An animal alphabet book by Langston Hughes

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The Sweet and Sour Animal Book

by Langston Hughes

illustrations by students from the Harlem School of the Arts

Oxford University Press, 1994

This collection of poems by Langston Hughes (1901-1967) is delightful, and, fortunately for us readers, still available for sale at the publisher's website and in quite a few library collections. The alphabet book for children features whimsical three-dimensional illustrations by students from the Harlem School of the Arts—who must be in their thirties by now! I'll definitely be bringing it along to read to my second-grade friends when school starts up again. Sure, it's an ABC book, but it's not for babies: on the L page, the poem begins, "A lion in a zoo,/Shut up in a cage,/Lives a life/Of smothered rage."

Second graders love jokes, and they'll enjoy the humor here, too. Just one example is the bee poem in the lower photo. The kid-created art may even inspire a project or two. The artistic medium for the goose page looks like Sculpey, or maybe Play-Doh; the artists were in the early primary grades.

Hughes wrote a number of works for children, but The Sweet and Sour Animal Book was published some thirty years after he died. The manuscript was in his papers at Yale's Beinecke library. (For a good story about how it came to be published, see Megan Drennan's 1995 article at EdWeek.) 

I photographed the street sign in Harlem at East 127th Street and Fifth Avenue, near where the author spent the last twenty years of his life. He lived in an apartment on the top floor of a brownstone there. The block of 127th between Fifth and Madison is known as Langston Hughes Place.

***

The Poetry Friday roundup for August 6th is at A(nother) Year of Reading.

The Sweet and Sour Animal Book is my sixth book for the Sealey Challenge.

LangstonHughes


My Year in Reading 2019

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Street art by Sara Fratini (@sara_fratini on Instagram), on the walls of La Libre, Calle de Argumosa, Madrid. Photo taken by me last summer. I'm on Instagram with lots of art at susanthomsen03.

Yesterday at the library I ran into Tricia Tierney, a friend and fellow blogger, and we each vowed to go home and write a blog post. Yay! Thanks, Tricia.

I'm still reading picture books, at a couple of public schools, to two classes of first graders and one of second graders, plus this year I was happy to add a small combined kindergarten/first-grade class. At a different school my husband reads to first graders, so between the two of us we still have lots of kids' books around the house. (Our own kiddo is a young adult! How did that happen? He was just a book-chewing baby yesterday.) So far the second graders' favorites are Alexis Roumanis's Dwarf Planets (nonfiction) and B.J. Novak's The Book with No Pictures (total silliness), and the first graders' fave is Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood, written by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell and illustrated by Rafael López. For the K/1 class, it was the perennially popular Turkey Trouble, written by Wendy Silvano and illustrated by Lee Harper. The conversations that follow the readings are still the best things ever. Everyone enjoys chiming in with an opinion, although occasionally some of us forget what we are going to say after we raise our hands. No matter!

My own list of favorite books of the year includes

The Carrying: Poems, by Ada Limón (Milkweed, 2018)

The Collected Schizophenias, essays by Esmé Weijun Wang (Graywolf, 2019)

Don't Read Poetry: A Book About How to Read Poems, by Stephanie Burt (Basic Books, 2019). I'm also a fan of her book The Poem Is You: 60 Contemporary American Poems and How to Read Them (Harvard, 2016).

Greek to Me: Adventures of the Comma Queen, by Mary Norris (Norton, 2019). I had the great privilege of hearing Mary, a friend and former colleague, read from her book in the Parthenon—the one in Nashville.

How to Love a Country: Poems, by Richard Blanco (Beacon Press, 2019). Blanco's memoir, The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood (Ecco, 2016), is also terrific.

Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss, essays by Margaret Renkl (Milkweed, 2019)

New Kid, a middle-grade graphic novel by Jerry Craft (HarperCollins, 2019)

Ordinary Light: A Memoir, by Tracy K. Smith (Knopf, 2015)


My Year in Reading

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I really like "A Year in Reading," the Millions' year-end series where authors talk about their favorite books of the year, and also admire Largehearted Boy's "Book Notes" series in which "authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book." Of course, I LOVE all the Best Books of the Year lists that Largehearted Boy curates as well. Inspired by all of those, I rounded up some of the best books I read in 2018.

Best picture book. The only criterion for the superlative was that it was the only one that made the second graders scream with laughter. Granted, they were wound up.

  • Knock, Knock!, by Saxton Freeman, et al. (Dial, 2007) Knock-knock jokes with a different illustrator for each page.

Most powerful nonfiction title

  • Heavy: An American Memoir, by fellow Jacksonian Kiese Laymon (Scribner, 2018). I could hear the various people in these pages talking to me, and found Heavy to be the best work since Anne Moody's Coming of Age in Mississippi for better understanding my hometown. (Speaking of Jackson, I also recommend Black Boy, by Richard Wright; Civil Wars, by Rosellen Brown; A World Turned Over: A Killer Tornado and the Lives It Changed Forever, by Lorian Hemingway; and Breach of Peace: Portraits of the 1961 Freedom Riders, by Eric Etheridge.)

¡Buenos libros! Translations from Spanish

  • The Body Where I Was Born, written by Guadalupe Nettel and translated by J.T. Lichtenstein (Seven Stories Press, 2017), and The Farm, written by Héctor Abad and translated by Anne McLean (Archipelago, 2018). How I wish my Spanish were good enough to read books in the original language. I'm working up to it slowly. I can now get through some articles in the New York Times en Español and in the more rhetorically dense El País.

Books that piqued an interest in classical music

  • The Ensemble, a novel by Aja Gabel (Riverhead, 2018)
  • Gone: A Girl, a Violin, a Life Unstrung, a memoir by Min Kym (Crown, 2017).

Books that reminded me to Read More Poetry

  • Citizen Illegal, by José Olivarez (Haymarket Books, 2018)
  • Monument: Poems New and Selected, by Natasha Trethewey (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018).

Novels that touched my heart

  • Everything Here Is Beautiful, by Mira T. Lee (Penguin Random House, 2018)
  • Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi (Knopf, 2016)
  • The Friend, by Sigrid Nunez (Riverhead, 2018). As good as everyone says it is.
  • The Great Believers, by Rebecca Makkai (Viking, 2018). Same.

Favorite Connecticut story

  • Brass, by Xhenet Aliu (Random House, 2018). Set in Waterbury.

Books that evoked the "I wish I could write like this" sentiment. (Well, this applies to everything here, but...)

  • You Think It, I'll Say It, short stories by Curtis Sittenfeld (Random House, 2018)
  • How to Write an Autobiographical Novel, by Alexander Chee (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018)

Consider the Peacock

9781476510323Recently I read the book Peacocks to the second graders, and they had a lot to say about it. The local zoo has some of these beautiful birds, and many of the kids have seen them there. Second graders are less fanciful than first graders, but every year there is someone in the class who chimes in with a tall tale during discussion time. This week not one but two children told us about peacocks who had gotten into cars with them. Logistically such a scenario seems unlikely, considering six-foot tails and all, but who I am to quibble? I usually just say something like, "Wow!" and move on.

I asked the class what other animals they would like to read about, and various students mentioned puppies, kittens, dinosaurs, and sharks. There was a lot of enthusiasm for puppies. Then, beaming, one girl added, "Tarantulas!"


Favorite Picture Books, 1st and 2nd Grade Edition, Fall 2017

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I love being a volunteer reader, and have the good fortunate to stop in weekly at a couple of first- and second-grade classes in a nearby city. At its heart, literacy is about connection. "They're reading a book, and so are we!" one first grader observed about an illustration in Windows. Yes!

This fall I bought a bunch of new books, following the suggestions of others. (See a source list, below.) 

Here are some titles, including a few older ones, that the children were especially fond of. I am linking them to Powell's so you can see them; I'm not a sales affiliate. All will work with either grade.

After the Fall, by Dan Santat (Roaring Brook, 2017). Humpty Dumpty brilliantly re-imagined.

