We celebrate these books, published during Spring 2021! Click on a book cover to watch a short video by one of the book’s creators. We’ve enjoyed learning more about each book — we know you will, too! If you’re inspired to buy one or more of these books, please click on the title to purchase the book from Bookshop.org, an online
Quirky Book Lists
Patience and perseverance are among the hardest things for children to learn. How can we make pressing on in the face of discouragement interesting to kids? By reading them amazing stories of creativity and resilience! Picture book biographies show the satisfying results of persevering over a lifetime. All ages will be inspired by the true [...]
Red Reading Boots
Perhaps you saw it. On social media, or in a chain email. A poem that seemed like a hopeful sigh went out into the world very early in the pandemic last spring and made its rounds as quickly as the virus. And the people stayed home. And they listened, and read books, and rested, and [...]
Caren: When my daughter Beth was fourteen, she traveled with a small exchange group of teens to Poland where she would live with a couple and their teen daughter in a small village. In a true exchange, the Polish teens then traveled to Minnesota for a similar experience. Neither group spoke the other’s language. Recently, [...]
Why We Love Nonfiction
The fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing in July 2019 inspired many new books along with some updates and reissues of existing titles. For those who haven’t had the chance to look at all the possibilities, let me introduce you to a few.
Big Green Pocketbook
Working on my magical realism middle-grade novel, I realized I couldn’t visualize where my story is located. I could describe immediate buildings, but the landscape was blank. If I couldn’t see it, neither could a reader.
Self on the Shelf
As a child, I was shy and scared—of other kids, dogs, almost anything outside my fence. My parents enrolled me in preschool, hoping I’d blossom. I refused to get out of the car. I had everything I needed at home, including a mom who loved reading to me. My first book memory is Three Bedtime [...]
When We Reach Them
Imagine the joy of a child who never had the privilege of owning a book being able to choose new hardcover or paperback editions for free out of hundreds displayed in front of him. The Children’s Literacy Foundation doesn’t have to imagine. Staff have seen the excited smiles on these young faces for the past [...]
Eventually I discovered why so much of my writing time is unproductive.
Why We Love Nonfiction
One of my favorite STEM-themed picture book biographies is Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life: Hollywood Legend and Brilliant Inventor by Laurie Wallmark and Katy Wu. Here’s a brief description: To her adoring public, Hedy Lamarr was a glamorous movie star, widely considered the most beautiful woman in the world. But in private, she was a brilliant [...]
Two for the Show
Carole Boston Weatherford has been writing since she was in first grade. Her father taught printing and was able to publish those early stories. Weatherford has written dozens of picture books for young readers — and all readers. We cannot be exhaustive here, but we can introduce you to this wonderful writer.
Caldecott Lines of Connection
Many picture books have anonymous settings, but some include authentic landmarks identifying locations that can be pinpointed on a map. Traveling from west coast to east coast, several Caldecott Award books feature settings in the United States, and we can become armchair travelers through the illustrations.
Small Press Medley
Think tropical … island nations, high and low islands. Feel the sun’s warmth, the stir of a gentle breeze clattering palm fronds high overhead. Escape winter, cold, snow, white, ice. How? In a book. Open one of the many books published by Bess Press, one of the first independent publishers located in Honolulu. Their books [...]
Quirky Book Lists
Patience and perseverance are among the hardest things for children to learn. How can we make pressing on in the face of discouragement interesting to kids? By reading them amazing stories of creativity and resilience!
As a children’s librarian, a primary goal for me is to help children embrace imagination through books, from imagining we are superheroes to going on a hunt to find a bear, flying in the sky, exploring a new land, to diving deep in the ocean. For some time however, including nonfiction titles in my programs [...]
Aspiring writers often ask about an author's process ... as if there is some magic clue that will help them write.
Author Tracy Nelson Maurer shares, "My heart leapt when I learned that I was old enough for my first library card—the key to that vast kingdom of words. I’ve treasured each library card since then."
Raising Star Readers
I’ll be honest, this installment of Raising Star Readers should be called “Raising Gigi’s Spirits.” The thing I miss most about spending time with my Reading Team is sharing laughter — everything from giggles to rolling-on-the-floor belly laughs.
Self on the Shelf
I looked on my shelves, wondering which books to highlight. I have several shelves, scattered around the house. Though I am a school librarian, my home shelves are quite fluid, as in, they’re not strictly organized. Books are loosely grouped by format and size, sometimes by genre. I really don’t have that many books (I love [...]
Curiouser and Curiouser
I've known Mike Wohnoutka for many years, from his first SCBWI meeting when he introduced himself and showed samples from his portfolio. His adorable character in Cowboy Sam and Those Confounded Secrets (Kitty Griffin, Kathy Combs), an early book, captured my attention. Here was an illustrator who infused humor into the visual story. Hannukah Bear [...]
When Marsha Qualey began this column six years ago, she had us all on the lookout for books about children’s literature. What would add to our understanding of this very particular community of educators, students, collector, and creators? This book about Helen Oxenbury by Leonard Marcus is a gem, filled with the wisdom of a [...]