Kids: Vote at ICPL for the 2018 Children’s Choice Book Award!

by Anne Wilmoth on March 2nd, 2018

Kids, here’s your chance to make your voice heard at the ballot box: vote for the Children’s Choice Award in the ICPL Children’s Department throughout the month of March!

The Children’s Choice Award is the only national book award given only by children and teens. There are five books nominated (also chosen by kids in school libraries around the country) in each of three age group categories: kindergarten to second grade, third to fourth grade, and fifth to sixth grade.

Visit our voting booth and fill out the secret ballot for your age group category. The winners will be announced when voting ends everywhere on May 6!

For a full list of this year’s nominees, click here.

Kids can also vote online (instantly and without entering any personal information) by visiting







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:
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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 Newbery Nominee: Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson

by Morgan Reeves on January 31st, 2018
Mock Newbery Nominee: Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson Cover Image

This is the last Mock Newbery summary and review before voting ends and we declare a winner! Our final nominee is Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson. This intense piece of historical fiction delves into racism, identity and the choices we make.

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Mock Newbery Nominee: The Someday Birds by Sally J. Pla

by Morgan Reeves on January 24th, 2018
Mock Newbery Nominee: The Someday Birds by Sally J. Pla Cover Image

Welcome to the penultimate Mock Newbery summary and review! Today we’ll consider The Someday Birds by Sally J. Pla. This story is all about understanding life and what it means to be a family. Will this heartfelt and humorous story connect with you?

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Happy Library “Shelfie” Day!

by Anne Wilmoth on January 24th, 2018

In 2014, the New York Public Library declared the fourth Wednesday in January to be National Library Shelfie Day – that’s a day dedicated to snapping selfies in front of library shelves, of course! Launching an Instagram campaign encouraging library users to post “shelfies” alongside the hashtag #libraryshelfie, NYPL hoped to reach tweens, teens, and young adults – those demographics for which the selfie seems to be omnipresent.

Well, I’m a late adopter of the smartphone and not totally comfortable with the selfie as a concept, but I do love libraries and books. And I realized this morning that in just one day of work as an Iowa City Public Library children’s librarian, I encountered numerous library shelves beyond the traditional downtown building. We are out in the community bringing the library to you! 

Here’s my #libraryshelfie on the bookmobile!

Find our current bookmobile schedule here.

The bookmobile is a “boutique” library service – we have limited space, so only the best books make it to the shelves here. Better yet, new and popular books that are perpetually checked out at the downtown building can often be found on the bookmobile!

Next I snapped a #libraryshelfie in front of our outreach collection at the Pheasant Ridge Neighborhood Center. The Neighborhood Center serves as a family resource center for the residents of the Pheasant Ridge Apartments, where a large portion of Iowa City’s immigrant and refugee population settles. The library maintains a collection here for residents to enjoy – and each month, we stop in and switch up the books on display, reshelve items, and ensure it’s looking tidy and inviting. Find out more about the Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County here.


Then I went to Alexander Elementary School for storytime with the preschoolers there! Each month, ICPL children’s librarians visit over thirty-five preschools to extend their classroom curriculum with early literacy activities and encourage them to visit the library with their families. At some sites, students also visit the bookmobile and select books for their classroom.

After I shared books, flannel board stories, fingerplays, and musical instruments with these kids, I asked them to pose for a #libraryshelfie in front of their classroom library!

And then I was back at the downtown library for one last #libraryshelfie. Happy Library Shelfie Day! 




Mock Newbery Nominee: Hello Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

by Morgan Reeves on January 17th, 2018
Mock Newbery Nominee: Hello Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly Cover Image

In the eighth week of our Mock Newbery summaries and reviews we’ll look at Hello Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly. This story of coincidence, fate, and friendship is a quick read with memorable characters. Can it earn your vote?

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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

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Mock Newbery Nominee: Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

by Morgan Reeves on January 10th, 2018
Mock Newbery Nominee: Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan Cover Image

In the seventh week of our Mock Newbery summaries and reviews we’ll look at Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan. This slice of life story is all about overcoming fears, growing up, and the importance of community.

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Mock Caldecott Review: Grand Canyon

by Casey Maynard on January 5th, 2018

Image result for grand canyon jason chin

This week we are taking a look at Jason Chin’s Grand CanyonIf you are unfamiliar with Chin’s nonfiction works, I encourage you to give Gravity, Redwoods, Coral Reefsand Island a look as well.

Grand Canyon is a fabulous story about a father and daughter exploring this natural wonder and serves as a young reader’s reference guide to the canyon’s geology and ecology past and present. Readers of all ages will find something to enjoy from the narrative and the immersive artwork to the heavily researched back matter. Chin’s book design soars using every piece of the pages to further illuminate life in and the history of the canyon. His use of marginal imagery is particularly lovely. Also be sure to note the wonderful fossil cutouts that set up page turns to the distant past and the fantastic gatefold vista at the end.

Check this one out and let us know if it’s your favorite by voting in ICPL’s Mock Caldecott Awards by January 31st.

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Let’s Make Music!

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on January 4th, 2018

If you’ve ever attended Storytime at the Library, you know music is just as important to the program as the stories themselves.

“Music before the program sets the stage and warms up everyone into thinking fun,” Karen said. “At Book Babies, we sing lots of songs and we repeat the songs because research shows that children learn through repetition. Repeating the songs helps babies and toddlers learn words.”

The Children’s Room staff attended Kids First last spring and learned even more about the importance of music education from singer-educator Carole Stephens. One of the facts she shared is that 90 percent of the brain is used when a child actively participates in music.

A parent recently contacted the Library to ask if we have playlists for our Storytime music. The answer is yes and no.

“For the most part, we import CDs from our collection onto our iTunes database and customize our playlists for each storytime,” Mari said. “Every librarian has their favorites that tend to get played more often, though.”

Most Storytimes often start with “Clap Your Hands” by Lisa DeRosia, “Clap Everybody and Say Hello” by Kathy Reid-Naiman, “I’m in the Mood” by Raffi, or “Oh Hi Hello” by Jim Gill. Other songs/artists you’ll often hear include: “The More We Get Together;” Laurie Berkner; Carole Peterson; Raffi; and Old Town School of Folk Music (Songs for Wiggleworms).

So yes, we have playlists for Storytimes, but no, they aren’t something that can be checked out by patrons.

There is a bright side, though.

“We use a lot of music that is in our Children’s CD collection,” Karen said. “I have had many parents ask for the name of the artist or album after Storytime.”

So if there’s a song you and your child enjoy at Storytime, or you want to expand the repertoire of songs you sing at home, ask the Children’s Room staff for their recommendations. Your question might even launch an impromptu singalong.

Hey, those songs are catchy!