Tag Archives: ChildrensBooks

Thanks for all your good work, Maurice

We lost one of our best “children’s” author/illustrators today.  He brought wildness and reality to all of us with his words and pictures.  He will be greatly missed.  Thanks, Maurice.

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Filed under Authors, Childrens, DarkFantasy, Maurice Sendak, Special

Poetry: Read More Blog More – Poetry for Children

Lu at Regular Ruminations and Kelly at The Written World are hosting a monthly poetry event.
Why don’t you join in? You can find out more about it here.

One of the things that brings me joy in my work and my daily life is introducing  poetry to children.  How words connect to children’s’ lives and how they carry them into youth and adulthood can start with something as simple as a nursery rhyme and continue on with songs and picture books.

When I visit my library and have time to wander in the stacks I always search for one or two picture books to bring home.  I found an old favorite this week.

Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening by Robert Frost

Illustrated by Susan Jeffers.

Dutton Children’s Books, New York, 1978

A timeless classic poem brought to life with stunning illustrations.  This book is simply beautiful.  I have a friend who gives this as a gift to every expectant woman we know.

And I picked up a book by an author new to me.

Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night By Joyce Sidman

Illustrated by Rick Allen

Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, New York, 2010

Wonderful poems in different styles with beautiful illustrations along with explanations of how animals and other living things survive at night.  I plan on giving this one to my friend Morgan for his sixth birthday.

Welcome to the Night

All of you who crawl and creep,
Who buzz and chirp and hoot and peep,
Who wake at dusk and throw off sleep:
Welcome to the night.

To you who make the forest sing
Who dip and dodge on silent wing,
Who flutter, hover, clasp and cling:
Welcome to the night.

Come feel the cool and shadowed breeze,
Come smell your way among the trees,
Come touch rough bark and leathered leaves:
Welcome to the night.

The night’s a sea of dappled dark,
The night’s a feast of sound and spark,
The night’s a wild, enchanted park:
Welcome to the night!

From page 6

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Filed under Childrens, Poetry, Poetry/Read More/Blog More, Thoughts

Bone: The Series by Jeff Smith

Bone: The Series by Jeff Smith

Scholastic, New York, 2007-2009

Borrowed from the library.

For the past couple of years many older elementary students I know have told me “YOU HAVE TO READ BONE!”  I had no idea what they were talking about until I stumbled upon Rose: A Bone Prequel.

Bone is a wonder.  Full of characters with big noses, dragons, evil rat creatures, an undiscovered princess and a cranky old women, it is a series of stories filled with mystery, adventure and some terrifying battles.  Mostly it is about loyalty, friendship and following through on your promises.  There is now a master volume, some 1300 or so pages, but I found reading the books from Volume 1 to 9 to be just perfect.

I love Smith’s artwork, an interesting mix of detail and simplicity, the three comic Bone cousins running about in beautifully drawn and colored forest landscapes and village marketplaces.

There is a Boneville website and an school library controversy.   In Minnesota a parent attempted to have the series banned from all the elementary schools in their child’s district.  A review committee has heard both sides of the case and voted 10 to 1 against the ban.  To quote Melinda Martin, a media specialist from the school district:

“It’s important to understand selection from censorship,” she said. “I respect her right to object to the series, but not for her to censor it for the rest. I feel you would be doing a disservice to our district if you remove this book from our elementary schools.”

It is heartening to find a review committee with such sensibility!



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Filed under Childrens, Graphic Novel Challenge, Graphic Novels

Korgi: Book 1 by Christian Slade

Korgi by Christian Slade

Top Shelf Productions, Portland, 2007

Borrowed from my library.

A lovely, wordless fantasy graphic novel created by a former Disney animator.

Korgi tells the story of Ivy, her dog Sprout and their adventures in Korgi Hollow.  The artwork is black and white pencil drawings and the action moves along surprisingly quickly, due to the wonderful expressive nature of Slade’s characters.  Ivy and Sprout learn new things about each other and about their surroundings. I loved this little book and am anxiously waiting for Book 2 from my library.

More of Christian Slade’s artwork can be found here.

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Filed under Childrens, Fantasy, Graphic Novel Challenge 2010, Graphic Novels

Copper by Kazu Kibuishi

Copper by Kazu Kibuishi

Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic, New York, 2010

Borrowed from the library.

I first learned about Kazu Kibuishi through his amazing Flight collections.  When I heard he had a book for young readers I had to see it.  Based on Kibuishi’s webcomic, Copper is visually lovely and contains gentle stories about friendship and trust.

Copper and his dog, Fred, have interesting adventures together.  Fred is often down-hearted and fatalistic but Copper always manages to put a pleasant spin on things and Fred learns a lot about humans and their behavior.  The characters are cute, but not too cute, and the art is beautiful.  The comic is available on the website but it is wonderful to hold the book in your hands.

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Filed under Childrens, Graphic Novel Challenge 2010, Graphic Novels

Three Picture Books

Three beautiful picture books borrowed from the library.

The Longest Night by Marion Dane Bauer

Illustrated by Ted Lewin

Holiday House, New York, 2009

A story of the longest night of the year.

