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Fresh librarian-approved kids’ reads for summer 2021

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Looking for great summer reads for the young readers (and pre-readers) in your life? This list of librarian-recommended books for babies through fifth graders is a great place to start. Compiled annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, this list is meant for parents and caregivers and can be used to explore titles that may match or spark their child's interest. Check these out at your local library!

 


Babies - Preschoolers

Antiracist Baby
by Ibram X. Kendi, illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky
Racial consciousness develops younger than many people realize, and this picture book will give parents and caregivers a launchpad for having these important conversations with their little ones.

Families Belong
by Dan Saks, illustrated by Brooke Smart
A celebration of families loving, singing, and belonging together.

Future Doctor
by Lori Alexander, illustrated by Allison Black
A board book teaching the basics of being a doctor and encouraging Baby that they can be anything.

The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish
by Lil Miss Hot Mess, illustrated by Olga de Dios
Written by one of the first Drag Queen Story Hour performers, this picture book will get kids moving and proudly flaunting their most glamorous selves.

Hurry Up! A Book about Slowing Down
by Kate Dopirak, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
With repeating refrains, this picture book follows a busy morning and afternoon of a young girl. After school, she learns to slow things down and enjoy what is around her.

I Love My Tutu Too!
by Ross Burach
Every animal loves their tutu and wants to find more animal friends who love their tutus as well. Clever rhymes and a vibrant color palette make this a highly re-readable board book.

I Love You, Baby Burrito
by Angela Dominguez
With a mix of both English and Spanish languages, this book takes you through the act of swaddling a newborn.

Me & Mama
by Cozbi A. Cabrera
A young child enjoys a day with her mama, splashing in the rain and being cozy at home.

A New Green Day
by Antoinette Portis
Poetic riddles create a guessing game as readers explore nature during a summer day.

Raven Squawk, Orca Squeak
by Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd, illustrated by Roy Henry Vickers
The sounds of the Pacific Coast are shared in this board book with simple text accompanied by colorful illustrations from an Indigenous artist.

Sing with Me / Canta conmigo
by José-Luis Orozco, illustrated by Sara Palacios
Enjoy six classic children’s songs in both English and Spanish, with charming illustrations.

The Solar System with Ellen / El sistema solar con Ellen
by Patty Rodríguez and Ariana Stein, illustrated by Citlali Reyes
Text in English and Spanish brings our youngest bookworms on a trip through outer space with Ellen Ochoa, the first Latina astronaut.

This Is a Book of Shapes
by Kenneth Kraegel
This board book begins as a simple introduction to shapes and gets sillier and more complex as other shapes that might not be so simple get added!

Two Many Birds
by Cindy Derby
A monitor shouts rules as birds line up to sit in a tree, but when the tree reaches capacity and two more birds hatch, things start to get a little wild.

We All Play
by Julie Flett
With a simple text in English and Cree and soft, beautiful illustrations, this book explores how both animals and humans play.

We Are Little Feminists: On-the-Go
by Brook Sitgraves and Archaa Shrivastav
A board book celebration of how we move, featuring colorful photographs of a variety of people moving in many different ways, highlighting the diversity of people and abilities in our community.

What Sound Is Morning?
by Grant Snider
This simple and beautiful book encourages its readers to consider their morning routines, paying special attention to the sounds and silences that accompany them.

Whose Bones? An Animal Guessing Game
by Gabrielle Balkan, illustrated by Sam Brewster
An informative board book about animal bones and anatomy in the form of a fun guessing game.

You Matter
by Christian Robinson
An uplifting and inspiring book encourages readers to explore the many different people we encounter in our world and our connection to them, highlighting the important mantra of the title, “You matter.”

 


Kindergarteners – Second Graders

Baloney and Friends
by Greg Pizzoli
This funny graphic novel for beginning readers stars Baloney the pig alongside his friends Bizz (a bee), Peanut (a horse), and Krabbit (a very cranky rabbit).

Black Is a Rainbow Color
by Angela Joy, illustrated by Ekua Holmes
There’s no black in rainbows, but Black is more than a color. It’s a culture. This picture book celebrates African American history and identity.

Carpenter’s Helper
by Sybil Rosen, illustrated by Camille Garoche
A sweet story about a girl and her family bonding while building a birdhouse in their home.

The Electric Slide and Kai
by Kelly J. Baptist, illustrated by Darnell Johnson
Kai’s family is excited for his aunt’s upcoming wedding, but since every family celebration means dancing, Kai’s worried he will make a fool of himself on the dance floor again. A picture-book celebration of family, love, and overcoming one’s fears.

Eyes That Kiss in the Corners
by Joanna Ho, illustrated by Dung Ho
A picture book filled with wonderful illustrations that encourage children to be proud of who they are and how they look.

