Staff Picks for Children

When you're in the Library, be sure to browse the "Staff Picks" display for additional staff suggestions.

!Piensa en Grande!

(2005)
 An alphabet book that explores self-esteem

Piensa en Grande,es un libro que cambia la manera de pensar de Vinney cuando el mundo le dice que es muy pequeno. Vinney no puede alcanzar libros en la biblioteca,no puede encestar la bola en el canasto de baloncesto, y otros ninos mas grandes le quitan la bola en el receso. Vinney muy triste le cuneta a su mama lo que le esta sucediendo y ella le aconseja que debe pensar en grande y le sugiere maneras de hacerlo. Desde entoncestodo cambia en la vida de Vinney.

Es una historia  que le ayuda a transforma una situacion no muy positiva en una ni feliz en todo lo opuesto.Vinney aprende grandes lecciones que le ayudan a pensar en grande sin cambiar su tamano. Tambien entiende que aunque a veces sea dificil ser pequeno en el mundo, tambien tiene sus privilegios. 

http://www.infosoup.org/record=b1702033~S77- Lucia no esta contenta con su apariencia y una hada viene a ayudarla.

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A Violin for Elva

(2015)
A Violin for Elva

 

Elva hears and witnesses (while peeking through a hedge) a beautiful violin. She asks her parents (even saying please!) for a violin of her own. They say no. Elva pretends all through her childhood, and as she grows up, then forgets her violin. But even with her grown up job, every time she sees or hears music being played she remembers her childhood dream. She listens to violin music and imagines herself making the music herself. When Elva is an old woman, she imagines “what might have been—” and buys herself a violin. She tries to make music, but it doesn’t work, and she puts away the instrument, until she decides to take lessons, even participating in a recital with young children. Elva is finally making music. The charming watercolor and ink illustrations beautifully convey Elva’s wistful, sad, and joyful feelings towards her music. The 1st Violin part for Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik is featured on the endpapers. (To hear a fantastic rendition of this piece, check out First Steps in Classical Music). While this story will be good to use with young elementary students to exemplify the principal of never giving up on a dream, it might also be a good choice to pass along to a dejected teen or adult who needs a boost of confidence.

For another look at a character who learns to play the violin and change the world, read Mole Music by David McPhail.

 To learn more about the violin, read What in the World is a Violin?

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Humphrey's Really Wheely Racing Day

(2014)
Humphrey's Really Wheely Racing Day

 

Humphrey the Hamster, of Room 26 at Longfellow School, has been a popular character for readers since his debut in 2004 in the chapter book The World According to Humphrey

Now he is accessible to readers just starting chapter books in the Humphrey’s Tiny Tales series. Every weekend, Humphrey is excited to learn which classmate he will be heading home with. When he arrives at Mandy’s house, he meets her pet hamster Winky, who has a car that he runs with a hamster wheel. Humphrey loves the car and is disappointed when he has to go back to school. The teacher Mrs. Brisbane buys a car for Humphrey and the two hamsters plan for a race. The black and white illustrations complement the text nicely.

 Don’t miss the second book in the series, Humphrey’s Playful Puppy Problem.

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Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?

(2014)
Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?

This adaptation of a traditional children’s song features a little boy singing as he searches the house for his dog, in order to give him a walk.  (The boy, with his orange hair and circular glasses frames, reminds me a bit of Sherman of “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” fame.)  Holm’s humorous illustrations enhance the song’s simple message; the boy looks to have a difficult time keeping track of things, while his spunky little dog likes to hide and explore.    Readers will have fun finding the dog on each page spread (before the boy does), and can extend the fun by identifying the jumble of objects in the boy’s house: dog toys, cookie cutters, hangers, shoes separated from their match, etc.  For added toddler sensory interest, there is raised lettering and graphics on the cover.

This book is recommended for ages 0-3.

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Gingerbread for Liberty

How a German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution (2015)
Gingerbread for Liberty

 

This unusual informational picture book tells the story of “the baker”—a German man who is never named until the author’s note at the end of the book. Christopher Ludwick was a German immigrant who lived in Philadelphia during the American Revolution. He had served as a soldier in Germany, but was too old to help General Washington in this way. However, he was an excellent baker well known for his gingerbread. He joined the Continental Army as its main baker. When King George hired Hessian soldiers to fight for the British side, the baker undertook a successful, secret night mission to meet those soldiers stationed at Staten Island, where he told them of his America. The author’s note tells more about the facts known about Ludwick’s life in Philadelphia as a baker. A recipe for gingerbread is available on the endpapers. Kirsch’s watercolor illustrations are fantastic, the figures appear appropriately flat like gingerbread, with white details that resemble icing.

