Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham

I’m not much on realistic fiction typically.  Living through upper elementary and middle school was hard enough the first time, right?!  For some odd, quirky reason though, the realistic graphic genre has totally grabbed me.  I get knots in my stomach every time a character hits an awkward spot and am cheering them on when they have a victory.  The graphic format is just more powerful for me.

Real Life by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham is one of the best in this genre, by far.  This should come as no surprise.  This is the duo who has already blown us away with The Princess in Black series.

This new title though is one that unlike their fantasy series for early readers, lands us in the very real, very challenging topics of friendship, growing up, and finding your “tribe”.  The friends who get you and have your back no matter what.  Anyone who spends time with children knows friendship brings some of the highest highs and lowest lows.  This book delves deeper into that from the child’s perspective.  The anxiety, the fear of rejection and confusion surrounding why, the joy and peace of acceptance.

The story is actually a memoir written about Hale’s own childhood, revisiting the ups and downs of friendship, family, and change.  As I read it, it brought back all the memories of the tumultuous nature of childhood friendships from my own childhood and the immense joy felt when you have acceptance and compassion.

The relationship between Wendy and Shannon is one I feel a lot of readers will connect too.  Between family dynamics and mental health issues, these two characters are pushed apart but in the end, come to see that they actually have an ally in each other and are family, regardless of past hurts.

This graphic novel is beautifully done and fans of Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson, Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm, and Smile by Raina Telgemeier are going to eat this one up!

New Books @ MPL

This awesome array of new-book-ey goodness will be arriving at MPL soon!  Come check these titles out!

I am Not a Chair by Ross Burach

Could there be anything worse for Giraffe? Maybe being sat on by a skunk or smooshed by two hapless hippos, or worst of all—cornered by a hungry lion? No one seems to notice that Giraffe is not standing around just to be sat upon. Will he be able to find his voice and make his friends realize who he really is?

The Day I Ran Away by Holly Niner

While Dad tucks her in, a little girl named Grace calmly recounts her day—which was anything but calm.

Duck, Duck, Dinosaur: Noise At Night by Kallie George

Feather, Flap, and Spike are spending their first night in their very own nest. They tell stories and snuggle up to get a good night’s sleep, until . . . GRRORE! What’s that scary-sounding noise?

How to Find a Friend by Marie S. Costa

Two creatures …too busy …to notice each other! Finding a friend can sometimes be a hit-and-miss affair! When Rabbit moves into his new burrow and Squirrel moves into her new treehouse, they would both love to BUMP into a friend. But will that ever happen or will they keep on MISSING each other? With all the appeal of those ‘it’s behind you’ moments from pantomime, you can join Squirrel and Rabbit on their comedy CRASH course in how to find a friend!

Good Night My Darling Baby by ALyssa Satin Capucilli (board book)

In this lovely bedtime story, animals tuck in their babies, sing a song, and give a kiss good night, ending with parents tucking in their child for a sweet sleep.

I’m Grumpy by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm (board book)

A grumpy cloud upsets his friend Sunny and must make amends. A sweet, funny, and simple introduction to the impact that emotions can have on those around you.

Happy Dreamer by Peter H. Reynolds

Displaying his distinctive voice and images, Reynolds celebrates the joys and challenges of being a creative spirit.

Flora and the Chicks by Molly Idle (board book)

Idle brings her balletic heroine Flora to a younger audience in this nearly wordless board book that finds the girl struggling to keep up with a nestful of hatching chickens.

Brobarians by Lindsey Ward

Two brothers, two great warriors—two brobarians!—engage in an epic backyard battle, until the “magic that ruled all” (aka mother) calls them in.

Is Your Smile Like a Crocodile’s?

Get ready for fun as you compare your toddlers smile to the toothy grin of a crocodile.

Bird, Balloon, Bear by Il Sung Na

Bird’s new in the forest, and as much as he’d like to befriend Bear, he never quite gets up the courage to say hello.

Be Quiet! by Ryan T. Higgins

Having failed in the hospitality business due to a rude and surly bear (Hotel Bruce, 2016), mice Rupert, Nibbs, and Thistle decide to go into publishing.

