It is a bitter truth, but a truth nonetheless. Little kids do not have signing authority for the cheques that pay for the children’s books purchased by the Lennoxville Library.
Not to say that kids don’t have any input. Charity Kerrigan is an adult who sits on the library’s children’s book buying committee; her kids make sure she knows what they like, by asking for some books again and again.
Here are their current faves!
Levin is five years old. “He has really enjoyed Once Upon An Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers.” It’s a big red oversized book (2014, filed at C-86), filled with actual short stories for Jelly, and for the Half House that fell into the sea during a Hurricane, and Robots. Oh, the Robots!
Robots don’t like rain clouds
So they steal them from the sky.
From everywhere and anywhere
That’s why it’s been so dry.
I’m sure you have been wondering,
What’s with all this dust?
Well, robots don’t like getting wet.
They don’t do well with rust.
Then there’s My Teacher Is A Monster (No, I Am Not) by Peter Brown (2014, in C-78). It’s for misunderstood students and misunderstood teachers, everywhere. “Bobby had a big problem at school. Her name was Ms Kirby.” Ms Kirby is a big green-skinned horror in a dress, and she’s always punishing Bobby for his bad behavior. She’s inhuman.
And then one day, Bobby meets Ms Kirby in the park. Does this mean that Bobby’s fun day in the park is ruined…? Maybe. Maybe not.
On the same shelf, you can find Leo: A Ghost Story (words by Mac Barnett, pictures by Christian Robinson (2015). A new family moves into little Leo’s home, but he terrifies them! And so, the sad little ghost boy leaves. Can he make friends, and find a new place to live?
Like Leo, the colours are blue. On the other hand, so are the nights that Leo so loves!
Levin is also a huge fan of Mo Willems. Willems is a Sesame Street alumnus and multiple award winner, who once told Time Out magazine: “I’m writing about things that still confuse me, like what is a friend? Or how do friendships change when new characters come in or new objects come in?”
Check out the Willems-written Elephant and Piggie early reader series! In Listen To My Trumpet (2012), Piggie tries to get a proper toot out of her new trumpet, and asks Gerald (the bespectacled elephant) what he thinks of her tunesmithing. Gerald thinks: “That is not music.” How can Gerald tell the truth without hurting Piggie? It turns out every one of these really quite witty books has a fun twist, and will make you laugh out loud. There are many Willems books, filed in C-74.
Says mom: “Levin has just discovered the graphic novel.” But even before that, there’s Calvin And Hobbes. Filed in both C-280 and C-290, the little boy and his stuffed tiger are also beloved by many adults; Bill Watterson’s daily strip ran for years in print newspapers.
Follow that with Superman’s origins (try C-280, and there’s an animated Superman DVD at K-167, too; animated features for other members of the Justice League, and some of the live action Supes films, are also in the library). Some of our children’s Graphic Novels are filed at or near C-400. We also have a separate Graphic Novel section, which includes some superhero tales, but make sure to look at the suggested age ranges (some are Juvenile Fiction, some are Young Adult).
As for Levin, “He is quite a booky kid so some of these may not hold the interest of most kids, but they are his favourites.”
Second son Atticus is 3 years old, and he too is library regular. And there are some books that bring both brothers together: “He also enjoys the Elephant and Piggie books a lot.”
Atticus adores author Christopher Franceschelli. Each one in this three-volume series of solid, square cardboard books, perfect for little hands, is more than two inches thick. There’s Counta Block (2014), Alpha Block (2013), and Dino Block (2015) – filled with, yes, giant dinosaurs, bitty dinosaurs, quiet dinosaurs, LOUD DINOSAURS. The books are very, very cool (and can be found at C-12).
Another big like is I Am Yoga by Susan Verde, who teaches yoga to kids in real life (2015, at C-741). This is perfect for kids (and grownups) who need to take a minute to slow down and find a bit of calm. The book magazine Kirkus Review gave it a thumbs up: “’I can touch the sky. I am so tall,’ reads the text, while the girl, colored all in green, adopts the tree pose, flanked by real trees. The combination of Verde’s tranquil words and [illustrator Peter] Reynold’s playful interpretations will encourage young readers to mirror each pose before turning the page. Children will learn how yoga can be a tool to guide their emotions even when the outside world is beyond their control.”
Atticus also had a lot of fun reading the mini myths Be Patient, Pandora and Play Nice, Hercules (both 2014 in C-31 and created by Joan Holub).
Need more good reads for the kids? Just browse about the shelves, we have a great selection of child-approved tomes.
Says mom: “I have a third son named Shepherd, but he has yet to tell me his favourite books as he is 5 months old.” Soon, though!
Two new children’s arrivals are based on the lives of real people. Both are picture books, for younger readers.
Oscar Lives Next Door is a snapshot of the childhood of the great Montreal jazz musician, Oscar Peterson (who died in 2007). Peterson grew up in the 1930s, and survived tuberculosis. The disease meant he could never again play his beloved trumpet; and that is why he chose the piano as a career.
It’s narrated by a (fictional) girl neighbour who loves listening to the music (Oscar’s dad, unfortunately, does not love the endless noodling). There’s a lot here about friendship, perseverance, and Montreal’s Little Burgandy neighbourhood. It’s by Bonnie Farmer and Marie Lafrance (2015, filed at C-84).
The Amazing Discoveries Of Ibn Sina is much wordier, but then, it’s the tale of the whole life of the father of modern medicine and all around smartypants known in the West as Avicenna (born in 980 or thereabouts). It’s a more traditional biography, with words by Fatima Shara Feddine (translated from the Arabic), and illustrations by Intelaq Mohammed Ali (2013/2015, filed in C-500 at 181.5).
The star of this book was a precocious kid, a philosopher and more, who lost his father at a young age and travelled the world. Medicine as we know it would be far different today without the genius of Ibn Sina.
— Eleanor Brown, July 15, 2016