Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Book of the Week

Kinda Like Brothers

by Coe Booth

Published by Scholastic Press, 2014
256 pages
ISBN: 978-0-545-22496-3

Ages 9-13

Eleven-year-old Jarrett and twelve-year-old Kevon are thrown together when Jarrett’s mom becomes a temporary foster parent to Kevon and his two-year-old sister. Jarrett is sometimes resentful of how much time his mom spends taking care of other children, but they’re usually babies and toddlers that he genuinely likes. This is different. Kevon is cool in a way Jarrett isn’t, inviting easy admiration from other kids. In Jarrett’s mind, that makes Kevon a potential threat socially, not to mention someone with whom he has to share his room. Meanwhile Kevon resents the implication that he can’t care for his sister—a responsibility he’s used to--and worries about his mentally ill dad. He has no time for Jarrett’s jealousy. Author Coe Booth’s characters are likable, genuine, and flawed in all the ways that make us human. Adults and kids alike in her story are well-rounded and wonderfully real. The two boys’ have good hearts but their treatment of each other ranges from bright moments of generosity to indifference to cruelty. The larger community—from Jarrett’s mom and her boyfriend to teachers at school and adults at the community center--strives to make a difference in the lives of these boys and other children, preparing them for a world that is not always fair or just. But for Jarrett and Kevon to make peace with one another they must let go of anger and hurt, and acknowledge the bond that has developed between them in spite—or because—of everything.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

Friday, November 14, 2014

First Annual CCBC Bowl!

Last Friday was the first annual CCBC Bowl, a trivia contest sponsored by the Friends of the CCBC as a Friend-raiser.  Congratulations to winning team "Wild Things!"

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Book of the Week

Book cover

Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold

by Joyce Sidman
Illustrated by Rick Allen

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014
29 pages
ISBN: 978-0-547-90650-8

Ages 6-10

Tundra swan, snake, snowflake. Bees in their hive, a vole under snow, the fly-high raven and the earth-bound wolf. The lives of these and other creatures in winter are the subject of poems by Joyce Sidman that crackle with cold and sing with warmth. “We scaled a million blooms / to reap the summer’s glow. / Now, in the merciless cold, / we share each morsel of heat, / each honeycombed crumb…. / Deep in the winter hive, / we burn like a golden sun.” (From “Winter Bees”) Sidman’s evocative, lyrical poems are paired with brief factual information written to resonate with an illuminating the imagery by showing how it is drawn from what the poet knew about each of her subjects. Gorgeous, stylized linoblock and digitally rendered art by Rick Allen is an elegant backdrop to a lovely and inspired collection. (MS)  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Book of the Week

Brother Hugo and the Bear

by Katy Beebe
Illustrated by S. D. Schindler

Published by Eerdmans, 2014
32 pages
ISBN: 978-0-8028-5407-0

                                               Ages 5-9

Brother Hugo is a medieval monk with an overdue library book he can’t return: It was eaten by a bear. The Abbott sends him to another monastery to borrow their edition of St. Augustine, and gives him the charge of copying it. It’s a long journey there and back, and an even more laborious process writing the manuscript out by hand, illuminating the letters, and, finally, sewing the pages together. But his fellow monks help him prepare everything he needs: sheepskin, goose quill pen, the ingredients for different colored inks. Finally the task is complete, and he must return the original to the monks at Grand Chartreuse. But who’s that lumbering along behind him? Katy Beebe provides an engaging and fascinating look into the world of medieval manuscripts in a story delightfully imagined and told. S. D. Schindler’s pen-and-ink illustrations are wonderfully detailed and a perfect fit. Terrific notes illuminate the author’s inspiration and research for the story, and the illustrator’s twenty-first century process that in many ways, he notes, is not unlike what Brother Hugo might have done hundreds of years before.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

Monday, October 27, 2014

Book of the Week

The Cat at the Wall

by Deborah Ellis

Published by Groundwood Books / House of Anansi Press, 2014
144 pages

ISBN: 978-1-55498-491-6

Ages 10-13

Set against Israeli-Palestinian tensions in the city of Bethlehem, Deborah Ellis skillfully connects the personal struggle to be a good person and do the right thing with the larger political conflict in an unusual, nuanced, and intriguing story. A stray cat that was once an American girl from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, named Clare follows two Israeli soldiers into a Palestinian house where they’ve been told to spy on the neighborhood. The house looks like it was suddenly abandoned, but the cat senses a child is present, and eventually directs them to the hiding place of a mute, asthmatic Palestinian boy. As a girl, Clare was often cruel, caught in that spiral in which one unkind act leads to another, in which anything is easier than saying “I’m sorry” and admitting the hurt in her heart. Clare’s sixth grade teacher gave Clare the opportunity to reveal the best parts of herself, but Clare resisted mightily, and then an accident ended her life as a girl. Meanwhile, as Palestinian neighbors realize the Israeli soldiers are inside the house, the situation escalates and Clare the cat, still tinged with disdain, finds she cannot ignore the truths she knows about the people involved, and the chance to make a difference at one moment, in one place. Ellis exposes the tragedy of conflicts large and small while revealing moments of compassion and decency in hearts of characters facing chaos within themselves, and all around them.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

Monday, October 20, 2014

Viva Frida

by Yuyi Morales

Photographed by Tim O'Meara

Published by Roaring Brook Press, 2014 


40 pages


ISBN: 978-1596436039


Ages 4-9

Yuyi Morales’s playful, lush, elegant, heartfelt picture book about artist Frida Kahlo concludes with an author’s note titled “My Frida Kahlo,” which begins: “When I think of Frida Kahlo, I think of orgullo, pride. Growing up in Mexico, I wanted to know more about this woman with her mustache and unibrow. Who was this artist who had unapologetically filled her paintings with old and new symbols of Mexican culture in order to tell her own story?” The note itself is an informative and loquacious conclusion to a work that is linguistically spare, visually complex, and emotionally rich and stirring. Morales’s illustrations combine photographs of three-dimensional tableaus she created featuring hand-crafted puppets representing factual elements of Kahlo’s life, including the child-friendly details of Kahlo’s pet deer and monkey, and paintings that reference Kahlo's own work, representing elements of her vivid creative life as expressed through her art. The bilingual text is a series of simple statements in Kahlo’s voice, which concludes, “I love / and create / and so / I live!”  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

10-14 at 10:14

Here's what's happening at the CCBC this morning.

Reference Assistant Mary Ostrander is checking in new books. This is the time of year when we get boxes and boxes of books from the publishers. We never get tired of opening these boxes because we all enjoy seeing what's new.

Librarians and teachers are here from Amherst / Tomorrow River for book selection. They are our first book selection group in the new CCBC. And it looks like they have enough room to spread out, for a change.

Gigantic flowers from Lois Ehlert's Planting a Rainbow are being installed on our glass wall.  This is a big undertaking and should take the better part of the day. It's going to be gorgeous!



Librarian Megan Schliesman is testing out the technology in preparation for a presentation of great new books for K-5 and a CCBC introduction she'll give to undergraduates in a Curriculum & Instruction class on Teaching Reading.

KT Horning is working on putting up a display on the history of the life-size Paul Bunyan print by Ed Emberley, which has been on the CCBC's walls (wherever they have been) since 1963.

We hope you'll visit soon!

Update at 2:30 pm:

The installation of the Lois Ehlert flowers is now complete. Here is the first bit you see as you see as you enter the CCBC:

Down the front corridor, there are some leave on the wall next to the display case, and around the corner, a complete burst of color:

The full rainbow of flowers: