MARK YOUR CALENDAR
Upcoming Events for Children's Librarians
Gerald McDermott to speak at SFPL:
The 15th annual Effie Lee Morris Lecture will feature Gerald McDermott, Caldecott Medalist and folklorist. The event will take place on Tuesday, April 5, 2011, at 6pm at the San Francisco Main Library, in the Koret Auditorium (100 Larkin St.). This free event includes a reception and book signing at 5pm.
Richmond PL Wins Special Grant:
The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has announced that Richmond (Calif.) Public Library is the recipient of the 2011 Light the Way: Library Outreach to the Underserved Grant. As the winner of the grant, the library will receive $3,000 for their "Literacy Bags for Bilingual Families" project.
Richmond Public Library plans to use the money to provide access to books where children have very limited access to them. The elementary school cannot afford to loan out their materials to students, and many of the students do not have the means to get to a public library. By utilizing the successful partnership of Richmond's bookmobile librarian with a local school, Montalvin Elementary School, the library aims to help strengthen English language skills for kids and families.
"The committee felt that the project's goal to create bilingual literacy bags for K-3 children, their families and caregivers is both attainable and replicable by other libraries," said Erin Nguyen, chair of the 2011 ALSC Library Service to Special Population Children and Their Caregivers Committee (LSSPCC). "The project will directly impact the literacy and language skills of the participants, but the literacy bags will also be available to others served by the public library." The grant is sponsored by Candlewick Press in honor of author Kate DiCamillo.
Bookseller Shirley Masengill Dies:
Longtime children's bookseller Shirley Masengill, recipient of a Northern California Children's Booksellers' Association Otter Award for her unique role in bringing together children and books, died on February 12. She was 83. For nearly seven decades Masengill worked at Bay Area bookstores, including Books Inc., Sather Gate, Lane's Bookstore, the Storyteller, Cody's, Cover-to-Cover Booksellers, and Laurel Book Store. "Anyone who has met Shirley has been struck by her passion, " said Hicklebee's co-owner Valerie Lewis. "We've lost a one-of-a-kind force in our book community, and we'll miss her. " Shirley was also a long-time member of ACL.
Donations may be made to Starcross Monastic Community (34500 Annapolis Rd., Annapolis, Calif. 95412; www.starcross.org), an autonomous community of lay people. Since 1986, it has adopted and advocated for children with unique gifts and needs, most of whom were born HIV-positive. It also supports individual children in other places and established Houses of Hope for children impacted by the AIDS pandemic in Romania, Uganda, and South Africa.
Laurel Book Store in Oakland, where Masengill worked at the time of her death, will hold a celebration of her life on April 2. It will also mount a display of Masengill's favorite children's books to hand sell. Linda Perkins said "Shirley was known for her passion for children's books and her energetic, no-nonsense efforts to bring books & kids together, especially kids from low income families. To say that Shirley did not suffer fools gladly (especially those who were cavalier about books & disadvantaged young people) would be a gross understatement. She would -- and often did --give them a piece of her mind in language that might curl their hair. (In fact, Shirley was once removed from her volunteer job as school playground attendant because her "language " was considered "too coarse " for the ears of children. When they removed Shirley Massengill of her volunteer playground attendant duties, they assigned her to the school library to keep her mouth shut. It didn't work, of course, but Shirley discovered the world of children's books in that school library. Sometimes life takes an unexpected but lucky bounce). That was a lucky day for other kids, children's books, and those of us who were fortunate enough to know and work with her. "
Margaret K. McElderry Dies at age 98:
Longtime children's book editor and publisher Margaret K. McElderry died February 14, at the age of 98. In a New York Times profile , the Times's Eden Ross Lipson called McElderry "the last of her class of editors who brought American children's books into the postwar world." After working for legendary librarian Anne Carroll Moore at the New York Public Library, McElderry became editor of children's books at Harcourt Brace in 1945. There, she published such classics as the Borrowers books by Mary Norton and the first book in Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising sequence; her long list of authors also includes Lucy Boston, Edward Eager, Andre Norton, and Margaret Mahy. In 1952, she became the first editor to have books win both the Newbery and Caldecott Medals in the same year-for Eleanor Estes's Ginger Pye and Finders Keepers by William Lipkind, illustrated by Nicholas Mordvinoff, respectively. In 1972, after being asked to retire, she left and started her own imprint at Simon and Schuster, where she worked until 1998. After retiring, she still contributed to the imprint, which is still publishing.
