Author Archive for Casey Maynard



Ocean Meets Sky

by Casey Maynard on December 7th, 2018

Ocean Meets Sky  This week for ICPL’s Mock Caldecott, I’m taking a look at the Fan Brothers’ Ocean Meets Sky. This sibling duo has been featured in ICPL’s Mock Caldecott every year that we’ve had one, starting with their debut picture book, The Night Gardener. There’s a reason for this. Consistently, these brothers are producing picture books with whimsical, fantastic, and emotive narratives that also pack an illustrative punch.

There is a prolific children’s book creator who you will see referenced throughout the rest of our Mock Caldecott–Maurice Sendak. Arguably one of the best known children’s book creators of all time, multiple authors and illustrators have paid him tribute this year. His work, his studio space, and even a nib pen he used to own, will all come into play throughout the rest of our Mock Caldecott. This is not something the actual committee can discuss, but since we’re not the committee, let’s have some fun! Read the rest of this entry »

Julián is a Mermaid

by Casey Maynard on November 30th, 2018

Image result for julian is a mermaidThe next title up for review in ICPL’s 2019 Mock Caldecott is Jessica Love’s debut picture book, “Julián is a Mermaid”. Utilizing very sparse text, Love relies heavily on her lustrous illustrations for her narrative. In fact, there are only 92 words in this 32 page picture book and the story can be inferred without the text at all. From endsheet to endsheet, even including the back flap, there is not a single iota of space that has not seen narrative use for Julián’s story.

Overall, this is a journey, both real and figurative, about unconditional love and acceptance, both of ourselves and others. Abuela shows Julián that she will not only care for him, but will help him find his way no matter where it leads him.  Read the rest of this entry »

Hello Lighthouse

by Casey Maynard on November 23rd, 2018

Hello Lighthouse

The next book up for your consideration in our mock Caldecott series is Sophie Blackall’s “Hello Lighthouse”.  Following a lighthouse and its keeper through their final years together, this story is quietly introspective, bittersweet and informative.

What sets this book apart is its incredible design and Blackall’s attention to details. The moment I picked it up earlier this year I was immediately struck by the shape and feel of the book and how it mimics the tall narrow lighthouse. Yet, inside, Blackall uses circular patterns to illuminate the circular nature of the structure, the cycles of life and the passing of time. Read the rest of this entry »

The Prince and the Dressmaker

by Casey Maynard on November 16th, 2018

The Prince and the Dressmaker The first of our Mock Caldecott selections up for review is Jen Wang’s “The Prince and the Dressmaker”. Set in Paris at the turn of the century, this graphic novel is part realistic fiction, part fairy tale and wholly delightful. Not only is the story exquisite, expanding on all of the wonderful fairy tale tropes with which audiences are familiar, but the visual storytelling is truly remarkable.

Since we’re focusing on the art, all I will say plot wise is that this is about a young prince, Sebastian, who enjoys dresses and whose parents are trying to find him a marriage match. He happens across an up an coming haute couture seamstress, Frances, who agrees to make dresses for him to wear in secret. Tensions arise as Frances tries to reconcile wanting to help Sebastian and keep his secret with wanting to further her career. Read the rest of this entry »

ICPL’s 2019 Mock Caldecott Awards

by Casey Maynard on November 12th, 2018

In preparation for the ALA’s Youth Media Awards librarians and educators all over the country are talking about who could win, in particular the Newbery and Caldecott. Here at ICPL we like to host our own mini version of the awards in the months leading up to the announcement. This year we have narrowed the field of Caldecott eligible titles to 10. I will review one each Friday until we announce ICPL’s winners on January 25th. Voting for the ICPL’s mock awards will begin on December 1st and run through January 21st.

Without further ado, here is the list of ICPL’s Mock Caldecott contenders for 2019–disclaimer they are listed and will be reviewed in order of publication date.

Read the rest of this entry »

Looking for a Level ____ Book?

by Casey Maynard on October 16th, 2018

Have you ever come to the children’s desk and asked “Where can I find the level 1 books?” or “Where are your books with a Lexile number of….?” and received a long-winded round about answer? At the ALSC National Institute in Cincinnati, I attended a wonderful session on the history and uses of leveling and I thought that since I hear the leveling question often, this information would be useful for our community.

