The Thing About Jellyfish

The Thing Aboutu Jellyfish

Through NetGalley, I had the opportunity to read The Thing About Jellyfish, by Ali Benjamin, a middle grade book that will debut mid-September 2015. In this book, Suzy Swanson processes the death of her old friend Franny and the end of a friendship. She grieves the way that she and Franny grew apart before Franny […]

Drum Dream Girl


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 […]

and clunk clunk clunk went the folktale market

aardema_bringing the rain to kapiti plain

Betsy Bird at Fuse #8 is rightfully mourning the relative dearth of African folktale publishing and simultaneously celebrating one of its legends from the glory days, Verna Aardema. All I can say is God bless Verna Aardema, who knew just how to write a picture-book text that would bring any library story hour to life. […]

Five questions for Tim Wynne-Jones


At the start of Tim Wynne-Jones’s The Emperor of Any Place (Candlewick, 14 years and up), Evan, reeling from the death of his single father, has no choice but to contact his paternal grandfather, Griff — whom Evan’s dad called a murderer. A gripping story-within-the-story unfolds about a WWII Japanese soldier stranded on a haunted […]

Leo: A Ghost Story


This book is one of my favorites of the year, and I would imagine it’s one that the Caldecott committee will discuss at length. (It has also recently been named a NYT Best Illustrated book.) Mac Barnett’s excellent storytelling, combined with Christian Robinson’s illustrations, make this a true picture book. Robinson’s childlike illustrations (a mix […]

DinoWriMo: Bedtime

Goodnight Moon

What do you get when you read Goodnight Moon to a sleepy dinosaur? A dinosnore. For more terrible puns, click the tag DinoWriMo.

I Yam a Donkey!

yam donkey

Who remembers a little book from last year called El Deafo? Graphic novel memoir? About growing up deaf? Won a Newbery Honor and an Eisner Award — that one. Cece Bell’s follow-up to El Deafo — that smart, witty, sensitive, unique, personal story — is a picture book about … a dumb-ass (literally!) donkey and the pompous yam who […]

Doctor, doctor, give me the news

Portrait of Vivien Thomas by Bob Gee

After reading Jim Murphy’s Breakthrough! How Three People Saved “Blue Babies” and Changed Medicine Forever, our current nonfiction review of the week, I mentioned it to my cousin Dr. Anne Murphy, a pediatric cardiologist at Johns Hopkins. It turns out she knew two of those three, which is both pretty neat and means that, yes, […]

November Boston-area children’s lit events

Photo: Marty Umans

November is absolutely packed with children’s literature related events in and near Boston. Here are just a few highlights; see our calendar for even more events. It’s National Novel Writing Month! Check the calendar for write-in events throughout the month in various venues. Tonight, November 5th at 7:00 pm, author Mike Lupica will be signing […]

Comics Are Picture Books: A (Graphic) Novel Idea

spiegelman_lost in nyc

Comic books are everywhere. Customers are purchasing them, readers of all ages are devouring them, teachers are using more and more of them in their classrooms, and they’re winning awards like crazy. Some people have applauded recent book-award committees’ open-mindedness to the comics format, while others remain conflicted. The recurrent question of whether ALA should […]