The Book with No Pictures, by B.J. Novak (Dial Books, 2014) Hysterically hilarious. Recommendation to the adult reader: give in to the comic anarchy.

Dragons Love Tacos, written by Adam Rubin and illustrated by Daniel Salmieri (Dial Books, 2012). But don't give them spicy salsa–or else...

Jabari Jumps, by Gaia Cornwall (Candlewick, 2017). Summoning up bravery.

Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing, written by Kay Haring and illustrated by Robert Neubecker (Dial Books, 2017). A sister's loving account of the boyhood of a famous artist.

Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood, written by F. Isabel Campoy & Theresa Howell and illustrated by Rafael López (Penguin Random House, 2016). Everyone pitches in.

Mr. Huff, by Ana Walker (Penguin Random House Australia, 2015). Dealing with a bad mood. (Book Depository link)

No Kimchi for Me, by Aram Kim (Holiday House, 2017). Trying something new.

The One Day House, written by Julia Durango and illustrated by Bianca Diaz (Charlesbridge, 2017). Helping others.

Pecan Pie Baby, written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Sophie Blackall (G.P. Putnam, 2010). New baby on the way and a sibling's conflicting emotions, perfectly captured.

Windows, written by Julia Denos and illustrated by E.B. Goodale (Candlewick, 2017). Seeing the neighborhood in a new light.

 

Some good book-finding resources, just to name a few:

We're the People lists from 2015, 2016, and 2017. Recommendations from a diverse group of authors and reading professionals. 

American Indians in Children's Literature.

Crystal Brunelle's Twitter feed. Teacher/librarian and co-blogger at the site Rich in Color.

The Horn Book's Calling Caldecott blog. Considerations of picture book art.

International Latino Book Awards. Via La Bloga.

Jama Rattigan's blog Jama's Alphabet Soup. Kids' books about food.

New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children's Book Award

Tomás Rivera Book Award. Books celebrating the Mexican American experience.

A big list of resources on the "Where to Find Diverse Books" page at We Need Diverse Books

If you haven't read it already, do see Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop's important 1990 essay "Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors," available in a PDF file and posted by Reading Is Fundamental here.


1, 2 Read

This year I am a weekly volunteer reader in two first-grade classes in addition to my usual second-grade gig. All three classes of eager learners bring joy to my morning. The city where I read offers a well-organized program for school volunteers, and reading aloud is such a fun thing to do if you have the time.

I read only one book in each class, and that works out well. Even first graders have a lot of tasks to get through in a day! Their wonderful teachers also read aloud to them, with the goal of getting the kiddos as much exposure to books and stories—and literacy—we can. All the classrooms have Smart Boards, and sometimes a read-aloud is projected there. Plus, the children have access to online books and laptops at school. The teachers maintain classroom libraries, too, and one of the first graders has insisted that I visit his school library because he thinks I would like it. I hope to next week!

The last book I read to the first graders was Saturn, by J.P. Bloom, part of a planet series from Abdo Kids. The children recognized it as nonfiction right away. We learned a lot, even though the text is relatively short. Saturn has some sixty moons, you cannot stand on Saturn because it is made of gas, and more. Several folks had questions about the sun, so that will be the topic of the next read-aloud. Another title they liked was James Marshall's Red Riding Hood. During the part where RRH goes into the scary woods, which Marshall renders pitch-black, one little girl on the front row reached out to hold her friend's hand. Just the sweetest thing in the world, right? Once we got through that, and laughed in relief at the huge hairy feet of the wolf pretending to be Grandma, we talked for a bit before wrapping up. You can't forget about the tender feelings of little people.

The second graders, who are less wiggly but equally chatty, especially enjoyed Dan Santat's Caldecott-winning picture book The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend. We reminisced about imaginary friends, and I told them about mine (Mary Mércedes, accent on the first syllable, a big demander of extra place settings) when I was a little girl. On my way out of the class that day, one of the children asked, "Do you still have your imaginary friend?" I had to think about that a minute. Do I? Well, yes, I do. I think she's in here, I told the class, pointing to my head. Such a great question. This group also got a kick out of Rowboat Watkins' Rude Cakes, which gleefully turns the monster stereotype on its head. Making predictions during a crucial scene was fun.