To learn more about another hero of the American Revolution, read Molly Pitcher: the Woman Who Fought the War, or

Henry and the Cannons: an Extraordinary True Story of the American Revolution.

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Katie and the Fancy Substitute

(2015)
Katie and the Fancy Substitute

 

In this latest installment of the Katie Woo early reader series, Katie arrives at school to discover that Miss Winkle is out sick. Miss Bliss is the substitute, and with her jingly bracelets and sparkly shoes, the girls in the class declare her fancy. Katie desperately wants to impress Miss Bliss, but doesn’t get called on, drops the instruments, and falls down after slipping in paint. She starts to feel badly about herself, but Miss Bliss reassures her that she is just fine the way she is. Katie is a spunky character that many girls will relate to. At the back of the book are instructions for making a “tinkling tambourine”, and directions to the publishers website for more fun with Katie Woo.

Check out the first Katie Woo book, A Happy Day.

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Hope Springs

(2014)
Hope Springs

 

This picture book starts with three children from an orphanage in Kenya, Boniface, Charles, and Mueni, traveling to a spring for water during a drought. The spring gave water slowly and people waited in long lines to fill their containers. The orphans are refused water because they “live here, but…are not from here”. They return to the orphanage without the needed water. Boniface checks on the well that is being dug by the orphanage with hope that water will soon be found. When water is struck, the situation for the orphans changes dramatically. And it is Boniface who finds a way to show kindness to those people at the spring who were so unkind to him.

 

This book is based on real children living at the Rolling Hills Residence in Mbooni District, Kenya. The author includes extensive back-story about the Kyamutuo Spring—“a trickle of water that dripped out of the rocks, pooling in a small muddy depression. It was the only source of water for 800 people—for drinking, for cooking, for their livestock and for irrigating crops”. The children really were turned away from the spring, meaning the orphanage desperately needed another source of water. A well was built, water was found, and the children found a way to share the well water with the villagers who had turned them away.

 For another look at one of Eric Walter’s stories about Kenya, read My Name is Blessing.

To learn more about Kenya, read We Visit Kenya.

 

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Won Ton and Chopstick

A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku
Won Ton and Chopstick
Won Ton A Cat Tale

 

In this twist on the “new baby in the house” story, Won Ton the black cat is introduced to a golden puppy that does not belong in his house. The author’s note at the beginning of the book informs the reader that the story is told using senryu, which is a form of Japanese poetry similar to haiku. Both senryu and haiku have three lines which contain a total of seventeen syllables. They capture a snapshot in time. Haiku focuses on nature, and senryu focuses on human nature—in this book the nature of Won Ton and Chopstick.

Won Ton starts the book with his routine, which is disrupted by the arrival of the puppy. This senryu follows:

Puthimoutputhim
outputhimoutputhim—wait!
I said him, not me!

The puppy is named Chopstick, while Won Ton names him Pest. An altercation occurs, with the Puthimout senryu appearing again. Through numerous activities together, Won Ton grows to enjoy the company of Chopstick and renames him Friend. An excellent sequel to the first book about Won Ton, Won Ton: a Cat Tale Told in Haiku.

 

 

 

 

 

I have two favorite books of haiku: One Leaf Rides the Wind: Counting in a Japanese Garden by Celeste Mannis, 

 

 

 

 

 

and Hi Koo! A Year of Seasons by Jon J. Muth. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 To learn more about writing haiku, check out Henry and Hala Build a Haiku.

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Hands & Hearts

(2014)
Hands & Hearts
Gallaudet Children's Dictionary of ASL
My Heart Glow

A mother and daughter spend a sunny day swimming, playing and frolicking at the beach, all the while using their hands to hold each other, dig in the sand, splash in the waves, put up a windbreak, and--most importantly--talk to each other, with American Sign Language.  Amy Bates’ breezy watercolor and pencil illustrations complement Napoli’s free verse.  Alongside them are panels, decorated in seaside motifs, featuring 15 ASL signs used in the story: run, roll, swim, sun, wall, water, and more.  Some of the sign illustrations are ambiguous; nevertheless, it’s refreshing to see sign language vocabulary introduced within the context of a story, as well as see a portrayal of people whose first language appears to be ASL, in an everyday setting.  This book is recommended for kids 3-8 years.

