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Jayden's Impossible Garden

Gardening and Community

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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Bee Fearless

Kids in Business

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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The Oldest Student

Perseverance

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!
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The Tinaja Tonight

Books about the Night

Night­time is a mag­i­cal time for kids. It’s a time for explor­ing the night skies. It’s a time for dream­ing cozy dreams.  It’s a time of mis­chief when it comes with the thrill of being allowed to stay up late. Night­time pic­ture books have always had an allure for me because of the top­ics they explore and the amaz­ing and var­ied art by illus­tra­tors chal­lenged with the task of draw­ing the dark.
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Rare & Blue

Picture Book Salute to Blue

Blue is beloved for the awesome beauty of its various shades on display in the natural world, and for the feelings of calmness, security, loyalty, and friendliness, it evokes. So, without further ado: a collection of ten lovely and compelling books, plus one, that celebrate blue.
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Bookwanderers

Books Set in Bookstores

 For many of us, wan­der­ing around inside a book­store is our Hap­py Place. It can also be a place of mys­tery, sur­prise, romance, adven­ture, how-tos, and an oppor­tu­ni­ty to tap into the knowl­edge of the uni­verse. Here then are fif­teen books for chil­dren that are set in bookstores.   Archie Greene and the Magi­cian’s Secret
writ­ten by D.D.
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Ramadan

Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr

Ramadan is observed dur­ing the ninth month of the Islam­ic cal­en­dar, based on the cycles of the moon. When a reli­gious leader sees the first sliv­er of a cres­cent moon, the begin­ning of Ramadan is pro­claimed. Indi­vid­u­als reflect on their spir­i­tu­al growth, make sac­ri­fices, and feel a sense of uni­ty in know­ing that Mus­lims around the world are respect­ing the Five Pil­lars of Islam: Sha­ha­da, hav­ing faith in the Islam reli­gion, Salat, pray­ing five times per day fac­ing the direc­tion of Mec­ca, Zakat, giv­ing sup­port to the needy, Sawm, fast­ing from sunup to sun­down dur­ing Ramadan, and Hajj: mak­ing the pil­grim­age to Mec­ca at least once dur­ing one’s life­time.
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Fabulous Fair Alphabet

Ferris Wheels

These are books about Mr. Ferris or his Ferris wheel, which debuted at the 1893 World Colombian Exposition. Grand in scale, rising up into the sky, the Ferris wheel is a focal point wherever it appears.
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Noisy Clock Shop

Quirky Book Lists: Time

Mar­garet Wise Brown once wrote that chil­dren won­dered about “mys­te­ri­ous clock time.” I cer­tain­ly did as a child. I sim­ply could not learn to tell time. This was back in the dark ages of ana­log clocks that seemed to hold secrets oth­ers could deci­pher but elud­ed me. I could have used any of the books on this list, but one in par­tic­u­lar is perfect.
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New Year at the Pier

Celebrating Rosh Hashanah

The Jew­ish High Hol­i­days begin with the fes­tiv­i­ties of the New Year on Rosh Hashanah and end ten days lat­er with the obser­vance of the Day of Atone­ment, Yom Kip­pur. It’s a time of reflec­tion and a renew­al of inten­tions to do bet­ter in the com­ing year. Here are a num­ber of books that will help chil­dren under­stand the tra­di­tions of the hol­i­day and expe­ri­ence the joy of the celebration.
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Thunder Rose

Back-to-School Favorites

This list was con­tributed by Deb Andries and Mau­r­na Rome, friends, edu­ca­tors, and colleagues! Favorites from Deb Andries: Alma and How She Got her Name by Jua­na Martinez-Neal Dream­ers by Yuyi Morales A Qui­et Place by Doug Wood and Dan Andreasen The Day You Begin by Jacque­line Wood­son and Rafael López Tru­man by Jean Rei­di and Lucy Ruth Cummins Drum Dream Girl by Mar­gari­ta Engle and Rafael López How to Read a Book by Kwame Alexan­der and Melis­sa Sweet Why by Lau­ra Vac­caro Seeger Each Kind­ness by Jacque­line Wood­son and E.B. Lewis… more
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Library Lion

