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November 24, 2014

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At Episode 100, Let’s Get Busy Looks Back

At Episode 100, Let’s Get Busy Looks Back

If the children’s literature podcast Let’s Get Busy were a person, it would be wizened and wise by now, with a flowing white beard and a twinkle in its eye. That’s because the podcast, created by teacher-librarian Matthew Winner, has reached the impressive mark of 100 episodes. To note the occasion, I asked centenarian-by-association Winner [...]

College Daze: YA Novels that Tackle the Undergraduate Years | SLJ Spotlight

EH_141125_SchoolDaze

Three YA novels explore the limbo between high school and college.

Library Tip: Keep a Basket of Kittens Around

Library Tip: Keep a Basket of Kittens Around

Soon after I was hired for my current job, a basket of kittens arrived in the library. Not real kittens, no. But they might as well be. This family of cats was unlike any stuffed animal I’d seen before – highly realistic and all lumped together. They all sat in a basket about the size [...]

Sara Varon Has Been Busy: An Exclusive First Look at Her New Projects

Sara Varon Has Been Busy: An Exclusive First Look at Her New Projects

Sara Varon is the creator of the first book I ever reviewed on this blog – Robot Dreams. I’ve been enjoying her work ever since, including Chicken and Cat Clean Up in 2009 and Odd Duck last year. Today I’m happy to announce that Sara has a batch of new projects in the works. Let’s hear [...]

Tense Pasts: Middle-Grade Historical Fiction | SLJ Spotlight

warthatsavedmylife

These middle grade novels explore adventures set in older times.

Breakdown: The National Book Award/Newbery Overlap

Breakdown: The National Book Award/Newbery Overlap

I had a good time last week looking at the Best Illustrated/Caldecott overlap (tip o’ the hat to @muellerspace). I thought it would make sense to look at the Newbery side of things – specifically how finalists in the Young People’s Literature category of the National Book Award (NBA) fare in the Newbery race. I [...]

Early Chapter Books to Cheer About | SLJ Spotlight

humphrey

Six great new titles to help early readers hone their skills.

A Splash of Red: Adding Full Color Where There Was None

A Splash of Red: Adding Full Color Where There Was None

You hear that tiny siren? It’s alerting you to a mini trend in children’s literature. Two popular series previously illustrated in black and white are being reissued in color. Will more follow? Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne Both series appear to be slowly re-releasing each book in full [...]

Exclusive Cover Reveal: Fable Comics Edited by Chris Duffy

Alright, who knew this was happening? Following in the footsteps of the wonderful Nursery Rhyme Comics and Fairy Tale Comics comes Fable Comics, another collection of cartoons by some of the biggest and best names in the field. Here’s a first look at the cover: How about a description? From classics like “The Tortoise and [...]

Breakdown: The NYT Best Illustrated/Caldecott Overlap

Breakdown: The NYT Best Illustrated/Caldecott Overlap

The other day on twitter, Kelly Mueller (@muellerspace) asked me if I’d ever taken a look at how books on the annual New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books list (click here for the 2014 list) fare in terms of Caldecott. I looked at the last ten years of data and made a few interesting [...]

It Is Picture Book Month

It Is Picture Book Month

November is Picture Book Month. Tell kids about it. Read picture books. Buy picture books. Celebrate picture books. Visit the Picture Book Month website and spread the word.

Notes on October 2014

Notes on October 2014

In October… …we theorized on the most theorizable picture book of the year. I brought forth six explanations on the end of Sam & Dave Dig a Hole, and folks added some great ideas in the comments. …we went wordless. In the midst of another great wordless picture book year, I considered why we are [...]

Plucked from obscurity: biographies with new and intriguing subjects | SLJ Spotlight

earmuffsforeveryone

These new nonfiction titles highlight lesser-known historical figures.

Gallery: The New York Times 10 Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2014

Gallery: The New York Times 10 Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2014

Let the season of “Best” begin. The 2014 edition of the New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books has been announced, and it’s a great group. I went three for ten in my predictions from earlier in the year. Let’s have a look at the winners: DRAW! Written and illustrated by Raúl Colón | A Paula Wiseman [...]

Giving Up the Newbery Ghost?

Giving Up the Newbery Ghost?

Librarians are the original hoarders (but, you know, in a positive way). But I always maintain that we’re not the Library of Congress here. We can’t hang on to every book, no matter how much we’d like to. A while back I noticed our copy of 1955 Newbery Medal winner The Wheel on the School sitting, [...]

Too Big for Their Britches: Books That Can’t Keep Their Covers On

Too Big for Their Britches: Books That Can’t Keep Their Covers On

If you’re around books a lot, you know there are certain titles that just have a hard time keeping it together. I’ve found that the worst offenders have: High page counts Glossy pages Large trim sizes Which kinds of books have all of these? Your Guinness, your Ripley’s, your LEGO. Add in frequent circulation and [...]

Curl up with these books about bears | SLJ Spotlight

EH_141028_Bears

Four children’s titles explore the wacky lives of bears.

Books on Film: Fuse #8 TV

Books on Film: Fuse #8 TV

Do you find yourself wishing A Fuse #8 Production was a TV show? Well, how about this, Travis: Stop joking around, man. A real show. All joking aside, yes. Good! You got your wish. Great! Let’s see it. Here it is – Fuse #8 TV. I even make a cameo in the intro:

#WeNeedDiverseBooks: Realistic fiction with diverse protagonists | SLJ Spotlight

Diamond Boy

Three teen titles highlight diverse protagonists whose stories are not often told.

I Feel Smart: On Wordless Picture Books and Perception

I Feel Smart: On Wordless Picture Books and Perception

Just thinking out loud here… It’s another great year for wordless picture books. What draws us to stories told exclusively through illustration? A good story is paramount, of course, but I think there’s something about our brains that respond to visuals first. It’s how we take in the world. I keep coming back to the [...]