Reaching and Reading

Aurora Public Library District Presents: StoryWalk®!

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Please join the Aurora Public Library District in our StoryWalk® event between July 10 and July 24, 2022!  Take a walk at your leisure along Second Street in Aurora or around the Dillsboro Community Park in Dillsboro.  As you walk, you will encounter the pages of a picture book to read and questions to discuss.  Complete the story and scan a QR code with your smartphone or tablet to register for entries in the prize drawings for our Reading Moves You summer reading program.  Registration for summer reading is NOT required to earn prize entries!  Prizes will be drawn during the Summer Reading Sled Dog Finale on July 28, 2022.

The Aurora StoryWalk® will start outside the Aurora Public Library lower-level entrance and feature the book The Little Engine that Could, written by Watty Piper and reimagined by Dan Santat.  The Dillsboro StoryWalk® will begin by the soccer pavilion playground at Dillsboro Community Park and feature the book The Littlest Airplane, written by Brooke Hartman and illustrated by John Joseph.

The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper, reimagined by Dan Santat      The Littlest Airplane by Brooke Hartman, illustrated by John Joseph

The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library.  StoryWalk® is a registered service mark owned by Ms. Ferguson.

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Published in Your Birth Year: 2021-2010

Welcome to a new series, “Published in Your Birth Year”!  We’ll be starting with 2021 and working backward in time, with each book being appropriate to the age of the reader born that year.  For this initial post, we’re covering the years from 2021 back to 2010, and subsequent posts will cover 10 years each.

2021
A Day On the Farm with The Very Hungry Caterpillar
by: Eric Carle

A Day On the Farm with The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

2020
Wake Up, Let’s Play!
by: Marit Törnqvist

Wake Up, Let's Play! by Marit Törnqvist

2019
Hey Diddle Diddle: Touch and Trace Nursery Rhymes
by: Emily Bannister

Hey Diddle Diddle: Touch and Trace Nursery Rhymes by Emily Bannister

2018
Zoogie Boogie Fever!: An Animal Dance Book
by: Sujean Rim

Zoogie Boogie Fever!: An Animal Dance Book by Sujean Rim

2017
Imagine That!
by: Yasmeen Ismail

Imagine That! by Yasmeen Ismail

2016
A Tiger Tail: (Or What Happened to Anya On Her First Day of School)
by: Mike Boldt

A Tiger Tail: (Or What Happened to Anya On Her First Day of School) by Mike Boldt

2015
Pete the Cat’s Train Trip
by: James Dean

Pete the Cat’s Train Trip by James Dean

2014
Mr. Putter & Tabby Turn the Page
by: Cynthia Rylant

Mr. Putter & Tabby Turn the Page by Cynthia Rylant

2013
The Notebook of Doom: Attack of the Shadow Smashers
by: Troy Cummings

The Notebook of Doom: Attack of the Shadow Smashers by Troy Cummings

2012
Claws
by: Mike Grinti

Claws by Mike Grinti

2011
Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes
by: Jonathan Auxier

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier

2010
Touch Blue
by: Cynthia Lord

Touch Blue by Cynthia Lord

You can place any of these books on hold through your online library account or by calling the library at (812) 926-0646 for APL or (812) 954-4151 for DPL.

The Newbery Medal Turns 100

The most prestigious American award in the world of children’s literature is the John Newbery Medal. 2022 will mark the 100th time this award has been given to the author of the year’s most distinguished children’s book. It was the first children’s book award in the world, and today the selection process is administered by the Association for Library Service to Children (ASLC). The 2022 Newbery Medal will be announced on Monday, January 24th as part of the Youth Media Awards.

Through the years, the committees selecting the Newbery winners have truly highlighted some exceptional books for kids. There has also been a fair amount of controversy, and there have been years when librarians have groused that the wrong book was selected. Since selection as the Newbery Medal winner often means that the chosen book will stay in print for many years, another topic that is often raised today is the question of how to deal with books that have racial stereotypes or other matter that is unacceptable today. I guess you can state with certainty that librarians just like to discuss books! You can find a complete list of Newbery Medal winners and also the Newbery Honor books here.