Author Steven Kroll Dies:
Steven Kroll, the author of 96 books for children, died March 8. Those in the world of children's book are deeply saddened by his death but said he left a lasting legacy. "Steve Kroll was a vital part of our children's book community and a great friend to librarians and writers around the world," says author, Elizabeth Levy and longtime friend. "Steven loved to schmooze about storytelling and the children's book business of which he was a part for 40 years."
His longtime editor, Margery Cuyler, told School Library Journal, "I have lost both a friend and an author with whom I worked for almost 40 years. It's somewhat comforting to know, at least, that his books will continue to be beloved by so many children."
Kroll attended New York's Hunter College Elementary and the McBurney School and was part of the youth sculpture program at the Museum of Modern Art. A Harvard graduate, he often said that "his many smart, confident classmates at Harvard made him too intimidated to write his own books," however he overcame that after years of being an editor.
Author and Poet Victor Martinez Dies:
San Francisco resident Victor Martinez, renowned Latino poet and author, died February 18 at age 56 from cancer. Martinez wrote one Young Adult novel, Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vida, which received the National Book Award in 1996 in the Young People's fiction category.
Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award:
The 2011 Lee Bennett Hopkins/Penn State University Poetry Award was given to The Ink Garden of Brother Theopane by C.M. Millen, illustrated by Andrea Wisnewski, (Charlesbridge). The author receives $1,000 plus a medallion. There was one Honor Book: Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Rick Allen (Houghton Mifflin).
Board Book Round-Up
Spring is here again and so is our semi-annual Board Book Round-up! Overall, there is a lack of diversity in most of the selections, so that is something we need to request of publishers. Here are very brief reviews of some board book that were released late in 2010 or early in 2011:
Uzon, Jorge. Hello Baby Series. Groundwood, 2010. $6.95 each.
Look Around, Baby! ISBN 9780888999672.
Go, Baby, Go! ISBN 9780888999856 .
Not a Baby Anymore! ISBN 9780888999863.
Hello, Baby! ISBN 9780888999665.
Color photos of a baby interacting with family and friends are the strength of this series. The text, one phrase or sentence below each photo, is directed at the baby: "Can you hold this rattle?" The brown-eyed, brown-haired baby could be Latino and the household settings could be anywhere, which gives the series a universality. The publisher's website states that it is Uzon's baby in the photos. Highly recommended.
Katz, Karen. Karen Katz's Brand New Baby Series. Little Simon, 2010. $5.99 each.
Baby's Numbers. ISBN 9781442408272.
Baby's Shapes. ISBN 9781416998241.
Baby's Colors. ISBN 9781416998211.
With only Baby's Numbers available to review, this still looks like a series that is developmentally suited to babies and toddlers, that will also please their parents. Brightly painted cartoon style illustration show faces of ethnically diverse babies opposite a picture of something they could easily see to demonstrate numbers. For example, one baby is looking at a pair of shows with the caption “2 red shoes.” Only the numeral, not the word for the number, is shown but that is fine for this audience. Learning to count the items in the picture is the focus, and that is easy to do as the illustrations depict the items so clearly. The pages seem to be thick cardboard with painted edges, and the paper pages are glued to that surface. The painted edges should add to the books' shelf-life. Sure to be popular and effective learning tools, too.
Baby Animals Series. Kingfisher, 2010. $5.99 each.
In the Snow. ISBN 9780753464595.
At Night. ISBN 9780753464588.
These color photo board books are nonfiction for the youngest reader. Each spread features a picture of the animal, such as an Arctic Fox, with a few facts about the animal. Even toddlers will enjoy seeing the baby animal and learning the sound it makes.
SmileyWorld, Ltd. SmileyWorld Series. Little Simon, 2010. $5.99 each.
My Moods. ISBN 9781442408005.