A Hatful of Dragons: And More than 13.8 Billion Other Funny Poems
by Vikram Madan
A silly collection of interactive poems and rhymes in a variety of formats with fun illustrations about mummies, dragons, and more!

I Am a Bird
by Hope Lim, illustrated by Hyewon Yum
A little girl, riding on the back of her father’s bike, is wary of the mysterious woman with a bag they pass. One day, she finds out what the bag is for, and her wariness grows into kinship.

Jo Jo Makoons: The Used-to-Be Best Friend
by Dawn Quigley, illustrated by Tara Audibert
This early chapter book follows Jo Jo, a young Ojibwe girl, as she navigates the troubles and tribulations of being in elementary school. This story also includes snippets of the Ojibwe language with more information in the back matter.

Lift
by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat
Frustrated with her little brother taking over her job of pushing the elevator button, a girl takes a discarded button to transform her closet door into a magical elevator. In the process, she discovers that adventures are more fun when you share them.

Milo Imagines the World
by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson
While on the subway, Milo imagines different stories for the people he sees, but he soon realizes you can’t tell who people really are just by their appearance.

A Place inside of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart
by Zetta Elliott, illustrated by Noa Denmon
A Black boy, shown all over his neighborhood, experiences a range of emotions: fear, pride, sorrow, and joy.

Sadiq and the Green Thumbs
by Siman Nuurali, illustrated by Anjan Sarkar
Sadiq, a Somali American third-grader, starts a gardening club focused on helping neighbors. Part of a series.

Sharuko: El arqueólogo peruano Julio C. Tello / Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello
by Monica Brown, illustrated by Elisa Chavarri
In this Spanish-English picture-book biography, readers find out about this Indigenous scientist who found skulls and artifacts in the mountains of Peru as a child and went on to become the founder of modern Peruvian archaeology.

Story Boat
by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Rashin Kheiriyeh
Join a little girl and her younger brother as they leave behind the place they know as home and, along the way, make the best of times with what they find. A wonderful refugee story.

We Laugh Alike / Juntos nos reímos: A Story That’s Part Spanish, Part English, and a Whole Lot of Fun
by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, illustrated by Alyssa Bermudez
Two groups of friends meet in the park, but one group only speaks English, and the other only speaks Spanish. Watch how they play together and discover all sorts of similarities!

What about Worms!?
by Ryan T. Higgins
Tiger is big and brave—except when it comes to worms! When faced with a worm-themed book and then a big group of worms, he must try to overcome his fear.

Your Mama
by NoNieqa Ramos, illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara
This super fun book is a spin on the “yo mama” jokes. The twist with this book is that everything included here is pleasant, comforting, and warm, with more than just a hint of humor.

Your Place in the Universe
by Jason Chin
An introduction to size, scale, and distance that goes from comparing an eight-year-old’s height with a stack of books to examining the vastness of the universe.

Zonia’s Rain Forest
by Juana Martinez-Neal
Explore Zonia’s home, the Amazon rain forest, and learn as Zonia respects and protects the Peruvian wildlife and her heritage.

 


Third Graders – Fifth Graders

Any Day with You
by Mae Respicio
Kaia enters a filmmaking contest, drawing inspiration from the many Filipino tales her great-grandfather tells. When Tatang decides to return to the Philippines, Kaia will do whatever it takes to keep him in California.

Bear
by Ben Queen, illustrated by Joe Todd-Stanton
This graphic novel follows a seeing-eye dog, Bear, as he loses his vision and embarks on an exciting adventure to return home after getting lost.

Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch
by Julie Abe
Eva has only a pinch of magic, which makes passing the test to become a novice witch difficult. When she lands in a small coastal town, she sets up a magical repair shop to prove her worth.

The How and Wow of the Human Body: From Your Tongue to Your Toes and All the Guts in Between
by Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz, illustrated by Jack Teagle
A fully illustrated comical tour of the human body focusing on disgusting, incredible, and hilarious facts about our very own, ever-oozing piece of machinery.

Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero
by Kelly J. Baptist
Now the man of the house, a boy finds passion in poetry after discovering his late father’s journal while struggling to hold his house together.

The Last Bear
by Hannah Gold
April’s father has always told her that there are no more polar bears left on Bear Island. When April sees something that looks like a polar bear across the horizon, she is determined to save it.

Pepper Page Saves the Universe!
by Landry Q. Walker, illustrated by Eric Jones
Twenty-fifth-century Pepper Page is obsessed with old comics, but when a high-school science experiment goes wrong and Pepper lands in the middle of a cosmic adventure of her own, Pepper’s reading may not be enough to save her.

Shaking Up the House
by Yamile Saied Méndez
Two sets of First Daughters shake up the White House with hysterical pranks on each other that escalate into an international affair!

Skunk and Badger
by Amy Timberlake, illustrated by Jon Klassen
No one wants a skunk as a roommate, but Badger doesn’t have a choice. His quiet, solitary life is turned upside down by cheery Skunk in this odd-couple tale of friendship.

