Top 10 of 2018: #1

 

 

Christina

A Big Mooncake for Little Star

by Grace Lin

A simple, beautiful story about Little Star trying to resist eating the Big Mooncake that Mama has hung in the sky to cool.  Little Star wakes in the night and takes a tiny bite.  She does this each night until you see the full moon waning to the new moon.  Text and pictures tell this story lovingly.  A great book to share with your little ones.

Sarah

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates

by Ryan T. Higgins

It’s the first day of school and Penelope Rex is ready with a new backpack.  When she discovers her classmates are children this causes a few problems because “children are delicious.”  After eating her classmates (and spitting them out thanks to the teacher), Penelope does learn how to be a friend.

This book has a good bit of slobber in the pages, which just add to its appeal!

Jessica

I Hate Everyone

by Naomi Danis

I actually didn’t read this book until I was in the process of writing this list and loved it so much it immediately bumped my previous #1 title.  Danis perfectly describes the contradictions of children: “Don’t look at me.  No!  Look at me!” Several pages made me laugh aloud and the illustrations alone are so great once I finished I flipped back to the beginning and started again to pay better attention to them.

Tess

The Serpent’s Secret

by Sayantani Dasgupta

I loved this audiobook!  Just an average 12-year-old girl from New Jersey who happens to be a demon slayer –  no big deal!  Dasgupta creates such a fun, relatable hero in Kiranmala, and I loved the Indian folklore mixed with fantasy elements.  The audiobook is read by the author and she is a fantastic narrator!

Great read for fans of Rick Riordan or fantasy… or anyone!

Marta

Willa of the Wood 

by Robert Beatty

This book is just so beautifully written.  It brought me right back to the feeling I’d get as a kid when I’d fall in love with a book in that deep, profound, genuinely sad when it is over way.  I listened to this audiobook and was sucked right into the world that Beatty created.  The world of the Faeran is magical but dangerous.  Willa, a night-spirit, is trying to find her way in her clan but the clan is changing.  Through a tragic chain of events, Willa comes to realize her clan is no longer her family and that she doesn’t truly have a place there.  On her own in the world she befriends a man named Nathaniel.  Though Willa and Nathaniel have a tenuous relationship at first, they form a bond that goes well beyond what Willa expects.  Nathaniel becomes family to her and she becomes family to him.  When she discovers a secret about Nathaniel’s children, she realizes that she can help him and his children but very much at her own peril.  Read my full review of this amazing book here.  For fans of fantasy, this book is a must-read, but it also is a good read for animal lovers and adventure readers.

 

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Top 10 of 2018: #2

Christina

Thank You, Omu!

by Oge Mora

Omu is cooking a thick red stew on the top floor of her apartment building.  As it cooks, the smell brings people from the street to her door.  She shares her stew with each person until it is all gone.  This book reads like a folktale complete with a wonderful ending.  The visually attractive collage pictures help to tell the story of sharing and community.

Sarah

No Truth Without Ruth: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

by Kathleen Krull

This short biography tells of Ruth’s determination to become the person she wanted to be and to help others achieve fairness in their lives. She grew up in a time that women were told to hide their intellect and were expected to marry, have children and take care of the home. At the time there were few opportunities for women to have careers. She wanted more for herself and others. The book gives a time line of her life, career, challenges and accomplishments.

Jessica

She Made a Monster: How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein 

by Lynn Fulton

A lightly fictionalized version of Mary Shelley’s creation of Frankenstein.  The spooky and atmospheric art is perfect for the story of the invention of science fiction!

Tess

A Parade of Elephants

by Kevin Henkes

“Hooray! The elephants are here.  Get ready!”

This one is destined to be a bedtime storytime favorite!  Lots of concepts like counting, shapes, opposites, and directions all in a short, simple, beautiful book.

Marta

Smiley: A Journey of Love

by Joanne George

This book was one that warmed my heart and was a feel good book that stuck with me all year.  It tells the true story of Smiley, a golden retriever who was born with no eyes.  Smiley was born in a puppy mill and rescued by the book’s author who knew exactly what help Smiley needed to live his best life as a one-of-a-kind therapy dog.  Real pictures of Smiley and his family are throughout the book.  Every elementary-aged kiddo I recommended this to fell in love with Smiley and his story.

