Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Great Read Aloud Books for Storytime, Bedtime, and More

Reading aloud is a great way to engage young children with stories while expanding their vocabulary, developing their comprehension, and instilling a love of reading and learning.

Find some recommendations on great read alouds, for every age and occasion!

"The book is destined to be a high-
volume read-aloud, and much fun can 
be had trying to guess what the girl
 will choose" ―Kirkus Reviews
Fun Storytime Read Alouds

Ages 26
Bark Park
What's the Time, Grandma Wolf?
No Bows! 

"The repeated phrases will be sure to 
have sleepy children chiming in and 
Argent’s strong, rich watercolors offer 
beguiling parents and offspring." 
Kirkus Reviews
Read Alouds for Further Discussion

 “Stockdale’s rhyming couplets are 
perfectly crafted. They’re as delightful
 to read aloud as her clean, bright 
acrylic paintings are to look at.” 
School Library Journal
Nonfiction Read Alouds

Transitional and Chapter Book Read Alouds

The Cheshire Cheese Cat

Find these books and more at your local libraryindie bookstore, or Barnes & Noble
What's your favorite read aloud? Comment below!

Friday, January 26, 2018

New Picture Book from Bethan Woollvin Coming Fall 2018

We are thrilled to announce that Bethan Woollvin's newest fractured fairy tale will be coming to the U.S. in October 2018! The upcoming picture book is a deliciously wicked take on "Hansel & Gretel" that is sure to delight fans of Woollvin's Little Red and Rapunzel.

Woollvin's feisty heroines have refreshed readers, as her traditional characters always insist on saving themselves. Woollvin said in a guest post on fairy tales and gender stereotypes, "I simply wanted to create stories and characters that I would have enjoyed to read about when I was a child, instead of the damsels in distress we so often read about in classic tales."

Still including the unique twist that Woollvin's fairy tale retellings provide, this Hansel &Gretel flips the classic story completely on its head: "While Little Red and Rapunzel are certainly rebellious, Bethan’s take on 'Hansel & Gretel' isshall we saybiting. You’ll never forget these siblings…or this witch," says Vice President and Associate Publisher Kathy Landwehr.

Taking the subversive nature of Little Red and Rapunzel to the next level, Hansel & Gretel stars a witch named Willow, a good witch who only uses good magic. That is, until she meets Hansel and Gretel, two very naughty and rude children who try Willow’s patience. A clever twist redefines the meaning of a villain.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more news about Hansel & Gretel!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Blacksmith's Song: Blacksmithing, Slavery in America, and Underground Railroad Folklore

Written by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk
Illustrated by Anna Rich

Pa works hard as a blacksmith. But he’s got another important job to do as well: using his anvil to pound out the traveling rhythm—a message to travelers on the Underground Railroad. His son wants to help, but Pa keeps putting him off. Then one day, Pa falls ill and the boy has to take over.

Inspired by tales of communication on the Underground Railroad, author Elizabeth Van Steenwyk presents a powerful story of rhythm and craft in nineteenth century America—with beautiful oil paintings by illustrator Anna Rich and back matter that includes more information about the Underground Railroad. Blacksmith's Song offers a unique angle on the folklore of the secret communication channels between slaves as they traveled towards freedom.

“An intriguing new angle on an important story.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A plausible, powerful vision of ingenuity and daring in action.” —Publishers Weekly

“A shadowy color palette situates the narrative in the twilight and moonlit hours, perfectly complementing the suspense of the plot…. Ending on a hopeful note, the book brings this piece of hidden history to life.” —Booklist

“Inspired by tales of the Underground Railroad and its innovative methods of communication, a perilous story of courage and cunning unfolds” —Foreword Reviews

“The design of every spread lends itself well to an oral reading or presentation, which would serve as a stimulus for more in-depth information or discussion on the topics of slavery and the Civil War….a welcome addition to an introduction of the Underground Railroad.” —School Library Connection

Blacksmiths are craftsmen who create objects from iron or steel and produce items like tools, weapons, furniture, railings, and gates. Blacksmithing has been around since humans have been using metals to create. And if you have ever watched a blacksmith at work, or heard the sound of hammer hitting anvil in a repeated pattern, you will notice the musicality of the sound as well as the art behind the craft. Some of the tools are very heavy, and it requires a lot of skill and muscle to shape hot metal.

Although Blacksmith's Song is a historical fiction story, many slaves did work as blacksmiths. One such example is James W. C. Pennington, who was enslaved on a Maryland plantation, but eventually escaped and made his way north alone. Living as a free man, he became the first African American to take classes at Yale University, became a minister, and dedicated his life to the abolition of slavery. Pennington wrote and published The Origin and History of the Colored People, which is considered the first history of African Americans in the United States. His memoir The Fugitive Blacksmith was published in 1849. (You can read it in its entirety here, or the summary here.)

