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Katie

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton (2018)

bellesCamellia is a Belle. Belles are the most important people in the kingdom, other than the royal family, because they control beauty. In the world of Orléans, everyone is born a "gris": gray skin, red eyes, straw colored hair. Only the Belles can grant a person a new look, using their magic to change appearance, manner, and control age.

Camellia wants to become the Favorite Belle—to work in the palace and work for the royal family. But is that life really what it seems? When dark mysteries arise, like crying girls in the middle of the night and former Belles being veiled, Camellia must decide to find her own truth in beauty.

I've listened to The Belles on audio twice. Rosie Jones, the narrator, does a wonderful job with voices and accents. She makes the city of Orléans come to life, and her take on Princess Sophia's voice still sends shivers up my spine.

I love Dhonielle Clayton's descriptions of the world of Orléans – the post balloons and petit cakes and teletropes – the world building is fantastic.

The last few pages of this book will keep readers on the edge of their seat. And when they read the last line, they'll be clamoring for the sequel The Everlasting Rose, out March 5, 2019. [Beware! There are spoilers on the linked page for The Belles.]

In the meantime, you can join me as I start my third re-listen.
Natalie

IPPL Language Story Kits!

It's a new year and with those New Year's Resolutions, here's a resource to learn some new vocabulary in another language: IPPL Language Story Kits!
Our Language Story Kits feature two books (one in English and one in another language) as well as a flannelboard or a puppet to re-tell the story and practice new vocabulary. Our books and languages offered are listed below:

Displays two clear plastic bins that hold up vinyl pouches. The vinyl pouches have a clear front and you can see the books and handouts inside of the kits.

  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (Japanese/English)
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (Panjabi/English)
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (Polish/English)
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (Urdu/English)
  • Go Away, Big Green Monster (Chinese/English)
  • Go Away, Big Green Monster (Spanish/English)
  • The Snowy Day (Chinese/English)
  • The Snowy Day (Spanish/English)
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Bengali/English)
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar (French/English)
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Panjabi/English)
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Polish/English)


Our Language Story Kits are located on the second floor, in the Kids & Teens department Junior Language collection. Check out our catalog to see which Story Kit you can check out today!

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Katie

RBG (2018) PG

81njbw6zvql-_sy445_It's no surprise to people who know me well that Ruth Bader Ginsburg is one of my personal heroes (and in the immortal words of The Notorious B.I.G. via Lin-Manuel Miranda -- "and if ya don't know, now ya know").  When I found out that there was a documentary coming out on her life, I knew I would be seeing that in the theaters—but now RBG is out on DVD for everyone to enjoy!  The documentary includes interviews with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, her family members, political figures, authors of the book The Notorious RBG, and many more.  It covers her life from childhood to current service and includes footage from her confirmation hearing, as well as audio files from court cases.  What struck me as the best part of the film though were the moments that we, the public, don't always get to see -- Ruth Bader Ginsburg interacting with her granddaughter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg watching Kate McKinnon play her on Saturday Night Live, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg's life with her beloved husband. I also have to admit that I was delighted to see information on her pop culture influence, including one of the best baby costumes ever: Baby RBG.

I think this is an important documentary for anyone with a political interest to see.  U. S. Supreme Court Justice Bader Ginsburg's friendship with Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, despite their political oppositions, is something we can all learn from.
Katie

Ghost by Jason Reynolds (2016)

ghostGhost is the first book in the Track series by Jason Reynolds. It's currently on the Rebecca Caudill 2019 nominees list.

I absolutely adored this book (and its sequels: Patina, Sunny, and Lu).

Ghost may appear to be a simply sports-themed book, but it's not. It has a deep backstory, and I loved watching Ghost – the main character – develop and grow as his story unfurled.

While the series is definitely linked by the track team, each character really shines in their own book. I think Patina is my favorite of all four.

Definitely add this to your reading list and don't forget to vote for the Rebecca Caudills (PDF) starting in February!