Favorite Books I Read in 2016

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After a fun trip to Mexico City, I am ushering out 2016 reading Roberto Bolaño's novel The Savage Detectives, translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer and partially set in the Ciudad de México. A wild ride of a book, for sure! I started studying Spanish again, too, this year.

Here are some of the favorite books that I read in 2016, some published this year, others not.

Barefoot Dogs, by Antonio Ruiz-Camacho

The Narrow Door: A Memoir of Friendship, by Paul Lisicky

Peas and Carrots, by Tanita S. Davis

Leaving the Atocha Station, by Ben Lerner

The Dark Back of Time, by Javier Marías, translated from the Spanish by Esther Allen

Seeing Red, by Lina Meruane, translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell

In Other Words, by Jhumpa Lahiri, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein

The House by the Lake: A Story of Germany, by Thomas Harding

I Love Cake! Starring Rabbit, Porcupine, and Moose, written by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Angie Rozelaar

The Vanishing Velásquez: A 19th-Century Bookseller's Obsession with a Lost Masterpiece, by Laura Cumming

How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry, by Edward Hirsch

The Outrun, by Amy Liptrot

One of the best bookish things I did was taking the free online course "Literature and Mental Health: Reading for Wellbeing," offered through the UK's Warwick University on the FutureLearn platform.  The six-week course repeats on January 30, 2017; I recommend it highly, as well as FutureLearn's class on Much Ado about Nothing, presented by the University of Birmingham and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Photograph: Calle Madero, Mexico City. Photo by Norman Trepner.


2015 Best Children's Books of the Year: A List of Lists and Awards

It's raining books, hallelujah!

The holiday season means an abundance of online "best books" lists, and here on Chicken Spaghetti I collect the ones for kids' books. The focus is on material published in 2015, although you'll find that a few lineups also incorporate titles from previous years. Some of them cover way more than children's books; a mention here means that somewhere on the list is at least one kids' category. I plan to update the big list regularly.

©Susan Thomsen, 2015.

Be sure to see the magnificent list of all 2015 book lists at Largehearted Boy. And my list-loving Irish friends at St. Columba's College English Department have started their annual roundup, too. Travis Jonker, over at School Library Journal's 100 Scope Notes blog, writes about "2015 Children's Lit: The Year in Miscellanea."

AAAS: SB&F holiday gift guide. (AAAS=American Association for the Advancement of Science. SB&F=Science Books & Film review journal)

AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize finalists. Science books. 

Abby the Librarian. Favorites.

The Age. Same list as Sydney Morning Herald. (Australia)

A.V. Club. One-shot comics and graphic novels, a few for kids. Same with ongoing and serial comics.

Air & Space Magazine (Smithsonian). Aviation- and space-themed books.

Alaska Dispatch News. Favorite Alaska books include a couple for younger readers.

Alex Awards. Adult books appropriate for teens.

All the Wonders. Nonfiction.
All the Wonders. Picture books.

Alligator's Mouth (UK)

Amazon. Children.
Amazon. Young adult.

Anorak Magazine. Picture books. (UK)

Asian Pacific American Library Association (APALA) Literary Award. Via the Lee & Low Books blog.

Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). Notable books of the year.

Atlantic. One YA book on the list.

Audubon Magazine. Bird books, with a couple for children.

Australian

Autostraddle. "Top 10 queer and feminist" books and runners-up include a few YA titles.

Bank Street Center for Children's Literature: Children's Book Awards

Batchelder Award. For children's books in translation.

Ben Clanton's Squiggles & Scribbles

Birmingham Mail. Christmas books. (UK)

Blogging Through the Fourth Dimension. Teacher Pernille Ripp's YA gift list.

Blue Peter Book Awards. Shortlists. (UK)

BN (Barnes & Noble) Teen Blog

Boing Boing. A few kids' books in the gift guide.

