January 17, 2017

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31 Days, 31 Lists: Day 21: 2016 Poetry Books for Kids

Fun Fact: The American Library Association does not currently give an award specifically to great works of children’s book poetry.  Is not that strange?  When I first discovered this to be true, I was perplexed.  I’ve always been a bit of a rube when it comes to the poetic form.  Placing stresses on syllables and […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day 20 – 2016 Graphic Novels & Comics for Children

Okay!  I’ve been looking forward to this particular list for a while.  But first, a quick note on what we’re calling these things.  Not too long ago the very funny Glen Weldon wrote a piece for an NPR blog about whether or not we should be calling these books “comics” or “graphic novels”.  Weldon is […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day 19 – 2016 Early Chapter Books

Alongside yesterday’s easy book list, this is the other list that could have been a little beefier this year.  Not a lot of racial diversity to be found, to be frank.  That fault lies with me, not the books published in 2016.  Still, with that in mind, this list is a collection of great books […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day 18 – 2016 Easy Books

I first came up with the idea for a 31 Days, 31 Lists series in late September.  Having kept track of a number of books over the year, it made a logical kind of sense.  But as we got closer to the actual lists I realized that in some categories I’m going to be seriously […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day 17 – 2016 Older Picture Books

Time to define my terms again! This is undoubtedly the most subjective of all my lists.  Basically, what I’m saying with it, is that picture books are far more wide-ranging than many people suspect.  If you say “picture book” they’ll imagine something for a 4-year-old.  Nothing wrong with picture books for 4-year-olds, of course, but […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day 16 – Oddest Children’s Books of 2016

Back in August of this year Travis Jonker wrote a great post on 100 Scope Notes called The Most Astonishingly Unconventional Children’s Books of 2016.  It was an excellent post, really getting into the nitty gritty of what it is that makes a book “unconventional”.  My list is a little different from Travis’s, though there’s […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day 15 – 2016 Fairy Tales / Folktales

Credit where credit is due, there’s no way I could keep up this 31 Days, 31 Lists series if I hadn’t put in my time with New York Public Library.  It was there that I learned precisely how to read, track, remember, and call forth the books I read in a single year.  The 100 […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day 14 – Fabulous 2016 Photography Books for Kids

When I was in college I temporarily rejected my natural inclinations to be a librarian (an occupation I dismissed as boring and nightmarishly appealing) and decided I would become a photographer.  So got a B.A. with a concentration in Fine Arts – Photography.  And what I learned from my stint as an architectural/portrait/sports photographer was […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day 13 – 2016 Books with a Message

Hm. Awkward title on today’s post. “Books With a Message”. Be a lot cleaner if I just said “Didactic Books” or “Books That Try to Teach You Something.” No . . . no . . . that’s worse. I think you get the general gist of what I’m going for, though. Today we’re highlighting books […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: 2013 International Imports for Kids

I know it gets confusing but this list is a bit different from the Calde-not list from a couple days ago.  The reason is simple.  While the Calde-not list looks primarily at books with illustrations so distinguished they could easily win major illustration awards if given half a chance, this is list is more for […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Eleven – 2016 Bilingual Books for Kids

I wish I had the numbers in front of me. I wish I could tell you how many bilingual books for kids have been published in the past and how that number compares to today.  If we’re going to speak to my experience as a children’s librarian over the past decade, all I can say […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Ten – 2016 Math Picture Books

God has a sense of humor. How else to explain the fact that for the past three or four years I have been a founding and contributing member of the Mathical Book Award committee?  Yep, each year I read a slew of math-related books for kids.  I do it because while I personally was not […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Nine – 2016 Picture Book Reprints

Sometimes I talk about how books with illustrators from countries other than America get a bum rap because there are so few awards that they can win.  And this isn’t untrue, but there are a couple lists that give them their due.  There’s the New York Times Best Illustrated list, and the Society of Illustrators […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Eight – 2016 Calde-nots

A list based entirely on what a book is not?  And what precisely is a Calde-not?  Well, we’re getting into semantics and rules today, so buckle up.  First and foremost, I direct your attention to the illustrious Caldecott Award.  The most famous award given to the most distinguished examples of American illustration for children.  Note […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Seven – 2016 Great Funny Picture Books

Every single list that appears on this blog is subjective.  I mean, here I am declaring stuff to be great based entirely on a single solitary opinion: my own.  That’s okay when you’re talking alphabet books or readalouds, but humor is a far trickier matter.  There are a LOT of humorous picture books that come […]

Blog Tour Warning: Contains Computer Science and Copious Gene Luen Yang

Folks, if you’re anything like me then you probably live in a lovely little mental bubble, unaware that this week is Computer Science Education Week.  Why should you care?  Well, I’m part of a little Gene Luen Yang blog tour right now, and the folks at First Second just put out these fast facts. The […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Six – 2016 Great Alphabet Books

“In Adam’s Fall, we sinned all.”  That catchy little ditty was from one of the earlier abecedarian picture books for children in America (the 1784 edition of The New England Primer, in case you’re curious). Practically from our nation’s inception, alphabet books were a go-to resource for teaching children to read.  Every year more and […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Five – 2016 Great Rhyming Picture Books

If potential authors of picture books are given one piece of advice when they’re first starting out, it tends to be, “For the love of all that’s good and holy DO NOT let your picture books rhyme!!!”  And for good reason.  Few things in life are quite as painful as poorly rhymed picture books.  Too […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Four – 2016 Great Picture Book Readalouds

To be fair, every single picture book, with the exception of the wordless ones, is a readaloud.  You’re not supposed to just silent there silent and stony when a child’s on your lap.  Picture books are meant to engage through the voice of the reader.  That said, not all of them do well when it […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Three – 2016 Great Nursery Rhymes

It’s strange to think that Nursery Rhymes prove so difficult to round-up.  I’ve done my best.  After all, the art of the nursery rhyme is nothing to scoff at.  There’s a reason they’ve kicked around all these centuries.  Reading nursery rhymes to small children does wonders for brain development, to say nothing of the fact […]