Author's Website: https://www.jasonwritesbooks.com/

IPPL Staff

Top Ten Picture Books of 2018

The covers of Miss Katie's picks for Top Ten Picture Books of 2018.
Asking a librarian to pick a favorite book is one of the most difficult questions to answer. In fact, even coming up with a top ten list for the year involves feeling like you've betrayed the other books you've loved. That being said, these are my favorite picture books of 2018, in alphabetical order. I'll give you a little reason why with each title.

 

  1. A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin: A story about the cycle of the moon, with a folk tale-esque feel. This book is filled with gorgeous pictures.
  2. Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets by Hena Khan: A spectacular shapes books that includes more than the basics (square, triangle, circle). This title works fantastic for older preschoolers and grade-school children.
  3. Drawn Together by Minh Lê: A beautiful story about a grandfather and grandson who use art to overcome their language, cultural, and generational differences. This one will inspire children to draw their own stories with family.
  4. Dreamers by Yuyi Morales: An immigrant story where the library becomes a safe haven and place of learning for both mother and son. Spend some time with these illustrations; you can even look through to find familiar book covers.
  5. Gator! Gator! Gator! by Daniel Bernstrom: The rhythm of this picture book begs to be read aloud in storytime. The guessing game with animals in shadows really invites readers to participate in the journey taken.
  6. I Really Want to See You, Grandma by Tarō Gomi: Yumi and Grandma really want to see each other, but what happens when they both leave at the same time is a funny story for friends paying close attention to the illustrations.
  7. Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love: This story of familial acceptance is filled with joy and gorgeous illustrations from debut author/illustrator Love.
  8. A Parade of Elephants by Kevin Henkes: This picture book is perfect for beginning readers as they learn about concepts while following the elephants through their day.
  9. Play This Book by Jessica Young: Our favorite new title from Shake, Shimmy, & Dance this year is a celebration of musical instruments merged with the interaction that made Hervé Tullet's Press Here a hit.
  10. Shake the Tree! by Chirara Vignocchi: A fun story that changes from horizontal to vertical page spread as animals shake the tree to get at what they'd like to eat. Great opportunity for kids to play along.


If you need any recommendations for more great picture books, stop by the Kids & Teens "Ask Us" desk!

 
 
 
 
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Katie

Moana (2016) PG

moana_dvd_coverMoana is a spectacular adventure movie.  Charged with returning the heart of the goddess Te Fiti, Moana leaves her island nation and sails away on her mission.  I absolutely love the animation of this movie.  The ocean is a character in and of itself because of the creative team's work.  Some of my favorite moments though are those of Moana's introspection and self-realization.  Moana is a very different Disney "princess."  First of all, she rejects the word princess, and she has her own agenda, making the decision to follow her draw to the ocean. Also, she alone solves the mystery of Te Ka in order to save Te Fiti.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the wonderful music that sets Moana soaring.  While I love Auliʻi Cravalho's voice (the voice of Moana) and "How Far I'll Go," my favorite songs are the ones that are sung in Tokelauan.  Lastly, I would encourage you to seek out reviews from Pacific Islander reviewers to speak to the culture represented in the movie.  This Buzzfeed article is a great round-up of dialogue, and so is this review from Strange Horizons.

All in all, I think Moana is a genuine, worthwhile story and a great Disney film that will stay with you long after the credits roll.
IPPL Staff

WTTW Kids BIG IDEA Traveling Show

WTTW Kids BIG IDEA logo: a teal thought bubble with the name of the program inside. Sign up here; more space just added!
Join us for an exciting 45-minute FREE live show, perfect for children 2 to 7 years old, bringing to life the fun and learning from WTTW Kids’ most popular and beloved children’s shows.

Hosted by the WTTW Kids Lab Guys, children will be inspired to discover their own BIG IDEAS using our very own recipe of Wonder, Watch & Learn More! The exciting show will engage kids to explore themes like emotions, life cycles, recycling, the natural world, and more as we discover everyday BIG IDEAS. We’ll also learn about great children’s books that support the show’s themes and experience a few fun surprises along the way. Some shows will include a character Meet & Greet following the performance.

