Caldecott Books

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!

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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!

How To: Children’s Book Character Costumes Part 1

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It’s that time of year again for all sorts of crazy costuming. While this holiday is still not my favorite, I have taken great pleasure in coming up with some more children’s book characters that would be somewhat simple to create costumes. Actually, I may have gone a little overboard with these ideas but once I got started, I just couldn’t stop thinking of more! So, I’m going to break it up into several posts.

As in my last posts with costume ideas, I’m not going to make the costumes to show you. I sincerely do not have time for all that, though it would be a blast. I am simply going to post an image of the character along with what I consider the supplies list and ideas for making a similar look. I prefer being an idea-giver! I would love it if you do create one and send me a photo! Cute kids in costumes are awesome. Read the full post…

Let’s Read Three: Airplane Books

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It’s time for another quick picture book trio! Today’s grouping is in appreciation of all things aeronautical. It seems that nearly every child goes through an airplane phase and the plethora of plane picture books seems to support my observation. In honor of that, I’ve put together three of my favorite airplane picture books that work well together and are a mixture of old and new as well as short and long. So let’s read three books about airplanes!

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Don’t be scared off by two of these being board books. I’ve said it many times, board books don’t have to be just for babies. They should always be shorter, and if done well, are a very concise story perfectly paired with longer books as I’ve done here. And these two board books are beauties! Read the full post…

Book Review: A Couple Of Boys Have The Best Week Ever By Marla Frazee

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One of the most memorable parts of childhood summers would have to be going to camp. Whether it be band camp, or church camp, or scout camp or Grandparent camp, the mere act of going away for a whole week and experiencing something different is epic as a child. The plans and adventures don’t have to be major and most likely the smallest parts of the week are what is going to stick and be recounted for years to come. And that’s what this book really captures. This is a humorous glimpse of the minor details surrounding a week of camp and featuring two boys, some dear grandparents, and some profoundly honest and perfectly placed speech bubbles. Here is A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee, 2008. Read the full post…

Book Review: The Fool Of The World And The Flying Ship By Ransome & Shulevitz

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Seeing as it is April 1, also known as All Fools’ Day, I find it only fitting to share a book about one who is labeled as the Fool of the World. The story was originally published in 1916 as part of Old Peter’s Russian Tales by Arthur Ransome. Illustrator Uri Shulevitz has taken the story and given it beautiful illustrations which won him the Caldecott medal in 1969. So let’s celebrate an old Russian Tale and learn that perhaps a fool really isn’t what we think he is. This is The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship by Arthur Ransome, pictures by Uri Shulevtiz, 1968. Read the full post…

Caldecotts + Infographic = Awesome!

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The great librarian guy over at 100 Scope Notes thought it was terribly sad to not have any children’s literature infographics out in the cyber-world; so he created this awesome Caldecott infographic last December (and updated it recently!) Being a designer at heart who adores infographics and is a wee bit obsessive for picture books, this just makes my heart sing.

(discovered recently via Design Mom)

Book Review: My Red Umbrella By Robert Bright

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Whew! What a day Monday was with all the amazing children and adolescent book awards. I sat glued to my computer for the hour broadcast and it is better than the Oscars for this book loving nut. I laughed, teared up, tweeted and cheered. If you haven’t seen the results, here is the official Caldecott announcement. Jon Klassen took the Caldecott for This Is Not My Hat (which I don’t own yet!) and he also received an honor for Extra Yarn. He is the second person in 75 years of awards to take the Caldecott and an honor within the same year. Hooray! (Leonard Weisgard is the other illustrator to accomplish this feat and that was back in 1947 when he won for The Little Island, and Rain Drop Splash received an honor.)

There were many other awards as well, some of which I know nothing about (sadly!). But I was excited to hear about Mo Willems Let’s Go For a Drive winning a Geisel Honor (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss). I already have several other winners on hold at the library that I haven’t seen yet, so I’ll be sure to pass along the word if I become enamored with one.

With all the awards and 2012 wrap up behind us, I’m itching to talk vintage books again as well as new ones. As the east coast is getting pummeled with rain right now, my mind got fixed on this cute little red book from 1959. So here is My Red Umbrella, by Robert Bright. Read the full post…

10 Things To Know About The Caldecott Medal

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The Caldecott medal sticker on A Sick Day For Amos McGee, (front), illustrated by Erin Stead

Monday, January 28, is a big day in the world of children’s picture books. The 2013 Caldecott Medal will be awarded as well as some honorable mentions. If you aren’t obsessed with children’s books like myself, then you may not care a lick; but in case you want to at least be a little knowledgeable, I am here to help. Here are 10 interesting things to know about the Caldecott Medal: Read the full post…

25 Days – Book 19: The Polar Express

Before we look at today’s book, dear readers, you must do something. If you have seen the 2004 movie, The Polar Express, I need you to forget it. Erase it from your mind completely. Whether you liked the movie or not, you must pretend that you never saw it. This is very important for you to experience the real story, the book that is, which is quite different and ever so much more wonderful than the odd movie version. Forget it all.

Ok, now let’s talk about our book for day 19, The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. This book was created in 1985 and it is magical. Yes, truly magical.

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It all begins in a little boy’s bedroom as he waits quietly and listens. The sound he is hoping to hear is one that his friend told him doesn’t exist, the sound of bells from Santa’s sleigh. He wanted his friend to be wrong, so he strains to listen. And he does hear a sound, but it isn’t bells. It is the sound of hissing steam and squeaking metal… the Polar Express.

Read the full post…