Friday, August 28, 2020

New CCBC Web Site Launches (and We're Retiring This Blog)

With yesterday's launch of the new Cooperative Children’s BookCenter (CCBC) web site, we are retiring the CCBC blog.

In addition to robust site search capability, the new CCBC web site includes content we've featured on, and migrated from, this blog, including:

In addition, the new site will include: 

and much more content, from The Westing Game online exhibit to information for Wisconsin librarians and teachers about intellectual freedom in libraries and classrooms.

We hope you explore and enjoy the new site!

Monday, August 24, 2020

Book of the Week: Everything Sad Is Untrue

by Daniel Nayeri

Published by Levine Querido, 2020
368 pages

Age 10 and older

Nayeri’s poignant, engaging memoir begins with a vivid childhood memory of a visit to his grandparents when he was still a little boy knowns as Khorsou living in Iran. The world, as far as he knew then, revolved around him. A few years later, Khosrou, his sister, and mother flee Iran after his mother converts to Christianity, her life at risk because of government persecution. They leave almost everything behind, including Khosrou’s father, who chooses to stay. Their refugee journey, propelled by his mother’s relentless pursuit of safety, opportunity, and a home for her children, eventually takes them to Edmonds, Oklahoma. Khosrou, now Daniel, regales his teacher, middle school classmates—and readers—with stories about his life in Iran and Persian culture, using The Thousand and One Nights as both reference point and inspiration. Daniel finds much about life in the United States strange, and misses Iran and his father, a loss amplified by lingering questions and the presence of his mother’s new husband, who beats her. Nayeri’s unique, often funny conversational voice, punctuated by moments of meta-narrative, is captivating, full of both childlike innocence and longing (not to mention a fair share of bathroom humor), and moments of adult-like observation. Nayeri notes that he condensed his middle school classmates to types, while the adults, especially his parents, stepfather, and teacher, come through in full-relief in this distinctive, memorable work. ©2020 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, August 17, 2020

Book of the Week: The Only Black Girls in Town

by Brandy Colbert

Published by Little, Brown, 2020
368 pages

Ages 9-12

Alberta lives in the small, tourist town of Ewing Beach, California, with her dads. She loves to surf, and often goes to the beach with her best friend, Laramie, who is white. Alberta’s is the only Black family in town, so she’s excited when Edie and her mom move in across the street. Edie, also Black, is from Brooklyn. As different as Alberta and Edie’s lives have been, they hit it off. When Edie finds old journals from a woman named Constance in the attic of her house--among a number of things left behind--she and Alberta are soon caught up in the narrative. Written in the 1950s and early 1960s, Constance’s journals gradually make clear she was a Black woman passing as white, and the girls are determined to find out what happened to her. Meanwhile, as so often is the case when a third person enters the mix, Alberta is finding it difficult to balance her old friendship with Laramie and her new friendship with Edie, a challenge further complicated by racial dynamics in their town, and in their friendships, that can’t be ignored. All three girls are interesting and complex in an engaging story that gives them permission to be themselves, even as they are expanding their understanding of who they are and how they choose to be in the world. ©2020 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, August 10, 2020

Book of the Week: Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us

by Lauren Castillo

Published by Alfred A. Knopf, 2020
110 pages

 Ages 4-8

After Hedgehog’s beloved stuffed dog, Mutty, is blown off their island home during a storm, bereft Hedgehog swims to shore in search of him. Mole offers a listening ear, comfort and a plan: They’ll ask sharp-eyed Owl at Lookout Point. Owl asks questions, takes notes, and suggests they visit Beaver’s dam, where things can easily get caught. Beaver, who’s wearing Mutty’s red scarf, explains (somewhat defensively) that he found it in the marsh, which is where the ever-expanding group heads next. Hen and her Chicks are scavenging in the marsh, and busy busy Hen has found a picture of Mutty in front of house. At the house they all meet Annika Mae Flores, a camera-toting, brown-skinned, Latinx girl who recently moved in. Annika Mae has been looking for her lost story notebook (Owl may know something about that). She’s also found someone very important to Hedgehog. Hundred Acre Wood: Meet Hedge Hollow. Castillo’s sure-handed storytelling in this charming illustrated chapter book pairs her loose, expressive art style combining bold lines and warm colors with a narrative full of tenderness, deep feeling, high drama, humor, and warmth. The tale and its cast of distinctive personalities is an irresistible combination of words and images that will appeal to young listeners and independent readers alike. ©2020 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, August 3, 2020

