Repost: 10 Bookish Reads to Cozy Up With Next

This week I’m sharing a post from last winter on one of my favorite topics: books about books. Happy reading!

 

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Is there anything better than “books about books”? This is a genre I can’t get enough of. Turning the pages and spotting references to favorite books and authors, finding out the characters inhabit bookstores or libraries each day, and reading loads of dialogue between characters about the titles they love––heaven!

Here are 10 Bookish Reads for you and the little ones in your life. Happy reading!

ajfikry1. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

If you are on the lookout for your next bookish read and have not yet picked up this gem of a book, place your library requests or bookstore orders immediately! This is a reading experience to be treasured. I grabbed this book and curled up on the couch with it anytime my daughter was asleep one rainy Saturday and alternated between laughing out loud, reaching for the tissues, and looking for another book dart to mark a passage I loved. A young toddler comes into the life of a thirty-something widower bookstore owner, changing the course of not only their “stories”, but also the entire community’s. Bookish references abound in this one and great reads are at the center of the characters’ lives. This book was also a wonderful fictional look at raising a reader. A.J. Fikry has certainly zoomed to the top of my list of recent favorites–highly recommended.

 

You can also check out this interview with the author, Gabrielle Zevin from NPR:

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2. First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen by Charlie Lovett

I got this book recommendation from a wonderful “Lifetime mother-daughter book club” episode of my favorite reading podcast, “What Should I Read Next” with Anne Bogel. (If you haven’t listened to this book recommendation podcast, this would be a great episode to start with. This book was recommended by the mother and daughter on the show sharing their favorite reads and getting book recommendations.) First Impressions is a bookish mystery for Jane Austen fans and Anglophiles, that alternates between Jane’s perspective and modern day Sophie Collingwood’s, a recent Oxford graduate about to take on the greatest literary puzzle she could imagine. Bonus–it will inspire you to re-read Pride and Prejudice. 

 

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3. The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure

Little House on the Prairie fans, this is the book for you! Wendy McClure shares her account of immersing herself in the world of the series and embraces all things Laura Ingalls Wilder. I’m fascinated by how Wilder,  like L.M. Montgomery, and Louisa May Alcott blended the real stories of her upbringing and family life with fiction. Like Avonlea and Orchard House, the setting of the various Ingalls’ homesteads is also such a rich part of the story and McClure makes pilgrimages to them all–from the Big Woods of Wisconsin, to Plum Creek, and South Dakota. This is a delightful literary travel memoir and reflection on the series. For a more scholarly look at the world of Laura Ingalls Wilder and reality versus fiction in her work, you can also check out Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser.
onetrueloves4. One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

If you’re a fan of Liane Moriarty or Jojo Moyes and haven’t picked up a Taylor Jenkins Reid book, I highly recommend this author. She writes smart, tug-at-your-heartstrings women’s fiction that is impossible to set down. In One True Loves, Emma Blair has spent her twenties with her high school sweetheart Jesse, traveling the world and having adventures far from their small Massachusetts hometown. After being married for only a year, tragedy strikes and Jesse’s helicopter crashes somewhere over the Pacific. Emma moves back home to rebuild her life and takes over her parents’ bookstore. After several years, she falls in love again with Sam, an old friend, and becomes engaged. When Jesse is found alive, Emma’s world is turn upside down. Keep the tissues handy as you’ll be as torn as Emma about how to choose between the husband she lost and the fiancé she has built a life with. This book also dives into Emma’s complicated relationship with her family as well as the world of the bookstore, which she rebelled against growing up.

 

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5. The Losers Club by Andrew Clements

The wonderful Andrew Clements has done it again with another funny, relatable, middle-grade school story–and in this one, he celebrates being bookish! This has taken the top spot as my new favorite Clements book and was a hit when I helped choose it as the 4th and 5th grade parent/child book club pick at my school. Alec is a lifelong bookworm who is actually constantly being sent to the principal’s office for reading too much at school. (Which breaks my librarian heart!) In the after-school program, he’s forced to sign up for a club, but he just wants to spend his time reading. His solution–call the club “The Losers Club” and hope no one else wants to join so he can read in peace. When things don’t exactly go according to plan, Alec makes some interesting discoveries about himself and the people around him. Clements weaves in a stellar book title every few pages and even includes a full list of books read by Alec and his classmates at the end of the story –the young readers in your life will devour this title.

 

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6. Another Day as Emily by Eileen Spinelli

This is a quick read that completely warmed my heart. I read it in a few hours one afternoon and couldn’t wait to recommend it to students. Eleven-year-old Suzy researches Emily Dickinson as part of a summer program at the public library. When things don’t seem to be going her way, she decides to channel her inner Emily and live like a 19th-century recluse. Her experiment exasperates her parents and baffles her friends, but left me charmed. This book was in my reading pile because it’s part of this year’s Massachusetts Children’s Book Award program. 4th, 5th and 6th graders across the state are presented with 25 nominated books. If they read 5, they are eligible to vote for their favorite. Many states have reading programs for elementary kids, and the nominee lists are great places to seek out new books for the little ones in your life.

 

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7. Our Story Begins: Your Favorite Authors and Illustrators Share Fun, Inspiring, and Occasionally Ridiculous Things They Wrote and Drew as Kids, Edited by Elissa Brent Weissman

I flipped through this book gleefully as I saw how many author contributed, from the author of my childhood favorite Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine, to authors and illustrators of incredible contemporary titles like Wonder (R.J. Palacio), One Crazy Summer (Rita Williams-Garcia), Escape from Mr. Lemencello’s Library (Chris Grabenstein), and Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (Grace Lin). This is a fascinating look at the varying journeys of accomplished authors and illustrators–the childhood sketches, attempts at novels, and encouragement from teachers and parents that got them where they are today. A truly inspirational and entertaining read for kids and adults alike.

 

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8. A Library Book for Bear by Bonny Becker

This delightful picture book makes kids of all ages laugh out loud. Bear is a bit of a curmudgeon and has all the books he could ever need (seven to be exact). Why would he possibly want to go to the library with Mouse? A sweet, funny tale about being open to trying new things and discovering your next favorite book at the library.

 

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9. Reading Makes You Feel Good by Todd Parr

Why does reading make us happy? Is it being able to read the signs at the zoo? Or sharing a story with a friend? Todd Parr explores the many wonderful reasons why “Reading Makes You Feel Good”. A perfect book to share with the littlest readers in your life. I love to ask my K-2 students why they love to read after sharing this title. They always come up with adorable reasons!

 

TheLibrary10. The Library by Sarah Stewart

Elizabeth Brown was born a bookworm. Her piles of books are her constant companions. She even creates a check-out system for lending books out to friends when she is away at school. (I love that she conducts “midnight raids” to take overdue books back from classmates). When others are out socializing, she’s staying in content with her book. She also reads while grocery shopping and vacumming (if only she’d had access to audiobooks!). As she gets older and moves into a house of her own, the piles of books become towers until she eventually runs out of room. The solution? Create a public library for her town. This is a fun bookish read aloud for kids of all ages and certainly pleases us bookish introverts!

Ep. 24: Meg Medina, Author of Merci Suárez Changes Gears

This week I’m thrilled to share an interview with Meg Medina, author of Merci Suárez Changes Gears, which recently won the Newbery Medal!

We chatted before the award was announced and I was over the moon with excitement to see this fantastic middle grade book win.

Congratulations to Meg Medina on this much deserved award!

You can also listen on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

Books Mentioned On This Episode:

Merci Suárez Changes Gears

Mango, Abuela and Me

Burn Baby Burn

Becoming

The Poet X

The Fire on High

Dealing in Dreams

You Don’t Know Everything Jilly P

 

You can find Meg Medina at MegMedina.com. She is on Twitter @Meg_Medina and Instagram @MegMedinaBooks.

