Rick Riordan Presents – An Update

I first wrote about the book imprint “Rick Riordan Presents” back in 2019. Since then, the publisher has continued to roll out a great collection of books for a middle school audience based on based on world mythologies that have not been fully represented in children’s literature. These books will appeal to the same kids who devoured the Percy Jackson series, but with a wider geographical reach. Here’s what Rick Riordan had to say about the publishing venture:

“Our goal is to publish great middle grade authors from underrepresented cultures and backgrounds, to let them tell their own stories inspired by the mythology and folklore of their own heritage. Over the years, I’ve gotten many questions from my fans about whether I might write about various world mythologies, but in most cases I knew I wasn’t the best person to write those books. Much better, I thought, to use my experience and my platform at Disney to put the spotlight on other great writers who are actually from those cultures and know the mythologies better than I do. Let them tell their own stories, and I would do whatever I could to help those books find a wide audience!”

Here’s the Rick Riordan Presents list, so far:

By Roshani Chokshi (Hindu mythology): Book 4 is coming in April of 2021.

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi Aru Shah and the Song of Death by Roshani Chokshi Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

By J.C. Cervantes (Mayan mythology)

The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes The Fire Keeper by J. C. Cervantes The Shadow Crosser by J. C. Cervantes

By Yoon Ha Lee ( a stand-alone with ties to Korean mythology)

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

By Carlos Hernandez (Science-fiction with ties to Cuban mythology)

Sal & Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez Sal & Gabi Fix the Universe by Carlos Hernandez

By Kwame Mbalia (African American folk heroes and West African gods)

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia Tristan Strong Destroys the World by Kwame Mbalia

By Rebecca Roanhorse (Navajo mythology)

Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

By Tehlor Kay Mejia (based on the Mexican legend of the Crying Woman)

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia

By Sarwat Chadda ( based on Mesopotamian mythology)

City of the Plague God by Sarwat Chadda

By Gracie Kim ( based on Korean mythology and coming in May 2021)

Children’s Book Awards 2021

Every winter, the library and publishing worlds eagerly anticipate the announcement of the Youth Media Awards. For publishers, it’s a chance to celebrate the critical success of their books. For authors and illustrators, the awards represent the the highest honors in children’s literature and virtually guarantee the books will be in publication for many, many years. For librarians, it’s just one more reason to share the “best of the best” with library patrons. Here are the 2021 winners of the Randolph Caldecott Medal, the John Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Author Award.

We are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom

 

 

The Randolph Caldecott Medal is awarded to the illustrator of the most distinguished American picture book for children. The 2021 medal winner, We Are Water Protectors, was illustrated by Michaela Goade and written by Carole Lindstrom. The book was inspired by indigenous-led movements which have sounded an alarm about the need to protect our nation’s waters.

 

 

 

When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller

 

 

In contrast to the Caldecott, the John Newbery Medal is awarded annually to the author of the most distinguished American book for children. It typically, though not aways, goes to the author of a chapter book. If you love books based on folklore, you need to read When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller! Here’s teaser from the publisher’s description, “Would you make a deal with a magical tiger? This uplifting story brings Korean folklore to life as a girl goes on a quest to unlock the power of stories and save her grandmother.

 

 

 

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson

 

The winner of the 2021 Coretta Scott King Author Award is Jacqueline Woodson for her book Before the Ever After. This novel-in-verse explores how a family moves forward when the father’s glory days as a professional football player have passed and he experiences the long-term physical effects of his career. Woodson has won numerous book awards including the 2020 Hans Christian Andersen Award and the 2014 National Book Award for her memoir Brown Girl Dreaming. She was the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

The Coretta Scott King Book Committee also awards an annual illustrator award and an award for “New Talent.”

 

 

You can view the full list of Youth Media Awards here, including the Michael L. Printz Award for Young Adult Literature, the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for beginning readers, and the Schneider Family Book Award which honors authors and illustrators who present an artistic expression of a disability experience.

Retellings by Jerry Pinkney

A new book by Jerry Pinkney is always a thing to celebrate! His latest is an adaptation of Han Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid and it’s available at both library branches. Pinkney is one of the most celebrated illustrators of children’s books in America. He’s adapted and illustrated several well-known fairy tales and fables for a picture-book format, winning the Caldecott medal for The Lion & the Mouse.

