April 26, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Professional Reading: October 2012

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BAXTER , Kathleen A. & Marcia Agness Kochel. Get Those Guys Reading!: Fiction and Series Books That Boys Will Love. 220p. illus. index. photos. CIP. Libraries Unlimited. 2012. pap. $35. ISBN 978-1-59884-846-5. LC 2012005430.

Baxter and Kochel group the books into nine subject areas, from sports to historical fiction. Each chapter is then subdivided by readers’ ages: younger guys (grades 3 and 4) and older guys (grades 5 to 12). Lastly, within each age grouping, titles are arranged by the authors’ last name. Series titles are boldfaced and italicized to stand apart from individual titles. All entries include brief summaries; the authors clearly distinguish between synopses they have written and Library of Congress descriptions. Each chapter also features at least one “Author Spotlight,” a brief profile of a well-known author and a personal “boy book” recommendations, old and new. Baxter and Kochel include a short list of their favorite “can’t miss” fiction for boys in grades three to five and in middle school. Unlike their “Gotcha” series (Libraries Unlimited), where each entry focuses on the titles published over a narrow span of years, this volume emphasizes recent releases but includes many titles with lasting boy appeal, dating as far back as Jean George’s My Side of the Mountain (Puffin, 1959). The authors demonstrate a keen understanding of their target audience; this well-organized and easy-to-use compilation will be indispensable in engaging boy readers.–M. Kozikowski, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY

KEANE , Nancy J. 101 Great, Ready-to-Use Book Lists for Children. 246p. bibliog. index. websites. CIP. Libraries Unlimited. 2012. pap. $45. ISBN 978-1-61069-083-6; ebook $45. ISBN 978-1-61069-084-3. LC 2011051429.

Keane uses her vast knowledge of children’s literature to create book lists for children K–8th grade. They are broken into seven parts that are subdivided into subject areas: “Character and Values,” “Literary Elements,” “Family,” “Genre,” “Subjects,” “Themes,” and “Readalikes.” Each entry includes the title, author, publisher, publication date, number of pages, an annotation, Lexile level when available, and interest level by grade or age range. The easily reproducible lists will be useful for curriculum and collection development as well as for interesting book displays. This volume is meant to serve as an extension of The Big Book of Children’s Reading Lists (Libraries Unlimited, 2006). All titles were in print as of August 2011. A great resource to have when an entire class needs a book on a specific topic.–Renee McGrath, Nassau Library System, NY

MACMILLAN , Kathy & Christine Kirker. Multicultural Storytime Magic. 256p. appendix. diags. further reading. illus. index. CIP. ALA. 2012. pap. $47. ISBN 978-0-8389-1142-6. LC 2011043434.

Veteran authors and storytellers MacMillan and Kirker return using a familiar format but this time placing an emphasis on stories, both original and traditional, from around the world. More than 40 themes are represented; they range from the alphabet to “Big and Little” to “Weather.” Within each theme, the authors suggest books, a flannelboard story (often a folktale), fingerplays or songs, and an activity or craft. The fingerplays and songs frequently include small black-and-white thumbnail sketches of American Sign Language motions. Flannelboard pieces can be downloaded, copied, enlarged, printed, and otherwise enhanced and personalized from an ALA webpage. The artwork, while pedestrian, is serviceable. The suggested titles run the gamut from older classics to newer titles that would be on most library shelves. An appendix offers cultural notes and an index of entries by culture. For example, 16 different countries are listed for Africa. Unique to this index are topics such as “Deaf Culture” or “Disabilities.” Starred items indicated titles best used with toddlers. Both beginning storytellers and seasoned librarians can benefit from these fresh ideas.–Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA

MARCUS , Leonard S. Listening for Madeleine: A Portrait of Madeleine L’Engle in Many Voices. 364p. notes. photos. CIP. Farrar. Nov. 2012. Tr $28. ISBN 978-0-374-29897-5; ebook $14.99. ISBN 978-1-466-82777-6. LC 2012009144.

Writer, matriarch, mentor, friend, and icon, L’Engle was a complex person, ably presented here through the voices of family, friends, and acquaintances. A children’s literature star, as author of the Newbery-winning A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels as well as the Austin family series, L’Engle was also a committed Christian, a spiritual guide to many, and librarian and writer-in-residence at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City. Marcus has wisely chosen not to try to simplify his portrait of this complicated woman, about whom many have very strong, sometimes contradictory, memories and feelings. “L’Engle tended carefully to departmentalize her vast and many-faceted universe,” he explains. After an introductory summary, he presents more than 50 deftly edited interviews, organized by the role she played. The result is more like Hokusai’s collection of views of Mt. Fuji, always with the subject in focus but also revealing a great deal of the surroundings. It is this rich addition that makes this biography a standout. Readers who may not have thought they needed or wanted to know quite so much about L’Engle’s life will be charmed.–Kathleen Isaacs, Children’s Literature Specialist, Pasadena, MD

NAIDOO , Jamie Campbell. Rainbow Family Collections: Selecting and Using Children’s Books with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Content. 265p. bibliog. charts. CIP. further reading. illus. index. websites. Libraries Unlimited. 2012. PLB $50. ISBN 978-1-59884-960-8; ebook $50. ISBN 978-1-59884-961-5. LC 2012008362.

This well-researched book is a much-needed tool, providing a wealth of information on how to welcome rainbow families into the library. Including several chapters of informational material, with statistical backup, Naidoo has created a resource that is not only an excellent annotated bibliography, but also one that presents the material with historical context and ideas for implementation in a library setting. It provides guidance to selectors who need to evaluate and choose children’s books with LGBT content and educates librarians about the many ways we might get this material into the hands of our patrons. Readers are provided with a clear definition of what constitutes a rainbow family, along with descriptions of issues its members might face and what libraries can do to provide a safe and welcoming space for them. According to statistics, 96 percent of all United States counties include LGBTQ couples raising children. Librarians need this book to help ensure that those families’ needs are being met.–Sharon McKellar, Oakland Public Library, CA