Inside Outside

inside outside

Inside Outside was published last April; I’m hoping many of you have seen it by now. In his illuminating interview with its creator, Lizi Boyd, Roger called Inside Outside a “lo-fi busybox of a book: sixteen wordless spreads of a child’s play and projects indoors and out, linked by the passing of the seasons and […]

It’s always men’s night at the Caldecott

gender slide

This is a perennially thorny subject, one that’s been aired before. But. Seeing the gender disparity amongst Caldecott winners this starkly expressed is kind of hard to ignore. Do we want to take this on again? Has anything changed since Roger’s 2007 blog post? Thom Barthelmess, past president of ALSC and currently curator of the […]

Locomotive

locomotive1

The first thing you notice about Brian Floca’s Locomotive is its big, bold size and square shape. Jonathan Bean’s Building our House  has a larger-than-average trim size as well, but this is different. This one has a lot more bells and whistles (literally: “CLANG-CLANG CLANG-CLANG” “WHOO-OOOOOO”). This one is in-your-face big; this one has a steam […]

Building Our House

building a house2

Jonathan Bean’s Building Our House came out way back in January, so everyone probably knows by now that the book is based on a true story: the author’s parents (the ultimate DIYers) built the Bean family homestead from scratch while living in a trailer and raising three small children (!). Here are things I appreciate […]

Just the illustrations, ma’am

question mark

Hi everyone; Martha Parravano here. All the (much-appreciated) suggestions in the comments on Robin’s last post bring me to a question I’ve wanted to ask for a long time. I have been evaluating and reviewing picture books for twenty-five years. But in doing so I consider the whole book — the interdependence of text and […]

Essential back-to school stories

lagercrantz_my happy life_170x232

What will the new school year bring? Here are four fresh, age-appropriate, and accessible school stories that will please early-elementary readers. In twenty very short, generously illustrated chapters, Rose Lagercrantz’s My Happy Life takes the essential matter of the early-elementary school years — best friends, weird curriculum (potato week?!), playground accidents — and recasts it […]

An unwelcome trend in audiobooks

audiobooks

Correct me if I’m wrong, but lately I’ve been seeing (or in this case I guess, hearing) an unwelcome trend in audiobooks. To me, the first responsibility of an audiobook is to provide a successful translation from print to audio. A listener needs, at the very least, to be able to follow the plot. And […]

Review of Audiobooks for Youth

audiobooks for youth

Librarian, columnist, and blogger (Audiobooker) Mary Burkey knows her audiobooks, and in Audiobooks for Youth: A Practical Guide to Sound Literature (ALA) she proves it with this thorough, cogent, well-organized, and insightful publication. She covers the history of children’s audiobooks, gives us definitions, brings us inside the production of an audiobook via interviews with narrators […]

Impressions from the 2013 Newbery–Caldecott banquet

Three Newbery Medalists in the ladies room at the Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder banquet: Patricia MacLachlan, Cynthia Voigt, Katherine Paterson. Photo: Martha Parravano.

I’ve been lucky enough to attend quite a few Newbery–Caldecott banquets, and I wouldn’t have missed a single one, but — let’s be honest — there can be low-lights as well as highlights. An introduction may go on too long; a speech may be less than scintillating; the food may be bland at best; and […]

Newbery 2013

One and Only Ivan

On the one hand, it was a very good year for children’s books. The number of books that fit the Newbery’s definition of  “distinguished contribution to American literature for children” was, to my mind, unusually extensive. What they all had in common  was their excellence; in other ways, from genre to format to tone to […]