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Lauren Taylor

2017’s Best New Picture Books

Thank you, Dan Coleman, for writing a beautiful, nostalgic piece about the Vinland Fair, so I can go hog wild suggesting all of the newest picture books! Hooray for me! And you, fortuitous reader! I’m lucky enough to do storytime here at LPL, and while there are some challenging days of herding toddlers, it is a joy and a privilege to introduce children to literature and catch a small slice of their innocence and wonder.

When we started up storytime again this fall, I wanted to try something different: read a handful of random books, held together only by the fact that they were published in 2017. (Weirdly most of them are from February, who knew that was such a hot picture book publishing month?)

Here are a few of my favorites. My only disclaimer is that I chose these for a Toddler Storytime audience; I think ALL of these would work well for older and younger kids, I mean, they utterly delight me, but keep in mind they were picked to work for toddlers especially. Read More..

The End

There is nothing more satisfying for me as a reader then reaching the end of a book that has a fist-pumping + “YAASS” ending. Read More..

Filling in the Gaps

As someone who works in the Children’s Department, I routinely feel bad for not knowing every book in our collection. We get so many new books each week, and between my obsession with Romance and YA, there’s rarely a place for juvenile fiction in my to be read pile.

When I feel like I need to fill a gap in my children’s lit knowledge and I don’t have time to read, I turn to audiobooks. They are a great way to consume literature, especially the ones where people look at you and say “I can’t believe you’ve never read… This one book everyone has read!” You can listen to it without disrupting your reading schedule!

Read More..

Rompy Reads

Spring has sprung, and when I get joyously happy about the weather, I generally want to grab a fun read that’s perfect for sun-lounging. Here are three books – in three different genres – that are ideal for a sunlit afternoon filled with rompy adventure and funtimes.

Now when I describe these books as rompy, I mean it. These are NOT going to fulfill your need for the next literary classic or the best executed plots of a lifetime. Some belief will have to be suspended. Some eyes will be rolled. Some “smh” will be unleashed, but it’s okay! Because these are fun and free wheeling. You’ll like them, I promise. Read More..

Newbery Award Hopefuls

Last week I attended Kansas City Public Library’s Mock Newbery awards which basically looks like this: a bunch of librarians nerd out about a selection of books, then we vote on which one we believe is worthy of top honors. The criteria for the Newbery Award are just vague enough that a lot is left open to interpretation. For example, if a book contains illustrations, it is only to be considered if they detract from the book, not enhance it.

Therefore, it was a huge surprise last year when Last Stop on Market Street won top honors, when we (and many others) classify it as a picture book. Setting the rules and criteria aside, the Newbery was ultimately established to recognize excellence in Children’s Literature, and there have been some great picks over the years: The Giver, Holes, Flora & Ulysses. Even the list of Newbery Honor recipients (not even the winners!) is stacked with excellent books, like The War That Saved My Life, which was my pick for the Mock Newbery winner last year. Ultimately, if you pick up a book with that beautiful Newbery Award or Newbery Honor Award emblazoned on the cover, you are in for an excellent read. Here are three that I think were in close contention for this year’s Newbery Medal: Read More..

Fantastic Beasts at LPL

Just in case you haven’t been on the internet, seen a magazine/newspaper, or watched television in the last year, I’m here to inform you that there is in fact a new Harry Potter movie coming out. The screenplay is written by J.K. Rowling herself (unlike a certain play that must not be named), and it’s set the Muggle world aflame.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is based on the 128 page book of same title, a character from Rowling’s Harry Potter footnotes, and a chance to expand the Wizarding World across the pond. The book itself is a pseudo-encyclopedia of seventy-five fantastic beasts. It’s charming, enchanting and if you haven’t picked it up, it’s definitely worth the half hour or so of reading time. Read More..