Monday, November 13, 2017

Book of the Week: Little Wolf's First Howling



Little Wolf’s First Howling

by Laura McGee Kvasnosky
Illustrated by Laura McGee Kvasnosky and
    Kate Harvey McGee
Published by Candlewick Press, 2017
24 pages
ISBN: 978-0-7636-8971-1
Ages 3-7


Kvasnosky, Laura McGee. Little Wolf’s First Howling. Illys by Kate Harvey McGee. Candlewick Little Wolf is eager to go out at night with his father, Big Wolf, to learn how to howl. As the moon begins to rise, Big Wolf demonstrates a howl that ends with a lengthy “ooooooooooo.” Little Wolf’s first attempt starts strong but his enthusiasm gets the better of him as he brings it to a close: “I’m hoooowling, ‘oooowling, ‘ooooowling!” Which isn’t, Big Wolf notes, “proper howling form.” Big Wolf demonstrates. Little Wolf tries again. This time, his howl starts strong and ends with a jazzy “dibbity dobbity skibbity skobbity skooo-wooooo-woooooooooooo” Big Wolf praises Little Wolf for many things. “But your howling. It is not proper howling form.” So they try again. This time, Little Wolf’s ending is even more unrestrained. And Big Wolf can’t help it: he starts tail-wagging and ear-twitching and paw-tapping along. Distinctive digitally rendered paintings reminiscent of colored block prints create an inviting backdrop for a story begging to be howled aloud. ©2017 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, November 6, 2017

Book of the Week: The Stars Beneath Our Feet



The Stars Beneath Our Feet

by David Barclay Moore
Published by Knopf, 2017
294 pages
ISBN: 978-1-5247-0124-6
Ages 9-13


On the edge of young adulthood, Lolly has the support of a hardworking, no nonsense mom and her girlfriend; his dad, who isn’t a daily presence in his life but whose love is never in doubt; staff at the community center; his best friend, Vega. He’s also keenly aware that the freedom with which he moved through Harlem when he was young has changed now that he’s 12; now that he’s eyed by various crews of older boys and young men as being either with them, or against them. The threat feels all the more real since his big brother Jermaine was recently shot and killed, and Lolly’s grief is complicated by the fact his brother, so often his protector, was mad at him for refusing to get involved in Jermaine’s dubious business. But Lolly’s sense of himself and the world and possibilities begins expanding after receiving an architecture book as a gift. Inspired to begin constructing an elaborate city out of Lego bricks, his efforts lead to a surprising new friendship with Rose, a girl most kids shun, who is navigating struggles of her own, and to exploring the real places pictured in the book. Lolly, his family, friends, and neighbors are vivid and alive in a story featuring exceptional characterizations and dialogue. The complexities of family and friendships come into full relief in a story celebrating the power of creativity and community in a child’s life. ©2017 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, October 30, 2017

Book of the Week: Herbert's First Halloween



Herbert’s First Halloween

by Cynthia  Rylant
Illustrated by Steven Henry
Published by Chronicle, 2017
28 pages
ISBN: 978-1-4521-2533-6
Ages 3-6


Herbert is a little pig who “was not so sure about Halloween.” Herbert’s dad loves Halloween, however. When Herbert decides he wants to be a tiger his dad measures Herbert and sews ears, tail, paws, and claws while Herbert practices his roar. Herbert’s dad carves a smiling-faced pumpkin they name Jack, and tells Herbert about the candy. “You will need a bucket …. A big one.” Herbert’s dad is gently reassuring, helping Herbert navigate his uncertainty throughout a warm story that follows Herbert through his first night of trick-or-treating. “Herbert roared many tiger thank-yous.” Muted illustrations echo the narrative’s understated charm. ©2017 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, October 23, 2017

Book of the Week: When Dimple Met Rishi



When Dimple Met Rishi

by Sandhya Menon
Published by SimonPulse, 2017
380 pages pages
ISBN: 978-1-4814-7868-7
Age 12 and older


