Newbery, Caldecott, Printz & ALL the Youth and Teen Book, Audio and Video Awards Announced!

On Monday, February 2 in a snowed in Chicago The American Library Association (ALA) today announced the top books, video and audio books for children and young adults – including the Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Newbery and Printz awards – at its Midwinter Meeting. A hotly anticipated day for librarians, publishers, and lovers of youth and teen literature the awards the announcements culminate a year's worth of reading, listening and watching by a wide variety of librarians and educators all over the country. Over the years the variety of awards given out has grown to cover

John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature:

The Crossover,” written by Kwame Alexander, is the 2015 Newbery Medal winner.

Two Newbery Honor Books also were named:
El Deafo” by Cece Bell
Brown Girl Dreaming,” by Jacqueline Woodson

Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children:

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend,” illustrated by Dan Santat, is the 2015 Caldecott Medal winner.

Six Caldecott Honor Books also were named:

Nana in the City,” illustrated and written by Lauren Castillo
The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art,” illustrated by Mary GrandPré, written by Barb Rosenstock
Sam & Dave Dig a Hole,” illustrated by Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnett
Viva Frida,” illustrated and written by Yuyi Morales
The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus,” illustrated by Melissa Sweet, written by Jennifer Bryant
This One Summer,” illustrated by Jillian Tamaki, written by Mariko Tamaki

Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults:

Brown Girl Dreaming,” written by Jacqueline Woodson, is the King Author Book winner.

Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse

In Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse, a very curious mouse wakes up one day, only to discover that all of the other mice have disappeared. The reason? The invention of the mechanical mouse trap! Our little mouse friend knows he must reach his friends and family in America, but with hungry cats guarding the ships at the harbor and owls following him each night, the little mouse knows his journey will not be easy. Late one night, the little mouse spies bats flying in the distance, and (in a stroke of pure mousy genius) realizes that he must fly to America. The mouse will build his own little wings for the long journey overseas. Although difficult at first, our furry protagonist constructs his very own pair of wings, and sets off across the Atlantic.

This story hinges on it's beautiful and breathtaking illustrations, and readers will connect easily to the mouse at the center of this inspiring story. The mechanical aspects of this book greatly reminded me of the illustrations and overall feel of The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Other great mouse stories with similar themes include Mousenet, Young Fredle, and Ratatouille.

Cozy Books for Winter

Are you feeling done with winter even though winter isn’t done with you? I can relate! Luckily, we’ve got some great kids books to make the winter more cozy and fun. My favorite new addition to this group is Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold, by Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen. This book is a true gem. Each page combines poems about life during the winter, gorgeous illustrations, and a sidebar explaining the facts behind the poem. For a lovely mix of art and science, you can’t get much better than this book!

If you’re going stir crazy and need some fun activities, check out Fun and Festive Winter Crafts, which will teach you how to make a number of seasonal crafts and offers information on the science of winter. Creating Winter Crafts will also help drive away boredom.

Finally, if you want a hilarious and sweet winter classic, try the great picture book Tacky the Penguin, by Helen Lester. And for older readers, check out my personal winter favorite, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s classic The Long Winter. I guarantee you that this book will make you feel better about our winters!

Grab some hot chocolate and cozy up with one of these books! Spring will be here before we know it. Hopefully.

PreK Bits - "U" is for Underneath

UNDER is the word of the day in Ms. Rachel's Storytime.

TOPS And BOTTOMS is a folktale about Rabbit and Bear's new partnership enterprise. All profit gets split 50/50.
Ms. Sara sang "Inch By Inch" aka "The Garden Song", one version can be found on the folk song CD PICKIN' And GRINNIN'.
INCH By INCH is the lyrics in picture book format by David Mallet.
"Ten In The Bed" was sung with props, as done on SING IT! SAY IT! STAMP IT! SWAY IT vol. 3, a CD recording by Peter T. Allard... And the one underneath did yell and shout "Please remember to tie a knot in your pajamas!"
WE'RE GOING On A BEAR HUNT repeats "Over" and "Under" action in the story.

For more fun stories of "Under" things, try the following titles:
TEN In The BED by Judy Cabrera.
UNDER MY HOOD I HAVE A HAT by Karla Kuskin.
UNDER The GROUND by Anna Milbourne.
MUSHROOM IN The RAIN by Mirra Ginsburg.
DIG. WAIT. LISTEN. A DESERT TOAD'S TALE by April Pulley Sayre.

The World of PostSecret

The wildly popular community mail art project PostSecret, in which individuals decorate and mail a postcard with a secret on it to creator Frank Warren, was first established in 2005. Since then, the secrets that Frank has received have been displayed around the world in museums and galleries, and are posted on the PostSecret website, as well as published in PostSecret books. It had been a few years since a PostSecret book was published, but now fans can be excited about The World of PostSecret, the sixth book displaying some of the thousands of postcards that Frank receives. The book also features images and secrets from the short-lived PostSecret app. The range of emotions that one experiences while reading a PostSecret book is vast. The secrets will make you cringe, laugh, cry, and shake your head in disbelief and appreciation. I especially enjoyed The World of PostSecret because it contains follow-up stories to some of the secrets that readers might be most curious about.

