Friday, July 25, 2014

July Reads

Read any good books in July? I sure did! Let me tell you about them:

Books about dogs are hugely popular at our libraries; Duke's great cover attracted many young dog fans, and its superbly created story about a young boy who volunteers his dog for the World War II effort has undoubtedly introduced many readers to Kirby Larson's exceptional talents (Hattie Big Sky is a 2007 Newbery Honor book, and her The Friendship Doll is one of the handful of stories about dolls that I actually really enjoy). Hobie is reluctant to volunteer Duke, but is reassured by the fact that most dogs in the service remain stateside.  When Hobie learns that Duke is actually being trained for combat, he begins a letter writing campaign to Duke's trainer in the hopes of having him returned.  We've seen an increase in books about military dogs; Duke is a great choice for readers not quite ready to (emotionally) handle Cracker! The Best Dog in Vietnam or Dogs of War. Dash (out in late August) is Larson's follow-up to Duke, and features a Japanese-American girl who is separated from her dog when she is sent to an internment camp.

For the most part, I'm pretty "meh" about new books about the last Romanovs. I've read quite a number of them, ever since I picked up my grandparents' copy of Nicholas and Alexandra when I was in middle or high school (can't remember).  What possible new angle could a historian bring to this family, which has been obsessively studied? And an entire book just on the daughters? They were so secluded during their entire lives, and the oldest (Olga) was only 22 when they were killed, so it's hard to imagine a lengthy nonfiction book just about their lives. However, this has received a ton of attention and great reviews, so I decided to check it out.   From the moment I read that curious tourists touring the Russian palaces shortly after the executions were able to still see indentations in young Alexey's wheelchair, I knew that Helen Rappaport's new biography of the Romanov grand duchesses was going to be an eye-opening read.  Rappaport brilliantly evokes the increasing paranoia of Empress Alexandra and the suffocating reclusive life of the family (especially when the oldest girls reached puberty), which lead to distrust and hatred by the Russian elite (and on the other side of society....when the Tsarina and her daughters become involved in nursing activities during the war, the peasantry was disturbed by their very average appearances).  Even those familiar with the Romanovs will want to read this unique addition to imperial Russian history.  Young history fans might be interested in The Lost Crown, Sarah Miller's excellent YA novel about the Romanov grand duchesses and/or Candace Fleming's (very very) new biography of The Family Romanov.

(Question: Which book cover do you think is the best? The one pictured above is the American edition, and the one that is on the covers of our copies. This cover:

Four Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Romanov Grand Duchesses.  UK Hardback Edition.

is the UK edition and features the girls at very young ages.  I think they are both gorgeous, but I'm partial to the American cover, because it shows the girls as they appeared shortly before their deaths.)

Sally Ride: America's First Woman in Space is an exceptional biography of the first American female astronaut.  Sally Ride was a Stanford graduate student when she came across an ad in the student newspaper recruiting women and minorities for NASA's new shuttle program; intrigued, she applied, became one of six women in the history-making NASA Group 8, and the rest is history.  Although her public life and career were well known, her private life and cancer diagnosis were not fully revealed until her death.  As the first comprehensive biography for adults, Lynn Sherr's account of this complex person is an intriguing and engrossing read (my minor criticism is that scattered references to pop culture--i.e. Angry Birds--may date the biography more quickly than necessary). Space fans of my generation and older will recognize that the graphic design for the main title is in the same style of NASA's logo during Sally Ride's active years in NASA.  I love carefully designed cover art! 

A Time to Dance has earned three starred reviews, which is a remarkable feat!  This YA novel in verse about a young Bharatanatyam (a form of classical dance in India) dancer who struggles with her new life post-amputation is deeply moving and illuminating.  Readers interested in dance stories, stories about young people with disabilities, or multicultural stories should definitely read this. I'm crossing my fingers that the Schneider committee doesn't miss this!

While we have several books about assistance or therapy dogs, Tuesday Tucks Me In is unique in that it addresses (in an age-appropriate way) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (without actually naming it). Some of Luis Carlos Montalvan's combat wounds are internal; he suffers nightmares and is extremely uncomfortable in crowds, but having Tuesday allows him to be a functioning member in society (the picture of Capt. Montalvan hugging Tuesday while on a crowded subway is heartbreaking and heartwarming).  Based on Montalvan's memoir, Until Tuesday, this is a gentle and stirring tribute to a very special friendship.

We're getting ready for the fall publishing season! Make sure you are subscribed to Wowbrary so you won't miss the great new additions to our collection!

Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library

To learn more about Fauquier County Public Library's collectionevents, and programs, visit us on FacebookTwitter (Kiddosphere's feed is here), or on our website.

Friday, July 18, 2014

45 Years Ago

Do you know what July 20th is? If you're a space nerd, you know that it's the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing!  What better opportunity than to check out our awesome books on space!

I was on the 2010 Jefferson Cup committee that named Mission Control, This is Apollo as one of the honor books (I wrote the annotation on this page); it's a gorgeously written and illustrated book that covers all aspects of space travel (including the question of toilet matters that every astronaut is asked about) and all 17 Apollo missions. 

I have been recommending the You Choose series ever since we received them, and order new ones when I can; these choose-your-own-adventure stories are not only super fun interactive stories, but they are also packed with amazing facts! The Race to the Moon focuses on the space race and the Apollo moon landing. Readers can choose to be a young rocket scientist, a journalist, or a mission control specialist. 

The Apollo 11 moon landing involved many more people than just the three astronauts (Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins). Team Moon pays tribute to the 400,000 people involved not only with mission control, but engineers, seamstresses, software technicians, and many more.  

We recently enjoyed an Out of This World story time at our branches, which featured stories about space and space activities (making paper rockets, drawing constellations, and making flying saucers).  Warrenton's toddler story time enjoyed stories and fingerplays about the moon and space travel, including these favorites:

Christine Loomis's adventurous bunnies star in Astro Bunnies, an intergalactic experience with stars and bunnies from another planet. Super silly and fun to read aloud! 

It's hard to beat 8 Spinning Planets for an introduction to the 8 planets. Told in a (workable!) rhyme scheme, young readers and listeners are introduced to basic facts about each planet.  Young children will enjoy the 3-D representation of each planet. 

Happy Birthday Moon features Frank Asch's young and lovable bear, who takes a fancy to the moon.  It has a bit more conversation than what I normally like to include in a story time selection, but it's a must read for a moon/space story time. 

The bumbling and wacky sheep from the classic Sheep in a Jeep are back in Sheep Blast Off .  Instead of causing chaos in a jeep, they wreck havoc in a space ship! This is a quick read aloud, but you should practice beforehand to minimize the chance of tripping over your tongue! 

Finally, if you're a grown up space enthusiast, these might catch your eye. I searched our catalog for related books and immediately wanted to bring every book home that I found. I managed to settle on the following:

Several articles about the Apollo astronauts mention that First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong is the book to read about this famously private man.  

Buzz Aldrin has become an elder statesman of the space program; with the 45th anniversary approaching, he's in much demand for his thoughts on Apollo 11's legacy, the current state of NASA, and the future of Mars exploration.  The stress and fame of being the first astronauts on the moon took their toll on the Apollo 11 astronauts, including depression (Neil Armstrong spoke about randomly bursting into tears in the days and months after the flight) and marital strife, which Buzz Aldrin is open about in his memoir, Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home From the Moon.

Tom Wolfe's classic account of the space race and the Apollo missions is brought to new life in this expanded and illustrated edition. I peeked at this dense account right before I went to sleep, and it looks fantastic. 

While the astronauts were away from home training for space mission (and occasionally getting into mischief), their wives were holding down the home front, raising the children, and dealing with the constant media attention on their hairstyles, wardrobe, and their interactions with their husbands and children.  The Astronaut Wives Club is a hugely entertaining, fascinating, and occasionally heartbreaking tribute to these unique women. 

(ALSO....I won't talk about it until later in the month, but Lynne Sherr's new biography of Sally Ride is a must read for space fanatics.  Now, someone PLEASE write a history of the six women who were in NASA's first class of female astronauts. The success of The Astronaut Wives Club, The Girls of Atomic City, and Sherr's biography strongly demonstrate that books about women's history, especially science history, can and will be well received by the general book buying--and borrowing!-- public.  I also want an overview of NASA Group 8. Someone--make it happen! ) 

As you can guess, there are tons of awesome websites about the Apollo 11 mission and anniversary: 

Smithsonian Air & Space Museum tribute. They ran a mock "live tweet"  @Relive Apollo11

@NASAKennedy also ran a mock "live tweet" of the launch on July 16.

(Did you know that astronauts on the International Space Station are active on Twitter?)

Buzz Aldrin is spearheading a major social media campaign to collect people's memories of the moon landing (as he says, he, Armstrong, and Collins were "out of town" for the big day). You can get more details about #Apollo45 on his website. has information on NASA's planned activities for the anniversary.

Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library

To learn more about Fauquier County Public Library's collectionevents, and programs, visit us on FacebookTwitter (Kiddosphere's feed is here), or on our website.

Friday, July 04, 2014

June Reads

I hope you're reading some awesome books this summer! I've discovered several fantastic reads--new and old--this month.

Better to Wish  is consistently checked out (as are the others in the trilogy); no surprise, given that Ann M. Martin is wildly popular. Martin covers a large age range in under 300 pages (main character Abby is eight at the beginning of the novel and a high school graduate at the conclusion), proving that you don't necessarily need a novel of epic proportions (400+ pages) to create an extended story line.  This coming of age story in Depression-era America is unique in that it features a mentally challenged character (Abby's brother).

Girls Like Us had been on my radar for many months before I finally read it; I was hoping that this YA novel about two young adults with mental retardation would be as excellent as it sounded.  Quincy and Biddy are placed in an apartment and work environment after they graduate from their high school's special education department.  Learning to live with each other is quite an undertaking, as both have individual capabilities and challenges. Alternating chapters are told through the girls' perspectives, and the vulnerabilities that young girls with mental challenges often face are brought to life authentically and emotionally. This is a mature YA novel, and a very worthwhile read that will stay with you for some time.

I loved, loved, loved The Lost Art of Dress: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish because it involved a history that I am quite familiar with: the rise and fall of home economics education in the United States.  Home economics education and extension services made a huge impact on families affected by the Depression; rather than wearing farm sacks for clothes, the "Dress Doctors" instructed women on how to create attractive-looking outfits, to recycle clothes, and to create their own style in an affordable manner. (They also taught nutrition and child care.)  Through home economics classes, 4-H clubs, and countless radio and magazine columns, the "Dress Doctors" showed women with limited finances how to stretch their budget and wardrobes. They scorned outfits that restricted women's movement (especially impractical shoes) and stressed practical and balanced designs (that we would probably consider rather restrictive, but this was revolutionary at the time). Although Linda Przybyszewski clearly admires these women, she is also careful to illustrate that, save for a few examples, they ignored or were quite prejudiced against women of color.  (Since this focuses on clothes and not the nutrition aspect of home economics educators, the fact that some had an extreme reliance on food chemistry at the expense of taste and practicality and had now outdated views on nutrition is not covered in depth; on the other hand, they did emphasize breastfeeding when it was not socially acceptable among the middle class). Home economics colleges at universities were often women's entries into collegiate life and careers, especially chemistry. All this came to a sudden change in the 1970s, when home economics programs in schools and colleges were ridiculed (and their educators ridiculed by speakers at their conferences) and eventually dismantled over several decades.  My undergraduate degree (Family, Child, and Consumer Sciences from Louisiana State University, which was completely revamped into a Bachelor of Social Work several years ago) was a Home Economics degree many decades ago; one of our courses was on the history of home economics, so learning more about Ellen Richards (the founder of AHEA, American Home Economics Association, which is now AAFCS, American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences) and her colleagues was a rewarding and welcome experience.  I love illustrations and pictures of everyday fashion history and common advertisements of the day; this is packed with them! Even those who don't have fond memories of their home ec classes, but are intrigued by women's history (the home ec leaders had their faults, including not knowing how to adapt and respond to the women's movement effectively, and some of their attitudes were not helpful in several ways, but they are an important and instrumental aspect in American women's history) or the history of domestic life in this country would love this.

Although the Lost Boys of Sudan are well known, their sisters have largely been forgotten. Lost Girl Found is a heart-wrenching tale of Poni, whose life is torn apart by the civil unrest in Sudan. Poni longs to escape the expected life of girls in her village, which is young marriage and childbearing.  After fleeing her village during an attack, she finds herself in a refugee camp in Kenya, where life is harder in a different way. Although the ending is hopeful, it's still quite sorrowful, as things will never be the same for Poni and her family.

