A lot of people think that as a librarian I get to sit around and read all day. Nothing could be farther from the actual day to day of my job. But, I can say that reading is a definite perk! And for this post I got to read some pretty amazing books for children.
As we say farewell to 2016 and welcome 2017 with open arms, I wanted to take a moment to share some great children’s titles that Fontana Regional Library added to its collection. I originally planned to call this piece “16 from 2016” but found so many great titles we have added that I could not narrow it down to 16. I have included the link to our catalog if you click on the title and if you click on the book cover it will take you to another reputable review of the book.
A quick note: I included the ages I felt the selection was suitable for. Preschool or young children means children under the age of 5, lower elementary is kindergarten-first grade, middle elementary is second-third grade, and upper elementary is fourth-fifth grade.
A little boy, Michael, tries to get dressed with the help of his dog Maggie. Maggie ends up getting dressed instead of Michael. Bright colorful illustrations. Color words are emphasized using ink the color the word represents. Simple text which is a trademark of Denise Fleming. Suitable for younger children.
Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
This book follows a pattern of action verbs to highlight animals, some familiar like an elephant and some unfamiliar like a hoatzin, that use that particular action for their movement. Illustrations are a good representation of the animal in real life. The name of the animal is in bold print. There is a glossary of sorts at the end that gives a little more information about each animal in the book. Suitable for middle to upper elementary children.
David A. Adler
This selection starts off pretty basic and I could see the first 3 pages being used in lower elementary grades to introduce basic things like circle, sphere, cone, cylinder, ovals, and spirals. Then the text gets more involved with vocabulary like diameter, radius, major and minor sectors and so on. It shows students how to trace and cut out a circle and then use that circle to illustrate the concepts related to a circle. At the end there is a Glossary with definitions of the bold faced terms in the book. There is an answer key to go with the questions posed in the book at different points. Suitable for upper elementary and middle school. Math teachers would love this book!
Definitely not your Elephant and Piggie story but it packs a powerful punch all the same. I see lots of potential for vocabulary development with words like baguette and regret. There are good stopping points for predictions when the author asks, “Can Nanette stop tasting the baguette?” and when the author asks, “What will she do?” The images are interesting. It says, “The images in this story are comprised of photographed handcrafted cardboard-and-paper constructions digitally integrated with photographed illustrations and additions.” This selection would make a great book to teach character traits like responsibility and honesty. Suitable for younger children and lower elementary children.
The illustrations begin with a white background as a duck finds a book with no pictures. At first he is upset that it has no pictures. A bug comes along and asks if he can read it. As he begins to read the book there is color in the illustrations. This is a great book to illustrate how we all make our own mind movies for books we read. Suitable for children in elementary school, especially those transitioning from picture books to chapter books.
Steve Goetz & Eda Kaban
We all know the story about Old MacDonald having a farm. This book takes that and gives it a twist so Old MacDonald has big earth movers and diggers like an excavator, front loader, dump truck, etc. There are lots of great sound effect opportunities in this one! Suitable for preschool and young elementary aged children.
Susan Middleton Elya and Juana Martinez-Neal
In this book nursery rhymes like Mary Had a Little Lamb and Little Boy Blue are beautifully illustrated and key words are replaced with Spanish words. For example, lamb is replaced with oveja and blue is replaced with azul. There is a Glossary at the beginning with pronunciations and definitions for the Spanish words in the text. What a great way to incorporate diversity through familiarizing children with the Spanish language as well as giving children who are bilingual a way to hear both English and Spanish. Suitable for all ages.
April Pulley Sayre & Steve Jenkins
This selection highlights the different types of squirrels: gray, fox, red, flying. It uses simple rhyming text. At the end of the book is more information about “Squirrels and Their Trees”. Suitable for younger children as well as lower/middle elementary with the extra information at the end of the book.
April Pulley Sayre & Steve Jenkins
This book includes all kinds of woodpeckers. It shows how they live. The illustrations are colorful and accurate to nature. Uses simple rhyming text/simple sentences. At the end there is more information about entitled “Woodpecker World”. Suitable for younger children as well as lower/middle elementary with the extra information at the end of the book.
Kelly DiPucchio and Greg Pizzoli
The king puts out the word that there is a reward for whoever can tame the terrible dragon. This dragon is pretty terrible. He spits on cupcakes, burps in church, and pops birthday balloons. The dragon gets worse as more and more people attempt to tame him. But, along comes someone with a new approach. Kindness. What is the reward for this kindness? A new friend! This would be a great book to use for teaching the character trait of kindness. Suitable for children of all ages.
A little boy is looking for Bongo. At first I thought he meant his bongo drums. It turns out to be his stuffed dog. He asks everyone in the family. No one seems to know where Bongo is. This story incorporates Spanish words for key words/phrases like “No se.” for “I don’t know” and “Buscalo” for “Look for it.” The English translation is included within the text to assist comprehension of the Spanish. Suitable for preschool and younger elementary children.