Other PostSecret books in the AADL collection include The Secret Lives of Men and Woman, My Secret, Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives, and A Lifetime of Secrets.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #511 - “Nothing looks so like innocence as an indiscretion.” ~ Oscar Wilde

A Small Indiscretion, a debut novel by O. Henry Award-winner Jan Ellison is a gripping and ultimately redemptive novel of love and its dangers, marriage and its secrets, youth and its treacherous mistakes, earning praises from fellow writers with: "engrossing, believable, gracefully written family drama that reveals our past's bare-knuckle grip on our present" (Emma Donoghue); and "... Absorbing, chilling, and moving..." (Robin Black).

The novel opens with a nineteen-year old Annie Black arriving in London and landing a temporary secretarial job working for structural engineer Malcolm Church. While Malcolm is besotted with her, it is Malcolm's wife's much younger lover, a charismatic photographer named Patrick that Annie falls for. During the Christmas holidays, the foursome travel to Paris where a small indiscretion will eventually come back years later to destroy two families an ocean apart.

Moving back and forth across time between that distant winter in Paris and Annie's life two decades later as a lighting designer in San Francisco with a picture-perfect family, the author teases out interlocking facet's of Annie's story that will pull the reader forward, until a photograph arrives in Annie's mailbox, igniting an old longing and setting off a chain of events that rock the foundations of her marriage and endanger her business as well as her family.

"Part romance novel, part coming-of-age story, and part family drama, this somber book about a perpetually flawed woman is a challenging and thought-provoking read." For readers of Amy Bloom, Meg Wolitzer, and Lorrie Moore.

Is Your Teacher A Monster?

Peter Brown, author and illustrator of the popular and fabulous picture book Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, brings us a new bit of fun in My Teacher is a Monster. In this picture book Bobby has a big problem at school. Her name was Ms. Kirby. She was the meanest teacher who stomped and roared and did not allow paper airplanes in class. She was a monster. But then one day something happens and Bobby sees her in a whole new light.

The book is delighfully illustrated in true Brown fashion, and would be a fun read whether your teacher roars or not.

Waiting (not so) patiently for The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins?

Everyone’s going nuts for The Girl on the Train - they’re calling it the next Gone Girl, and a major studio has already snapped up the movie rights.

The Girl on the Train is Rachel, who is at rock bottom after her divorce, she’s lost her job and is rapidly boozing her way through her savings account. Each day she takes the train into the city and passes her former home - where her ex-husband lives with his new family. She blocks this out by daydreaming about a couple whose house is also visible from the train, imagining their perfect life and solid marriage. It’s a pleasant distraction from her unhappy reality, until the woman from her dream couple goes missing and Rachel finds herself embroiled in the fallout. It’s a great read, a psychological thriller in which the narrator is so unreliable, even she doesn’t know what she’s seen or done.

Here are a few titles that should help tide you over, for even more, check out this list.

Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson - An amnesiac tries to piece together her identity and her past, while determining who she can and can’t trust.

Defending Jacob by William Landay - This story of a family whose high school age son is accused of murdering a classmate heavily features the theme of the how well one can know another person - even a family member.

Elizabeth is Missing by Emme Healey - An elderly woman struggling with dementia is convinced that her friend Elizabeth is missing and in need of help, but in her search for Elizabeth, she begins to discover clues of her own sister’s disappearance many years earlier.

The Killer Next Door or Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood - In Alex Marwood’s thrillers, everyone has something to hide and things are not what they seem, but everyone in these seedy settings would rather mind their own business than look to closely at their neighbors, until mounting violence leaves them no other choice.

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson - This dark thriller stirs together infidelity, a devious woman with a dangerous past and a swapped murder, ala Strangers on a Train.

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight - A mother attempts to reconcile the truth behind her over-achieving daughter’s apparent suicide at her tony private school.

Literature as Words and Art

Fictitious Dishes: An Album of Literature’s Most Memorable Meals by Dinah Fried features a photograph of a would-be meal depicting a novel, artfully laid out and photographed. It also features a quote from the book as well as a few bits of trivia about the novel or the food. This is done for many books, including Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Road, The Namesake, A Wrinkle In Time, and A Confederacy of Dunces.

Well-Read Women: Portraits of Fiction’s Most Beloved Heroines by Samantha Hahn features beautiful watercolors of women from various classic novels, along with a quintessential quote from the woman. The titles featured include East of Eden, The Bell Jar, Crime and Punishment, Jane Eyre, and more.

Both books are part of the book display on the 1st floor downtown that includes gems found within AADL’s art book collection – and oh there are so many beautiful art books! Sometimes judging a book by its cover can be a wonderful thing.

Professor Astro Cat's Frontiers of Space

Looking for a cool new non-fiction book with a twist? Look no further: Professor Astro Cat's Frontiers of Space has just arrived! Join Professor Astro (a very smart kitty!) as he leads readers through our galaxy and beyond, stopping along the way to explain and explore our solar system. Have you ever wondered how a rocket works? Or maybe you've always wanted to know how to find your favorite constellation in the night sky? Professor Astro is here to help!

Professor Astro Cat's Frontiers of Space is overflowing with cool information, and covers varied space topics such as the life cycle of stars, the Apollo missions, the International Space Station, how modern space suits work, constellations, telescopes, and many more cool space topics. Much of the information is delivered through funky and retro illustrations. This is the kind of book you can spend hours with, pouring over the small details. This book was created by Dr. Dominic Wallman (who holds a PhD in Quantum Physics) and award-winning illustrator and comic book creator Ben Newman, making it both scientifically accurate as well as very visually appealing. This is a great book for all ages, and comes highly recommended!

Interested in learning even more about space? Try out the DK Guide to Space or The Story of Astronomy and Space for more information.

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