We're getting there! This has been a lot of fun--can't believe we are already halfway through!
As I was unpacking my big boxes of books last week, I made a fun discovery. Without even realizing it, I ordered three different books all illustrated by Julie Morstad.
A few years ago I picked up her earlier book, When I was Small, for a friend. So I suppose I've been drawn to her illustrations for awhile. Enjoy!
I love picture books and nobody is ever "too old" for them. There, I said it, now we can move on. There are so many amazing picture books that appeal to all ages. I was inspired by sweet Danielle to write this post -- I have been wanting to share more recommendations from my day job as an elementary librarian. I am constantly browsing and buying kids' books, I might as well share the love. Each week I want to highlight a couple books, new and old, that I love.
Aviary Wonders, Inc. Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual (Kate Samworth)
This is an experimental book that is both hilariously weird and depressing. It shed light on the rapid extinction of many species while at the same time making you laugh and gawk at the beautiful illustrations.
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers (Mordicai Gerstein)
This is a fun, medium length book with lots of fun foldouts and vertical/horizontally flipped pages. It tells the (now overplayed) story of Phillipe Petit walking between the Twin Towers. The kids cannot believe it's based on a true story, so I always show this the trailer for the documentary Man on Wire directly after reading it to them. They can't believe their eyes!
I recently ordered a new picture book for the library, Miss Moon: Wise Words from a Dog Governess. It looked super cute like many books do, but when I opened up the Prime box and started flipping through it, I kinda lost it. I immediately had to Google Janet Hill and find out more about her.
She has an Etsy shop with tons (seriously, a LOT) of paintings. I love them so much!
I think I most certainly will be ordering something soon...the hard part will be deciding which one!
Closing out another year. These were my favorites this year at work.
The Day the Crayons Came Home
I don't think it's possible to write this post without including it. They are insanely popular for a reason. So clever and funny.
One of the many beautiful wordless picture books out there year. I want them all for myself!
The Only Child
Another wordless--this time with over 100 pages of brilliant, heartbreaking illustrations. It is a combination picture book/graphic novel.
First time illustrator, quojing, is from China and this story addresses the overwhelming loneliness felt by the massive generation of single children now coming of age.
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamison
Endearing graphic novel about roller derby. Great for girls or boys. It's funny, has a little edge to it, but with good taste.
Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty
Creepy story that takes place in the basement of the Biltmore Estate? Ca. 1920? Sign me up!
The Marvels by Brian Selznick
Over 600 pages which are gilded along the edges. Beautiful book! Over 2/3 of the pages are just pictures, similar to Selznick's other books. This is a very sophiscated tale of New York City, Shakespeare, and the theater in general. I was way impressed.
Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
Boy, Katherine Applegate really knows how to make you feel ALL the FEELS. Her last novel won the Newbery, The One and Only Ivan. I read it aloud to third grade every spring, so when this came out a couple months ago, I snatched it up. We are about to finish this one with fourth grade. It is a bit of a downer, but so so good. Short chapters, it gets right to the point.
Work has been pretty funny lately. For a few years, I've had four LEGO minifigures that live on my computer monitor. The kids have always liked them, but it was never that big a deal.
Well...one of them "disappeared" a few weeks ago and it rocked everyone's world. I put his picture up on the Smartboard and we all mourned together. The kids were so broken up about this, they started bringing in their own minifigures as replacements...fast forward a couple weeks and we now have a small army of characters including a librarian complete with circulation desk, computer, and red coffee mug. One particularly awesome kid made this and brought it in--the mug I use IRL in school is red...I about died.
Yesterday a couple fourth grade girls got the idea to make miniature versions of our favorite titles...the floodgates have opened...let the fun begin.
I finished a read aloud with fourth grade just in time to start Katherine Applegate's brand new book, Crenshaw, which I finished last night. So good. I read her beloved, Newbery winning The One and Only Ivan aloud to them as third graders last year so we are all completely jazzed for this.
I love this job.
I also got some quality porch sitting in with GRP and Kaylex earlier this evening. Andrew had to work late...boo
GRP has inexplicably starting referring to me as "Edew" and Andrew as "Anndew." Not sure why, but I kind of love it. His fleece onesie looks pretty comfy...it's almost time for me to drag mine out of storage!
I'm alive y'all, don't worry!
Got through our first day of kids at work, now to finish the week so we can buckle down this weekend and get the studio move finished. On the to-do list? Paint three walls, put up mural on fourth wall, put up the sign, move all the props over, clean the floors, and teach two classes. YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
Library work going well so far. Here's a few titles we're reading this week to start the year.
Oh, and I don't recommend trying to drive your nephew's Cozy Coop after drinking a margarita...you will find it troublesome...see here for more details...
I was inspired to write this post after reading one of my favorite Buzzfeed listicles of late: What 17 Adults Learned from Rereading Their Favorite Childhood Books.
I'm constantly reading picture books, graphic novels, and middle-grade chapter books at work. Our oldest grade is fourth, so I miss out on all of the YA stuff and, honestly, I'm totally okay with that.
Since starting work as an elementary librarian, I've been very focused on catching up--reading new stuff and all the stuff I've missed in the past tweny years (HA!). Easier said than done for sure.
