Review: Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez

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Summary:

From the publisher: How did a raw chicken get inside Yasmany’s locker? When Sal Vidon meets Gabi Real for the first time, it isn’t under the best of circumstances. Sal is in the principal’s office for the third time in three days, and it’s still the first week of school. Gabi, student council president and editor of the school paper, is there to support her friend Yasmany, who just picked a fight with Sal. She is determined to prove that somehow, Sal planted a raw chicken in Yasmany’s locker, even though nobody saw him do it and the bloody poultry has since mysteriously disappeared. Sal prides himself on being an excellent magician, but for this sleight of hand, he relied on a talent no one would guess . . . except maybe Gabi, whose sharp eyes never miss a trick. When Gabi learns that he’s capable of conjuring things much bigger than a chicken–including his dead mother–and she takes it all in stride, Sal knows that she is someone he can work with. There’s only one slight problem: their manipulation of time and space could put the entire universe at risk. A sassy entropy sweeper, a documentary about wedgies, a principal who wears a Venetian bauta mask, and heaping platefuls of Cuban food are just some of the delights that await in his mind-blowing novel gift-wrapped in love and laughter.

Review:

You ever read a book so good that once you finish it, you hug it and thank it for its existence like some kind of nerdy version of KonMari? That is exactly what I did after finishing Carlos Hernandez’s middle grade debut, Sal and Gabi Break the Universe. Sal is one of the most delightful and charming protagonists I’ve read in a long time, and even though the scifi part of the plot wasn’t as significant as I had expected, it never dragged because I loved Hernandez’s style so much. Filled with heart and humor, this is a story about love and grief and friendship without ever getting preachy. The publisher suggested ages are 8 to 12, but I think kids on the older end of that range and even into young adult readers would better appreciate it. Highly, highly recommended.

 

Check it out on the catalog here!

Miss Jessica

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Caterpillars and Butterflies Booklist

We’re crazy for caterpillars lately! The caterpillars we’ve been raising have been getting bigger every day. If you haven’t stopped in to check them out, you’re missing out! It’s pretty fun to see them crawling around and chowing down on their food. Here are some fun books about caterpillars and butterflies to share with your little ones.

Pete the Cat and the Cool Caterpillar by James Dean

Butterfly Birthday by Harriet Ziefert

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Gotta Go, Gotta Go! by Sam Swope

In My Flower by Sara Gillingham

Life Cycle of a Butterfly by Karen Kenney

Caterpillars by Claire Llewellyn 

Butterflies by Nic Bishop

Love from the Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Butterflies by Thea Feldman

How a Caterpillar Grows into a Butterfly by Tanya Kant

10 Little Caterpillars by Bill Martin, Jr.

The Prince of Butterflies by Bruce Coville

Little Bear and the Butterflies by Susan Quinn

10 Magic Butterflies by Danica McKellar

Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert

Miss Jessica

5 on Friday: May

Five on Friday

For this month’s Five on Friday, I’ve put together 5 articles about kids’ books and literacy that I found interesting. I hope you do too!

  1. Why do we read sad books? Are sad books helpful for kids? Author Jo Knowles’ article has a really interesting take on the purpose and value of sad books for kids here.
  2. Any children’s librarian will tell you the importance of reading to your child. But don’t just take it from us – a recent study found that kids who are read one short book per day start kindergarten knowing 290,000 more words than kids whose parents didn’t read to them. If you increase the number of books to five per day, the difference in vocabulary bumps up to 1.4 million words. Wow! Read more on why you should read to your kids here.
  3. I remember reading Richard Scarry books when I was a kid, and it makes me smile to see they are still around today. But they’re not the exact same books as they were when I was young, because Scarry has been subtly updating them to better reflect changing values in society. How cool! Check out some of the altered pictures here.
  4. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Children’s Book Week, the Library of Congress has put 67 classic children’s books online! Their news release states that “From Humpty Dumpty to Little Red Riding Hood, the books in this collection were published in the United States and England before 1924, are no longer under copyright, and are free to read and share.” So why not head over to the School Library Journal article covering it and check it out?
  5. Speaking of books I grew up on, Baby-sitters Club was another series I remember enjoying. With Raina Telgemeier’s graphic novel adaptation, they’ve come back into popularity. Riding on the wave of sudden relevance, Elle Fanning and others are recording audiobooks for the entire 131-book series.

And that’s all for this month! Be sure to check back in June, same bat time, same bat channel for the next 5 on Friday.

Miss Jessica

 

Celebrating the Very Hungry Caterpillar

With Children’s Book Week and the 50th anniversary of Eric Carle’s classic the Very Hungry Caterpillar this year, we set up some fun activities throughout the department to celebrate.

Our lovely caterpillars are eating lots and growing bigger every day!

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We have two crafts out – Build a Bug and Make a Butterfly.

We also have a Very Hungry Caterpillar book walk along the windows.

There is a sensory bin with bug hunting for the littles and plenty of Very Hungry Caterpillar props near the puppet theater for storytelling.

There is also a Feed the Caterpillar game using pom-poms and squeeze bottles.

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And don’t forget to do the Very Hungry Caterpillar scavenger hunt.  When you spot all the story shapes throughout the department, you win a prize!

Can you spot the warm sun here?

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Next week, we will add another craft, a Very Hungry Caterpillar obstacle course, and a Very Hungry food toss!

Miss Tess

 

Books for the Birds!

Looking for great stories that drop fact crumbs to get your kiddo thinking and talking about the different birds they may be hearing, seeing or even just thinking about this spring?  Look no further!  Your list has arrived…

 

Hooray for Birds!

by Lucy Cousins

 

Peck! Peck! Peck! 

by Lucy Cousins

 

I Hatched!

by Jill Esbaum

 

Birds

by Kevin Henkes

 

Why Should I Walk? I Can Fly!

by Ann Ingalls

 

George Flies South

by Simon James

 

Hook

by Ed Young

Miss Marta

If you like Who Would Win?

If you are a fan of the Who Would Win series by Jerry Pallotta, you might also like these books about animals and their unique traits!

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The Biggest, Baddest Book series including

Sea Creatures  Dinos  Bugs

Biggest, Baddest Book of Bugs by Anders Hanson and Elissa Man

Biggest, Baddest Book of Dinosaurs by Anders Hanson & Elissa Mann

Biggest, Baddest Book of Sea Creatures by Jen Schoeller

The Animals Superpowers Series by Joanne Mattern

Super Strength   Super Senses 

Deadly Weapons   Masters of Disguise   Strange Bodies

The Animal Rivals series by Isabel Thompson

Scorpion vs. TarantulaLion vs. TigerElephant vs. RhinoShark vs. Killer Whale

Lion vs. Tiger            Scorpion vs. Tarantula

Shark vs. Killer Whale     Elephant vs. Rhinoceros

And be sure to check out these National Geographic Kids titles –

Animal Smackdown : Surprising Animal Matchups with Surprising Results

Animal Smackdown : Surprising Animal Matchups with Surprising Results  by Emily Krieger

Ultimate Predator-Pedia

Ultimate Predatorpedia by Christina Wilsdon

Miss Tess

 

The Sinking of the Titanic

On April 10, 1912, RMS Titanic left Southampton, England on her maiden voyage to New York City. Famous even before her tragic accident, the Titanic was not only the biggest ship in the world at the time but the White Star Line had spared no expense in also making her the most luxurious. First class passengers could enjoy a swimming pool, Turkish bath, library, gym, and a squash court, as well as very fancy common rooms. Even the third-class quarters were much nicer than other ships. Her passengers were a mixture of some of the wealthiest people in the world and immigrants hoping to find a better life in America.

People were so sure that the Titanic was unsinkable that there were only enough lifeboats on board for half of the ship’s passengers and crew. But only four days into her first journey, at 11:40 PM on April 14, she struck an iceberg and water began pouring into the ship. Two hours and 40 minutes later, the ship sank beneath the icy waters, only three degrees above freezing. The Carpathia rescued only 705 survivors of the more than 2,000 people on board. 1,522 passengers and crew were lost, probably because there weren’t enough lifeboats and the crew hadn’t been trained on how to use them. It is still one of the worst maritime disasters during peacetime.

More than a hundred years later, the sinking of the Titanic still captures people’s imaginations, inspiring movies, plays, artwork, songs, and of course, books. In honor of the 107th anniversary of its sinking, here are 5 fiction and 5 nonfiction books about the Titanic. 

 

FICTION

I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic – Lauren Tarshis

Tonight on the Titanic – Mary Pope Osborne

Voyage on the Great Titanic – Ellen Emerson White

Titanic: Unsinkable – Gordon Korman

The Titanic Mission – Dan Gutman

 

NONFICTION

What Was the Titanic? – Stephanie Sabol

Titanic: Voices From the Disaster – Deborah Hopkinson

On Board the Titanic : What it Was Like When the Great Liner Sank – Shelley Tanaka

Titanic: A Nonfiction Companion to Tonight on the Titanic – Mary Pope Osborne

You Wouldn’t Want to Sail on the Titanic!: One Voyage You’d Rather Not Make – David Stewart