It is well known that leveled reading is a dominant educational structure that most if not all caregivers and children learning to read will find themselves functioning within. Leveling books can be an extremely helpful tool in terms of finding books that children will be able to read independently. But it is just that, a tool, a guideline, not a hard and fast rule. If you take one thing away from this blog post I hope it is this: there is no such thing as a book that is ‘too easy’ or ‘too difficult’ for a reader at any level.   That’s a bold statement right? But when you think about the why, it really starts to make sense. Read the rest of this entry »

And the Winners are…

by Casey Maynard on February 2nd, 2018

I am happy to present the medalists and honorees for ICPL’s 2018 Mock Youth Media Awards. Without any further ado here they are–

The Newbery Medal goes to:
Image result for pashmina chanani

The Newbery Honor titles are:

Real Friends by Shannon Hale

Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

Midnight without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson

Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

 

 

 

The Caldecott Medal goes to:

Image result for little fox in the forest graegin

The Caldecott Honor titles are:

Big Cat, Little Cat by Elisha Cooper

Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell

Grand Canyon by Jason Chin

Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

 

Thank you to everyone who participated in ICPL’s 2018 Mock Awards! We will be making an announcement with the real winners on February 12th.

Mock Caldecott Review: Here We Are

by Casey Maynard on January 26th, 2018

Image result for oliver jeffers here we areLast, and last to be published in 2017, but certainly not least in our Mock Caldecott review series is Here We Are: notes for living on planet Earth by acclaimed author-illustrator, Oliver Jeffers.

Written for his son during the first few months of his life, Here We Are is exactly what the title suggests, a guide to life on our planet. With his singular illustration style and tongue in cheek humor, Jeffers takes us through what makes Earth, Earth, and in the process what makes us, human. The overarching theme throughout is respect for our planet, ourselves and one another.

“It looks big, Earth. But there are lots of us on here so be kind. There is enough for everyone.”

Be sure to watch out for characters from other books throughout the illustrations and read the quotations he has chosen for the dedication and copyright pages. Also, don’t forget to vote in our Mock Caldecott awards by January 31st.

Image result for here we are jeffers reviewRelated image

Mock Caldecott Review: Over and Under the Pond

by Casey Maynard on January 19th, 2018

Image result for over and under the pond messnerThe third installment in a nonfiction picture book series, Over and Under the Pond, is a delightful exploration of freshwater ecology for young readers.

A mother and son spend the day on the water discussing the various forms of life they encounter over the pond and in “the hidden world” below the surface. The mixed media illustrations by Christopher Silas Neal, highlight the childlike sense of wonder conveyed vividly within the delicate prose and examine this brimming ecosystem from varied perspectives. The soothing color palette and gentle text work together to make this a perfect read for quiet times that imparts knowledge without becoming dry or inaccessible. Well researched back matter provides further information about each of the animals highlighted in the book as well as resources for further reading, making this title great for classroom and instructional use as well.

Be sure to take a look at the other two books in the series, Over and Under the Snow, and Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt which are equally lovely. And if you love this title don’t forget to vote in our Mock Caldecott awards before January 31st.

Image result for over and under the pond messner

Related image

Mock Caldecott Review: The Antlered Ship

by Casey Maynard on January 12th, 2018

Related imagePrepare to go on a quest seeking the answers to Marco the fox’s world of questions. The journey may be tough, and you may go hungry. But in the end you’ll be much wiser, though the questions have changed and many have gone unanswered. The Antlered Ship serves as a lovely reminder that the journey is just as if not more important than the destination.

As lyrical as it is visually stunning The Antlered Ship delivers a narrative packed with multiple juxtaposed tones. Humor and gloom walk hand in hand, existentialism meets realism and whimsy, danger. The art and text perfectly compliment each other with the Fan brothers bringing great emotive depth to their otherwise non anthropomorphic animal characters.

Be sure to check out the Terry and Eric Fan’s works from 2016, The Night Gardener and The Darkest Dark and if The Antlered Ship is your favorite be sure to vote in our Mock Caldecott awards by January 31st. Related image

Image result for the antlered ship