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Posts Tagged ‘Caldecott Medal’

In an effort to update more consistantly I will be changing things up a little bit on the old blog here. This summer I hope to do absolutley nothing but read and then blog about what I’m reading. The first change I’m hoping to implement is a feature I’ve seen on a few blogs I follow called Top Ten Tuesday where bloggers will have a list of ten book-related somethings each Tuesday.

Last week I interviewed for a Children’s Librarian Position at a public library. This is a job I would LOVE to have. For this particular interview I did I was instructed to develop a presentation as if I were talking to children. I picked a storytime and I used one of my favorite children’s books ever: Zen Ties by Jon J. Muth.

I don’t want to jinx myself, but I feel like the interview went really well. I should hear one way or another by Friday.
So! As I was preparing for and giving this presentation it hit me just how much I truly love children’s literature. The first exposure I ever had to literature was through these easy board books. I was so fortunate to have parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles who knew the value of reading and who shared it with me often and so I was reading before I ever went to school. Books were always a constant in my house and luckily for me right down the street from my childhood home was a branch of the local public library!

Top Ten Tuesday: Tuesday June 5, 2012: Top Ten Children’s Books 10-6 (stay tuned next week for 5-1):

10. Hey, Al. Author: Arthur Yorkins. Illustrator: Richard Egielski. Publication Date: 1986

Hey, AlAs we move through this list you will notice that I have a tendency to pick out books with animals in them. I have loved animals all of my life and books about animals were my absolute favorites growing up. That being the case, I didn’t read, or even hear of Hey, Al, a book of beautiful birds and one sweet pup, until I was doing my student teaching in an elementary school. As soon as I read it, I fell in love with it and knew that I was going to have to include this book in a lesson soon! This story is about a custodian named Al and his beloved Dog, Eddie. The two have a very hard life so when a bird mysteriously shows up and offers to take them to paradise, the two readily agree. They soon find that paradise isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and venture back home, but the journey home isn’t going to be accomplished easily. The illustrations are beautiful and colorful and the best part of the book.The illustrations are so amazing that Hey, Al won the Caldecott in 1987. 4 out of 5 stars!

 9. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Author: Judith Viorst. Illustrator: Ray Cruz Publication Date: 1972

Book CoverWhen I was in first grade my school librarian read this book to us on our first visit to the library. What a coincidence because it just so happened that I was also in the throes of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day myself. I don’t remember what all had made my day so bad but I remember listening intently to the story. As the librarian read the book to us I found myself laughing out loud and found my own personal bad day melting away. This was one of the first times I discovered that a great book can take you out of your own life for a little while and help you escape from reality. The book became very popular over the years spawning a television show and a musical theater show. It also was named one of ALA’s notable children’s books and produced a sequel in which Alexander has a very good day. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

8. The Giving Tree. Author & Illustrator: Shel Silverstein. Publication Date: 1964
Cover to The Giving Tree, depicting the tree giving away an apple
How much did I cry when first I read The Giving Tree? A lot. I love this book, but I find myself resenting the boy. The book is about a boy who discovers a personified tree. The tree loves the boy so that he provides anything the boy asks- shade, food, wood, companionship.. and yet the boy never seemed to give anything back to the tree. I like this book because I feel like it was a book that shaped who I am as a person today in a huge way. I was so ashamed of the boys behavior and how he took the tree for granted that I never wanted to do that to anyone or anything in my life. As I read the book when I was older, through my tears, I discovered that to me, the tree is a metaphor for God (“and she loved a little boy very, very much- even more than she loved herself”) and the boy is representative of the human race as a whole. But that’s just me reading in to everything. The illustrations are typical Shel Silverstein drawings which is to say unique and adequate. There’s nothing overly special about them, they’re simple and to the point which is what makes them special.  4.5 out of 5 stars. Some people disagree with me about the illustrations though. Check out what I found online:

7. Stellaluna. Author & Illustrator: Janell Cannon. Publication Date: 1993.
Stellaluna is the story of a sweet fruit bat named Stellaluna that gets seperated from her mother and her siblings. She stumbles into a bird nest and becomes convinced that she is also a bird! The story shows Stellaluna trying to fit in as a bird, but there’s no changing it, she’s a bat. The illustrations are very vibrant and colorful and in my experience they hold children’s attention very well. This is another one of those animals stories that I just love. I had a hard time choosing which of Cannon’s books to include on this list (she also has Pinduli about a heyena and Verdi about a snake) but I went with this one because I remembered seeing it on Reading Rainbow as a child! Cannon won the Bat Conservation Award from the Organization for Bat Conservation in 2005 for this story! 4 out of 5 stars!

6. Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale. Author and Illustrator: Mo Willems. Publication Date: 2004.
Knufflebunny1.JPG

I laughed out loud as I read Knuffle Bunny the first time. I instantly fell in love with Mo Willems and devourered everything he’s written since then. Knuffle Bunny tells the story of Trixie and her dad who make their way through the city to the laundromat where Trixie has a great time. On the way home though she starts to get a little fussy and Dad can’t figure out why.  Upon their return home Mom immediatley knows what’s wrong- KB is MISSING! The book is awesome and I was so thrilled when two more KB books were published in the series. Through the three books we get to see little Trixie grow up and we watch her relationship with KB change and evolve. It was so reminiscent of my relationship with my stuffed dinosaur, Gunther, who was so loved that in the process of sleeping with Gunther nightly I broke his neck and pulled most of his fur out. The story is fun and fast paced but what really makes this book a gem is the illustrations. Willems blends photographs of NYC with hand-drawn pictures to create a realistic reading experience. 5 out of 5 stars!

Check back next Tuesday to see which books came in fifth-first place!

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