Category Archives: Book Talk

Voting Opens for CBC Awards

The Children’s Book Council is inviting young readers, teachers, parents and librarians(!) to vote for their favorite books. Take a look at the finalists below, then click on the link to get to the CBC page. Don’t forget to invite your patrons to vote too!

Finalists For 2016 Children’s & Teen Choice Book Awards

Book of the Year K-2nd Grade:
Clark & Shark by Bruce Hale, illustrated by Guy Francis
The Little Shop of Monsters by R.L. Stine, illustrated by Marc Brown
Sick and Stone by Beth Ferry, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
Sick Simon by Dan Krall
To the Sea by Cate Atkinson
Book of the Year 3-4th Grade:
Fort by Cynthia DeFelice
Funny Bones by Duncan Tonatiuh
I’m Trying to Love Spiders by Bethany Barton
Monkey and Elephant and a Secret Birthday Surprise by Carole Lexa Schaefer, illustrated by Galia Bernstein
Escape From the Lizards (Newts: Book 1) by Doug TenNapel
Book of the Year 5-6th Grade:
Backlash by Sarah Darer Littman
Hilo Book!: The Boy Who Crashed To Earth by Judd Winick
Saved by the Bell by Joelle Sellner, illustrated by Chyna Clugston-Flores and Tim Fish
The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John, illustrated by Kevin Cornell
Tom Gates: Everything’s Amazing (Sort Of) by Liz Pichon
Book of the Year Teen:
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Mass
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Winter by Marissa Meyer
PS, I Still Love You by Jenny Han
Teen Choice Debut Author:
Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
An Ember in Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach
Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert
Children’s Choice Debut Author:
The Question Of Miracles by Elena K. Arnold
The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
George by Alex Gino
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones, illustrated by Katie Kath
Children’s Choice Illustrator of the Year:
The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton
Big Family by Mike Curato
Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower by Greg Pizzoli
Strictly No Elephants Illustrated by Taeeun Yoo (written by Lisa Mantchev)
The Red Hat Illustrated by Antoinette Portis (written by David Teague)

2015 Award-Winning Youth Books

It’s award season time! No, not for movies or actors – something far more important: The Youth Media Awards, presented by the American Library Association. This morning, the awards for books and audio books published for children and young adults were announced.

LastStopJohn Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature:

Winner: Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena.

Honor Books: The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley; Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson; and Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan.


WinnieRandolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children:

Winner: Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear, illustrated by Sophie Blackall and written by Lindsay Mattick.

Honor Books: Trombone Shorty, illustrated by Bryan Collier and written by Troy Andrews; Waiting, illustrated and written by Kevin Henkes; Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, illustrated by Ekua Holmes and written by Carole Boston Weatherford; and Last Stop on Market Street, illustrated by Christian Robinson and written by Matt de la Pena.


GoneCrazyCoretta Scott King Author Award, recognizing an African-American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults.

Winner: Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia

Honor Books: All-American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely; The Boy in the Black Suit, by Jason Reynolds; and X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz with Kekla Magoon.


BoneGapMichael L. Prinz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults:

Winner: Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Honor Books: Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez; and The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick.


FunnyBonesRobert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children:

Winner: Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras, written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh.

Honor Books: Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, written and illustrated by Don Brown; The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club by Phillip Hoose; Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March, written by Lynda Blackmon Lowery; and Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Ekua Holmes.


MostDangerousYALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults:

Winner: Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin.

Honor Books: Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir, by Margaret Engle; First Flight Around the World: The Adventures of the American Fliers Who Won the Race, by Tim Grove; Symphony for the City of Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad by M.T. Anderson; and This Strange Wilderness: The Life and Art of John James Audubon, by Nancy Plain.

The full list of award winners can be found here.

Explore New York 2014

The updated Explore New York reading lists for this summer have been released, along with cool bookmarks you can customize for your library. Bookmark this page.

SLJ’s Battle of the Books

Each year, School Library Journal holds a Battle of the Books that often pits widely disparate books against one another. The best part is reading the judges’ explanations of why they selected one book over another. The judges are typically established authors who turn out to be very adept at this game of oranges vs. apples. Here are this year’s contenders. I like to print out the bracket and post it in the library.

–Marie Drucker, Malverne Public Library

Jinx and Jinx’s Magic by Sage Blackwood

One of my favorite book displays to attempt is what I call “First in a Series.” I like to put it at the end of the school year to get kids hooked on a good series for the summer. I love, especially, the anticipation of waiting for the next book in a series, so it’s often fun to put out new series, along with those that are completed.jinx

I know already that I am going to display Jinx by Sage Blackwood next time I do a series display. The second book in the series—Jinx’s Magic–is out but there’s bound to be at least one more book.

Jinx has some of the usual suspects – an orphan with great unknown powers who is in training to be a wizard, an evil wizard, a wizard that we’re not quite so sure about, and various companions. But Jinx is special and defies stereotypes. His magic is rare. And the host of secondary characters is good. It’s a series preteens will undoubtedly enjoy reading and they’ll identify with Jinx (especially when he’s sarcastic).

Jinx is the orphan who is about to be left in the Urwald (a large primeval forest) to die when he is rescued by the wizard Simon. He gradually becomes the Simon’s apprentice and learns that the power he draws on to work his magic is different than that Simon – and other wizards — use. In the course of the story, Jinx meets two young people (Reven, a would-be king, and Elfwyn, a would-be witch) who are making their way (separately at first) through the Urwald to rid themselves of curses. They end up at the house of an evil wizard who attempts to use them to capture Simon. Simon saves Jinx while Jinx in his way saves Simon. It is a complete book and could be read as a stand-alone novel.jinxmagic

Jinx’s Magic picks up where we left off – with the Jinx, Reven, Elfwyn, and Simon traveling again. The group separates midway and we follow Jinx on his quest to find out more about knowledge and power. Jinx is so very brave and determined. And he’s often a bit confused and overwhelmed too. He’s a genuine teen. I think that’s why I like him so much. By the end of Jinx’s Magic, all of the players are in place for what promises to be a climactic battle between fire and ice, life and death. I’m really looking forward to it.

–Marie Drucker, Malverne Public Library

And the Winners Are…

Here’s the press release for today’s ALA Youth Media Awards. Congrats to Kate DiCamillo for Flora and Ulysses (Newbery) and Brian Floca for Locomotive (Caldecott).

–Marie Drucker, Malverne Public Library

“From Norvelt to Nowhere” by Jack Gantos

This sequel to Jack Gantos’ Newbery Award winning novel Dead End in Norvelt picks up where the previous novel ended.

When another old woman dies in Norvelt, Miss Volker is convinced it’s the work of Mr. Spizz who had recently returned to Norvelt. Young Jack is assigned to accompany Miss Volker to Florida for the funeral of her recently deceased sister. Little does Jack know that he’s in for the road trip of his life as he and Miss Volker chase down Mr. Spizz only to find someone else chasing them!

This was a solid follow-up to the first Norvelt book. Particularly enjoyable were the references to different pieces of history throughout the story as well as an ode to Moby Dick. However, Miss Volker I’ll honestly say was beginning to annoy me by the end of this book; maybe there is a limit to how much crotchety old lady I can take.

Though the open road is great, I missed Norvelt in this sequel. I missed Jack’s mom and oft-missing father. I missed Bunny. Those were what made the first book spectacular. It’s hard to duplicate a Newbery winner, actually near impossible. Gantos fans will be pleased, all others would give this one a passing grade.

–Keith Klang
Port Washington Public Library