Friday, October 24, 2014

October Reads

It's nearly the end of the month, which means that it's time for my monthly reads wrap-up. Here's what I enjoyed this month (so far):

We have received a number of fantastic graphic novels and graphic memoirs for adults recently (March: Book One, with its sequel out in January 2015 and The Harlem Hellfighters among them). While I'm not really drawn to fantasy/science fiction graphic novels, I love realistic fiction graphic novels (like Raina Telgemeier's YA/middle grade graphic novels) and graphic memoirs such as those written by Lucy Knisley. Her latest, An Age of License, follows Lucy as she travels around Europe while attending a Norwegian comic book convention.  Although not as food-oriented as Relish, Knisley's reflections and drawings of the culinary delights she experienced during her travels will satisfy her gourmand readers. Knisley also explores the uncertainties that are inevitable for twenty-somethings: relationships, career issues, etc. Relationships always play a key part in her memoirs: her relationship with her mother is key in both French Milk and Relish, while the effects of a long-term relationship breakup and an impromptu European romance take center stage in An Age of License (her struggles as a young cartoonist is also paramount to the story). If you're a fan, you'll be happy to know that she is working on two new graphic memoirs: one (to be released in early 2015) will focus on taking a cruise with her grandparents, and the second will be centered on preparations for her wedding (2016).

Could Brown Girl Dreaming finally win Jacqueline Woodson the Newbery? (She's received the Honor citation three times: After Tupac and D Foster in 2009, Feathers in 2008, and Show Way in 2006--one of the few picture books in the Newbery canon).  Brown Girl Dreaming has received a staggering number of six starred reviews and is on the longlist for the National Book Award. This memoir in verse tells of Woodson's childhood experience living in Ohio, South Carolina, and New York during the Civil Rights era. Moving to her grandparents' South Carolina was a culture shock: not only did Jacqueline have to experience the tragic situation of Jim Crow laws, but she also had to adjust to her southern relatives' accents and become a Jehovah Witness.  Just as soon as she had found life in her new neighborhood and family comforting refuges from the evils of segregation, her mother (in tow with a new baby brother) returns from New York and brings the children to the busy and unfamiliar inner city.  At the heart of the story are the family and friends connections made (and made difficult by) while dealing with the uncertainty of never feeling like you belong in one place. This is outstanding storytelling about the importance of roots, family, and self-worth. Definitely on my list for Newbery potentials.

Comics Squad: Recess is a fun and wacky tribute to recess from authors that both young readers, parents, teachers, and critics love. That's not an easy feat, let me tell you! Popular characters in children's graphic novels, such as Babymouse and Lunch Lady, make appearances, as do characters created specifically for this edition.  This is quality pleasure reading: pure fun.

The followup to Kirby Larson's Duke once again features a child and dog during war time; in Dash, the separation occurs because Mitsi is forced to relocate to a Japanese internment camp after Pearl Harbor is bombed, leaving behind her beloved dog, Dash.  The prejudice and hostility toward Japanese-Americans immediately after the United States enters the war leads to confusion and chaos even before her family is removed; once at the camp, the living conditions, sickness, and boredom cause even more troubles, even though new friendships and community connections are made. This shameful event in American history is depicted in an honest and gripping story; the dignity of the Japanese-Americans at the internment camps, the latent racism that lead to the camps, and the Caucasians who tried to help their Japanese-American friends during this trial make for a memorable read.

Edith and Woodrow: The Wilson White House focuses on one of the most shocking aspects of American presidential history: that Woodrow Wilson was so incapacitated by his stroke that his wife essentially acted as president for the remaining term (and attempted to get Wilson a third term). Edith Woodrow's over involvement with her husband's presidency was whispered about even during his term, but the revelation of papers written by Wilson's physician, Dr. Cary Grayson, showed the full and irreversible nature of his illness. (Local history connection: The papers were released by Grayson's sons, who lived in Upperville.) Although detailed to the point of exhaustion at times, this is a remarkable biography.

