We've settled into a good routine for visiting our branch library, visiting about once a week and checking out about 15 picture books and 5-10 novels at a time. We haven't started exploring any other libraries in the system (I think there are 18!) because our branch is by far the closest, though still much farther away than I'm used to. But I haven't felt like I've really needed to go elsewhere yet—the mark of a good children's room to me is when I can find old favorites, plenty of new-to-us titles, and a healthy new books display that I can sweep into our library book bag in one fell swoop.
No one has busted me for sweeping all the new books into our library book bag in one fell swoop yet. Another mark of a good children's room.
Gracie, Bridget and I still manage to squeeze in a few picture books almost every night; I'm always on the hunt for good picture books that appeal to older kids, or at least have some stunning illustration if they're too easy content-wise. They are developing a real eye for different styles of effective illustration which makes my nerdy illustration heart so happy. Because so many books are passing in and out of our house these days I thought I'd start sharing more regularly some of the ones we've liked the most; of course this occurred to me only after I've returned a bunch that we loved (and didn't write their titles down or take pictures) but better late than never, I guess.
One we especially liked this round:
Snow White and the 77 Dwarfs by Davide Cali and Raphaëlle Barbanègre
The story itself was OK. But the illustrations... WE LOVED THEM. Totally worth the price of admission.
This spread was the best. And yes, we read every single dwarf's name. Argle-Bargle! Beetroot! Akimbo! The entire book uses this rainbow effect and it's really fun.
Lillian's Right To Vote by Jonah Winter and Shane W. Evans
We decided this one might need to be added to our permanent collection. It's inspired by a real-life Lillian who campaigned for President Obama door-to-door at 100 years old in 2008. The book follows her walk to the voting booth, remembering all the steps along the way that brought her to that moment. The illustrations are beautiful. It's also a great introduction to the importance of voting and voting rights.
I still haven't told the story here of how the girls and I participated in the final leg of the 50th anniversary commemoration of the Selma to Montgomery march this year, because I think I've just been holding it close. This was our favorite page.
Here are some of the others we've really enjoyed lately. Of these I especially loved The Really Awful Musicians; I love when a book starts out as kind of silly but ends up being a total history lesson (in this case, about the origin of music orchestration). I was surprised by how much I liked The Opposite, which is odd and charming and wise with extremely good advice. One of my goals this year is to figure out how to get some little girls to love non-fiction, so I usually take a look in the non-fiction shelves for good new stuff—Curious Critters has impressive photography that appeals to all ages. Saturn Could Sail does in fact have plenty of fun facts, and they're presented so well. Call me a book snob, but it's just hard to get excited about old/bad children's non-fiction. There aren't too many things worse in a library than old/bad children's non-fiction. Hold on, let me show you:
Spotted while volunteering at Maddie's library last year in Montgomery
Overall her library last year was fine and the librarian was truly exceptional, but whoo boy, I know a school district that desperately needs to pony up some cash for non-fiction acquisitions. I rest my case.