News & Reviews (End of Dec - Early Jan)
Finding Treasure and Snowman-Cold=Puddle have been selected for the 2020 Notable Poetry Books and Verse Novels list, chosen by NCTE Award for Excellence in Children’s Poetry Committee!
The Superlative A. Lincoln and Beware! are both 2020 Illinois Reads selections!
The second half of Betsy Bird's '31 Days, 31 Lists: 2019' concluded with three more Charlesbridge picks on various lists: Mario and the Hole in the Sky for Nonfiction Picture Books ; Mario and the Hole in the Sky (Spanish) for Unique Biographies; and Daring Dozen for Science and Nature Books!
The Children's Book Council has selected these Charlesbridge titles for their CBC Showcase: Women of Color Protagonists, and will be featured over the next few months:
- Wangari Maathai: The Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees (December 18 - January 8)
- Struttin' with Some Barbecue: Lil Hardin Armstrong Becomes the First Lady of Jazz (January 9 - January 22)
- Like Vanessa (January 23 - February 5)
- Becoming Beatriz (February 6 – February 19)
- Malala: Activist for Girls' Education (February 20 – March 4)
- Nina: Jazz Legend and Civil-Rights Activist Nina Simone (March 5 – March 18)
The International Examiner features The Shadow in the Moon in their article Learning about the power of positivity and pursuing one’s dreams in children’s books!
School Library Journal
Welcoming Elijah (STARRED REVIEW)
January 1, 2020
The Horn Book
Not a Bean (STARRED REVIEW)
Martínez reveals the hidden secrets of the legendary Mexican jumping beans in her picture-book debut. As the title asserts, the jumping bean is "not a bean" but the seed pod of a desert plant known as the yerba de la flecha, which hides a secret stowaway. A female moth has laid her eggs near the seed pods of the yerba plant, and when they hatch, the caterpillars crawl inside, using the seed pod for protection and sustenance before pupating and emerging as adult moths. As a seed-encased caterpillar jumps around the desert floor seeking shelter and safety, readers count along in Spanish while learning vocabulary related to the desert ecosystem: cascabeles (rattlesnakes) and arroyos (streams), for example. González's bright, friendly illustrations depict a vibrant desert teeming with life—far from the desolation often associated with its dry climate. "Siete amigos" also join the proceedings, depicted in varying shades of tan and peach, appearing to represent some of the diversity in skin tone among Mesoamerican peoples. Much like the seed pods' concealed cargo, this informational picture book packs plenty of facts and learning moments into a thoroughly entertaining package. Engaging and fun, as all learning should be.
The Horn Book
Whose Footprint is That?
Following the format of Whose Poop Is THAT? (rev. 3/ l 7), Lunde poses the title question seven times about seven different animals in a series of four-page sequences, inviting readers to guess the makers of various footprints and impressions. Each print, rendered in shades of black and brown on a white background, is centered prominently on the right-hand page. A clue for identification comes via the accompanying text, which emphasizes the motions or actions employed to produce the print ("It was made by running on snow"; "It was made by standing in soft mud"). Additional hints to each creature's identity are found on left-hand pages, with glimpses of an ear, tail, nose, etc., edging into the picture. For the reveal, illustrations of mountain goats, wallaroos, snowshoe hares, snakes, flamingos, chimpanzees, and even a dinosaur are accompanied by information about what part of them made the prints (variously: feet, bodies, knuckles) and the ways their physiologies allow the animals to move or balance; the seven examples are carefully chosen to represent the relationships between morphology and function. The book ends with a look at the various prints people can make with their footwear, connecting familiar human experiences with their animal equivalents.
February 1, 2020
Passover nights are different, happily so for a boy and a kitten.It’s a Seder night, and a boy and his large family welcome guests to the festive holiday celebration. There are many rituals in the evening, including filling a cup of wine for the prophet Elisha, but his favorite is opening the door to welcome Elijah in. Writing in contrasting couplets, Newman relates the many elements of the holiday as “inside” activities. There are also “outside” goings-on. A fluffy white cat in the yard does feline things that seem to mimic what the family and their guests are doing except in one respect. The family enjoys plenty of good food while the kitten “swishe[s] his skinny tail.” Finally it is time to hold open the door, and who should be standing there but that irresistibly appealing fluffy white kitten. Boy and kitten, to be named Elijah of course, embrace as the others look on in joy. Gal’s softly smudged illustrations, rendered in ink, charcoal, and digital collage, warmly reflect the text’s contrasts, with bright yellows illuminating the household and iridescent blues bathing the outdoor scenes. The family and friends are racially diverse, with both black- and white-presenting group members. The boy himself presents white; the men wear kippot. While not the traditional holiday outcome, it should please celebrants and cat lovers all. (author’s note, list of Seder rituals)
Here We Go Digging For Dinosaur Bones
January 15, 2020
One Little Lot
January 15, 2020
January 15, 2020
December 15, 2020
This appealing picture book opens with children and adults using energy day and night, all over the world. Energy warms our soup, our bath water, and our homes. It brightens our cities and landmarks at night. But each year, at 8:30 on a Saturday night near the spring equinox, people around the globe turn out their lights in observance of Earth Hour. As the informative back matter states, that action signifies “a pledge to live more sustainably and conserve energy” all year long. Brief but effective, the even-handed text guides readers to scenes of people, usually families, often with visual clues in the background indicating locations on every continent. In the beginning, these scenes are brightly lit, but after Earth Hour begins, the same people and places are lit by the moon, stars, and aurora australis. Like the text, Luu’s beautiful digital illustrations create a positive, peaceful tone, depicting a variety of people around the world, united in their determination to protect our shared planet by conserving energy. A hopeful picture book introducing Earth Hour.
The Horn Book
December 13, 2019
The Superlative A. Lincoln
November 25, 2019