Put away your expectations about children's books written by celebrities when you see Gus & Me: The Story of My Grandad and My First Guitar. Or an expectation about a children's book written by Keith Richards. Richards and his jazz/big band musician grandfather (everyone called him Gus) were very close; Gus promised him that he would buy him a guitar and teach him how to play when he was old enough. This is a sweet and charming tribute to a beloved grandparent and the importance of mentoring. Theodora Richards (Richards's daughter) has created poignant illustrations of her father, grandfather, and London. A CD of Richards reading the book is included. Everything about this book is lovingly created for young readers, including Richards's simple author biography (Keith later began playing in a band with a group of friends, including Mick Jagger. They called themselves the Rolling Stones.) and a very brief explanation of how Theodora (named after Gus, whose formal name was Theodore) researched postwar London and traveled to London for inspiration show how carefully her drawings were created. Too often, a grandparent only appears in a children's picture book in order to explain death; this is a welcome addition to books about involved and loving grandparents who aren't in the final stages of life (or have Alzheimer's).

From time to time, I am asked to recommend books about Holocaust for children too young for books like The Diary of a Young Girl or Yellow Star. This is, as you can imagine, rather difficult to do. Hidden: A Child's Story of the Holocaust will definitely be one that I recommend. This graphic novel opens with a grandmother telling her granddaughter of how she was hidden by French neighbors and friends after her parents were taken to concentration camps. The enduring sorrow felt by Dounia is evident as she tells her life story--one that she has never fully told her to her son--is powerfully drawn and depicted. This is a remarkable addition to Holocaust literature for children.

When I read reviews that criticized How Star Wars Conquered the Universe for overstuffing the account with too many details, I thought that it would be impossible for me to think that the first history of the Star Wars phenomenon had too many details. After all, I've been a Star Wars fan since I was a kid! readers will learn, there's nothing that Star Wars fanatics love more than tearing apart anything related to Star Wars. Chris Taylor's analysis of the first Star Wars movie (note: NOT The Phantom Menace) is great reading; chapters about the screening of Star Wars dubbed in Navajo and a visit with the # 1 Star Wars memorabilia collector are worthy reads as well.  I browsed chapters and read portions that struck me; when other patrons have had a chance to read it, I'll check it out and read the rest.

This is the first year that I've kept a running tally of my reading (I don't review every book that I read). I'll do a wrap up near the end of the year and reveal the numbers (I'm pretty pleased with the numbers, but I need to do some catching up in YA and I'd like to add a few more titles to the adult fiction section.). There's still a LOT left on my to-be-read list that I haven't read. There are exactly 100 days left until the Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, and other ALA Youth Media Awards are announced! I'm keeping a tally of my picks; you can find them on the right hand side of the blog.

This month's post on the ALSC blog is about forthcoming holiday books.

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, October 17, 2014

Twangy Tales

When I need inspiration for a blog post, I always turn to the Brownie Locks website. The webmaster has curated an impressive amount of authenticated official holidays for a number of years, and I can usually find a fun topic.  When I learned that October is Country Music Month, I knew that I could pull together a number of great reads for children and adults, including books about famous country music stars from Virginia.  Whether you're a little bit country or a little bit rock and roll, these books should entice many readers wanting to learn more about this uniquely American art form:

The queen of board book's country-flavored book and CD set, Frog Trouble, is guaranteed to get little (and big!) toes tapping.  Prominent country musicians such as Alison Krauss and Brad Paisley perform Boynton's original country songs.

Honky Tonk Heroes and Hillbilly Angels presents profiles of fourteen highly influential country musicians, including Virginians Patsy Cline and the Carter Family. Basic biographical facts, little-known tidbits, and lists of most important titles are included in each portrait.

While Honky Tonk Heroes and Hillbilly Angels is an appealing yet fairly straightforward overview of country music, The Long Gone Lonesome History of Country Music goes full-throttle folksy in its presentation of country music's amazing history, from its pre-World War I days to the present-day industry.  Its largely irreverent style (there's a section on hairstyles of famous country musicians!) makes for a rollicking read.