What a great story! I needed to highlight this one in my last blog post. It is about a family traveling to Grandma’s house and the inevitable tiresomeness that comes from a car trip. The illustrations are super cool and cause you to look at the book from different perspectives as in you have to actually turn the book sideways, upside down, and practically read upside down. Dan Santat has incorporated QR codes to add a techy interactivity to the illustrations/storyline. I love the message that you should just sit back and enjoy the ride. Suitable for middle and upper elementary children. The illustrations may be hard to follow for younger children.
Suzanne Lang & Max Lang
This book celebrates diversity in a unique way. It looks at the differences in kids in regards to things they like to do, what they wear, how they eat, or their hobbies. It uses cartoonish looking animals in the illustrations along with photographs of different settings like the playground, a classroom, or the ocean. Its message is that no matter what it is you like or do all kids are great. It uses short sentences with rhyming text to help the book flow with its message. Suitable for preschool and young elementary children.
Robie H. Harris & Nadine Bernard Westcott
This book is part of a series “Let’s Talk About You and Me”. It talks about the things that make us similar and the things that make us different. The text is longer narrative. The overall message is that even though we are not all the same (how boring would that be?) there is more about us that is the same than is different. I really like the use of new vocabulary like “melanin”. Suitable for elementary aged children due to the longer narrative length. I could see it being used with preschool aged children but not in one sitting. I would use it in multiple sittings.
Eric Litwin & Tom Lichtenheld
If you love the original Pete the Cat then you are going to love Groovy Joe! This book has a great message of sharing. There is a website link for music you can use with the story. I think my newest favorite song is “The Groovy Dance”. This selection uses repetitive, rhyming text. I am super excited to use it in an upcoming storytime! Suitable for preschool and younger elementary children.
Mariam Gates & Sarah Jane Hinder
Yoga is a wonderful way to re-center ourselves and relieve stress. This book is super kid friendly and helps children with yoga they can handle. The illustrations show children doing the yoga poses in different settings which relays the message that yoga can be done anywhere at any time. There are gentle directions in the text to guide each pose. Personally, I am a little intimidated by yoga due to my body’s inflexibility but this book gave me some simple and easily understood directions of some yoga poses I can do on my own. Suitable for all ages.
Jonathan London & Frank Remkiewicz
Froggy’s energy practically jumps off the page in this wonderful story about Froggy going to the library with his mother and little sister. I love the way Froggy thinks storytime is for babies and then cannot resist joining in with what they are doing. Froggy definitely adds his own flavor of fun to storytime. Suitable for preschool and younger elementary aged children.
A wonderful story about two monster looking siblings, Natalie and Alphonse. Alphonse can be a bit trying and then ends up eating Natalie’s book. When Alphonse tries to fix the book he creates even more chaos. I love the way this book gives insight to sibling relationships. Suitable for preschool and younger elementary aged children.
Ame Dyckman & Zachariah OHora
I love the message in this story that you get more from being kind to others than from being mad. The little girl in this story blames Bear for something that he didn’t mean to do. Actually, she was kind of trespassing. I really like how the little girl’s anger is illustrated. It would be a great discussion starter for kids and how they react in situations that do not go their way. The goat eating the kite string on the last page could also spark some good problem solving discussions. I like the use of vocabulary like indignant – the bear says this after the little girl calls him horrible many times. Suitable for preschool and younger elementary aged children.
This is a story about a little girl named Ruby and her attempts to help her dog, Oscar, get rid of his hiccups. The text offers plenty of opportunities to incorporate action and have kids repeat fun words like “slurpity-slurp” and “fizzy-wizzy, sparkly stuff”. Suitable for preschool aged children.
Jonathan London & Meilo So
This is a great non-fiction title about otters. It starts with otter babies and goes through all the seasons and how they grow and develop. There is additional text that could be used with older children to expand on the information presented in the narrative. The book includes an index and additional information at the end of the book about otters. Illustrations are beautifully done and are true to nature. Suitable for elementary aged children and perhaps preschool children on an abbreviated basis.
Kathryn Cole & Qin Leng
A sensitive story about a little girl named Claire and a secret her soccer coach tells her to keep. This is a very important and delicate topic. I am glad there is a resource out there to help bridge the fear that is cultivated from this type of situation. It definitely sends the message that telling is the best course of action and that it is not the child’s fault. Suitable for elementary aged children.
Stacey Roderick & Kwanchai Moriya
This book is set up with a page asking which ocean animal has a head, eye, fin, etc. like this and it shows a part of the animal in the illustration. On the next page it shows a full illustration of the ocean animal along with a description of that animal’s characteristics. I like that it gives a definition in parenthesis for predator and prey. There is also a pronunciation in parenthesis for “anemone” which is always a hard one to say. The last two pages have additional ocean animals with an interesting fact about each one. Suitable for preschool and early to middle elementary aged children.
My hope is that some of these titles will suit your needs as we embark on this journey we call 2017! Check them out at your nearest Fontana Regional Library branch!