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Thom Barthelmess

About Thom Barthelmess

Thom Barthelmess is Youth Services Manager for the Whatcom County Library System in northwest Washington State.

Review of Voices in the Air

Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners by Naomi Shihab Nye Middle School    Greenwillow    208 pp.    g 2/18    978-0-06-269184-2    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-269186-6    $9.99 Many of Nye’s ninety-four original poems speak to historical and contemporary figures, from storied poets such as Yehuda Amichai, Lucille Clifton, José Emilio Pacheco, and Walt Whitman to a trusted Honolulu […]

Review of King of the Sky

King of the Sky by Nicola Davies; illus. by Laura Carlin Primary    Candlewick    48 pp. 6/17    978-0-7636-9568-2    $17.99 “It rained and rained and rained…The streets smelled of mutton soup and coal dust. And no one spoke my language. All of it told me this is not where you belong.” An elderly Welsh miner and a […]

Calling CaldeNott

For years I’ve been running a Mock CaldeNott, in various contexts, applying the Caldecott terms and criteria to books ineligible for the Medal itself because their illustrator is not American. Even as I type this, I can hear my friend (and fellow Calling Caldecott guest blogger) Elisa Gall shouting, “But it’s not a mock — it’s […]

Review of How It Feels to Be a Boat

How It Feels to Be a Boat by James Kwan; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Houghton    40 pp.    g 7/17    978-0-544-71533-2    $16.99 Kwan provides a warm, kooky existential exploration of what it means to be a someone. (The opening dedication “To Chloe: Welcome to Earth!” seemingly provides his motivation.) A second-person narrative speaks directly […]

Review of My Pictures After the Storm

My Pictures After the Storm by Éric Veillé; illus. by the author; trans. from the French by Daniel Hahn Primary    Gecko    32 pp. 3/17    978-1-776571-04-8    $16.99 This subversive French import riffs on the standard before-and-after construct with a crafty conceit and playful presentation. The opening spread is simple enough. On the left sits a grouping […]

Review of Stay: A Girl, a Dog, a Bucket List

Stay: A Girl, a Dog, a Bucket List by Kate Klise; illus. by M. Sarah Klise Primary    Feiwel    32 pp. 7/17    978-1-250-10714-5    $17.99 Astrid (a girl) and Eli (a dog) have been best friends since the newborn Astrid first came home from the hospital. They enjoy birthdays and popcorn and playgrounds, and dream of spaghetti […]

Review of Traveling Butterflies

Traveling Butterflies by Susumu Shingu; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary   Owlkids   40 pp. 9/15   978-1-77147-148-0   $18.95   g This simple, elegant picture book traces the migration of the monarch butterfly from its northern home to its “winter sanctuary” in Mexico and back again. The story begins with eggs “as small as a dewdrop” on a […]

Review of Wait

Wait by Antoinette Portis; illus. by the author Preschool     Porter/Roaring Brook     32 pp. 7/15     978-1-59643-921-4     $16.99 A harried mother rushes her toddler son through the busy city streets, and he resists, stalling to look at everything they encounter. This fundamental tension plays out in a series of spreads illustrating the same refrain. She […]

Caldecott and Newbery 2015

Handicapping the Newbery and Caldecott awards is a favorite pastime (blood sport?) among aficionados of books for children and teens. We gather in hallways, on blogs, around water coolers, to guess and argue and wonder. We postulate, some of us for twelve full months, until the ALA Midwinter meeting’s Youth Media Awards Press Conference when […]

Review of Stonewall

 Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights by Ann Bausum Middle School, High School     Viking     120 pp. 5/15     978-0-670-01679-2     $16.99 Bausum begins her history of the gay rights movement with a careful, detailed exposition of the June 1969 Stonewall riots, laying out the events leading up to the clash between the […]