Mock Newbery Nominee: Refugee by Alan Gratz

by Morgan Reeves on December 20th, 2017
Mock Newbery Nominee: Refugee by Alan Gratz Cover Image

Welcome to the fourth week of Mock Newbery summaries and reviews. This week’s title is Refugee by Alan Gratz, the intertwined story of three refugee children and their families from different points in history. Will this suspenseful story of harrowing journeys and action-packed history win a place on your mock ballot?

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Mock Caldecott Review: Now

by Casey Maynard on December 15th, 2017

Image result for now antoinette portisAntoinette Portis consistently creates delightful read alouds for children and her latest, Nowis a treasure. A young girl shows us her favorite things including a paper boat, a song, a worm and mud. As we follow her throughout her day it becomes apparent that everything she does and has is her favorite, because it is what she is experiencing in the moment.

The exception emerges at the end of the title with her “favorite now”. Pay particular attention to Portis’s masterful use of negative space, vibrant colors and exaggerated brush strokes encouraging breath and space throughout.  Not only is this picture book a joy to read, but much like Wait before, it serves as a reminder to slow down and live every moment to its fullest potential.

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Mock Newbery Nominee: Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani

by Morgan Reeves on December 12th, 2017
Mock Newbery Nominee: Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani Cover Image

In the third installment of our Mock Newbery summaries and reviews you’ll have a chance to decide if Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani is a story worthy of your vote. This graphic novel follows Priyanka, a second generation Indian-American, as she struggles with questions of identity and family secrets.

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Mock Caldecott Review: Full of Fall

by Casey Maynard on December 8th, 2017
Mock Caldecott Review: Full of Fall Cover Image

Librarians and educators are constantly seeking books about seasons and revisit perennial favorites for storytimes and classroom use year after year. Full of Fall has quickly become one of those favorites.

Utilizing short rhyming text with breathtaking photos of fall foliage, animals and scenes, April Pulley Sayre gives readers a lush reminder of why fall is so lovely. Combined with a hearty amount of backmatter including information regarding why leaves change color, how animals prepare for winter and which trees are marcescent, this title is perfect for older readers looking to glean more information about seasonal change as well. A photo illustrated book has never won the Caldecott, Full of Fall would be a perfect first.

On a personal note, as a fellow Hoosier, from the northwest part of the state, I loved seeing some of my childhood stomping grounds represented here. In particular Sayre has used fantastic scenes from Potato Creek State Park and Warren Dunes . Also, sometimes I really miss seeing the red pine squirrels featured in this title–they’re just so cute!

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Mock Newbery Nominee: Well, That Was Awkward by Rachel Vail

by Morgan Reeves on December 6th, 2017
Mock Newbery Nominee: Well, That Was Awkward by Rachel Vail Cover Image

I hope you’re ready for the second installment of our Mock Newbery summaries and reviews. Does Well, That Was Awkward by Rachel Vail have what it takes to get your vote? Read on for my take on this funny, and  yes, awkward coming-of-age story.

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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.

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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.

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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!”

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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.

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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: