Juvenile fiction with a lot of pictures

Do you have a child who is having a hard time reading? Do you want to transition them away from comic books to slightly more challenging material? Here’s a good starting place. These books (many are series) have many simply-drawn illustrations – some several per page.

Angleberger, Tom- Origami Yoda (series)
Bolling, Ruben- EMU club (series)
Brallier, Max- Galactic Hot Dogs (series)
Cronin, Doreen- Into the Wild
Fry, Michael- The Odd Squad (series)
Kinney, Jeff- Diary of a Wimpy Kid (series)
McMullan, Kate- School! Adventures at the Harvey N. Trouble elementary school
Patterson, James- Middle School (series)
Peirce, Lincoln- Big Nate (series)
Pilkey, Dav- Captain Underpants (series)
Pinchon, Liz- The Brilliant World of Tom Gates
Russell, Rachel Renee- The Dork Diaries (series)
Skye, Obert – Creature from my closet (series)
Smith, James- Barry Loser (series) includes “I am still not a loser” and “I am so over being a loser”
Stilton, Geronimo- Geronimo Stilton (series)
Watson, Tom- Stick Dog (series) and Stick Cat

My favorite children’s book illustrators

Sometimes I read children’s books for the art more than for the story. This is my current list of all the artists I love. This list will be added to as I find more.

Jill Barklem
Aaron Becker
Peter Brown
Ross Collins
Tim Egan
John S. Goodall
Stephanie Graegin
Michael Hall
John Hendrix
Holly Hobbie
Leigh Hodgkinson
Ayano Imai
Oliver Jeffers
Maira Kalman
Jon Klassen
Hilary Knight
Barbara Lehman
Jon Muth
Adam Rex
David Roberts
Dan Santat
Dr. Seuss
David Shannon
David Soman
Melissa Sweet
Chris Van Allsburg

Books that wish they were apps.

Perhaps there are too many kids growing up with books that are digital. They don’t know how to appreciate a book that doesn’t move or make noise.

Here is a list of books that think they are apps. They don’t beep or wiggle, but they are interactive, nonetheless. They are all picture books.

“Mix it Up!” by Herve Tullet

“Press Here” by Herve Tullet

“Tap the Magic Tree” by Christie Matheson

“Touch the Brightest Star” by Christie Matheson

“Shake to Assemble” by Calliope Glass

“Look” by Edouard Manceau

Chanukah books for children

These are very good picture books for children that are about Chanukah. I will add to this list as I find more.

Simon and the bear: a Hanukkah story by Eric A Kimmel

The menorah story by Mark H. Podwal

Hanukkah Bear by Eric Kimmel

The Count’s Hanukkah Countdown (from Shalom Sesame) by Tilda Balsley and Ellen Fischer

Christmas books for children

These are all very good picture books for children that are about Christmas. I will add to this list as I find more.

Babushka by Sandra Ann Horn
The Little Drummer Boy by Ezra Jack Keats
A song in Bethlehem by Marni McGee
Why Christmas trees aren’t perfect by Richard H. Schneider
Eloise at Christmastime by Kay Thompson

Specifically featuring the Magi –

The Stone: a Persian Legend of the Magi by Dianne Hofmeyr
The Fourth King: The story of the other wise man by Ted Sieger
The Fourth Wise Man (retold by Susan Summers, based on the story by Henry Van Dyke)
Small Camel Follows the Star by Rachel W.N. Brown

Bear books for children

These are all very good picture books for children that feature bears. I will add to this list as I find more.

Where’s My Teddy? by Jez Alborough

A Library Book for Bear by Bonny Becker

The Bear’s Song by Benjamin Chaud

Otto the Book Bear By Katie Cleminson

Don’t Worry Bear by Greg Foley

The Winter Visitors by Karel Hayes

Mr. Brown’s Fantastic Hat by Ayano Imai

Hugless Dougless by David Melling

Wonder Bear by Tao Nyeu

Three Bears in a Boat by David Soman

Monster books for children

These are all very good picture books for children that feature monsters. I will add to this list as I find more.

Love Monster by Rachel Bright

Monsters Eat Whiny Children by Bruce Kaplan

The Monster’s Monster by Patrick McDonnell

Even Monsters Need Haircuts by Matthew McElligott

Some Monsters are Different by David Milgrim

Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich by Adam Rex

Wanda’s Monster by Eileen Spinelli

A sad library book.

A book was returned in the book drop this morning. This is what it looks like.
book 1

This is amazing. There is no way the patron checked it out like this. Sure, it has had over a hundred checkouts. Sure, it is over 10 years old. But there is no way it had this water damage when we checked it in.

Books aren’t supposed to be wavy.
book 2

Pages aren’t supposed to be falling out.
book 3

Now sure, we are human and we make mistakes. We miss things sometimes. But then it is on the patron to bring it to our attention while in the library and not check it out.