Somebody Everybody Listens To would appeal to YA readers looking for a sweet, fairly "clean" and satisfying read about a talented singer who heads to Nashville after high school graduation. The highs and lows of new independence are acutely depicted.

Want something a bit more in depth?

Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Country Music in America is an engrossing, richly illustrated, and eye-opening history of this unique music form. It's been several years since I've read it, but I remember that it shows unique insights into country music, such as the recent alt-country/outlaw country movement and political aspects of the genre. It's heavily illustrated, as is typical for a DK publication.

I have not read Johnny Cash: The Life, but it's been on my list for a long time.  It was on many "best of 2013" book lists and sounds like an excellent read.  If you want to read the most recent biography available on Johnny Cash, this is the one to read.

I also haven't read The Stories Behind Country Music's All-Time Greatest 100 Songs, but it looks like a fun read.  If you've ever been curious about the origins of "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys" or "Friends in Low Places," this is the book for you.

Many country stars have called Virginia home. If you decide to make a day trip to Winchester and visit Patsy Cline's home, check out I Fall to Pieces: The Music and Life of Patsy Cline or Patsy: The Life and Times of Patsy Cline.  (You can also take The Essential Patsy Cline  to enjoy in the car.)  We also have Sweet Dreams, the 1985 biographical movie that earned Jessica Lange an Academy Award nomination.

Did you know that Staunton-based The Statler Brothers were discovered by Johnny Cash? You can read more about them in The Statler Brothers: Random Memories. If you enjoy listening to music while reading, take The Best of the Statler Brothers with you.

Doing the Crooked Road is on my bucket list, but before I visit The Carter Family Fold, I want to read Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone? The Carter Family and Their Legacy in American Music; readers who want an intimate insight into June Carter Cash might be interested in her 1987 autobiography, From the Heart, or Anchored in Love: An Intimate Portrait of June Carter Cash, written by her son.

Of course, you have to listen to music in order to learn more about it. Our collection of country music CDs should satisfy most fans!

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, October 10, 2014

Season's Readings

September is a time for back-to-school shopping; for me, September is a time to investigate the forthcoming holiday books. We're well in October, which means that the Halloween and Thanksgiving books are either on our shelves or will be soon. If you saw last week's Wowbrary edition, you saw that we just ordered Christmas and Hanukkah books. If you already have the Halloween or Thanksgiving spirit, or want to plan ahead for a cold winter's reading, keep an eye out for these books:

This little board book is perfect for the littlest trick-or-treaters. The Itsy Bitsy Pumpkin, as may guess, is meant to be sung to the tune of "The Itsy Bitsy Spider." This little pumpkin must get by a witch and a  goblin before being reunited with his pumpkin family before Halloween.

Every fall, I look for fun and unique Thanksgiving-themed books. Unfortunately, while I can usually find several fine Halloween, Christmas, or Hanukkah books every season (and I am picky about the new holiday books I order, because we already have a a number of outstanding holiday titles on our shelves), the search for interesting new Thanksgiving books usually falls flat. There's only so much you can do with Pilgrims/Native Americans or feasting with family. I'm hoping that The Great Thanksgiving Escape will appeal to both children and adults looking for Thanksgiving stories; the reviews for a family Thanksgiving gathering told from a young boy's point of view have been quite positive: "Kids will identify, and parents will reminisce", according to Kirkus Reviews, while School Library Journal is confident that  readers should "expect requests for second helpings of this holiday treat."

Llama Llama is the "If You Give a ___ a ___" series of the 21st century. There just seems to be no end to Llama Llama's escapades; in Llama Llama Trick or Treat, Llama Llama picks out a costume and has fun trick-or-treating.

I'm always happy to find holiday-related easy readers; they are great draws for beginning readers. Thanksgiving Mice features school-age mice who discover the trials and tribulations of  theater life while putting on a Thanksgiving play. Bethany Roberts has created many holiday-related picture books featuring mice; glad to see that she is delving into easy readers.