Here are a few of my favorite Newbery medal books:

I read the 2021 winner When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller and loved it!

When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller

From 2013: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

In 2004, Kate DiCamillo took home the gold with The Tale of Despereaux.

She also won the Newbery Medal in 2014 for Flora & Ulysses.

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

Lois Lowry also has two Newbery Medals, winning in 1994 for The Giver (You should read the book, even if you disliked the movie!) and in 1990 for Number the Stars.

                          The Giver by Lois Lowry Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

I love the characters E. L. Konigsburg created in From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler,

the story of two children who run away to New York City and hide out in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Konigsburg won Newbery gold 29 years later for The View from Saturday in 1997.From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

Do you have a favorite Newbery Medal book? Or do you have a favorite book that you think should have won the medal? Let us know below, and be sure to check back after January 24th to see the 2022 winner!

Update from 1/25/22: The Newbery Award for 2022 goes to The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera. I didn’t expect that! It sort of slipped in under the radar, but sounds great. Copies have been ordered. This title also won the Pura Belpre Award for best book representing Hispanic culture.

Don’t Overlook These Children’s Series

If you only look for the “new” books on the library shelves, you might miss some of the series that were popular ten or fifteen years ago (or even longer). Although not every book or series ages well, there are many that stand up well in comparison to our newest books. That may be especially true about fantasy series. Here are some fantasy series for elementary and middle school kids that will bring hours of reading enjoyment. Remember, you can also ask a library staff member for help if you need a book suggestion!

The Spiderwick Chronicles by Ted Diterlizzi and Holly Black

 

The Spiderwick Chronicles were written by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black and follow the adventures of the Grace children who discover a world of fairies. There were 5 books in the original series and three in the spin-off series Beyond the Spiderwick. These series are great for kids who want to read fantasy, but who aren’t ready for really long, complicated books.

 

 

The High King by Lloyd Alexander

 

 

Lloyd Alexander was a prolific writer of fantasy books during the 1960s and 1970s. His Chronicles of  Prydain drew heavily from the legends of King Arthur and Welsh mythology. One book of the series was named as a Newbery Honor book and another won the Newbery Medal. Don’t let the well-worn covers stop you; these books have just been loved by several generations of kids.

The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan

 

 

 

The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan has always reminded me of The Lord of the Rings, probably because of  the Rangers. The series follows the adventures of Will, an orphan who is chosen as an apprentice Ranger, and includes skilled trackers, archers, and warriors in the service of the King of Araluen. Will strives to keep the Kingdom of Araluen safe from invaders, traitors, and threats. There was also a prequel series and a spin-off series.

 

 

 

The Inkworld trilogy  by Cornelia Funke explores the question of what might happen if characters could come out of our storybooks.

  Inkheart by Cornelia Funke    Inkspell by Cornelia Funke  Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke

In The Five Kingdoms series, Cole Randolph sees his friends whisked away to some mysterious place underneath a haunted house and he dives in after them. They end up in the Outskirts, five kingdoms that lie between wakefulness and dreaming, reality and imagination, life and death. With the magic of the Outskirts starting to unravel, it’s up to Cole and an unusual girl named Mira to rescue his friends.

Sky Raiders by Brandon Mull Rogue Knight by Brandon Mull Crystal Keepers by Brandon Mull

Step into these fantasy worlds, but hang on to your hat! You’re bound for some exciting adventures.

 

 

Waiting for the Caldecott

Around this time each year, I start looking forward to the announcement of children’s book awards for 2022. On January 24th, announcements will be made for the Caldecott, the Newbery, and the Printz medals, as well as many other book awards. Many blogs focus on possible contenders for the biggest awards, but the voting is actually done just one day prior to the announcement and is a carefully guarded secret.

The Caldecott Medal will be awarded to the best illustrated book for children from 2021, and actually goes to the illustrator, not the author. As I read through blogs, there does not seem to be any consensus developing yet, but here are some of the books that are being mentioned as contenders.