While there is no hard evidence that enslaved people used blacksmithing as a method of communicating for travelers on the Underground Railroad, Blacksmith's Song is just one example of the many different stories surrounding  communication on the Underground Railroad. For some great book pairings, as well as more resources and information about communication on the Underground Railroad and the significance of this folklore, check out the links below.

Blacksmith's Song Book Pairings

Monday, January 22, 2018

Multicultural Children's Books: Helping Kids Read Their World

Books offer readers a chance to see the world through someone else's eyes. That's why we believe it's so important to have books with a wealth of diverse cultures, traditions, perspectives, experiences, and individuals available for children. To celebrate Multicultural Children's Book Day, check out some of our children's books highlighting different countries, people, and stories and #ReadYourWorld today!

Books Featuring Different Countries
Bosnia: Flowers for Sarajevo
India: Monsoon Afternoon
India: Child of Spring
Israel: Watch Out for Flying Kids
Kenya: 14 Cows for America
Mexico: Clatter Bash
Mexico: Truth and Salsa
Germany: Eleanor's Story

Multicultural Folktales and Legends
Jewish: Lemuel the Fool
Cuban: Martina the Beautiful Cockroach
Japanese: I Am Tama, Lucky Cat
Danish: The Yellow Star

Books Featuring Multicultural Americans and Immigrants
Italian American: Three Scoops and a Fig
Jewish American: Zayde Comes to Live
Muslim American: Garden of My Imaan
Hawaii (Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese Americans): Gaff
Indian American: My Dadima Wears a Sari
Indian/Hindu American: Sona and the Wedding Game
Cuban immigrants: Growing up Cuban in Decatur, GA
Chinese immigrants: Good Fortune

Characters in Multicultural History
Miguel's Brave Knight
Blacksmith's Song
Keep On!
Sweet Land of Liberty
Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells
It Can't Be Done, Nellie Bly
Leo, Dog of the Sea
The Other Side Free
We've Got a Job

Books Featuring Diverse Characters
The Secret Science of Magic (See author Melissa Keil's list of 8 Australian Multicultural YA Books here!)
Izzy Gizmo
In the RainIn the Wind; In the Snow
King & Kayla series
Mrs. McBee Leaves Room 3
Something Special
Tiger in My Soup
Jake's 100th Day of School
A Storm Called Katrina
Charlie Bumpers series

Books Featuring Characters with Disabilities
Deafness: The Printer
Deafness: The Sound of All Things
Deafness: Dad, Jackie, and Me
Deafness: Can You Hear a Rainbow?
Prosthesis: The Making of My Special Hand
Cerebral Palsy: Rolling Along
Polio: Dancing with Katya
Down syndrome: Head Above Water

Look for these titles and more at your local library, indie bookstore, or Barnes & Noble!

Looking for more multicultural-related books? Check out our bilingual and Spanish titles here.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Women Making History

For every era of war, peace, and progress in this country and around the world, there are women who have been and will be working tirelessly to make their voices heard, and affect change. These women march, write, and speak to ensure a more open, just, and peaceful world. 

For children who are growing up and learning what the women before them have accomplished, these true stories are sure to inspire.

This energetic and inspiring picture book biography of activist Jane Addams focuses on her efforts toward peace during WWI that eventually won her the Nobel Peace Prize. From the time she was a child, Jane’s heart ached for others. At first the focus of her efforts was on poverty, and led to the creation of Hull House, the settlement house she built in Chicago. For twenty-five years, she’d helped people from different countries live in peace at Hull House. But when war broke out, Jane decided to take on the world and become a dangerous woman for the sake of peace. 

Read an excerpt. Check out the Teacher's Guide.

All Bessie wants is to go hiking with her father and brothers. But it’s 1896, and girls don’t get to hike. They can’t vote either, which Bessie discovers when Susan B. Anthony comes to town to lead the campaign for women’s suffrage. Stirred to action, Bessie joins the movement and discovers that small efforts can result in small changes—and maybe even big ones. Inspired by the diary of the real Bessie Keith Pond, a ten-year-old girl who lived in California during the suffrage campaign, author Claire Rudolf Murphy and illustrator Stacey Schuett offer a thought-provoking introduction to the fight for women’s rights.

Check out the Teacher's Guide.