Believe it or not, our Christmas and Hanukkah books should arrive by the end of the month; many have an October or even a late September publication date. I'm eagerly anticipating many awesome December reads:

Tony Brenner's And Then Comes Halloween is a terrific Halloween book, so I'm expecting that And Then Comes Christmas will be just as enticing. Except a warm and cozy ode to Christmas joys; School Library Journal calls it "Norman Rockwell-like."

I've no doubt that Jan Brett's latest picture book offering will fly off the shelves once we receive it; the story line of  The Animals' Santa is centered on a bunny (an animal not commonly found in Christmas stories!) who learns about the animals' own Santa through his forest friends.  Publishers Weekly promises that "the dramatic arrival of well worth the wait" (I removed a spoiler).

EllRay Jakes is one of my favorite easy chapter book series, so I'm super stoked that we will receive EllRay Jakes Rocks the Holidays! for our new winter reads.  EllRay Jakes is looking forward to the Christmas festivities at school, until a friend challenges him to emcee and sing "Jingle Bell Rock." Oh, no! Thankfully, EllRay Jakes's father is a big support; you see, EllRay doesn't feel like he really fits in at his school, but his dad encourages him to take pride in his differences.  I love the family relationships depicted in this series, so this is definitely at the top of my holiday reading list!

Is it possible for  Here Comes Santa Cat to be as hysterically funny as Here Comes the Easter Cat? If the sample pages I've seen are any indication, the answer is an emphatic yes!  Unlike in his first outing, this cat isn't trying to actually replace Santa (he learned his lesson when he tried to replace the Easter Bunny). Instead, he's trying to get on Santa's "nice list" by doing a number of good deeds--which fall ridiculously apart.  Cannot wait.

Honeyky Hanukah is a picture book adaptation of Woody Guthrie's song of the same name (written for his wife's Jewish family). Not much story to this; it's a celebration of a very musical and active family Hanukkah celebration (note the single K in the title; Hanukkah can be spelled several ways).  An accompanying CD features the Klezmatics singing the tune.

Lee Bennett Hopkins's collections of poetry are always masterful; this collection features poems told from the perspective of animals that may have been present at the birth of Jesus.  Manger's reviews have been stupendous: "joyful" (Publishers Weekly) and "worth savoring slowly during the Christmas season" (Kirkus Reviews).

Holiday books that feature characters or information from a multicultural point of view always catch my eye; Twas Nochebuena follows a Latino family celebrating Christmas Eve; School Library Journal hails it as "a wonderful way to celebrate and learn about Latino Christmas traditions." I like the sound of that!

New holiday books are always such fun; look for these titles on the "new books" shelves at your local Fauquier County Public Library very soon! (Halloween and Thanksgiving books are already being enjoyed by our patrons.)

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, September 26, 2014

September Reads

September was a very productive reading month! I managed to get some adult fiction and nonfiction reads in, too.

I picked up All Our Names on a whim; I wanted adult fiction, and since historical fiction from a non-Western perspective intrigues me, I took it home. I was immediately taken with this story of a young revolutionary from an unnamed African country (he immigrates to Uganda early in the story) and the small-town Midwestern social worker who falls in love with him. This takes place in the mid-seventies; an interracial relationship is radical in their small town, so they have to hide their relationship (a scene in which they eat at a local diner is memorable). Things get a little confusing halfway through the book; there's lots of secrets being hidden, and not everything is neatly wrapped up at the end.

For readers who want to learn about elephants but aren't ready to tackle Dr. O'Connell's The Elephant Scientist (one of the exemplary Scientists in the Field books), A Baby Elephant in the Wild's brief (er) text and gorgeous pictures featuring the life of a baby elephant should enchant them. Basic questions about what baby elephants eat, how they are cared for, and how they survive (and why they are endangered) will inform and entertain young naturalists.

