Tag Archives: early chapter books

Call for Judges: CYBILS

9 Sep

Cybils-Blog-Header-2017If you’re a kid lit book blogger, you should think about applying to become a judge for the CYBILS awards, it’s a rewarding experience that exposes you to titles you never would have read before. If you’re interested check out the CYBILS website and make sure to get your application in by the deadline – September 14.

There are two different rounds of judging and the CYBILS website has all the information you’ll need to decide what type of judge fits your schedule the best. And if you’re not too specific, shoot for being a judge of a less popular genre like nonfiction or poetry, it may be easier to be selected if fewer people apply for these genres.

It’s definitely a lot of hard work and (obviously) a lot of reading, but it’s a really great experience to be a part of and one that I’d love to repeat when I have a little more time!


(Unofficial) Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Titles for Shark Week

25 Jul

shark week.png

I’ve had a number of kids interested in shark books – everything from picture books (for those who frighten easily) to nonfiction titles that show rows of teeth and talk about sharks as apex predators and an important part of the ecosystem. So while everyone watches Michael Phelps race a Great White Shark, here are some awesome books to share together!

  1. Shark vs. Train by Chris Barton, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
  2. Gilbert the Great by Jane Clarke, illustrated by Charles Fuge
  3. Nugget and Fang: Friends Forever–or Snack Time? by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Michael Slack
  4. The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark by Ken Geist, illustrated by Julia Gorton
  5. I’m a Shark by Bob Shea
  6. Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating, illustrated by Marta Álvarez Miguéns
  7. Sharks! by Anne Schreiber
  8. Fly Guy Presents: Sharks by Tedd Arnold
  9. Magic Tree House #53: Merlin Missions, Shadow of the Shark by Mary Pope Osborne
  10. I Survived: The Shark Attacks of 1916 by Lauren Tarshis

And a bonus title:

Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands by Katherine Roy

Reading Diversely

12 Aug

I am, primarily, a reference librarian in the children’s department which means that I’m sitting at a desk for most of the day answering questions about the computers, looking for books to use for school reports and endlessly answering, “(Insert child’s name here) has read all The Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, what can they read next?”

So as a reference and reader’s advisory librarian, I spend a lot of my time outside of work reading – reading new books in a variety of genres so that when a kid asks me for something new, I have at least 8-10 different suggestions from any given genre. I’m also spending a lot of time researching authors and illustrators by reading review journals, following blogs and Twitter accounts to keep up with other librarians and teachers and keeping an eye on award winner and large public movements (like We Need Diverse Books) to better understand and learn about children’s literature.

This is the part of my job that I absolutely love!  Finding the right book for the right kid at the right time – and I take pride in my position to be able to do that and I take it seriously, parents may not know what’s available, many teachers don’t either, so it’s my job to make strong suggestions for kids coming into the library.

So, when a Tweet like this appears on my feed, I’m baffled, but what I really loved was this reaction post on Book Riot – yes, to everything Molly says.  Not to beat a dead horse, but books can be so very powerful to a child – a mirror to see themselves and a window to better understand others.  By not reading diversely, how can any librarian really suggest the right book?

I know I don’t get to everything that’s been published – I don’t of anyone who could, but that doesn’t mean I don’t try.  I specifically pick up books that I most likely will not like, but are important for me to read to suggest to kids.  I pick up books and don’t finish them, but I can sell them to kids, better yet kids love when I say a book wasn’t my favorite.  I read reviews, so that even when I haven’t gotten a chance to read the book, I can get someone else’s reaction to it.  When series come out, I try and make a point to read the first int eh series,I may not read the rest of the series, but at least I’ve got a general idea of what’s going to happen.

I’ll be the first to admit, I come from a privileged background – I’m a white, female who grew up with both parents who not only graduated from college, but have a master’s degree and a doctorate degree.  I’ve gone to college and have two master’s degrees and I’m not saying this to brag, but so that you know, I have it pretty easy in this world.  By comparison, my boyfriend is biracial and has beautiful brown skin and dreadlocks that reach his waist and he will always be seen as black and that’s how he is judged. He doesn’t remember looking for kids like him in books as a child, but he also wasn’t a huge reader.  And now as I read, I’m always looking for the books he would have liked as a child.  Since we started dating many years ago, I’ve shared in his experiences (as much as a white woman can) and it has really opened my eyes to a lot of things, but primarily the fact that my life is easy.  But that’s not the case for a lot of people who live in this country and even in my community where we have a high number of residents who have moved here from India, as well as a large Hispanic population and a very diverse school district where ESL is commonplace.  I want to offer the best books for the kids in my community and that means I need to read diversely and suggest diversely as well!