I recently finished an absolute stunner. A.F. Harrold's The Imaginary is easily the best middle-grade chapter book I've read in years. So creepy and so DEEP. If you're not a kid, don't have kids, and don't work with kids, you should still read it. It's seriously insane.
However, this Buzzfeed list got me thinking--how about I share what I loved as a kid? I was homeschooled remember? Reading was big and Tuesdays were sublime. We went into Louisville with my Mom and Grandmother and spent major time and money at Hawley-Cooke Booksellers. Kentuckiana natives: remember Hawley-Cooke?!
I spent many hours eating Rally's (THOSE FRIES THOUGH) in the backseat of a red Volvo with my head down in these books. I've left off the classics like Charlotte's Web and Little House for a reason. Those are a given. These are ones I think need a little love. Today, I've got two very special ones for you.
All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
This series is so simple, yet so perfect. It's like Laura Ingalls Wilder transplanted in early 1900s Jewish New York City. The descriptions of the meals at the high holy days are worth it alone.
There are many passages depicting the various shops in the village, the food, the people:
"And wherever there was a bit of space too small for a regular stand, one could be sure to find the old pretzel woman. Her wrinkled face was almost hidden inside of the woolen kerchief bound round her head. Her old hands trembled as they wrapped up the thick, chewy pretzels."
This book is just full of lovely characters doing great things.
Remember Me to Harold Square by Paula Danziger
This book. Oh, where do I start?
I loved the audiobook of this one. I'm sad to say that it's only available via audio cassette on Amazon and I can't seem to find who read it?! HELP!?
Again, this book is another love letter to NYC. Can you tell I was more than a little obsessed with the Big Apple as a kid?
We vacationed there and I always said that I would live there one day. Before Andrew and I reunited the last month of college and decided to head to Norway, my plan was to head to NYC straight out of UNCA. I will always kind of wish I had lived there, but I'll take Norway, Scotland, and Austin. They were worth missing Manhattan forI suppose.
Last week before the break we read And Then It's Spring in kindergarten and first grade. This is the sweetest little book about the coming of spring and there is a fantastic SmartBoard version through Scholastic. This book is written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Erin Stead, who teamed up to do another favorite of mine, If You Want to See a Whale.
I've realized that Erin Stead might be one of my favorite illustrators working right now. I love her woodblock paintings:
Stead won the Caldecott Medal in 2011 for A Sick Day for Amos McGee, which is just wonderful.
The only problem is that there are only four books illustrated by Stead. I need more!
Can you believe that we're a quarter of the way into 2015?
How is that POSSIBLE?
January, February and March were cold, snowy, and good for consuming things. Here are my highlights.
Better Call Saul
Do I dare say it? That this show has hit the ground running and might be filling the Breaking Bad shaped hole in my heart?
Finished this show last night. Wow. That's all I have to say.
The Great British Bake Off
I've raved about this show before, but seriously, it's amazing. Here's a taste of it's greatness.
I wish I could say that I've watched The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and loved it, but I started the first episode and was definitely not in the mood. Will try again.
I have to say that this season of GIRLS has been dreadful. Anyone else out there think so? Where is it going?! No plot and no real character development. When will I put myself out of my misery with that thing...I need an intervention.The only reason I watch it now is for the soundtrack, which I have to say is fabulous.
Here are some songs that I PLAYED OUT. Like on repeat all day, every day.
Just Kids // Mat Kearney
Love Me Like You Do // Ellie Goulding
Looking forward to lots of fun stuff this spring...aka the MAD MEN final season.
Happy reading, watching, and listening.
Since last week was basically none existent for me at work...I had a different sub every day! Which means this morning I found the library in the state pictured above. Whoa. Things get a little crazy around this time. In two weeks we've got fall break, everyone's burned out and coughing.
No better time than to start on our spooky Halloween read alouds. Kids love spooky stuff. I don't read anything truly scary, but things with a subtle level of creep. Started with Lemony Snicket's The Dark today.
This book came out last year and it became an immediate favorite with all my library patrons. We love it's playful language and Jon Klassen's illustrations are always amazing. The kids always know them from other favorites like I Want My Hat Back and Extra Yarn. One of my favorite things about Klassen's illustrations is the color palette. Not the typical colors used in children's books...they are muted, earth tones most of the time, but it works.
If you want to read this alongside another book, I suggest I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll. That's what we're doing this week and the two pair very well together.
I love this biography of John Lennon, John's Secret Dreams: The Life of John Lennon by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Bryan Collier. The illustrations are strewn with lyrics, which is always nice.
To enhance the experience, I've been showing Ed Sullivan clips along with other fun Beatles videos.
I love my job, but a little part of me dies every time a kid says gleefully that Big Time Rush (who? what?!) is better than The Beatles. HA! They were trying to get me and they did.
I have posted about this before, but I can't help myself, I've got to share it again. This week in the library we broken in our new Smartboard by watching The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. I show this to all grades every year. They all love it--it's just 15 minutes of perfect. Watch it here:
I'm reading Oliver Jeffers books all week to kids at school and we are all loving it. He's pretty much perfect. Not only does he do many, many wonderful picture books, but has some truly enchanting iPad versions of his books! Read by the one and only Helena Bonham Carter!?!? The kids go crazy for this. Dying. Check it out: