Take Away the A

Image Credit: Enchanted Lion Books, Michaël Escoffier

Image Credit: Enchanted Lion Books, Michaël Escoffier/Kris Di Giacomo

I love a great endpaper (it’s all about the details!!). I open this book and there’s a neon green background with white ABC letters. Okay, I’m already hooked!  *__*

Take Away the A is by far my favorite ABC book. This book is CLEVER! It gets kids thinking about not only their ABCs but also the meaning of words. Escoffier takes away one letter from a simple word, that word magically transforms into another word and then he writes a silly sentence using both words. Then the illustrator, Di Giacomo, pairs the sentence with a charming illustration. The child reader is reading and simultaneously making connections between the sentence and image. If they have some trouble understanding the words, they can glance up at the illustration for help, especially since the format of this book is very formulaic. Some children are more visual learners and books like this are great for strengthening their reading comprehension!

As a bookseller, this was my go-to recommendation for children who are starting to feel more confident with their reading because it’s so fun and silly. The illustrations use muted colors and have a classic feeling to them. Teachers and parents can also use this book as a tool to get their kids thinking creatively! How about a Take Away the A inspired lesson where the students come up with their own silly sentences and illustrations? The possibilities are endless!

Recommended for: Beginning readers and up
Great for: ABC Learning, Inspiring creative thinking, Storytelling, Animals, Humor
Book Info: Take Away the A by Michaël Escoffier/Illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo , 2014 Enchanted Lion Books, ISBN: 9781592701568


Roller Girl

Image Credit: Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin), Victoria Jamieson

Image Credit: Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin), Victoria Jamieson

Okay! Are you ready?? One thing I learned from being a children’s bookseller is that graphic novels are HOT! Kids are eating them up. Maybe it’s because they think it “isn’t really reading.” Maybe it’s because of the success of comic-like books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid but young people are rushing to the bookstores and libraries to find fun graphic novels to read. One of the best new graphic novels for kids is Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson. All you need to know about this book is ROLLER DERBY and DRAMA…are you sold yet?? 😉

Jamieson’s spunky main character Astrid is transfixed by her fist roller derby bout and assumes her best friend Nicole will join her for roller derby camp in the summer. Little does she know that Nicole has other ideas. Their friendship is tested and Astrid realizes her strength and determination as she strives to be like her idol Rainbow Brite, the coolest jammer (scorer) on her city’s adult team, The Rose City Rollers.

This is a great tweeny (is that a word??) graphic novel because tweens will relate to the struggles Astrid goes through. She matures, becomes more confident, gains friends, has angsty moments with her mom and finds her passion for roller derby. Jamieson’s art style is fresh and relatable and she creates a great book about growing up. This is one of my favorite graphic novels at the moment and roller derby fans of all ages will definitely love this one.

Recommended for: Ages 11 and up
Great for: Girl Power, Tween Life, Sports, Roller Derby, Friendship
Book Info: Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson, 2015 Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin), ISBN: 9780803740167


Image Credit: Roaring Brook Press, Stephen Savage

Image Credit: Roaring Brook Press, Stephen Savage

I really love a clean line and an image that “pops.” Maybe that’s why I love illustrators like Bob Staake and Dan Yaccarino. Well, now I’m adding Stephen Savage to my exclusive “list” because I love his book Supertruck. I already loved this book and then I read it for story time and let me tell you, the kids (boys especially) stopped playing with their toy cars and gravitated towards me in Zombie Mode. ^__^  They were totally enthralled by this book, and for good reason. It is awesome.

Garbage truck has (duh duh duh) a secret identity and during a massive snow storm, he takes off his glasses and becomes…Supertruck! This book is clever and simple and is great for young readers because it is short, as I mentioned earlier the illustrations are clean and vibrant and the beginning of the book talks about different kinds of trucks! I know some of you parents out there have three year olds who know already know what front loaders are and love a whirring fire truck. They’ll really love this one. How can you resist a good super hero/truck combo book? Check it out.

Recommended for: Toddlers
Great for: Storytime, Super Heroes, Trucks, Read-Aloud, Colors
Book Info: Supertruck by Stephen Savage, 2015 Roaring Brook Press, ISBN: 9781596438217

Maddi’s Fridge

Maddi's Fridge

Image Credit: Flashlight Press, Lois Brandt/Vin Vogel

Childhood hunger is a huge problem in the U.S. In 2014, 15.3 million kids lived in food insecure households; read more about it here. This is why books like Maddi’s Fridge are important. They are conversation starters and get kids thinking about how they can be more informed and how they can help those they care about. Diversity in children’s books, in my opinion, also includes books that “expand minds” and teach children about social issues. In many classrooms around the country, there are children like Maddi and close friends like Sophia. Brandt addresses these issues and includes helpful information at the end of the book about childhood hunger and how to help.

In Maddi’s Fridge, Maddi and Sophia are best friends but one day Sophia notices Maddi only has a bottle of milk in her fridge and a loaf of bread. Maddi is embarrassed and makes her promise not to tell anyone. When Sophia gets home, she can’t help but look at the abundance of food in her fridge and think about her friend’s situation. Sophia keeps trying to bring food to school for her friend but…some foods aren’t meant to be kept in a backpack all day! Maddi also helps Sophia in the best way a friend can; through encouragement and support. This is one of my favorite books about friendship because it is quietly powerful and memorable. Vogel’s bright comic-style digital art illustrations add a charm to the book. Teachers and parents, keep an eye on this book for your little ones.

Recommended for: All ages especially 1st grade and up
Great for: Social issues, Discussion, Diversity, Classroom, Volunteering, Friendship, Poverty, Homelessness, Sharing
Book Info: Maddi’s Fridge by Lois Brandt/Illustrated by Vin Vogel, 2014 Flashlight Press, ISBN: 9781936261291

Remembering Through Books

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A small but mighty collection of books

Back in August, we took time to reflect on ten years since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. So many lives were lost and many communities are still coping with the aftermath of the hurricane. Hearing about the tenth anniversary made me think about how I can connect the people of my community to this important anniversary, as a bookseller. I gathered these books and made a simple display. In this way, a casual bookstore-browser, especially children, can be exposed and introduced to important social events. My table also got a seal of approval by author Renee Watson (A Place Where Hurricanes Happen, Harlem’s Little Blackbird, This Side of Home)!! 🙂 The titles I used are listed below and click here for information about Hurricane Katrina.

Scholastic Discover More Reader Level 2: Hurricane Katrina (9780545829540)

Scholastic Discover More: Hurricane Katrina (9780545829564)

Trombone Shorty by Troy Andrews (9781419714658)

Giada de Laurentiis’s Recipe for Adventure: New Orleans (9780448462592)

Zane and the Hurricane: A Story of Katrina by Rodman Philbrick (9780545342391)

Another Kind of Hurricane by Tamara Ellis Smith (9780553511932)

Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes (9780316043083)

A Place Where Hurricanes Happen by Renee Watson (9780385376686)

What Was Hurricane Katrina? by Robin Koontz (9780448486628)

I Survived Hurricane Katrina by Lauren Tarshis (9780545206969)

Finding Someplace by Denise Lewis Patrick (9780805047165)

National Geographic Kids, Extreme Weather: Surviving Tornadoes, Sandstorms, Hailstorms, Blizzards, Hurricanes and More (9781426318115)