Teenage Dimple Shah loves coding and wants to be an app designer. She’s not interested in having a boyfriend, let alone thinking about getting married, something her traditional Indian parents can’t understand. Rishi Patel embraces traditional Indian values, respects his parents and their opinions, and wants to make them happy. When Dimple and Rishi’s parents decide that the two would be a good match, Rishi embraces the idea—he likes everything he’s learned about Dimple—and agrees to attend the same summer app development program for high school students that Dimple is going to. He’s unaware Dimple knows nothing about the informal arrangements their parents have made for their lives after college. It’s the perfect setup for this romantic comedy with a Bollywood flair (sans singing—although they do dance!) when Dimple, angry and appalled by what Rishi tells her when they meet, finds herself thrown together on a project at the camp and they (inevitably) fall in love. This delightful novel told in third-person chapters alternating between them is more than just fun and romance, although it offers plenty of both. As a young woman of color, Dimple navigates sexism and racism during her time at tech camp while also being keenly aware that most campers, including Rishi, are from wealthy families, while Dimple has little money to spend or spare. ©2017 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, October 16, 2017

Book of the Week: I Want to Be in a Scary Story



I Want to Be in a Scary Story

by Sean Taylor
Illustrated by Jean Jullien
Published by Candlewick Press, 2017
48 pages
ISBN: 978-0-7636-8953-7
Ages 3-7


Little Monster is ready to be in a scary story. The narrator begins with a dark and scary forest. “Oh my golly gosh!” says Little Monster, not quite ready for something quite that scary. The narrator changes the scene to a spooky house. “Oh my goodness me! … Oh yikes and crikes!” Finally Little Monster admits it would be better to do the scaring. Anticipation builds as Little Monster walks towards a room to scare whoever is inside … “can we maybe change this book so it’s a FUNNY story?” The back-and-forth dialogue between Little Monster, who is small and purple and wide-eyed and whose dialogue is in purple, and the unseen narrator, whose words are shown in black, is always easy to follow. So, too, are Little Monster’s emotions: sometimes what you think you want changes once you actually get it. The gentle tension shifts to the comically absurd and then back again in this begs-to-be-read-aloud picture book when Little Monster suddenly disappears and the narrator becomes increasingly worried. “Boo!” Digitally colored ink illustrations show Little Monster against white pages when talking with the narrator, and in full-color, bold, slightly comical (and maybe a teensy bit scary) scenes when part of the various stories being told. ©2017 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, October 9, 2017

Book of the Week: Clayton Byrd Goes Underground



Clayton Byrd Goes Underground

by Rita Williams-Garcia
Published by Amistad / HarperCollins, 2017
176 pages
ISBN: 978-0062215918
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, Clatyon’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.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Charlotte Zolotow Lecture Featuring Jason Reynolds: November 2

20th Annual Charlotte Zolotow Lecture
Featuring Jason Reynolds
Thursday, November 2, 2017
photo of Jason ReynoldsJason Reynolds burst onto the writing scene in 2014 with the publication of When I Was the Greatest, which won the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award. Since then he has written seven highly acclaimed novels for children and teens, including The Boy in the Black Suit (2015), All American Boys (with Brendan Kiely) (2015), As Brave as You (2016), Ghost(2016), Miles Morales: Spider-Man (2017), Patina(2017), and Long Way Down (2017). A dynamic and compelling writer and speaker, in just four years he has become one of the brightest stars in the field of children’s and young adult literature.

The annual Charlotte Zolotow Lecture is sponsored by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with support from the Friends of the CCBC. This event is part of the 2017 Wisconsin Book Festival and is free and open to the public.
Varsity Hall, Union South, 1308 W. Dayton Street, Madison
7:30 p.m.
A 20th Anniversary Charlotte Zolotow Lecture Reception will be held prior to the lecture, beginning at 5:30, in space adjacent to the lecture hall.