For blog posts, display ideas, and story time themes, I often consult the Brownie Locks website. Each month is packed with authentic monthly, weekly, and daily celebrations. When I looked at the listings for the first week of May, I noted so many special days and events that I wanted to include that I couldn't pick just one. We just have so many awesome books that are perfect for these occasions. So celebrate one, celebrate some, or celebrate all! Here are some don't-miss books for all sorts of observances for the first week of May:
Batman Day (May 1: the first day Batman made his comic book debut in 1939): I haven't yet read Batman's Dark Secret; every time I look for it on the new books shelf, it's checked out! Picture books and easy readers for young superheroes fans are always in high demand, so it's not a surprise that this book has been hugely popular at our libraries.
Mother Goose Day (May 1, originated in 1987 by Gloria T. Delamar): There are many noteworthy Mother Goose nursery rhymes collections, but they would be hard-pressed to top my favorite, The Neighborhood Mother Goose. Babies and young children are innately drawn to photographs, which makes this ideal for even the youngest listeners. Children from many cultures are included in the photographs, which makes this unique among most collections. Nina Crews's companion, The Neighborhood Sing-Along, is also sublime (they were among the first books I purchased for my then newborn niece!).
Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day; May 4): Finding books about the Holocaust that are age-appropriate for young children is difficult. The Tree in the Courtyard: Looking Through Anne Frank's Window is told through the perspective of the large chestnut tree that was mentioned in Anne Frank's diary. The tree observes as war comes to Amsterdam, the Franks and their companions move in, the Nazis discover their hiding place and send them to concentration camps, with only Anne's father returning to receive his daughter's diary. The tree finally dies (the summer Anne would have turned 81), but its legacy lives in its seeds and saplings that have been planted (including at the site where the Twin Towers stood and at Central High School in Arkansas). Although it is definitely heartrending, it is gentle, sensitive, and celebrates the fact that although both Anne and the tree died, their legacies are strong and remembered. This is one of my hopefuls for the 2017 Caldecott.
Star Wars Day (May 4: "May the Force/Fourth Be With You!"): With Disney Hyperion/LucasBooks and DK launching an impressive line of Star Wars related books, Star Wars readers both young and old have many outstanding titles to devour while waiting for Rogue One and Episode VIII. The Star Wars Character Encyclopedia has long been a popular choice even before VII was released, but the fully updated Star Wars Character Encyclopedia has been flying off the shelves ever since we recently received it.
Cartoonists Day (May 5, celebrates the publication of the first color cartoon in 1895): Comics Squad: Lunch follows the immensely popular Comics Squad: Recess with cartoons and stories from the best children's and YA graphic novelists in the business, such as Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm, Cece Bell, Jarret J. Krosoczka, and more.
Cinco de Mayo (May 5, celebrates Mexico's victory over France at the Battle of Puebla; this is not Mexican Independence Day, which is September 16): If you'd rather commemorate Cinco de Mayo with crafts rather than margaritas, then check out Cinco de Mayo Crafts.
National Space Day (May 6, the first Friday in May): The History of Fun Stuff easy readers are a blast to read, so I'm eager to read the newest title in this series, The Stellar Story of Space Travel. Beginning with predictions about space travel made by Jules Verne and ending with the International Space Station, this promises to tell the incredible history of space exploration in a fun and inviting way for young independent readers.
Kentucky Derby (May 7): The Big Red Horse: The Story of Secretariat and the Loyal Groom Who Loves Him has long been on my to-be-read list for its celebration of the bond between the most famous Virginian horse (1973 Triple Crown winner) and his groom.
National Babysitters Day (May 7): I can't find any concrete information on National Babysitters Day, but any day is a great day to show appreciation for babysitters! Raina Telgemeier's adorable Babysitters Club graphic novels (which stay quite faithful to the original Ann M. Martin series) would be a great gift for tween mother's helpers or babysitters.
National Scrapbooking Day (May 7): Scrapbooks are a beautiful way to preserve photos and memories; young scrappers looking for inspiration should consider Sienna's Scrapbook: Our African-American Heritage Trip.
Mother's Day (May 8): Finally, we end this full week with the biggest celebration of all: Mother's Day! Because it's such an important day, I'm including two books for the occasion. While I have a multitude of favorite picture books about mothers, my favorite would have to be Ol' Mama Squirrel, who "chook chook chooks" at any intruder, big or small, who comes near her babies. Ol' Mama Squirrel does not suffer fools gladly, including big grizzly bears hungry for squirrel snacks. I recently read it to a Head Start class, who loved "chook chook chook"ing along with Mama Squirrel. And if you'd enjoy a peek at mothering across cultures, A Ride on Mother's Back: A Day of Baby-Carrying Around the World is a must read. I also discussed books featuring mothers from different cultures and backgrounds on the ALSC blog if you'd like more great books about mothers.
Can you believe that's just in one week? Stop by the library to pick up these fantastic books in honor of these occasions!
Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library