 

Top 10 of 2018: #3

 

Christina

The Season of Styx Malone

by Kekla Magoon

Caleb and Bobby Gene Franklin are in a lot of trouble with their mom after they trade their baby sister for a bag of fireworks.  In their attempt to hide the fireworks they meet their new neighbor, Styx Malone.  Styx is sixteen and is so cool and worldly.  He’s been to Indianapolis which is only 30 minutes away whereas the brothers aren’t allowed our of their suburb.  What’s more Styx promises them away out of their troubles with the fireworks and a bully.  As you read it, you can’t help but wonder what is Styx hiding?

This book is lighthearted and yet there are several levels to it with many opportunities for discussion about race, safety, family, and friendship.  I thought of Harris and Me by Gary Paulsen when I read this.  Many others have mentioned author, Christopher Paul Curtis for comparison.  Either way, it’s a great read.

Sarah

Love 

by Matt de la Pena

Love is about love being everywhere, in faces, sights and sounds. There is loss, but love comes through to hold us. Life changes and children grow and the love grows too. The illustrations help bring the words to life and may pull at your heartstrings. A warm and gentle tale.

Jessica

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge 

by MT Anderson

I really like how the interesting use of art in this book shows how your perspectives and beliefs about people can be influenced by propaganda and change over time.  If you enjoy unreliable narrators, political intrigue, or grand adventures with unlikely heroes, then this fantasy buddy comedy/spy thriller is sure to become one of your favorites too.  Read my full review here.

Tess

Julian is a Mermaid 

by Jessica Love

Lovely picture book about a boy who wants to be a mermaid and his loving abuela.  The illustrations are captivating and the story is heartwarming.  I loved noticing all the small details in each picture and how fully the characters are developed by Love with her words and illustrations.

Marta

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates!

by Ryan T. Higgins

This adorable picture book comes with a lot of giggles.  Penelope Rex is so excited to make friends at school!  Just one problem: she goes to school with humans, and well… HUMANS ARE DELICIOUS!  This books was a hit with my preschool friends this year!  They loved the pictures and story but I loved watching the kids predict Penelope’s actions, shout out when Penelope was being a good friend or a bad friend, and give suggestions on how she could be an even better friend.  Text and illustrations are something kids and adults alike will love sharing with each other again and again.

 

Top 10 of 2018: #4

 

 

Christina

The Day You Begin 

by Jacqueline Woodson

Beautifully written and illustrated, this picture book gives courage to every child who feels alone, that there is no one quite like them.  The book acknowledges that it is not easy being different but to take courage, reach out and share your story.  You will being to find others who are a little like you in different ways.  It is a powerful and reassuring book about diversity and becoming accepted.

 

Sarah

Elmore

by Holly Hobbie

Elmore is a lonely porcupine looking for friends and he is having no luck because he is prickly. In this very short book Elmore find friends by giving of himself and helping others.

 

Jessica

Winter is Here

by Kevin Henkes

Another winner from the dream team Kevin Henkes and Laura Dronzek.  Henkes’ text discusses life during the wintertime – the mittens and zippers and scarves and zippers and coats and OH NO PLEASE NOT MORE ZIPPERS – and Dronzek’s illustrations bring color and beauty to an often drab season.  If you’re like me and have always hated winter, this book might just change your mind.

Tess

Magnificent Birds 

by Narisa Togo

This book is gorgeous and educational.  The author has studied both ecology and printmaking, and she has combined her knowledge and talent here beautifully.  Great book for kids who love facts and those who enjoy perusing bird and animal books for the pictures.

