Middle School December 2018

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 Middle School | Middle School | December - (Comments Off on Middle School December 2018)

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Cronin, Doreen. Cyclone. A Caitlyn Dlouhy Book / Atheneum, 2017. 336 pages (978–1–4814–3525–3)

Ages 9-13

Nora, 12, is small for her age but finally tall enough to ride the Cyclone roller coaster at Coney Island while visiting her cousin Riley. Riley goes on the ride with Nora and then collapses when they get off: an undiagnosed  medical condition has resulted in a stroke. Riley ends up in the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit) while Nora, at first scared to see Riley, is spending long hours in the hospital waiting room. Monica, a hospital counselor, and Jack, an experienced kid visitor because of his younger brother’s illness, both help Riley navigate the frightening uncertainty, but she can’t bring herself to tell anyone how guilty she feels. It turns out Riley was terrified to go on the roller coaster so Nora blackmailed her, threatening to tell Riley’s mom about an older guy Riley’s  who called Riley the night before. Nora’s engaging, honest voice and compelling extended family dynamics (achingly real and recognizable, and sometimes funny) propel a story that also captures how strangers step up at times of need. Riley’s slow progress by story’s end is all the more satisfying because it shows how the stroke, for all it has changed what Riley is able to do, especially with regard to speaking, has not changed who she is.  ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Intermediate December 2018

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 Intermediate | Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | December - (Comments Off on Intermediate December 2018)

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Rita. Clayton Byrd Goes Underground. Amistad, 2017. 166  pages (978–0–06–221591–8)

Ages 8-12

Clayton Byrd loves playing the blues harp (harmonica) with his grandfather, Cool Papa Byrd, and other blues musicians in the park. Clayton is eagerly looking forward to the day he’ll finally get the nod from his grandfather to take a solo during one of their performances. When his grandfather dies suddenly, Clayton’s mother is too wrapped up in her own complicated feelings to be sensitive to her son’s grief and sells Cool Papa’s belongings. Struggling in the days that follow—he keeps falling asleep in class—Clayton finally skips school to go in search of the bluesmen in the park. On the subway, he’s mesmerized by a group of kids who beatbox and dance for money. Clayton can’t help but join in on his harmonica, and the boys net their biggest take of the day when they pass the hat. While Clayton likes the younger kids in the group, the oldest teen snatches the hat Clayton is wearing, the last thing Clayton has left from Cool Papa. Determined to get it back, Clayton sticks with the group, bending notes to create a melody matched to their hip-hop beat. A marvelous author’s note on the musical origins of blues and hip-hip and her appreciation for both concludes a story about love and grief and music and family and the importance of being heard. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Primary December 2018

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 Primary | Primary (Grades K-2) | December - (Comments Off on Primary December 2018)

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Cordell, Matthew. Wolf in the Snow. Feiwel and Friends, 2017. 48 pages (978–1–250–07636–6)

Ages 4-9

Snow is falling lightly as a red-hooded girl leaves her home and heads to school, walking across a winter-brown landscape. Elsewhere, there are wolves howling as the first flakes descend. When school lets out, the girl, in her pointy, slightly comical red parka, heads home in the thickening white, moving left to right across the landscape of the page. Elsewhere, the wolves are on the move, ominous and wild, moving right to left. But one small wolf pup falls behind. Girl (“huff huff”). Wolf pup (“whine whine”). When the two meet, the girl picks up the small pup and bravely carries him toward the howling as the snow deepens. She comes face to face with a yellow-eyed adult wolf (!), reuniting the pup with its pack. The girl trudges on until she falls and can go no farther. Will she be eaten by those wild wolves heading back her way? The drama is genuine, and breathtaking, and unexpectedly moving in this magical story brilliantly told. Masterful pacing, a mix of expansive page spreads and spot images, and the blending of stylized (the girl in her triangular jacket) and realistic (those sinuous wolves) pen-and-ink and watercolor images make for an exceptional (almost) wordless story. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

BTP December 2018 (2)

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers | Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | December - (Comments Off on BTP December 2018 (2))