Book Chook (Australia)

Book Dragon (Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center blog). Books for adults & children.

Book Riot. List includes YA. Same with another Book Riot list, best books "you might have missed," and audiobooks.

Book Voyagers. Young adult and new adult, mostly.

Booklist. Religion and spirituality.
Booklist. Arts.
Booklist. First novels.
Booklist. Romance fiction.
Booklist. Science and health.

BookPage. Children and teens. Plus, gift books.
BookPage. YA.

Books for Keeps. Gifts. (UK)

Books Live. A couple of titles for younger readers on a long list of reviewers' favorites. (South Africa)

Booktopia. Scroll down on the list. (Australia)

Bord Gáis Energy (BGE) Irish Book Awards shortlists. Junior and senior. (Ireland)

Boston Globe. Kids.
Boston Globe. Young adult.

Boys' Life Book Zone

Brain Pickings. Art books, including one kids' title. Same with science books.
Brain Pickings. Children's books.

British Comic Awards. Shortlists & longlists. (UK)

Brown Bookshelf

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. Blue Ribbons, for best books of the year.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's books. Gift guide (PDF). 

Bustle. Best YA book covers.

BuzzFeed. "Beautifully illustrated" picture books.
BuzzFeed. Fantasy books, including a few for kids.
BuzzFeed. Gifts for "activisty families."
BuzzFeed. Young adult.

Caldecott Medal

Canadian Children's Book Centre Awards

Carnegie Medal. For children's video.

CBC/Radio-Canada. List includes a few books for kids. (Canada)

Center for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature (Pinterest page)

Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) UK

Centro Voices. "Essential Boricua Reading for the Holiday Season" includes some kids' & YA books.

Charlotte Zolotow Award

Chen Bochui Awards (China). Via the Bookseller.

Chicago Public Library. Fiction for older readers (3rd through 8th grades).
Chicago Public Library. Informational books for older readers (3rd through 8th grades).
Chicago Public Library. Informational books for younger readers (Kindergarten through 3rd grade).
Chicago Public Library. Picture books.
Chicago Public Library. Teen fiction.
Chicago Public Library. Teen graphic novels and manga.
Chicago Public Library. Teen nonfiction.

Christchurch City Libraries (New Zealand)

Charlotte Huck Award. For fiction; sponsored by NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English).

Cleaver Magazine

Comics Alliance. Teens.

Conversations Book Club

Cool Mom Picks

Cooperative Children's Book Center. CCBC Choices. (PDF)

Coretta Scott King Book Award

Cosmos Magazine. Illustrated science books, with several for children. (Australia)

Costa Children's Book Award. Shortlist and winner. PDFs (UK)

Culture Whisper (UK)

Cuyahoga Public Library. Gifts & "great books for kids."

Cybils (Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards). Finalists in eleven categories. Winners to be announced Feb. 14, 2016.

Daily Beast

Daily Express (UK)

Daily O (India)

Denver Public Library. Gift guide.

EarlyWord. Spread sheet of various lists of best kids' books.

Edgar Awards. Sponsored by the Mystery Writers of America. Nominees, including "juvenile" and YA books. Winners to be announced April 28, 2016.

Elle UK. One kids' book on the list.

Entertainment Weekly. Comics, some for adults.
Entertainment Weekly. Gift guide: teens.

Entropy. Best fiction list includes a graphic novel for young adults.

Everything Zoomer. Gifts. (Canada)

Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction Award. See YALSA, below.

Ezra Jack Keats Awards. To be announced April 2016.

Financial Times (UK)

First Book

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

A Fuse #8 Production (School Library Journal blog). Librarian Elizabeth Bird's 100 Magnificent Children's Books 2015.

#GayYABookClub. 2015 Favorites from a Twitter chat, via Storify.

GeekDad. Gift guide, kids & adults.

Geisel Award. Beginning readers. Announced Jan. 11, 2016; link coming soon.

Globe and Mail (Canada)

Good Reads with Ronna. Picture books.