25 Children’s Books for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

19 May

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (1)

I’ll be honest, I had to do some research to really understand what countries, heritages, cultures, and religions Asian Pacific American included.  The Asian Pacific American Heritage Month website created in part by the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum definitely helped to understand and define this celebration.  For those of you who aren’t sure – Asian Pacific Americans includes, “Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).” (Asian Pacific American Heritage Month website)

I wasn’t able to include books from every single Asian country, but I hope this allows you to explore some books that you didn’t know existed and learn about another culture too!  Do you have any books that you would add to the list?  Leave me a comment!

  1. Yoko’s Paper Cranes by Rosemary Wells
  2. Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth
  3. Silent Music: A Story of Baghdad by James Rumford
  4. Peek! A Thai Hide-and-Seek by Minfong Ho
  5. The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
  6. Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say
  7. Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French
  8. Cora Cooks Pancit by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore
  9. Round is a Mooncake: A Book of Shapes by Roseanne Thong
  10. Grandma Calls me Beautiful by Barbara M. Joosse
  11. Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors by Hena Khan
  12. The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq by Jeanette Winter
  13. Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji by F. Zia
  14. Kampung Boy by Lat
  15. Monsoon by Uma Krishnaswami
  16. Ruby Lu, Brave and True by Lenore Look
  17. Rickshaw Girl by Mitali Perkins
  18. A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
  19. Calvin Coconut: Trouble Magnet by Graham Salisbury
  20. Letters from Rifka by Karen Hesse
  21. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
  22. Ms. Marvel: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson
  23. The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis
  24. Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look
  25. I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up For Education and Changed the World by Malala Yousafzai

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? 1/11/2016

11 Jan

I participated in my first ever Bout of Books this past week, which means my reading amount is much higher than usual!  But, I got through a lot of books that have been on my un-official TBR for a really long time!  And I’ve found that there are a lot of great diverse, early chapter books out there for kids!

  • Bad Kitty Gets a Bath
  • The Ball Hogs
  • Big Bad Detective Agency
  • Birthday Blues
  • Digby O’Day In the Fast Lane
  • Don’t Throw It To Mo!
  • Dory Fantasmagory and the Real True Friend
  • EllRay Jakes the Dragon Slayer
  • The Great Cake Mystery
  • Guinea Pig: Hamster & Cheese
  • The Haunted Library
  • Heroes in Training: Zeus and the Thunderbolt of Doom
  • In!  Over! and On! (The Farm)
  • The Isle of the Lost
  • Johnny Mutton, He’s So Him!
  • Keena Ford and the Second-Grade Mix-Up
  • Kung Pow Chicken: Let’s Get Cracking!
  • Ling & Ting: Twice as Silly
  • Lola Levine Is Not Mean
  • Magical Animal Adoption Agency: Clover’s Luck
  • Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel
  • Monkey Me and the Golden Monkey
  • My Pet Human
  • Pigsticks and Harold and the Incredible Journey
  • Piper Reed, Navy Brat
  • Ranger In Time: Rescue on the Oregon Trail
  • Rickshaw Girl
  • Roscoe Riley Rules: Never Glue Your Friends to Chairs
  • Ruby Lu, Brave and True
  • Slither, Snake!
  • Sly the Sleuth and the Pet Mysteries
  • Sofia Martinez: Picture Perfect
  • Space Taxi: Archie Takes Flight
  • Violet Mackerel’s Brilliant Plot
  • West Meadows Detectives: The Case of the Snack Snatcher

As for the upcoming week, I’m planning on reading some of the award winners that I missed over the course of last year that were on my radar that I just didn’t have time for.  It’s a great time to be a children’s librarian – so many amazing books out there!


Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.

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