If you’re enjoying the podcast, please share it with a friend and be sure to subscribe. If you could also take a moment to rate and review A Bookish Home on iTunes to help people find the show, I’d be so grateful.

Are you reading a book mentioned on the blog or podcast? I’d love to hear. Tag me on Twitter or Instagram @ABookishHome.

Happy Reading and Listening!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

Affiliate links are used in this post. At no extra cost to you, we may receive a small commission if you purchase something through the links provided. Thanks for supporting A Bookish Home!

What I’ve Been Reading Lately…

It is so wonderful when you have a stretch of time as a reader when you adore book after book.

Here are some of the books I’ve been over the moon about lately:

Harry’s Trees

by Jon Cohen

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Picking up this book in and of itself was magical for me. This was a recommendation that Anne Bogel gave me during our interview. (A dream come true!) I am a huge fan of her blog and What Should I Read Next? podcast. I had asked for suggestions given that I was re-reading Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, and Pride and Prejudice at the timeThis is exactly the kind of uplifting book I had hoped for, with a quirky cast of characters in a community you come to deeply care about. A+ to Modern Mrs. Darcy! Harry’s Trees also wound up being a January pick for her online book club.

“Thirty-four-year-old Harry Crane, lifelong lover of trees, works as an analyst in a treeless US Forest Service office. When his wife dies in a freak accident, devastated, he makes his way to the remote woods of northeastern Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains, intent on losing himself. But fate intervenes in the form of a fiercely determined young girl named Oriana. She, too, has lost someone—her father. And in the magical, willful world of her reckoning, Oriana believes that Harry is the key to finding her way back to him.

As Harry agrees to help the young girl, the unlikeliest of elements—a tree house, a Wolf, a small-town librarian and a book called The Grum’s Ledger—come together to create the biggest sensation ever to descend upon the Endless Mountains…a golden adventure that will fulfill Oriana’s wildest dreams and open the door to a new life for Harry.

Harry’s Trees is an uplifting tale about love, loss, friendship, and redemption. Fans of Fredrik Backman’s A Man Called Ove and Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry will find in its relentless good humor a much-needed remedy for these fraught times.”

 

Bear Town

by Fredrik Backman

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I wasn’t convinced that a book about hockey would draw me in, but I kept hearing about this book and enjoyed A Man Called Ove, so I decided to finally try Beartown. I’m so glad I did. Fans of Friday Night Lights will find themselves captivated by this small town story, and like me, struggle to put it down.

“People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.”

 

Get 12 Free Own Forever Classes and a year of Bluprint for only $69.99 at myBluprint.com through 2/17/19.

The Poet X

by Elizabeth Acevedo

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The Poet X is one of the best young adult novels I’ve ever read. Winner of numerous awards including the National Book Award, Pura Belpré Award, and the Michael L. Printz Award, this is an unforgettable coming-of-age story, filled with hope and writing that has to be stopped and savored.

“A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.”

Merci Suarez Changes Gears

by Meg Medina

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Merci Suarez Changes Gears  was recommended to me by Katie Cunningham, Senior Editor at Candlewick on the podcast. Her praise was spot on and I absolutely adored this book. I revisited Merci recently before my interview with author Meg Medina (coming soon!). This is the kind of story you want to press into the hands of middle schoolers–and the kind of story adults wish they had read during those tumultuous years! I could not have been more thrilled to see Meg Medina win the Newbery Medal for this outstanding book. Fingers crossed we see more of Merci and the Suarez family soon!

“Merci Suarez knew that sixth grade would be different, but she had no idea just how different. For starters, Merci has never been like the other kids at her private school in Florida, because she and her older brother, Roli, are scholarship students. They don’t have a big house or a fancy boat, and they have to do extra community service to make up for their free tuition. So when bossy Edna Santos sets her sights on the new boy who happens to be Merci’s school-assigned Sunshine Buddy, Merci becomes the target of Edna’s jealousy. Things aren’t going well at home, either: Merci’s grandfather and most trusted ally, Lolo, has been acting strangely lately — forgetting important things, falling from his bike, and getting angry over nothing. No one in her family will tell Merci what’s going on, so she’s left to her own worries, while also feeling all on her own at school. In a coming-of-age tale full of humor and wisdom, award-winning author Meg Medina gets to the heart of the confusion and constant change that defines middle school — and the steadfast connection that defines family.”

Drawn Together

by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat

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A boy and his grandfather are unable to speak the same language, resulting in frustration and distance, until they find a different way. Drawn Together is a deeply moving book about family and the power of connecting through stories.  I was so happy to see this book win the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature.

“When a young boy visits his grandfather, their lack of a common language leads to confusion, frustration, and silence. But as they sit down to draw together, something magical happens-with a shared love of art and storytelling, the two form a bond that goes beyond words.”

I Love You, Little Pookie

by Sandra Boynton

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I spotted this book at my local bookstore over the weekend, Silver Unicorn Books and knew I had to get it for my little Valentine! We are huge Sandra Boynton fans around here and I Love You, Little Pookie is a wonderful new addition. This sweet story is sure to be shared on repeat like other Boynton favorites!

“I Love You, Little Pookie is an affectionate and heartfelt celebration—for Valentine’s Day and every day—enlivened with those funny and captivating Boynton drawings. And Pookie’s Mom wisely knows that the best way to say I love you is simply to say it:
Through the days,
through the nights,
come rain or come shine,
I love you, little Pookie.
You’ll always be mine.”

What have you been reading? Share your recommendations! And if you’ve picked up a book after reading the blog or listening to the podcast, I’d love to hear. Leave a note in the comments or find me on Twitter or Instagram @ABookishHome.

If you’re enjoying the blog, be sure to tell a friend and subscribe to make sure you’ll never miss a new post.

Happy Reading!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

Affiliate links are used in this post. At no extra cost to you, we may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. Thanks for supporting A Bookish Home!

Read Alouds to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is almost here! These books are perfect to share with your little valentine.

Pair one of these books with some sweet treats for a winning Valentine’s Day gift.

Picture Books:

Click, Clack, Moo I Love You!

by Doreen Cronin

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“It’s Valentine’s Day and on the farm – that means a Valentine’s party! Little Duck is wildly excited. She hangs balloons, streamers, sparkling lights, and hearts everywhere, and hand-makes a valentine for everyone. On top of a hill, a little fox hears the music from the party and follows Little Duck’s many decorations to the barn…but foxes are not at all welcome on farms. The chickens stop dancing. The sheep stop dancing. The pigs stop dancing. The mice hustle off to hide. Will Little Fox ruin the dance? Or, perhaps, she’s just what the party needs!”

Hedgehugs

by Steve Wilson

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“Horace and Hattie are hedgehogs, and the very best of friends. Together, they make daisy chains, splash in puddles, and have tea parties. But there is one thing they can’t do—hug! They are just too spiky. Throughout the seasons, these two hedgehogs will try many different ways of hugging. But will Horace and Hattie find a hug that feels just right?”

Here Comes the Valentine Cat

by Deborah Underwood

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“Cat does NOT like Valentine’s Day. It’s much too mushy, and no way is he making anyone a valentine—especially not his new neighbor, Dog. Dog refuses to respect the fence. He keeps tossing over old bones and hitting Cat in the head! But just as Cat’s about to send Dog an angry “valentine” telling him exactly what he can do with his bones, Dog throws a ball over the fence. What is Dog playing at?”

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch

by Eileen Spinelli

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“One wintry day, a postman delivers a mysterious package with a big pink bow to a lonely man named Mr. Hatch. “Somebody loves you” the note says. “Somebody loves me!” Mr. Hatch sings as he dusts his living room. “Somebody loves me!” Mr. Hatch whistles as he does his errands in town. “But who, ” Mr. Hatch wonders, “could that somebody be?” After some time, Mr. Hatch discovers just who his secret admirer is and, in doing so, enjoys the biggest surprise of his life!”