Dear Treefrog by Joyce Sidman  Wonder Walkers by Micha Archer

 Hurricane by John Rocco  Watercress by Andrea Wang

  The Rock from the Sky by Jon Klassen  Someone Builds the Dream by Lisa Wheeler

  Nicky & Vera by Peter SisMilo Imagines the World by Matt de la Pena

  I'll Meet You in Your Dreams by Jessica Young  Born on the Water by Nikole Hannah-Jones

  Unspeakable by Carole Boston Weatherford  Amos McGee Misses the Bus by Philip Stead

Out of these 12 illustrators, six already have at least one Caldecott Medal or Caldecott Honor to their credit. All are exceptionally talented and have created illustrations that make these books a joy to read. Keep in mind, though, that there is not an official list of nominations. These have just been mentioned by readers and critics as potential winners. Sometimes the Caldecott committee will go off in an unexpected direction. As for me, I’m crossing my fingers for Loren Long (he’s from Cincinnati) or Floyd Cooper (he died in 2021 and has never won). All will be revealed on January 24th. Meanwhile, treat yourself to one of these books.

Update from 1/25/22: The 2022 Caldecott Medal winner is Watercress by Andrea Wang and illustrated by Jason Chin! The book also received a Newbery Honor and was named as the best picture book promoting Asian/Pacific American heritage and culture. Gathering watercress by the side of the road sparks a conversation among a family about their family history, heritage, and memories. Award-winning author Andrea Wang draws upon her childhood, growing up in a small, mostly white, rural town in Ohio as a child of Chinese immigrants in this autobiographical account illustrated by celebrated author and artist Jason Chin, who incorporates painting styles and techniques from both western and Chinese cultures.

Traveling for the Holidays?

If you’ll be traveling by car or by plane over the holidays, you’re probably already thinking about how to keep the kids entertained during the trip. Of course, you can sing along in a car to Christmas songs, but why not try listening to an audiobook together? You can choose one that’s an appropriate length for the trip, and it will help the time fly by! We have some audiobooks on CD at the library, but there are many more available to download to your phone or other device on the Libby app through the Indiana Digital Download Center.

Here are some great holiday stories for kids that would provide a wonderful listening experience. If you need help with the download process, just call the library and we can talk you through it.

 When Santa Fell to Earth by Cornelia Funke  Bah! Humbug! by Michael Rosen A Ghost Tale for Christmas by Mary Pope Osborne

 The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson  Christmas in the Forest and Other Stories   A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck

 A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig  Deck the Halls, We're Off the Walls by Dan Gutman  Christmas in Camelot by Mary Pope Osborne

Happy listening and safe travels!

Give a Book!

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Icelandic tradition of giving books as gifts on Christmas Eve. Jolabokaflod, literally Christmas book flood, is a national tradition since the World War II years, when paper was one of the few things not rationed. Most books in Iceland are published in the fall of the year, and on Christmas Eve, family members open their new gift books and stay up late reading and drinking hot cocoa.

It’s a lovely tradition, but of course we can do it here, too! Books are one of the best Christmas gifts: they’re easy to ship, they’re fun to share, They’re perfect gifts for any age, and the pleasure can last a lifetime. If you’re planning to buy a child a book for Christmas (I hope you are!), here are some of the best new books from 2021.

For the picture book age, a Christmas themed book is often nice. Jan Brett has a new book on The Nutcracker, and you can expect her usual intricate illustrations.  I also like The Magical Christmas Store by Maudie Powell-Tuck, because the emphasis is on giving rather than receiving gifts.

The Nutcracker by Jan Brett  The Magical Christmas Store by Maudie Powell-Tuck

If you’d like to give something seasonal, but not about Christmas, take a look at A Thing Called Snow. Other great choices for picture books are It’s So Quiet, The Panda Problem, and Sheepish.

  A Thing Called Snow by Yuval Zommer   It's So Quiet by Sherri Duskey Rinker

Sheepish by Helen Yoon  The Panda Problem by Deborah Underwood

If your child is just moving into easy chapter books, you can’t go wrong with this Sydney & Taylor series (just look at those animals) or the Diary of a Pug books.

