Newbery and Caldecott Awards, 2014

Congratulations to winners of this year’s Newbery and Caldecott awards!

floraulyssesThe Newbery Medal went to Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo.

There were four Newbery Honor Books:

Doll Bones by Holly Black

The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes

One Came Home by Amy Timberlake

Paperboy by Vince Vawter

locomotiveThe Caldecott Medal went to Locomotive by Brian Floca.

There were three Caldecott Honor Books:

Journey by Aaron Becker

Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle

Mr. Wuffles! by David Wiesner

The ALA announced many other awards, including the Sibert Award for informational books, the Geisel Award for Beginning Readers, and more!  You can view a complete list of the award-winning books at:

All of these award-winning titles are available through your library system — you can place holds on them using our online catalog, or stop by and request them in person!

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Book Review: The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp

trueblueBingo and J’miah are two young raccoons, official True Blue Scouts of the Sugar Man Swamp. They know their duties: be true and faithful to each other, heed the Voice of Intelligence, and in case of emergency, wake the Sugar Man. What Bingo and J’Miah don’t know yet is that trouble is heading for the swamp from two different directions. A whole herd of destructive feral hogs is about to descend on the peaceful place — and there’s a human critter stirring up trouble, too. Sonny Boy Beaucoup, owner of the swamp, is planning to pave over the whole thing for a theme park and gator wrestling arena. There’s another problem, too: Bingo and J’miah don’t exactly know where to find the Sugar Man, a legendary figure distantly related to Sasquatch. Nor do they know how to wake him up when they do find him. And Bingo and J’miah are not the only ones anxious to save the swamp: twelve-year-old Chaparral Brayburn is also looking for a way to thwart Sonny Boy’s schemes. But how can a twelve-year-old boy, a mythical creature, and two raccoons save the swamp? Continue reading

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Book Reviews: Warning and Wuffles

We’ve blogged about all but two of our Mock Caldecott Book Club selections, so today we’ll talk about those final two books.  Have we saved the best for last?

warningbookYou must be careful when opening Warning: Do Not Open This Book! by Adam Lehrhaupt, illustrated by Matthew Forsythe.  After all the book is full of monkeys and toucans and even a hungry alligator, just waiting to be let loose.  And if they get loose, they’re sure to make a mess!  Readers will notice that the front endpapers of the book contain numerous warning signs, informing the reader that it would be disastrous to read further.  Moreover, the story continues through the rest of the pages in the book, onto the back endpapers, and even onto the back cover of the book.  This creative use of book space sets it apart from other books, and the clever and funny illustrations are sure to appeal to readers on several levels. Continue reading

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Book Review: The Year of Billy Miller

billymillerBilly Miller is not sure if he is ready for second grade. What if he doesn’t like his teacher? What if she doesn’t like him? What if the bump he got on his head on a family vacation makes it so he can’t learn the things he needs to know? Billy has other worries, too: will his artist father ever get his “breakthrough?” Will his little sister always be so annoying? And he has big plans, like the one to say up all night long, and the one to memorize the poem he has to say for Family Day at school. Don’t worry, Billy Miller — you’re going to have a great school year! Continue reading

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Book Reviews: Matchbox Diary and Mighty Lalouche

If you’re participating in our Mock Caldecott and Mock Newbery Book Clubs, don’t forget to stop by the library with your reading record some time before January 22nd!  And if you’re not signed up, you still have time!  Before the program ends, let’s take a look at a few more great picture books from our Mock Caldecott Book Club.

matchboxIn The Matchbox Diary, author Paul Fleischman and illustrator Bagram Ibatoulline tell the story of an immigrant who saved mementoes in matchboxes instead of keeping a diary.  Each item brings to mind a flood of memories which the old man shares with his great-granddaughter.  Ibatoulline’s photo-realistic illustrations bring every detail of the story to life.  This is another book that readers will want to take time with, to pore over each detailed page and marvel at the illustrator’s skill. Continue reading

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Book Reviews: Crankenstein and The Dark

There’s still time to participate in our Mock Caldecott Book Club!  Why not take a look at one of these books?

crankensteinIn Crankenstein, written by Samantha Berger and illustrated by Dan Santat, an ordinary kid is transformed into a grumpy monster by a series of everyday annoyances.  Easily recognized by his disgruntled frown and grouchy “Mehhrrr!” of irritation, Crankenstein stomps and frets his way through the day.  But what happens when Crankenstein meets another Crankenstein?  Well, the results may surprise you.  In this book, the story and illustrations work perfectly together to create a story that is funny and relatable.  After all, who hasn’t been Crankenstein at one time or another?  The bold lines and bright colors accentuate the conversational tone of the brief story. Continue reading

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Book Review: The Truth of Me

truthofmeWhile Robert’s musician parents are on tour, Robert is pleased to stay with  Maddy, his eccentric grandmother. Robert’s parents are impatient with  Maddy’s stories, and even her friend and doctor Henry is skeptical, but  Robert believes wholeheartedly in Maddy’s tales of her adventures with  the animals that live in the forest next to her house. Robert has many  anxieties, though: will his dog Ellie be good with the animals? Will he  ever feel as close to his parents as he does to Maddy? Does his mother  love her violin more than she loves Robert?
Continue reading

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Book Reviews: Locomotive and Light

In our Mock Caldecott Book Club selections, we have two informational titles — one about trains, and the other about Albert Einstein.  Let’s take a look at each of them.

locomotiveLocomotive by Brian Floca is a poetic look at the history of the American railroad, inviting readers to take a trip in an old-fashioned steam engine across the plains.  In words and pictures, Floca scrutinizes every detail of the early days of travel by train.  Readers are treated to everything from the inner workings of the engine, to the entertainments available to the passengers, to the different types of terrain visible through the windows as the train speeds along.  This is the sort of book that requires that the reader take time to study each page, and Floca adds visual interest by incorporating different fonts and text styles into the story.  Train afficionados are sure to love this book, but others will be drawn in, as well, by the complex illustrations and the excitement of train travel. Continue reading

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Book Reviews: Bully and Bear

Today, let’s take a look at two of our Mock Caldecott selections designed to be enjoyed by the youngest readers.

bullyIn Bully by Laura Vaccaro Seeger, a little bull in a bad mood yells and calls names until one of his friends stands up to him, and he realizes that he has been a bully.  It’s a simple story and the lesson is obvious, but a few subtle details elevate this above other picture books on the topic.  Each page has a straw-colored background that contrasts with the solid colors and black lines of the characters in the foreground.  A shadowy row of fence posts runs through each page, providing contrast as the little bull grows larger with each insult he hurls, until the realization of his behavior deflates him to his original size.  The characters’ faces and body language are expressive, and every line in this book is used to good effect. Continue reading

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Book Review: Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper

ghosthawkWhen Little Hawk leaves his village for a winter in the wilderness, a rite  of passage that every Wampanoag boy must face. When he returns, however, it is to find that nearly the whole village has succumbed to a fever  spread from the white traders who have recently come to the region. As  Little Hawk and the few survivors are incorporated into another village  which has also seen losses from the fever, by chance he meets John  Wakely, a boy a few years younger than himself. Little Hawk will meet  John Wakely once again in his lifetime, and that meeting will change  both boys’ lives in profound and startling ways.

This is a  gripping read that deals with an historical period that may be  unfamiliar to some readers. Life in Little Hawk’s Wampanoag village is  respectfully described, and the conflicts between the settlers over  issues of church and state are shown in dramatic and interesting ways.  Readers who enjoy historical stories with plenty of adventure are sure to like this book.  Ghost Hawk is one of our Mock Newbery selections — why not stop by the library and check out a copy today?

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