create a story that addresses the question all of us who are descendants of the Taken ask: ‘Were we missed?’  I answer with a resounding ‘Yes! We were never forgotten.'”

If you would like a book that puts Kwanzaa in a context of other holidays celebrated with candles, fireworks, and festive bonfires, try

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Lighting Our World: A Year of Celebrations by Catherine Rondina; illustrated by Jacqui Oakley
Starting with Up Helly Aa in January and finishing with Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa in December, you can explore religious and secular festivals around the world.

Cozy Hanukkah Picture Books

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Beautiful Yetta’s Hanukkah Kitten by Daniel Pinkwater
Yetta and her parrot friends (from Beautiful Yetta: The Yiddish Chicken) find a kitten and a grandmother who will take it in (and feed all of them latkes). In English with some Yiddish and Spanish text.

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Hanukkah Cookies with Sprinkles by David A. Adler
Sara learns about the Jewish tradition of tzedakah when she shares food with a hungry stranger.

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Hanukkah Bear by Eric A. Kimmel
On the first night of Hanukkah, Old Bear wanders into Bubba Brayna’s house and receives a delicious helping of potato latkes when she mistakes him for the rabbi. Includes a recipe for latkes.  This title is also available as a DVD and an audiobook.

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A Hanukkah with Mazel by Joel Edward Stein
Misha has no one to celebrate Hanukkah with until he discovers a hungry cat in his barn. The lucky little cat inspires Misha to turn each night of Hanukkah into something special.

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A Hat for Mrs. Goldman: A Story about Knitting and Love by Michelle Edwards
This is not strictly speaking a Hanukkah story, but a cozy winter story about a who is learning to knit from her neighbor, who says, “Keeping keppies warm is our mitzvah.”

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Honeyky Hanukah by Woody Guthrie
A family celebrates Hanukkah with latkes, hugs, kisses, and dancing.  The book comes with a CD performed by the Klezmatics.

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I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Dreidel by Caryn Yacowitz
A beloved grandmother spreads out a yummy Hanukkah supper only to develop an insatiable appetite that alarms her family, in a story augmented by parodies of art by such masters as da Vinci, Rembrandt, and Picasso.

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Is It Hanukkah Yet? by Chris Barash
From snow on the ground to making applesauce and latkes to lighting the menorah, this story shows the seasonal and traditional ways we know Hanukkah is on its way.

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Latke the Lucky Dog by Ellen Fischer
A family rescues a dog from a shelter during Hanukkah, and the pup proceeds to create holiday hijinks as he gets used to his new home.  This story is also available on DVD.

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Oskar and the Eight Blessings by Richard Simon and Tanya Simon
A young Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany arrives in New York City on the seventh night of Hanukkah and receives small acts of kindness while exploring the city.

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The Parakeet Named Dreidel by Isaac Bashevis Singer
On the eighth night of Hanukkah, a family rescues a Yiddish-speaking, dreidel-playing parakeet. The beloved author’s story was originally published in his collection of Hanukkah stories The Power of Light.

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Simon and the Bear: A Hanukkah Tale by Eric A Kimmel
Stranded on an iceberg on his way to America, Simon remembers his mother’s parting words and lights the first candle on his menorah while praying for a miracle, which soon arrives in the form of a friendly polar bear.

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Yitzi and the Giant Menorah by Richard Ungar
When the people of Chelm receive a giant menorah as a gift from the mayor of Lublin, the villagers try to come up with a fitting way to thank the mayor.

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Eve Merriam at 100

Poet Eve Merriam would have been 100 years old today.  She is known for writing everything from children’s picture books to poems for adults.  Here are some of her books that you can find at the library; her poems are also included in several poetry collections.

Goodnight to Annie: An Alphabet Lullaby
In alphabetical order, creatures all over the world fall asleep, from alligators dozing in the mud to zebras asleep on their sides.

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On My Street
This book is a good example of how families can make rhymes out of the ordinary people, places, and activities they see around them, like “Mr. Sklar washing his car” or “Pat at the laundromat.”

Ms. Merriam’s poems for older children are often playful.  Here’s one from Blackberry Ink:

Cat cat cat on the bed,
Bed’s too soft, it jumps on my head.
Head head, head’s too hard,
Cat wriggles out into the yard.
Yard yard, cat slips away
Over to the playground where the children play.
Playground seesaw, who wants to ride?
Cat’s all ready on the other side

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Chortles: New and Selected Wordplay Poems

The Singing Green: New and Selected Poems for All Seasons features some poems that are about poetry– I could see these coming in handy for an English teacher.

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Spooky ABC features spooky illustrations by Lane Smith (you probably recognize his style from books like The Stinky Cheese Man).
A poem for each letter of the alphabet introduces a different, spooky aspect of Halloween.