The 2018 Collaborative Summer Library Program theme is Libraries Rock! Here are ROW titles to for reading, listening, singing, dancing and more!
Max Found Two Sticks by Brian Pinkney. Simon and Schuster, 1994.
On a day when Max doesn’t feel like talking to anyone, he sits brooding on the front steps of his apartment building until he notices two sticks on the ground. They make perfect drum sticks, and as people in Max’s neighborhood pass by and say hello, Max responds by beating a rhythm with his sticks on something left behind by the previous passer-by. Primary and secondary colors brighten Pinkney’s sweeping scratchboard illustrations which are filled with rhythmic motions. Honor Book, 1994 CCBC Coretta Scott King Award Discussion: Illustration. © Cooperative Children’s Book Center
Penny and Her Song by Kevin Henkes. Greenwillow / HarperCollins, 2012.
Kevin Henkes’s debut titles for beginning readers are two easy chapter books featuring a mouse named Penny. Penny and Her Doll begins with Penny in the garden with Mama admiring the roses when a package arrives in the mail from Gram. Penny immediately falls in love with the doll inside, but agonizes over the course of the day about finding the right name for her. The answer turns out to be growing in the garden where Penny was when the doll arrived. In Penny and Her Song, Penny comes home from school with a song she’s made up in her head, but has to wait until dinner is over to sing it so she doesn’t wake the babies or disrupt the meal. When she finally shares her song, a grand time is had by everyone in the house. Both books feature terrific storytelling, including wonderful dialogue and charming illustrations. And both books are brimming with warmth. © Cooperative Children’s Book Center
Little Pig Joins the Band by David Hyde Costello. Charlesbridge, 2011.
Little Pig suffers the fate of being the youngest in his family, and he doesn’t like it. As a matter of fact, he doesn’t even like being called Little Pig (his name is Jacob). A familiar scenario plays out when Grandpa unpacks his old marching-band instruments: Little Pig is too little to play the drum, the trombone, the trumpet, and especially the tuba. His older siblings seem to be running the show as they practice the instruments, until an unfortunate musical move causes chaos when they tumble over one another. Little Pig astutely assesses the situation and takes on the role that is missing: a band leader. Under Jacob’s confident direction, the band marches on. The brief text highlights Little Pig’s frustration, a feeling common to young children everywhere, and provides a clever resolution. Dialogue incorporated into the fresh ink and watercolor art adds an extra layer of interest to this upbeat tale. © Cooperative Children’s Book Center
Diez deditos / Ten Little Fingers and Other Play Rhymes and Action Songs from Latin America by José-Luis Orozco. Illustrated by Elisa Kleven. Dutton, 1997
Babies – Age 7
Thirty-four traditional and original action songs are abundantly illustrated with Kleven’s trademark collage assemblages filled with happy children, interacting families, and people with individual faces and skin colors. The finger games are graphically represented with brief written directions and clear diagrams. Music notations suggest the tunes and can be played on a guitar or recorder by older children and adults quite new to these instruments. A bilingual subject index cites ten entries under Animals, Body Parts (8), Call-and-Response (2), Clapping (7), Counting (4), Dances (5), Family (3), Farewell (2), Finger Play (8), Food (4), Friendship (3), Greetings (3), Group Play (5), Musical Instruments (2), Professions (1), Self-Esteem (5), Sorrow (1), Special Celebrations (3), Tickling (2), Time (1), Transportation (1), Vowel Sounds (1), and Weather (2). Everything about this cheerful book is child friendly. It’s Spanish-language friendly, too, with Spanish words under the music and nearest to the graphic finger games; the English translations are secondary. Orozco brings a wealth of first-hand life experience to the book’s entries; he and Kleven were matched in the fine earlier volume De Colores and Other Latin-American Folk Songs for Children (Dutton, 1994) aimed at a slightly older child audience than this. CCBC categories: The Arts; Folklore, Mythology and Traditional Literature. © Cooperative Children’s Book Center
Alphabet Family Band by Sarah Jones. Blue Manatee Press, 2017
The musical members of a large, multiracial family demonstrate their skills with a wide array of instruments in this upbeat, rhyming board book. Beginning the alphabet with “Auntie Bangs Congas” and continuing through “Vince Works Xylophone,” each family member is featured. The last player showcased is “You,” as “You Zig, zag and zoom,” adding vocals with a microphone. Readers will discover new musical instruments (an ipu and lute are part of the collection) and enjoy the details on the culminating two-page spread of the entire Alphabet Family Band, dressed in floral clothing and leis, performing on a sandy beach. ©Cooperative Children’s Book Center
Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph by Roxanne Orgill. Illustrated by Francis Vallejo. Candlewick Press, 2016
Age 10 and older
When Art Kane put out a call in 1958 for jazz musicians to gather in Harlem for a photograph, he had no idea what the response would be. Would anyone show up on the appointed day? One by one they did: singers and saxophone players, pianists and drummers, trumpet players and bassists. Dizzy and Duke, the Count and the Lion, Thelonious and Maxine and Mary Lou. Fifty-seven jazz musicians in all, from the well-known to newcomers to those known only on the local music scene. They came not to perform, but to laugh and talk and get in “Some Kind of Formation, Please!” Neighborhood children were there, too, sitting on the curb in front when Kane’s camera went “Click!” The famous black-and-white photograph he took is a magnificent fold-out feature of this work, which tells the story of that historic event through poems and paintings focusing on individuals, encounters, and the effervescent energy of it all. An introduction provides readers with a grounding, while an author’s note includes a numbered outline of the photo identifying the musicians. Brief biographies of each person, and ample resource material, round out this distinctive volume. © Cooperative Children’s Book Center
The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr. Little, Brown, 2013
Age 13 and older
Eight months ago, Lucy, a classically trained pianist wunderkind, walked off stage at a major competition in Prague, furious that her grandfather had withheld news of her grandmother’s death back home in San Francisco. Her grandfather, a rigid force in their family, announces she has made her choice: She’s done with piano (meaning he’s done supporting her career). Lucy thinks she’s happy about it until she meets her ten-year-old brother Gus’s new piano teacher. Gus, also a major talent, is being taught by Will Deva, a former prodigy whose approach is much more relaxed than anything Lucy or Gus is familiar with. Will asks Lucy if she wants to play again and Lucy finally admits the answer is yes. But can she really return to music on her own terms? Then Lucy’s wonderful relationship with Gus—they can understand each other like no one else—frays when she begins to develop a crush on Will, who doesn’t necessarily discourage her attraction despite being married. What Lucy can’t see is that Will is hoping her return will boost his own career. Sara Zarr’s novel about an extraordinarily talented young woman offers insight into the life of a child prodigy. In Lucy’s case, she is a mix of maturity beyond her years and self-centered teen, and caught between the desire to define herself, meet other’s expectations, and wanting to just be a typical teen—a dimension of life explored through her relationship with friends Reyna and Carson. © Cooperative Children’s Book Center
Rock & Roll Highway: The Robbie Robertson Story by Sebastian Robertson. Illustrated by Adam Gustavson. Henry Holt, 2014
Robbie Robertson’s rise to fame as a founding member of The Band, and writer of some of the iconic songs of the late 1960s and early 1970s, is chronicled by his son Sebastian in a substantial and engaging picture book biography. From the time he was a young child visiting his Mohawk relatives on the Six Nations Reservation in Canada, Robertson was immersed in “rhythm, melodies, and storytelling.” And from the time he got his first guitar, he spent hours practicing. “On the reservation, eleven-year-old Robbie had surpassed the adults as the best guitarist.” He formed his first band at thirteen, and at sixteen was off to Arkansas to join a Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks. He continued to practice, refine, and develop his playing style, coming up with a unique sound that drew the attention of Bob Dylan, and helped pave the way for folk music going electric. The narrative creates both a sweeping picture of Robertson’s influence and accomplishments with small moments and details that marked defining moments in his career and, sometimes, rock & roll. The volume is further enriched by a timeline with photographs, and Sebastian’s terrific q-and-a interview with his father. © Cooperative Children’s Book Center
The Beatles Were Fab (and They Were Funny) by Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer. Illustrated by Stacey Innerst. Harcourt, 2013.
An energetic, entertaining narrative about the Fab Four follows the group from its early days to the heights of Beatlemania, with an emphasis on their quirky humor and love of music-making, and how fame affected it all. Among the tidbits engagingly recounted: “When they wrote ‘She Loves You,’ Paul’s father begged them to change its ‘yeah, yeah yeah’ line to a more proper ‘yes, yes, yes,’ but Paul laughed the idea off with a ‘no, no no.’” In interviews, they moved easily from self-deprecation to droll humor to dry wit. Eventually, the ever-growing legions of fans turned into screaming hordes, going from something the band found funny to something that eventually became alarming. It was one of a number of things that marked the beginning of the end of Beatlemania, but young readers can feel a bit of the excitement in this animated account accompanied by pitch-perfect illustrations. © Cooperative Children’s Book Center
Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin by Chieri Uegacki. Illustrated by Qin Leng. Kids Can Press, 2014
Hana’s decision to enter the school talent show is met with derision by her older brothers. “It’s a talent show, Hana.” “You’ll be a disaster.” It’s true she’s only had three violin lessons. But on their summer visit to Japan, their grandfather, Ojiichan, played for them every day. Hana’s favorite was the song about a crow calling for her chicks. “Whenever Ojiichan played it, Hana would feel a shiver of happy-sadness shiver through her.” She also loved the way he could make his violin sound like crickets or raindrops. She practices every day for the show, and when the time comes to step onto the stage, the sixth violin performance of the night, she’s nervous but determined. She begins with three “raw, squawky notes” to mimic the caw of a crow, followed by a “the sound of my neighbor’s cat at night” as she drags the bow across the strings in a “yowl of protest.” Hana also makes the sound of buzzing bees, squeaking mice, and croaking frogs before taking a bow. Not everyone can be a prodigy, but in a warm, refreshing, beautifully told and illustrated story, loving what you do is enough of a reason to share it. © Cooperative Children’s Book Center
If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth. Arthur A. Levine / Scholastic, 2013
Age 11 and older
Lewis Blake is the only Tuscarora reservation kid tracked with the “braniacs” in junior high. Sixth grade was a social disaster—it turns out white kids don’t get Indian humor–so he starts seventh grade in 1975 determined to have a better year. He’s even cut off his braid in hopes of fitting in. George, a recent arrival to the nearby air force base in upstate New York where they live, becomes his first, and only, white friend. The two initially bond over a mutual love of music, especially the Beatles and Paul McCartney and Wings. Surprised that George’s military father and German mother genuinely welcome him into their home, Lewis knows he’ll never be able to reciprocate the invitation. Money has been tighter than ever since his grandfather died, and the house where he lives with his mother and Uncle Albert is literally falling down. So he lies about why George can’t come over, although in many ways Lewis has much more in common with George than with Carson, his closest friend on the reservation. In a narrative full of humor and rife with tender, honest, and unsettling truths, author Eric Gansworth explores identity, and what it means to find and be a friend. Gansworth’s first foray into young adult literature lovingly captures both time and place, and reveals characters whose complexities bring sadness, joy, and survival into full relief. In a novel that exposes racism both subtle and overt (seen most vividly in the subplot involving the school’s unwillingness to punish the son of a school donor who is bullying Lewis), Gansworth also portrays two very different but equally loving families. ©2013 Cooperative Children’s Book Center