Every month, we post an annotated bibliography of books that were rated ‘Outstanding’ and nominated for our Distinguished List at our previous month’s meeting. Members can see full reviews of these books and many more in the February edition of BayViews.
Bedtime Monsters written and illustrated by Josh Schneider
The perfect book for any child who, like Arnold, is terrified of monsters hiding under the bed. Each monster is afraid of the following monster, ending with the last monster afraid of Arnold himself. (Preschool – Grade 2)
Cheese Belongs to You! by Alexis Deacon; illustrated by Viviane Schwarz
Rat law is that cheese belongs to you! Unless…there is someone who can take it from you. The red and black rats are hilarious, and it ends as a sweet story about sharing. (Preschool – Grade 1)
The Dark by Lemony Snicket; illustrated by Jon Klassen
Little, Brown, 2013.
When Laszlo’s nighlight fails, he must face his fear of the dark. Fortunately, the dark is there to help in a tale whose text and pictures are as eerie as they are, in the end, gentle. (Preschool – Grade 2)
Maria Had a Little Llama/María Tenía una Llamita written and illustrated by Angela Dominguez
H. Holt, 2013.
In this fresh, lively, and Spanish-English bilingual take on the classic Mary had a Little Lamb, Mary is María, and the lamb is a llama. Some key differences from the traditional poem make this telling, which takes place in a Peruvian village, unique. Gouache and ink illustrations are charming, rich with color, and seamlessly bring the poem to life. (Baby/toddler – Grade 2)
Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant’s Tale written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh
Pancho ventures out to El Norte in search of his father, who has not returned from picking crops; on his way a coyote says he can help Pancho. In this revolutionary picture book, a common migrant experience is told in a way young children will understand. A timely tale told in crisp language with culturally relevant artwork. (Kindergarten – Grade 5)
Mr. Putter and Tabby Drop the Ball by Cynthia Rylant; illustrated by Arthur Howard
Mr. Putter and his cat, Tabby, love to nap, but they wonder if perhaps they are napping too much. Mr. Putter and his neighbor, Mrs. Teaberry, join a baseball team. High jinks follow when Mrs. Teaberry’s dog, Zeke, decides to play. Rylant’s subtle humor pairs perfectly with Howard’s whimsical illustrations done in pencil, watercolor, and gouache. (Grades 1 – 3)
Doll Bones by Holly Black; illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
Haunted by a bone-china doll that may be made from a dead girl, close friends: Zach, Alice and Poppy, embark on a quest to lay her angry ghost to rest. Their journey is both a suspenseful and sensitive exploration of the strains adolescence puts on childhood friendships and childhood beliefs. (Grades 5 – 9)
One Came Home by Amy Timberlake
Set in 1871, this suspenseful history/mystery follows a 13-year-old sharpshooter with a sharp tongue, who sets off to find the sister she thinks is dead, discovers a counterfeiting ring, and experiences the largest-ever “nesting” of passenger pigeons – covering 125 miles at a width of 6-10 miles. (Grades 5 – 8)
Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere by Julie T. Lamana
Ten-year-old Armani Curtis lives in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. She and her family struggle to survive as Hurricane Katrina looms, strikes, and destroys her way of life, and everything she knows. (Grades 4 – 8)
March: Book One written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin; illustrated by Nate Powell
Top Shelf, 2013.
Congressman John Lewis remembers reading a comic book about Martin Luther King, Jr. and was inspired to tell his story using the same format. This first book of a planned trilogy covers his youth, college years, and early activities; one looks forward to the later books, as this ends somewhat abruptly. The artwork is old school comic book, like the Classics Comics from childhood, which are not “cartoony” but lend the story the appropriate gravitas. (Grade 7 – Adult)
Angel Island: Gateway to Gold Mountain by Russell Freedman
With large b&w historical photos, the engaging text gives an honest depiction of what it was like to wait on Angel Island before being admitted to the U.S. as an immigrant from Asia. Many of those who waiting were children, making their experience all the more frightening and stressful, and relatable for the reader. The author quotes many primary resources, including diaries, letters, memoirs, and poems, and has source notes as well as an index. (Grades 3 – 8)
Barbed Wire Baseball by Marissa Moss; illustrated by Yuko Shimizu
The achievements of baseball player and manager Kenichi “Zeni” Zenimura while living in a WWII internment camp in Arizona are told in a rousing text and marvelous illustrations to bring to life an unknown hero and a complicated time in this country’s history. (Grades 2 – 6)
Bombs Over Bikini: The World’s First Nuclear Disaster by Connie Goldsmith
21st Century, 2014.
The atomic testing over the Marshall Islands from 1946-58 is described in this clear, lively narrative paired with historic b&w photos. The author’s viewpoint is clear – the testing was both an environmental as well as human rights disaster, yet this is conveyed with facts and avoids being heavy-handed. (Grades 4 – 8)
Parrots over Puerto Rico by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore
Lee & Low, 2013.
With its spectacular collage art and vertical orientation well-matched by a vivid and information-packed textx, this book follows the intertwined history of Puerto Rico and the decline and regrowth of its native parrots. (Grades 3 – 6)
A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant; illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Horace Pippin, injured during WWI, didn’t begin painting until age 40. The story of his persistence, talent, and eventual success, is told in a fine pairing of Jennifer Bryant’s strong text and collage artwork by Melissa Sweet. (Grades 2 – 5)