For kids interested in learning ASL signs in and of more quantity and clarity, there are some other wonderful, recently-published additions to the Sign Language section of the library’s World Languages collection. They include:  Signing Around Town from a great series of books by Kathryn Clay, recommended for kids Grades K-4; and the beautiful and comprehensive Gallaudet Children’s Dictionary of American Sign Language from Gallaudet University Press, with more than 1,000 signs depicted in easy-to-read illustrations, and a companion DVD which features live-action video of a variety people, young and old, demonstrating the signs and using them in a sentence context. It's recommended for kids Grades K-5.  These books give an introduction of ASL and its importance to both deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing people.  They are great for deaf kids who want to expand their ASL vocabulary, or hearing kids who wish to learn the language.

Deaf History Month is March 13-April 15.  For a lovely introduction to the events at the heart and the start of Deaf Culture in America, read My Heart Glow: Alice Cogswell, Thomas Gallaudet and the Birth of American Sign Language, (2008) written and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully.  It’s recommended for kids Grades 2-5.

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A Moose Boosh

A Few Choice Words About Food (2014)
A Moose Boosh

 

From Dictionary.Reference.com:
amuse-bouche—
noun
any small bite of food or appetizer-sized portion, often served before a meal
Word Origin
French 'that which amuses the mouth'

 

In “A Moose Boosh: A Few Choice Words About Food”, Eric-Shabazz Larkin offers 41 food-themed, witty, and light-hearteds poems illustrated with spectacular artwork. Larkin took photographs of friends, family, and coworkers in New York and Virginia, then added layers of doodles with digitally supplied white paint. A couple of my favorite poems were “A Desk is Not a Dinner Table”—perhaps I should heed this advice more often, “Ashley Won’t Eat It If She Can’t Spell It”—an ode to the ingredients in basic foods like bread, “Stop Touching My Food”—a poem about Grampa who tells of the farmers, packers, shippers, processors, inspectors, truckers and more who touch food before you buy it at the store, and “Dancing Kitchen”—when cooking you can’t stand still, you have to dance. An author’s note at the end reveals that Larkin wrote the book “to inspire people to read poems at dinner time” and that he has “the peculiar habit of writing poems and bringing them to parties as gifts—that’s how this book was born”. A first-rate book of poetry to read for celebrating National Poetry Month in April.

 

 

To read traditional foodie poetry from authors such as Lewis Carroll, Douglas Florian, Mary Ann Hoberman, Christina Rossetti, and A. A. Milne, try Hot Potato: Mealtime Rhymes

 

  

 

 

Or for contemporary food poems read Yummy! Eating Through a Day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-The-Pooh

(2015)
 Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-The-Pooh

 

This delightful information picture book tells the story of veterinarian Harry Colebourn, a Canadian soldier during World War I. When Harry saw a baby bear for sale in a train station for $20, he knew he had to save her, and named her Winnie, short for Winnipeg.  Winnie followed Harry everywhere as he cared for the horses that were preparing to go overseas. The illustrations do a beautiful job showing Winnie’s favorite game of hide-and-seek biscuits. When Harry had to go overseas he brought Winnie with him, and stayed in a military training camp. Harry realized that Winnie couldn’t be taken onto the battlefield so he brought her to the London Zoo. Winnie got along with the other bears. In fact, Winnie was so gentle, the zookeepers allowed children to ride on her back. After the war, Harry made the difficult decision to allow Winnie to continue living at the London Zoo. One fateful day, Winnie met a young boy named Christopher Robin. At night, Christopher informed his father, author A.A. Milne, that his bear’s name had changed to Winnie-the-Pooh. Bedtime stories turned into a famous children’s book.

 

An extensive author’s note gives more details about the lives of Harry Colebourn and Winnie. Photos of the real Winnie, Harry, and Christopher Robin line the endpapers of the book.

To read the book Winnie inspired, read The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh.

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