Winter Break Events for Kids at ICPL

by Mari Redington on December 5th, 2017

As the holidays creep up, it’s not too early to start planning your family’s two week winter break, when the kids are home from school and the excitement of new toys and eating until your tummy aches has worn off. The library has something going on every day besides city holidays, including a family-friendly party to ring in the New Year! Events are always free and there’s something for all ages. And be sure to sign up for the Winter Reading Program to kick off 2018 with a sweet reading goal. You can register online, at the Children’s Room desk or on the Bookmobile beginning January 2nd, look for the link on our website.  Check out these library events coming up while school’s out!   Read the rest of this entry »

Mock Caldecott Reviews: Little Fox & Little Cat

by Casey Maynard on December 1st, 2017

Since last week was Thanksgiving, I am starting the reviews of our ten mock Caldecott titles with a two for one. This week I will be taking a look at Little Fox in the Forest by Stephanie Graegin and Big Cat Little Cat by Elisha Cooper. With these reviews I aim to discuss why a book has been chosen for mock Caldecott consideration without giving too much away–I want you to form your own opinions about these wonderful titles. Without further ado let’s take a look at Little Fox in the Forest  and Big Cat Little Cat. 

Earlier this year I posted a short blog about Stephanie Graegin’s Little Fox in the Forest. Not only is this wordless title absolutely adorable, but the message is heartfelt. Graegin’s use of color as narrative structure is lovely and the movement between spreads and panels sets the pacing of this title apart. Clearly written with children’s sensibilities in mind, the intricate details wrought on every page lend depth to characters and the world Graegin has made. Immensely successful artistically and emotionally, the emotive power of this text is palpable without becoming pedantic.

However, library packaging is problematic here. The endsheets are paramount to the narrative, since the dust jackets have been taped down for circulation some of the intricacies of the story can be lost. I suggest being very gentle and taking a peek under the beautiful wrap around jacket to get a glimpse of both the cover and the endsheets.

Image result for graegin little fox in the forest

 

Image result for elisha cooper big cat little cat

Elisha Cooper’s Big Cat Little Cat is a beautiful homage to love, loss and the nature of change. Set in black and white, utilizing deceptively simple illustrations and large negative spaces, Big Cat Little Cat also serves as an exploration of Yin and Yang.

A black kitten is brought into a family with an adult white cat. We see these two learn, play, grow and of course nap together. The cats are opposites in many ways, coloring, size, age, personality and yet are also completely complementary much like Yin and Yang. The visual reference to the ancient Taoist symbol is made more than once with full bleed illustrations on a striking yellow background. Like Yin and Yang, the cats are separate entities yet create balance and harmony together. The dualistic and transformative nature of Yin and Yang comes into play by the end of the narrative as well.  Simple, powerful and universal, Big Cat Little Cat tackles a tough issue with beauty and tenderness.

Image result for cooper big cat little cat

 

Wrapping up Picture Book Month

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 1st, 2017

November was National Picture Book Month. To celebrate our love for picture books, ICPL staff shared photos of their favorites on social media platform all month long. The result was a list of beloved books, both old and new. If you missed seeing them the first time around, here’s every book we recommend:

Shawna: Mister Bud Wears the Cone by Carter Goodrich

“Carter Goodrich’s stories featuring Mister Bud and his brother Zorro teach some great lessons about pets, siblings, and friends. Also the illustrations are simply adorable and hilarious!”

Erik: The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone- Roach

“I really love the pastel artwork and the bear’s big hungry eyes as he makes his journey to the delectable sandwich! And just prepare yourself for a wonderful twist at the end!”

Read the rest of this entry »

Mock Newbery Nominee: See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

by Morgan Reeves on November 28th, 2017
Mock Newbery Nominee: See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng Cover Image

Welcome to the first installment of our Mock Newbery summaries and reviews. Will See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng earn your vote for our Mock Newbery Award? Read on to find out what makes this realistic and moving story special and let us know what you think.

