Death and Grief

My Father's Arms Are a Boat
Our Chap­ter & Verse Book Clubs read three books about death, writ­ten for chil­dren, in April of 2017. We’ve updat­ed this list with new­er books in Octo­ber, 2022. Sev­er­al of our librar­i­an mem­bers stat­ed that they receive many requests from patrons for books that help chil­dren under­stand death. Our mem­bers around the coun­try put their heads togeth­er to make rec­om­men­da­tions of books they felt are excel­lent sto­ries and dis­cus­sion starters for fam­i­lies.
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How Parks Connect Us
… and Why It Matters

A Park Connects Us
Spring is in the air, and we’re pulled outdoors to wander in our favorite city parks. Ducks are dabbling; frogs are trilling; the apple trees are bursting into bloom. Everywhere, it seems, children frolic and neighbors wave. It’s been a long winter, but our cities are alive.

Loyalty

Loyalty
Leave it to Avi to find a way to help me look at the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary War from a new per­spec­tive. Make that two. Young Noah is the son of a Loy­al­ist and min­is­ter, pledged to the King. When local rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies tar and feath­er his father, the fam­i­ly flees to Boston. Need­ing work, Noah finds a job as a British spy and a serv­er in a tav­ern, where he can eas­i­ly over­hear plans and report on them.
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Odd Bods

Odd Bods
One of my favorite non­fic­tion pic­ture books so far this year is Odd Bods: the World’s Unusu­al Ani­mals by Julie Mur­phy. Here’s a brief description: Long snouts, bright-red lips, pointy heads … the ani­mal king­dom is full of crit­ters with unique fea­tures. Learn about the incred­i­ble adap­ta­tions that help these ani­mals – and their odd bods – sur­vive and thrive all around the globe!
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Curiouser and Curiouser with Karen Cushman

Karen Cushman
When we published our first issue of Bookology back in April of 2015, Karen Cushman was our first featured author. With the publication of her 10th book, War and Millie McGonigle, we knew it was time to check in, curious about the way Karen organizes and writes her novels.

We Are the Future

We Are the Future
We Are the Future: Poems with a Voice for Peace is impossible to read without being deeply moved by the open hearts and minds of refugee and immigrant youth in the Seattle area, guided by poets and teachers Merna Hecht and Carrie Stradley.

The Startup Squad

Brian Weisfeld
In which we interview Brian Weisfeld, one of the authors of The Startup Squad series, featuring a reluctant team of four girls who start their own business. I found them to be charming … and I mean that in both senses of the word: being appealing and casting a spell.

Gardening and Community

Jayden's Impossible Garden
Day­light sav­ings time makes me grum­ble at hav­ing to get up ear­li­er. But, it also means that spring is com­ing. I start think­ing about what seeds I will plant for my gar­den, and which books I will read to my stu­dents, to give them hope when they still see snow on the ground. To encour­age plant­i­ng seeds to save the envi­ron­ment, to bright­en spir­its, and to instill a sense of con­nec­tion and pos­si­bil­i­ty, I like to read the fol­low­ing books that focus on gar­den­ing and com­mu­ni­ty.
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Doorways to the Wild and Wondrous

Sarah Nelson
Today, writing about nature and outdoor play just feels as natural and right to me as breathing. All my happy memories of chasing frogs, climbing trees, and splashing in summer lakes easily inform the stories I write.

Ideas and Details

What Do They Do With All That Poo?
When I was doing lots and lots of author vis­its, many schools were focus­ing pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment — and writ­ing instruc­tion — on Six Traits: Voice, Ideas, Pre­sen­ta­tion, Con­ven­tions, Orga­ni­za­tion, Word Choice, and Sen­tence Flu­en­cy. I liked to show ways that I, a pro­fes­sion­al writer, also dance and wres­tle with those traits. In par­tic­u­lar, I liked to focus on ideas and details.
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Kids in Business

Bee Fearless
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 tales shared in these ten pic­ture books.
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Catherine Urdahl

Catherine Urdahl
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 Sto­ries: The Three Lit­tle Kit­tens, The Three Lit­tle Pigs, The Three Bears, illus­trat­ed by Garth Williams.
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Children’s Literacy Foundation

mother selecting books with her son
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 23 years, and they hear the same ques­tion wher­ev­er they go.
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Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life

Hedy Lamarr's Double Life
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 inventor. Dur­ing World War II, Hedy col­lab­o­rat­ed with anoth­er inven­tor to devel­op an inno­v­a­tive tech­nol­o­gy called fre­quen­cy hop­ping.
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The Soaring Imagination of Uri Shulevitz

How I Learned Geography
In two of his picture books Uri Shulevitz introduces a child alone in a room, isolated, similar to our quarantined children today who are stuck at home, cut off from friends. But where is the iPad, television or computer screen? Look closely—there are none in the pictures.