Love, Splat

by Rob Scotton

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“It’s Valentine’s Day and Splat has a special valentine for a certain someone in his class. Her name is Kitten, and Splat likes her even more than fish sticks and ice cream. But Kitten doesn’t seem to like him at all—she always ties his tail and pokes his belly when she sees him. And then there’s Splat’s rival, Spike, who also likes Kitten. Will Splat’s heartfelt valentine win Kitten’s paw in the end?”

Pinkalicious: Pink of Hearts

by Victoria Kann

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“Everyone in her class is assigned to make an extra-special Valentine’s Day card for one person in the class. Pinkalicious creates a magnificently pinkerrific card. Will the valentine that she gets in return measure up?”

 

Board Books:

Llama Llama I Love You

by Anna Dewdney

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“With short and simple rhyming text, the Llama Llama board books introduce Llama Llama to babies and toddlers before they’re ready for longer full-length stories. And their small size and durable pages are perfect for little hands.

In Llama Llama I Love You, little llama shows his friends and family how much he loves them with heart-shaped cards and lots of hugs. What could be sweeter than Llama Llama on Valentine’s Day?”

Babies Love Valentines

by Holly Berry-Byrd

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“With colorful artwork and especially sturdy lift-a-flaps, this chunky board book introduces classic Valentine’s Day traditions like giving cards and candies.
Simple sentences reinforce future language structure.
Grasping and lifting the flaps helps develop fine motor skills.”

 

Watch dance classes at myBluprint.com

Huggy Kissy

by Leslie Patricelli

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“When you’re an adorable bald baby, your family finds lots of ways to show you how much they love you: Mommy lifts you uppy, Daddy kisses you on the tummy, and everyone wants to snuggle. What’s not to love? With comedy and warmth, Leslie Patricelli offers a universal tribute to love and affection in a board book full of instant appeal for little valentines everywhere.”

Happy Valentine’s Day Mouse!

by Laura Numeroff

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Join Mouse from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie as he celebrates Valentine’s Day with all the friends he loves. This board book with sturdy pages is perfect for preschoolers, who will enjoy the simple introduction to the fun of Valentine’s Day.

Where Is Baby’s Valentine 

by Karen Katz

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“Baby made a valentine for Mommy. Where could it be?
Is it behind the lamp? No, those are pretty, sparkly flowers!
It’s a shiny, glittering delight as you lift the sturdy flaps to help Baby find her very special valentine.”

 

What are you favorite Valentine’s Day reads? Leave a note in the comments or let me know on Twitter or Instagram @ABookishHome.

If you’re enjoying A Bookish Home, be sure to tell a friend and subscribe to make sure you’ll never miss a new post.

Happy Reading!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

Affiliate links  are used in this post. At no extra cost to you, we may receive a small commission if you purchase a book through the links provided. Thanks for supporting A Bookish Home!

Boston Author Event Roundup: February

Are you looking for a bookish event to add to your calendar?

Here are some of the authors coming to bookstores and libraries in the Boston area this month.

Be sure to check your local library and bookstore’s event calendar to see what author events are coming to your community.

Not in the Boston area? This list is still a great way to find a book to add to your TBR list!

Saturday, February 2nd – 7pm at Belmont Books 

Story Slam

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“Have a story you want to tell? Join us for a special story slam hosted by The Moth’s Steve Almond.

We have 100 tickets available for $10. Up to 10 ticket holders may participate in the story slam and will be chosen on a first-come first-served basis from a sign-up list. Ticket holders also get a one time 10% off coupon for the bookstore or cafe good for the night of the event.

If you would like to participate, please put a request in your order comments. Or you can email us at info@belmontbooks.com, purchase your ticket at the link below, give us a call at 617-923-1496, or sign up in person. Your story must be 5 minutes long and revolve around the theme “The Book That Saved My Life.” No notecards on stage so make sure you practice!

The winner will be chosen by our special guest judges, Crystal King, Edwin Hill, and Hank Phillippi Ryan, and will receive a $25 gift card to the store!”

For more information visit the event website. 

 

Tuesday, February 5th- 6pm at the Brattle Theatre, sponsored by Harvard Bookstore 

Howard Schultz, From the Ground Up: A Journey to Reimagine the Promise of America

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“Harvard Book Store welcomes longtime chief executive officer and chairman of Starbucks HOWARD SCHULTZ for a discussion of his latest book, From the Ground Up: A Journey to Reimagine the Promise of America.”

For more information visit the event website.

**Note: this event is now sold old but Harvard Bookstore says there will be a standby line at the door.**

Tuesday, February 5th- 7pm at Brookline Booksmith

Andrew and Irene Li, Double Awesome Chinese Food

“Too intimidated to cook Chinese food at home but crave those punchy flavors? Not anymore. Put down that takeout kung pao chicken and get in the kitchen! Full of irresistible recipes that marry traditional Asian ingredients with comforting American classics and seasonal ingredients, Double Awesome Chinese Food delivers the goods. The three fun-loving Chinese-American siblings behind the acclaimed restaurant Mei Mei take the fear factor out of cooking this complex cuisine, infusing it with creativity, playfulness, and ease.Margaret, Irene, and Andrew Li are the sibling co-owners of a food truck and restaurant in Boston, Massachusetts. Their food truck, Mei Mei Street Kitchen, opened in 2012 and was soon awarded Boston’s Best Meals on Wheels by Boston Magazine. Their brick-and-mortar restaurant opened in late 2013 and was named Eater Boston’s Restaurant of the Year.”

For more information visit the event website.

Thursday, February 7th- 7:30pm at the Wilbur Theater

Angie Thomas, On the Come Up in conversation with Christina Tucker

“From the author of #1 New York Times bestselling and award winning The Hate U Give, On the Come Upis an ode to hip hop from one of the most influential literary voices of a generation. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; and about how, especially for young black people, freedom of speech isn’t always free.

Angie will appear in conversation with Christina Tucker, co-host of the podcast Unfriendly Black Hotties. Each ticket comes with copy of On the Come Up, and Angie will do a book signing for all patrons after show.

Angie Thomas holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Belhaven University and an unofficial degree in Hip Hop. She is an inaugural winner of the Walter Dean Myers Grant 2015, awarded by We Need Diverse Books. Thomas is a former teen rapper whose greatest accomplishment was an article about her in Right-On Magazine with a picture included.”

For more information and to purchase tickets visit Brookline Booksmith events.

Thursday, February 7th- 7pm at First Parish Church, sponsored by Harvard Bookstore

Marlon James, Black Leopard, Red Wolf 

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“Harvard Book Store welcomes Man Booker Prize–winning novelist MARLON JAMES—author of A Brief History of Seven Killings—for a discussion of his highly anticipated latest novel, Black Leopard, Red Wolf.”

For more information and to purchase tickets visit the event website.

Saturday, February 9th- 2pm at Newtonville Books 

Middle Grade “Luck and Magic” Author Reading with Susan Lubner, Anna Staniszewski, and Susan Tan

“Susan Lubner is the author of three picture books and the middle grade novel, The Upside of Ordinary. Her stories have also appeared in Spiderand Highlights. Besides reading and writing, Susan loves taking long walks, spending time on the water at Cape Cod, the color blue, painting, and eating lots of chocolate. She lives in Massachusetts, but was born and raised in Maine, where her family always had two, three, or sometimes four cats.”

“Born in Poland and raised in the United States, Anna Staniszewskigrew up loving stories in both Polish and English. She was a Writer-in-Residence at the Boston Public Library and a winner of the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award. Currently, Anna lives outside of Boston and teaches at Simmons College.”

“Susan Tan has lived many places in her life, but calls Concord, Massachusetts, home. She grew up in a mixed-race family, and, like Cilla Lee-Jenkins, had very little hair until the age of five. After studying at Williams College, she earned her PhD from the University of Cambridge, where she studied children’s literature. She currently lives in Somerville, enjoys frequent trips to Chinatown to eat tzuck sang, and teaches at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.”