A Sporting Chance: How Ludwig Guttmann Created the Paralympic Games
by Lori Alexander, illustrated by Allan Drummond
Jewish neurologist Ludwig Guttmann, who escaped Hitler’s Germany, had a revolutionary idea—sports might help patients labeled as “incurables.” Discover how his work evolved into the international Paralympic Games in this biography that includes photos and other illustrations.

Stella Díaz Dreams Big
by Angela Dominguez
Stella learns how to navigate fourth grade, participate in several clubs, and have fun with her family and friends. Third book in a series.

Super Detectives: Simon and Chester Book #1
by Cale Atkinson
A hilarious first volume in a new graphic novel series centered around ghost Simon and human Chester solving the case of a mysterious dog who shows up in their house one day.

Three Keys: A Front Desk Novel
by Kelly Yang
The sequel to Front Desk finds Mia, now part owner of a motel, working to keep the motel afloat while facing anti-immigration sentiment and helping her best friend Lupe when her father is detained as an illegal immigrant.

The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez
by Adrianna Cuevas
Nestor wants to keep his ability to talk to animals a secret, but that’s a challenge when animals go missing in Nestor’s new town and rumors fly about a creature who lives in the forest.

Truman the Dog
by Debbi Michiko Florence, illustrated by Melanie Demmer
First in the My Furry Foster Family series of illustrated chapter books about eight-year-old Kaita, whose family fosters pets until they can find new homes for the animals.

We Are Still Here! Native American Truths Everyone Should Know
by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Frané Lessac
A creatively organized picture book gives both Native and non-Native readers an overview of important topics including forced assimilation, sovereignty, and language.

We Got Game! 35 Female Athletes Who Changed the World
by Aileen Weintraub, illustrated by Sarah Green
With amazing facts and detailed information, this nonfiction book shines a spotlight on amazing female athletes at the top of their game. New players and retired competitors alike are showcased for the mark they have made on the world.

When You Trap a Tiger
by Tae Keller
Lily makes a deal with a magical tiger in an attempt to heal her sick halmoni in this tale celebrating Korean folklore, strong women, and the power of the imagination.

The Year I Flew Away
by Marie Arnold
When 10-year-old Gabrielle moves from Haiti to Brooklyn, she finds that America isn’t quite what she expected. With the help of a magical friend, Marie transforms into the perfect American girl but makes sacrifices in the process.

 

For more top resources, visit the ALSC Book and Media Awards Shelf.

Photo by Marta Wave from Pexels

 

Check out these librarian-approved digital experiences to keep your kids learning

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We’re all glued to our screens these days, and there is a seemingly endless supply of content out there to choose from. Sorting out what’s educational from what’s garbage can be a challenge, especially for parents trying to regulate their kids’ digital intake. Luckily, these apps and experiences have been reviewed and approved by librarians who are members of the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association.

Librarians can play an important role in serving as media mentors for families. All children benefit from guidance when exploring digital content, and skilled children’s librarians have the tools to help parents and caregivers explore apps and experiences that may match or spark their child's interest.

Check these out today or talk to your local librarian for more information.

 

Babies - Preschoolers

Duolingo ABC—Learn to Read app
This app teaches young children important literacy skills such as vocabulary and print awareness with the end goal of helping children become readers!

Funbrain
This website for children features cool science experiments, read-aloud videos, and fun games to explore.

The Imagine Neighborhood podcast
Kids will learn about social-emotional skills through stories, songs, and activities, prompting conversations between children and caregivers about big feelings.

Molly of Denali podcast
Listen to the adventures of 10-year-old Molly, an Alaska Native girl who lives with her bush pilot mom, adventure-guide dad, and her dog, Suki, in a small village.

Monterey Bay Aquarium live cams webpage
Jellyfish, sea otters, and sharks, oh my! Learn about and watch live videos with these sea animals and more.

Sesame Street Family Play: Caring for Each Other app
Maybe it takes a screen to help you unplug! In English and Spanish, this app just asks a few questions to guide its suggestions for screen-free games and activities families can do wherever they are.

Wow in the World podcast
A STEM-themed podcast with silly (but scientifically) accurate humor for curious young listeners.

 

Kindergarteners – Second Graders

Brains On! podcast
A podcast where different kid cohosts take the mic each week to tackle wide-ranging and fascinating science questions from listeners across the country.

Design Squad Global
Kids can take on challenges, watch videos, play games, and be wowed by the power of engineering.

Funbrain
This website for children features cool science experiments, read-aloud videos, and fun games to explore.

Go Noodle
Online videos that inspire movement for kids.

iCivics
Activities and games for both families and educators, all aimed at providing fundamental lessons in civics knowledge.

