Monday, March 31, 2008

Good Readin' for Yer Little'uns!

Every once in a while it's fun to let my salaried occupation leak over into this world of kiddierock blogging, because I feel like children's music and literature can and should be intertwined in the library and at home. So, here at the quarter-year mark, I present to you my list of the best of the best in kidlit (so far).

Picture Books:

Alfred Digs, Lindsay Barrett George (Greenwillow Books)
An adventure through the alphabet. Alfred tunnels through a dictionary in pursuit of his pet ant, Itty Bitty, who wants to go to the zoo (A to Z!).

Hello, Day!, Anita Lobel (Greenwillow Books)
Lobel's classic and charmingly simple illustrations describe how animals greet the new day and welcome another night. Perfect Toddler Time or bedtime picture book.

How I Learned Geography, Uri Shulevitz (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Shulevitz's inspirational, poignant, poetic picture book memoir will make a fascinating read-aloud for middle grade students, and give a kick in the pants to anyone who thinks their own life ain't so good.

Little Hoot, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, ill. Jen Corace (Chronicle Books)
The classic switcheroo: An owl doesn't want to stay up all night like Mom and Dad say, he wants to hit the sack early, like his little owl buddies. Hoot begrudgingly plays until he's finally allowed some shuteye. Reverse psychology at its cutest.

No! That's Wrong!, Cui Xu (Kane/Miller)
A heeelarious story about a rabbit wearing underwear as a hat, not understanding, of course, that it's underwear. Every animal he meets admires his new hat, while an "off camera" narrator keeps insisting "No! That's wrong. It's not a hat." Great interactive read-aloud!


We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, Kadir Nelson (Hyperion)
In a perfect world, this book would win the Newbery and the Caldecott for 2008. Nelson tells the story of the Negro Leagues in the authentic voice of a fellow baseball player. This'll make you love baseball even if you had no prior interest, and Nelson's text and illustrations will make longtime fans of the game swoon.


Jellaby, Kean Soo (Hyperion)
This graphic novel introduces a character who is vulnerable, protective, empathetic, brave, and totally lovable. GREAT adventure story for younger readers who aren't quite ready for a scary adventure.

My Dad's a Birdman, David Almond (Walker Books)
Fantastical, funny, heartwarming/breaking, lovely. Almond's Dahl-like story and Dunbar's illustrations combine magically in this tale of trust, nurturing, and, well, silliness!

Shooting the Moon, Frances O'Roark Dowell (Atheneum)

Fifth and sixth graders will be able to get their heads around the seriousness of the subject matter (sibling in Viet Nam war), but it's written in a way that will draw them in, as well. In other words, this isn't another one of those heavy books for kids that only adults will read.

The Willoughbys, Lois Lowry (Walter Lorraine Books)
Sure, we Children's Librarians will get a kick out of Lowry's tongue-in-cheek fun with classic kid lit scenarios (I laughed out loud several times), but tweens (and even younger grades, as a read-aloud) will be in on the joke, as well, and may even pick up a couple of the novels listed in the annotated bibliography!