Libraries and Librarians

We’re post­ing this when it’s Nation­al Library Week, but we believe every week should be Library Week. If you love pub­lic, school, and spe­cial libraries as much as we do, add these books to your read­ing list and share them with your favorite readers. As always, if you have a book you believe should be on this list, let us know in the com­ments or send us an e‑mail.
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Stay Close to Mama

The Animals in The Stuff of Stars

When I first read The Stuff of Stars by Mar­i­on Dane Bauer and Ekua Holmes, I was cap­ti­vat­ed by the beau­ty of the book and its lyri­cal thoughts about the earth and our envi­ron­ment. Ms. Holmes’ illus­tra­tions invite us to look clos­er, to dis­cern the crea­tures she’s so art­ful­ly includ­ed. Ms. Bauer’s text includes a list of ani­mals that roam the earth, bring­ing to mind all of the sto­ries and facts about these spe­cif­ic ani­mals, birds, insects, and reptiles.
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Drawn Together

The BEARdecotts

The ALA/ALSC recent­ly announced their Youth Media Awards, result­ing in much excitement. The teacher librar­i­ans at a Min­neso­ta pri­vate school with three cam­pus­es help their stu­dents look for excel­lence in children’s books by hold­ing their own award process each year. Called The BEARde­cotts, after their school mas­cot, the edu­ca­tors select books for a short list that they then share with their stu­dents over sev­er­al months, read­ing aloud, read­ing indi­vid­u­al­ly, mak­ing crit­i­cal analy­ses, and final­ly vot­ing on the most wor­thy books.
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Poetry Books That Celebrate
African American History and Culture

Poet­ry and the spo­ken word have promi­nent places in African Amer­i­can cul­ture, due at least in part to a strong oral tra­di­tion that has been passed down through gen­er­a­tions. Con­sid­er includ­ing poems from the books below in your read-alouds this month, and the year ahead, as a way to high­light the con­tri­bu­tions of African Amer­i­cans to our nation’s his­to­ry and cul­ture.
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The Ogress and the Snake

Books about Somali Immigrants/Refugees

In an effort to help my chil­dren under­stand more about their own her­itage, I have searched far and wide for books by or about Soma­li immi­grants or refugees. Here are some of the best ones we have found. Though a num­ber of these titles have not been writ­ten by Soma­lis, they have at least been informed by input from mem­bers of this community.
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Earth Day

Whether you are cel­e­brat­ing Earth Day this week or next week or every week, there are books here that will enchant your stu­dents or your fam­i­ly, open­ing up pos­si­bil­i­ties for good discussions.
  Earth: My First 4.54 Bil­lion Years
Sta­cy McAn­ul­ty, author
James Litch­field, illustrator
Hen­ry Holt, 2017
pri­ma­ry and ele­men­tary grades Told from the view­point of the anthro­po­mor­phic Earth itself, this book tells the life sto­ry of our home plan­et, intro­duc­ing it to “alien vis­i­tors.”
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In Memoriam: Wendy Watson

Wendy Wat­son was a third gen­er­a­tion author and artist. Her grand­par­ents, Ernest W. Wat­son and Eva Auld Wat­son, were painters and pio­neer col­or block print­ers.  Ernest was also founder and edi­tor of the mag­a­zine Amer­i­can Artist, co-founder of Wat­son-Gup­till Pub­li­ca­tions, and co-founder of one of the first sum­mer art schools, the Berk­shire Sum­mer School of Art. Wendy’s father, Aldren A.
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Capers and Cons The Player King

Capers and Cons

When you (or your stu­dents) want a book that keeps you turn­ing the pages for your week­night and week­end read­ing, here are some sug­ges­tions for books with that nim­ble pac­ing and what-are-they-up-to plots. Many of them are just right for mid­dle grade or avid younger-than-that read­ers, with a cou­ple of teen titles added. (And, of course, all are suit­able for read­ing by adults.)
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Spiike Ugliest Dog in the Universe

Cloth and the Picture Book:
Storytelling with Textile Techniques

Author and illus­tra­tor Debra Frasi­er was invit­ed to lec­ture on this top­ic to the West­ern North Car­oli­na Tex­tile Study Group, and the pub­lic, in mid-Novem­ber 2017. This is the bib­li­og­ra­phy that accom­pa­nies Debra’s pre­sen­ta­tion, with book selec­tions by Debra Frasi­er and Vic­ki Palmquist. If you would like to invite Debra to give this pre­sen­ta­tion to your group, please con­tact her.… more
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Gracie LaRoo on the Big Screen

Pigs Galore

This past Sep­tem­ber, after years of writ­ing and teach­ing the writ­ing of real­is­tic YA fic­tion, I was pleased to launch into the world a set of four ear­ly chap­ter books. Not sur­pris­ing­ly, the chal­lenge of telling a sto­ry in 1000 words instead of 60,000 was huge. It was not the only challenge. Instead of focus­ing on a teen girl in tur­moil, I was now writ­ing about a talk­ing pig.… more
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My Father's Arms Are a Boat

Death and Grief

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 July, 2020. 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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All the World's a Stage

Theater Geeks!

If your chil­dren (or you) are cap­ti­vat­ed by tal­ent shows on TV, or dreams of act­ing on the stage, or the next the­ater pro­duc­tion at school, there are a cho­rus line of books just wait­ing to audi­tion for your next favorite. Here’s a mix­ture of clas­sic and new sto­ries, rang­ing in inter­est from grades 3 through 7.   All the World’s a Stage
writ­ten by Gretchen Woelfle, illus by Thomas Cox
Hol­i­day House, 2011 Twelve-year-old Kit Buck­les has come to Lon­don to make his for­tune.
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Simon of Cyrene and the Legend of the Easter Egg

Read Out Loud for Easter

As you pre­pare to cel­e­brate East­er, we encour­age you to include books in your cel­e­bra­tion. A tra­di­tion of read­ing out loud before East­er din­ner, after East­er din­ner, as you awak­en on East­er morn­ing … per­haps each day dur­ing Holy Week? Here are a few gems we believe you and your fam­i­ly will trea­sure. Hap­py Easter!   At Jerusalem’s Gate: Poems of Easter
writ­ten by Nik­ki Grimes, illus­trat­ed by David Frampton
Eerd­mans Books for Young Read­ers, 2005 There are twen­ty-two free-form poems in this book, each from the point of view of a wit­ness to the events of the cru­ci­fix­ion and res­ur­rec­tion of Jesus Christ.
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Thanks a Million

Thanksgiving is a Good Time for a Book

As food is being prepared and family gathers, as food is being digested and some people are napping, as sports and shopping beckon, perhaps it's a good time to take out a stack of Thanksgiving books to read aloud as a family.
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Making Friends with Billy Wong

Third Grader Reading at a Sixth Grade Level

Respond­ing to a par­ent request for books that would inter­est her third-grad­er-read­ing-at-a-sixth-grade-lev­el, we crowd-sourced a list. Big thanks to Sara Alcott, Lin­da Baie, Les­ley Man­dros Bell, Karen Cramer, Caren Creech, Melin­da Fant, Ellen Klar­re­ich, Vick­ie LoP­ic­co­lo, Ellen McEvoy, Lau­ra Moe, Tunie Mun­son-Ben­son, Vic­ki Palmquist, Car­rie Shay, Faythe Dyrud Thureen, Cindy Walk­er, and Sharon J. Wilson. Unlike our usu­al anno­tat­ed book­lists, we are pre­sent­ing this one in alpha­bet­i­cal order by book title due to the length of the list.
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Chocolate

