Take a Wild Ride Through the History of Children’s Lit, Revamp Your Storytelling Skills, and Brush Up on Collection Development | Professional Reading

Check out Betsy Byrd’s much-anticipated Wild Things, a look at children’s literature through the ages. Hoping to enhance your storytimes? Try Saroj Nadkarni Ghoting and Kathy Fling Klatt’s STEP into Storytime.


ALBITZ, Becky, Christine Avery, & Diane Zabel, eds. Rethinking Collection Development and Management. 402p. ABC-CLIO. 2014. Tr $60.00. ISBN 9781610693059. LC 2013038447.

This title is a perfect fit for both public and academic librarians. The word “rethinking” is apt; this guide truly examines current changes in library collections. New librarians will want to dive into the volume and will gain knowledge about selection and assessment, acquisitions, shared collections, and preservation. Experienced librarians might skip around, using the book as a reference for pertinent topics, such as ebooks and digital collections. In Chapter 20, Logan Macdonald addresses the question “Do We Need Dewey?” and Chapter 15, by James Larue, looks at “Self-Publishing: Does It Belong in the Collection?” This book offers more than 20 librarians’ expertise and includes an in-depth reference section for more support, giving readers an overview of how libraries across the county are handling current issues. It is a solid companion to any of the American Library Association fundamentals of collection development books. The textbook-style reading is ideal for academic librarians, public librarians, or MLS students.–Paige Bentley-Flannery, Deschutes Public Library, Bend, OR

redstarBIRD, Betsy, Julie Danielson, & Peter D. Sieruta. Wild Things!: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature. 288p. bibliog. illus. index. notes. Candlewick. 2014. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9780763651503; ebk. ISBN 9780763667719. LC 2013946618.

Three popular kidlit bloggers take readers on a wild ride through children’s literature that is as entertaining as it is educational. Like the tone of their respective blogs, the writing style is breezy and conversational. Fans and students of children’s literature will learn a lot, be entertained, and come away with interesting trivia and anecdotes. For instance, readers will learn the secret identities of some famous authors who wrote under pseudonyms before they became well known. But what really stands out is hinted at in the subtitle, “acts of mischief in children’s literature.” The authors do a fine job of debunking the notion that children’s literature is all “fuzzy bunnies” and “pots of honey.” As explored throughout the text, great works of children’s literature provide a way of coping with childhood issues by offering a world that is just as complicated and tough as the one adults live in. The authors’ knowledge shines through and with its extensive source notes and a thorough index, this title is not to be missed. A perfect choice for children’s literature courses.–Renee McGrath, Nassau Library System, Uniondale, NY

BOOG, Jason. Born Reading: Bringing Up Bookworms in a Digital Age—From Picture Books to eBooks and Everything in Between. 336p. bibliog. index. Touchstone. 2014. pap. $15.99. ISBN 9781476749792; ebk. ISBN 9781476749815.

Boog makes a strong argument for why caregivers of children ages birth to five need not simply read aloud, but also interact with children to ensure maximum nurturing and brain development. In fact, he states early on that “hospitals should be handing out interactive reading pamphlets along with diapers as new parents head home.” He tackles the digital debate as well. While suggesting that parents try to adhere to the American Academy of Pediatrics policy advising zero screen time for children under two years of age, he advocates that any time a child spends on an electronic device should be as interactive as possible. Calling his collection of reading/interacting strategies “the born reading playbook,” the author gives practical and smart advice, along with explanations of the 15 skills detailed throughout the book—all without sounding preachy. While some of his ideas are commonplace (“ask lots of questions” and “read together”), other suggestions (“follow the things your child loves” and “guide your child beyond what they already know”) might be novel ideas for parents unsure about how to effectively read aloud to young children. Each chapter lists 10 suggested books to share. Chapters are arranged by age, and as the levels increase, so too do Boog’s suggestions for how to use books and digital devices. “Born Reading Bundles” are a combination of print books and multimedia activities to share with children. His conclusion focuses on the Common Core State Standards, noting that “parents will have to do more work outside the classroom to encourage...individual interests.” He also notes that his born reading playbook skills tie into the English Language Arts Common Core State Standards. This will be a useful title for all libraries to include in both their parenting and professional reading collections.–Lisa Kropp, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY

redstarGHOTING, Saroj Nadkarni & Kathy Fling Klatt. STEP into Storytime: Using StoryTime Effective Practice to Strengthen the Development of Newborns to Five-Year-Olds. 368p. further reading. index. websites. ALA Editions. 2014. pap. $57. ISBN 9780838912225. LC 2014004162.