Sunday, February 10th- 1pm at the Eric Carle Museum, Amherst

Out of the Box: The Graphic Novel Comes of Age

Participating artists include Vera Brosgol, Catia Chien, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Matt Phelan, Raina Telgemeier, and Sara Varon.

This event is certainly worth the drive to Amherst for graphic novel fans!

“Meet artists from Out of the Box: The Graphic Novel Comes of Age in a fun Q&A format. Participating artists include Vera Brosgol, Catia Chien, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Matt Phelan, Raina Telgemeier, and Sara Varon.

Space is limited. Reservations are suggested and begin January 10.
Reserve your tickets online.

Image: Raina Telgemeier, Illustration for Smile (Graphix). © 2010 Raina Telgemeier. Used by permission of Scholastic Inc.

For more information visit the event website. ”

**Note: this event is now full, but you can add your name to the waitlist.**

Monday, February 11th- 6:30pm at An Unlikely Story, Plainville 

Raina Telgemeier & Vera Brosgol

Be prepared to smile! Join us in welcoming two award-winning graphic novelists, Raina Telgemeier, creator of the Eisner Award-winning graphic memoirsSmile and Sisters, and Vera Brosgol, creator of the 2017 Caldecott Honor picture book, LEAVE ME ALONE! Raina and Vera will discuss the inspirations for their graphic novels SMILE and BE PREPARED, followed by a Q&A and signing.

For more event information and to get tickets visit the event website.

Tuesday, February 12th- 6pm at Belmont Books 

Renee Watson and Ellen Hagan,Watch Us Rise

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“Jasmine and Chelsea are best friends on a mission–they’re sick of the way women are treated even at their progressive NYC high school, so they decide to start a Women’s Rights Club. They post their work online–poems, essays, videos of Chelsea performing her poetry, and Jasmine’s response to the racial microaggressions she experiences–and soon they go viral. But with such positive support, the club is also targeted by trolls. When things escalate in real life, the principal shuts the club down. Not willing to be silenced, Jasmine and Chelsea will risk everything for their voices–and those of other young women–to be heard.

Join us for a book discussion, signing, and free pizza!”

For more information visit the event website.

Friday, February 15th- 7pm at Harvard Bookstore

Katharine Smyth, All the Lives We Ever Lived

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“Harvard Book Store and Mass Humanities welcome writer and editor KATHARINE SMYTH for a discussion of her debut book, All the Lives We Ever Lived: Finding Solace in Virginia Woolf. She will be joined in conversation by award-winning writer DARCY FREY—author of The Last Shot: City Streets, Basketball Dreams.”

For more information visit the event website.

Saturday, February 16th- 11am at Silver Unicorn Bookstore, Acton

Saturday Storytime: Alison Goldberg, I Love You For Miles and Miles

“We are welcoming back local author Alison Goldberg to celebrate the board book release of I Love You For Miles and Miles. This is a lovely crafted car-and-truck-and-train-filled book that compares the enduring power of love to various vehicles, and it has been a store favorite since we had Alison out last year!

Goldberg’s picture book debut, this I-love-you book is perfect for children who love vehicles that dig, carry, and lift. Love can be stronger than the strongest excavator, longer than the longest train, and taller than the tallest crane. With exciting imagery and engaging, lyrical text, Goldberg compares the abilities of vehicles like trains, planes, cars, boats, and construction equipment to the never-ending love a parent has for their child.

Join us to celebrate this local author, who may just have a craft for kids to do as well!”

For more information visit the event website.

Saturday, February 16th- 2pm at Silver Unicorn Bookstore, Acton

Double Book Launch Party: Jen Petro-Roy, Good Enough and You Are Enough

“On this day, we are doing our first double book launch! How exciting is that! Local author Jen Petro-Roy is simulteanously releasing a middle-grade novel, Good Enough and a children’s non-fiction book, You Are Enough: Your Guide to Body Image and Eating Disorder Recovery. Both deal with eating disorders, which is something Jen has experienced and dealt with in her life.

In Good Enough, 12-year-old Riley was many things before she had an eating disorder: an aspiring artist, a runner, a sister, and a friend. Especially since under the influence of her eating disorder, Riley alienated her friends, abandoned her art, turned running into something harmful, and destroyed her family’s trust.

If Riley wants her life back, she has to recover. But when her roommate starts to break the rules, triggering Riley’s old behaviors and blackmailing her into silence, Riley realizes that recovery will be even harder than she thought.Meanwhile,You Are Enough is a book that’s written to be inclusive of people with disordered eating of all genders, races and ethnicities, sexual orientations, ability, sizes, etc. The author is taking special care to be inclusive of trans and non-binary readers, fat readers, chronically ill readers, disabled readers, cis men, and readers without insurance–all groups who are often excluded from the eating disorder recovery conversation.

Jen has drawn on her own experiences with anorexia, OCD, and over-exercising, as well as her experiences in inpatient and residential treatment. But she has also spoken to healthcare professionals, as well as other people who have suffered from eating disorders to craft what is the first book about these disorders geared toward younger readers.

These will be Jen’s second and third books, respectively. You may remember Jen’s first book, P.S. I Miss You, which we featured at an event in September!

Join us for this wonderful double book launch party!”

For more information visit the event website.

Thursday, February 21st- 7pm at Concord Bookshop

Crystal King, The Chef’s Secret

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“Please join us on Thursday, February 21 at 7pm, when Crystal King presents her new novel, The Chef’s Secret.

Crystal King is an author, culinary enthusiast, and marketing expert. Her writing is fueled by a love of history and a passion for the food, language, and culture of Italy. She has taught classes in writing, creativity, and social media at several universities including Harvard Extension School and Boston University, as well as at GrubStreet, one of the leading creative writing centers in the US. A Pushcart Prize–nominated poet and former co-editor of the online literary arts journal Plum Ruby Review, Crystal received her MA in critical and creative thinking from UMass Boston, where she developed a series of exercises and writing prompts to help fiction writers in medias res. She resides in Boston but considers Italy her next great love after her husband, Joe, and their two cats, Nero and Merlin. She is the author of Feast of Sorrow.”

For more information visit the event website.

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Saturday, February 23rd- 11am at Blue Bunny Books

Say Something Book Launch Party with Peter H. Reynolds

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“The world needs your voice. If you have a brilliant idea… say something! If you see an injustice… say something!

In this empowering new picture book, beloved author Peter H. Reynolds explores the many ways that a single voice can make a difference. Each of us, each and every day, have the chance to say something: with our actions, our words, and our voices. Perfect for kid activists everywhere, this timely story reminds readers of the undeniable importance and power of their voice. There are so many ways to tell the world who you are… what you are thinking… and what you believe. And how you’ll make it better. The time is now: SAY SOMETHING!

For more information visit the event website.

Thursday, February 28th- 6pm at Belmont Books 

Tui Sutherland, Wings of Fire Graphic Novel #2

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“Join us for the launch of the second graphic novel in the Wings of Fire series. Tui will be discussing the series, answering questions, and signing books. Tickets will be $5 and can be purchased over the phone or in store. You can also purchase tickets online here. We only have 100 tickets available so get yours now! All children under the age of 10 will need to be accompanied by an adult.”

For more information visit the event website.

Thursday, February 28th- 7pm at Porter Square Books 

Susan Conley, Elsey Come Home

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“From the widely praised author of Paris Was the Place–a shattering new novel that bravely delves into the darkest corners of addiction, marriage, and motherhood.

When Elsey’s husband, Lukas, hands her a brochure for a weeklong mountain retreat, she knows he is really giving her an ultimatum: Go, or we’re done. Once a successful painter, Elsey set down roots in China after falling passionately for Lukas, the tall, Danish MC at a warehouse rave in downtown Beijing. Now, with two young daughters and unable to find a balance between her identities as painter, mother, and, especially, wife, Elsey fills her days worrying, drinking, and descending into desperate unhappiness. So, brochure in hand, she agrees to go and confront the ghosts of her past. There, she meets a group of men and women who will forever alter the way she understands herself: from Tasmin, another (much richer) expat, to Hunter, a young man whose courage endangers them all, and, most important, Mei–wife of one of China’s most famous artists and a renowned painter herself–with whom Elsey quickly forges a fierce friendship and whose candidness about her pain helps Elsey understand her own. But Elsey must risk tearing herself and Lukas further apart when she decides she must return to her childhood home–the center of her deepest pain–before she can find her way back to him. Written in a voice at once wry, sensual, blunt, and hypnotic, Elsey Come Home is a modern odyssey and a quietly dynamic portrait of contemporary womanhood.

Susan Conley is the author of the novel Paris Was the Place and The Foremost Good Fortune, a book that won the Maine Literary Award for memoir. Born and raised in Maine, her writing has appeared in The New York Times MagazineThe Paris Review, and Ploughshares. She has been awarded fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Maine Arts Commission, and the Massachusetts Arts Council. She spent three years in Beijing with her husband and two sons before moving back to Portland, Maine, where she currently lives. She teaches in the Stonecoast Writing Program at the University of Southern Maine.

Get Ready for the Oscars of Children’s Books

It’s almost time for the Oscars of Children’s Books! The American Library Association (ALA) Youth Media Awards will take place Monday, January 28th. So many prestigious book awards will be announced including the Caldecott Medal, Newbery Medal, Coretta Scott King Awards, and more. It is so exciting to find out which books will be chosen, discover new titles to add to your list, and learn which authors and illustrators lives’ will be changed forever! 

There is a livestream of the event beginning at 11am EST on 1/28. I’m planning to have a viewing party with my daughter in our pjs, with some popcorn of course. If you and your family can’t watch the award announcemenst live because of school or work, ALA also usually shares a recording of the awards later that day.  Watching the awards with the little ones in your life can be a great way to build enthusiasm around books and reading. I always loved showing the announcement of awards like the Caldecott and Newbery to the students in my school library. 

To get in the award season spirit, you and your child could check out some of the past winners from your local library and read them together. Taking a look at award lists, past and present, is also a fantastic way to find new books to read.

Each medal in the list below has a link to the ALA Youth Media Award official page, with more information about the medal and access to a full list of past winners:

The Caldecott Medal

caldecottThe Caldecott Medal is awarded “to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.”

The list of amazing past Caldecott winners is a mile long: Wolf in the Snow (2018), This is Not My Hat (2013),  Jumanji (1982), Where the Wild Things Are (1964), The Snowy Day (1963), and so many more.  You have probably seen the gold medal, or the silver Caldecott Honor medal on many of your favorite picture books. 

Here are some of the picture books I’m rooting for this year:

Alma and How She Got Her Name

by Juana Martinez-Neal

28234753.jpg“If you ask her, Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela has way too many names: six! How did such a small person wind up with such a large name? Alma turns to Daddy for an answer and learns of Sofia, the grandmother who loved books and flowers; Esperanza, the great-grandmother who longed to travel; José, the grandfather who was an artist; and other namesakes, too. As she hears the story of her name, Alma starts to think it might be a perfect fit after all — and realizes that she will one day have her own story to tell. In her author-illustrator debut, Juana Martinez-Neal opens a treasure box of discovery for children who may be curious about their own origin stories or names.”

You can listen to my interview with author/illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal on episode Episode 11 of A Bookish Home, the podcast.

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The Day You Begin

by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael Lopez

37506301.jpg“There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it.

Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael Lopez’s dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.”

The Rabbit Listened

by Cori Doerrfeld

35248504.jpg“When something terrible happens, Taylor doesn’t know where to turn. All the animals are sure they have the answer. The chicken wants to talk it out, but Taylor doesn’t feel like chatting. The bear thinks Taylor should get angry, but that’s not quite right either. One by one, the animals try to tell Taylor how to process this loss, and one by one they fail. Then the rabbit arrives. All the rabbit does is listen, which is just what Taylor needs.”

What If…

by Samantha Berger, Pictures by Mike Curato

35959676.jpg“This girl is determined to express herself! If she can’t draw her dreams, she’ll sculpt or build, carve or collage. If she can’t do that, she’ll turn her world into a canvas. And if everything around her is taken away, she’ll sing, dance, and dream…

Stunning mixed media illustrations, lyrical text, and a breathtaking gatefold conjure powerful magic in this heartfelt affirmation of art, imagination, and the resilience of the human spirit.”

Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have A Horse

by Marcy Campbell and Corinna Luyken

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“Adrian Simcox tells anyone who will listen that he has a horse–the best and most beautiful horse anywhere.

But Chloe does NOT believe him. Adrian Simcox lives in a tiny house. Where would he keep a horse? He has holes in his shoes. How would he pay for a horse?

The more Adrian talks about his horse, the angrier Chloe gets. But when she calls him out at school and even complains about him to her mom, Chloe doesn’t get the vindication she craves. She gets something far more important.”

 

A Big Mooncake for Little Star

by Grace Lin

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“Pat, pat, pat…

Little Star’s soft feet tiptoed to the Big Mooncake.

Little Star loves the delicious Mooncake that she bakes with her mama. But she’s not supposed to eat any yet! What happens when she can’t resist a nibble?

In this stunning picture book that shines as bright as the stars in the sky, Newbery Honor author Grace Lin creates a heartwarming original story that explains phases of the moon.’

Julian Is A Mermaid

by Jessica Love

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“While riding the subway home from the pool with his abuela one day, Julián notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train car. When Julián gets home, daydreaming of the magic he’s seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous mermaid costume: a periwinkle curtain for his tail, the fronds of a potted fern for his headdress. But what will Abuela think about the mess he makes — and even more importantly, what will she think about how Julián sees himself? Mesmerizing and full of heart, Jessica Love’s author-illustrator debut is a jubilant picture of self-love and a radiant celebration of individuality.”

Dreamers

by Yuyi Morales

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“In 1994, Yuyi Morales left her home in Xalapa, Mexico and came to the US with her infant son. She left behind nearly everything she owned, but she didn’t come empty-handed.

She brought her strength, her work, her passion, her hopes and dreams…and her stories. Caldecott Honor artist and five-time Pura Belpré winner Yuyi Morales’s gorgeous new picture book Dreamers is about making a home in a new place. Yuyi and her son Kelly’s passage was not easy, and Yuyi spoke no English whatsoever at the time. But together, they found an unexpected, unbelievable place: the public library. There, book by book, they untangled the language of this strange new land, and learned to make their home within it.”

Drawn Together

by Minh Lê and Dan Santat

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“When a young boy visits his grandfather, their lack of a common language leads to confusion, frustration, and silence. But as they sit down to draw together, something magical happens-with a shared love of art and storytelling, the two form a bond that goes beyond words.”

Blue

by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

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“How many shades of blue are there? There’s the soft blue of a baby’s cherished blanket, the ocean blue of a romp in the waves, the chilly blue of a cold winter’s walk in the snow, and the true blue of the bond that exists between children and animals.

In this simple, sumptuously illustrated companion to Caldecott Honor Book Green, award-winning artist Laura Vaccaro Seeger turns her attention to the ways in which color evokes emotion, and in doing so tells the story of one special and enduring friendship.”

For more on the Caldecott Award, you can also listen to Episode 22 of A Bookish Home, the podcast with Ashley Waring, librarian and member of the 2017 Caldecott Award Committee. Ashley gives us a behind the scenes look at this prestigious award!

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The Newbery Medal

newberyWhile the Caldecott is awarded based on the book’s illustrations, the Newbery Medal focuses on the writing and is awarded to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.”

There are so many wonderful past Newbery winners to add to your To Be Read list including Hello Universe (2018), Last Stop on Market Street (2016), The One and Only Ivan (2013), The Tale of Despereaux (2004), Bud, Not Buddy (2000), Number the Stars (1990), From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (1968) and many more.

Here are some of the books I’ll be rooting for during this year’s Newbery announcement:

You Go First

by Erin Entrada Kelly

35068526.jpg“Twelve-year-old Charlotte Lockard and eleven-year-old Ben Boxer are separated by more than a thousand miles. On the surface, their lives seem vastly different—Charlotte lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, while Ben is in the small town of Lanester, Louisiana. Charlotte wants to be a geologist and keeps a rock collection in her room. Ben is obsessed with Harry Potter, presidential history, and recycling. But the two have more in common than they think. They’re both highly gifted. They’re both experiencing family turmoil. And they both sit alone at lunch.

Over the course of a week, Charlotte and Ben—online friends connected only by a Scrabble game—will intersect in unexpected ways as they struggle to navigate the turmoil of middle school. You Go First reminds us that no matter how hard it is to keep our heads above troubled water, we never struggle alone.”

Front Desk

by Kelly Yang

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“Mia Tang has a lot of secrets.

Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests.

Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they’ve been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed.

Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language?

It will take all of Mia’s courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?”

The Parker Inheritance

by Varian Johnson

35238085.jpg“The letter waits in a book, in a box, in an attic, in an old house in Lambert, South Carolina. It’s waiting for Candice Miller.

When Candice finds the letter, she isn’t sure she should read it. It’s addressed to her grandmother, after all, who left Lambert in a cloud of shame. But the letter describes a young woman named Siobhan Washington. An injustice that happened decades ago. A mystery enfolding the letter-writer. And the fortune that awaits the person who solves the puzzle. Grandma tried and failed. But now Candice has another chance.

So with the help of Brandon Jones, the quiet boy across the street, she begins to decipher the clues in the letter. The challenge will lead them deep into Lambert’s history, full of ugly deeds, forgotten heroes, and one great love; and deeper into their own families, with their own unspoken secrets. Can they find the fortune and fulfill the letter’s promise before the summer ends?”

 

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Merci Suarez Changes Gears

by Meg Medina

38185346.jpg“Merci Suarez knew that sixth grade would be different, but she had no idea just how different. For starters, Merci has never been like the other kids at her private school in Florida, because she and her older brother, Roli, are scholarship students. They don’t have a big house or a fancy boat, and they have to do extra community service to make up for their free tuition. So when bossy Edna Santos sets her sights on the new boy who happens to be Merci’s school-assigned Sunshine Buddy, Merci becomes the target of Edna’s jealousy. Things aren’t going well at home, either: Merci’s grandfather and most trusted ally, Lolo, has been acting strangely lately — forgetting important things, falling from his bike, and getting angry over nothing. No one in her family will tell Merci what’s going on, so she’s left to her own worries, while also feeling all on her own at school. In a coming-of-age tale full of humor and wisdom, award-winning author Meg Medina gets to the heart of the confusion and constant change that defines middle school — and the steadfast connection that defines family.”

I’m excited to share that an interview with Meg Medina is coming up soon on A Bookish Home, the podcast!

 

The Poet X

by Elizabeth Acevedo

33294200.jpg“A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.”

 

Hey, Kiddo

by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

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Hey, Kiddo is the graphic memoir of author-illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Raised by his colorful grandparents, who adopted him because his mother was an incarcerated heroin addict, Krosoczka didn’t know his father’s name until he saw his birth certificate when registering for a school ski trip. Hey, Kiddotraces Krosoczka’s search for his father, his difficult interactions with his mother, his day-to-day life with his grandparents, and his path to becoming an artist.

You can listen to my interview with Jarrett J. Krosoczka on Episode 13 of A Bookish Home, the podcast.

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The Truth As Told By Mason Buttle

by Leslie Connor

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“Mason Buttle is the biggest, sweatiest kid in his grade, and everyone knows he can barely read or write. Mason’s learning disabilities are compounded by grief. Fifteen months ago, Mason’s best friend, Benny Kilmartin, turned up dead in the Buttle family’s orchard. An investigation drags on, and Mason, honest as the day is long, can’t understand why Lieutenant Baird won’t believe the story Mason has told about that day.

Both Mason and his new friend, tiny Calvin Chumsky, are relentlessly bullied by the other boys in their neighborhood, so they create an underground club space for themselves. When Calvin goes missing, Mason finds himself in trouble again. He’s desperate to figure out what happened to Calvin, and eventually, Benny.”

Some of the other awards I can’t wait to hear announced are:

The Coretta Scott King Awards

coretta scott awardThe Coretta Scott King Awards are given “to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.”

Some of the great past winners you could check out are Piecing Me Together (2018), Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets (2018), Firebird (2015), Heart and Soul (2012), My People (2010), and Elijah of Buxton (2008).

 

The Pura Belpré Award

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The Pura Belpré Award is given “to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.”

Some of the past winning titles include La Princesa and the Pea (2018), Juana and Lucas (2017)Drum Dream Girl (2016), I Lived on Butterfly Hill (2015), and The Dreamer (2011).

 

The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award

Geisel_200The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award is given, “to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the United States during the preceding year.” Past winners you might want to check out to enjoy with your beginning reader are Charlie & Mouse (2018), We Are Growing! (2017), The Watermelon Seed (2014), Up Tall and High (2013), and Bink and Gollie (2011).

The Robert F. Sibert Medalseibert200w

The Robert F. Sibert Medal is given, “to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished informational book published in the United States in English during the preceding year. ” Some past winners to share are Twelve Days in May: Freedom Ride 1961 (2018), Giant Squid (2017 Honor Book), Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras (2016), Balloons Over Broadway (2012), and We are the Ship (2009).

For a full list of awards and past winners you can visit the ALA Youth Media Awards page.

I hope you’re able to tune in to the livestream of the ALA Youth Media Awards on Monday 1/28 at 11am EST.

Happy Reading!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

Ep. 22: Ashley Waring, Librarian and Member of the 2017 Caldecott Award Committee

This week my guest on A Bookish Home is Ashley Waring, a librarian in Arlington, Massachusetts and member of the 2017 Caldecott Award Committee. This year’s Caldecott Medal announcement is coming up on Monday January 28th at the ALA Youth Media Awards, so this is the perfect time for a behind the scenes look at this prestigious award for picture books!

You can also listen on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

I hope you tune in to this year’s Caldecott Medal Award announcement! The full ALA Youth Media Awards will be livestreamed Monday, Jan. 28, 2019, at 8 a.m. PT. These also include the Newbery Medal, Coretta Scott King Awards, Geisel Award and more.

You can find more information about the ALA Youth Media Awards here, including lists of past winners for each award.

 

Books Mentioned On This Episode:

2017 Caldecott Award Winner:

Radiant Child

 

2017 Caldecott Honor Books:

Leave Me Alone!

Freedom in Congo Square

Du Iz Tak?

They All Saw A Cat

 

Locomotive

Bad Blood

If you’re enjoying the podcast, please share it with a friend and be sure to subscribe. If you could also take a moment to rate and review A Bookish Home on iTunes to help people find the show.

Are you reading a book mentioned on the blog or podcast? I’d love to hear. Leave a note in the comments or you can find me on Twitter and Instagram @ABookishHome.

Happy Reading and Listening!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

 

 

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What I’ve Been Reading…

I’m enjoying that a quiet January allows plenty of time to curl up with a good book. Preferably by the fire. Bonus points for a hot beverage.

