Children’s Literature

7 Ate 9: a Mathematical Detective Tale

7 Ate 9: a Mathematical Detective Tale

Cindy: 7 Ate 9: The Untold Story (2017) by Tara Lazar will have young readers adding up clues in order to understand 9’s mysterious disappearance. A panicked 6 awakens Detective Al F. Bet, snoozing at his desk, to tell him 9 is missing. Rumor has it that 7 ate 9—and 6 is sure that 7 is coming for him […]

Roald Dahl’s Imaginormous Challenge

Roald Dahl’s Imaginormous Challenge

  Last fall, to commemorate Roald Dahl’s hundredth birthday, the late author’s estate and publisher launched a year-long celebration of all things Dahl. (We celebrated by eating crow—to read all about how Booklist has slagged off Dahl’s writing over the years, click here.) In March, the Roald Dahl Literary Estate and others kicked off Roald Dahl’s Imaginormous Challenge—a contest that closes […]

Hold the Bulldozers: Middle-Grade Books Take on Developers

Hold the Bulldozers: Middle-Grade Books Take on Developers

Lynn: The theme of kids taking on greedy developers is not new or uncommon in books for kids—remember, Carl Hiaasen’s Hoot (2002) won a Newbery Honor. But this year alone, I’ve already read three books with this central issue. Is this a movement? See for yourself. (And readers, if I’m missing any titles, let me know!)   The […]

Book Trailer Thursday: CINNAMON by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is known for his ability to weave myths and fairy tales, and his latest picture book continues with this trend. In this week’s Book Trailer Thursday, we get a peek at Gaiman’s latest tale Cinnamon, which is beautifully illustrated by Divya Srinivasan. A talking, man-eating tiger is the only one who is able […]

True Crime for Middle-Graders: KATE WARNE PINKERTON DETECTIVE

True Crime for Middle-Graders: KATE WARNE PINKERTON DETECTIVE

Lynn: We love finding picture books for Mystery Month! Kate Warne: Pinkerton Detective (2017) by Marissa Moss is not only a picture book biography of the first woman detective, but tells the story of Warne’s role in a pivotal case that helped establish the reputation of the Pinkerton Agency. It’s true crime for the middle-grade […]

Rereading Mysteries, Reveling in Childhood Nostalgia: Not Overrated

Rereading Mysteries, Reveling in Childhood Nostalgia: Not Overrated

When I started my “mystery mystery” project last year, I really enjoyed going through my collection and pulling mysteries to put into brown paper bags in order to entice students to read those books.  I grew nostalgic thinking of my own mystery-loving self as an elementary school kid. But as I wrapped up the books, […]

Sniffing Out Mysteries: KING & KAYLA

Sniffing Out Mysteries: KING & KAYLA

Cindy: Bookends begins Mystery Month 2017 with a new beginning mystery reading series for young readers about a girl and her dog. Kayla and King are both formidable investigators in their own right, but together, they are invincible. King & Kayla and the Case of the Missing Dog Treats (2017) serves up a simple mystery […]

Two Picture Books Celebrate Spring

Two Picture Books Celebrate Spring

Lynn: It’s hard to get very far from water here in West Michigan! Ponds, lakes big and small, rivers, and creeks are everywhere—and that means ducks and geese are ubiquitous. One sure sign of spring is the sight of duck couples waddling around the neighborhood, looking for the perfect place to make a nest. They […]

OUT OF WONDER: Poems Celebrating Poets

OUT OF WONDER: Poems Celebrating Poets

Lynn: Regular readers know that we are seldom speechless—but that’s exactly what I was however when I finished Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets (2017) by Kwame Alexander, Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth. My powers of speech have definitely returned, but the awe has remained. There is so much that I love about this book that […]

Against Bedtime: Picture Books for Sleep-Averse Toddlers

Against Bedtime: Picture Books for Sleep-Averse Toddlers

Lynn: I haven’t mentioned the Focus Group in a while. Currently, the oldest members are 13, the youngest three. They are all still highly opinionated about books. Little Oscar, definitely his own person, trundles around entertaining himself and doing his own thing. Oscar loves books, favoring anything about cars, trucks, and machines. He does not […]