November around our office is, well–we’re not in the office much because it’s conference season! November is our time of year to bounce from place to place, meeting and greeting and sharing great kids’ books with teachers, librarians, and others who are meeting to make their association connections for the year.
One of our first stops this year is the 2017 National Association for the Education of Young Children and Pajama Press has just sent over early reading copies of three picture books just right for preschoolers and their adult helpers.
Jane Whittingham’s picture book story about Wild One, illustrated by Noel Tuazon, offers a delightfully inspiring romp through active verbs: our little Wild One hangs from the monkey bars like a bat, bounds like a puppy through the grass, and much more. Her many and wholehearted activities make this a great read for anyone heading off to play at the park–or just resting at home, tired from all the action.
Rainy day? A perfect time for baking Baby Cakes with picture book author Theo Heras and illustrator Renné Benoit! Words appear in huge type here, making this a fine choice for kids interested in connected letter recognition to support early reading efforts. Brother, sister, mom, and kitten have their work cut out to get the cake batter made. All turns out well, of course, and a tea party can follow. Good directions for both cake and baking with little ones are included, too.
Sanne Dufft‘s The Night Lion provides a terrific going-to-bed picture book about a brave knight of a boy who needs some assistance when his imagination plays mean tricks on him at night. What could be better company for a brave knight in this situation than a lion?!
From morning to night, sunny and rainy days alike, come by our booth to meet these three beautiful books and lots lots more! At NAEYC, you’ll find us at Booth 720.
September 15 marks the birthday of renowned author Agatha Christie. To celebrate this esteemed writer, who penned 82 mystery novels, we have a hunch that you’re in the mood for some mysteries as well! From the classic whodunit to riddles of a stranger nature, mysteries offer great ways to spark curiosity in readers of all ages, encouraging them to find out what could happen next and if they can guess correctly. So, grab a magnifying glass and a handy notebook as we take a look at some of our favorite mysterious titles.
Will You Help Doug Find His Dog?
An interactive picture book title from Barefoot Books, Will You Help Doug Find His Dog? keeps readers guessing the answer to the very last page. Doug has lost his canine companion at the dog park and needs help finding him. After describing his four-legged friend to readers, Doug asks his audience to whistle, clap, and tickle their way through a group of dogs until the missing pup is found. Written by Jane Caston, and illustrated by Carmen Saldaña, this story encourages a playful response and will have little ones wanting to read it again.
There’s a Walrus in My Bed!
A young boy who is spending his first night in a big boy bed has a large problem in this picture book from Andersen Press, written and illustrated by Ciara Flood. Flynn keeps coming downstairs when he’s supposed to be asleep, claiming that the walrus needs food, blankets, or a glass of milk. In this case, the mystery is for the readers themselves to solve. Is the walrus just an excuse Flynn created, as his parents suspect, or could there really be a giant walrus in Flynn’s bed?
Detective Gordon: A Case in Any Case
Ulf Nilsson and Gitte Spee’s beloved series follows Gordon, a toad detective, and his enterprising assistant, Buffy the mouse, as they take on curious cases. In the latest illustrated chapter book installment, published by Gecko Press, Buffy seeks out Gordon’s help to solve the mystery of strange noises coming from outside the police station each night. Once this mystery is solved, they can get back to what they love best, which includes drinking tea and stamping important papers.
The Artie Conan Doyle Mysteries: The Gravediggers’ Club
Robert J. Harris’ middle grade series harkens back to a different monumental mystery writer. The Artie Conan Doyle Mysteries from Floris Books imagines that the Sherlock Holmes stories were based on adventures that their author, Arthur Conan Doyle, had when he was a boy growing up in Edinburgh, Scotland. In the first installment, Artie and his best friend Ham follow the clues of a ghostly lady in grey and the pawprints of a gigantic hound to discover the secrets of the spooky Gravediggers’ Club.
