Children’s Literature

Stars in Their Eyes: Two Space-y Picture Book Biographies

Stars in Their Eyes: Two Space-y Picture Book Biographies

Cindy: True confession: I’m not a Trekkie. But everybody knows Spock, even those who’ve never watched the Star Trek television series. I was familiar with Spock’s signature Vulcan salute, but I didn’t know that Leonard Nimoy created it when he rejected the idea, during filming, of using a traditional handshake. The shape originates from Jewish […]

Channel Spring with Kevin Henkes’ EGG

Channel Spring with Kevin Henkes’ EGG

Lynn: In the winter, it is especially good to be a librarian! We have to look ahead and buy spring books, so they’ll be here when the crocuses pop and the first baby birds hatch. At the top of my spring picture books list this year? Egg, by the masterful Kevin Henkes. Perhaps there is nobody better at […]

Calpurnia Tate for Younger Readers

Calpurnia Tate for Younger Readers

Cindy: Well, I’ll be skunked! When Lynn shared a copy of the first volume in Jacqueline Kelly’s new Calpurnia Tate: Girl Vet series. I was dubious. While I adore Kelly’s original stories, I fretted this new series, aimed at younger readers, would pale in comparison. I needn’t have worried—Skunked! is delightful. Callie Vee tells the story […]

ALA Euphoria

ALA Euphoria

Lynn and Cindy: We are back from the inspiring ALA Midwinter Meetings in Atlanta and beginning to catch up on sleep and work. During that historical moment, it was perfect to be with so many like-minded people. Suffice it to say, the word “march” turned out to be a major theme that weekend. The Youth Media […]

Buried in Books and Sticky Notes

Buried in Books and Sticky Notes

Cindy: Lynn and I are just back from the 2017 American Library Association Midwinter Meetings, and we’re still in the process of unpacking the books we scored at the exhibits and preview events. Posted by John David Anderson (author of last year’s Ms. Bixby’s Last Day) landed at the top of my luggage. Due in May, the novel concerns […]

Boring, Illinois is Anything But in THE MATCHSTICK CASTLE

Boring, Illinois is Anything But in THE MATCHSTICK CASTLE

Cindy: Hang on to your soccer ball and watch out for wild boars. . . have we got an adventure for you! Keir Graff’s new middle-grade novel, The Matchstick Castle (2017) is pure, wacky fun. [Editor’s note: Keir is both the executive editor of Booklist and the editor emeritus of The Booklist Reader.]  Protagonist Brian’s summer […]

Sensory Overload for the Toddler Set: Rachel Isadora’s I HEAR A PICKLE

Sensory Overload for the Toddler Set: Rachel Isadora’s I HEAR A PICKLE

Lynn: I have been hanging out with a three-year-old lately (the youngest member of our focus group), and he has reminded what an interesting age three is. He and his cohort are observant, experimental, energetic, and capable of surprising focus when something interests them. They’ve moved beyond board books and love picture books with well-demarcated illustrations, sound effects, […]

Bookends Favorites 2016: Focus Group Favorite Picture Books

Bookends Favorites 2016: Focus Group Favorite Picture Books

Lynn: The youngest members of our focus group members (pictured below) are now six and three. Like the other three boys in the group, they have strong opinions! Here are their 2016 favorites of the many we’ve read together this year. I added three more titles at the end that are personal favorites of mine. 1 […]

Bookends Favorites 2016: Lynn’s Favorite Middle-Grade and YA

Bookends Favorites 2016: Lynn’s Favorite Middle-Grade and YA

Lynn: It’s that time again! Time for Cindy and me to announce our favorite books of the year. We are making no attempt to pick the year’s award winners—just to list the books we loved reading in alphabetical order. Because I don’t have Cindy’s discipline and always have a terrible time narrowing my choices, I […]

CLOTH LULLABY: Louise Bourgeois for Kids

CLOTH LULLABY: Louise Bourgeois for Kids

Cindy: Early last year, when I first heard about a forthcoming picture book biography of artist Louise Bourgeois, I wasn’t sure what to think. An abstract expressionist best known for giant spider sculptures and frank sexual themes seemed like an odd choice for a kids’ book; Sarah Hunter noted as much in her starred Booklist review of […]