What’s the BIG IDEA?

A BIG IDEA is a solution to a problem, an answer to a question, or something that has opened your mind to a new understanding. When you’re a kid, the world is full of new things to learn. BIG IDEAs help us to solve every day conundrums, large and small.

What’s the recipe for a BIG IDEA?

WONDER: A question in your mind or a curiosity to learn more.
WATCH: Observe how something is done or how it works. Absorb information and consider the possibilities.
LEARN MORE: Read a book, watch a video, visit a library or a zoo, or talk with someone who might have more information to share.
Then, voila! You have a BIG IDEA!

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Katie

American Street by Ibi Zoboi (2017)

amerstreetFabiola and her mother are leaving Haiti and coming to live in Detroit. But when Fabiola's mother is detained in New Jersey, Fabiola is left to travel onward to her aunt and cousins's home.

I fell into the world that Ibi Zoboi created; blending an American city with Haitian Vodou. Where the average person might see a homeless man on the corner, Fabiola sees Papa Legba.

Fabiola's struggles immediately draw you into the story and when she is presented with an opportunity to help her mother by spying on her cousin's boyfriend, readers will feel for Fabiola.

It's been several months since I've listened to American Street, and I can hear Robin Miles's beautiful narration when I think of the story and the characters.

This Abe Lincoln nominee (PDF) will possibly break your heart (it did for me), and everyone should read it.

 
 
 
 
Katie

Love, Simon (2018) PG-13

91uzbb9mbbl-_sy445_One of my favorite things in the entire world is seeing a book turned into a movie and comparing the two.  I am the girl in the theater who turns to her friend afterward and says, "But they didn't say who the Marauders are!" (Sorry, that's a Harry Potter reference.)  I almost always find the movie to be less than the book.  Love, Simon is the best movie adaptation of a book I've ever seen.  It gives such life to Becky Albertalli's novel, Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda (review here!).  Nick Robinson is perfectly cast as Simon. And any nitpicky things that I thought as I watched the rest of the cast announced (Leah's not how I pictured!) disappeared with Katherine Langford's performance.

Seeing the movie in theaters was like attending a giant slumber party where the whole audience was rooting for Simon and cheering.  At home, it feels comforting and like a true teen rom-com, you're just hoping it will end with a "happily ever after".

Make sure to check out Love, Simon from the library today.

 
 
 
Katie

Scythe by Neal Shusterman (2016)

scytheConfession time: Out of all of the Abraham Lincoln 2019 award nominees, this was the one I was least looking forward to. Teenagers forced to kill? Grim Reaper death person on the cover? Morality? Not another dystopian! I was so, so, so wrong.

Scythe on audio was a bit of a slow start, but I was soon waking up ten minutes earlier to have more time in the car in the morning. I needed to know what was happening to Citra and Rowan.

I gasped out loud. I shouted at the car stereo. I cackled. I sent all-caps text messages to two friends who were reading it at the same time. (If you stop by the Kids & Teens Ask Us Desk, I would be happy to re-enact some of these text conversations.)

The world building is phenomenal, the characters are fully developed -- and they grow throughout the book. I would have a hard time trying to find fault with Scythe...which is probably why it won a Printz Honor in 2017.

This would be my vote for the Abes (PDF), if I were a teen and allowed to vote. Instead, I'll just be sitting here watching Neal Shusterman's Twitter account, waiting impatiently for the announcement of book three in the series.

[Word to the wise, the sequel to Scythe -- 2018's Thunderhead -- leaves you thrown off a cliff hurtling towards Earth. You might want to wait until that third boo has a publication date before diving into Thunderhead.]
Katie

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah (2016)

51v55l2fxflWhen I checked out Born a Crime, I knew vaguely that Trevor Noah was a comedian. I even remembered sharing a post of his on social media since I thought it was funny. Yet somehow, I did not expect to have to pull my car over to the shoulder to finish listening to one of Noah's stories. I was laughing so hard, I was crying.