Goodreads Choice Awards. Graphic novels and comics. Some, not all, for children.
Goodreads Choice Awards. Middle grade.
Goodreads Choice Awards. Picture books.
Goodreads Choice Awards. Young adult fantasy and science fiction.
Goodreads Choice Awards. Young adult fiction.

Governor General Literary Awards. For children's literature, text (English and French), and illustrated books (English and French). (Canada)

Gransnet (UK)

Guardian. Best kids' books of the year. Plus, some author, editor, and reader favorites.
Guardian Children's Fiction Prize. Shortlist. Winner. (UK)
Guardian. Christmas books. (UK)
Guardian. Various authors' favorites of the year. See Lauren Child's picks for some children's books. (UK)
Guardian. Young Critics Competition winners. (UK)

Heavy Medal, A Mock Newbery Blog. Shortlist.

Herald (Scotland). Picture books. (UK)
Herald (Scotland). YA. (UK)
Herald (Scotland). Younger readers. (UK)

Horn Book Magazine. Fanfare, year's best.
Horn Book Magazine. Holiday High Notes, new holiday books.

Hudson Booksellers

Huffington Post. Picture books.
Huffington Post. YA.

Imagination Soup. Board books.

Independent. Books for babies. (UK)
Independent. Picture books.
Independent. Readers aged 8 to 11.
Independent. Young adult. (UK)

Indigo (Canada)

io9. Science fiction and fantasy, including some YA books.

Irish Times. Robert Dunbar's favourites. (Ireland)

Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger. Gifts recommended by a Lemuria Books staffer.
Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger. Top Mississippi books, including books for kids.

Japan Times. Books on Japan, including several for children. (Japan)

Jefferson County (Colorado) Public Library. Best monster books. Now we're talkin'.

Jewish Journal. Hanukkah books.

Jewish Press

Kansas City Star

KCUR/Johson County (Kansas) Library

Kid Lit Frenzy

KidsReads

Kirkus Reviews. Middle grade.
Kirkus Reviews. Picture books.
Kirkus Reviews. Teen. Plus, columnist Leila Roy's "stand-out YA" books of the year.

LA Weekly. LA books, one YA.

Latina Book Club. Some kids' and YA titles on the list.

Latin@s in Kid Lit

Latinas for Latino Lit

Literary Hub. Booksellers' favorites, with a couple of titles for younger readers.

Londonist. Best London books, with a couple for kids. (UK)

Lone Star Literary Life. Texas books for younger readers, and Texas YA.

Los Angeles Public Library. Children.
Los Angeles Public Library. Teens.

Lucie's List

Marin Mommies

Masala Mommas. South Asian kids' books, with some older titles. (Canada)

Maverick Graphic Novel Reading List, from the Texas Library Association.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. List includes two kids' books.

Minneapolis Star Tribune. Critics' Choices include one book for children.
Minneapolis Star Tribune. Middle-grade and YA books by Minnesota authors.

MPR (Minnesota Public Radio)

Morris Award. For debut young adult fiction. Finalists. Winner.

Motherland. Books for preschoolers. (UK)

Mountain Xpress. Kids' books by local Asheville, NC, area authors.

Multnomah County Library. Kids.
Multnomah County Library. Picture books.
Multnomah County Library. Teens.

NAACP Image Awards. Nominees in many categories, including outstanding literary works for children and for youth/teens.

Nashville Lifestyles. Southern titles, with one picture book on the list.

National Book Award for Young People's Literature

National Outdoor Book Awards

National Science Teachers Association. Outstanding science trade books for students K-12.

NBC News Latino. Latino books from small presses; one kids' title on the list.

Nerdy Book Club. Early readers and chapter books.
Nerdy Book Club. Fiction picture books.
Nerdy Book Club. Graphic novels.
Nerdy Book Club. Middle grade fiction
Nerdy Book Club. Nonfiction.
Nerdy Book Club. Nonfiction picture books.
Nerdy Book Club. Poetry and novels in verse.
Nerdy Book Club. Young adult fiction, Part 1 and Part 2.

