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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

Primary November 2018

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

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Phi, Bao. A Different Pond. Illustrated by Thi Bui. Capstone Young Readers, 2017. 32 pages (978–1–62370–803–0)

Ages 6-9

A Vietnamese American boy’s predawn fishing outing with his dad is the subject of a narrative shaped by an exquisite accounting of details. So much beyond the action is conveyed through beautifully weighted sentences (“I feel the bag of minnows move. They swim like silver arrows in my hand.”): The specific experience of this immigrant child (“A kid at my school says my dad’s English sounds like a thick, dirty river. But to me his English sounds like gentle rain.”); a hard-working family’s economic hardship (“‘If you got another job why do we still have to fish for food?’ I ask. ‘Everything in America costs a lot of money,’ he explains. I feel callouses on his hand when he squeezes mine.”); bittersweet memory as the boy’s dad recalls fishing at a similar pond as a child in Vietnam with his brother, who died during the war. And running through it all is the boy’s happiness in their time together, a pleasure that extends to feelings about his entire family when they gather at day’s end. The evocative art masterfully and movingly reveals details of character, setting, and action while superbly reflecting the warmth and intimacy of the story. At volume’s end, both the author and illustrator share memories of growing up in Vietnamese families that came to the United States when they were children. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Primary October 2018 (2)

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

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Denos, Julia. Windows. Illustrated by E. B. Goodale. Candlewick Press, 2017.  24 pages (978–0–7636–9035–9)

Ages 3-6

“At the end of the day, before the town goes to sleep, you can look out your window … / and see more little windows lit up like eyes in the dusk, / blinking awake as the lights turn on inside: a neighborhood of paper lanterns.” An early evening dog walk allows a brown-skinned boy in a red sweatshirt to observe all kinds of things in his neighborhood—a cat, an early raccoon, sleeping plants, but best of all, lighted windows, showing all sorts of life within. “Some windows will have dinner, or TV, / Others are empty and leave you to fill them up with stories.” But the best windows of all are those of the boy’s own home, with his mother waiting just inside, watching for him and waving. A beautifully lyrical text accompanied by quiet ink-and-watercolor illustrations capture the drama and appeal of glimpses into other people’s lives. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Primary October 2018 (1)

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


Butler, Dori Hillestad.
King & Kayla and the Case of the Mysterious Mouse. Illustrated by Nancy Meyers. Peachtree, 2017. 42 pages (978–1–56145–879–0)

Ages 4-7

King, a large dog,  narrates this appealing mystery story (part of a series). Here, he and  Kayla, the brown- skinned girl who is, he explains, “my human,” try to determine what happened to King’s ball after Kayla’s friend Jillian accidentally threw it over the fence. It’s nowhere to be found.  Kayla approaches the case by making lists of what she knows, and what she needs to find out. But King knows things he can’t communicate to Kayla, like the fact that the cat with no name says a mouse took his ball (which seems impossible to King). King is a hilarious narrator, in part because he is telling Kayla (and readers) what he knows, but of course all she’s hears is barking, and in part because he’s just funny.  Pencil and digitally colored illustrations accompany the narrative in each book. We look forward to more King and Kayla! ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Primary September 2018

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

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Derby, Sally.
A New School Year: Stories in Six Voices. Illustrated by Mika Song. Charlesbridge, 2017. 48 pages (978–1–58089–730–3)

Ages 5-10

Six children ranging in age from kindergarten through fifth grade walk us through the excitement, jitters, and small pleasures that accompany the first day of a new school year. Divided into four time periods—The Night Before, In the Morning, At School, and After School—each child voices four poems. Dimensions of identity, economics, ability, and experience are seamlessly integrated into the poems. Fourth-grader Carlos, for example, notices that there are not many other black-haired, brown-skinned students like him—but he notes that his teacher, Mr. Liu, seems fine, even though no one else looks like him either. Third-grader Jackie goes to school early, because her mom has a long bus ride to work every day. Fifth-grader Mia wears hearing aids and is pleased to be assigned a seat near the front of the classroom, where she’ll be able to hear her teacher. Such details ensure that each child remains a distinct individual, even as their poems reflect the familiar emotions of so many children on such a momentous day. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

BTP Summer 2019 (3)

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers | Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | Summer - (Comments Off on BTP Summer 2019 (3))

book coverRay, Mary Lyn. Stars. Illustrated by Marla Frazee. Beach Lane, 2011. 32 pages (978–1–4424-2249–0)

Ages 2-6

“A star is how you know it’s almost night. / As soon as you see one, there’s another, and another. / And the dark that comes doesn’t feel so dark.” From opening pages that show the first evening star appearing in a dusky blue sky to the final image of a dark night sky strewn with an array of stars, Mary Lin Ray’s lyrical words and Marla Frazee’s luminous illustrations describe the stars all around us. A star cut from shiny paper and pinned to shirt designates a sheriff, or can convert a stick to a wand ideal for wish-making. There are days when you can feel “shiny as a star,” and days when the opposite is true. And stars can be found in many places: in the white flowers of strawberry plants before they bear fruit, in falling snowflakes, and as dandelion seeds blown into the air. Illustrations show a diverse cast of children and families finding the stars in their world in a child-centered picture book that ends with them gathered as a group watching nighttime stars appear in the sky above. These are temporarily obscured by the bloom of firework stars before reappearing as they always do, “every night. Everywhere.”  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

