Wednesday, January 30, 2013

And the winner is...

I know you are looking forward to the Oscar Awards coming up right around the corner, but on Monday, January 28th, another slightly more exciting and important (at least to librarians) award ceremony was going on. At the American Library Association's mid-winter conference in soggy Seattle, the youth media awards were, well...awarded. This year, unfortunate souls who could not attend the conference due to living 3,000 or so miles away were able to watch the ceremony being streamed live. I myself spent a heady half hour watching the Facebook page for ALA being updated every few minutes with a new winner.

One of the little challenges I like to set myself every year is to see how many of the winning books I have already purchased by the time the awards are announced. Then I congratulate myself on being so sophisticated and ahead of the game. Pathetic, I know. This year, I did very poorly. I only got 2 out of the 12 awards I was watching for! I guess the Awards committees and I don't see eye to eye. One book/author in particular I thought was robbed (Wonder by R.J. Palacio totally should have won a Schneider!). Anyways, here are your 2013 winners, and better luck to me next year! Click on the Award title to find out how it is awarded.

Pura Belpre Award

Illustrator award - Martin de Porres: The Rose in the Desert by Gary Schmidt ; illustrated by David Diaz.
Click here for a Pura Belpre biography.

Randolph Caldecott Medal

This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
Click here for the book trailer.

Theodor Seuss Geisel Award

Up! Tall! and High! by Ethan Long
Click here to visit Ethan Long's website.

Coretta Scott King Award

Author - Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Illustrator - I, Too, Am America by Langston Hughes ; illustrated by Bryan Collier.
Click here for info on Mrs. King.

John Newbery Medal

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.
Click here to see the book trailer. 

Schneider Family Book Award

Middle Readers - A Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean

Younger Children - Back to Front and Upside Down! by Claire Alexander
Click here to see a winner's list of all years.

I have ordered all these books, and they will be available asap. Happy reading!

P.S. Last week to vote in our 75th Anniversary Caldecott Illustrator's voting tournament! Only 3 artists left...

Friday, January 25, 2013

¡Qué buena idea!

Light bulb moment!
I've already blogged about our wonderful and ever-growing collection of Spanish books for kids. Those books fly on and off the shelves due to the Spanish Immersion program in our school district. Then one day, one of the other brilliant librarians at SLPL (see, I'm not the only one!) suggested that I put the Bi-Lingual Spanish books in the SAME SECTION! Click, the light went on!

So now, in our lovely Spanish collection located by the entrance to the Children's Dept., we offer Easy Picture books, Non-Fiction books, Chapter books, and Bi-Lingual books. 

Bi-Lingual books are great for those young readers starting out in the immersion program, or for the family who just wants to expand their horizons and have a good time learning about another culture. I think reading (or attempting to read even if you don't know the pronunciation) Spanish bi-lingual books with kids is a lot of fun because there are so many words that are similar between the two languages. Try reading the Spanish sections first and asking your child if they can recognize or guess what any words mean. ¡Es muy interesante!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Three Times Lucky review

Three Times Lucky audiobook by Sheila Turnage
I can't help myself. Lame pun coming up....Boy, I feel LUCKY to have found this book! Yuk, yuk, yuk. But seriously, folks. This is one of the BEST audiobooks for kids that I have ever listened to. And I've listened to a lot of them.

Enter Miss Moses LoBeau (la-bow). She is a "rising sixth-grader" in Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, pop. 148. If you're not imagining a silky southern accent in your head, start now. Mo, as she is called by all who know her (for what kinda girl is named Moses?), doesn't know too much about herself. She knows that she washed ashore in Tupelo Landing 11 years ago on a raft in the middle of a screaming hurricane. She knows that she was rescued by a  man who couldn't remember a thing about himself, not even his name, and who became known as the Colonel due to the uniform he was wearing the day he crashed his car into a tree and then stumbled out just in time to snatch Mo from the flood waters. She knows that she now lives with the Colonel and a woman named Miss Lana who sailed in to take care of Mo as a baby. She knows that her best friend is a scrawny boy named Dale Earnhardt Johnson, III, and that some day she is going to marry his older brother Lavender the race car driver. What Mo knows clearest of all, is that she is aching to find her "upstream mother". The one who put her on that raft during the storm and sailed her to safety. With this aim in mind, Mo hands out bottles stuffed with messages for her friends and neighbors to release upstream whenever they travel. But so far, no word.

But this summer, things change. A detective comes to town asking nosy questions about a murder that happened in Winston-Salem. The Colonel and Miss Lana start acting mighty strange. Dale's dad is spitting drunk all the time, and his brother crashes his treasured race car at the track. Things only get worse. A local man is murdered in his boat, and Dale is a suspect! Mo and Dale can't seem to keep out of trouble, and they are determined to solve the mysteries swirling around Tupelo Landing like a wet cat in a washing machine. Adventure, danger and mystery abound! Learn more at Turnage's website.

Turnage has done an astounding job of creating a crazy yet believable setting for her sweet, sassy and sometimes heart-racing story about a girl who is searching for herself. While this would be (and is) a #1 read, please, please listen to the audiobook. It is read by Michal Friedman, who is amazingly talented. In a myriad of different voices, she builds a perfect mental image of each character. Her southern drawl is spot-on, and a pleasure to listen to. This audiobook is a win for the whole family, although there are intense moments and serious topics such as murder, kidnapping, and physical abuse. These are handled well within the story, and with parental guidance, should be fine for younger kids.