Read the rest of this entry »

ICPL Mock Newbery Awards

by Morgan Reeves on November 21st, 2017

Our mock awards fun is expanding to include Mock Newbery Awards this year. The real Newbery Medal is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.  For our Mock Newbery, we will vote online on ten titles released in 2017 by authors currently living in or citizens of the USA. Voting will be open from December 1st through January 31st on our Kids page. You don’t have to have read every book to vote, but read as many as you can as these are all fantastic reads. I will post book reviews of our nominees each week, so check back in if you just can’t read them all.

We’ll announce our winner on February 5, 2018 and find out if we are right when the real Newbery Medal honors are announced on February 12, 2018.

Take a peek at ICPL’s Mock Newbery nominees:

         

ICPL Mock Caldecott Awards

by Casey Maynard on November 17th, 2017

Last year we did our first ever ICPL Mock Caldecott Awards  and had more than 100 votes for the 15 titles nominated by staff. This year we have narrowed the field to ten titles released in 2017 by authors currently living in or citizens of the USA. Voting will be online this year and will be open from December 1st through January 31st. I will also be posting a review of a nominated title once a week for the next ten weeks, so be sure to check back in!

Without further ado and in no particular order, here are ICPL’s Mock Caldecott nominees:

Image result for big cat little cat elisha cooperRelated imageImage result for full of fall
Image result for jason chin grand canyonImage result for antoinette portis nowImage result for cordell wolf in the snowImage result for over and under the pondImage result for oliver jeffers here we areRelated image

 

Related image

 

More information regarding the Caldecott Award rules and eligibility can be found here.

Family Traveling for the Holidays? Bring Along an Audiobook!

by Anne Wilmoth on November 8th, 2017

Each year, while traveling literally over the river and through the woods to southeastern Michigan for Thanksgiving, I’m determined that the family unity and togetherness will start the moment we back out of the driveway. Translation: no screens, kids. Instead, I cue up an audiobook I’ve carefully selected for family listening pleasure. It can be a challenge to find something that everyone is engaged by – but when I do, it makes the miles zip by. Some we’ve enjoyed recently:

Thumbnail The Crossover by Kwame Alexander, 2014

This was a hit with everyone in the car – my 55-year-old mother-in-law, my husband, my “tween” daughter and my 6-year-old. It moves fast, and it’s written in verse – who doesn’t enjoy listening to poetry read aloud? Those who are into sports will enjoy it, as it’s about a pair of basketball-star twins and their exploits on the court, but it has plenty for the non-sports-fan as well – it’s just as much about family relationships, loyalty, and coming-of-age.

 

Thumbnail

Wonder by R.J. Palacio, 2012

This book about a fifth-grader with a facial abnormality is an excellent bridge to a family discussion about inclusion and kindness. The life of the protagonist has been shaped by the reactions of others to his striking physical differences, despite being a totally “regular kid” on the inside, and now he’s about to start at a new middle school. Different actors narrate the sections of this book, which are told from the perspective of a variety of characters. The dialogue and situations feel very authentic, and the message hits home without being heavy-handed or precious. You’ll be ready to see the screen adaptation that comes out this month!

 

Thumbnail

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, 2009

A one-of-a-kind historical sci-fi/mystery so suspenseful that you won’t want to press pause at a rest stop! Miranda tries to unravel who – or what – is behind the prophetic notes that keep appearing in her personal items. Other mysterious characters and unexplained events pop up, and there seems to be no earthly way all these intriguing but disparate elements could possibly be tied together by the end – but they are. Also, time travel, if you’re into that.

 

Thumbnail

Ghost by Jason Reynolds, 2016

Ghost is a gifted sprinter, and when he impulsively tries out for a local track team, a tough-love coach sees potential in him. But Ghost has to learn to control his anger to become a team player and succeed on the track. The audiobook is engagingly narrated by the author, who brings laugh-out-loud personality to the coach’s dialogue. This book was recently named the 2018 All Iowa Kids Read selection, so listening to it would be a great way for all your kids to participate at once.