Sydney & Taylor Explore the Whole Wide World by Deborah Hocking   Pug's Got Talent by Kyla May

If you have a child who’s not totally into the whole reading thing, but who loves sports, you might want to buy We Are Family by LeBron James. I don’t normally recommend books by celebrities, but this has had great reviews! Esquire Fox, a reformed chicken thief, now leads leads operations around the world rescuing animals in danger in Class File: Little Claws. The second book in the Animal Rescue Agency series will be published in January of 2022.

We are Family by LeBron James and Andrea Williams  Case File: Little Claws by Eliot Schrefer

Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson books, has written a modern take on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. If your child loves the Rick Riordan books, make sure you also check out the books in “Rick Riordan Presents“, a selection of books featuring other mythologies and cultures. Another good choice for mythology-lovers would be Amber & Clay by Newbery Medal winner Amy Schlitz.

Daughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan    The Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim  Amber & Clay by Laura Amy Schlitz

Looking for something the entire family can share? Bernadette Watts just published a new collection of Christmas stories, including favorites like The Little Drummer Boy and The Snow Queen. This would be a terrific gift to give a week before Christmas; you could read a story together every night. A book of Science experiments would be another great way to spend time together as a family during the school break.

   Stories for Christmas by Bernadette Watts   Amazing Science by Good Housekeeping

Whatever you, choose, I hope you make reading a treasured part of your holiday season.

 

 

 

 

 

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If You Like Diary of a Wimpy Kid…

Ever since Dav Pilkey started the Captain Underpants series of chapter books, kids have been crazy for books that mash together written text with cartoon-style drawings. All kids seem to enjoy these, but these books are particularly popular with upper elementary kids. Here are some other series that have the same kid appeal!

The 13-Story Treehouse series: Andy and Terry live in a treehouse. But it’s not just any old treehouse, it’s the most amazing treehouse in the world! This treehouse has thirteen stories, a bowling alley, a see-through swimming pool, a secret underground laboratory, and a marshmallow machine that follows you around and automatically shoots marshmallows into your mouth whenever you are hungry. The treehouse goes through constant expansions, so the latest book in the series is The 130-story Treehouse.

   The 13-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths    The 130-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths

Big Nate: These books follow the life and times of Nate Wright. They feature the adventures, often misadventures, of Nate as a sixth grader in P.S. 38, the setting of his comical exploits along with his teachers and classmates. The series also focuses on his home life along with his family and friends. The books are based on a comic strip by Lincoln Peirce.

Big Nate Strikes Again by Lincoln Peirce    Big Nate Blasts Off by Lincoln Peirce

The Origami Yoda series: Meet Dwight, a sixth-grade oddball. Dwight does a lot of weird things, like wearing the same T-shirt for a month or telling people to call him “Captain Dwight.” But Dwight does one cool thing. He makes origami. One day he makes an origami finger puppet of Yoda. And that’s when things get mysterious. Origami Yoda can predict the future and suggest the best way to deal with a tricky situation. His advice actually works, and soon most of the sixth grade is lining up with questions. The books (6 in the series) include instructions for folding each origami character.

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger    Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue by Tom Angleberger

The Dork Diaries:  Follow Nikki Maxwell as she chronicles her life through text and art—her move to a new school, her battles with queen bee MacKenzie, and her zany adventures with her BFFs Chloe and Zoey by her side.

Tales from a NOT-SO-Fabulous Life by Rachel Renee Russell    Tales from a NOT-SO-Friendly Frenemy by Rachel Renee Russell

The Dog Diaries: Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, I’ve been waiting for ages to tell my story, and now it’s finally happening. Being Rafe’s dog isn’t always easy, but it is always EXCITING. I’ve got so much to tell you about:

  • How I protect the yard from birds, raccoons, squirrels, raccoons, mail carriers . . . and did I mention RACCOONS?
  • Sniffing pooch posteriors for the latest canine news.
  • And the terrifying monster hiding in the hall closet: the vacuum cleaner

Dog Diaries: A Middle School Story by James Patterson    Dog Diaries: Ruffing It by James Patterson

Happy Reading!