If you listen to one audiobook this year, please choose this one! Three thumbs up!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

WEEK 3 and going strong!!!

Yay! We are in WEEK 3 of our Caldecott Illustrator Voting Contest (or People's Choice Award for Illustrator, as I probably should have called it). Not matter what the title, we are having a great time voting down to the #1 favorite illustrator of children's picture books....Here's the list of the 12 heavyweights that remain in the ring:



And now for a little Caldecott Medal trivia:

- The Medal is named for Randolph Caldecott, a 19th century illustrator. 

- The actual Medal has two scenes, one on the front and one on the back. The one side shows a scene from Randolph Caldecott's illustration of The Diverting History of John Gilpin, showing Gilpin astride a runaway horse. The other side is a scene derived from the nursery rhyme "Four and Twenty Blackbirds Bak'd in a Pie" from Caldecott's book Sing a Song of Sixpence.

P.S. I wanted to blog about Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on the 21st, but the book I wanted to highlight (I Have A Dream by Kadir Nelson) is checked out. But that's a good thing!

Friday, January 11, 2013


Hockey season off again, on again? College basketball coming up? Playoffs for the Superbowl?  WHO CARES?

Here at SLPL, we are in WEEK 2 of our Best Illustrator Voting Contest in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Caldecott Medal.
If you missed WEEK 1, no sweat. Kids, their parents, and the staff did all the work for you and have narrowed it down from our original 50 artists to 25. Come in this week to vote in the 2nd round and we will halve it again. Oh man, the choices are getting hard! Help your favorite win...VOTE TODAY!

Surprises from the first round:
- David Catrow (absurdly cute drawings) edged past Marc Brown (of Arthur fame)
- Judy Schachner (of Skippyjon Jones fame) skipped past Lauren Child (Charlie & Lola must be so disappointed)
- Leo Lionni (famous for his mice) scampered by Graeme Base (one of my favorites, boohoo)
- Rosemary Wells (famous for her bunnies) hopped by William Steig (also famous for his mice)
- Arnold Lobel (Frog & Toad) strolled around Tomie DePaolo (Strega Nona) for the win
- Jan Brett (the Mitten) out-cuted Stan & Jan Berenstain (shocking!)

Don't just sit there and watch...VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Reading is snow much fun!

Winter story times are starting back up! Don't be scared of a few little flurries...register for one of our awesome story times led by the experienced and talented Children's Programming Librarian, Mrs. Lacock.
She may not be a snowman, but she sure is good at reading stories, making crafts and having lots and lots of fun! We offer options that should suit every family's needs:

Infant Story Time (ages birth-23 mos. with a caregiver)
       Thursday mornings Jan.10-Feb. 28
               Session 1: 9:30-10:10
               Session 2: 10:30-11:10

Lapsit for 2s & 3s (ages 2 & 3 years with a caregiver)
       Monday mornings Jan. 7-Feb. 25
               Session 1: 9:30-10:10
               Session 2: 10:30-11:10

Story Time for 4s & 5s (ages 4 & 5 years)
       Monday mornings Jan. 7-Feb. 25
               Session: 11:30-12:15

Twilight Tales For Tots (ages 2-5 with a caregiver)
       Tuesday evenings Jan. 8-29
               Session: 6:45-7:25

Early literacy is SO important for kids. Take time from your busy schedule to make sure that your child is getting what they need. Mrs. Lacock will help you and your child discover a whole new world of learning and excitement. If you are excited about books and reading, your child will be too. REGISTER ONLINE HERE

Friday, January 4, 2013

Rebel McKenzie

Rebel McKenzie by Candice Ransom
I have to say, this was one book where the cover and title really drew me in. Who could resist the sassy girl on the front who obviously loves herself some blue slushy. And goes for the silly straw, too. And with a name like Rebel? Girl after my own heart!

Ransom certainly does the cover proud with her heart-warming and authentic story of a girl whose carefully constructed plans for the best summer ever just don't quite work out the way she hoped. Rebel is an older and slightly more cynical Judy Moody, a determined and stubborn dreamer and planner who knows exactly what she is going to be when she grows up. A paleontologist (the Ice Age kind, NOT the dinosaur kind). And she'll get there without the help of the mom who just doesn't understand, the sister who thinks she's nothing but free labor, and the snotty (literally) cousin who won't leave her alone! Enter tween melodrama.

Rebel really wants to attend the Ice Age Kids Dig and Safari in Saltville, Virginia (Fee includes special Ice Age breakfasts!). But unfortunately, the money is a problem. When Rebel's older sister Lynette moves back into the area with her seven year old son Rudy, Rebel is suddenly shipped off to babysit all summer while Lynette goes to beauty school. To make matters worse, Lynette lives in a trailer park with the fattest cat in the world, Doublewide, who came with the trailer. Did I mention no air conditioning, one bully neighbor, one prissy dollface neighbor, and that Rudy sings in his sleep? But Rebel has a plan. She's gonna get that money for the Dig on her own, even if she has to put on a dress to do it. Miss Frog Level Volunteer Fire Department Beauty Pageant, look out!

You will be cheering for Rebel all the way as she fights for her dream, and learns some stuff too. It's great to see a realistic heroine who has responsibilities and chores, isn't an orphan who lives in a mansion, and doesn't have everything handed to her on a platter. This is a great story about a summer of discovery, and hits a sweet note for girls struggling to define themselves in their tween years. Rebel is a compassionate friend, although she may put on a crusty exterior, and throughout this summer she learns to take a few steps in other people's shoes. Great read!