Book of the Week: Summer Song

by Kevin Henkes
Illustrated by Laura Dronzek

Published by Greenwillow / HarperCollins, 2020
36 pages
ISBN: 978-0-06-286613-4

Ages 3-7

“… summer is green. Green on green on green. Summer is a green song.” It’s a song of leaves, trees, weeds, and grass that can “sound like music” if that grass is tall and the wind is blowing. Other summer things sound like music too: air conditioners and fans, sprinklers and lawn mowers, birds and rain and thunder and bugs. And other colors sing in summer—gray (fog), blue (water and sky). “But the green song is still there.” Eventually the days begin to shorten and the song begins to change, “turning / turning / turning … it’s turning into Fall.” There is such delight and appreciation in this accounting of the sights, sounds, and feel of the season—a sense of the expansiveness and bounty of the natural world, and days that feel wide open and endless. Four diverse children are shown in vibrant full-page and cozy spot illustrations that, along with the text, foreshadow fall’s arrival in the final pages. The transition feels bittersweet, as it often does in real life. Luckily, children and families can turn to the three previously published companion volumes from this author/illustrator duo offering equally observant, playful, appreciative, and surprising accounts of the other seasons. ©2020 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, July 27, 2020

Book of the Week: What Lane?

by Torrey Maldonado

Nancy Paulsen Books / Penguin, 2020
125 pages
ISBN: 978-0-525-51843-3

Ages 9-13

Sixth grader Stephen and his best friend Dan share a passion for superheroes, live in neighboring apartments, and spend a lot of time together. Stephen thinks they are essentially twins, except that they don’t look alike. Light-skinned Stephen has a Black dad and white mom, while Dan is white. They’ve always had each other’s backs, but lately Stephen is bothered that Dan doesn’t seem concerned by his cousin Chad’s racist jabs. Chad taunts Stephen and tries to get him into trouble, and Stephen finds it hard to stand up to those aggressive tactics. He’s begun noticing how people treat him differently than his white friends, even when they are all doing the same thing. And his Black friends are starting to give him a hard time about abandoning them to hang out with the white kids. His dad is schooling him on the dangers of being a Black man, lecturing him to always be careful in public, while his mom wants to shelter him from what she believes are adult concerns. Stephen wants to occupy all lanes, and resents feeling pushed to choose one over others. Through the course of this short novel, Stephen personal beliefs about tough issues of race, identity, and the complexities of friendship evolve as he transitions between childhood and adolescence. (MVL) ©2020 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, July 20, 2020

Book of the Week: Look

by Zan Romanoff

Published by Dial, 2020
368 pages
ISBN: 978-0-5255-5426-4

Age 14 and older

High school senior Lulu regularly uploads photos and video to a platform called Flash (think Snapchat). Lulu meets down-to-earth Cass at a party. Although Cass is uninterested in social media and stereotypical trappings of moneyed teens in L.A., Cass’s best friend, Ryan Riggs, is the teenage brother of Flash’s founder. Ryan is renovating a formerly grand hotel built by his great-grandfather as his family “project.” Lulu and Cass regularly hang out at the unfinished hotel, which feels like a refuge. Ryan prohibits anyone else from taking photos there but is constantly framing his visitors through the lens of his own camera. As Lulu and Cass fall for each other, the hotel becomes their intimate, private space—until Ryan betrays them. Lulu, white and Jewish, had already begun thinking critically about media’s treatment of women through reading for her cinema studies class and discussions with Cass. Ryan’s unconscionable violation of their trust and privacy intensifies her reflection on the female body, from her own to Ryan’s great-grandmother's, a silent film star whose work seeded the family fortune, as possession and commodity. Lulu's thinking about what she chooses to share on platforms like Flash shifts with her expanding perspective on female exploitation; the relevance and immediacy of these issues in the lives of teens today, along with the complexity and depth of Lulu’s relationships with family and friends, both add to the satisfying substance of this queer romance. ©2020 Cooperative Children’s Book Center