April 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Minding the Gaps, Part II: Highlighting Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Recipients │ JLG’s Booktalks to Go

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When does a biography become fiction? For which Boston Globe-Horn Book award recipient has Sony picked up the movie rights? What is missing in the world of children’s publishing? For the answers to these and other pressing questions, sign up today for the Mind the Gaps event at Simmons College on October 10.

Authors and illustrators will speak about the behind-the-scenes drama and inspiration for their work. At the Colloquium, sessions will examine the trends in current publishing in an effort to discuss how to fill the gaps. Attendees will also be able to meet the honorees and have books signed. In the meantime, brush up on the winning titles by reading the following booktalks and checking out the resources for teaching them.

The Animal BookJENKINS, Steve. The Animal Book: A Collection of the Fastest, Fiercest, Toughest, Cleverest, Shyest—and Most Surprising—Animals on Earth. illus. by author.  Houghton Harcourt. 2013. ISBN  9780547557991. NE : Nonfiction Elementary (Grades 2–6)

One of the most recognized collage artists has done it again. Jenkins brings together 300 of the world’s most amazing animals. From full-spread illustrations of an actual size Siberian tiger to the Goliath birdeater tarantula, which encompasses an entire page, these creatures will have readers poring over the encyclopedialike volume. Bursting with incredible facts—the hairy frog breaks the bones in its own feet when it needs to defend itself; the fragments pierce its skin and act as claws—the title will be read again and again. The final sections include burning questions to the author: Where do your ideas come from? How do you make the books?

And don’t miss the video of how Jenkins makes his books. Check out his website for more pictures and biographical information. The Horn Book’s Roger Sutton spoke with the author/illustrator in his column, Talks with Roger. For classroom use, you’ll find a Jenkins-inspired lesson plan, author study, and a Classroom Bookshelf post in the JLG BTG Spring 2014 LiveBinder.

Awards and honors include: Booklist 2013 Lasting Connections, Science; NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K–12: 2014; Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Books of 2013; Booklist 2013 Top 10 Books for Youth, Science & Health; Horn Book Fanfare, Best Books of 2013, Nonfiction; ALA 2014 Notable Children’s Books, Middle Readers; Boston Globe-Horn Book Award 2014 Nonfiction Honor.

Grasshopper JungleSMITH, Andrew. Grasshopper Jungle. Dutton. 2014. ISBN 9780525426035. JLG Level: YM : Mature Young Adults (Grades 11 & Up).

Who knew that the end of the world would come through the invasion of mutant, people-eating praying mantises? Certainly not Austin and Robby, who watched fate unfold as the guys who bullied them and called them “candy cane faggots” dropped a stolen artifact, igniting a series of events no one could predict. Though Austin records the history of the small town of Ealing, Iowa, it is better explained in the words of his girlfriend: “I love how, whenever you tell a story, you go backwards and forwards and tell me everything else that could possibly be happening in every direction, like an explosion.”

Visit Smith’s website for more information about his other books. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter. For links to interviews and other resources, check out TeachingBooks.net. A book trailer is available and kids will be delighted to know that the movie rights have been optioned.  Find the answers to burning questions about the book’s development in a video interview. Click for the direct LiveBinder tab which contains the above resources.

Review: Rose Under FireWEIN, Elizabeth. Rose Under Fire. Disney-Hyperion. 2013. ISBN 9781423183099. JLG Level: HH : History – High School (Grades 10 & Up).

Ferrying planes across World War II France turns to tragedy when Rose Justice is captured by German pilots. Mistakenly sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women’s concentration camp, the American girl experiences horrors she will never be able to forget. She meets inmates that will change her life forever and lives a story that must be told to the world.

Wein’s riveting fictional recounting of the Ravensbrück medical experiments is, of course, based on truth. Her website and blog describe her research resources. You can follow her on Twitter. Readers who are interested in the medical experiments may wish to examine the artifacts at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum or at History.com. These sites also include information about the Nuremberg Trials, in addition to the Library of Congress. In 1959, 35 of the “Rabbits,” as these female inmates were known, came to the United States for medical treatment. An article in the Friends Journal explains the project to offer emotional support as well.

Rose Under Fire is Wein’s second Boston Globe Horn Book Award recognition. It also received the following awards and honors: SLJ’s Best Books of 2013, Fiction; Amazon.com Best Books of the Year 2013: Teen & Young Adult; Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2013, Children’s Fiction; Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Books of 2013; 2014 Schneider Family Book Award Honor; YALSA 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults, Top Ten; 2013 Cybils Awards, Young Adult Fiction, Finalist; 2014 Josette Frank Award; 2014 Indies Choice Finalist, Young Adult; 2014 E. B White Read-Aloud Honor, Young Adult.

boxersSaintsYANG, Gene Luen. Boxers.  illus. by author. ISBN 9781596433595.
––––.Saints. 176p. ISBN 9781596436893. First Second. 2013. JLG Level: GH : Graphic Novels High (Grades 9 & Up).

They say there are always two sides to a story. Yang’s two-volume, graphic novel retelling of the Boxer Rebellion presents parallel story lines of two young people caught in a world where no one is safe. Little Bao calls on the gods to fight against the Christians who bullied his village, while Vibiana struggles with her country and her newfound Christianity. History comes to life, bringing the complicated past into issues that are relevant even in the future.

Yang’s website includes his blog, videos, and tweets. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. First Second has posted a teacher’s guide. Supplement it with a website on historical figures of China or the resources on TeachingBooks.net, which include a book reading by the author. You can watch a book trailer on You Tube.

Awards and honors include: SLJ’s Best Books of 2013, Fiction; Booklist 2013 Lasting Connections, Social Studies; Booklist Top 10 Books for Youth 2013, Religion & Spirituality; Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2013, Children’s Fiction; National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, 2013 Longlist; Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Books of 2013; Booklist Editor’s Choice: Books for Youth, 2013, Fiction; 2013 National Book Award Finalist; Bulletin Blue Ribbon 2013, Fiction; Horn Book Fanfare, Best Books of 2013, Fiction; YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens 2014, Top Ten; 2013 Cybils Awards, Graphic Novels: Young Adult, Finalist; Booklist Columnist’s Choice—Best Books of 2013; L. A. Times Book Prize Finalist 2013, Young Adult Literature; Booklist 2014 Top 10 Books for Youth, Graphic Novels; Boston Globe-Horn Book Award 2014 Fiction Honor.

See also: Celebrating Titles that “Mind the Gap” at ‘The Horn Book’ at Simmons Event │ JLG’s Booktalks to Go

Additional Resources

The resources for the above titles have been organized in our award-winning Spring 2014 LiveBinder, which organizes resources for spring releases. All websites are posted within each LiveBinder, along with the accompanying booktalk. As I write more columns, more books and their resources are added. Everything you need to teach or share brand new, hot-off-the-press books is now all in one place. Booktalks and resources are also included on JLG’s BTG Pinterest board.

For library resources, tips, and ideas, please visit JLG’s Shelf Life Blog.

Junior Library Guild (JLG) is a collection development service that helps school and public libraries acquire the best new children’s and young adult books. Season after season, year after year, Junior Library Guild book selections go on to win awards, collect starred or favorable reviews, and earn industry honors. Visit us at www.JuniorLibraryGuild.com. (NOTE: JLG is owned by Media Source, Inc., SLJ’s parent company.)

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Deborah B. Ford About Deborah B. Ford

Deborah is the Director of Library Outreach for Junior Library Guild. She is an award-winning teacher librarian with almost 30 years of experience as a classroom teacher and librarian in K–12 schools.