The Imagine Neighborhood podcast
Kids will learn about social-emotional skills through stories, songs, and activities, prompting conversations between children and caregivers about big feelings.

Molly of Denali podcast
Listen to the adventures of 10-year-old Molly, an Alaska Native girl who lives with her bush pilot mom, adventure-guide dad, and her dog, Suki, in a small village.

Monterey Bay Aquarium live cams webpage
Jellyfish, sea otters, and sharks, oh my! Learn about and watch live videos with these sea animals and more.

NASA STEM @ Home website
For children ages five and up, this website includes many activities both on- and off-screen based around NASA and space. Activities are broken down into three sections based on grade level: K–4, 5–8, and 9–12.

National Geographic Kids website
This fun and educational website for children features games, videos, and brain boosters.

Scratch website
An innovative block-based programming language that allows for the creation and remixing of limitless programming, from games to music to animation.

“Sơn Đoòng 360: Exploring the World’s Largest Cave” virtual tour
Explore the world’s largest cave in Vietnam with National Geographic’s 360-degree tour of Hang Sơn Đoòng, with fun facts, nature sounds, and interactive questions.

Wow in the World podcast
A STEM-themed podcast with silly (but scientifically) accurate humor for curious young listeners.

 

Third Graders – Fifth Graders

Brains On! podcast
A podcast where different kid cohosts take the mic each week to tackle wide-ranging and fascinating science questions from listeners across the country.

Design Squad Global
Kids can take on challenges, watch videos, play games, and be wowed by the power of engineering.

Funbrain
This website for children features cool science experiments, read-aloud videos, and fun games to explore.

Go Noodle
Online videos that inspire movement for kids.

iCivics
Activities and games for both families and educators, all aimed at providing fundamental lessons in civics knowledge.

I Survived Book Club website
Watch videos and download printable games and resources to go along with the I Survived book series, written by Lauren Tarshis.

Monterey Bay Aquarium live cams webpage
Jellyfish, sea otters, and sharks, oh my! Learn about and watch live videos with these sea animals and more.

NASA STEM @ Home website
For children ages five and up, this website includes many activities both on- and off-screen based around NASA and space. Activities are broken down into three sections based on grade level: K–4, 5–8, and 9–12.

National Geographic Kids website
This fun and educational website for children features games, videos, and brain boosters.

The Past and the Curious podcast
Kids and families can learn about shocking, inspirational, and often humorous historical events and people through short stories, humor, music, and fun.

Scratch website
An innovative block-based programming language that allows for the creation and remixing of limitless programming, from games to music to animation.

“Sơn Đoòng 360: Exploring the World’s Largest Cave” virtual tour
Explore the world’s largest cave in Vietnam with National Geographic’s 360-degree tour of Hang Sơn Đoòng, with fun facts, nature sounds, and interactive questions.

Wow in the World podcast
A STEM-themed podcast with silly (but scientifically) accurate humor for curious young listeners.

 

For more top resources, visit the ALSC Book and Media Awards Shelf.

Photo by Family First on StockSnap

 

Librarian with early-stage dementia wins national award for facing adversity with integrity

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As director of the Hollidaysburg Area Public Library in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, Janet Eldred has overseen major projects like building renovation and smaller daily tasks like working tirelessly with her team, lugging books, and sitting cheerfully at library booths through rainy festivals.

But the challenge she now faces with remarkable dignity and grace is a medical one.

In 2012, Eldred was diagnosed with early-stage dementia. Since then, she has not only experienced increasingly impaired cognitive function, but she has also developed neurological complications, including occasional seizures and bouts of syncope (loss of consciousness).

In 2019, in a speech for which she received a standing ovation (but does not recall giving), she observed: “You’ve often heard it said: No one is promised tomorrow. Life is fragile. I have learned that applies to the past as well. No one is promised yesterday, either. The one thing you can grasp is the moment. This is the moment you can choose what to do and who to be. The future and the past will take care of themselves.”

Her colleagues and patrons recognize her for her tireless work in the Hollidaysburg Public Library and community at large and celebrate her energy, zeal, cheerful kindness, inspiring selfless directorship, and for her determination to continue serving her community despite the immense complications of her medical condition.

Her goal – a “moonshot” – is to raise $1 million for her library, and the $10,000 prize associated with the Lemony Snicket Prize for Nobel Librarians Faced With Adversity, which she was awarded in April 2021, will go toward that.

In accepting the prize in June, Eldred said, “Early-stage dementia was a bad beginning, but my husband and I saw room, no, a wide window to turn a miserable decline into a kind of elevator. With the help of a village, my staff and board of directors and, with sticky notes, I remain grimly determined to serve my library as long as I can. Sometimes I think I’ve reached my ultimate day, so it’s thrilling to receive this award before the end.”

Read more stories about amazing librarians.

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Innovative library program gets kids active and fine-free in Buffalo, NY

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Approximately 42 percent of youths under 17 in Erie County, New York have Buffalo & Erie County Public Library cards. But nearly a quarter of that total, 18,000 youth, have fines or other suspensions on their cards that prevent them from accessing library resources.

The question was: how to get these library card holders back in good standing while also promoting the value of library cards more broadly?

Under the guidance of Director Mary Jean Jakubowski, the library and its partners designed a sports equipment lending and library card amnesty program called “Play Down Your Fines.” Piloted at the Isaías González-Soto Branch Library, located in an immigrant-rich neighborhood and next to a city park, the program expunged all fines, fees and charges from accounts when children borrow and return sports equipment, such as soccer, lacrosse, and snowshoe kits.

Since the program formally kicked off in July 2019, sports equipment kits have been borrowed 435 times. Of that number, 260 children (more than half of the total participants) under the age of 17 took advantage of Play Down Your Fines, representing the removal of a total of $16,500 in fines/fees from their library card accounts.

This summer, the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library plans to expand the program the summer of 2021 to include seven selected additional libraries and the Library’s bookmobile in underserved neighborhoods throughout Erie County, NY.

The Exercise for the Body and Mind - Children’s Library Card Amnesty Program and Sports Equipment Lending Program was recognized in June as the winner of American Library Association’s Penguin Random House Library Award for Innovation. The award, supported by Penguin Random House, the world’s largest trade book publisher, recognizes U.S. libraries and librarians who create lasting innovative community service programs that successfully inspire and connect with new readers.  

Read more about how libraries are innovating to meet the changing needs of their communities.

 

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Librarian swims to raise money for diversity initiatives

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Miriam Tuliao didn’t learn how to swim until she was in her 40s. But now she’s an open-water masters swimmer—and she’s using her time in the water to support causes important to her and to honor individuals who have made positive contributions to the library world.

This month, Tuliao will swim Grimaldo's Mile, a one mile open water event in New York City, on July 31 to raise funds for the American Library Association’s Spectrum Scholarship Program, which actively recruits and provides scholarships to American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Middle Eastern and North African, and/or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students to assist them with obtaining a graduate degree and leadership positions within the profession.

This is Tuliao's 14th consecutive year organizing an annual fundraiser for Spectrum. Her swim will be in honor of Shauntee Burns-Simpson, president of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and associate director of school outreach for The New York Public Library.

Tuliao is a library marketing manager at Penguin Random House. Before joining the publishing world, she served as the assistant director of selection at BookOps, the shared technical services organization of New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library.

In 2017, she told American Libraries magazine: “Librarians of color are in many ways ambassadors in their communities. They are our links to language, culture, to the collections and service, and they can extend their role to [the] families of users in their community, broadening the reach of service.”

Tuliao cites a Filipino saying—utang na loob—which means “a debt of the soul.” It’s why she says she feels a strong debt to colleagues and is inspired to help “provide new librarians an opportunity to fly.”

Support Tuliao's efforts by contributing to ALA at ec.ala.org/donate, selecting Spectrum, and making your gift in tribute to Miriam Tuliao. All donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

 

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President Barack Obama calls libraries “citadels of knowledge and empathy”

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If you love libraries (and we’re assuming you do because that’s the name of this website!), you are in great company.

This week, former President Barack Obama spoke to the American Library Association about his recent book A Promised Land. He also had a few things to say about libraries and librarians. Spoiler alert: he’s a fan.

Here's what he had to say: "I do believe that libraries are citadels of knowledge and empathy, and they’ve been extraordinarily important in my life. And I want to thank all the librarians out there, whether you’re in a small town, big city, you opening up the world for our children, giving them access to possibilities that they might not otherwise have, creating safe spaces where reading is cool, you mean a lot to not just those individuals who benefit from your work, but you mean a lot to our democracy and our country. We appreciate you. Keep it up."

Check out the video:

 

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Looking for great LGBTQIA+ books to read this summer?

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June is Pride Month, and it is also Rainbow Book Month™, a nationwide celebration of the authors and writings that reflect the lives and experiences of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, pansexual, genderqueer, queer, intersex, agender, and asexual community.

If you are looking for some LGBTQIA+ literature to celebrate, look no further than the Stonewall Book Awards, sponsored by the American Library Association's Rainbow Round Table. These awards include the Barbara Gittings Literature Award, the Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award, and the Mike Morgan and Larry Romans Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award. Collectively, they honor books of exceptional merit relating to the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender experience.

Check these out at your local library this summer!

