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Robin Smith

About Robin Smith

Robin Smith is a second-grade teacher at the Ensworth School in Nashville, Tennessee. She is a reviewer for Kirkus and The Horn Book Magazine and has served on multiple award committees.

Freedom in Congo Square

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Do you ever think you know a lot about a topic and then open a book to read something completely new? That’s what happened when I read this offering from Carole Boston Weatherford and R. Gregory Christie. I thought I knew just about everything about slavery in the 1800s in our country, at least all […]

Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines

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Thanks for chiming in with the books you are excited about! I still have the feeling that The Book has not been mentioned yet…no reason for that feeling, really, but I just think I am missing something. (I know, for instance, that new books illustrated by Javaka Steptoe, Jerry Pinkney, and Ashley Bryan are forthcoming.) […]

Welcome back! September is here!

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The Olympics are over, hurricane season is in full force, the heat of summer still keeps many of us indoors, the new school year is underway, and it’s time for Caldecott thoughts. I pull out my Caldecott manual and highlight the criteria and schedule. At this point, the people on the real Caldecott committee are busy […]

Review of School’s First Day of School

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School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex; 
illus. by Christian Robinson Primary    Porter/Roaring Brook    40 pp. 6/16    978-1-59643-964-1    $17.99    g We’ve had many books about kids getting ready for the first day of school, but now we have another perspective: the school’s itself. The title page shows the finishing touches being added to a […]

Review of There Is a Tribe of Kids

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There Is a Tribe of Kids by Lane Smith; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Roaring Brook    40 pp. 5/16    978-1-62672-056-5    $18.99 This is a book straight from the thoughts of a young child, with the feel of a daydream. On the face of it, it’s a simple book about collective nouns (“a colony of […]

Review of Just a Lucky So and So: The Story of Louis Armstrong

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Just a Lucky So and So: The Story of Louis Armstrong by Lesa Cline-Ransome; 
illus. by James Ransome Primary    Holiday    40 pp. 4/16    978-0-8234-3428-2    $16.95 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-3598-2    $16.95 Today’s child may know Louis Armstrong only as the trumpeter of “What a Wonderful World” or as a character in an old movie; the Ransomes’ newest […]

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement

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One thing the members of the Caldecott Committee are looking for each time they open a new box is the wonderful feeling of New. When I was on the committee, whenever I opened a Caldecott box, I would feel the burden of The Same. A book would remind me of another book. The illustrations would […]

Drum Dream Girl

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I love a story that I have never heard before. Enter Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music, which tells, in the simplest language, the story of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga. It does not surprise me that I had not heard of one little girl in Cuba; what surprised me was that girls were […]

Review of James to the Rescue!

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James to the Rescue! [Masterpiece Adventures] by Elise Broach; illus. by Kelly Murphy Primary   Ottaviano/Holt   104 pp. 10/15   978-1-62779-316-2   $15.99   g e-book ed. 978-1-62779-317-9   $9.99 There is something universally compelling about little critters having their own world, mostly hidden from adults (witness the staying power of the Littles, the Borrowers, and the Doll People), and […]

Float

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Is that Peter (of Ezra Jack Keats fame) on the cover of Daniel Miyares’s Float? Might be. There is something inviting about the cover of this gentle wordless book, isn’t there? Slip off the jacket and be wowed by the case cover — a newspaper boat floating off to the right and into the sun. The […]