Betsy Bird

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A New Green Day

Before I had children, I had it all planned out. Thanks to my chosen occupation (children’s librarian), I already had a house filled with picture books of all kinds. I knew the literature. I knew which books would appeal to one age range or another. I was book-smart about children’s...

A Stone Sat Still

Recently at his blog 100 Scope Notes, Travis Jonker set about calculating the likelihood that a Caldecott winner may repeat his or her win in the future. He’d crunched similar numbers for the Newbery already, but even so, the results surprised him. He wrote: “I didn’t expect the number of repeat winners...

A House That Once Was

How do you feel when a multi–Caldecott Honor winner creates a Caldecott-worthy book? Personally, I go through a series of different stages. You know. Denial. Morbid curiosity. Conversion. Proselytizing. At least that’s what happened when I took a deep dive into A House That Once Was by Julie Fogliano, illustrated...

Grand Canyon

Pity the artistic endeavors of the too-effectively creative, for they are the ones most easily ignored.It isn’t much of a stretch to say that in the field of nonfiction, Jason Chin may be one of our most epic and inspiring grand masters. If he writes about trees, he doesn’t limit...

Great Crafts You Can Do at Home (As Inspired by Recent Picture Books)

I feel like I need to start off with a bit of a confession. I’m a children’s librarian by training. And part of that job requires a complete and thorough knowledge of crafts and crafting. Now here’s the problem: I hate crafts. Well, not completely; I’ll color in an adult...

2015 in Review: The Year in Words

The year was 2015. A year in which so many people from so many backgrounds said so much about books with so few words.It was a year in which people didn’t just discuss books. They cheered and argued, raged and kvetched, praised them and condemned them.Social media wasn’t new in...

Apples to Elephants: Artists in Animation

Children’s book geekery comes in many forms. My own most recent example came while watching Disney’s The Little Mermaid with my daughter for the first time. After skipping all the scary sea-witch scenes (which incidentally makes for a remarkably short film), we were watching the credit sequence roll when suddenly...

Different Drums: Seven Little Ones Instead

The Horn Book Magazine asked Elizabeth Bird, “What’s the strangest children’s book you’ve ever enjoyed?”“No answers are provided, no hints are given. This lack of resolution makes for an ultimately unsatisfying story.” So said SLJ of the early 1990s Swedish import Else-Marie and Her Seven Little Daddies by Pija Lindenbaum...

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