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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 Checked audiobook

Checked by Cynthia Kadohata; read by John Kroft Intermediate, Middle School     Recorded Books    Rev. 5/18 7 CDs     7.75 hrs.     978-1-5019-8278-1 $20.99 Conor MacRae’s life is consumed with elite hockey. Nothing can overtake his obsession — not his growing concerns about his elderly neighbor Mr. Reynolds, not the strained relationship […]

2019 CaldeNotts

I love following along here at Calling Caldecott, reading posts and comments from extraordinarily astute and observant picture book evaluators and measuring the books in question according to their insights, whether or not they line up with mine. Indeed, perhaps the most gratifying function of a blog like this, for me at least, is the […]

Review of Me and My Fear

Me and My Fear by Francesca Sanna; illus. by the author Primary    Nobrow/Flying Eye    32 pp. 9/18    978-1-911171-53-9    $17.95 This follow-up to The Journey (rev. 3/17), about a refugee family fleeing a war-torn homeland, focuses on the young daughter’s apprehension as she adjusts to life in a new country and a new school. In the […]

Review of The Patchwork Bike

The Patchwork Bike by Maxine Beneba Clarke; illus. by Van Thanh Rudd Primary    Candlewick    40 pp. 9/18    978-1-5362-0031-7    $15.99 A child in an unnamed “village where we live inside our mud-for-walls home” describes the diversions of daily life: “whooping and shrieking and laughing” on the sand hill, exploring the desert, and playing atop an abandoned […]

Review of Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams

Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams by Lesa Cline-Ransome; illus. by James E. Ransome Primary, Intermediate    Wiseman/Simon    48 pp. 7/18    978-1-4814-7684-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-7685-0    $10.99 Wife-and-husband team Cline-Ransome and Ransome celebrate tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams, focusing on their formative childhoods and the way their preparation and talent fundamentally changed […]

Review of They Say Blue

They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki; illus. by the author Primary    Abrams    40 pp. 3/18    978-1-4197-2851-8    $17.99 A girl considers the wondrousness of the world around her, prompted by the colors she encounters throughout her day. While at the beach, she gazes across the water (“They say the sea is blue…But when I hold the […]

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 […]