And if that's not a ringing endorsement of an audiobook, I don't know what is.

I highly recommend listening to the audiobook version of this book because you hear Noah speaking the different South African languages with accuracy. And you get to hear Noah's voice imitation of his mother, among other people in his memoir.

Oh? And the story I had to pull over to finish on the road? I've been telling it to everyone, convincing them to read the book. If you do read Born a Crime, stop by the K&T desk upstairs and see if you can guess which story made me laugh so hard I cried.
Katie

Rockabye Baby! Lullaby renditions of songs from Hamilton (2017)

rockaby-babyTo all the caregivers and parents out there who want to listen to their own tunes while riding in the car with their babies, but worry about the adult language or themes...I give you Rockabye Baby.

Rockabye Baby takes popular music and transforms it into soothing instrumental lullabies.

I personally like to jam out to the Hamilton original cast recording by myself, but when my nieces and nephews are around, I'll put on the Rockabye Baby Hamilton edition so I can listen to something appropriate and also what I want at the same time.

This label has EIGHTY different albums released, with more coming every day. Check out all of them upstairs in the K&T department. We'll get you Beyonce or Coldplay lullaby-style and you'll be on your way.
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Katie

Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly (2017)

hellouniversekellyHello, Universe was one book that I had to read in a single sitting because I was so enthralled with the story telling. Told by four very different characters, their storylines intertwine and meet throughout . The adventure is high-stakes (at least for a claustrophobic like me!), and I loved watching the characters develop and progress through their actions and thoughts.

My favorite character was Virgil Salinas. I loved his relationship with his pet, Gulliver, and with his lola (grandmother). He feels out of place in his family since he's not interested in sports. He's also the character who I felt the most concerned for, in terms of the adventure that he takes.

But I think what really made this a special read for me is that I read it the week before I heard Erin Entrada Kelly give her acceptance speech for winning the Newbery Award. The combination of book and speech is unforgettable and I'm so looking forward to anything Kelly writes next...including the Golden Valley High series. Ha!
Katie

Everything, Everything (2017) PG-13

everything_everything_posterMaddy has severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID)—and that means she has lived her entire life in her house. She spends her time writing blogs, playing Scrabble games with her mom, and taking classes online. But all of that changes when a new neighbor named Olly moves in next door, and Maddy starts to be drawn to the outside world.

I thought that Everything, Everything, the movie adaptation of Nicola Yoon’s teen novel was done really well. The film stars teen movie veterans Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) and Nick Robinson (The 5th Wave; Love, Simon) and their chemistry carries the story. I was concerned that since so much of the story is told through texts and emails that the movie wouldn't work as well, but the director and crew found great ways to work around that aspect of the book.

While I enjoyed this movie and the book, you should be aware that the portrayal of SCID isn't factually accurate. This article, written in Variety, explains this in more detail. However, don't read it until you've seen the movie since it does contain spoilers.

If you have enjoyed the book or movie of Everything, Everything, make sure to read Yoon's other book, The Sun Is Also a Star.
Katie

Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan (2017)

aminasvoiceAmina loves music and especially loves to sing. But whenever she stands on stage, words never come out. And Amina has more than just stage fright to worry about: friends, family visiting from Pakistan, and her parents have signed her for a Quran recitation competition! Can Amina find her voice in time?

Hena Khan writes a realistic, relatable character in Amina. Readers will cheer for Amina throughout the book; even when Amina makes some mistakes, she is quick to make amends.

I thought that the story was fast-paced and very engaging for readers. I had to keep turning the pages to find out what would happen to Amina.

Amina’s Voice is currently on the Bluestem 2019 Nominees list for grades 3-5. Make sure to pick up a copy of our challenge log when you check out a copy in the K&T Department.