Blood Diaries is a funny and fun read for middle-grade readers who want a vampire story, but aren't ready for YA romance or horror stories.  Navigating the world of middle school can be tough at times for most students, but it's doubly so if you're a boy vampire trying to fit in. His parents don't understand why he even wants to attend middle school and wish that he would make more of an effort to befriend the other vampire kids; getting on the bad side of a vegan classmate makes middle school life even more difficult. Readers who gravitate to diary novels such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid will love this; it's a funny and also realistic (although somewhat exaggerated) look at middle school life.

I finished The Bully Pulpit days before the premiere of Ken Burns's The Roosevelts (the series only briefly touched upon the close and fractious relationship between Presidents Roosevelt and Taft). Although Roosevelt figures heavily in the book, I picked it for my Taft biography read (I'm reading a biography of each president); as Roosevelt figured heavily in Taft's life, it was quite a sensible pick! The friendship between Roosevelt and Taft was strained and eventually broken when Taft did not continue the progressive politics started by Roosevelt, as Roosevelt had thought he would; Roosevelt's disastrous third-party run against Taft nearly ended one of the most fascinating political relationships of all time. This actually about a month to read, as it is quite lengthy, but very much worth it. You probably know that Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals was adapted for film by Stephen Spielberg; he has already bought the film rights for The Bully Pulpit, and I can't wait to see how it turns out (hopefully, it won't take as long to make this film as it did Team of Rivals!).

Fans of British historical fiction definitely need to read The Fortune Hunter. Royalty! Illicit affairs! Debutantes! Add in a beautiful empress married to a much older emperor and hounded by the media wherever she goes and an heiress fighting against the norms expected in her upper-class society, and you have a moving, occasionally funny, and gorgeously depicted Victorian-era historical novel.

Incident at Hawk's Hill was one of five books that received a Newbery Honor citation in 1971. I read it when I was in elementary school and had never reread it until recently. It's a harsh tale of a boy that befriends a raccoon when he goes missing; squeamish or sensitive readers should note that the cruelty and randomness of nature is a big part of the story. Although it says that it was "based on a true story," there's no evidence of research or an author's note backing that up; that would certainly be expected if the novel was published today.

The Planet of Junior Brown also earned a Newbery Honor that year; although it definitely reads like a dated book, this story of a homeless boy and his  overweight African-American friend is worth reading as an example of early multicultural fiction.

Marcus Sedgwick is an outstanding author; his YA books are sophisticated and meaty reads that often have rather involved plots.  She is Not Invisible is no different, and it's one of my favorites (so far) by him. A blind British teenager and her brother run away to find their missing father in New York; unfamiliar with their surroundings and increasingly mystified by puzzles and clues that involve the number 354, the two eventually despair of ever finding their father. Readers (teen and older) who like literary thrillers will devour this.

I am loving the many great additions to our easy chapter book collection; they are fun to read, well-written, and are often multicultural. Suzannah longs for a pet, but the rules of her apartment complex forbid pets. Luckily, her mother learns that the local shelter is starting a "Shelter Pet Squad" for kids her age; they make toys for the animals living at the shelter and help the shelter staff (I like that the kids were restricted in what they could do; that makes it much more realistic). Suzannah encounters a family reluctantly surrendering their beloved guinea pig (they are moving overseas and can't take Jelly Bean); Suzannah promises their young daughter that she will help find a good home for Jelly Bean. Not only is this a cute story about kids and adults working together, but Cynthia Lord includes terrific information about pet care, how to make the toys that the kids made in the story, and how to help your local animal shelter. Awwww!  If you love Critter Club, you'll love Shelter Pet Squad.

Oh, man. This book. (I read it a month or two ago, but forgot to blog about it.) Yes, it's a fabulous read and is a worthwhile read in this age of humans and wildlife increasingly encroaching on each other's habitat. A really engaging read. But (SPOILER ALERT) I'll give you three guesses as to what happens to that wolf on the cover who likes to play with the dogs that live in Nick Jans's Alaskan community which is divided between those who have adopted it as a town mascot and those with itchy trigger fingers. Read if you enjoy books that leave you curled into a fetal position at the end. (END SPOILER ALERT)

If you're looking for more reads (that may or may not leave you whimpering like a toddler who just dropped his ice cream cone), check out Wowbrary (back issues are available).