In 1863, when Ida B. Wells was not yet two years old, the Emancipation Proclamation freed her from the bond of slavery. Blessed with a strong will, an eager mind, and a deep belief in America’s promise of “freedom and justice for all,” young Ida held her family together, defied society’s conventions, and used her position as a journalist to speak against injustice. But Ida’s greatest challenge arose after one of her friends was lynched. How could one headstrong young woman help free America from the looming “shadow of lawlessness”?

Check out the Teacher's Guide.

Find these books and more at your local library, indie bookstore, or Barnes & Noble.
For more books featuring self-empowered females, check out our Books to Celebrate Women in HistoryBooks with Character, and Books with Strong Heroines round-ups.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Coming this Spring: New in Paperback!

This Spring 2018 season, in additional to the wonderful new books we're excited for, we have a great list of titles coming out in paperback for readers of all ages! Check out these award-winning books, now in a new format!

Now in Spanish! This fictionalized first-person biography, written in verse by Young People's Poet Laureate Margarita Engle (and translated by Teresa Mlawer and Georgina Lázaro), follows the early year of the child who grows up to pen Don Quixote, the first modern novel of the Western world. Miguel's Brave Knight is also one of 2017's best books!

Newly revised and featuring extended back matter! Fish make our world a better place. But sometimes people do things that make it hard for them to live and grow. Expository nonfiction powerhouse author Melissa Stewart shares the ways human actions can affect fish and describes ways people can help protect them and their nature habitats.

In this modern spin on "The Princess and the Pea," Prince Henrick wants to marry an outdoorsy kind of girl, and he know just how to find her: instead of a single pea tucked into a pile of bedding, Henrik tests prospective brides with an entire packet of frozen peas shoved under a flimsy camping mattress. This unconventional twist will have readers laughing out loud!

Pig and Bug just want to be friends. But their size difference is proving to be a BIG problem. Pig wants to play games, but Bug is too small. Bug wants to make things for his friend, but Pig is too big! This entertaining tale from Alex Latimer, filled with wordplay and visual puns, is a great "odd couple" story to pair with upcoming picture book Kalinka and Grakkle.

When Harriet's sister offers to fix her rebellious curl, the three of them launch into a series of outrageous, hair-raising schemes to tame Harriet's wayward ringlet. Despite their best efforts, another curl breaks loose...and then another...and then another. Soon the  year and the house are a wreck, poor Harriet is exhausted, and her head is covered in curls. This quirky story filled with energetic illustrations will take all of the dread out of a bad hair day.

Award-winning author Cathryn Sill and her husband, noted wildlife illustrator John Sill, offer young readers a first glimpse into grassland habitats. In simple, easy-to-understand language, this guide teachers children what grasslands are and what kinds of animals and plans live there. Pick up this paperback and see why this is an NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students K-12! And check out the rest of the books in the About Habitats series.

Emmy loves trees, especially the mimosa tree that grows in her grandmother's pasture. So when Emmy decides she wants a mimosa tree of her own for her birthday, she is dismayed to find that many garden stores don't sell them. Emmy is crushed—until she discovers that the answer to her problems is growing right before her eyes!

Everyone's favorite detective dog-human duo are now available in paperback! Uncover exciting mysteries with an adorkable pup King and his human pal Kayla. From missing dog treats to secret encryptions, there's plenty of detective work and laughs to be had. The straightforward and predictable format, make these early chapter book readers great for fact-gathering, analytical thinking, and predicting what will happen next!

In this new paperback in the Dog Chronicles series, Murphy escapes a grueling life as part of a dogsled team, mercilessly driven so that their cruel owner can reach Nome before the Bering Sea thaws and word gets out to the mainland that gold has been discovered. When the first ships arrive, Murphy is taken in by two recent arrivals: Sally and her mother, who hope to make their fortune providing secretarial labor, so that they can buy their own stake, free from their wealthy but oppressive family back home in Seattle. This action-packed and heartwarming tale, supplemented with more historical information in the back matter, explores the roles that dogs played during the Alaskan gold rush.

Thirteen-year-old Jameson Cooper has been thrown in jail after the death of both of his parents. After he's been sold to the town baker, Jameson is kidnapped by a brigand of privateers working for Queen Anne. He must prove his worth on the high seas to the men who eventually become like family. In the end, Jameson must use his wits and education to save his captain from death. This sure-fire, action-packed adventure is loaded with fascinating details about life at sea during Queen Anne's War.

For thirteen-year-old Samantha, life consists of too many unanswered questions about her past. Like why has her father not tried to contact her all these years? How could he have let her twin sister drown in Clearwater Quarry when they were only toddlers? And how can Sam's mother expect her to accept some make she hardly knows as her new father? Sam already has a father out there. Somewhere. As she sets out to find her father and discover what really happened the day her sister was presumed drowned, she uncovers painful secrets that threaten to destroy her family all over again. 