My Foods. ISBN 9781442407985.
Do you remember the yellow circle with eyes and a smiling mouth from the 1970's that went with the greeting “Have a Nice Day”? The SmileyWorld company has repurposed that logo into a children's book series. In My Moods, the yellow circle cries, yawns, grimaces, etc. to demonstrate different emotions. In My Foods, the eyes and smiles are on foods - an ice cream cone, in the yolk of a fried egg, on a banana. The text is basically a word or two captioning the full color cartoon pictures. These illustrations seem more like an advertising campaign than a book.
McGuirk, Leslie. Tucker's Valentine. Candlewick, 2010. $6.99. ISBN 9780763643577.
Seventh in the series of board books about a small white terrier, this Valentine-themed story is not as good as previous books. Tucker is followed around by a doggy Cupid who is shooting arrows at Tucker. This will probably be confusing to most toddlers, although Tucker is a very cute and likeable character.
Maccarone, Grace. The Gingerbread Family. Illus. by Louise Gardner. Little Simon, 2010. $7.99, ISBN 9781442406780.
The scratch-and-sniff aspect of this book may not last but the story is still interesting. The brief rhyming story shows where the Gingerbread family lives - it looks a lot like the "Candyland" board game. In each of the six openings, one item has a scented element; for example, the pillow in the bedroom smells like marshmallows. A good book to pair with The Gingerbread Man.
Yoon, Salina. Peek-A-Love. Little Simon, 2010. $6.99. ISBN 9781442406551.
Each opening shows an animal, and across from it is a die-cut page that has a flap, revealing what that animal loves. A bee loves a flower, a bear loves honey, a fish loves bubbles, etc. The deeply saturated illustrations are in a block style, similar to the work of Donald Crews, which is well suited to a baby or toddler audience. Not particularly memorable but this will serve the youngest book lovers.
Katz, Alan. Let's Get a Checkup! Illus. by Pascal Lemaitre. Little Simon, 2010. $7.99. ISBN 9781416989929.
Bettenhausen, Kelli. I Am! Yo Soy! Say.Think.Know., 2009. $6.95. ISBN 9780615284156.
Clear full color photos show ethnically diverse babies (and some caregivers/parents) and are matched to declarative sentences: "I am so big!" or "I am smart!" The brief text is in English and Spanish, and the photo quality is excellent. Babies love to see other babies, and the affirmations of the text work well. Highly recommended.
Weiss, Ellen. Whatever You Do, I Love You! Illus. by Sam Williams. Little Simon, 2010. $7.99. ISBN 9781442408098.
A brief rhyming story about a parent and child dinosaur. The parent reinforces that “whatever you do, I love you!” which is repeated. The theme has been done before and better in books such as Margaret Wise Brown's Runaway Bunny, Barbara Joosse's Mama, Do You Love Me?, and Sam McBratney's Guess How Much I Love You? The soft pastel illustrations serve the text, but overall, this is serviceable but not memorable.
Bryant, Megan E. Build a Snowman, 1, 2, 3! Illus. by Jillian Phillips. Price Stern Sloan, 2010. $6.99. ISBN 9780843199192.
Siblings awake and see the snow outside, so they gather materials to make a snowman. This counting story concludes with a well-constructed popup of the siblings and their snowman. The soft colors and length of the story would be better suited to a picture book audience, not babies or toddlers. But it is a good story.
Falconer, Ian. Olivia Saves the Circus. Atheneum, 2001/2010. $7.99. ISBN 9781442412873.
Measuring 6 ¼ by 8 ¼ inches, this board book is more likely to be appreciated by older preschoolers and school-age children, due to the humor of the Olivia series. Although the pages are made of cardboard, the older audience won't need that aspect of the book design; in fact, a hardback or paperback version would probably more enjoyable. All of the text and illustrations from the original picture book edition is here except for the two gatefold spread of Olivia on the trapeze; here it is done in two spreads. This inexpensive but complete version would make a nice giveaway book for families with an adult learner in your literacy programs.
Cronin, Doreen. Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type. Illus. by Betsy Lewin. Little Simon, 2000/2010. $7.99. ISBN 9781442408890.