Books about Chocolate

Feb­ru­ary is Nation­al Choco­late Month, so how could we let it pass by with­out an homage to choco­late … in books? Far less cost­ly on the den­tal bill! “In 2009, more than 58 mil­lion pounds of choco­late were pur­chased and (like­ly) con­sumed in the days sur­round­ing Feb­ru­ary 14th — that’s about $345 mil­lion worth. (Kiri Tan­nen­baum, “8 Facts About Choco­late,” Del­ish) Were you a part of the nation­al sta­tis­tic?
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The Perfect Nest

Books about Chickens

Whether a chick­en makes you cluck, BAWK! or cheep-cheep-cheep, books about chick­ens make us laugh. We may not have been intro­duced to a chick­en in real life but, trust me, some peo­ple keep them as egg-lay­ing won­ders and oth­er peo­ple keep them as pets. These fowl have been around in many col­ors, types, and breeds in most coun­tries in the world … and quite recent­ly they have become the sub­ject of many books.
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A Tree is Nice

Books about Trees

With hats off to our friends at the tree-fes­tooned Iowa Arbore­tumMin­neso­ta Land­scape Arbore­tum, Chica­go Botan­ic Gar­dens, and Oma­ha’s Lau­ritzen Gar­dens, this list is ded­i­cat­ed to arborists every­where, pro­fes­sion­al and ama­teur … you take care of an essen­tial part of our ecosys­tem. Thank you. Here’s a list of books for younger and old­er chil­dren, fic­tion and non­fic­tion.
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What to Do with a Box

Books about Boxes

Box­es have many sto­ries to share, sto­ries to inspire, and sto­ries to help us learn and be cre­ative. Here are a few of the sto­ries that box­es have to tell. You might well expect to find books about cre­ative play and card­board box­es, but there are books for a range of young read­ers here and box­es comes in many shapes and colors.
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Quirky Book Lists: Classroom Pets

Think­ing about adding a class­room pet? Read and think again!
  8 Class Pets + 1 Squir­rel [÷] 1 Dog = Chaos
writ­ten by Vivian Vande Velde
illus­trat­ed by Steve Bjork­man
Hol­i­day House, 2012 Squir­rel likes liv­ing near a school play­ground. He’s not so sure about going inside, though, espe­cial­ly when he’s chased there by a dog and all the class­room pets get involved.
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Museum ABC

A Trip to the Art Museum

by Vic­ki Palmquist
  Arlo’s Artra­geous Adventure! David LaRochelle
Ster­ling Children’s Books, 2013 When Arlo’s grand­moth­er drags him to the art muse­um, he can’t imag­ine how he’ll be inter­est­ed. Some­thing odd catch­es his eye and he soon real­izes the paint­ings have things to say that sur­prise and delight him — and the read­er. Fun and quirky, with illus­tra­tions that will make you smile and flaps to lift that will reveal nuances in much the same way you dis­cov­er some­thing new in a paint­ing each time you look at it … this is a good choice to pre­pare a child for a trip to the museum.
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Quirky Book Lists: Go Fly a Kite!

by The Bookologist Curi­ous George Flies a Kite
H.A. Rey
HMH Books for Young Read­ers, 1977 (reis­sue of 1958 edi­tion)
Ages 5 – 8 First George is curi­ous about some bun­nies, then about fish­ing, and then about his friend Billy’s kite. All’s well that ends well. Ages 5 – 8.   Days with Frog and Toad Arnold Lobel
1979 Harper­Collins
Ages 4 – 8 Five sto­ries with the two famous friends, includ­ing “The Kite,” in which Frog’s opti­mism and Toad’s efforts pre­vail over the pre­dic­tions of some nay-say­ing robins. … more
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Wiener Wolf

Books Starring Dachshunds

Dozens of Dachsunds Stephanie Cal­men­son
illus­trat­ed by Zoe Per­si­co
Blooms­bury, 2021 A parade of dachsunds! There are sev­en­ty-eight dachsunds in all, dressed in cos­tumes as oth­er ani­mals, insects, birds, and dinosaurs! They wag­gle by in groups of two, three, four … all to aid young read­ers in count­ing. Maybe best of all is the song includ­ed so you can sing along!
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