I blogged about "not-so-cozy bedtime stories" on the ALSC blog this month.

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, September 19, 2014

Bully Reads

Inspirations for blog posts can come in the most unexpected places. I've been riveted by each episode of The Roosevelts; although I am learning a lot, occasionally I will think, "I remember reading that in X book!" While watching Wednesday's episode, it occurred to me that I should talk about my favorite Roosevelt-related books. The United States underwent a great deal of change and important milestones during the administrations of Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, so I've included books that touch upon those events as well:

Theodore Roosevelt: 

I reviewed The Camping Trip That Changed America: Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, And Our National Parks in April 2012:

This is a memorable look at the Yosemite camping trip that ignited Theodore Roosevelt's passion and defense of national parks.  Roosevelt was an ardent conservationist and reader; reading John Muir's plea to preserve the natural landscapes of America inspired Roosevelt to ask Muir to take him on an exploration of Yosemite.  Muir wasn't convinced; truth be told, he was a bit weary of taking people on guided trips, because not much action seemed to come from them.  He was eventually persuaded to do so (Roosevelt was not one to take no for an answer), and the camping trip lead to a lifelong correspondence between Roosevelt and Muir--and the establishment of the national park system. Roosevelt was quite the character; the more I read of him, the more I want to read about him.  This is an excellent depiction of an important but little known event in our nation's history.

Theodore Roosevelt's oldest daughter, Alice Roosevelt, was a force of nature in Washington D.C. society for many years.  What to Do About Alice? How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World, And Drove Her Father Teddy Crazy is an entertaining picture book biography about this outrageous and unique woman.

Also consider these books by two stellar authors of children's biographies: You're On Your Way, Teddy Roosevelt! by Judith St. George and Bully For You, Theodore Roosevelt by Jean Fritz

Franklin Delano Roosevelt: 

Kathleen Krull's many picture book biographies are superb introductions to important historical figures; A Boy Named FDR: How Franklin D. Roosevelt Grew Up to Change America is a great overview of FDR's privileged childhood, his battle with polio, and his powerful presidency.

Also consider: Make Your Mark, Franklin Roosevelt by Judith St. George and Russell Freedman's biography.

Eleanor Roosevelt: 

Our Eleanor: A Scrapbook Look at Eleanor Roosevelt is one of my favorite biographies by Candace Fleming; it's an involved read, but quite inspiring and informative.

Also consider: Eleanor, Quiet No More by Doreen Rappaport and Russell Freedman's biography.


Joyce Meyer Hostetter's YA novel about a town stricken with polio is one of my most memorable reads in recent years. I reviewed it in November 2008:

Blue is an enormously moving and emotional novel set during the polio epidemic. When Ann Fay’s father leaves to fight the Nazis in Europe, he tells her that she’s the “man of the house” and is expected to take care of her little brother and sisters. When her four year old brother is suddenly stricken with polio, Ann Fay feels very guilty that she somehow drove him to the illness.

Polio was (and still is) a random, painful, and frightening illness. The immediate quarantine placed upon a family affected by polio and the dramatic limitations placed upon communities led to fear of anyone associated with the disease. This is an excellent read, but one that is very rich and very sad at times (a child’s funeral is described at heartbreaking length). The painful treatments of polio are brought to life through Ann Fay’s experiences, and the sorrow of Ann Fay’s father over the separation from his family is very much apparent. 

Blue takes place in Hickory, NC, site of one of the worst polio outbreaks. Joyce Hostetter provides a thoughtful essay and bibliography at the end of her novel. Although not an easy read (emotionally), Blue is an outstanding portrayal of the polio epidemic. 