When I started reading Revolution, I had just one question: how could Deborah Wiles possibly create anything more wonderful than Countdown? Incredibly, Revolution is just as extraordinary as her first novel in her Sixties trilogy.  Sunny's life is in all sorts of upheaval even before the Freedom Riders arrive in her home town of Greenwood, MS, thanks to the arrival of a new stepmother and her family. When the "agitators" and "invaders" show up and start "Freedom Schools" and attempts to register African-Americans to vote, Sunny's small town is thrown into a new world of hurt, chaos, and even murder. Wiles creates unforgettable and three-dimensional characters that show the complexity of humanity (the development of the relationship between Sunny and Annabelle, her stepmother is incredible).  As she did in Countdown, Wiles depicts the mood of the era through photographs, song lyrics, biographical sketches, and newspaper articles.  (My only complaint is that Revolution is an enormous book--nearly 500 pages, although I'm not sure what I would cut.).  I am on pins and needles waiting for the conclusion of the Sixties trilogy (Countdown was set in New Jersey, on the East Coast, and featured the Cuban Missile Crisis; Revolution was set in Mississippi, in the South, and featured the civil rights movement;  and the final book looks like it may be set in California, on the West Coast, and will feature the Vietnam War and the peace movement).  It's not necessary to read Countdown before reading Revolution, but Countdown readers will recognize one of the Freedom Riders.

I'm not entirely thrilled with Torn's cover description ("An American soldier. A British medic. Afghanistan. Can their love survive a war?"), but I know it's there to entice YA readers who may not necessarily read a "war story."  The love story is not the main focus of the story; rather, it's on the nineteen year old female British medic who is trying to cope with the chaos of Afghanistan, including her testy relationship with her female superior and befriending a young Afghani boy.  The realities of combat in Afghanistan are conveyed superbly; this is a harrowing read at times, and an intriguing look at combat from a young women's point of view.

We're nearly at the halfway mark for our summer reading program; we still have many awesome programs in store! Get all the details here.

Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library

To learn more about Fauquier County Public Library's collectionevents, and programs, visit us on FacebookTwitter (Kiddosphere's feed is here), or on our website.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Happy Birthday to You Day!

Now that we are full swing into the summer reading program, my time available to blog is quite limited. My Thursday afternoon deadline has sneaked up on me for the second time. While I normally post about my month's reads on the last Friday of June, I'm going to hold off on that post for at least a week; I like to give those remarks more depth than usual, and that's not possible this week!

However, I don't want to miss a Friday. I went to my usual place of inspiration for when I need ideas for posts. I saw that June 27 was "Happy Birthday to You Day." Awesome! Let's talk about birthday-related books!

The Best Birthday Ever! By Me (Lana Kitty)  is a cute book to use when discussing birthday activities, manners, etc. Some manners books can be quite boring, but this has plenty of humor to keep children's interest.

Happy Birthday, Bad Kitty   is the first entry in the super fabulous and funny Bad Kitty series. Bad Kitty is stoked about his upcoming birthday party, but things quickly turn to chaos when his mischievous friends go nuts and his presents go missing! Each Bad Kitty book includes facts and tips delivered by Uncle Murray (readers will learn about basic cat care).

Nonfiction books about birthdays are few and far between; strange, because the annual birthday celebration is a huge part of children's lives! Good thing we have Gail Gibbons's Happy Birthday book. Young readers will learn about the history of birthday cakes, birthstones, and other things associated with birthdays.

I haven't read Happy Birthday to You! The Mystery Behind the Most Famous Song in the World, but you should if you want a nonfiction book about the song's history. Sounds like an intriguing read!

We're celebrating the USA's birthday July 1-5 at our libraries! Complete our patriotic-themed scavenger hunt and earn a small prize perfect for your July 4th celebration.

Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library

To learn more about Fauquier County Public Library's collectionevents, and programs, visit us on FacebookTwitter (Kiddosphere's feed is here), or on our website.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Summer Reading

Ahhh, summer. Our libraries are full of families checking out armfuls of books and recorded books in anticipation of long uninterrupted reading and listening times in the car, on the plane, or at the beach. Newspapers, magazines, and websites are publishing their annual summer reading lists for people looking for new reads. I have many, many books that I am eager to read this summer; here are my top picks:

Children's fiction/nonfiction:

Absolutely Almost has earned superlative reviews for its strong portrayal of a ten year old trying to discover his talents and abilities.

Revolution is Deborah Wiles's second entry in her trilogy about the 1960s.  Set during the Freedom Riders era in Mississippi, this has drawn yet even more rave reviews for this distinguished author.

YA fiction/nonfiction:

I've been wanting to read Girls Like Us ever since I heard its premise: a group of girls graduate from their high school's special education class and live together in an apartment. Characters with cognitive disabilities are rarely found in any type of fiction, so the fact that a remarkable premise has earned remarkable reviews is certainly a great thing!

This One Summer looks exactly the type of graphic novel that I love; this story of two teenage girls dealing with family and friendship difficulties has been awarded 5 starred reviews!

Adult fiction/nonfiction:

I loooooove historical fiction, so All the Light We Cannot See has been on my radar for some time (on others' radars as well, judging by the amount of holds!).  It's set during World War II in occupied France, Germany, and Russia, featuring a blind French girl and an orphaned German boy.

I'm patiently waiting my turn to read The Romanov Sisters (I am not hurting for reading material).  The tragic young Romanov daughters continue to draw interest and fascination, as evidenced by the number of patrons wanting to read this.

I began reading Sally Ride at lunch recently, and although I haven't gone past the chapters on Dr. Ride's childhood, I am already fascinated by this gorgeously written biography.

Looking for new reads? Subscribe to Wowbrary so that you can be among the first to read about our latest orders (books, ebooks and eaudiobooks, DVDs, recorded books). You can also browse past issues to learn more about our latest additions.

Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library

To learn more about Fauquier County Public Library's collectionevents, and programs, visit us on FacebookTwitter (Kiddosphere's feed is here), or on our website.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Great Books About Great Dads

This weekend is a great time for Fauquier County dads and kids to visit the library: not only do we have our summer reading program kickoff with Mad Science of DC, but we also have many terrific books featuring fathers and grandfathers. I dislike books in which the father is portrayed as a large child or a bumbling idiot, so be assured that these books have positive portrayals of fathers!

When I am asked to recommend books for soon-to-be big brothers and sisters, I always hope that A Baby for Grace is available. Like many young children, Grace wants to "help" with everything, which inevitably leads to near misses and gentle corrections.  One too many corrections sends Grace into the backyard with tears, until Dad saves the day (and goes on a special outing with Grace). Lovely endearing illustrations and a sweet yet realistic story line makes this a great read aloud for toddlers and preschoolers.

Building With Dad  is not only a fine father-son story, but it's also a must-read for construction-obsessed youngsters.  A little boy observes his father working at a construction site that will be the site of his new school.  The rhyme scheme is not forced, and the illustrations are large and realistic.  A great inclusion for a Father's Day or construction story time!

I know I recently reviewed The Favorite Daughter, but I love it so much that I couldn't leave it out of a Father's Day post!  Here's my review from April 25:

Allen Say draws upon his Japanese heritage for his memorable picture books; although I would be hard pressed to name my favorite Say title (I love them all), The Favorite Daughter would definitely be at the top of the list.  As you can see on the cover, the young girl on the cover obviously has Japanese-American facial features, but her hair is blond.  This causes her some confusion, as her classmates tell her that Japanese people only have black hair. Combine that with her wish to change her name to Michelle from Yuriko, which causes some teasing and mispronunciations, and you have a young girl struggling with her identity.  Her patient father works with her on her discomfort with her biracial heritage, with the result that she eventually learns to accept and celebrate both heritages. Say obviously based this on his own daughter's experiences, as her photographs (as a child and as a young adult visiting Japan for the first time ) appear at the beginning and the end of the story.  It's a beautiful and authentic look at a child learning to accept her special heritage.

I very briefly reviewed Fortunately, The Milk last November:
Thank you very much, Neil Gaiman, for writing a funny and science fiction (ish) story that's not 400+ pages long. During an errand to purchase milk for his children's cereal, a father is captured by aliens and goes on many crazy escapades.  The story is told through a conversation between dad and his children. This would be a great read aloud!

Owl Moon is one of my favorite Caldecott Medalists (1988).  Although a simple story (a father and daughter go owling--looking for owls), it is rich in fine illustrations and sublime text.  This is a perfect read aloud for elementary school students; unique and unforgettable.

A Father's Day book list would be incomplete without Ramona and Her Father (1978 Newbery Honor).  The upheaval and uncertainty caused by Mr. Quimby's unemployment is handled sensitively and even humorously.  (Although not marketed as a Christmas book, I always include this in our Christmas book displays; after all, it begins with Ramona making her wish list in September and ends with the Nativity pageant in December!)

I reviewed Surfer Chick last June:
Based on the reviews I read before ordering Surfer Chick, I had a feeling that I would enjoy the book.  I wasn't expecting to LOVE it, but I do!  I'm in charge of the toddler story times, so I'm always looking for new awesome stories to read to my group.  Surfer Chick might be a teensy bit too long for the group, but I'm betting that the irresistible illustrations and endearing father-daughter story line will win them over.  Surfer Chick wants to learn how to surf; luckily, her dad is a real champ.  Surfing is tricky to learn, but Surfer Chick eventually rules the surf with her hot pink board.  This is super cute, fun, and original--how many picture books can you think of that are about surfing? (I can't think of any off hand!)

What Daddies Do Best is actually two books in one; when you finish What Daddies Do Best, you can flip it over and reread the story, but with mothers starring in the lead role.  Daddies do all sorts of things--from teaching you how to ride a bike to taking you trick or treating--but most of all, they give lots and lots of love. Awww.  This is a staple in my toddler story time for Father's Day.

Where's Lenny?  is an absolutely adorable story about a young boy and his father playing hide and seek. It was a highlight of our story time programs this week!

Looking for summer time fun with dad, or the entire family? Check out our summer reading program! There's even a special reading program that dads (and other adults) can join.

Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library 

To learn more about Fauquier County Public Library's collectionevents, and programs, visit us on FacebookTwitter (Kiddosphere's feed is here), or on our website.

Friday, June 06, 2014

National Zoo and Aquarium Month

When I'm in need of a topic for blog posts and displays, I often consult Brownie Locks or Chase's Calendar of Events. Scanning down the list of various monthly observances, special events, and holidays, I noticed that June is "National Zoo and Aquarium Month." Perfect! We have a multitude of outstanding children's books about zoos, ranging from stories with wacky adventures to guidebooks about zoo animals.  

I'm not always keen on picture book versions of songs. They can be quite boring, frankly. Boring, unless it's a Will Hillenbrand creation. Down by the Station takes the familiar song ("Chug chug! Toot toot! Off we go!") and turns it into a darling "story" of animal babies saying goodbye to their parents and boarding a train to the children's zoo. The correct names for the baby animals are included (cub for pandas, joey for kangaroo, etc), which adds a nice educational touch. Lots of fun to read aloud! 

Although most zoos include information kiosks and plaques about animals, finding time and room (because of crowds) to read through them can be tasking. The Kids' Guide to Zoo Animals  is a great resource for browsing and leisurely reading about 200 animals commonly found in zoos.  Descriptions, typical diet, behavior, habitat, and conservation status are included for each animal. 

Although we have many books that take place at zoos, the opposite is true for aquariums! Thankfully, we have One Cool Friend  (2013 Caldecott Honor) to represent the aquariums for Zoo and Aquarium Month. This is an offbeat, clever, and funny tale about a boy who sneaks a penguin home from the aquarium. 

There are quite a few instances of authors making a series from a popular story and running it into the ground (won't name names). Bill Martin Jr's "sequels" to Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? is fortunately not one of them! Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?  take the familiar cadence of its predecessor, but focuses on animal sounds rather than colors.  

A Sick Day for Amos McGee is one of my recent Caldecott Medal favorites (and also a fine read aloud, which isn't always the case for Caldecott books, which are judged on their artwork). This 2011 Medal winner features concerned animals caring for their zookeeper, who is under the weather.

Xander's Panda Party was one of my favorite picture books from 2013:
Xander the Panda is ready to throw a party for all the zoo pandas.  After finding out that he's the only panda (awww, but wait for the ending!), he extends the invitation to all bears.  Except that koalas aren't *really* bears, so the invitation is extended to mammals, which is further extended to birds, and so on and so on.  Classification of animals has never been so cute, or so clever!  

We recently ordered What's New? The Zoo! A A Zippy History of Zoos, so I haven't read it yet. It's by Kathleen Krull, one of the giants for children's nonfiction, so I'm confident that it is informative, intriguing, and inventive.  Reviews have been great, to no one's surprise.

Judy Sierra's picture books are always wildly creative, with Wild About Books being one of my favorites. Molly McGrew drives the library's bookmobile to the zoo, and everyone has a rollicking time. This is a fun read aloud for kindergarten and lower elementary grades (some of the jokes may go over the heads of younger children), but requires some practice due to the creative wordplay and rhymes.

Zooborns! Zoo Babies From Around the World is based on the very popular blog of the same name. Cute pictures of baby animals in zoos are prominent, to be sure, but facts about the animals profiled in this short book are included (the blog includes lengthier descriptions). Although it's too brief for research purposes, it's ideal for casual reading for all ages.

Registration for our summer reading program is underway! Get all the details here.

Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library 

To learn more about Fauquier County Public Library's collectionevents, and programs, visit us on FacebookTwitter (Kiddosphere's feed is here), or on our website.