Barbara Gittings Literature Award

The Thirty Names of Night by Zeyn Joukhadar (Atria Books)

Israel Fishman Nonfiction Award

Queer Games Avant-Garde: How LGBTQ Game Makers are Reimagining the Medium of Video Games by Bonnie Ruberg (they/them) (Duke University Press)

Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award

We Are Little Feminists: Families designed by Lindsey Blakely, written by Archaa Shrivastav  (Little Feminist)

Stonewall Honor Books in Literature

  • The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi, (Riverhead Books)
  • Memorial by Bryan Washington, (Riverhead Books)
  • More Than Organs by Kay Ulanday Barrett, (Sibling Rivalry Press)
  • Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz, (Graywolf Press)

Stonewall Honor Books in Literature Shortlist

  • Boys of Alabama by Genevieve Hudson, (Liveright Publishing Corporation)
  • Plain Bad Heroines: A Novel by Emily M. Danforth & Sara Lautman, ( William Morrow and Company)
  • The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue, (Little, Brown and Company)
  • The Subtweet by Vivek Shraya, ( ECW Press)
  • Too Much Lip by Melissa Lucashenko, (HarperVia)

Stonewall Honor Books in Non-Fiction

  • My Autobiography of Carson McCullers by Jenn Shapland, (Tin House Books)
  • The Fixed Stars: A Memoir by Molly Wizenberg, (Abrams Press, an imprint of ABRAMS)
  • Paper Bullets by Jeffrey H. Jackson, (Algonquin Books, a division of Workman Publishing)
  • XOXY: A Memoir by Kimberly M. Zieselman, (Jessica Kingsley Publishers)

Stonewall Honor Books in Children’s and Young Adult Literature

  • Beetle & The Hollowbones, illustrated and written by Aliza Layne (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division)
  • Darius the Great Deserves Better, written by Adib Khorram (Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC)
  • Felix Ever After written by Kacen Callender (Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)
  • You Should See Me in a Crown, written by Leah Johnson (Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc.)

This Is the Way to Check Out Books

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Picture being 5 years old and getting your first library card. Now imagine that card – a key that unlocks the secrets of the entire galaxy — had an image of the universe’s cutest Jedi Master. That’s right — your first library card featured none other than Grogu, aka Baby Yoda, aka The Child.

For a young boy in Tyler, Texas, this was no fantasy. As the Tyler Morning Telegraph reported, 5-year-old Ace Smith and 4-year-old Tripp Bowie were the first patrons at the Longview Public Library — and the nation — to get the out-of-this-word limited edition library cards.

The Child debuted as a READ® poster star in December 2020, and now the breakout star of The Mandalorian is pocket sized. When Ace and Tripp reach for their library cards, they’ll be greeted by the adorable green guy and the phrase READ: This is the Way.

Now Star Wars fans might see these cards touching down at their local libraries. The American Library Association is making them available to libraries throughout the country.

Want Grogu on your local library’s cards? Tell you librarian to request more information.  

 

Book Award Season Is in Full Swing for Librarians: Find Out How to WFH (Watch from Home)

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For those who don’t already know, many of the nation’s most prestigious honors for literature are administered by librarians—including the Newbery and Caldecott medals, the Coretta Scott King Book Awards, the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, and many others.

The winners of these coveted awards are announced in January, but it’s June when the real celebration happens. That’s when librarians get together, don their finest attire and attend gala ceremonies, many of them replete with cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, or even a full banquet, to celebrate great literature and hear from the winning authors. The formal attire pictured in this 1974 Newbery-Caldecott banquet photo may no longer be the standard, but these important book award ceremonies are still the highlight of the year for many librarians.

Alas, due to the pandemic, gathering in person to celebrate the winning authors isn’t an option this year.  And while librarians, like everyone else, are excited to get back to meeting in person, virtual award ceremonies have the added benefit of allowing everyone, including you, to participate.

So, book nerds take note. Here’s a list of upcoming book award ceremonies you can watch from home. Formal attire not required.

Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) Literature Award

The Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature honors and recognizes individual works about Asian/Pacific Americans and their heritage, based on literary and artistic merit.

Date and time: Friday, June 18, 2021, 1:00 PM CT
Following the ceremony at 2:00 PM CT, there will be a live chat session with several authors and they will answer questions from the audience.  During the live chat, you can submit questions via APALA’s Youtube Channel. More information is available on the APALA website.

How to watch: APALA YouTube Channel

Who's accepting:

  • Adult Fiction Award: C Pam Zhang for How Much of These Hills is Gold: A Novel
  • Adult Non-Fiction: Erika Lee for America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States 
  • Youth Literature: Andrew Fukuda for This Light Between Us
  • Children’s Literature: Tae Keller for When You Trap a Tiger
  • Picture Book: Julie Leung (writer) and Chris Sasaki (illustrator) for Paper Son: The Inspiring Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist

Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction

The Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, established in 2012, recognize the best fiction and nonfiction books for adult readers published in the U.S. in the previous year and serve as a guide to help adults select quality reading material. They are the first single-book awards for adult books given by the American Library Association and reflect the expert judgment and insight of library professionals who work closely with adult readers. The winners (one for fiction, one for nonfiction) receive a $5,000 cash award. The awards are sponsored by Booklist and the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Date and time: Thursday, June 24, 3:00 PM CT

How to watch: Register for the free Zoom session
This free, one-hour celebration is sponsored by NoveList and hosted by Booklist and RUSA.