Read about how author Dori Hillestad Butler approached revising and updating this title and it's companion, Yes, I Know the Monkey Man, in her blog post.

Alba wants to stop tie so she can stay in her small town forever—but news of the end of the world might just force her to confront her future. High school has ended, and everyone else seems to be making plans to move on. Meanwhile, Alba's old crush has unexpectedly reappeared, and her best friend has suddenly gone off the rails. Even her latest comic book creation is misbehaving. Also, the world might be ending—which is proving to be awkward. As doomsday enthusiasts flock to idyllic Eden Valley, Alba's life is thrown into chaos. Bit when it comes to figuring out her heart, Armageddon might turn out to be the least of Alba's problems.

Check out our full Spring 2018 catalog here, and see what new stories we have coming this season here!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Warm Up with a Good Book

Chilly winter temperatures and shorter daylight hours make outdoor activities less than ideal. But all the more reason to put on some cozy slippers, don your comfy clothes (maybe even a Snuggie), and open a book that will take away your winter blues. Warm up with some of these great books, either for independent fireside reading or for cuddly storytimes.

Dreamy illustrations, delicate colors, and gentle rhymes make this board book ideal for a cuddly bed time with a little reader. Author-illustrator John Butler will delight the very young with this interactive look at different animals and the way the move.

Join Little One and Big Bear as they discover the world together, through every season. With gentle text and gorgeous illustrations that highlight the wonder of nature, the story ends with the start of winter, as mother and cub get ready to hibernate in their cozy den. This quietly stunning book will make little readers want to cuddle up with the big ones in their lives, and vice versa.

The young boy in this picture book finds whimsical inspiration in the blizzard around him as a strong wind suddenly lifts him into the air as he soars over familiar sites. This fantastical (while also historical) trip through a snow-covered wonderland will help readers gain a new perspective of their own wintery surroundings.

Get lost in this exhilarating and imaginative escapade as Lily escapes from captivity and sets off on a journey to find her home, Lilliput. Inspired by Gulliver’s Travels, this chapter book transports readers to eighteenth-century London and traveling over rooftops, down chimneys, and into chocolate shops.

Read an excerpt.

In the playful homage to Charles Dickens, unlikely allies learn the lessons of a great friendship. The tongue-in-cheek romp through Victorian England will make readers forget all about the chilling weather outside. Add in the fast-moving plot, enjoyable characters, and emotive illustrations, and The Cheshire Cheese Cat will be sure to warm up any reader seeking some adventure.

Read an excerpt.

Looking for a complete change of scenery? How about the tropical island of Hawaii! Paul Silva lives in a paradise where he can see the ocean from his front porch. His father makes a living by raising and caring for roosters on their little farm, but soon Paul finds that the family business is tied to the underworld of cockfighting. As he struggles to understand his family’s livelihood, he learns that being a man has nothing to do with the wielding the power to hurt people and animals. The distinctive setting, unique topic, engaging story, and complex family relationships will capture any reader’s attention.

Read an excerpt.

There's nothing like digging into a good mystery during dreary weather. In this suspenseful chapter book, thirteen-year-old Samantha has too many unanswered questions about her past, like her father has never tried to contact her all these years and how he could have allowed her twin sister to drown in Clearwater Quarry when they were only toddlers. As she sets out to find her father and discover what really happened the day her sister was presumed drowned, she uncovers painful secrets that threaten to destroy her family all over again. Do You Know the Monkey Man? will draw readers into one family’s crisis unwittingly brought on by an adolescent girl’s search for the truth. Don't forget about the equally thought-provoking companion to the book, Yes, I Know the Monkey Man.

Read an excerpt.

A sharp, hilarious, and perfectly observed story of high school geeks falling in true love will definitely help cure the winter blues. Sam Kinnison is a geek, and he’s totally fine with that, and until Princess Leia turns up in his bedroom, worry about girls he won’t. Then Camilla Carter arrives on the scene. Sam is determined to ignore her, except that Camilla has a plan of her own—and he seems to be a part of it! Sam believes that everything he needs to know he can learn from the movies. But perhaps he’s been watching the wrong ones. Read this charming modern YA story to get ready for Melissa Keil's follow-up, The Secret Science of Magic.

Find these titles and more at your local libraryindie bookstore, or Barnes & Noble

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

New Year, New List: Spring 2018

It is officially 2018! And while this year is off to a frigid start (we're feeling the polar vortex down here in Atlanta too), this Spring 2018 season will help you shake off the shivers and give you the warm and fuzzys. We are delighted to share our Spring 2018 list, filled with nature, inventions, critters, and more. Happy New Year!