New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards

New Scientist. One kids' book on the list. (UK)

New Statesman. Critic Amanda Craig's selections. (UK)

New York Public Library. "100 Notable Titles for Reading and Sharing."
New York Public Library. Teens.

New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books
New York Times Notable Children's Books

Newbery Medal

News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)

Nonfiction Detectives

Not My Typewriter. List includes a few books for kids.

NPR. Kids.
NPR. Young adult.

Odyssey Award. For audiobooks.

Oklahoman. Gifts.

Orbis Pictus Award. For nonfiction; sponsored by NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English).

Pages & Pages (Australia)

Parents Magazine

Parents' Choice Awards

Parnassus Musing. Gift list for children and teens.

Paste. Comic books, some for kids. 
Paste. Young adult.

Peaceful Reader

Penn GSE [Graduate School of Education] Newsroom. Ebony Elizabeth Thomas's picks.

Picture Books Blogger (UK)

Planetary Society. Books about space.

Port Huron (Mich.) Times Herald. Gifts.

Powell's Books. Plus, "picks of the season" for adults and kids.

Prime Minister's Literary Awards. Shortlists. (Australia)

Printz Award. Announced Jan. 11, 2016; link coming soon.

Project Eve Moms. Picture books.

Publishers Weekly. Comics. Some, not all, for children.
Publishers Weekly. Middle grade.
Publishers Weekly. Picture books.
Publishers Weekly. Young adult.

Pura Belpré Awards

Queensland Literary Awards (Australia)

Quill & Quire (Canada)

Rainbow List. GLBTQ books.

Raising Arizona Kids

Reading Is Fundamental

Reading (MA) Public Library

Reading Rockets. Gift guide.

Readings. Emily Gale's picks for her family. (Australia)
Readings. Junior fiction. (Australia)
Readings. Middle fiction. (Australia)
Readings. Picture books. (Australia)
Readings. Young adult. (Australia)

Red Magazine (UK)

Rich in Color. Favorite diverse books from K. Imani, Jessica, Crystal, and Audrey.

Rookie. Gifts (teens).

Royal Society Young People's Book Prize. Science books. (UK)

Sakura Medal. Nominees. (Japan)

San Francisco Chronicle. Gift guide include books for children.

San Jose Mercury News. Middle-school readers.
San Jose Mercury News. Younger readers.

Sarah Webb (Ireland)

Schneider Family Book Award. Announced Jan. 11, 2016; link coming soon.

School Library Journal. Adult books for teens.
School Library Journal. Middle grade.
School Library Journal. Nonfiction.
School Library Journal. Picture books.
School Library Journal. Top 10 audiobooks
School Library Journal. Top 10 graphic novels.
School Library Journal. Top 10 Latin@ books.
School Library Journal. Young adult.

Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction. Via Read Roger at the Horn Book.

Seattle Review of Books. Teens.

Shelf Awareness

Sibert Informational Book Award

Slate. Laura Miller's list includes a kids' book.

South Coast Today (MA)

Spectator. One kids' book included. (UK)

Spinoff  (New Zealand)

Stonewall Book Award

Sunday Express (UK)

Sydney Morning Herald. Plus, Colin Steele's gift picks, which include a couple of kids' and YA books. (Australia)

Sydney Taylor Book Awards. Sponsored by the Association of Jewish Libraries. (PDF)

Tablet Magazine. Marjorie Ingall's roundup of the best Jewish children's books.

Teaching for Change

TD Canadian Children's Literature Award shortlist

Tejas Star Reading List. Bilingual English/Spanish books, and books in Spanish.

Telegraph. Young adult. (UK)

Time

Today's Parent. Picture books. (Canada)

Tor.com. Staff favorites include some YA.

Toronto Public Library. Books for children under 5. (Canada)

Tri-City News (Canada)

USA Today. Christmas books.

Vampire Book Club. Some YA books on the list.

Victorian Premier's Literary Awards  (Australia)

Vikki VanSickle (Canada)

Vox. Comics, some for kids.