Who's speaking: At the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence virtual gala, you’ll hear acceptance speeches from Carnegie Fiction winner James McBride, for Deacon King Kong, and Carnegie Nonfiction winner Rebecca Giggs, for Fathoms: The World in the Whale.

The keynote speaker will be novelist and journalist Thrity Umrigar, the best-selling author of, among others, The Weight of Heaven, The World We Found, The Story Hour, Everybody’s Son, and The Secrets Between Us.

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values. The award commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honors his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood. The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are sponsored by the Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange (EMIERT), a round table of the American Library Association.

Date and time: Sunday June 27, from 10:00 – 11:00 AM CT

How to watch: American Library Association YouTube Channel

Who's speaking: Jacqueline Woodson will accept the 2021 Coretta Scott King Author Award for Before the Ever After, and Frank Morrison will accept the 2021 CSK Illustrator Award for R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul.

You’ll also hear from Tracy Deonn, winner of the 2021 John Steptoe Award for New Talent, Dorothy Guthrie, winner of the Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement, and many others.

Join the conversation on Twitter by using #CSK52 and #BookAwardsCelebration.

Pura Belpré Award 25th Anniversary Celebración

The Pura Belpré Award, established in 1996, is presented annually to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth. The award is co-sponsored by REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking, the Association for Library Service to Children, the Young Adult Library Services Association.

Date and time: June 27, from 1:00 – 2:30 PM CT

How to watch: American Library Association YouTube Channel

Who's speaking:  Hear from recipients of the 2021 Pura Belpré Award, past recipients, and the award's founders at this ceremony:

  • Raúl Gonzalez, winner of the 2021 Youth Illustrator Medal for “¡Vamos! Let’s Go Eat”
  • Ernesto Cisneros, winner of the Children's Narrative Medal for “Efrén Divided”
  • Yamile Saied Méndez, winner of the Young Adult Narrative Medal for “Furia”

Schneider Family Book Awards Celebration

The Schneider Family Book Awards serve as a guide for librarians, parents, and educators searching for the very best titles that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.

Date and Time: Sunday, June 27, 1:30 p.m. CT

How to watch: Free Zoom event but registration is required before June 26, 2021. 

Who's accepting: Younger Children winners author Jordan Scott and illustrator Sydney Smith for I Talk Like a River, Middle Grades winner author Ann Clare LeZotte for Show Me a Sign, and Teen Award winner I.W. Gregorio,  for This is My Brain in Love. Honorees will also provide remarks.

Newbery/Caldecott – Legacy Banquet

The Newbery and the Caldecott Medals are considered the two most prestigious awards for children's literature in the United States. The Newbery Medal, awarded annually since 1922, honors the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. The Caldecott Medal, awarded annually since 1938, is presented to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. The Children's Literature Legacy Award (formerly the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award) honors an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to children's literature through books that demonstrate integrity and respect for all children's lives and experiences. The Newbery, Caldecott, and Children's Literacy Legacy Awards are sponsored and administered by the Association for Library Service to Children.

Date and time: Sunday, June 27, from 7:00 – 8:30 PM CT

How to watch: American Library Association YouTube Channel

Who's speaking: Tae Keller will accept the Newbery Medal for When You Trap a Tiger, and Michaela Goade will accept the 2021 Caldecott Medal for her illustrations in the book We Are Water Protectors written by Carole Lindstrom. You’ll also hear from Mildred D. Taylor, winner of the 2021 Children’s Literature Legacy Award. Her numerous works include Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and All the Days Past, All the Days to Come. Newbery and Caldecott Honorees will also deliver brief messages.

ALSC Awards Ceremony

Often called the “Monday Morning Awards,” this ceremony highlights four of the Association for Library Service to Children’s awards which recognize four distinct types of children’s media. The Mildred L. Batchelder Award is presented to a publisher of an outstanding children’s book translated into English for U.S. publication. The Excellence in Early Learning Digital Media Award is presented to a producer that has created distinguished digital media for an early learning audience. The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award is for beginning readers, and the Robert F. Sibert Medal is for informational books.

Date and time: Monday, June 28th from 10:00-11:00 AM CT

How to watch: American Library Association YouTube Channel

Who's speaking: Over a dozen of notable children’s media creators; publishers, producers, editors, authors, and illustrators will appear in recognition of their work. David LaRochelle and Mike Wohnoutka will deliver a joint acceptance speech for their Geisel Award for See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog. Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann will do the same for their Sibert Medal for Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera.