BTP Summer 2019 (2)

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


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Wilson-Max, Ken. Max’s Starry Night.  Jump at the Sun / Hyperion, 2001. 24 pages (0-7868-0553-6)

Ages 2 – 4

When young Max and Little Pink, his pig, go outside to wish on a star, Big Blue, his elephant, is afraid to come because it’s too dark. The next day, Little Pink teases Big Blue about being afraid, until Max points out that Little Pink is afraid of swinging on the high swings, but Big Blue never teases him. Then Max comes up with a way for all three of them to enjoy the stars in this sweet and satisfying story set against bold, richly colored paintings and featuring a creative, brown-skinned child.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

BTP Summer 2019 (1)

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


Barton, Byron. I Want  to Be an Astronaut. Thomas Y. Crowell, 1988. 32 pages (0-694-00261-5)

Ages 3-6

“I want to be an astronaut/a member of the crew/and fly on the shuttle/into outer space…” proclaims the young female protagonist of this simple poetic story of high aspirations. Barton’s bold figures of astronauts, shuttles, and satellites and Planet Earth are set against a deep blue background suggesting the vastness of outer space.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

BTP May 2019 (2)

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

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Messner, Kate.
Over and Under the Pond. Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal. Chronicle, 2017. 40 pages (978–1–4521–4542–6)

Ages 4-8

The activity above and beneath the water of a pond on which a boy and his mother are paddling a canoe as sunset approaches is distinct yet parallel in this lyrical account. Over the pond a blackbird flies with grass for her nest, a moose eats water lilies, a young goldfish is ready to fly. Under the pond, caddisfly larva makes a home in pebbles and sand, a beaver eats roots, tadpoles begin to transform into frogs. Each over/under pairing emphasizes both what the boy can see and what his mother knows about the natural world. End matter provides more information about pond ecosystems and the behavior of animals mentioned. The mixed-media illustrations on matte paper capture life above and beneath the water in strikingly composed scenes from a variety of perspectives. The boy and his mother are Black. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

BTP May 2019 (1)

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

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Lamba, Marie, and Baldev Lamba.
Green Green: A Community Gardening Story. Illustrated by Sonia Sánchez. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2017.  32 pages (978–0–374–32797–2)

Ages 3-7

“Green green / fresh and clean. Brown brown / dig the ground,” begins this story as a group of children play in a grassy meadow and tend to a sprawling backyard garden. Soon, though, “brown brown / dig the ground” takes on  a less pleasant meaning, as bulldozers and trucks begin clearing the land to make way for new buildings. Grass and flowers become stone and metal as the city expands. In the midst of the concrete jungle, what was once a grassy lot becomes a makeshift junkyard. Gardens are reduced to planters on balconies. Then one day, a little girl with a shovel turns the book’s familiar refrain into a question. “Brown brown / dig the ground?” An affirming “Brown brown / dig the ground!” sounds as a diverse group of neighbors gathers in a large lot to remove the litter, till the earth, and plant seeds. The garden they create grows into a colorful, verdant, once-again-sprawling place of beauty in the midst of the city. Sánchez’s illustrations are as vibrant as the community garden that blooms in these pages. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

BTP April 2019

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

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Smith, Monique Gray. You Hold Me Up. Illustrated by Danielle Daniel. Orca, 2017. 32 pages (978–1–4598–1447–9)

Ages 3-8

What does it mean to hold someone up? To give and receive support? A series of simple, declarative statements offers answers to those questions for young children. “You hold me up when you share with me.” Or play, or learn, or laugh, or sing, or listen with me. “You hold me up when you comfort me.” Or respect me. Each action statement is accompanied by a full-page image of individuals engaged in the stated behavior in a book that creates space for children to talk about what each action means, and/or to think about how it might look in their own life. The author is Cree and Lakota and the full-page gouache, acrylic, and pencil illustrations show Indigenous children and adults in images that are stylized but have the warm emotional weight of scenes from real life in a picture book that affirms the importance and power of acts of kindness and connection. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

BTP March 2019 (2)

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

Fleming, Candace. Go Sleep in Your Own Bed! Illustrated by Lori Nichols. Schwartz & Wade, 2017. 32 pages (978–0–375–86648–7)

Ages 2-4

A pleasingly circular barnyard story in which each animal, asleep in the wrong bed, is awakened in turn by the animal who belongs there with the repeated command: “Go sleep in your own bed!” But each one finds an interloper, who is given the same command. In the end the last creature, a cat, is picked up from his spot on the porch and carried inside by a little girl who happily shares her bed with him. With the strong pattern and repetition, as well as the funny species-specific interjections and onomatopoeia, this will make a terrific read-aloud for young children. The amusing acrylic illustrations give added personalities to each of the animals.  ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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