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When Aidan Became a Brother

Could it be? A book with a trans character whose queer identity is not the sole storyline? Well, almost. But still, here it is — and a possible contender for the Caldecott Medal to boot. When Aidan Became a Brother is the story of a soon-to-be older sibling and his anxieties...

My Papi Has a Motorcycle

Isabel Quintero and I have at least one thing in common. My Papi Has a Motorcycle, too, and although we used to ride on Sunday mornings instead of in the evenings, Quintero and I both know the bond-forming experience of a father sharing the road with his daughter. Quintero once again collaborates with...

The Undefeated

“This is for the unforgettable / The swift and sweet ones / who hurdled history / and opened a world / of possible.” From the opening lines of Kwame Alexander’s poem, readers are invited on a journey. It is a journey through a people’s story — through the sorrows, triumphs, and resilience...

The 2019 New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books list

It's November, which means the annual announcement of the New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children's Books list. At the end of October/beginning of November every year, I wake up each morning, wondering if today will be the day they make the announcement. (I know, I know. But if...

Bear Came Along

In her illustrator's note for the rollicking Bear Came Along, LeUyen Pham writes, "This book is truly special to me. It was one of those rare stories that, the moment I read it, I knew exactly how it would look." Her vibrant illustrations, done in watercolor, ink, and gouache, reflect...

The Fisherman and the Whale

It seems many book creators of late are fascinated — and justifiably concerned — by increasingly frequent news about injured, captive, and entangled whales. This has resulted in a wealth of gorgeously illustrated books featuring observant, empathetic child characters who, in various ways, perform acts of environmental stewardship. Think Troy Howell and Richard...

Two Brothers, Four Hands

Biographies by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan are among my favorite nonfiction books. Action Jackson; Ballet for Martha; Chuck Close, Up Close; and Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Through the Gates and Beyond, among others, are models of fine writing and creative presentations. And I loved Hadley Hooper’s illustrations for Patricia MacLachlan’s...

The Bell Rang

Any time I have heard an African American person speak of learning about slavery as a child, the memory entails some degree of shame. In his memoir Bad Boy, Walter Dean Myers wrote about feeling, as a child looking at his textbook’s shallow treatment of slavery, that somehow those people...

The Caldecott Torch

Calling Caldecott readers may remember this September post in which Caldecott medalist Sophie Blackall mentioned how she and fellow medalist Matthew Cordell (the two most recent winners) recently brainstormed a new Caldecott tradition. Sophie's fab idea, which she suggested as she chatted with Matt at this year's ALA Annual conference, was...
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