New Board Book

Simple and evocative language and charming illustrations describe a girl's experience on a rainy day. The In the Weather board book series by author Elizabeth Spurr and illustrator Manelle Oliphant comes to a close with In the Rain.

New Picture Books

Henry can't wait to have a bee suit of his own so he can help his Aunt Lilla with the sister bees. As he observes his aunt work with the beehives on their Lowcountry farm, he grows fascinated with her ability to communicate with the bees. When Henry learns that the bees are getting ready to look for a new place to live, can he find a way to communicate with the sister bees and convince them to stay? This stunner from Lester Laminack and Jim LaMarche will be a new favorite. 

Can a very messy monster and a perky little bird with an eye for neatness find a way to be friends? Grakkle doesn't care one bit about cleaning. "Grakk!" he complains as Kalinka "tidies up" his messes. "You're welcome," she responds. They simply aren't on the same wavelength. Can an unfortunate accident help an odd couple like this see eye to eye? Julie Paschkis's newest book is the perfect "odd couple" story.

Izzy Gizmo's inventions are marvelous, magnificent—and they often malfunction. But when she finds a crow with a broken wing, she just has to help! Izzy tries again and again to build him a new pair of wings, but nothing is working. Can Izzy overcome her failures? or will her crow friend never fly again? This feisty tale of determination, ingenuity, and friendship is sure to capture the imaginations of aspiring young inventors.

Abraham Lincoln was known for his sense of humor. But early in his adult life, it nearly got him into trouble. He had to use his imagination to save his career—and maybe even his life. When he became frustrated with the actions of a political rival Jame Shields, he came up with a plan the was silly, clever, and a great big mistake! Lincoln, his future wife, and a friend of hers wrote a pseudonymous series of letters to the newspaper editor, complaining about Shields. But when Shields took offense, he challenged Lincoln to a duel. Donna Janell Bowman's fun historical read aloud offers a refreshing perspective of a historical icon and how the lessons he learned made him a better man.

The son of an enslaved blacksmith learns that his father is using the rhythm of his hammering to communicate with travelers on the Underground Railroad. When Pa falls ill, it is up to the young boy to help others along the journey—and also lead his family's escape. Blacksmith's Song is a powerful story of rhythm and craft in nineteenth-century America with beautiful oil paintings.

Now in Spanish! This fictionalized first-person biography, written in verse by Young People's Poet Laureate Margarita Engle (and translated by Teresa Mlawer and Georgina Lázaro), follows the early year of the child who grows up to pen Don Quixote, the first modern novel of the Western world. Miguel's Brave Knight is also one of 2017's best books!

Newly revised and featuring extended back matter! Fish make our world a better place. But sometimes people do things that make it hard for them to live and grow. Expository nonfiction powerhouse author Melissa Stewart shares the ways human actions can affect fish and describes ways people can help protect them and their nature habitats.

New Illustrated Chapter Book

It's the fourth book for the King & Kayla series! Join this detective duo as they investigate a new mystery. Kayla just lost a tooth—but now it's missing. Where did it go? There's plenty of detective work and laughs to be had with King and Kayla as they solve the mystery.

New Middle Grade

Have fun on this poetic tour through the leaf litter layer and dig into the fascinating facts about the tiny critters who live there. Nineteen poems in a variety of verse forms with accompanying science notes take readers on a decomposer safari through the "brown food web," from bacteria through tardigrades and on to rove beetle predators with other busy recyclers in-between.

The newest addition to sports writer Fred Bowen's Sports Story series. Troy is overjoyed when he makes it onto an elite travel team with the help of his lucky charm, a piece of blue sea glass he found near his grandmother's beach house before she died. As he does well on the team, he accumulates more superstitious rituals. But when he loses his lucky charm, his performance begins to slip. What can he do to get his mojo back? Back matter for Lucky Enough includes the "Real Story" about well-known players like Wade “Chicken Man” Boggs, who were notoriously superstitious.

New Young Adult

Sophia, a former child prodigy and seventeen-year-old math genius is getting anxious about her future. She doesn't have time for silly games, and especially doesn't have the patience to deal with the mysterious playing cards and coins that keep turning up inside her belongings. But Joshua, a cheerfully unambitious teen and amateur magician, has admired Sophia for as long as he can remember. He just needs to muster up the courage to finally tell her how he feels. But he has no idea just how off his timing really is... This newest novel from Melissa Keil is a heartwarming tale of unconventional romance, perfect timing, and finding your own magic.

Check out our full Spring 2018 catalog here, and stay tuned for giveaways, interviews, and more!