Election Day Quick Picks

So many wonderful titles appear in the fall and winter months that it’s hard to keep up with all of them. To wit, here are four fantastic titles sure to brighten your day, no matter who wins at the ballot box:

image

Madeline Finn and the Library Dog, by Lisa Papp; Peachtree Publishers, $16.95, 32 pages, ages 4-7 (October 2016).

Reluctant readers, rejoice: Madeline Finn hates to read, too. That is, until she meets Bonnie, a docile, patient library dog whose calm, quiet presence encourages the young girl to keep on trying, despite making mistakes. After all, practice makes progress. Award-winning author-illustrator Lisa Papp makes a warm and furry case for canine companions as literary sidekicks in this fun and uplifting tale.

image

(Copyright 2016 Lisa Papp. Image courtesy of Peachtree publishers.)

Sweaterweather and Other Short Stories, by Sara Varon; First Second Books, $19.99, 128 pages, ages 8-12 (February 2016).

image

Sara Varon is something of a cult figure for the pre-teen set: her offbeat cartoons and graphic novels are deceptively clever and engaging. Fans will find much to enjoy in this re-issue from 2003 of seventeen illustrated essays exploring the creative process, short stories, and, of course, comics, in which cats, ducks, and elephants share real estate in Brooklyn alongside their human friends. Updated with Varon’s notes for a new generation.

Dinosaurs in Disguise, by Stephen Krensky, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger; HMH Books for Young Readers, $17.99, 32 pages, ages 2-5 (October 2016).

image

Veteran author-illustrator duo Stephen Krensky and Lynn Munsinger have teamed up to explore a tantalizing hypothesis: What if the dinosaurs never actually went instinct? A little boy imagines where the giant lizards may have hidden throughout human history, from ancient Egypt to modern times. Expect much laughter with this lovable read-aloud.

image

(Text copyright 2016 Stephen Krensky, art copyright 2016 Lynn Munsinger. Reproduced with permission from HMH Books for Young Readers.) 

We Found a Hat, by Jon Klassen; Candlewick Press, $17.99, 56 pages, ages 3-7 (October 2016).

image

Two desert-dwelling turtles come upon a hat in the sand that bears a strange resemblance to the one worn by The Man in the Curious George series. Both creatures take turns wearing the topper, and decide the best thing to do is leave it for its owner. But will they? This is a Klassen book, so the resolution to the great moral conundrum plays out with delightful poker-faced quirkiness. In this finale to the Hat series, don’t be discouraged by the length–fifty-six pages seems long, but the pacing is just right for indecisive turtles.

image

(We Found a Hat. Copyright © 2016 by Jon Klassen. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.)

literarykids:

 Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey, by Nick Bertozzi; First Second Books, $16.99, 128 pages, ages 12-18. (Publication date: June 17, 2014)

Amateur and professional explorers worldwide will mark the centennial of Ernest Shackelton’s ill-fated yet miraculous voyage to the Antarctic this year. Entire documentaries and symposiums are devoted to understanding how the entire crew survived in polar conditions after their ship became trapped and ultimately crushed in pack ice. There’s even a cruise called the Shackelton 100 that will recreate the route of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. 

For adventurers staying close to home, Nick Bertozzi’s graphic novel replicates the voyage through a riveting and wholly original approach to telling this story of survival. Historians have meticulously documented the expedition, but in this account Bertozzi changes the point of view by inviting the reader onto the Endurance alongside the captain and his crew.  Each panel illustrates the minutiae of life aboard a sea vessel – from chronicling Mr. Orde-Lee riding a bicycle across the ice, to a chapter called “Last Dog” which delicately handles the issue of starvation and self-preservation. 

Bertozzi’s black and white illustrations overflow with visual detail while creating a solid and engaging story.  Ships, men and various polar creatures are at once grand and familiar. While the author is quite deft depicting each man in the story, Shackelton stands out from his crew; a tall, dark-haired commander determined to bring  all twenty-eight crewmen home after almost two years lost at sea.

Writing and illustrating stories of great explorers seems second-nature to Bertozzi, whose previous work includes Lewis and Clark, an equally inventive examination of two great explorers. Could Amelia Earhart or Thor Heyerdahl be next?  

@01FirstSecond For #TBThursday, Nick Bertozzi’s stunning graphic novel on Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated voyage gets a second look.

Gene Luen Yang Named 5th National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, 2016–2017

The Children’s Book Council, Every Child
a Reader, and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress announced yesterday that
two-time National Book Award finalist Gene Luen Yang will serve as the National Ambassador for Young
People’s Literature for the 2016-2017 term
.  Established in 2008, the program’s mission is to raise awareness of the importance of young people’s literature, and how great writing can positively impact a child’s life.

During his tenure, Yang will travel to schools and libraries nationwide promoting “Reading Without Walls,” a program aimed at showing kids, teens, and adults
that reading is vital nourishment, and how to achieve a lifelong love of reading.

Previous ambassadors include authors Jon Scieszka (2008–2009), Katherine Paterson (2010–2011),
Walter Dean Myers (2012–2013), and Kate DiCamillo (2014–2015). (NPR ran a great interview with Yang yesterday–listen here.)

Yang is setting the bar ever higher for new waves of graphic novelists: his graphic novel American Born Chinese was the first-ever to be nominated for the National Book Award, and Yang is the first graphic novelist to be named National Ambassador
for Young People’s Literature.

The inauguration ceremony will be held on Thursday, January 7 at 11
a.m.
in room LJ-119 of the Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building,
10 First St. S.E., Washington D.C. The event is open to the public.