We are halfway through 2023 and wow, there are some amazing middle grade books that need a shout-out! From graphic novels to fantasy, tweens have plenty to choose from. With diverse characters and compelling storytelling, I would highly recommend these titles and declare them as some of the best of 2023!
The Canadian wildfires have brought a smoky summer to many of our communities. In some parts of North America, wildfire season is a yearly occurrence that is only getting worse. For others, this may be the first time you’ve had to deal with smoke and poor air quality. If a blanket of smoke has settled upon your community, simple programs and robust collections can help.
I am afraid to put up a Pride display. That feels unprofessional to admit, but it’s true. I live and work in a very liberal area, and yet I am still afraid. From book bans to anti-trans bills to storytime protests, it is a very scary time to be under the LGBTQIA umbrella, an umbrella that feels paper thin against the onslaughts of contemporary hatred. This June, let us shine a light on books of queer joy. That joy can be so hard to keep alight on our own.
President Biden officially declared April National Arab American Heritage Month and in that spirit, this post will take the opportunity to highlight some picture books about Palestinian Arabs, a group that does not often make it onto our library shelves. For an excellent discussion about the absence and erasure of Palestinian stories from the publishing landscape please see this discussion from November 2022 between Betsy Bird and Nora Lester Murad in SLJ’s fuse 8 blog. The selected picture books listed below celebrate and highlight Palestinian culture, self-determination, and identity, while also acknowledging the loss and trauma faced by Palestinians due to their expulsion from their homeland and subsequent life spent under military occupation, in refugee camps, or in exile. For other related picture books about the refugee experience please see the ALSC blog post Exploring the refuge child experiences through picture books. For books for older readers about Palestinians and…
The month of December, when extended families often get together to celebrate their respective religious or cultural traditions, is a great time to also celebrate the multigenerational connections that many children have with their grandparents. The following selection of picture books celebrate the bonds between children and grandparents that are made stronger through cooking and sharing food. Whether it’s identifying which wild vegetables should be harvested and how they should be prepared, waiting for dough to rise, or navigating the multistep process of making tofu from scratch, the deliberate, thoughtful, and often lengthy process of meal preparation leads to deeper communication and understanding between the grandparents and grandchildren in these stories. See also the recent post Around the World With Foodie Picture Books which features several books about children connecting with a grandparent over food. What else is out there that is missing from this list? Please share your favorite…
Thrillers have been surging again in YA literature for the last few years. The popularity of thrillers ebbs and flows in YA (raise your hand if you devoured I Know What You Did Last Summer in the 90’s like I did), but Kate McManus’ One of Us Is Lying brought this genre to the top again in a big way, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Thrillers are also a perennial favorite among the middle grade crowd. What’s the appeal behind this genre, and what can we offer young thrill-seekers?
Monday was my last day at #ALAAC2022, and I started it with a really informative presentation about using TikTok in your library. When the pandemic first started, I created a TikTok account but never used it. (I am not sure I even remember my login information.) Delving into a new social media platform can sometimes be daunting, so, I was really excited to attend TikTok and Libraries: A Powerful Partnership and to learn how to use TikTok to promote books and my library. Presentations about TikTok seem to be just as popular as the social media platform itself—it was a packed house in the Convention Center!
Try this when you’ve got a spare ten minutes: open up your library’s catalog and search for “autism.” Imagine that you are autistic (if you aren’t), and you’re looking for books about people like you. What kind of books do you see? How easy is it for you to find positive autistic representation in your library?