The Little Mermaid, retold and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney The Ugly Duckling by Jerry Pinkney Puss in Boots by Jerry Pinkney

The Grasshopper & the Ants by Jerry Pinkney  The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney

The Tortoise & the Hare by Jerry Pinkney

 

Pinkney doesn’t limit himself to retellings.  If you love his artwork (and I know you will), you should also check out his other picture books. Just search our online catalog or ask at the circulation desk for more suggestions!

Ra the Mighty

I always enjoy seeing which books appear on the Young Hoosier Reading list each year. These books are chosen by Indiana educators, and schools across the state encourage students to read a selection of the books chosen for their grade level. Near the end of the school year, participating students have a chance to vote for their favorite book. The Aurora Public Library District makes most of these titles available in our collections, and we also try to follow up with sequels to the selected titles.

Here’s a unique series that has been been added since Book 1 was selected for the Young Hoosier list for 2020-2021.

 

All three books in the series are available at both the Aurora and the Dillsboro Public Libraries and are located in the chapter book area.

Ra the Mighty Cat Detective by Amy Greenfield The Great Tomb Robbery by Amy Greenfield The Crocodile Caper by Amy Greenfield

After you read these, you might want to also check our some of our non-fiction books about Egypt!

Egyptian Myths and Legends by Fiona Macdonald Ms. Frizzle's Adventures: Ancient Egypt Mummies by Joyce Milton

Chinese New Year

 

In 2020, Chinese New Year begins on January 25th and ends on February 4th and it would be a great time to explore this Asian holiday by sharing some of our children’s books with your family.

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim

The Dancing Dragon by Marcia Vaughan  Long-Long's Newyear by Catherine Gower

Moonbeams, Dumplings, and Dragon Boats discusses several Chinese holiday and has great recipes and activities for celebrating the Chinese New Year. D is for Dancing Dragon will give you additional information about Chinese culture.

Moonbeams, Dumplings, & Dragon Boats by Nina Simonds  D is for Dancing Dragon by Carol Crane

Older children who read or listen to chapter books will enjoy the next three titles with ties to the Chinese holiday. 2020 is the Year of the Rat, so Grace Lin’s book is a perfect choice. You may also want to read The Year of the Dog by Lin.

Happy New Year, Julie by Megan McDonald The Dragon Warrior by Katie Zhao The Year of the Rat by Grace Lin

Children’s Author Patricia Polacco

One of the best-loved authors of children’s books, Patricia Polacco finds inspiration in family stories and in historical events. Although some of her books are written for a very young audience, other books are most suitable for older children and actually are wonderful to share with people of all ages. To locate her books at the library, you may need to consult the online catalog or ask for help, because her books can be found in the Board Book area, the Picture Book collection, or the Juvenile Fiction area.

Polacco’s latest book, The Bravest Man in the World is an account of Wallace Hartley, a fiddle player who continued to play as the Titanic was sinking.

The Bravest Man in the World by Patricia Polacco

Polacco often draws on her family’s Ukrainian-Jewish ancestry. This heritage is highlighted in books like Chicken Sunday, Rechenka’s Eggs, and The Keeping Quilt.

Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco  Rechenka's Eggs by Patricia Polacco

The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco

As a child, Polacco experienced difficulty reading due to dyslexia. She honors the teachers who encouraged her in The Art of Miss Chew, Thank You, Mr. Falker, and Mr. Wayne’s Masterpiece.

The Art of Miss Chew by Patricia Polacco   Thank You, Mr. Falker

Mr. Wayne's Masterpiece

 

Where Do the Animals Go?

The days are shorter, temperatures are colder, and a common question for children is “Where do the animals go when it’s cold?” Of course there are many answers to this: they dig under, they fly away, they hibernate, and they grow thicker coats, for example. If your child is curious, why not check out a book to read together? Here are some great choices from the library’s collection. So cuddle up, stay warm, and share the joys of reading and learning together!

When Winter Comes by Pearl Neuman   Secrets of Winter by Carron Brown

Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner  Animals in Winter by Bancroft and Gelder

Under the Snow by Melissa Stewart   Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman

Magic at the Biltmore

“Never go into the deep parts of the forest, for there are many dangers there, and they will ensnare your soul.”