Blocks book cover
by Irene Dickson. U.S. edition: Nosy Crow / Candlewick, 2016

Ages 2-4


Two kids. Two sets of blocks. Two separate building projects. When Benji, who is building with blue blocks, wants one of Ruby’s red blocks, he takes it. She grabs it back. In the ensuing push and pull of “Mine!” they stumble and both of their towers come crashing down. “Uh-oh.” Momentary regret becomes shared opportunity as Ruby and Benji begin building with both red and blue blocks—together. A square, slightly oversized picture book unfolds in clean-lined, uncluttered, inviting mixed-media illustrations. A handful of well-chosen words pair with images that have much to notice, like the fact that Ruby’s clothes match the red blocks and Benji’s match the blue. At volume’s end they are joined by Gus, whose shirt and blocks are green. “What will they do now?” The answer in this picture book showing three racially diverse children is suggested on the closing endpapers. Isn’t cooperation grand? © 2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

BTP December 2018 (1)

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers | Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | December - (Comments Off on BTP December 2018 (1))

Baby goes to market book cover
Baby Goes to Market 
by Atinuke. Illustrated by Angela Brooksbank. U.S. edition: Candlewick Press, 2017

Ages 2-4

A busy mama at a traditional Nigerian market carries a large basket on her head and a small baby on her back. As she goes from stall to stall making her purchases, she doesn’t notice that Baby is on a shopping expedition of his own. Each place Mama stops, Baby attracts the attention of a shopkeeper who gives him something to eat—six bananas, five oranges, four chin-chin biscuits, three roasted sweet corns, and two pieces of coconut. Baby eats one of each and puts the rest into the basket on top of his mother’s head. She is completely oblivious to it all until she realizes how heavy her basket has gotten and is surprised to see it filled with things she didn’t buy. Even once the shopkeepers explain, she doesn’t realize Baby has been eating all along and is eager to get home and feed her (presumably) hungry child. The humorous patterned text is filled with specific cultural references, which are reinforced in the detailed multimedia illustrations by an artist who grew up in Ghana and Nigeria. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center



High School December 2018 (2)

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 High School | December | High School - (Comments Off on High School December 2018 (2))

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Lu, Marie. Warcross. Putnam, 2017. 353 pages (978–0–399–54796–6)

Age 11 and older

Teen bounty hunter Emika Chen is down to her last few dollars and about to be evicted from her New York City apartment when she hacks into a promotional round for the Warcross championship, a popular worldwide virtual reality game. Within hours she is jetting off to Tokyo on the private plane of the game’s creator, 21-year-old Hideo Tanaka. The longtime focus of Emika’s private crush, Hideo not only invites her to participate as a wild card in the draft for the official Warcross teams, he also asks her to secretly investigate and unveil Zero, another hacker who is able to move through the game anonymously. Emika is the first pick of the draft, and as she trains with her fellow Phoenix Riders teammates and they enter into the games, she spies on her own teammates and members of other teams. Her meetings with Hideo to report her findings evolve from business to romance, while uncertainty about whom she can trust becomes a critical issue when she realizes Hideo’s life is in danger, and so, too, is her own. A novel set in the not-too-distant future creates an immersive experience in both the “real” and virtual worlds the characters move between. With plenty to offer readers interested in action as well as technology, it features a strong, smart female protagonist and offers ethical questions to ponder as it sets up the next book in the series. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

High School December 2018 (1)

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 High School | 2018-2019 | December | High School - (Comments Off on High School December 2018 (1))

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Anderson, M. T.
Landscape with Invisible Hand. Candlewick Press, 2017. 149  pages (978–0–7636–8789–2)

Age 13 and older

When the vuvv first arrived to conquer Earth they promised great technology, cures for all disease, and freedom from work. The truth, as teenage Adam knows, looks very different. Great technology and medical care are only for those who can afford it. Work is hard to come by thanks to all that tech, while food and housing still cost money. Adam’s attraction to Chloe was the impetus to earn money for both their families by live streaming their romance to the vuvv, who think Hollywood romances of the 40s and 50s, when they first tapped into human transmissions, are the ways all humans interact. Adam and Chloe’s dates were a hit and the money started rolling in. Now they’ve fallen out of love and seethe beneath their live-streamed smiles. Meanwhile, Adam longs to be a serious artist. When some of his paintings garner positive attention and he’s invited to enter a prestigious vuvv contest, he faces a dilemma: enter a piece that expresses the idealized human world they imagine, or a piece that reflects the truth of his grimmer outlook and experience. The decision has potential life or death implications when Adam’s chronic illness, an intestinal condition that impacts his daily life and for which his family cannot afford vuvv treatment, worsens. A slim volume packed full of big ideas that resonate with the world today, delivered with humor and poignancy. Each vignette-like chapter is named for one of Adam’s paintings. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Find out more about this month’s titles by clicking a cover image below!


