Wordless Wednesday: The Farmer And The Clown & Interview With Marla Frazee

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I confess that I have greatly struggled with today’s Wordless Wednesday post. This book is so beautiful, so clever, and so powerful – words just don’t do it justice. I have been tempted to simply post the photos and the awesome Q&A with Marla Frazee; but that probably isn’t fair. I’ll do my best to analyze it, but please keep in mind – it is worth so much more than my words. Take a look at this heartbreakingly beautiful story of two characters who are much different than they seem, and end up needing each other much more than they realized. Here is The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee, 2014. Read the full post…

Wordless Wednesday: The Red Book & Interview With Barbara Lehman

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Welcome to another round for Wordless Wednesday. Given the award announcements this week, it seems appropriate to highlight a previous winner in the Caldecott category. This book has been one of my favorites since it came out, and was one of the first books I added to my shelves when I started collecting favorite picture books. Something about the bold, red, wordless cover has always had me intrigued. And now that I live in the city that from my apartment window looks very much like the title spread below, I am attached to this book even more.

In this story, you’ll have to decide if the protagonist is the girl or the red book. And what about the red book’s main character? Yes, this book has many secrets, twists, mysteries and more to be discovered and pondered again and again. Let’s talk about The Red Book by Barbara Lehman, 2004, and Caldecott Honor winner in 2005. Also stay tuned for a lovely Q&A with the creator as well!

RedBook 2 Read the full post…

Caldecott, Newbery, Coretta Scott King,… the Awards are in for 2016!

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If you happened to be following me on any social media platform yesterday, you probably witnessed some nerding-out over the ALA Award Announcements. It is an exciting time of year for children’s book lovers! I am very excited about all the winners that I was familiar with, which was mostly the Caldecott, Newbery, Coretta Scott King, Pura Belpré, & Geisel categories. I am especially excited about the book I happened to highlight over the weekend, Last Stop on Market Street.

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Take a look at that pristine cover. From now on anytime you see this book it will be boasting not one, not two, but THREE award stickers. Illustrator Christian Robinson rightfully earned himself a Coretta Scott King Honor and a Caldecott Honor with his fantastic illustrations. And author Matt de la Peña was awarded the Newbery Medal for his powerful writing and storytelling. This is only the second time in the history of the Newbery (since 1922) for a picture book to win the Newbery Medal. The only other time it happened—in 1982 for A Visit to William Blake’s Inn by Nancy Willard—that book also received a Caldecott Honor for its illustrations by Alice & Martin Provensen! Big congratulations and excitement for de la Peña and Robinson.

Once again, this year I only own one of the five Caldecott award winners (see above). I don’t have the best track record at predicting or collecting the winners until after the fact. But I have had the winner, Finding Winnie, on my library hold list for a couple weeks so that must count for something. I am so excited for Sophie Blackall‘s first ever Caldecott. Hurrah!

Also, Waiting by Kevin Henkes, which won a Caldecott Honor and a Geisel, is a fabulous book that even my daughter spied in the announcements and was ecstatic. It is in the queue of reviews, so stay tuned.

All the other award winners in my favorite categories are now going on the library hold list (along with everyone else’s apparently!), and I cannot wait to check them out. While I don’t always agree with the choices, this year I have few issues and am looking forward to new favorites.

Thanks for letting me nerd-out a bit here. And in case you are thoroughly confused about what I am talking about, check out my Things to Know About the Caldecott Medal post from last year. That will get you started. You can also view the whole announcement and see a full list of the awards, if you are so inclined.

See you tomorrow with another Wordless Wednesday post and Q&A!

Book Review: Last Stop On Market Street By de la Peña & Robinson

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There are so many wonderful books from 2015 that I have yet to highlight! The year truly flew by quickly. One of our many favorites from the year is this delightful book about a bus ride. It really is as simple as that, and yet it is so much more. This is a story about observation, perspective, and finding beauty. Here is Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña, pictures by Christian Robinson, 2015. Read the full post…

Wordless Wednesday: Where’s Walrus? & Interview With Stephen Savage

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The holidays are over, the New Year is here, and it is time to bring back the Wordless Wednesday posts for a while. The holidays really took over in November and December, so I saved some great wordless books and also author interviews to share this month! Let’s start with this fun, clever, seek-and-find book about a walrus looking for its place in the world. Check out Where’s Walrus? by Stephen Savage, 2011, and stay tuned for a Q&A with Stephen Savage too.

Read the full post…

25 Days – Book 25: The Biggest Story

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I am so delighted to end this year’s Christmas picture book countdown with a book that breaks all the rules of the countdown. First off, this isn’t just a Christmas picture book. Yes, it is the perfect story to read on Christmas, or surrounding Christmas; but it should actually be read as often and anytime as desired.

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Second, this isn’t really even a children’s picture book. Yes, it has some of the most beautiful illustrations I have ever seen; but it actually has 10 chapters, is quite long, and is definitely not just for children. This book is the best story that has ever been told – the story about a King who crushes snakes and is destined to die and deliver humanity. This is The Biggest Story by Kevin DeYoung, illustrated by Don Clark, 2015.

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Read the full post…

25 Days – Book 24: Marguerite’s Christmas

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I have saved a very lovely and exciting new book for this Christmas Eve post. I spied this one a few months back at a book conference and have been waiting to finally have a chance to see and review it. Originally printed in Canada in 2013, this book has finally made its way to the U.S. thanks to the wonderful Enchanted Lion Books. It is a unique, endearing, slightly bizarre story about an elderly woman spending Christmas Eve in her home. Here is Marguerite’s Christmas by India Desjardins, illustrated by Pascal Blanchet, 2015.

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25 Days – Book 22: When Santa Was A Baby

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Three days until Christmas and four books to go for the picture book countdown. Today’s book is one that I spied at a conference early this year and have been so excited to see it come out. Though I must admit, it isn’t really the story that I was excited about it, but more the illustrations. I’m sure that comes as a surprise to no one. This is a book about Santa from birth to how he grew to become the famed Santa Claus. Here is When Santa Was a Baby by Linda Bailey, illustrated by Geneviève Godbout, 2015.

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