Marta

Chomp Goes the Alligator

by Matthew Van Fleet

This laugh-out-loud board book was one of my favorite storytime reads this year for our birth to two year group.  I actually read this gem the first time on a day when school was out and I had older siblings in the room and it had all of us laughing. Entertaining that many age groups with a single story is not easy so that made it an instant winner for me.  I was easily able to make this story interactive by adding actions to the Alligator’s chomping as he eats many of his friends in the swamp (but don’t worry, everyone is safe and sound in the end).  The early literacy side of me loves this book because there are so many things that make it educational in that sneaky the-kids-won’t-even-know way.  Opportunities to identify animals, colors, rhyming and predicting, practice counting and even motor skills since this book does have a flap that allows your alligator to chomp just to name a few.  For people leery of board books that have moving parts, this book is super sturdy and will provide you and your favorite kiddos many happy reads and stand the test of time.

What We Did in Storytime: Storytime for Littles

Due to popular demand, we are starting a new series called What We Did in Storytime.  This is meant to be a resource for parents, caregivers, and librarians covering what we do each week in our storytime for birth to 3.  Can’t make storytime this week?  No problem!  Love the song we sang this week but can’t remember the words?  We have you covered!  Starting out in libraryland and looking for program ideas?  Let’s share!  We will list songs, books, flannels, and crafts with information on how to include our youngest patrons to our oldest littles… and their grown-ups!  Like you, we find inspiration from many people, so any folks who have provided us songs or ideas will be linked to and we highly recommend clicking on through to see what they are up to.

 

Find our Storytime for Littles program setlists each Monday and drop us a comment with suggestions.  We love to share!

 

Miss Marta

This Week @ MPL

Top 10 of 2018: #5

 

 

Christina

The Parker Inheritance

by Varian Johnson

Candice and her mom have moved back to Lambert, South Carolina to live in her dead grandmother’s house for a month while their house is being remodeled.  Life is unsettled with her parent’s divorce and the temporary move doesn’t help things.  While Candice is looking in her grandmother’s attic, she comes across a letter on which her grandmother has written: Find the path.  Solve the puzzle.  Inside the folded letter addressed to her grandmother that describes an injustice done decades ago to an African American woman and mentions a fortune that belongs to the person who solves the puzzles.  Can Candice and her new friend Brandon solve what her grandmother couldn’t?

 

The mystery gets you hooked into the story, however, the book has another story to tell that includes racial prejudice, segregation, and violence from the 1950’s.  A good book to share with your tween so you can discuss scenes they might find disturbing.  Grades 5 and up.

Sarah

Be Kind

by Pat Zietlow Miller

A lovely story of a young child wanting to make a friend feel better. While trying to find the way to make the friend feel better the child realizes many ways to show kindness and how those acts of kindness flow into their world.

Jessica

Stella Diaz Has Something to Say 

by Angela Dominguez

Stella is such a sweetheart, I could read a million more stories about her.  Shy, earnest Stella has speech problems from mixing up Spanish and English and faces a school year without her best friends at her side.  When she finds out a new student is joining her class, she imagines a girl like herself who loves to draw and maybe even speaks Spanish that she could befriend.  But horror of horrors, the new student is… a BOY!  Even worse, he settles in immediately with the cool kids and Stella’s hopes crumble.  But with her supportive family, best friend, and kind 3rd grade teacher to back her up, Stella learns to stand up for herself and finds her voice, making a few new friends along the way.

Tess

Aquicorn Cove

by Katie O’Neill

In this graphic novel, Lana moves back to her hometown to clean up after a storm, rediscovers her love of the ocean, and finds a mysterious sea creature called and Aquicorn.  The illustrations in this book made me so happy – the characters and the magical sea creatures are adorable!  The compelling family dynamics and overall message of the importance of conversation here was nice too.  Great read!

Marta

Islandborn

by Junot Diaz

Lola left the Dominican Republic when she was a baby and has no memory of her life there.  Her teacher, knowing many of her students come from far away places, gives the assignment to draw a picture of their first home.  Lola is sad since she doesn’t have her own memories however throughout the story she talks to friends, family, and neighbors about the home she left behind, what made it so magical, and why her current community is equally as special.  Darling, bright illustrations bring Lola and her island to life.  Wonderful read for elementary age.