Also consider: Peg Kehret's memoir of her struggle with childhood polio, Small Steps and Kathryn Lasky's YA novel, Chasing Orion, about a young girl and her teenage neighbor, who is forced to live in an iron lung due to the effects of polio.


Prohibition was repealed during FDR's administration (Eleanor Roosevelt was an early advocate of prohibition). Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, And the Lawless Years of Prohibition is a fine overview of the era; I reviewed it in July 2011:

Bootleg is an eye-opening account of the Prohibition Era. Prohibition activists, gangsters, bootleggers, repealers, politicians, speakeasies, police and judges who looked the other's all covered in fascinating detail. An epilogue looks at the effects of Prohibition and its repeal, including changes in legislation and advocacy (including MADD, or Mothers Against Drunk Driving). 

Great Depression:

Bud, Not Buddy is one of my favorite Newbery winners of all time; this story of an orphan searching for his father brilliantly evokes the Depression era.

I haven't read one book written by Russell Freedman that hasn't failed to move me; Children of the Great Depression is an eye-opening, heartbreaking, and and incredible look at how children were affected by the Great Depression. It's not all darkness, though; readers learn about children's favorite games and pastimes of the era and the optimism felt by many at the end of the Depression.

Also consider: Down Cut Shin Creek: The Pack Horse Librarians of Kentucky, which highlights the librarians who brought books and informational materials on nutrition, maternity care, and child care to rural parts of Kentucky during the Depression, and Esperanza Rising, a middle grade historical novel about a wealthy Latino family who must find migrant work in order to survive.

Dust Bowl 

Out of the Dust won the Newbery Medal in 1988; it's a hard hitting read centered on a young girl living in Oklahoma during the dust storms.

Older readers should take a look at Don Brown's unforgettable account of the Dust Bowl, presented in graphic novel format.

Also consider: Children of the Dust Bowl: The True Story of the School at Weedpatch Camp

Japanese-American internment camps:

Although written in 1971, Journey to Topaz remains one of the most affecting children's novels about the Japanese-American internment camps.

Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans During World War II was a 2014 finalist for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction and is on Fauquier County's Middle School Battle of the Books list. It is is an unforgettable read that includes many first-hand accounts.

Also consider: Three superb books about the importance baseball played in the camps: Baseball Saved UsBarbed Wire Baseball (nonfiction picture book), and Kathryn Fitzmaurice's middle grade novel, A Diamond in the Desert; also Dear Miss Breed: True Stories of the Japanese-American Incarceration During World War II and a Librarian Who Made a Difference, about a librarian who kept in touch and advocated for her young San Diego Public Library patrons forced to relocate to the camps.

World War II (American homefront): 

I am fascinated by the diverse ways the American people contributed to the homefront during World War II; Children of the World War II Homefront shows how even the youngest Americans pitched in during wartime.

Coming on Home Soon received a Caldecott Honor in 2005; it's a beautiful and realistic depiction of a young girl and her mother who must cope with their separation after mother takes a job in Chicago. Now that many American men are fighting in Europe and the Pacific, women are needed to take the jobs they left behind.  It's an unflinching look at the hardships experienced during that time, especially by African-Americans, but it's also a heartwarming portrayal of a close family.

World War II brought women into the workplace like no other event had in the past; Rosie the Riveter: Women Working on the Home Front in World War II is a must-read for all those fascinated by the homefront movement.

Also consider: So many choices, but I'll limit to two excellent novels:  Duke by Kirby Larson (reviewed in July)--not only does it depict how household dogs were used during World War II, but it also effectively shows the prejudice faced by German-Americans at the time; and  Lily's Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff, about a young girl who befriends a Hungarian refugee.

Still want more about the American homefront effort (can you tell this is one of my favorite eras)? Take a look at the amazing online collections of World War II propaganda posters from The National Archives, Northwestern University, New Hampshire State Library, and Hennepin County Public Library (which is one of the top collections; if you click "show more search options," you can browse by subject).

Finally, if you can't get enough of The Roosevelts documentary, "get action" on the companion book.

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.