Kids Love Books!!

Book Award Season

Angela Morris - Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It seems that the award season is upon us, and I don’t mean the Golden Globes or the Academy Awards, of course I mean the coveted Newbery and Caldecott Medals given for outstanding books for kids!  Last week it was announced that the Newbery Medal for 2012 was awarded to Jack Gantos for “Dead End in Norvelt”.  I haven’t had a chance to read it yet but the publisher says “In the historic town of Norvelt, Pennsylvania, twelve-year-old Jack Gantos spends the summer of 1962 grounded for various offenses until he is assigned to help an elderly neighbor with a most unusual chore involving the newly dead, molten wax, twisted promises, Girl Scout cookies, underage driving, lessons from history, typewriting, and countless bloody noses.”  Surely it is somewhat autobiographical if the character’s name is the same as the author.

 The Newbery Honor books went to “Inside Out & Back Again” by Thanhha Lai.  This story set in Viet Nam is written in free verse which I thought I wouldn’t like, but it is an amazingly rich story.  The publisher says this about it “Inspired by the author's own childhood experience of fleeing Vietnam as a refugee and immigrating to Alabama, this tween novel told in verse is sure to capture young readers' hearts and open their eyes.


The other Newbery Honor goes to “Breaking Stalin’s Nose” by Eugene Yelchin.  The publisher notes say “In the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union, ten-year-old Sasha idolizes his father, a devoted Communist, but when police take his father away and leave Sasha homeless, he is forced to examine his own perceptions, values, and beliefs.


What books would you have nominated for a Newbery Medal?  Remember the award is given to books for excellence in interpreting a theme, presentation of information, development of plot/characters/setting, and appropriateness of style. 


Next time…. The Caldecott Medal!

Favorite Picture Books of 2011

Angela Morris - Friday, January 20, 2012

What were your favorite picture books of 2011?  I would love to hear about them, and as always there are far too many to decide which is the best.  There were a few that come to mind that you may want to check out from your local library.  The first is "If You Give a Dog a Donut" by Laura Numeroff.


  Fans of the "If You Give" series will love this latest installment.  Bright, clear colors illustrate this circular story of the chain of events that are triggered if you give a dog a donut.  Cute dog!

An interesting picture book that came out last year is "I Want My Hat Back" by Jon Klassen.  I love the droll illustrations in this book - especially those eyes!

 Kids and adults will enjoy this humorous story of a bear looking for his hat by going from animal to animal asking if anyone has seen it.  Of course no one has seen his hat (some don't evenknow that a hat is!).  Bear is forever polite despite his growing consternation.

The 2011 Jerry Pinkney book is absolutely lovely.  "Twinkle Twinkle LIttle Star" is great because of it's beautiful illustrations by well-known illustrator Jerry Pinkney.  His style is always incredibly detailed, colorful and magical.

 The lyrics to "Twinkle Twinkle" serve to direct the actions of a cute chipmunk who flies off on an adventure.

Finally, the surprise hit of the 2011 picture books is "Press Here" by Herve Tullet. 

 You and your child will enjoy using your imagination to make this book work.  You will marvel at how a low-tech book can seemingly do so many things simply by "pressing" on the yellow dot.  Lots of fun.

What other books can we add to the list of greats of 2011?

The Hunger Games on the Big Screen

Angela Morris - Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Everyone that loves The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is eagerly awaiting the release of the movie version that will be released in March – and I’m certainly excited!  I can totally picture The Hunger Games as a movie since the book is such a page-turner.  If you haven’t read The Hunger Games, then I highly recommend it.  The story is set in a future where the oppressive government mandates that each year each of the districts in North America send a delegate to participate in the Hunger Games (only one person can win this fight to the death battle).  If the story was just tension and violence, I wouldn’t be interested, but the main character, Katniss, has a personality that pulls you right in to her story.  She’s 16, tough and gritty when she needs to be, which is often because she hunts wild game to provide food for her family.  She is also capable of great love and tenderness.  She is truly a noble warrior in the body of a 16 year old girl. 



Be sure to read all three in the trilogy– and you will have time to read them before the March movie release!  Catching Fire and Mockingjay.



Here are a few more books that you will surely enjoy if you love The Hunger Games:  The Maze Runner by James Dashner, Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix, Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi, and Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer.  Enjoy!


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