Returning it in the book drop, like we wouldn’t notice it, is really squirrelly. So of course I billed the patron. It is only $7.99, plus a processing fee. She could easily buy a replacement copy and bring it in and not have to pay our fee. We actually like that better. That way we get a copy of the book.

But that would require bringing in the book, which she didn’t do to start off with. Maybe she was busy. Maybe someone else returned it for her. But there are some things you should do in person. Admitting that you destroyed a book is one of them.

I can’t tell you the number of people who say “What do you mean I have to pay for this? You can still read it!” Or “I can’t believe I have to buy a new copy of this book – it is used!”

All books in the library are used. If they are checked out even once they are “used”. But if the patron hadn’t damaged the book, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Books should be returned in the same condition that they were checked out. This seems logical. But sadly, not everybody shares this opinion.

Books come back sopping wet. Books come back dry, but with wavy pages from water damage. Books come back with pages that were ironed as an attempt to press out the wavy pages that were created from water damage. Here’s some tips. Don’t read library books in the tub. Put books in a plastic bag if you are bringing them back on a rainy day. Better yet, don’t return them on a rainy day and just pay the late fee. It will be cheaper than being billed for it.

Water damage isn’t the only damage that occurs to library books. Books frequently come back chewed up by pets. Very common are the “dog training” books that come back chewed up. Somehow I don’t think the book did the trick. Sometimes people deny that their pets chewed up the books. The best reply was that the person said he didn’t even have a dog, and accused us of taking it home and letting one of our dogs chew it. Now, that is insane. Why would we do that? It is as if he thinks we want people to yell at us. Trust me, that is the farthest thing from our minds.

Yes, people yell at the staff in the library. It isn’t the “safe” place you think it is. Anybody can come in, and they do.

Books come back with coffee stains, syrup smears, and jam spots. Yes, we bill for that. Books come back with sentences underlined, pages dog-eared, and “bad” words blacked out. Yes, we bill for that too.

Strangest damage? A whole slew of books came back with the dust covers torn off and the books covered in a fine grain dirt. It turned out that the patron’s younger son had taken the books to the ballpark while they watched the older son play baseball. He’d taken off the dust jackets “to protect the books”. The dust jackets are on the books to do exactly that. Taking them off not only exposes the book to damage, it is also a pain to put the cover back on.

The moral of the story? You can do whatever you want to your own books. But library books aren’t yours. You get to borrow them. You don’t have the right to damage them in any way. They belong to everybody in the county. So be nice to library books, out of thankfulness that you get to borrow them.

Kid’s books that are fun for adults

Who says kids should have all the fun? These are around 8-12 year old range, but enjoyable for adults too. I gave this list to the children’s librarian at my library, and she has made some changes (corrections). I still think my order is right. So, I’ve added her changes (where there were some) at the end of each section. You are advised to check the order for yourself.

Martin Booth – The Alchemist’s Son series.
1) Doctor Illuminatus
2) Soul Stealer
(Sadly, there is no #3. The author died. Read them anyway)

Pierdominico Baccalario – The Ulysses Moore series. (time and space travel, mystery, adventure)
1) Ulysses Moore: The Door to Time
2) The Long-Lost Map
3) The House of Mirrors
4) The Isle of Masks

Helen Dunmore – the Ingo series (Cornwall, mermaids, adventure)
1) Ingo
2) The Tide Knot
3) The Deep
4) The Crossing of Ingo
5) Stormswept (due to be released 1/5/2012)

Diana Wynne Jones – The Castle series (Neil Gaiman and Hayao Miyazaki are fans)
1) Howl’s Moving Castle
2) Castle in the Air
3) House of Many Ways

Susan Cooper – The Dark is Rising Series (British “good versus evil” supernatural adventure)
1) Over Sea, Under Stone
2) The Dark is Rising
3) Greenwitch
4) The Grey King
5) Silver on the Tree

Madeline L’Engle – the Wrinkle in Time Series (Christian fiction masquerading as sci-fi. Beautiful, uplifting)
1) A Wrinkle in Time
2) A Swiftly Tilting Planet
3) A Wind in the Door
4) Many Waters (can be read separately)
(the librarian says the order is Wrinkle, Wind, Swiftly, and Many)

John Christopher – The Tripod series. (post apocalyptic humans versus machines)
1) When the Tripods Came
2) The White Mountains
3) The City of Gold and Lead
4) The Pool of Fire
(The librarian says the order is White, City, Pool, and When, but When is a prequel that was written last)

Terry Pratchett – The Bromeliad Trilogy (not Discworld – these are tiny creatures. Well written.)
1) Truckers
2) Diggers
3) Wings
Separate, but also good – “The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents”