Thursday, January 7, 2010

[Exits stage left]

Happy New Year!

After thinking over the holidays about this blog and my other responsibilities, I have decided to put it on hiatus.

Instead I will begin to post youth services-related items to the Professional Development blog as I come across resources, issues, trends, and information.

I just posted there about Katherine Paterson and her great new job!

As always, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact one of the youth services librarians!

Thank you,
Melissa Depper

Monday, December 21, 2009

Our Caldecott Short List!

Thanks to all the staff who voted off our "long list," we have our final dozen Caldecott Hopefuls. (We were shooting for a list of 10 books, but we just couldn't bear to make that many cuts!)

This will be the list for our online poll, which goes live on December 26 on Tales' Treehouse. Voting will continue through January 17. On Monday, January 18, ALA will announce their media awards and we will annouce our winner too!

Remember, the Caldecott Committee does not announce a short list. We have no idea which books they are seriously considering these last 6 weeks before making their decision!

Last year, there was only one book that received a Medal or Honor sticker that we did NOT have on our online poll: River of Words, by Jen Bryant. How will we do this year?

The Lion and the Mouse
The Curious Garden
Red Sings from Treetops
Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11
Mermaid Queen
All the World
Higher! Higher!
14 Cows for America
Eleanor, Quiet No More: The Life of Eleanor Roosevelt
Jeremy Draws a Monster

Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Beats

Check out this round up of children's holiday music from Zooglobble!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Finding Blog Reviews

When you're looking for commentary or reviews on a particular title, remember you can check our Syndetics information in the webpac to find some reviews published in professional journals, like School Library Journal or Booklist. To find this info, just click on the image of the book cover in the webpac.

If you need or want to read further, a quick trick is to Google the title of the book in quotes, followed by the phrase: blog review.

I tried that with Red Sings from Treetops like this:

"Red Sings from Treetops" blog review

Out of the first 10 hits, 7 were reviews from mostly major kidlit blogs; 1 was a round-up article from the New York Times that included this book, and the remaining 2 hits were from GoodReads and LibraryThing. Pretty good results! And since bloggers often have more time and space for reviews, they can be longer.

This trick works best with recent titles. I tried it with Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and got more random results, including merchandising links. A 2009 title without the current buzz of Red Sings from Treetops, City I Love, brought pretty good results as well. They improved when I tried "City I Love" hopkins blog review--adding in the author's name to the Google search.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Best of the Best for 2009

Don't miss this round up from Alyson in Tales' Treehouse, with links to some of the year-end best-of-the-best lists for children's literature.

If you're desperate for even more, the Chicken Spaghetti blog has an extensive list, too.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Aesop Prize

Every year the Children's Folklore Section of the American Folklore Society selects books for their Aesop Prize. This award looks for great folk stories that are respectful of the culture of the people who tell the story as well as being well documented for sources and annotations.

In other words, this is a great list to share with teachers who are looking for materials to use in their classrooms with various units of study, since you know the stories on this list will be authentic, respectful, and well documented.

There are three winners this year!

Dance, Nana, Dance (Baila, Nana, Baila). By Joe Hayes, Illustrated by Mauricio Trenard Sayago. Cinco Puntos Press, 2008.

This colorful bilingual anthology of thirteen Cuban folktales has sabor, the flavor of the Caribbean, bringing the rich mixture of Spanish, African, and American influences to his readers. Cuban folkloric wisdom and wit fill these pages. There is a rhythmic quality to the linguistic expression in both the English and Spanish narratives, reminiscent of the importance of rhythm in the Cuban way of life.

The Kalevala: Tales of Magic and Adventure. Adapted by Kirsti M�kinen. Illustrated by Pirkko-Liisa Surojegin. Translated by Kaarina Brooks. Simply Read Books, 2009.

The Kalevala, the national epic poem of Finland, is presented in a hefty, lavishly illustrated prose narrative of twenty chapters, interspersed with poetic sidebars providing a more literal sense of the poetic form of the original. The narrative structure closely follows the fifty cantos, or runes, of Elias Lönnrot’s 1849 edition, which he pieced together from thousands of variant folk poems into a single epic format. This new prose edition, translated from the Finnish, makes the classic work available to a new generation of English-speaking older children and young adults, recommended for ages 10 and up. The richly detailed illustrations draw heavily on authentic artifacts of traditional Finnish material culture to give visual clarity to unfamiliar details of the tale.

Naupaka. By Nona Beamer. Illustrated by Caren Ke’ala Loebel-Fried. Translation from the Hawai’ian by Kaliko Beamer-Trapp. Music by Keola Beamer. Bishop Museum Press, 2008. (Includes audio CD).

Nona Beamer, an iconic figure of the Hawaiian cultural renaissance, skillfully retells the locally well-known legend of Naupaka, artfully enhanced by Caren Loebel-Fried’s stunning block print illustrations. The picture book, presented bilingually with parallel English and Hawaiian texts on the same page, tells of two lovers kept apart by the rigid strictures of traditional pre-contact Hawaiian social structure. Naupaka, a princess or member of the ruling ali’i class, falls in love with a commoner, Kau’i. Her parents tell her to consult the kúpuna, the village elders, to determine the lovers’ fate. They refer the decision to a distant kahuna, a religious leader, who defers to the judgment of the gods. When a lightning bolt signals that the lovers must be parted, they sorrowfully concur, with Naupaka remaining in the mountains and Kau’i returning to the seashore. The tale is told to explain the origin of two varieties of scaveola, a flowering plant known in Hawai’i as naupaka. An indigenous variety grows on the coast, in Hawai’i and elsewhere, while the mountainous variety is endemic, found only in Hawai’i. Each bears a white half-blossom, signifying the parting of the lovers.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

National Book Award Winners

The National Book Award Winners were announced this month! They have a Young People's Literature category--it usually skews very YA, and this year is no exception.

Phillip Hoose, Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice

Deborah Heiligman, Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith
David Small, Stitches
Laini Taylor, Lips Touch: Three Times
Rita Williams-Garcia, Jumped

All the books look like excellent choices for older teens. Claudette Colvin tells the story of the black teenager who was arrested for not giving up her seat to a white person--months BEFORE Rosa Parks did the same thing.

Charles and Emma looks at Charles Darwin's process of writing The Origin of Species from a new angle: how his beloved wife's Emma's Christian faith affected how he wrote about his ideas.

Stitches is a little controversial on this list because it was released as an adult title, not a YA; some people felt it was promoted as a YA book to the NBA committees because as a graphic novel, it had a better chance of winning in the Young People's category. The fact remains that it is a hard-hitting account of children's illustrator David Small's difficult childhood and emancipation as a young teen.

Lips Touch is not yet in Prospector, but you can get it at Douglas County. 3 novellas, linked by their fantasy genre and their shared kissing motif. I stayed up way too late reading them.

Jumped is a story about teen girl violence and the decisions that go into standing up--or not--to a bully. One girl decides to beat up another after school, and a third overhears. Should she warn the second girl? Should she get involved?