Find out more about this month’s titles by clicking a cover image below!


Check out the December bookmarks!


May 16th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2017-2018 | 2017-2018 Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers | December - (Comments Off on DECEMBER (2))

First Snow by Bomi Park. U.S. edition: Chronicle, 2016

A small girl wakes up in the night to the soft sound of falling snow. “Pit, pit pit against the window. Glistening, floating in the night.” She puts on warm clothes, walks outside, and begins rolling the snow into a ball. With her puppy following, she rolls the snowball out the yard, into the street, and through the darkened town. A speedy train passes as she goes “Fast Fast Fast.” Through a fallow field, through a friendly nighttime woods full of animals. Finally, she is moving “Slow Slow Slow” with her huge ball of snow, passing from the night into a bright, snow-white field full of children who are also rolling huge snowballs and making … snow figures! A magical, dreamlike story is told through a spare, lyrical text and stunning, textured, mostly black-and-white illustrations that are understated and exceptional. The art, which begins with nighttime black dominating has occasional, subtle accents of other colors, and whimsical punctuations of bright red for the scarves, hats and mittens on children and snow people. ©2016 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Try these early literacy activities with children:

  • Read: The poem, “Cherry Tree.” Read another book that involves prepositions or placement of objects such as Rosie’s Walk.
  • Talk: About how to make a snowman. What other things do you make in the snow? Snow angels? Snow castles?
  • Sing: Going on a Bear Hunt – talk about prepositions.
  • Write: Your name in the snow or in your own “snow” using sand.
  • Play: Pretend to roll a snowball.
  • Math or Science: Bring a snowball inside let it melt in a bowl or cup. Talk about how it turns to water. How long does it take the snowball to melt? Is it a different size? Shape?





May 16th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in 2017-2018 | 2017-2018 Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers | Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | December - (Comments Off on DECEMBER (1))

Tickle My Ears by Jörg Mühle.  Translated from the German by Catherine Chidgey. U.S. edition: Gecko Press, 2016

In this interactive board book, little white rabbit is poised to react to actions from young readers and listeners, as directed by the narrative voice. Tap him on the shoulder [turn the page] and he turns around. Clap your hands [turn the page] and he’ll put on his pajamas. Eventually the rabbit is tucked into bed. He needs only a good-night kiss and switching off the light. A darkened, final double-page spread shows the little bunny sleeping peacefully. A clever, child- friendly book invites involvement in a bedtime story. (Ages 18 months–3)  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Try these early literacy activities with children:

  • Read: The poem, “Advice to Bunnies”
  • Talk: What do you do to get ready for bed?
  • Sing: “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” or sing a family lullaby together.
  • Write: Have a grown-up rub your back and trace shapes or letters on your back. Can you guess which shapes and letters they are?
  • Play: Act out the book’s motions and actions while someone reads the book. Bring favorite toy/blanket to story time.
  • Math or Science: Talk about textures. What do you cuddle with at night? Is it hard or soft, smooth or rough?




May 10th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in 2017-2018 | Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | 2017-2018 Intermediate | December - (Comments Off on DECEMBER (2))

A Boy Named Queen by Sara Cassidy. Groundwood, 2016

Most of the kids in Evelyn’s grade 5 class don’t know what to make of the new boy, with his long hair, pink shirt, bead necklaces, and name: Queen. Evelyn doesn’t either, but when he’s shooting baskets on his own at recess the first day, missing every time, she shows him how to make a bank shot. From that moment, they’re friends. Queen takes the other kids in stride, telling Evelyn that he imagines he has a turquoise force field that mean comments bounce off. Evelyn’s imagination, no less active, works differently. She wonders, for example, what her walk home from school would have looked like 100 years ago. When Evelyn enters the realm of Queen’s easygoing, artistic family—his mom and dad are laid-back musicians (the dog is named Patti Smith)—Queen and his parents share the story of how he started calling himself Queen when he was four, wearing a purple velvet cape everywhere (his mother confesses it was actually velour). It couldn’t be more different from Evelyn’s staid home, but the love is the same. A short, charming novel distinguished by fine writing that reveals characters and relationships with wonderful clarity and great delight. © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Start some conversation with these discussion prompts:

  1. What lessons do Evelyn and Queen learn about friendship?
  2. How are Queen’s and Evelyn’s families alike and different?
  3. How might this story be continued?
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