DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!

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Jul 8 2009

Feeling Listless?

by Nancy M

I think it’s safe to say that we are in the midst of the dog days of summer, so what better way to escape the heat and wile away the days than with a new book? While I do like to wander the stacks of the library looking for my next read, I have to say that I am more of a list girl. I love finding and perusing various book lists (and there are many out there) for something interesting to read. And yes, I like creating lists as well. If your child is in need of a new book, try checking this list of lists for his/her next great read.

The Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC), put out by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has an extensive list of bibliographies for children and young adults with many different themes, including books to share with babies, recommended mysteries for kids and teens, and books for beginning readers, to name a few.

The American Library Association’s Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) puts out an annual notables list. Check out 2009’s list; there are many great books to be found. They also put out the list of current and past children’s award winners, including the Newbery and Caldecott Awards.

Check out New York Public Library’s list of 100 Picture Books Everyone Should Know. Do you know all of them?

YALSA, the Young Adult Library Services Association has award winners and booklists, including the best in young adult books and books for reluctant readers.

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On Monday, the American Library Association gave the John Newbery Award for the most distinguished contribution to children’s literature to Neil Gaiman for The Graveyard Book.

I was pleasantly surprised by this year’s choice because the Newbery doesn’t often go to fantasies and because of the frequent tendency for Newbery books to be ‘good’ books, as in good-for-you. Even Mr. Gaiman seemed surprised, saying that “there are books that are best sellers and books that are winners.” Popularity is not a consideration for the Newbery award (and rightly so), but there’s been a lot of debate in the library world recently about the obscurity of the most recent winners.

As a child I resisted reading ‘good’ books, preferring escapism to character-building.  As an adult, I know that I missed out on some excellent stories the child-me would have loved. As a librarian,  I’m trying to get those excellent stories to children who are just as reluctant as I was to read a ‘good’ book.  So I’m happy that this year’s Newbery choice means the good and the popular are on the same page.

I always love looking at the Caldecott books and this year the award for the most distinguished picture book for children goes to The House in the Night, illustrated by Beth Krommes and written by Susan Marie Swanson.

The ALA makes lots of other awards as well, including the Odyssey Award for audiobooks.  One of this year’s Odyssey Honor nominees is Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale, written and narrated by local author and DCPL favorite Carmen Agra Deedy. Congratulations to Ms. Deedy, Mr. Gaiman, Ms. Krommes and all the other winners and nominees!

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