 

Here are a few of the books topping my list this month:

 

The Best We Could Do

by Thi Bui

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The Best We Could Do is a memoir and graphic novel. When Bui becomes a mother, she is compelled to explore her family’s history. Bui and her family came to the US from Vietnam as as refugees in the 1970s, but she takes us back even further, chronicling the experiences, events, and people in Vietnam that would end up shaping her own upbringing. Timely, thought provoking, and sure to stay with you, The Best We Could Do is not to be missed.

“This beautifully illustrated and emotional story is an evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves.
 
At the heart of Bui’s story is a universal struggle: While adjusting to life as a first-time mother, she ultimately discovers what it means to be a parent—the endless sacrifices, the unnoticed gestures, and the depths of unspoken love. Despite how impossible it seems to take on the simultaneous roles of both parent and child, Bui pushes through. With haunting, poetic writing and breathtaking art, she examines the strength of family, the importance of identity, and the meaning of home.”

 

The Read-Aloud Handbook

by Jim Trelease

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The Read Aloud Handbook has been on my TBR list for some time. After seeing it cited repeatedly in Sarah Mackenzie’s The Read-Aloud FamilyI finally put this one at the top of my list. I was not disappointed. Jim Trelease’s classic handbook was packed with research on the importance of reading aloud to children as well as practical tips. Inspirational and useful, I would recommend this book to anyone with young children.

“Recommended by “Dear Abby” upon its first publication in 1982, millions of parents and educators have turned to Jim Trelease’s beloved classic for more than three decades to help countless children become avid readers through awakening their imaginations and improving their language skills. It has also been a staple in schools of education for new teachers. This updated edition of The Read-Aloud Handbook discusses the benefits, the rewards, and the importance of reading aloud to children of a new generation. Supported by delightful anecdotes as well as the latest research (including the good and bad news on digital learning), The Read-Aloud Handbook offers proven techniques and strategies for helping children discover the pleasures of reading and setting them on the road to becoming lifelong readers.”

 

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The Me I Meant to Be 

by Sophie Jordan

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I’ve been looking to add more young adult books to my reading rotation and this one was a total delight. School Library Journal calls The Me I Meant To Be, “a positive story about friendship, respect, love, and adolescence with smart, strong female characters.” Fans of teenage rom coms are sure to enjoy spending a weekend escaping into the world of The Me I Meant To Be.

“Girl Code: Never date a friend’s ex: Willa Evans has no intention of breaking the code. So what if she’s always secretly loved her next-door neighbor Zach? As her best friend’s boyfriend, he was always off-limits and it needs to stay that way, even though they just broke up. Even though every time she turns around he’s there, tempting her…

No keeping secrets from your bestie: Flor Hidalgo has a lot on her plate: her breakup with Zach, her dad’s new dating life, and her struggling grades. So why can’t she stop thinking about her hot, know-it-all tutor? At least she’s got Willa, her constant in the chaos.

Breaking the code breaks friendships: Two friends find themselves tempted by love that defies the rules in this steamy romance perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Simone Elkeles.”

Winnie’s Great War

by Lindsay Mattick & Josh Greenhut, Art by Sophie Blackall

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Fans of the Caldecott winner Finding Winnie will be excited to delve further into this intriguing tale in Winnie’s Great War, a new middle grade novel set during World War I. The backstory of the real bear that inspired Winnie-the-Pooh tugged at my heart and kept me turning the pages rooting for Winnie and her friend Captain Harry Colebourn.

“A wartime adventure unfolds through the eyes of the world’s most beloved Bear.
The story of the real bear that inspired Winnie-the-Pooh has been capturing readers’ imaginations since the publication of the Caldecott Medal award-winning picture book, Finding Winnie.But there was so much left to be told – not just about Winnie, but about the great world events she witnessed. Now, the creative team behind the bestselling picture book has reunited to bring you Winnie’s Great War.

In a triumphant blending of deeply researched history and magnificent imagination, we follow our irrepressible Bear on her journey — from her infancy in the woods of Ontario, to her unlikely friendship with Captain Harry Colebourn and her time as the mascot of the Second Canadian Infantry Brigade, to her experiences in wartime London before she met Christopher Robin Milne. Told in beautifully crafted language and infused with Sophie Blackall’s irresistible renderings of an endearing bear, the book is also woven through with actual entries from Captain Harry Colebourn’s wartime diaries. The result is a one-of-kind exploration of the realities of war, the meaning of courage, and the indelible power of friendship, all told through the historic adventures of one extraordinary bear.”

 

 

 

Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast

by Josh Funk, illustrated by Brendan Kearney

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This silly race through the fridge is sure to please little ones ready for a laugh. Perfect for reading aloud.

“A thoroughly delicious picture book about the funniest “food fight” ever! Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast have a beautiful friendship—until they discover that there’s ONLY ONE DROP of maple syrup left. Off they go, racing past the Orange Juice Fountain, skiing through Sauerkraut Peak, and reeling down the linguini. But who will enjoy the sweet taste of victory? And could working together be better than tearing each other apart? The action-packed rhyme makes for an adrenaline-filled breakfast . . . even without a drop of coffee!”

 

Goodnight, Anne

Written by Kallie George, Illustrated by Genevieve Godbout

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We loved reading the bedtime story Goodnight Anne, inspired by Anne of Green Gables. Before she goes to bed, Anne wishes everything she loves a goodnight–from the Lake of Shining Waters to Mrs. Lynde. Delightful.

A beautiful bedtime picture book based on the best-selling Anne of Green Gables, introducing the irrepressible and beloved Anne to younger readers. It’s time for Anne to go to bed, but not before she wishes goodnight to everyone and everything she loves!

“Under the watchful eye of her adoptive mother Marilla, Anne has come to cherish life at Green Gables — the dearest, loveliest spot in the world, and her true home. Every night before she goes to bed, she thinks of all the people and places she loves: her family, her bosom friend Diana, her splendid teacher Miss Stacy, beloved tree Snow Queen, the Lake of Shining Waters and the brilliant sky above. Anne even wishes goodnight — or good riddance! — to pesky classmate Gilbert and nosy neighbor Mrs. Lynde. And through it all, Anne’s imagination takes flight on a whimsical journey through Avonlea.”

 

What have you been reading? Share your recommendations! And if you’ve picked up a book after reading the blog or listening to the podcast, I’d love to hear. Leave a note in the comments or find me on Twitter or Instagram @ABookishHome.

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Happy Reading!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

 

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Boston Author Event Roundup–January

Are you looking for a bookish event to add to your calendar?

Here are some of the authors coming to bookstores and libraries in the Boston area this month.

Be sure to check your local library and bookstore’s event calendar to see what author events are coming to your community.

Not in the Boston area? This list is still a great way to find a book to add to your TBR list!

 

 

Tuesday, January 8th – 7pm at Belmont Books

YA Panel: EmPOWERment

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“Gaining confidence is something many struggle with in their teen years. How does that affect our writing and reading of characters going through the same challenges? Erin Cashman, Sara Farizan, and Adrienne Kisner will be tackling this question and talking about their writing process.

Erin Cashman is a Young Adult author living in Massachusetts. Her debut YA fantasy, The Exceptionals (Holiday House) was named a Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book of 2013. She is also the workshop coordinator and a mentor at the 1st 5 Pages Writing Workshop through the blog Adventures in YA Publishing.

Sara Farizan is an Iranian American writer and ardent basketball fan who was born in and lives near Boston. The award-winning author of If You Could Be Mine and Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel, she has an MFA from Lesley University and a BA in film and media studies from American University. Here to Stay is her third novel.

Adrienne Kisner has master’s and doctorate degrees in theology from Boston University and was inspired by her work with high school and college students to write Dear Rachel Maddow. She is also a graduate of Vermont College of Fine Arts with an MFA in writing for children and young adults. Dear Rachel Maddow is her debut.”

For more information you can visit the event website.

