A Wynk, a Blynk and a Nod to Books

A Wynk, A Blink and a Nod to Books

A Wynk, a Blynk, and a Nod to Books about Halloween and Fall

Welcome, Autumn!

A Wynk, a Blynk, and a Nod to Books about Halloween and Fall

The season we call autumn was once referred to as “harvest,” when farmers gathered their crops for winter storage. However, in the early 1600’s when more people moved to cities, that term fell out of use. People began using the phrase “fall of the leaf” to refer to this season of the year when trees typically lose their leaves. Over time, “fall of the leaf” was shortened to “fall.” And today the terms fall and autumn are used interchangeably. No matter what you call it, the season is upon us. It’s time for getting out our sweaters and enjoying the spectacular colors and the cool, crisp autumn air. So why not bundle up and celebrate the season with some great books!

New Books about Fall and Halloween

Autumn by David Carter

This is the author’s third book in his pop-up series about the seasons. This serene book, written in verse, reveals the wonder of the season as animals prepare to harvest in anticipation of winter.



Bonaparte Falls Apart by Margery Cuyler, illus. by Will Terry

A young skeleton has a hard time keeping himself together – literally! Various creatures, including Franky Stein, Blacky Widow, and Mummicula, come up with different problem-solving ideas, none of which quite work. Humor abounds and the illustrations are just darling … more silly than scary!




Crayola Fall Colors by Mari Schuh

This is part of the Crayola Seasons series. Kids are invited to explore the colors of fall through the engaging text and photographs. They are also encouraged to create art based on the season’s changing colors.



Creepy Pair of Underwear by Aaron Reynolds, illus. by Peter Brown

From the creators of Creepy Carrots comes […]

A Wynk, a Blynk and a Nod to Books About Going Back to School

We can’t deny it any longer. It is August. Though technically still summer, many of us are now thinking “back to school.”  It’s time for new school clothes, backpacks, and school supplies. Why not include new books in that list? We’ve compiled a list of new titles to help your child with the transition – books to calm those first day jitters, lessen stress, and hopefully make the first day of school go much smoother.

New School Stories:

Amanda Panda Quits Kindergarten by Candice Ransom, illus. by Christine Grove

Amanda’s first day of school doesn’t go exactly as she planned, so she decides to join her brother in second grade. The illustrations capture all of the emotion as Amanda learns that it isn’t the end of the world if things don’t always go according to plan.




Chicken in School by Adam Lehrhaupt, illus. by Shahar Kober

Zoey the chicken sets up a classroom in the barn for all of her barnyard friends: Sam the pig, Clara the cow, Pip the mouse, and Henry the dog. This humorous story with playful illustrations celebrates creativity, friendship, and, best of all, tasty snacks!!




Class Pet Mess! by Dan Gutman, illus. by Jim Paillot

This early reader is the latest in the My Weird School series. The students in Mr. Cooper’s class are excited to learn that they are getting a class pet. When they get a pet snake, lots of silly antics ensue.







Curious George Ready for School by Cynthia Platt, illus. by Mary O’Keefe Young

George prepares for the first day of school, but will a curious little monkey be able to make it through the school day without getting in to trouble? This tabbed board book is told in rhyme and should be a […]

Any Way You Stack It: Bob Staake Books are the Best!

Any Way You Stack It: Bob Staake Books are the Best!

A Wynk, a Blynk, and a Nod to Books by Bob Staake

Bob Staake has written and/or illustrated over fifty books for children. In addition to his many children’s books, he is also a political cartoonist and highly successful commercial artist. He has worked on everything from greeting cards to magazines covers. He has illustrated for The New Yorker, Mad Magazine, Time, and The Washington Post. And most recently, he designed the artwork for KCPL’s 2017 Summer Reading Program! Bob’s graphically styled illustrations are bright and engaging. His lively text and colorful images seem to leap from the page.  His style is often described as retro yet it has modern appeal.  We can’t possibly include all of his books in this post, so we’ve chosen to highlight a few that he has both written and illustrated.


We had the pleasure of meeting Bob in the summer of 2014 at a children’s literature conference at the Mazza Museum in Findlay, Ohio. Bob was one of the keynote speakers at that conference. We were doing a presentation on the history of The New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books award. By coincidence, Bob’s The Red Lemon had won this prestigious award in 2006. He actually sat in on our presentation and offered some interesting commentary. We were thrilled when we learned that he was designing this year’s summer reading artwork.

We’re happy to introduce you to Bob and his books. Grab a “staake” … you can’t go wrong!


Picture Books written and illustrated by Bob Staake

Beachy and Me

This newest book is the tale of a bored and lonely little girl who meets a great big whale. The rhyming text […]

April Showers Bring May Flowers

 A Wynk, a Blynk, and a Nod to Books about Flowers, Gardening, and Things that Grow

Did you know that this familiar rhyme was originally a poem written by Karen Chappell? We thought it might be fun to include the first stanza of this poem as an introduction to the many new and colorful books about flowers and gardening that can be found at your library. Enjoy!
April showers bring May flowers,
That is what they say.
But if all the showers turned to flowers,
We’d have quite a colourful day!