 

Thumbnail

Full of Beans by Jennifer L. Holm, 2016

10-year-old Beans Curry cooks up schemes and gets into scrapes during one summer in Depression-era Key West. Adults will be fascinated by the historical details of how Key West was deliberately remade from an isolated and impoverished island community into a hot tourist attraction – this novel is based on true events – while kids will thrill to Beans’ wacky adventures and wonder what he’ll do next. Narrated by the author, fans of Holm’s popular Babymouse series will not be disappointed in this listening experience.

 

These audiobooks are available on CD at the library, or in digital, downloadable format via OverDrive. Happy listening, and happy, harmonious traveling this season!

 

Real Friends

by Angela Pilkington on November 3rd, 2017

Last week Publisher’s Weekly announced their best books of 2017 list. While looking over the children’s list I came across a couple titles that I had somehow missed, so I have set out to read them before the end of the year.

The first one I grabbed was Real Friends by Newbery Honor author Shannon Hale, with artwork by LeUyen Pham. This graphic novel is a semi autobiographical account of Shannon growing up from Kindergarten to fifth grade and finding her real friends.

If I told you this book did not bring up memories of my own childhood and finding friends or that I am now going through this with my own 10 year old daughter, I would be lying. I can vividly remember my mother soothing my tears and giving me her best advice on how to deal with the cruel words or actions of the girls. I now have her advice and this book to talk to my daughter with when situations, like being a part of the club arise’s.  Like Shannon in the book, there were days when I was part of the club and other days when I suddenly found myself on the outs.

That said, I still really enjoyed this book and Shannon’s story. LeUyen did a wonderful job with her artwork to bring out the emotions from Hale’s characters with facial expressions. You will truly feel Shannon’s insecurities, her happiness, her sadness, and her confusion. More importantly, though, you will feel. You’ll be feeling the entire time, but you’ll root for Shannon, and a lot of that comes from Phan’s artwork.

This story was perfect for my 10-year-old and really for any child. Real Friends looks at the complex relationships among elementary school girls and by reading it together we were able to discuss important feelings and our reactions. The book echoes to readers that good friends don’t treat you badly and that in the end, all the hard work and the journey that comes with it are worth it.

Belly Babies at the Iowa City Public Library!

by Karen Gordon on November 2nd, 2017

Parents who are expecting the pitter-patter of little feet are invited to the Iowa City Public Library’s Belly Babies.bellybabies-logo

This is a pre-birth class held in the Children’s Storytime Room each Saturday afternoon from 3-4 pm.

The topic this Saturday, November 4, 3 to 4 p.m.: Staying Fit & Fabulous, with certified yoga teacher Jenna Gibbs.

Join certified prenatal yoga teacher and University of Iowa College of Public Health researcher, Jenna Gibbs, as she discusses creative ways to stay active despite appetite changes, discomfort, & fatigue throughout all stages of pregnancy. Jenna is a mom to 2 month old Gracie, and teaches yoga at the University of Iowa and Downward Dog Yoga in Coralville.

Families at any stage are welcome, whether it’s your first or later child!

Check Out These New Books!

by Casey Maynard on October 23rd, 2017

“Rapunzel”, by Bethan Woollvin is a cut above. Prepare for a delightful and unconventional heroine. Much like her first picture book, “Little Red”, Woollvin’s next installation is a joyful romp. Be sure to look under the dust jacket for a fun surprise.

 

 

 

 

 

Image result for duncan tonatiuh danzaDuncan Tonatiuh’s “Danza” is a lovely biography of Amalia Hernández, the founder of El Ballet Folklórico de México.  If you are unfamiliar with the Folkloric Ballet this is a wonderful place to start.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image result for sam the most scaredy cat kidMo Willems took his time giving us a sequel to “Leonardo the Terrible Monster”. “Sam, the Most Scaredy-Cat Kid in the World” is a fun extension for these beloved characters and, per usual, Willems delivers high quality frivolity. Look for pigeon cameos, and read back to back if you want to see the play between the two books.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 “In Your Hands” by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Brian Pinkney, is not only timely but beautifully rendered. It encompasses what we all hope for our children, brothers and sisters as they set out into the world. While God and prayer are central here, this title resonates on a truly humanitarian level.Related image