Carrot and Pea: An Unlikely Friendship by Morag Hood

Colin is tall. He’s orange. He’s a carrot! He’s nothing like Lee, a round green pea. He can’t do any of the things Lee and his pea pals can do. How can Colin and Lee ever be friends? A charming celebration of embracing differences and standing out in a crowd.

Amazing Animals: A Spin & Spot Book by Liza Charlesworth

 Be on the lookout for polar bears in the Arctic, elephants in the savannah, chickens on the farm, and more exciting creatures of all shapes and all sizes. Can you spot all 64 animals?

Bear Likes Jam by Ciara Gavin

When Bear discovers jam for the time, he can’t think of anything else. Mama Duck tells him that growing bears need to eat their vegetables first . . . but Bear can’t stand the strange green things on his plate. He only wants jam! It’s not until Bear notices the little ducks around him eating ALL of their food, that it finally clicks: Bear can have his dinner and his jam.

Best of 2016 #1

Hopefully you have enjoyed reading our favorite reads of 2016. And now *insert drum roll here* our what we thought were the BEST 2016 had to offer…

 

Sarah

Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian

This book celebrates the fact that love is love is love!

Marta

Full of Beans by Jennifer L. Holm

This is one of the best, most entertaining, kid-accessible historical fiction books I have read in a long time.  The chapters read quickly and are packed with action or information to put the story together.  This book is so well written that it will capture even your most reluctant reader.  Beans Curry and his marble-playing gang The Keepsies had me rooting for them as they work with the New Dealers to rebuild Key West after the Depression while dealing with fires, illness, mobsters, and friendships.

Teresa

There’s a Bear On My Chair by Ross Collins

Mouse complains, with escalating rage, that there’s a (polar) bear on his chair.  When his words fail, mouse leaves and gets his revenge.  Sure to be a classic read-aloud!

Janna

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Like all great fairy tales, this book shows the light in a work filled with darkness and woe.  Several stories in one, this magical tale weaves separate narratives together to a riveting conclusion that will leave even the most seasoned reader enthralled.

Reading by the Genre

reading-by-the-genre

 

“Where are your mystery books?”

“My teacher says I need to read a historical fiction book for my report.”

“My son hates to read, but loves sports.  Do you have any fiction sports books he might like?”

 

Sound familiar?  These requests are made daily because most kids we serve think in terms of genre.  A few have favorite authors and series, but most of them are open to the possibilities of what is out there, as long as it is whatever genre is capturing them at that moment.  Maybe our patron just read Goosebumps and is looking for something else to give them that knot in their stomach, anticipating what creature or magic is waiting for their favorite character.  Maybe the patron laughed their way through Greg’s antics in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and she wants to recapture the humor.  Most kids are still open to suggestion.  When they ask us for a recommendation based on genre, it is a chance for us to open yet another door for them.

 

But… what about those kids who aren’t searching for genre because they already have an interest?  Because they have read something similar and what more? What about those kids whose teacher or parent is trying to broaden their horizons for them?  For me, even as a veteran to advisory, this is where I falter.  I don’t want to give a kid a book just  because it is this genre.  I want to give them a reason to connect with the specific book I put in their hands.  I want to get a feel for what they could read if the choice were their own and get as close as possible while sticking with what they need in regards to the genre.   That is what we all want.  To give them a reason not to dread that project but to open them up to the possibilities of trying something new!

 

It is a tricky balancing act sometimes, and the more knowledge we have as to what is out there, the better we will be at getting the right reader with the right book.  With this in mind, we are launching our series on Reading by the Genre.  We have created lists  of new and old titles, some popular and some that flew under the radar, that will hopefully add titles to our arsenal so that when we get that genre request we have more options to share with our patrons.

 

For us at MPL, historical fiction seems to be one genre that we get asked about a lot (I mean… A LOT) in September, so we are jumping off there.  Some of these titles are familiar and even award winning but some are lesser known.  All are awesome options when put with the right reader.

What books would you add to this list?

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick

Prisoner 88 by Leah Pileggi

Countdown by Deborah Wiles

The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

The Misadventures of Maude March by Audrey Couloumbis

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

Penny From Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm

The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon

Celeste’s Harlem Renaissance by Eleanora E. Tate