The Theory of Hummingbirds
Alba has her eyes set on running in the sixth-grade cross-country race as soon as the final cast comes off her “directionally challenged” foot. She’s counting on support from her best friend, Levi, but he is consumed by his latest science obsession—wormholes. Is Levi just dreaming, or does the librarian really have a wormhole in her office? Written by Michelle Kadarusman and published by Pajama Press, this middle grade novel is about friendship, big challenges, and even bigger questions.
One season can change your life, a concept that twelve-year-old Eliot is learning daily as he spends his summer in a place he absolutely detests—Point Aconi, Nova Scotia. As Eliot learns how to perform the mundane tasks well-known to other residents of the small fishing town, he begins to realize that there is more to this seaside village than meets the eye. Why is Mary-Beth always reluctant to go home? How does Miss Gifford always know when trouble is brewing? What’s hidden in the pages of Great-great-grandfather Steen’s diary? Eliot wonders if he’ll find the answers to these prodding questions before the summer’s up. Written by critically-acclaimed author and artist Frank Viva, this work of graphic fiction is about broadening perspectives is published by Toon Books.
When Marion and her mother inherit an old family house, complete with its own private beach, they see it as a wonderful opportunity for a new life. This graphic novel from Lion Forge, written by Mathieu Reynès with art from Valérie Vernay, follows Marion’s exploration of her new town as she begins to uncover unanswered questions and local legends haunting the surrounding area. What secrets are hidden away in the nearby lighthouse, and why does she feel an eerie tie to the lighthouse watchman? As time passes, Marion begins to wonder if this idyllic place isn’t nearly as peaceful as it first appeared.
Five suburban children must fight to keep their world from tearing apart after they discover the body of the world’s most powerful superhero, Plutona, laying discarded in the woods near their school. As they wrestle with how to handle this weighty secret, their personal lives spin dangerously out of control. The real question—who killed Plutona?—lurks in the back of everyone’s mind, but the group of five might not be alive to uncover the whole story if they can’t solve their own problems soon. This dark coming-of-age tale from Image Comics is written by Emi Lenox and Jeff Lemire, with striking art by Emi Lenox and Jordie Bellaire.
June marks the celebrations of a number of events commemorating release from historic oppressions that come with the need to keep newfound respect alive. Juneteenth, for one, marks the news of the Emancipation Proclamation reaching African Americans whose slave holders failed to pass along the news when Abraham Lincoln first signed the law. Teens can download for free and to keep the audiobook of W. E. B. DuBois’s classic The Souls of Black Folks through June 21 to hear about this period, as well as the period of Reconstruction, from the viewpoint of an African American Harvard scholar. This free audiobook, and another this week and two more each week through August 17, come courtesy of AudioFile Magazine. You can visit the program’s AudiobookSYNC site for full information.
Barefoot Books celebrates inclusivity with Baby’s First Words, a board book that follows one busy baby and her two dads through a day full of exploration. Also available in Spanish as Mis primeras palabras, this title by Christiane Engel introduces younger audiences to a variety of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and phrases, giving a new spin to a classic first word book.
Jessica Spanyol, author-illustrator of Child’s Play’s Clive series, offers early readers stories that gently challenge gender stereotypes. In these board books, Clive, a little boy with a big imagination, spends his days caring for his dolls, adding to his hat and bag collections, and pretending to be a librarian when his friends come over to play.
Child’s Play continues to sensitively handle gender with Quiet!, which pubs this fall. The picture book never designates a gender for its main character, a toddler who explores the range of sounds they hear as their day comes to an end. Auditory landmarks help all children to become familiar with daily routines, and can be particularly important to those who are blind or partially sighted. Inventive and inclusive, Quiet! is great for parents on the hunt for a picture book that doesn’t gender its protagonist.
In We Are Family from Tiger Tales, sweet verse takes you through moments in the life of ten families, celebrating diversity through shared experiences. The families may look different—there is a single parent, a child in a wheelchair, a boy raised by his grandparents, two same-sex couples, and a variety of ethnic backgrounds represented—but through thick and thin, these families are all there for one another.
