Thom Barthelmess

About Thom Barthelmess

Thom Barthelmess has worked in public libraries across the country and is now a lecturer at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University where he serves as curator of the Butler Children’s Literature Center.

Review of The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra

raschka_cosmobiography of sun ra

The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra: The Sound of Joy Is Enlightening by Chris Raschka; illus. by the author Primary    Candlewick    40 pp. 5/14    978-0-7636-5806-9    $15.99    g Jazz pioneer and self-proclaimed space case Sun Ra (born Herman P. Blount) gets a portrait as bemusing and sparkly as the man himself in this fantastical tribute. Raschka begins […]

What Makes a Good Book Cover?

Splendor's Gloom

We have all seen book covers we don’t like. Some suffer from unfortunate aesthetics, being too busy, poorly rendered, or just plain dull, deterring readers with their intimations of boredom within. Others misrepresent the text they introduce, unintentionally or deliberately promising a book they can’t deliver. The offense of a bad book cover feels especially […]

What Makes a Good Picture Book About Loss?

nana upstairs

The three-hankie middle grade novel is a literary tradition as old as time (or at least as old as Charlotte’s Web). Some of these novels consider the sorts of grief, such as the death of a grandparent or the family dog, that children are likely to experience. Others explore very particular situations: the complicated aftermath […]

Review of Niño Wrestles the World

Nino Wrestles the World

Niño Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary     Porter/Roaring Brook     40 pp. 6/13     978-1-59643-604-6     $16.99     g Pint-sized Niño, fearless luchador, Popsicle enthusiast, and reluctantly attentive big brother, dons his red mask (he’s already wearing his orange and yellow sneakers and blue-waistbanded tighty-whities), ready to […]