Friday, April 24, 2009

Colorado Children's Book Award

The winners of the 2009 Colorado Children's Book Award were announced. The 2009 winners are Bad Dog Marley and Diary of a Wimpy Kid, with runners-up The Perfect Nest and The Sea of Monsters.
Kids nominate and vote on this award each year. The 2010 nominees were also announced. I will feature them all on Tales Treehouse when a couple more are on order.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Always Worth Talking About

There was a great article by author Mitali Perkins posted by SLJ at the beginning of the month, called Straight Talk on Race: Challenging the Stereotypes in Children's Books.

She offers,

Here are five questions that’ll help you and your students discern messages about race in stories. Try these in the classroom, and my guess is that you may end up engaging teens who had seemed reluctant to share their literary opinions.

One caveat: it was hard to cite books written by fellow authors as examples, especially those titles that are written beautifully and are popular with young readers. But my hope is to spur the children’s book community to be more thoughtful and proactive about how and why we write, read, and talk about race. So here goes.

Her questions:

1. Are the nonwhite characters too good to be true?
2. How and why does the author define race?
3. Is the cover art true to the story?
4. Who are the change agents?
5. How is beauty defined?

None of these questions are really new--this discussion has been ongoing within the children's book world for decades--but it is always worthwhile to consider them again, perhaps with the couple of books you've read most recently in mind.

Monday, April 20, 2009


For those of you factoid junkies, writers (aspiring and otherwise), and teachers (past or present), here's a blog you might want to keep an eye on. It's called I.N.K. which stands for Interesting Non-Fiction for Kids!

Over 20 writers are contributing authors to the blog (including Boulder's own Steve Jenkins), and they write about non-fiction from many, many points of view.

Here's a recent post I particularly liked: Coming Soon to a Theater Near You! In it, Rosalyn Schanzer compares all the roles she fills as a writer and illustrator to those needed to put together a big-budget Hollywood film.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Childhood Books

This is random, but I know some of you will feel the same way.
Over Easter I was back in SD visiting my family. I have a 7 month old niece, and I thought we'd read a story together. I went upstairs to the cupboard where all our childhood books are, and sat there going through all of them. It was so great to see them again, and remember which ones i loved and which ones I didnt. I was going through lots of them, forgetting my job at hand, when my sister came to see what the hold up was! She reported to everyone that I had to read all of them before picking one out. Which was partly true. It was so fun to see all those old books and stories again! Most of which I've only seen in my parents book case, and nowhere else!

More Fuse #8 Top 100

Here's the next set of links for Fuse #8's Top 100 Picture Book poll. Any surprises? I'm really enjoying reading her commentaries.

Top 100 Picture Books #65-61
Top 100 Picture Books #60-56
Top 100 Picture books #55-51
Top 100 Picture Books #50-46
Top 100 Picture Books #45-41
Top 100 Picture Books #40-36

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Summer Showdown

The ALD websites will be featuring a "Summer Showdown" competition this summer where books will go head to head to determine the best book. Check out School Library Journal's Battle of the(Kids) Books for a general idea. The main difference - our judges will be people voting in polls on the websites.

Books will compete in 4 categories - Easy, Junior, YA and Adult. We need books nominated in those four categories. All staff are invited to nominate one or more books and write a brief justification of why the book deserves to compete. Your nominations will count as May Staff Picks. The only criteria is that the book must be owned by ALD. Email your questions and nominees to Nominations are due by May 15th.

The eight competitors in each category will be chosen based on balance among nominees, multiple nominations, and popularity.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Favorite Villain

Who is the best (or worst - depending on how you want to look at it) villain in children's books. Vote in the poll on Tales Treehouse.

Friday, April 10, 2009

So Librarians Don't Read?

Over at Read Roger, there was a short conversation about his post She Has A Really Good Point and the School Library Journal Battle of the Books. I'm going to come back to the Battle of the Books idea soon, because we have plans to do a similar online promotion ourselves this summer, but for right now I wanted to quote an anonymous comment:

I also agree with Wolfson that there is something not-right in the world of kids' books. I wish there were a one-stop shop on the web for finding out about a wider range of books. I am speaking as a writer, but also as a reader and as the parent of readers. I find most of the librarians I know to be well-meaning, but useless. They only know about the very most highlighted books of the recent day. They seem tremendously burdened by other aspects of their jobs and they never seem to have read anything.

What do you think? Do you find most of the library staff you know to be useless at reader's advisory? There's no doubt we all can sometimes feel "burdened" by our many job duties. Do you feel that YOU are a pretty well-read library staff member? Can you lead patrons to more than the "most highlighted books of the recent day"?

How do you do this? Do you read books? Do you read reviews? Do you read Scoop's page on Tales' Treehouse?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

SLJ Battle of the Books

Check out School Library Journal's Battle of the (Kids') Books. The blog is up now, but the contest starts April 13th. The winners will be picked by children's authors, but there is also a poll if you want to have your say.

Think this sounds like fun? This summer the ALD websites will be hosting "Summer Showdown." Exciting details coming soon!

Is the Great Craft Idea Well Running Dry?

Then check out No Time For Flash Cards! This blog is written by a veteran preschool educator who is currently at home with her 2 year old son. She's got lots of crafts, mostly for preschoolers, but also what she calls Naptime Creations, which are crafts for older kids. There are Alphabet Activities, vodcasts of her singing songs (plus posts with the words), book reviews, AND she often links her crafts to books. And a parent corner.

Honestly, guys, don't miss this one!

Many thanks for the link to Readermaid, who posted about the site on Twitter!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Fuse #8 Top 100 Picture Book Poll

Welcome to April! I'm a little surprised to be here, myself, since I apparently missed March completely. Many, many thanks to Alyson who posted throughout the month while I was consumed with helping get the After School @ your library program up and running at the May branch.

Now that we (kind of) know what we're doing over at May, I will be able to start posting again. The first thing I want to let you know about is the picture book poll that Betsy Bird has been taking for a month or two over at Fuse #8:

As many of you know I conducted a picture book poll. I asked my readers to send me their Top 10 Picture Books of All Time, to be rated and combined. Participants rated their preferences from 1 to 10, with their first choice getting 10 points, their second 9 points, etc. Then, throughout the month of March as the submissions rolled in, I calculated the results. I took into account where people ranked their favorites, what they wrote about them, etc. And at long last, we had our Top 100.

Betsy will be releasing the titles over the next few weeks, not just listing the titles, but talking about the books, citing reviews, quoting poll participants, and so forth. I think this series of posts will be an excellent way to round out our readers' advisory knowledge of these particular picture books & I encourage you all to check them out! I've listed the first few posts here, and will continue to link to them as they go up on her site.

Have fun! Post us with YOUR top ten!

Top 100 Picture Books, #100-91
Top 100 Picture Books, #90-86
Top 100 Picture Books, #85-81
Top 100 Picture Books, #80-76
Top 100 Picture Books, #75-71
Top 100 Picture Books, #70-66

Monday, April 6, 2009

Searching Easy Readers by Level

LMS has added subject headings for Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Easy Readers. Previously they were just location codes but subject headings have been added also.