How Nivi Got Her Names is published by our friends at Inhabit Media and is a valuable exploration of traditional Inuit naming that also touches on Inuit custom adoption. Nivi, her mother Laura, her anaana (mother) Jesse, and their entire extended family are actual people; the picture book includes an introduction from Nivi’s birth mother Aviaq, and short biographies of the people for whom Nivi is named.
In Tilbury House’s Real Sisters Pretend, written by Megan Dowd Lambert and illustrated by Nicole Tadgell, people often mistake Mia and Tayja as friends rather than sisters. Throughout this heartwarming picture book, Mia and Tayja spend the day playing make-believe and are comforted by the fact that adoption has made them and their two moms a “forever family,” and that they will always be sisters, even after playtime is over.
Action Lab Entertainment offers readers another graphic novel adventure from the Princeless universe in Raven: The Pirate Princess, Book Three. After a violent confrontation on the Island of the Free Women, Raven and her crew are badly beaten, with one of their own near death. As Raven risks her life to find a legendary healer who may be able to save Ximena before it’s too late, her unspoken love for Ximena propels her onward.
Princess Princess Ever After is all about girl power and flipping gender stereotypes on their head. From author-illustrator Katie O’Neill and Oni Press, this middle grade graphic novel follows princesses Sadie and Amira as they join forces to bring out the very best in one another and perhaps find a happily ever after together. Did we mention there are dancing trolls?
Also coming soon from Katie O’Neill and Oni is The Tea Dragon Society, a graphic novel about discovering the value in tradition and the strength in found families. A warm partnership between the two men who make up the Tea Dragon Society and a touch of flirting between protagonists Greta and Minette make this a great choice for readers looking for heartwarming, smile-inducing representation.
Moon at Nine from Pajama Press tells the story of two girls who dare to dream of a life and future together. Stuck in a world that sees their love as a crime, Farrin and Sadira must keep their growing relationship a secret. Written by award-winning author Deborah Ellis, this novel is based on true events that took place in 1980s Iran.
by Veronica Crisler, Myrick Marketing and Media Intern
Planting Seeds of Greatness, a month-long global campaign, encourages people to start thinking about the world around them and to use their talents to help build a better future for others. It’s a gentle push to help one another enact change on a global scale.
Sometimes promoting greatness in the lives of children happens through the simple act of handing them an outstanding book to read. Pajama Press, actively advocating social justice through their children’s books, brings to the table two heartwarming stories to plant seeds of greatness in the minds of young readers worldwide.
In a Cloud of Dust, written by Alma Fullerton and illustrated by Brian Deines, tells the story of Anna, a young girl growing up in Tanzania who is dedicated in her studies. Each day, Anna and her classmates are pressed to find enough time to complete their school day before having to walk miles home before the sun sets. When a man from the bicycle library visits the school yard, each child has the opportunity to rent a bike, except Anna, who is the very last in line. Though she has the longest distance to walk home, Anna remains cheerful and passes her knowledge of bicycles on to her friends.
This vividly portrayed and gracefully scripted story empowers children to become more aware of the circumstances of people around them, encouraging them to share knowledge and time without expecting anything in return. Anna’s story shows how one idea can help change a multitude of lives.
Be sure to take a look at our activity page here to expand on this book in programs and classes. Also, check out some of the organizations that donate and distribute bicycles in developing countries like Tanzania.
Elephant Journey, written by Rob Laidlaw and illustrated by Brian Deines, is the touching story of three captive elephants living in the Toronto Zoo. When it’s clear that their health is suffering from the foreign living arrangements and climate, people across Canada and the US begin protesting the mistreatment of these quiet creatures. After two years of petitioning for the elephants to be transferred to the PAWS sanctuary, the City Council is able to make the correct arrangements.
A long, treacherous journey awaits the three gentle giants before their arrival in California. With the help and determination of kind and sensitive people, they safely make it to their new home: a vast sanctuary filled with lush foliage, warm weather, and plenty of space to roam.
Author Rob Laidlaw is the founder of Zoocheck, a wildlife protection charity that promotes and protects the interest and well-being of wild animals. Check out more books by Rob and Pajama Press promoting animal protection and care.
