Vicky Smith

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Review of Celia Planted a Garden: The Story of Celia Thaxter and Her Island Garden

Celia Planted a Garden: The Story of Celia Thaxter and Her Island Garden by Phyllis Root and Gary D. Schmidt; illus. by Melissa SweetPrimary, Intermediate    Candlewick    40 pp.    g5/22    978-1-5362-0429-2    $18.99Largely forgotten today, American writer Celia Laighton Thaxter enjoyed a significant literary career in the latter half of the nineteenth...

Review of The Blanket Where Violet Sits

The Blanket Where Violet Sits by Allan Wolf; illus. by Lauren Tobia Preschool     Candlewick    32 pp.    g8/22    978-0-7636-9665-8    $17.99 In this preschooler’s introduction to the universe, a little girl’s city-set picnic with two loving caregivers zooms from the titular blanket out to “the known universe, past comprehension,” and back. Wolf...

Considering the Criteria: Addressing Book Discussion Guidelines in the Twenty-First Century

In our awards-focused children’s book industry, the calendar is full of rituals. January is when we learn which books won ALA awards and which did not; June is when we celebrate those winners. With the turning of the season to fall, this is the moment in the award year when...

Newbery 2011

As a member of two Newbery committees myself (A Single Shard, 2002; Criss Cross, 2006), I have tried to school myself against second-guessing what goes on behind those closed doors every January. It’s a certainty that committee members have read all of the books more often than I have, and...

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