New Picture Books

Bee: A Peek-Through Picture Book by Britta Teckentrup

This book provides children with a very simple explanation of the important job bees have of pollinating flowers. The mixed media illustrations include a die-cut with a bee at the center. The die-cut gets progressively smaller as the story unfolds. This is a very colorful and engaging picture book.



The Best-Ever Step-By-Step Kid’s First Gardening: Fantastic Gardening Ideas for 5 to 12 Year-Olds, from Growing Fruit and Vegetables and Fun with Flowers to Wildlife Gardening and Outdoor Crafts by Jenny Hendy

Winner of the Practical Gardening Book of the Year, with 120 fun projects for kids.



The Butterfly Garden by Laura Weston

This lift-the-flap board book presents the life cycle of the monarch butterfly. The illustrations are done in black and white, but the flaps reveal pops of color. Simple language explains the transformation.



Caterpillar Dreams by Clive McFarland

Henri the caterpillar sets off on a great adventure beyond the walls of his garden, but in the end discovers there’s no place like home.




Fantastic Flowers by Susan Stockdale

This book includes a wide array of unusual flowers that resemble other things, including animals and even people. The illustrations are visually striking. Back matter includes information about pollination. […]

Spring Into Reading







Spring into Reading                                                                                                                                

It looks like spring has finally sprung, and it’s here to stay, hip hip hooray! In honor of this much anticipated season, we’ve included a number of books to help you celebrate spring’s arrival and spring into reading!
A Wynk, a Blynk and a Nod to Books about Spring

New Picture Books

Bunny Bus by Ammi-Joan Paquette, illus. by Lesley Breen Withrow

A bunny shaped bus picks up many different animals on its way to the festive Easter Parade.  The playful illustrations and rhyming, repetitive text make this a fun read-aloud. Children will delight in the refrain “hop, hop, stop!”



Do Fairies Bring the Spring? by Liz Gardner Walsh, illus. by Hazel Mitchell

This whimsical story suggests that fairies are responsible for the change in seasons, from winter to spring. Lovely pastel illustrations accompany the rhyming text. A list of outdoor fairy-related activities is included as well.



Dormouse Dreams by Karma Wilson, illus. by Renata Liwska

This is a sweet story that describes the anticipation spring’s arrival. The soft illustrations and rhyming text breathe life into the forest as it transforms from winter to spring.



Easter by Kimberley Faria

In this board book with tabs (that make turning the page so much easier), simple rhymes and colorful illustrations introduce Easter and spring.



Easter Crafts by Anita Yasuda, illus. by Mernie Gallagher-Cole

After a brief introduction to the Easter holiday, instructions are provided for making six Easter and spring related crafts, including a spring hat, a bouquet of paper lilies, and an Easter egg garland.



Easter Fun! by Jo Ryan

This touch and feel board book for babies and toddlers celebrates the season by introducing fluffy baby chicks, hopping bunnies, and daffodils swaying in the breeze.



Egg by Kevin Henkes

Caldecott Award winning author/illustrator Henkes has created another […]

Finding Home: The Immigration and Refugee Experience







With immigration currently such a hot topic, picture books can be the perfect way to start a conversation about this complex and complicated social issue. These books, that are suited for a wide age range, can be used to inform and enlighten as well as encourage compassion and understanding. And for the child that may have lived such an experience, these books just might provide comfort or support.

A Wynk, a Blynk and a Nod to Books about Immigrants and Refugees

New Picture Books

Adrift at Sea: A Vietnamese Boy’s Story of Survival by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch with Tuan Ho, illus. by Brian Deines

Tuan Ho was just six years old when he and his mother and two sisters fled Ho Chi Minh City in 1981. Adrift at sea for several days, they were finally rescued by a U.S. aircraft carrier. The plight of the Vietnamese “boat people” is recounted in this moving story. Actual photographs and detailed author’s notes provide additional information about this period in world history. This is a powerful story with visually stunning illustrations.




Calling the Water Drum by LaTisha Redding, illus. by Aaron Boyd

A young boy uses his drum to communicate and find solace after tragedy strikes as he and his family attempt to flee Haiti. The watercolor illustrations convey the emotions and resiliency of this tender story.




Chee-Kee: A Panda in Bearland by Sujean Rim

The author wrote this story based on her own family’s journey from South Korea to the United States. A panda family leaves their home to seek new opportunity in Bearland where the bears are so very different from them. Young Chee-Kee has a hard time fitting in, but in the end does just that. This is the perfect book to […]

Children’s Books Celebrating African American History Month That Will Inspire You






 “Because of Them, We Can …”
Celebrating African American History Month   
Our nation’s celebration of black history was expanded to a full month in 1976, the year of our nation’s bicentennial. At President Gerald R. Ford’s urging, Americans were encouraged to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” In February, 1976, fifty years after the first black history celebration, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History held the first African American History Month. By this time, the entire nation had come to recognize the importance of African American history in the drama of the American story. Each year, many children’s books that focus on African American history are published. February is the perfect time to introduce those titles!

New Picture Books
The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial by Susan E. Goodman, illus. by E.B. Lewis

In 1847 four year old Sarah Roberts was removed from her all white school in Boston and told she could not return. Her parents fought back, and though they lost the case in court, their actions set in motion the events which led to Boston voluntarily integrating its schools in 1855. Lewis’s illustrations effectively capture the historical era and mood of the times.


Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford, illus. by R. Gregory Christie

Slaves in New Orleans, Louisiana were allowed to congregate on Sundays in Congo Square to make music, sing and dance. The poetic text and folk-art style illustrations combine to pay homage to this bit of African American history.



Freedom over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan

Bryan uses historical slave documents from the 1820’s […]

Caledcott & Newbery Awards


The Youth Media Awards took place on January 23, 2017 at 8 am in Atlanta, Georgia at the American Library Association’s Midwinter meeting. Every year the ALA honors books, videos and other outstanding materials for children and teens. Recognized worldwide for the high quality they represent, the ALA Youth Media Awards, including the prestigious Caldecott, Newbery, Coretta Scott King, Pura Belpré, and Printz Awards, guide parents, educators, librarians and others in selecting the best materials for youth. Awarded annually, these awards are the highest honor for the winners. Winning one of these awards generally ensures that a book will remain available at libraries and bookstores for years to come, and that it will be read by vast numbers of children. To children’s and young adult librarians, the YMAs are like the Oscars of children’s and YA literature. As two seasoned children’s librarians and children’s literature enthusiasts, we anxiously await this awards presentation each and every January. Throughout the previous year we’ve read the new books, compiled our own lists of contenders, and even held and attended mock award discussions and celebrations.

And now for the results:

Perhaps the most prestigious of all the awards is the Caldecott Medal and the Newbery Medal. Both are the oldest of all the awards, dating back to 1938 and 1922 respectively. The Caldecott Medal is given to the artist or illustrator of the most distinguished American picture book for children. It is named after nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. The Newbery Medal, named after the eighteenth-century English bookseller John Newbery, is given to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. Honor books or runners-up, if you will, are given distinction as well. The Caldecott Awards […]

Books about Snow for Children







“The Weather Outside is Frightful …”
… but reading is so delightful!
A Wynk, a Blynk and a Nod to Books about Snow

The first book that always comes to mind when we think of winter is the classic story of The Snowy Day, written and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats. This 1963 Caldecott Award winner was groundbreaking as it showcased an African-American child as the central character. Recently published, A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the Creation of THE SNOWY DAY, pays homage to this children’s classic. Written by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson, the story of Keats and his infamous little boy in the red snowsuit are brought to life through lyrical text and acrylic, collage, and pencil illustrations.

New Picture Books

Andy & Sandy and the First Snow by Tomie dePaola and Jim Lewis, illus. by Tomie dePaola

Tomie dePaola is a Caldecott and Newbery Honor winning author and illustrator. Lewis is an Emmy Award winning writer for The Muppets. They have collaborated on this new easy reader series about friendship. In this episode, Sandy wants to play outside in the snow, but Andy is not so sure. This book is perfect for those just beginning to read on their own.


Bears in the Snow by Shirley Parenteau, illus. by David Walker

Big Brown Bear comes up with a fun solution when his four little bear cubs can’t all fit on the sled. The soft illustrations and lyrical text make for a fun read-aloud.



Best in Snow by April Pulley Sayre

This prolific writer of non-fiction has created another visually stunning work. The wintery world of snow, ice, and frost is depicted through amazing photographs and simple verse.



Before Morning by […]

Holiday Books for Children






A Wynk, a Blynk and a Nod to Books about December Holidays
While reviewing the new holiday titles, we were pleased to find this reissue of The Christmas Crocodile.  The story was originally published in 1998 and was met with rave reviews. It has been rediscovered and reissued for a new generation of children to enjoy. It has been reissued as part of the Book Crush Rediscoveries series which is devoted to reprinting some of the best, and sometimes out-of-print, children’s and young adult titles originally published from 1930 to today. Each book is personally selected by noted librarian and literary critic Nancy Pearl. Each book also includes an introduction written by Pearl. In this story, a young girl finds a hungry crocodile underneath the Christmas tree and soon finds out that he can’t stop himself from eating everything that he encounters. The humorous illustrations complement the text and make this book a perfect choice for young children. We hope that you will enjoy it as much as we do. And, there are many more holiday titles that we have selected for you.  Season’s Readings!


Print out this list of books


New Picture Books
The Christmas Boot by Lisa Wheeler, illus. by Jerry Pinkney

An old woman’s life is changed when she finds what seems to be a magical boot in the forest near her home. The story is beautifully illustrated by Caldecott Award winning artist, Jerry Pinkney.



Christmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown, illus. by Anna Dewdney

This story was first published in 1952, reissued again in 2004, and now reissued once again with artwork by the late Anna Dewdney of Llama Llama Red Pajama fame. The simple, rhyming text tells the story of the nativity and pairs […]