Maud Hart Lovelace Roundup

Elementary students across Minnesota will vote on their favorite Maud Hart Lovelace nominees by Friday, April 8th. I’m hoping to finish them all, but I only have two weeks left. I managed to read three this week though!

Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff

Ever wonder why Rumpelstiltskin wanted a the lady’s baby? Or why the king thought she could spin straw into gold in the first place? Rump explains all these questions and more.

Rump was born only knowing half his name (and not the great half), as his mother died halfway through announcing his name. In Rump’s world, your destiny is tied to your name, and with only half a name, he had half a destiny. Until he found his mother’s spinning wheel and Rump begins to discover his destiny (and full name).

I love fractured fairy tales so I was really excited about Rump. I don’t know if it was the narrator of the audio book or because I know how the story ends and was impatient for all the ends to meet, but the book seemed to drag on forever!

8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel ÷ 1 Dog = Chaos by Vivian Vande Velde

This little book is hilarious! It reminds me so much of Louis Sachar’s Sideways Stories from Wayside School books. Anyway, 8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel ÷ 1 Dog = Chaos, tells the story of Twitch, the school yard squirrel, who got chased into the school by an owl, and then a dog. The dog and squirrel embark on a haphazard chase through the school, with the school pets trying to help their friend Twitch. Each chapter is told from the perspective of a different animal.

My favorites are the hamster and the snake.

Double Dog Dare by Lisa Graff

Francine Halata desperately wants to be the anchor for her elementary school’s announcements. When the Media Club vote for anchor comes to a tie between her and new kid Kansas Bloom, the two begin a Dare War to decide who will be anchor for the next semester. Along with the dare war, the two kids are facing similar family issues at home.

I checked this book out multiple times from the library and kept returning it after time was up and I still hadn’t read it. I don’t know why I lacked interest, since once I started, I couldn’t put it down! I loved Francine and Kansas! The only thing that rubbed me the wrong way is the principal’s obsession with “crushes.” Just let the two kids be friends!


Sunny Side Up

Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm popped up in my Goodreads “readers also enjoyed” section. I can’t remember which book readers also enjoyed, but the bright and simple cover appealed to me and I immediately put Sunny Side Up on hold.

Sunny Side Up is a graphic novel about a girl sent to Florida to spend the summer with her grandfather. Through a series of flashbacks we learn why Sunny is sent down to Florida, while we also watch her bond with her grandfather and Buzz, the only other kid in her grandfather’s retirement community. Sunny’s summer isn’t filled with beaches and Disneyworld, like she expected, but discovering Big Al, Swamp Thing and comics more than make up for it.

I greatly enjoyed Sunny Side Up, but the references to addiction in her family and the relationship with her brother is very vague. I wonder how much the target audience understands. Granted I was a very sheltered middle schooler so my experiences are probably very different from others. This books could lead to some great discussions however, and it broaches a topic not normally discussed in children’s literature.

Inclusive Literature

I’m trying to be more inclusive in my reading and read books by a wide variety of authors and about a wide variety of characters. I love the movement pushing for diversity in juvenile literature.

Here is a great article that talks about inclusive books.

Books are powerful. They help kids translate and process the world around them. So, it’s important for children to not only to feel included in picture books but also for books to make visible a range of stories outside their own.

Spring Storytime

On Thursday I had my very first Storytime at my new library. For now I’m only doing toddler Storytime but in the fall I’ll add in baby.

Opening Song

Who’s Chick Are You? by Nancy Tafuri

Wonderful illustrations and provides a great guessing game for the children.

Feltboard Story: The Itsy Bitsy Spider

I have these from Lakeshore Learning

Peppa Pig and the Lucky Ducks by Candlewick Press

Way too long, although I do love counting books.

Action Rhyme: “Bumblebee Bumblebee” from storytime katie (she got it from Mrs. Jones Insects storytime)

Bumblebee, bumblebee

Landing on my nose

Bumblebee, bumblebee

Now he’s on my toes

On my arms, on my legs

On my elbows!