Historical Series for Kids

If you have elementary age children, you probably already know about the “I Survived” series by Lauren Tarshis. These books have been tremendously popular with kids across the country. Each book is told from the perspective of a child in the middle of a disaster or major event. They’re a fun way to pick up some history while enjoying an action-packed story.

I Survived the Great Chicago Fire, 1871 by Lauren Tarshis I Survived the Children's Blizzard, 1888 by Lauren Tarshis I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863 by Lauren Tarshis I Survived the American Revolution, 1776 by Lauren Tarshis

We also have some older series in juvenile fiction that have been very popular in the past.  Books in the “Dear America” series feature girls as the main characters, while the “My Name is America” books feature boys. Christmas After All is set in Indianapolis and is also written by a Hoosier author, so it’s a great choice for our Fall Beanstack Challenge. These series were both published by Scholastic and written by some of the very best children’s authors. They are notable for the diverse ethnicities of the main characters.

I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly by Joyce Hansen  Christmas After All by Kathryn Lasky West to a Land of Plenty by Jim Murphy So Far From Home by Barry Denenberg

The Journal of Ben Uchida by Barry Denenberg The Journal of Wong Ming-Chung by Laurence Yep The Journal of Scott Pendleton Collins by Walter Dean Myers The Journal of Joshua Loper by Walter Dean Myers

The Royal Diary series is all girls; nothing here but queens and princesses. The best thing about this series is that it takes you around the world; it’s not just focused on European royalty.

Marie Antoinette, Princess of Versailles by Kathryn Lasky Kaiulani: The People's Princess by Ellen Emerson White Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile by Kristiana Gregory Anastasia: The Last Grand Duchess by Carolyn Meyer

All of these books will enrich your child’s knowledge of the world and give them hours of great reading! Series are actually terrific choices for kids. The standard format of many series makes it easier to get immersed in the story, especially for struggling readers. These books may also start an interest in a person or event that can followed up with some non-fiction reading.

New Chapter Books by Best-Selling Authors

Adults who love to read are very good at keeping up with the “book news” and knowing when a new book by a favorite author is being published. We often start placing people on the Hold list months before a publication date. Kids are not always as good at letting us know about upcoming books. Here are some of the new books by some very popular authors of chapter books. We try hard to follow the series, but we sometimes miss one, so don’t be shy about letting us know if we need to order something by your favorite writer.

Chris Colfer is the author of the best-selling series Land of Stories. He’s currently on book # 3 of  the Tale of Magic series, also set in the Land of Stories universe. In addition, he had a graphic novel come out at the end of June that tells the origin story of Goldilocks.

A Tale of Sorcery by Chris Colfer 

Kate Dicamillo is a two-time Newbery Medal winner and a former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Her latest book surprisingly has a medieval setting and features a goat! The Beatryce Prophecy is also illustrated by Caldecott winner Sophie Blackall. You’ll recognize Brian Selznick as the author of The Invention of Hugh Cabret (also a great movie) and Wonderstruck. Kaleidoscope is probably best for older kids as the collection of related short stories is described as drifting through genres, time, and even space (Booklist).

The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo Kaleidoscope by Brian Selznick

Gordon Korman is the author of over 80 books for children and teens. Linked tackles the subject of prejudice when a swastika is painted on a school wall. Jerry Spinelli is another perennial favorite. On Dead Wednesday, every eighth grader in Amber Springs is assigned the name and identity of a teenager who died a preventable death in the past year. The kids don black shirts and for the whole day everyone in town pretends they’re invisible–as if they weren’t even there. The adults think it will make them contemplate their mortality. The kids know it’s a free pass to get away with anything.

Linked by Gordon Korman Dead Wednesday by Jerry Spinelli

Who are your favorite children’s authors? Let us know what book you are eagerly anticipating!