Vulture (New York Magazine). Graphic novels, some for kids.

Waking Brain Cells. Fiction.
Waking Brain Cells. Graphic novels.
Waking Brain Cells. Nonfiction.
Waking Brain Cells. Picture books.

Wall Street Journal. Gifts. Also, a "Best of the Best-of Lists" includes YA. And Meghan Cox Gurdon's list (behind a pay wall).

We Need Diverse Books/B&N [Barnes and Noble] Teen Blog

What Do We Do All Day? Picture books: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. Plus, middle grade books.

Washington Post. Children's books.
Washington Post. Graphic novels. Some, not all, for kids.

Waterstones' Book of the Year (UK)

We Need Diverse Books. Middle grade.

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults. Finalists. Winner. (YALSA = Young Adult Library Services Association) 

YALSA lists

Zooglobble. Best kids' music. Not books but still fun.


Reading Aloud, or Yay for Second Graders!

Good morning! Sheesh, Chicken Spaghetti is pretty dusty, and needs some tidying up. But before I do that, let's talk books. 

I had a really fun year reading to second graders at a nearby city school. I visit the class once a week, share a story, and then we talk. Sometimes we stay on topic.

The class favorite of 2014-2015 was the very funny Book with No Pictures, by B.J. Novak. I could have read it 52 times, and the kids would have been happy. It's a goof on the grown-up doing the reading, forcing her to utter lines like, "My only friend in the whole wide world is a hippo named Boo-Boo Butt." I read it in January, and in June that sentence was still being remembered fondly. 

Right up there with The Book with No Pictures was Rude Cakes, by Rowboat Watkins. Another hilarious title, this one led to the kids writing their own Rude stories, including one about a Rude Valentine. "On Sunday, the Rude Valentine interrupted church." I love it. 

Here are some of the other selections:

Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, by Laurie Ann Thompson & Sean Qualls

Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World's Fastest Woman, written by Kathleen Krull and illustrated by David Diaz

ZooBorns! Zoo Babies from Around the World, by Andrew Bleiman and Chris Eastland

Pecan Pie Baby, written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Madame Martine, written and illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen

Tia Isa Wants a Car, written by Meg Medina and illustrated by Claudio Muñoz

Creature Features: 25 Animals Explain Why They Look the Way They Do, by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

Kat Kong and Dogzilla, by Dav Pilkey

The Three Cabritos, written by Eric A. Kimmell and illustrated by Stephen Gilpin

For the next school year I am considering reading only folk tales and fractured folk tales. It could be really fun. Think of the vast 398.2 section in the library. Endless possibilities! 


Libraries, Peanut Butter, and Bears

School has started, and with it, I'm back in the classroom once a week, reading to second graders. So far we have read these picture books:

Tomás and the Library Lady, written by Pat Mora and illustrated by Raul Colón. A friendly bookseller at Manhattan's charming La Casa Azul recommended this one, which is sprinkled with Spanish words. Tomás, the child of migrant Texas farm workers, find a place of refuge in an Iowa library and enjoys the attention of two mentors in the "library lady" and his grandfather. It's based on the childhood experiences of Tomás Rivera, who went on to become a university chancellor.

Peanut Butter and Homework Sandwiches, written by Leslie Broadie Cook and illustrated by Jack E. Davis. A silly tale of a kid who just can't get it right, homework-wise, through no fault of his own.

The Three Bears, written and illustrated by Paul Galdone. Before hearing Mo Willems' parody Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs, the second graders needed some familiarity with the fairy tale, and Galdone's is a straight-forward rendering. Of course some knew the story already, but the discussion afterward was our longest so far. Among the kids' contributions were Destiny's keen observations about the illustrations and Miguel's announcement of his birthday. Oh, and Huynh will soon have a baby brother or sister.

Some years ago I found Galdone's work through the recommendations in Esmé Raji Codell's How to Get Your Child to Love Reading. Along with Jim Trelease's Read-Aloud Handbook, Codell's guide is a must-have resource for people who share books with young children.