This effective manual focuses on using StoryTime Effective Practice (STEP) to strengthen the development of newborns to five-year-olds. STEP is an approach that combines the background knowledge of children’s books with factors such as emotional, social, physical, cognitive, and language skill development for children. This important resource discusses how to deploy the STEP philosophy with library staff as well as how to communicate the practices to parents and caregivers. Competencies and applications are demonstrated in in-depth chapters that show readers just how simple it is to incorporate this practice into every storytime. Using the Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) approach, ideas and suggestions are given to lead a STEP storytime. Included in the manual are 30 storytime guides that are categorized by age groups. These guides provide program ideas that include opening songs, reading suggestions, parenting tips for early literacy development, and extension activities all within a particular theme. This book is a valuable resource and one that should be a part of every professional development collection for youth services staff. It is a refreshing take on library program guides that offers an accessible method of reinvigorating storytimes while providing deeper insight into early literacy development.–Allison Santos, Princeton Public Library, NJ

ISAACS, Kathleen T. Bugs, Bogs, Bats, and Books: Sharing Nature with Children through Reading. 272p. index. ALA/Neal-Schuman. 2014. pap. $19.95. ISBN 9781937589585. LC 2014001417.

This is a unique entry in the field of literature on bringing nature to children, while promoting the use of books to facilitate experience. Citing Richard Louv from his seminal book Last Child in the Woods (Algonquin, 2005), Isaacs deplores the fact that modern children have a “nature-deficit” knowledge base and lack connection to the natural world. She offers relevant and current resources to “encourage a child’s curiosity, appreciation, and sense of wonder at the natural world.” Isaacs writes with authority, derived from professional and personal experience. Her tone is approachable, friendly, and passionate. Her book reviews are concise, accompanied by specific examples from the text and illustrations, as well as images of many of the book covers, providing readers with a quantity and quality of information best suited to their children’s interest. Many simple and engaging activitie are included. This title gives parents and caregivers excellent tools to introduce, develop, and enhance children’s experience in and knowledge of the natural world.–Gretchen Crowley, Alexandria City Public Libraries, VA

LATHAM, Don & Melissa Gross. Young Adult Resources Today: Connecting Teens with Books, Music, Games, Movies, and More. 239p. Rowman & Littlefield. 2014. Tr $55.00. ISBN 9780810893115; pap. $85.00. ISBN 9780810887992; ebk. $54.99. ISBN 9780810888005. LC 2014003037.

A breakdown of modern young adult resources including material suggestions and potential programming schema, this well-researched title includes a litany of references and bibliographic sources. For those looking to start a Teen Advisory Group at their library or for a summary of modern gaming to better develop programs at their locations, Latham and Gross provide such information in a well laid-out, easy-to-read format. While adequately outlining the resources and services available to teens, this book would have been aided by more practical information on the implementation of those ideas that it presents. The resulting effort is a lot more academic than a hands-on librarian may be seeking, but the title would be very useful for professionals who are switching to youth services or just getting started in their field.–Ryan P. Donovan, Southborough Public Library, MA

MACMILLAN, Kathy & Christine Kirker. Baby Storytime Magic: Active Early Literacy Through Bounces, Rhymes, Tickles and More. 120p. ALA/Neal-Schuman. 2014. Tr $50.00. ISBN 9780838912164. LC 2013049729.

This guide features stories, rhymes, songs, and activities as well as library storytime management tips. Pros and cons of age groupings versus developmental groupings are considered, as is the need to accommodate older siblings. Information about an infant’s developing brain and the acquisition of literacy skills is discussed in introductory chapters. Each activity or book is introduced with an informational “literacy bit” to be shared with caregivers. Most of the rhymes and songs are original and are sometimes set to the tune of traditional songs or chants. The focus of the content is on babies’ familiar, daily activities. Adults are encouraged to use their own voices rather than musical recordings, and suggestions for props and flannel boards accompany the activities. American Sign Language drawings are added to many activities, but no textual description of the signs is provided. Drawings for flannel and magnetic boards are pictured in black-and-white illustrations that can be photocopied.–Jackie Gropman, formerly at Chantilly Regional Library, VA

STAN, Susan. Global Voices: Picture Books from Around the World. 240p. ALA Editions. 2014. Tr $50.00. ISBN 9780838911839. LC 2013011519.

Internationally published books provide a different point of view from what is generally presented in books produced in the United States, and anyone who has tried to purchase books from another country knows how hard it can be. This volume is a good starting point for finding quality picture books from around the world. The first part is broken into three chapters that give a general overview of the topic: why children in the U. S. should read books from other countries; a brief introduction into the cultural differences in art and illustration; and an explanation on how some topics that recur across national lines (Family Life, War and Conflicts, Folk and Fairy Tales) are presented in various ways in different cultures. The second part consists of bibliographies of picture books organized by geographical location: Africa and the Middle East; Asia; Australia and New Zealand; Canada; Europe; Latin America and the Caribbean. The selected titles offer an authentic perspective of that country and have literary and artistic merit. It is a vast area to cover, and for many of the countries there are (understandably), just a handful of titles. Some of the older titles (pre-2009) are out of print. A good starting point for diversifying picture book collections or filling in gaps in international book collections.–Renee McGrath, Nassau Library System, Uniondale, NY

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