Hi there! For 2019, we’re trying something new on our blog. On the first Friday of every month, I’m going to post 5 things that have caught my attention and share them with you. I’ve (very creatively) titled this series 5 on Friday. It might be my 5 favorite books for storytime, 5 books that are being adapted into movies this years, or like this week’s theme: 5 kidlit-related articles I’ve come across.
Read Brightly has some excellent suggestions for encouraging kids of all ages to read more: read it here!
School Library Journal discusses the difficulty in cataloging #ownvoices books here. There’s plenty of food for thought here – I had never even considered adding the tag to the catalog where patrons could find it, but Elizabeth Bird makes a good case for it and explains why it is both useful and tricky.
7-year-old Nicholas Buamah recently had his book Kayla & Kyle The Walking Dictionaries: Election Day added to the Library of Congress! Described as “an animated book that helps elementary-aged school children build their vocabularies,” it’s also available for sale at Barnes & Noble and on Amazon. What an accomplishment! You can read more about Nicholas and his book here.
If you like spooky books, odds are you’ve already read Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and both of the sequels. I loved the stories as a kid, but it was the art that really gave me the creeps. I wasn’t the only one, since not only is Guillermo del Toro making it into a movie this year, but a new tribute anthology is being published by HarperCollins early this year!! Edited by Jonathan Maberry and featuring numerous awesome horror writers, I’m so excited to see what they come up with.
Learning how to regulate their emotions is tough for little ones, and when they are unable to express themselves they may resort to chomping down on their nearest and dearest. Most picture books I’ve seen about biting are pretty straightforward and not very fun, but now thanks to Lisa Wheeler and Ryan T. Higgins we have a couple really good ones that kiddos will also enjoy.
And that’s a wrap! Check back in next month, same bat-time, same bat-channel for the next 5 on Friday!
From the publisher: “Uptight elfin historian Brangwain Spurge is on a mission: survive being catapulted across the mountains into goblin territory, deliver a priceless peace offering to their mysterious dark lord, and spy on the goblin kingdom — from which no elf has returned alive in more than a hundred years. Spurge’s host, the goblin archivist Werfel, is delighted to show Brangwain around. They should be the best of friends, but a series of extraordinary double crosses, blunders, and cultural misunderstandings throws these two bumbling scholars into the middle of an international crisis that may spell death for them — and war for their nations. Witty mixed media illustrations show Brangwain’s furtive missives back to the elf kingdom, while Werfel’s determinedly unbiased narrative tells an entirely different story.”
I’ve been in something of a reading slump lately. Nothing sounds interesting and everything I’ve been reading just doesn’t grab me. Fortunately I’ve heard a lot of buzz about The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge and since fantasy is smack dab in the middle of my reading comfort zone, I decided to check it out. And I’m glad I did since it kicked me right out of my book slump! This fantasy adventure/odd couple buddy comedy/spy thriller is witty, exciting, and an excellent look at the effects of propaganda without resorting to a boring lecture about morality. Similar to some of Brian Selznick’s popular books, The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge is an illustrated novel, with the art (excellently done by Anton Yelchin) showing Spurge’s magical reports of his experiences in the goblin kingdom sent back to his fellow elves. However these reports are influenced by his cultural misunderstandings and prejudice against the goblins and so frequently contradict the text, which is from the kind and brave goblin Werfel’s point of view. It did take awhile for me to get the hang of understanding the illustrations, but for the kids willing to work through the initial confusion it’s well worth the effort. Kirkus Reviews described it as “Monty Python teams up with Maxwell Smart for a wrestling match with Tolkien,” which is a spot on analogy (that will likely go over its target audience’s heads, unfortunately). Recommended for ages 10-14.
Exploratorium is now STEAM-a-Rama! Join us in the Children’s Programming Room for the same great weekly program about science, technology, engineering, art, and math. This week we will be learning about polar animals and the regions they live in.
As you can probably guess from the title, there is a wall in the middle of this book. The knight repairing the wall tells the reader it protects his side of the book from the scary and dangerous things on the other side. However, as his side of the book fills up with water and a crocodile appears, he discovers the other side of the wall is not exactly what he thought.
Agee uses the page in a really interesting way, with the wall in the gutter (inside margin) of the book and two stories happening simultaneously on each side of the wall/page. The knight thinks his side of the wall is safe and the wall protects him from the scary ogre that would eat him up. But while he’s focused on building up the wall, he fails to notice the rising waters behind him. When he realizes his side of the wall has flooded and cries out for help, it is the ogre from the other side who saves him and the knight discovers the creatures on the other side of the wall are not the terrifying monsters he imagined. The art is simple with muted colors without being boring. Similar to Agee’s Life on Mars, paying attention to what’s happening in the pictures is essential to understanding the story. Learning to interpret pictures into a narrative is an excellent pre-reading and early reading skill! Agee is excellent at pacing and humor for the younger set, though adults are likely to enjoy this gentle story about preconceived notions across boundaries and how wrong they can be as well. Highly recommended.