Carole Boston Weatherford

Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom
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.

Perseverance

The Oldest Student
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!

Library Love:
Children’s Author Shares Her Passion for Research

Lady Bird Johnson, That's Who
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."

Ten Ways to Hear Snow

Ten Ways to Hear Snow
When you grow up in Min­neso­ta, snow is a part of your world. From play­ing in it until your feet are so cold and wet that your grand­moth­er will scold while you drink hot cocoa to lift­ing your feet high as you trudge through knee-deep snow to a bus stop that’s far­ther away than it has ever been, snow is a fix­ture in your thoughts. 
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Deb Andries and Her Reading Team
February 2021

Snow Uri Shulevitz
Reading teams do read together, and my Reading Team(s) and I have been doing just that. However, as you view the photos of the twins, Hayes and Myles, now seventeen months, you see them reading by themselves.

Bookstorm™: Virginia was a Spy

Virginia Was a Spy
World War II spy Vir­ginia Hall was born and raised on a farm in Mary­land. Her par­ents took her abroad when she was three, awak­en­ing a life-long fas­ci­na­tion with trav­el and adven­ture. She was in France when Hitler was rec­og­nized as the threat he was. When Ger­many over­took France, she became a part of the French Resis­tance. She used the skills she learned on her fam­i­ly farm to dis­guise her­self as a hum­ble milk­maid who couldn’t pos­si­bly be a spy.… more

Curiouser and Curiouser with Mike Wohnoutka

Mike Wohnoutka
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 (Eric A.… more

Tracy Sue Walker

Tracy Sue Walker
This month we wel­come Tra­cy Sue Walk­er, author, pub­lic librar­i­an, and pro­fes­sion­al storyteller. She’s recent­ly been reveal­ing “the truth about” a series of mys­ti­cal crea­tures, so far includ­ing drag­ons, Big­foot, and uni­corns, for Scholas­tic Book Clubs. Tra­cy describes her­self this way, “A booklover, day­dream­er, and goof­ball, I’m pret­ty qui­et unless I’m telling a sto­ry, then I’m pret­ty loud.”
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Love is Powerful

Love is Powerful
This book will lift you up in its arms and make you believe that “Love is Powerful”! It’s the right choice to help us under­stand what a group of peo­ple can accom­plish if they are unit­ed in their pur­pose and mov­ing toward treat­ing all peo­ple with love and kindness. Writ­ten by Heather Dean Brew­er from Michi­gan and illus­trat­ed by LeUyen Pham from Cal­i­for­nia, both of whom marched in the 2017 Women’s March­es, this book is inspired by Mari, a real lit­tle girl who trav­eled with her moth­er from Harlem to Mid­town New York to march with large crowds of peo­ple who were protest­ing inhu­mane actions and poli­cies of a pres­i­dent who reviled many people.
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Planetarium

Planetarium
My fas­ci­na­tion with out­er space is well-doc­u­ment­ed. I had star charts on my child­hood bed­room walls. But this book would have enthralled me … in fact, it still does. The illus­tra­tions by engraver and print­mak­er Chris Wormell are detailed in a way that aids under­stand­ing. Scale is a tough con­cept for our com­pre­hen­sion but this book tack­les that with info­graph­ics that give a sense of how enor­mous our uni­verse is.
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Helen Oxenbury: A Life in Illustration

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 revered author-illus­tra­tor as well as her illus­tra­tions and deli­cious pho­tos that help our understanding.… more

The Range Eternal

The Range Eternal
I am delight­ed by the re-issue of The Range Eter­nal, a pic­ture book that reach­es back into his­to­ry and con­nects with our sens­es, our fam­i­lies, our fears, and our reas­sur­ances. I have read all of Louise Erdrich’s books for adults and chil­dren. She nev­er fails to bring me new ways of look­ing at the world. So it is with this book.
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An Antidote to Holiday Cookies

Nature's Yucky
The Nature’s Yucky! three-book chil­drens non-fic­tion series fea­tures ani­mals doing what we humans per­ceive as gross behav­iors. My co-author Karen Shragg and I then describe how these yucky actions help the ani­mals survive. Karen likes to cook and does a lot of exper­i­ment­ing, whip­ping meals togeth­er. Since she likes cook­ing so much, we include a kid-friend­ly recipe in every book.… more