Bumblebee, bumblebee

He lands and then he goes!

Peep and Ducky Rainy Day by David Martin, illustrated by David Walker

Such a fun and bright story! Children and parents loved.

Closing song: “We Wave Goodbye Like This” from  sunflower storytime

We wave goodbye like this.

We wave goodbye like this.

We clap our hands for all our friends,

We wave goodbye like this.


Looking for Alaska

I wanted to love Looking for Alaska by John Green, but I just didn’t. Maybe I just don’t get John Green. I enjoy his books, so far Paper Towns is my favorite, but I don’t love them the way everyone else does. 

When I last mentioned  Looking for Alaska I had high hopes. My husband and I laughed and commiserated with Miles (Pudge) as he integrated himself into his new boarding school, befriending Chip (The Colonel) and Takumi and falling head over heels for Alaska. 

Then the “after” happens. I don’t want to say too much and give away the plot, but Pudge drove me crazy. 

Despite not loving any of his books, I’m still not going to give up on John Green. An Abundnace of Katherines is still on my to read list. 

Humor Me

I perused Booklist’s Top Ten Humorous Novels for Youth: 2016 the other day and marked a few books I must read. Pugs of the Frozen North (a not so impossible tale) by Philip Reeve was one of them. Who can resist that title? And for the most part Pugs of the Frozen North did not disappoint.

It’s not as funny as I was hoping (I am also not the target audience), but the creative characters, unique plot (I especially enjoyed the different kinds of snow), and engaging illustrations made up for it.

However, I did find the pictures/color/font choice difficult sometimes, but I think that’s due more to me putting off a visit to the eye doctor.

Overall, I can totally picture my brother as a 9 year old loving this book. He loved the Captain Underpants books at that age too.

The other book I picked up after finding this list was Lumberjanes: Beware the Kitten Holy written by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis and illustrated by Brooke A. Allen. I really enjoyed the Girl Power message in Lumberjanes and found myself laughing at almost everything Ripley did or said.

However, I found the plot line confusing. Maybe it’s my lack of graphic novel experience, but I found myself flipping back pages for plot and character refreshment.

In the end, I’m glad I read it, as I need more graphic novels in my repertoire, but I don’t feel the need to read the rest of the Lumberjane installments.

The Princess Academy

The Princess Academy was on my reading list for some time before I read it in February. Classmates of mine read it for a project in grad school, but it re-entered my thoughts when I read a blog post of Hale’s last year.

In the article, Hale talks about how her school visits are geared towards girls, whereas popular male authors are for boys and girls. She writes

“Let’s be clear: I do not talk about ‘girl’ stuff. I do not talk about body parts. I do not do a ‘Your Menstrual Cycle and You!’ presentation. I talk about books and writing, reading, rejections and moving through them, how to come up with story ideas. But because I’m a woman, because some of my books have pictures of girls on the cover, because some of my books have ‘princess’ in the title, I’m stamped as ‘for girls only.’ However, the male writers who have boys on their covers speak to the entire school.”

This is something that really sticks out to me, especially when working with children. I saw it much more in schools when I worked more closely with students. I heard a lot of peer judgement about books or toys being girl books or boy books. I even heard teachers separate between “girl” and “boy” books. 

As a public librarian, I do still hear siblings say things like “she got a Barbie book because she’s a girl” or “I got my little brother truck books. He’s a boy, he likes trucks.” 

As a professional in the public sphere how we talk about our resources and programming is important. Especially as libraries are supposed to be welcoming to everyone and patrons should be comfortable enough to ask questions of their librarians. Even if those questions are about stereotypical female interests and come from a man. Or vice versa. 

We should be inclusive with resources, programming and general interactions with our patrons. And I hope one day the division between “boy” and “girl” books disappears.