The Underdogs: 10 Great Picture Books You May Have Missed in 2017

2017 was an excellent year for picture books: beloved authors and illustrators such as Kate DiCamillo, Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen, and Kadir Nelson released some true gems.  Unfortunately, not all authors receive the same amount of funding or marketing materials to promote their work.  While award committees do an excellent job identifying “underdogs,” it would be virtually impossible for them to read the 27,309 children’s books published last year.[1] Librarians are in a prime spot to identify these small but mighty reads.   Last year, I selected ten of my own favorite “hidden gems” and am back with ten more for 2017. Which ones did you enjoy? Feel free to chime in in the comment section! You Don’t Want a Unicorn by Ame Dychman and illustrated by Liz Climo In this classic “be careful what you wish for” story, a young boy is urged by the narrator to not wish for…

Collection Development

Empowering Student Voice in the Library

Book display of new books

We’ve come a long way from the passive classroom model, where students sit and listen to a teacher talk, then take a test on what they talked about. Today’s classrooms are full of students finding their own voices, contributing to classroom discussions, and practicing the skills and thinking strategies they will need in their future careers. I believe the same should be true in today’s libraries. Every year at David C. Barrow Elementary, a group of students volunteers their time to select new books for the library to purchase. They meet during lunch and/or recess a few times per week to select books students have requested. They work with an allotted budget that comes from grants, book fair profits, and rewards points. The money is completely under the control of these students, but they must base their decisions on what the rest of the school wants to read. To determine…

ALA Annual 2017

Notable Children’s Books Nominees – #alaac17

The ALSC Notable Children’s Books committee is charged with identifying the best of the best in children’s books. According to the Notables Criteria, “notable” is defined as: Worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, outstanding. As applied to children’s books, notable should be thought to include books of especially commendable quality, books that exhibit venturesome creativity, and books of fiction, information, poetry and pictures for all age levels (birth through age 14) that reflect and encourage children’s interests in exemplary ways. Here is the list of titles which will be discussed at the ALA Annual Meetings in Chicago beginning next week. Enjoy! PICTURE BOOKS Big Cat, little cat. By Elisha Cooper. Roaring Brook Press (9781626723719). Birds Make Nests. By Garland, Michael. Holiday House (9780823436620). Bob, Not Bob! By Liz Garton Scanlon & Audrey Vernick. Illus. by Matthew Cordell. Disney/Hyperion (9781484723029). The Book of Mistakes. By Corinna Luyken. Dial Books/Penguin Random…

Blogger Nicole Martin

Five Fresh, Fun Graphic Novel Favorites

Can you believe it is already the end of May? Between summer reading preparation, end of the school year classroom visits, outreach, collection weeding, programming, and preparing for my library to join a new consortium-the past few months have totally flown by! 2017 so far has seen some stellar new graphic novel publications and throughout the past few months I’ve encountered some standout titles. As we move forward into the month of June and the beginning of summer, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite new releases of the past few months below. Check out my top picks to freshen up your graphic novel shelves for all your summer readers!   Secret Coders: Secrets & Sequences Written by Gene Luen Yang; Illustrated by Mike Holmes. Another awesome addition to the Secret Coders series was released in March and it does not dissapoint. Blending sci-fi adventure with computing and math concepts, this book is a stellar choice for middle…


Books of Comfort for Children in Crisis

Cover image of child being consoled by an adult

For me, one of the most comforting lines in children’s literature occurs at the conclusion of Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. Max, who has been out and about in his wild rumpus returns home and finds his supper waiting for him, “and it was still hot”. But for many children such comfort has been stripped from them for any number of reasons, natural disaster, death, horrific loss…

Blogger Alexa Newman

Kits, Bundles, and Theme Bags: Do You Have Them, and, What Do You Call Them?

Are you looking for new and different ways to get learning resources into the hands of your patrons? For the past couple of years, my library (the Algonquin Area Public Library in Algonquin, Illinois)  has been adding new collections of kits, bundles, and theme bags. They are proving to be very popular with our patrons; so much so that we are expanding them and looking for new ideas to explore. In this post, I’ll be introducing four of our most popular formats. These learning resources are valuable on several fronts. They are time savers for customers who are in a hurry, but need more than one item on a topic.  Many are aimed at building early literacy skills, or focus on specific academic subject areas. Others are great budget savers.They can be checked out and returned, and families don’t have to buy expensive toys and gadgets, instead they have the…