Sounds like great advice to me! Robert Beatty is the author is the Serafina series of books for ages 10 and up. The series takes place on the Biltmore Estate outside of Asheville, North Carolina and features the daughter of the estate’s caretaker. Living in the Biltmore’s basement, Serafina has seen a man in a black cloak roaming the corridors at night. As children from the estate begin to disappear, Serafina teams up with one of the Vanderbilt children to investigate and discovers a legacy of magic in the nearby forest.

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

Serafina and the Twisted Staff by Robert Beatty

 

Serafina and the Black Cloak, the first book in the series spent weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list and is now being used in classrooms across the country. All of the books in the series provide a historical setting as well as plenty of spooky chills.

 

 

Serafina and the Splintered Heart by Robert Beatty        Serafina and the Seven Stars by Robert Beatty

Pens, Pencils, and Crayons!

As kids and teachers prepare to get back to the classroom, I’d like to recommend a group of picture books featuring witty and wise writing implements. In addition to just being fun books to read, I can also see these as great springboards to “What If?” questions. What if a school bus could tell stories? What if the chalkboard giggled every time a teacher wrote on it? What if your writing paper refused to sit still?

Have you ever wondered how your crayons feel about the things you color? Does the blue crayon enjoy being used down to a nub coloring all that sky? Who knew it was so hard to be only used at Halloween? The “Day the Crayons” books take you into the inner world of the crayon box!

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt    The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt

The Little Red Pen by award-winning author Janet Stevens is a story of the dramatic rescue of a pen from a wastebasket. In a clever twist on Little Red Riding Hood, Little Red Writing  is trying to write an exciting story, but has to face the ravenous pencil sharpener, the Wolf 3000.

The Little Red Pen by Janet Stevens    Little Red Writing by Joan Holub

All of these books celebrate creativity, empathy, and cooperation. Read a few with your children or students, and then put pencil to paper to create your own story and illustrations.

Making Friends is an Art! by Julia Cook     My Crayons Talk by Patricia Hubbard

The Pencil by Allan Ahlberg    Linus the Little Yellow Pencil by Scott Magoon

Wonderful New Picture Books

We have added some amazing picture books to our collection in the last few months! Many of these are from authors and illustrators who are the superstars of children’s literature – well-loved by parents and librarians everywhere. Others were created by authors who may be new to you, but whose work you’ll certainly want to start following. Here are some of my favorites, but you’ll want to come to the library and explore all the other great items on the “New” shelf.

Tessa Takes Wing by Richard Jackson

 

How can you keep from smiling when you see this adorable baby? Have you ever wondered what babies do when everyone else is asleep? If you are not familiar with Richard Jackson, I also recommend his books All Ears, All Eyes and This Beautiful Day.

 

 

A Parade of Elephants by Keven Henkes

 

 

 

A Parade of Elephants is every bit as charming as the rest of Kevin Henkes’ picture books. You may know him as the author of Lilly’s Purple, Plastic Purse, but he’s written a long list of both picture books and chapter books for kids. For your older kids, check out Junonia and The Year of Billy Miller.

 

The Snowy Nap by Jan Brett

 

 

Jan Brett is another author whose books are always popular. The Snowy Nap reintroduces the title character from Hedgie’s Surprise (written in 2000) and is a perfect book to snuggle up with on a cold day. Brett continues her practice of using border illustrations to give a hint of what’s coming on the next page.

 

 

I loved I’ll Wait, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony, so I was delighted to see another book about Mr. Panda. Who can resist another cute bedtime story?

 

Giraffe Problems by Jory John

 

 

 

 

 

The creative team that brought us Penguin Problems in 2016 is back with a story of a giraffe who can’t figure out what to do with his long neck!

 

Chomp Goes the Alligator by Matthew Van Fleet

 

 

 

 

Chomp Goes the Alligator is sure to become a favorite of preschoolers. It features counting, rhymes, and a movable alligator jaw!

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

 

 

 

 

 

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson is perfect to share with any child who has ever experienced being different or outside of a group. Woodson’s words are always affirming and the illustrations by Rafael Lopez are vibrant and expressive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interrupting Chicken and the Elephant of Surprise by David Ezra Stein

 

 

The “Interrupting Chicken” is back! In this follow-up book, the young chicken is enjoying books with an “elephant of surprise”! This is one of those great picture books for kids who may be old enough to read independently, but who can really enjoy the humor caused by this misunderstanding.