 

Tuesday, January 8th – 7pm at Brookline Booksmith

Ha Jin, The Banished Immortal: A Life of Li Bai

“With the instincts of a master novelist, Ha Jin draws on a wide range of historical and literary sources to weave the life story of Li Bai (701-762), whose poems–shaped by Daoist thought and characterized by their passion, romance, and lust for life–rang throughout the Tang Dynasty. Jin follows Li Bai from his birth on China’s western frontier through his travels as a young man seeking a place among the empire’s civil servants, his wanderings allowing him to hone his poetic craft, share his verses, and win him friends and admirers along the way. In his later years he is swept up in a military rebellion that alters the course of China, and his death is shrouded in speculation and legend to this day. The Banished Immortal is an extraordinary portrait of a poet who both transcended his time and was shaped by it, and whose ability to live, love, and mourn without reservation produced some of the most enduring verses in the world.”

For more information you can visit the event website.

 

Thursday, January 10th – 7pm at Harvard Bookstore

Chigozie Obioma, An Orchestra of Minorities

An Orchestra of Minorities

“Harvard Book Store welcomes acclaimed writer CHIGOZIE OBIOMA—author of The Fishermen, a finalist for the Man Booker Prize—for a discussion of his latest novel, An Orchestra of Minorities.

You can find more event information here.

 

 

Friday, January 11th – 6:30pm at The Lenox Hotel, Boston

An Evening with Author Elin Hilderbrand

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“Join New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand at The Lenox and get transported to the stunning beaches of St. John as she launches her thrilling new book “Winter in Paradise”.”

To find out more about this $50 ticketed event visit the event website. I would imagine this will sell out quickly, so be sure to look into this soon if you hope to attend.

 

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Friday, January 11th – 7pm at Brookline Booksmith

Lincoln Peirce, Max and the Midnights

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“Max wants to be a knight! Too bad that dream is about as likely as finding a friendly dragon. But when Max’s uncle Budrick is kidnapped by the cruel King Gastley, Max has to act…and fast! Joined by a band of brave adventurers–the Midknights–Max sets out on a thrilling quest: to save Uncle Budrick and restore the realm of Byjovia to its former high spirits! Magic and (mis)adventures abound in this hilarious illustrated novel from the New York Times bestselling creator of the Big Nate series, Lincoln Peirce.”

For more information visit the event website.

Thursday, January 17th – 7pm at Belmont Books

Ann Hood, Kitchen Yarns

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“From her Italian American childhood through singlehood, raising and feeding a growing family, divorce, and a new marriage to food writer Michael Ruhlman, Ann Hood has long appreciated the power of a good meal. Growing up, she tasted love in her grandmother’s tomato sauce and dreamed of her mother’s special-occasion Fancy Lady Sandwiches. Later, the kitchen became the heart of Hood’s own home. She cooked pork roast to warm her first apartment, used two cups of dried basil for her first attempt at making pesto, taught her children how to make their favorite potatoes, found hope in her daughter’s omelet after a divorce, and fell in love again–with both her husband and his foolproof chicken stock.”

You can find more information on the event website.

Saturday, January 19th – 5pm at Silver Unicorn Bookstore, Acton

Karen M. McManus, Two Can Keep A Secret,in conversation with Sara Farizan

We are so excited to welcome New York Times bestselling author Karen M. McManus to celebrate her new release, Two Can Keep A Secret, with fellow YA author Sara Farizan. Karen’s new YA thriller takes us to the small town of Echo Ridge, Vt., where secrets are everywhere. After hearing of missing teenagers and  a recent homecoming tragedy, Ellery now has to move there to live with her grandmother. Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she’s in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something. The thing is, secrets are dangerous—and most people aren’t good at keeping them. Which is why in Echo Ridge, it’s safest to keep your secrets to yourself.

Karen M. McManus is the author of the young adult thriller One of Us Is Lying, which spent more than a year on the New York Times bestseller list and has been translated into 38 languages worldwide.  She lives in Massachusetts and holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northeastern University, which she uses to draft fake news stories for her novels.

Sara Farizan is an award-winning author of three YA novels, most recently Here to Stay. She is also one of the store’s absolute favorite people, and it will be a joy to welcome her back!

You can find more information on the event website.

Sunday, January 20th – 3pm at Silver Unicorn Bookstore, Acton

Book Launch Party: Sarah Brannen’s Bear Needs Help

Join us to we celebrate local author Sarah S. Brannen’s new release, Bear Needs Help.  

A lumbering little polar bear has one shoe untied, and he needs some help! Sadly for him, though, the other animals are all too scared of him: the lemmings, rabbits, and seals all run away as he approaches them for assistance. What’s Bear going to do? Luckily, two plucky birds are more than happy to help out and offer advice — though probably not quite in the way that readers anticipate. In this sweet and funny book about asking for help (and receiving it), expectations are flipped in a simple but clever way.

“Laced with humor and…decipherable in more ways than one.”—Kirkus Reviews

Sarah S. Brannen is the award-winning illustrator of 20 books for children, including one of our store’s favorite books, Feathers: Not Just For Flying, by Melissa Stewart.  She is the author and the illustrator of Madame Martine, Madame Martine Breaks the Rules, and Uncle Bobby’s Wedding. In addition, Sarah as a journalist and photographer, and has two books scheduled for release following Bear Needs Help! Join us to help launch this amazing new wintry book from an accomplished and awesome local author!

You can find more information on the event website.

Wednesday, January 23rd – 7pm at Brookline Booksmith

Dani Shapiro, Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love

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Inheritance is a book about secrets–secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness; secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. It is the story of a woman’s urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, a story that has been scrupulously hidden from her for more than fifty years, years she had spent writing brilliantly, and compulsively, on themes of identity and family history. It is a book about the extraordinary moment we live in–a moment in which science and technology have outpaced not only medical ethics but also the capacities of the human heart to contend with the consequences of what we discover.”

For more information visit the event website.

 

Thursday, January 31st – 7pm at Harvard Bookstore

Daisy Johnson, Everything Under, in conversation with Margot Livesey

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“Harvard Book Store welcomes award-winning writer DAISY JOHNSON for a discussion of her debut novel, Everything Under, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. She will be joined in conversation by bestselling author MARGOT LIVESEY.”

For more information visit the event website.

 

 

What bookish events are you attending this month?

Leave a note in the comments or tag me on Instagram or Twitter @ABookishHome.

Happy Reading!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

 ABookishHome.com

Affiliate links  are used in this post. At no extra cost to you, we may receive a small commission if you purchase a book through the links provided. Thanks for supporting A Bookish Home!

Ep. 21: Ann Braden, Author of The Benefits of Being An Octopus

I am thrilled to share that my guest this week is Ann Braden, author of one of my favorite middle grade novels of the year, The Benefits of Being An Octopus. Hand this book to fans of Wonder, Absolutely Almost, or Out of My Mind. And then if you are a parent, librarian, or educator–get another copy for yourself as well. This is a story that will touch your heart and change your perspective after walking for a bit in 12-year-old Zoey’s shoes.

You can also listen on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

 

 

I hope you are able to stop by your local library or bookstore to pick up a copy of The Benefits of Being An Octopus! 

You can find Ann on her website AnnBradenBooks.com. She is also on social media @AnnBradenBooks. You can find more information on Kids Need Mentors here.

 

Books Mentioned On This Episode:

The Benefits of Being An Octopus

Bluejay Dance

Homecoming

Wonder

Absolutely Almost

Out of My Mind

Just Like Jackie

Orbiting Jupiter

Tight

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If you’re enjoying the podcast, please share it with a friend and be sure to subscribe. If you could also take a moment to rate and review A Bookish Home on iTunes to help people find the show.

Are you reading a book mentioned on the blog or podcast? I’d love to hear. Tag me on Twitter or Instagram @ABookishHome.

Happy Reading and Listening!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

 

Affiliate links for Amazon are used in this post. At no extra cost to you, we may receive a small commission if you purchase a book through the links provided. Thanks for supporting A Bookish Home!