All the animals are afraid the sun won’t return and several volunteer to bring it back but the wind tells them “Not you”. Then a  little chickadee questions the wind and, with her song, invites the sun to rise.  Beautifully illustrated with paintings in blues, black and silver of a snowy night, this books is a joy to read and look at.

All The World by Liz Garton Scalon

Illustrated by Marla Frazee

Beach Lane Books, New York, 2009

A 2010 Caldecott Honor winner, this is a story of  a family visit to the beach and a day that includes their friends, family, community and, eventually, the whole world.  Lyrical rhyming couplets invite readers to see the value in great and small.  Just beautiful.

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca

A Richard Jackson Book

Atheneum Books for Young Readers, New York, 2009

A nonfiction picture book that tells the story of the Apollo 11 moonshot and the three astronauts that made that first journey, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin. This book is beautifully drawn and colored, the text is clear and well written. The front end papers have detailed drawings of the Saturn rocket, the Columbia command module and the Eagle lunar module.  The back end papers tell the story of the NASA and the US flights to the moon.  A great book for those who love space and rocketry.  I wish we’d go back to the moon.

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Filed under Childrens, PictureBooks

Three Picture Books

In winter I often desire bright colors and beautiful images.  One way I find to fulfill this craving is by borrowing picture books from my public library.  I like to share my favorites with other readers.

The Negro Speaks of Rivers by Langston Hughes

Illustrated by E. B. Lewis

Jump At The Sun Books, New York, 2009

This is a beautifully illustrated book using the words of a powerful Langston Hughes poem and  full page water color paintings by E.B. Lewis.  I wish I could find an example of a painting from the book to show you but I could not find any on the web.  Please visit his site to see samples of his work.

The Gardener by Sarah Stewart

Illustrations by David Small

Farrar Straus Giroux, New York, 1997

This is the story of Lydia Grace Finch, forced by the depression to move to the city and help out in her Uncle Jim’s bakery.  Uncle Jim doesn’t smile.  Lydia Grace loves gardening and brings that love to a dull corner of the city, planting seeds and bulbs in what ever will hold some dirt.  Her care and generosity enliven the bakery and, eventually, the entire  neighborhood.   Told through a series of letters, wonderfully drawn and washed with color by Stewart’s husband, David Small, this is a perfect book to read in the middle of winter.

Market! by Ted Lewin

Lothop, Lee & Shepard Books, New York, 1996

From the mountains of the Andes to the souks of Morocco, Ted Lewin brings us to market.  The paintings are stunning, the faces of the people are beautiful.  This book shows many great economic and social meeting places.  They are found in Nepal, in Ireland, in the Bronx.  It shows the effort and dedication people use to make a living.

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Filed under PictureBooks

Color Online Summer Book Drive

AFGOpenHouse035 Black-eyed Susan, a women committed to education and an inspiring blogger,  runs a community library at a non-profit, Alternatives For Girls,  in her fair city, Detroit.  Color Online is running  a summer book drive to support the library at AFG.  Please visit the web site, take a look around and consider sending a book or two.

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Filed under Culture

Picture Books

Lately, I find myself reading picture books as a change from all those word-heavy pages and because I love the artwork.  The first book was one I read about on Vasilly’s blog at 1330v, it is on her list for Herding Cats II.

9780888998736The Black Book of Colors by Menena Cottin and Rosana Faria, translated by Elisa Amado. Groundwood Books, 2008.

This is one of the most beautiful picture books I’ve seen in a long time, and there is no color here.  I wish it had been published when I was an adolescent as I spent many hours trying to describe color to my dear friend Henry, who was blind from birth. It was impossible but we spent afterneens laughing about it.

The text is clear and simple and written in braille along with typeface.  The illustrations are textures embossed on ink black pages.  A sighted reader must read the book tactilely, the way a blind person would.  It will expand your or a child’s universe, and offers a starting point for discussions on different ways of experiencing the world.

061886244701_sx140_sy225_sclzzzzzzz_The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson and Beth Krommes, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 2008. The winner of the 2009 Caldecott Medal.

When I first saw the scratchboard artwork in The House in the Night it reminded me of the art in Wanda Gag’s Millions of Cats, but this is a very different book. Krommes, the illustrator, adds  yellow to deep black and the soft color brings comfort.  Light and warmth glow in the dark night.  Simple phrases and objects,  a bed, a book , a bird, lead up and out into a glorious star-filled sky and then back again to the security of a child’s bed. She is surrounded by the things she loves and those who love her.  She is safe.

A beautiful, comforting story for children and adults.

080285302101_sx140_sy225_sclzzzzzzz_A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams by Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2008. A 2009 Caldecott Honor book.

First, let me say that William Carlos Williams is one of my favorite American poets.  I am awed by his life and his work. This book is an lovely introduction to his life for the young reader or for any adult who enjoys picture books. The  layering of colors and mixed-media collage blend with the text  to illustrate important events and there are examples of his work at the end of the book.

A River of Words is the celebration of a man who chose  earn a living being a doctor and caring for others and also found the time to  follow his desire to be a poet.

Other reviews:

The House in the Night

Rebecca Reads

SherMeree’s Musings

The Well-Read Child

A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams

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Filed under PictureBooks, Review