Cronin, Doreen. Scooby Dooby Moo. Illus. by Betsy Lewin. Little Simon, 2006/2010. $7.99. ISBN 9781442408906.
Like Olivia mentioned above, these oversized board books have all the illustrations and text of their picture book editions, these just have cardboard pages. Children who seem to understand the jokes in these stories are older than the board book crowd, so these board versions probably won't be popular. The cows that go on strike in Click Clack Moo and the talent show in Dooby Dooby Moo are outside the experience of babies and toddlers, so the hardback picture book original editions are the best format for these.
Tillman, Nancy. It's Time to Sleep, My Love. Illus. by Eric Metaxas. Feiwel and Friends, 2008/2010. $7.99. ISBN 9780312673369.
The symbolic text of this rhyming bedtime story seems better suited to older preschoolers, and so do the mixed media illustrations, so the original picture book is the better choice. As a board book, the text, on white pages, faces the full color detailed pictures, but toddlers will have difficulty figuring out what is pictured. Although the text has repetition and is soothing, there are more baby and toddler appropriate books available. Will a toddler understand "They'll be here when I snuff the wick"?
Gonzalez, Maya Christina. My Colors, My World - Mis Colores, Mi Mundo. Children's Book Press, 2007/2011. $7.99. ISBN 9780892392346.
In this bilingual celebration of colors, a little girl describes the colors in her world, from her Papi's black hair to the pink sunset. Both the brief text and the dramatic full color illustrations work for the toddler audience, so the board book is just as useful as the original picture book version, which received the Pura Belpre Illustrator Honor.
Tafuri, Nancy. The Busy Little Squirrel. Little Simon, 2007/2010. $7.99. ISBN 9781442407213.
Although the picture book edition was not available for comparison, this board book seems to be complete- if any text or artwork was deleted it certainly is not missed in this graceful presentation. A squirrel gets ready for autumn by collecting nuts and berries. Other animals ask the squirrel to play with him but he repeats "too busy!" The story and repetitive text are suitable for the toddler audience and the realistic watercolor and ink outline illustrations convey a great deal of the story. A good choice for your board book collection.
Calmenson, Stephanie. 10 Items or Less. Illus. by Jana Christy. Little Simon, 1985/2010. $7.99. ISBN 9781442407206.
Two things make this unique - first, it was originally published as a Little Golden Book. Second, it contains ten puzzle-like pieces that the child takes off the page, and then puts back in the space it came from. On the last page is a picnic blanket where the pieces can also be inserted. The ten pieces are all food items - a jar of jam, a loaf of bread, etc. Except for the chips, these are all healthy foods a toddler or preschooler would eat. The colorful illustrations show energy and smiling food items, and the young girl main character has dark hair and light brown skin tone that could be indicative of several different ethnic groups. Because of the pieces, this may be better suited to a home purchase but it is a fun book.
Katz, Karen. Counting Kisses. Little Simon, 2001/2010. $11.99. ISBN 9781442407923.
Katz, Karen. Mommy Hugs. Little Simon, 2006/2010. $11.99. ISBN 9781442407916.
These Lap-sized (9 x 10 inches) board books are as large as the average picture book, but the binding and stories are perfect for babies and toddlers. Counting Kisses describes a parent kissing a baby, with a counting theme: "Four warm kisses on two baby hands - 4." It is nice to have both the numeral and word for the number in the text. Mommy Hugs is also a counting book: "Seven splishy, splashy bathtub hugs - 7." In each, an adult and baby are shown demonstrating the text, in Katz's signature color cartoon illustrations. But since the thing being counted, a kiss or a hug, is not shown in numbers in the illustration, this doesn't work as a counting book. But the stories are sweet and developmentally appropriate for the baby audience.
Katz, Karen. Peek-a-Baby. Little Simon, 2007/2010. $9.99. ISBN 9781442407909.
Simple flaps are lifted to show a cartoon baby yelling "Peek-a-boo" in various settings. The baby is almost life-sized and the flaps are creative - a hat, ball, umbrella, teddy bear, etc. Only six spreads but still an effective story for a baby. Follow this up with a real version of "Peek-a-boo!"
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