 

Photo from ALA Archive: A group at the 1974 Newbery-Caldecott banquet. From left to right: Priscilla Moulton (Newbery-Caldecott Selection Committee), Harve Zemach (Caldecott winner), Margot Zemach (Caldecott winner), Daniel Melcher, Paula Fox (Newbery winner), Richard Jackson (publisher), Bob Verrone, Barbara Rollock (Newbery-Caldecott Selection Committee, chair).

Waiting in vain: The behind-the-scenes challenges that impact your ability to access ebooks and other digital content from your library

By on

The pandemic continues to fuel increased demand from library users for digital content like ebooks, digital magazines, and more. According to OverDrive, a leading provider of digital library content, in 2020, readers worldwide borrowed more than 430 million ebooks, audiobooks, and digital magazines, an increase of 33% compared with 2019 figures.

While patrons continue to discover and rely on digital content, libraries are engaged in a behind-the-scenes fight for fair pricing, multiple licensing models, and full access to digital content from publishers.

A recent position paper from the American Library Association, “The Need for Change: A Position Paper on E-Lending by the ALA Joint Digital Content Working Group (PDF),” calls for improved access, licensing models, pricing to serve readers and users of public, academic, and K-12 school libraries. The paper notes current and long-standing challenges in digital content lending and the issues that complicate acquisition of, user access to, and preservation of digital information.

We recently caught up with Michael Blackwell, Director, St. Mary's County Library in Maryland and member of the ALA Joint Digital Content Working Group, to learn more about this hidden struggle:

What should library users know about how their libraries buy and share digital content like books, magazines, and films?

The most important thing to know is that libraries do not own most or nearly any of the digital content. Instead, we license it. Unlike with a print book, which we buy, own, and circulate, digital content circulation is still owned the publishers, who can set limits on the length of time we have the rights to share it or even say we cannot even have a license at all.  

What are the challenges associated with the current model?

The challenges are many. Some of the smaller and medium sized publishers have favorable terms for libraries, but all of the Big 5 publishers, who put out some 95 percent of the best- selling titles, have restrictive licenses for ebooks. The licenses expire after a certain time or number of circulations. We must constantly relicense, often at relatively high prices.

With our ability to share the content only for one or two years, and at a price as much as five or six times what we pay for a print book, works by new authors or older titles that may not circulate heavily become a gamble to license. Will we get a reasonably return on our investment in them?

Some of the Big 5 still offer a perpetual license on audiobooks (which means we have no time limit on them) but at prices sometimes nearing $100, so that libraries are hard-pressed to get enough copies to meet demand. A pay-per-use option is offered, but it too can be cost-prohibitive. For example, President Obama's most recent book A Promised Land costs libraries $9.50 per patron use –not a price libraries can sustain.

Still, this is better than the publishers who do not share content with libraries at all. The Digital Public Library of America announced a deal to share Amazon's exclusive content on May 18 but Audible exclusives are still not available to libraries. Increasingly, media companies are moving to streaming video, and libraries cannot share this content digitally, having to rely on DVD versions, if those are even produced. In short, digital doesn't offer us the "bang for the book" that we have in physical materials.

How does this impact readers?

It is nearly impossible to build a collection as deep and rich as what we offer in print, even as demand surges for digital in libraries, especially in the wake of the COVID pandemic. Readers see less variety and have longer waits for the best-known content, especially as libraries are increasingly stretched by having to meet demand for digital while still providing print without notable increases in funding.

We also struggle to provide content from some of the smaller publishers that offer better deals because of the high cost of other digital content. In the long run, we may have to offer fewer of the most popular titles.

What are some examples of content readers cannot access through their libraries because of the lending models?

Titles can be inaccessible in two ways. Some content is simply not available digitally, at least in some formats.  For example, Trevor Noah's Born a Crime is available in libraries in ebook but not digital audiobook. Some titles, even classics such as Charlotte's Web, are not available to libraries in any digital format. But titles can also be inaccessible because we are simply not sure they will get enough use to warrant licensing. For works of fiction by a new author or non-fiction work on an interesting subject that is getting no media build-up from its publisher, ebooks may not make sense. Print copies of those same title can be purchased inexpensively and promoted, but for a book that might only get six circulations at $60 for digital may mean collection developers won’t purchase it.

How can readers get involved in this issue?

Perhaps the best way is to become informed. Talk with your library, ask for their thoughts, and see if they have specific suggestions. Libraries sometimes join together on initiatives. For example, ALA launched the ebooksforall initiative when one publisher instituted particularly troublesome licensing, and we sought reader signatures on a petition. Maryland currently has a bill passed by the legislature and waiting its Governor's signature that would require that publishers who license content to consumers also must license that content to libraries, ensuring that more titles would be available. Libraries in other states are considering action; if your state does, join libraries in advocating for such legislation.

Above all, use and support your library. We can't do it without you! Become a library advocate today!

 

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