Everybody has seeds of greatness inside. When was the last time you shared a book encouraging those seeds to grow and flourish? We’d love to know!
We’re traveling to Boston today and looking forward to seeing all of you attending the American Library Association’s 2016 Midwinter meeting there! You’ll find us at Booth 1917 in the Exhibits…and why would you want to find us? Because:
We’re bringing cool new picture books, comics, and books for older youth from a variety of quality publishers, including Pajama Press (Canada), Leminscaat (Netherlands), Gecko (New Zealand), Floris Books (Scotland), Karadi Tales (India), Udon Entertainment (Canada/Hong Kong), and, from the United States, Diamond, Tilbury House, Gannon & Wyatt, Namelos, No Starch, and Two Lions.
We’re hosting signings by Rebecca Emberley, Bill Thomson, Licia Morelli and Jennifer E. Morris, and Susan Schwake.
We have a librarian staff who know books, audiobooks, and kids.
Plus, we are a lot of fun and generous, too…hmm, prizes anyone?
Sheila Agnew’s delightful character, Evie Brooks, has been on a blog tour (with Sheila) this week. If you haven’t had a chance to meet Evie, you can catch up with her–and Sheila–at these three generous bloggers’ sites:
Do you have a favorite author or illustrator you hope we can take on a blog tour of your favorite kids books blogs? Let us know!
Pajama Press publishes In a Cloud of Dust today. Alma Fullerton’s story, with Brian Deines’ illustrations, takes young readers into a Tanzania where the village’s bicycle supply is truly a shared resource. They’re kept at the bicycle library, available for use on the honor system!
To celebrate this publication, we are pleased to be able to share the Reading Guide the publisher has developed to accompany it. It offers lots of good tips for discussion and research for grade school aged kids, including the websites for five different organizations dedicated to promoting bicycle availability. You’ll find the guide at the bottom of this post.
Tomorrow is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Just in case you need some tips and a good book for a program to celebrate, here’s some help from Pajama Press!
Bad Pirate is a good story, and the activities Jessica has developed for five-to-eight-year-olds will have your whole crew arrrggghhh-ing.
With the American Library Association’s Annual Conference rapidly approaching, followed by the annual conference for the International Literacy Association, we’re excited about all the new books we’ll have to show you! We had a staff meeting yesterday, with Ellen doing her fabulous job of book talking us through the fun, the gorgeous, the thought-provoking, and the curious.
Among just a few of the treasures you’ll get to see, either at conference or on our Pinterest board for the conference (if you can’t attend in person) is Cheer-up Bird, from Lemniscaat USA, a fun–and yes, cheering–picture book by Edward van de Vendel, with illustrations by Ingrid and Dieter Schubert. The Schuberts will be the featured speakers at the USBBY event in San Francisco, during ALA.
Gecko Press is bringing out When Dad Showed Me the Universe, by Ulf Stark, with illustrations by Eva Eriksson, which is already collecting lots of review praise in its English language edition. Although its on sale date in the US is September, here at PS We’re Reading, we’ve already created some activity suggestions for teachers and librarians who might want to get a jump on preparing for new books to share with young readers after summer.
No Starch Press, which is located in San Francisco and so can readily join us for ALA this year, is publishing an essential book for new secondary school and college students, Violet Blue’s The Smart Girl’s Guide to Privacy. We’re developing an educators guide to this title to help promote its importance to girls online everywhere and everyday.
Frederic Brremaud and Federico Bertolucci have created a magnificent wordless graphic novel Love: The Tiger, published by Magnetic Press and distributed through Diamond Comics. Publishers Weekly has already awarded it a starred review and you’ll see us developing materials to make sure this gets into the hands of readers of all ages.
Pajama Press has a new Princess Pistachio book, from Marie Louise Gay. Princess Pistachio and the Pest is pulling in great reviews even as the eponymous princess heads into her own summer vacation. You’re going to be hearing more about that, and lots of other great new books for kids, very soon! Stay tuned!