March 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Professional Reading | August 2013

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DAVIS, Kaylee N. The Barnes & Noble Guide to Children’s Books. 312p. chron. index. reprods. Sterling. 2013. Tr $9.99. ISBN 978-1-4351-4528-3.

Davis surveys more than 1000 titles and includes a detailed review, a photo of the full-color book jacket, the original date of publication, the publisher, and any award information. The categories are broad and filled with old and new classics, series titles, innovative format books, nonfiction and reference, poetry, and other topics. Categories are organized by age, subject, or reading level and are alphabetical by author. There are bonus pages with essays from famous authors and illustrators writing about their craft and their childhood, giving insight into how they became who they are today. A chronological list of Caldecott, Newbery, and Coretta Scott King Award winners and a combined author and title index round out the volume. It would make a spectacular gift for any parent of a young child. It can be their guide to choosing the right book at the right time–sort of like having their very own librarian by their side. A solid choice for parenting shelves.–Renee McGrath, Nassau Library System, Uniondale, NY

POE, Elizabeth A. From Children’s Literature to Readers Theatre. 208p. appendix. bibliog. ebook available. index. reprods. ALA. 2013. pap. $45. ISBN 978-0-8389-1049-8. ebook available. LC 2012027258.

This book differs from other good books on the topic, such as Aaron Shepard’s Stories on Stage (Shepard, 2005), in that Poe employs a completely reader-centric approach. Not only do students read and direct the scripts, but they also choose the stories and write them. As one can deduce, this provides extra reading time to find that perfect story, and even more time to collaborate in writing and presenting an entertaining performance. To make the process clearer, Poe also includes examples of literature adaptations to scripts with a short commentary following each one. Additionally, the book incorporates a list of 100 annotated titles that would make good readers theatre for audiences from age three to YA and appendixes that include a sample program, time line, and assignment rubric. An effective tool for developing lifelong readers.–Betty S. Evans, Missouri State University, Springfield

SÁNCHEZ GONZÁLEZ, Lisa. The Stories I Read to the Children: The Life and Writing of Pura Belpré, the Legendary Storyteller, Children’s Author and New York Public Librarian. 286p. bibliog. chron. glossary. index. notes. photos. Center for Puerto Rican Studies, CUNY. 2013. pap. $24.99. ISBN 978-1-878483-80-5; ebook $7.99. ISBN 978-1-878483-45-4. LC 2012041664.

This presentation of the library work and writing of Pura Belpré will likely be both frustrating and inspiring to librarians. Belpré’s multifaceted work in pioneering library service to Spanish-speaking children is best known today through her appealing children’s books, still widely used in library collections, and the ALA book award in her name honoring current Latino authors and illustrators of children’s books. Sánchez González begins her tribute in scholarly discourse on Belpré’s role, through her life and writing, in the Puerto Rican diaspora. The actual biographical material is fragmented with bits of general history, explanations, and suppositions. The academic analysis, followed by a small selection of photographs, leads to a welcome and substantial collection of Belpré’s own writing: reprints of the texts of four picture books and 13 stories from The Tiger and the Rabbit, and Other Tales (Houghton Harcourt, 1965) and Once in Puerto Rico (Warne, 1973). Storytellers may especially like the next section of 15 unpublished stories. Finally, and perhaps the real heart of the volume, come a dozen apparently never published manuscripts of talks and essays in which Belpré discusses Puerto Rican folklore, writing for bilingual children, and a great deal of her own experience in storytelling and library work. Here the fine, rich view of decades of library service to culturally diverse children and the history of children’s services set shining examples for today’s librarians. Some readers may never get to this section. Many might be advised to start here.–Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston

SNOW, Sharon & Yvonne Reed. Teens Have Style!: Fashion Programs for Young Adults at the Library. 161p. appendix. bibliog. ebook available. glossary. index. websites. Libraries Unlimited. 2013. pap. $40. ISBN 978-1-59884-892-2. LC 2012041226.

Informative and well-thought-out, this book is outstanding. Readers will be amazed by the number of ideas and the precise step-by-step instructions on how to implement them in library programming. With a little imagination and adaptation, most of them could be used with any age group. Suggestions include a prom fashion show or fair, “Manga Fashionistas,” a rotten sneaker contest, and a program about the influence of art in fashion. The authors clearly know fashion, teens, and successful programming. Their expertise shines through in the information presented, organization of the book, and “Bibliographies, Resources, and Websites” sections that conclude each chapter. This resource closes with appendixes filled with terms, quotes, trivia, tips, directions, and handouts. Each idea has an overview of the program that includes ways to adapt it depending on staff and size of venue, publicity ideas, and registration strategies. A “Before the Program” section details recommendations for where to find local contacts, and detailed lists of supplies are appended. The “Day of the Program” section includes setup, activities, suggested goodie bags, refreshments, and more.–Cindy Wall, Southington Library & Museum, CT

WEBBER, Desiree, et. al. Travel the Globe: Story Times, Activities, and Crafts for Children. 2nd ed.illus. by Sandy Shropshire. 256p. bibliog. further reading. index. notes. Libraries Unlimited. 2012. lib. ed. $45. ISBN 978-1-61069-124-6; ebook $45. ISBN 978-1-61069-125-3. LC 2012030564.

Five children’s librarians and assistants who have spent countless hours planning storytimes contributed to the multitude of ideas in this compilation of fingerplays, songs, books, and activities for kids from preschool to third grade. It is organized alphabetically by the 14 countries included. Within each section, there are separate suggestions for the youngest audiences and more sophisticated concepts for older children. Veteran storytellers and beginners alike can find ideas for flannel-board stories and games, as well as other suggestions for media such as a CD or DVD to use in programming. Attractive reproducible outlines, which can be embellished, aid in creating flannel-board patterns or simple finger puppets. This edition keeps the information from the original book, but it has been updated with more current titles in the bibliography, new media choices, and new sources for craft ideas.–Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA