Blogger Suzi Wackerbarth

Picture Books: the life blood of our vocation

Like most Children’s Librarians, I love picture books. You might know by now, that if it’s a post from Suzi, chances are, it’s about picture books. Let me give you a quick view into my day as a Children’s librarian. One of my daily jobs is to pick books off the shelves that have been put on hold by patrons the prior day. It’s a great way to see what books are being requested all around the city. Every once in a while, I get to do the pick list downstairs, THE GROWNUP BOOKS.

Blogger Suzi Wackerbarth

What Does Earth Day Have to do with Art?

A cookie tray with a piece of flat plastic covered with flowers; some bread ties, arranged; some rubber bands, arranged; a red ribbon; a row of coffee wrapper ties; a row of bread tie discs, arranged; a piece of plastic with the number 1912.

Art and Earth Day? I mean, they’re not even in the same Dewey Decimal Classification categories! One is in the 700s (art) and the other is generally in the 300s (Social Sciences, anyone?) But stay with me. I recently found a picture book called How to Spot an Artist. It is A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E, and yet philosophical and deep–adults and children will love this encouraging book that lets you know that art and artists exist any and everywhere. You never know, you might be an artist, dear library friend. I also found a book about collage and another book about making art from ocean plastic. Which made me wonder about a mash-up of art and Earth Day. I know, I’m a day late, Earth Day was yesterday. But there’s nothing wrong with celebrating the day late (it’s still April!) or focusing on environmental art as you think forward to craft programs for…

Blogger Suzi Wackerbarth

how to write a blog post for librarians:

You might wonder how to write a blog post. Staring at the blank page (or screen) can be daunting. Writer’s block is a real thing, after all. And librarians, aren’t they all about shushing and stuff? Hard to please, cardigan wearing, and could I even? Well, it’s easier than your scary brain might be thinking right now. “Get comfortable in your wheelie chair and I’ll take you on a trip. A trolley trip, actually,” you write.

Blogger Suzi Wackerbarth

Banned books in the past: “Goodnight Moon”

Did you know that Goodnight Moon was essentially banned from the New York Public Library from 1947 to 1972? Yesterday I read The Important Thing about Margaret Wise Brown. OH MY. What a treasure trove of library history!! You probably knew about book bans in the 70s with Judy Blume, but did you know about Anne Carroll Moore in the 1940s? Anne Carroll Moore was one of “THE” important librarians for the New York Public Library and she did a lot of great things for the profession, as you will discover in Miss Moore thought Otherwise. However, she didn’t like Margaret Wise Brown’s books. She called them “truck” which was not a nice thing to say. From “The Important Thing…” “When Anne Carroll Moore read the wrong kind of book, she picked up a rubber stamp, which she slammed down BAM! And which said NOT RECOMMENDED FOR PURCHASE BY EXPERT.”…

Blogger Suzi Wackerbarth

Diverse picture books don’t disappoint, focus on the individual and the universal

Three picture books and a yellow legal pad. The first book is "There was a Party for Langston" which features a blue background and a crown holding Langston Hughes, carried by dancing people. The second book is "Words between us" and features a Grandmother looking lovingly at her Grandchild. The third book is "Skating Wild on an Inland Sea" and the title words seem to be made by a skating child at the bottom of the title image.

One of my favorite things about being a children’s librarian is seeing new picture books. 2023 was an amazing year for picture books, and in today’s post I wanted to focus on three diverse picture books, two of which are overtly diverse. Who knows, maybe one of these will be on a Caldecott or Newbery Awards list!  I’ll start with an October title, There was a Party for Langston, by Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Jerome Pumphrey and Jarrett Pumphrey. The front endpapers are a veritable who’s who of Black writers from the Harlem Renaissance to modern day, including Ashley Bryan and Toni Morrison. Each person is depicted as a book on two shelves, listed alphabetically. What kind of book will this be? We see people entering a building on the title page, all dressed up in finery. It looks…promising. And then the fun begins. The artists and the authors are…

Blogger Suzi Wackerbarth

Dementia (and love) in recent picture books

Some of the children you work with may have grandparents or neighbors who have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. This post is about books that talk about older people or grandparents who have dementia, and the children in their lives. We are learning so much these days about sensory play and toys, and how the senses are so important for folks with neurodiversity. Well, guess what? Dementia is another type of neurodiversity!  We all have personal stories, and sometimes a blog is a place to share them. Today I will share just this: a lot of us have people in our lives who are losing words, or places, or memories.  A few weeks ago, I was working a holiday at our central location. While pulling books for people that had holds, the books that were jumping out at me to look at along the way were the books about grandparents with…