A Look at Some New Children’s Books

I sometimes forget how lucky I am to be in a profession where my colleagues and I share book recommendations with one another almost daily. And, even better, I regularly also hear about titles that aren’t even out yet.

A couple of weeks ago, my good fortune was rewarded once again when I attended Cuyahoga County Public Library’s “Youth Book Buzz”. This virtual event offered several publishers, including Norton Books, Penguin Random House, Workman and Baker and Taylor, an opportunity to share some of their new Summer and Fall children and teen book releases. Librarians all over Ohio were invited to learn about hundreds of forthcoming books to be prepared to recommend that “perfect” new title to patrons and parents.

Here are just a few books that caught my fancy from that day:

The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill is a fantasy for readers aged 10 and up and is about the power of generosity and love, and how a community suffers when it loses sight of those things. Already published in March, it’s technically not a forthcoming title, but I still can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Salt and Sugar by Rebecca Carvalho will be published in November. In this romantic comedy, Lari Ramires falls hard for Pedro Molina, but knows, as the grandchildren of two rival Brazilian bakeries, their love can never be. With a beautiful setting, a star-crossed romance and amazing-sounding food, this new teen novel will be one to devour.

A Library is a lyrical picture book by poet Nikki Giovanni with illustrations by fine artist Erin Robinson. Together they have crafted a love letter to the magic places that libraries are. A Library will be published in September this year, and while it might seem obvious, I will be sure to check it out.

The Flamingo by Guojing is my kind of illustrated book. This wordless, graphic novel/chapter book follows an imaginative girl who becomes obsessed with flamingoes while on a beach vacation with her grandmother. I can already tell that this title, out in September, will make a great holiday gift.

Elephants Remember by Jennifer O’Connell is a nonfiction picture book that tells the story of Lawrence Anthony and his animal reserve in South Africa. There, he developed a deep bond he with the matriarch of an elephant herd that he helped to save. Look for it in October.

Beatrice Likes the Dark by April Genevieve Tucholk and illustrated by Khoa Le is picture book that will be published in September. It is heartwarming, slightly spooky tale about two very different sisters, Beatrice and Roo, who learn to celebrate their individuality, understanding that love runs deeper than their differences. I’m looking forward to reading this one to my favorite four-year-old.

While these titles are (almost) all too new to be in our catalog. Make sure you look for them starting this Summer. In the meantime, visit us at Rocky River Public Library and we’ll suggest some other great books for you to read.

-Carol

An Award-Winning Good Read

The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera is a middle grade novel that blends Mexican folklore and science fiction. I just had to read it after learning it won the 2022 Newbery Award, one of the most prestigious prizes in children’s literature.

When Earth is destroyed by a comet, 12-year-old Petra Peña’s family is among those chosen to travel through space and time to help populate a new planet. Something goes wrong while they are in their sleep-states and when Petra wakes up hundreds of years later, she seems to be the only person who remembers Earth. Even more disturbing, the management of the ship and its mission have been taken over by an evil “Collective,” who have purged the memories of those on board, eliminating those unwilling to be brainwashed. Petra, whose close relationship with her abuela (grandmother), Lita, prepared her to be the future world’s cuentista (storyteller), must look deep within herself and her memories in an attempt to save civilization.

I absolutely loved this unusual book that reminded me of The Giver by Lois Lowry. I also loved the way the author weaves Mexican folklore and language throughout the novel, as Petra shares her favorite cuentos (stories) with her newly awakened shipmates. If you like books about the importance of stories, folklore and family, take a magical and memorable journey along with The Last Cuentista.

-Carol

A Picture Book – a break from my tradition

Norman Didn’t Do It! (Yes he did)
by Ryan T. Higgins

Norman, a gabby porcupine, has a best friend named Mildred, a silent tree. The pair do everything together, even if it is one-sided. Life is great until a sapling appears close to Mildred. Norman becomes very jealous, especially when the trees touch. He needs to do something. He doesn’t want to lose his best friend Mildred. So Norman sneakily transplants the sapling far far away. Mildred misses the sapling and Norman begins to feel guilty. What should he do?

I love everything about this picture book: the plot; the characters’ names; the illustrations. I also love the message about friendship shared with small children.

~Emma

A break from my tradition

This week’s book recommendation is a little different from what I usually suggest, but I was so tickled by this particular book I needed to share it with you. Fluffy McWhiskers Cuteness Explosion is a delightful picture book with “explosions” by Stephen W. Martin and “cuteness” by Dan Tavis. The book is about Fluffy—an adorable kitten. So adorable, in fact, that anyone who sees her will spontaneously explode into balls of sparkles and fireworks. KABOOM! Find out if there’s any hope for Fluffy in this story about self-acceptance and finding friendship in unlikely places.

~Emma (KABOOM!)

Discover Winter Indoors & Out @RRPL

It’s a new month, a new year, with Winter and the long months of January and February providing a time to either snuggle in for contemplation and calm, or to go outdoors for a chilly adventure. Either way, here are a few books, tips, and links that can guide your journey.

If you want to stay in and stay warm, you can get through the Winter by cooking: bake a pie, sip a hot toddy, roast some vegetables or make a pot of soup. There’s a resurgence of fondue recipes – who can resist dipping things into a big pot of cheese?

What about crafting, putting together food for the birds, learning knitting, or making paper snowflakes?Wouldn’t it be fun to make homemade valentines this year? RealSimple has some punny ideas for adults.

Self-care is essential right now: burn some scented candles, enjoy a bubble bath, drink tea and read (always recommended), try a few puzzles (come and get one at the library) or word games. You just need a blanket, and some fuzzy slippers. It’s also time for some resolutions – they don’t need to be about change, but can just be about learning – taking on a new hobby, signing up for an online class, participating in a book club, or starting seeds from scratch.

If you’re game to venture outdoors, go hiking! The Cleveland Metroparks is beautiful this time of year and they even have a Winter Bucket List that you can participate in!

Grab your binoculars and find what birds live in your neighborhood. While you’re out and about, try to identify animal tracks. Or go out at night and learn about the constellations.

The next time it snows, go take a look at snowflakes up close. Then return inside, snug with a cup of hot chocolate, and read the book Snowflake Bentley, a lovely book about the man who first photographed snowflakes.

The Winter might be long, but there is so much to do!

~ Dori

RRPL Gift Guide – Guest Post!

Who better than the experts in the RRPL Children’s Department to guest host our blog sharing holiday gift ideas! Below you’ll find new book titles, Christmas titles, and a few non-book items as well. Enjoy!

NEW 2020 RELEASES:

If You Come to Earth by Sophie Blackall

Pirate Stew by Neil Gaiman

The Little Mermaid by Jerry Pinkney

Natalie Portman’s Fables by Natalie Portman

The Silver Arrow by Lev Grossman

The Ickabog by J.K. Rowling

The Story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Biography Book for New Readers by Susan B. Katz

How We Got to the Moon by John Rocco

Up to My Knees by Grace Lin (and other board books in the Storytelling Math series)

See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog by David LaRochelle

CHRISTMAS BOOKS:

Christmas is Joy by Emma Dodd

5 More Sleeps ‘til Christmas by Jimmy Fallon and Rich Deas

Disney Christmas Storybook Collection

Jingle Jangle: The Invention of Jeronicus by Lyn Sisson-Talbert and David E. Talbert

Here are a few gift ideas as well!

Happy Holidays from RRPL!

~ Dori & the RRPL Children’s Department