Thursday, February 21, 2019

My Fifty Favorite Children's Picture Books and Board Books From 2018

I read over 308 picture books and board books this year for the Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Award, the Cybils. My full reviews for 189 of these are posted here. My top fifty favorites are (in no particular order):

The Day War CameDavies, NicolaBravo, Nicola Davies, for taking on a difficult subject and...more 
ImagineHerrera, Juan FelipeImagine is the evocative and inspirational autobiography-told-...more 
Holes in the SkyPolacco, PatriciaBefore Trisha’s beloved babushka dies, she tells her grand...more 
Birds of a ColorEloLift the flap of the bird and learn about colors in this delightful...more
Contrary DogsEloContrary Dogs is an interactive board book in which young...more 
Edison: The Mystery of the Missing Mouse TreasureKuhlmann, TorbenA tiny mouse strikes out to find answers to an old...more 
The Rabbit ListenedDoerrfeld, CoriA child builds an amazing structure out of blocks only to...more
Bedtime, Ted!Henn, SophyTed has lots of good reasons to avoid going to bed. Told with...more 
Dear Girl,Rosenthal, Amy KrouseDear Girl is a letter from a mom to her daughter...more
The Day You BeginWoodson, Jacqueline It's not easy to impress me. I was an elementary school...more 
The Rough PatchLies, Brian Evan and his dog do everything together. They especially...more 
Ocean Meets SkyFan, TerryFinn sets sail for the place where ocean meets sky, in...more
Imagine!Colón, RaúlA boy ventures into New York City's Museum of Modern Art,...more 
Hello HelloWenzel, BrendanA colorful introduction to the wide variety of animals in the...more 
Black Bird Yellow SunLight, Steve Dr. Seuss took on the challenge to write a story in fifty words...more 
When Your Llama Needs a HaircutHill, Susanna Leonard A llama needs a haircut, but he doesn't want one. (Are you...more 
But Not the ArmadilloBoynton, SandraI'm a huge Sandra Boynton fan so bear in mind that I gave this ...more 
Hello LighthouseBlackall, SophieThis is the beautiful story of a family's life in a lighthouse...more 
Peek-a-Who?Mroziewicz, ElsaPeek-a-who? What animal makes what sound? Turn the...more
The Remember BalloonsOliveros, Jessie James has a lot of balloons filled with memories but his...more 
Atlas of Imaginary PlacesCassany, MiaTake a trip to places you never knew existed and didn’t...more 
All Are WelcomePenfold, Alexandra With a huge cast of amazingly diverse children, Alexandra...more 
Alma and How She Got Her NameMartinez-Neal, Juana Alma Sofia Esperanza Jose Pura Candela is frustrated with...more 
We Don't Eat Our ClassmatesHiggins, Ryan T. Penelope the T-Rex can't wait to meet her new classmates...more 
If the S in Moose Comes LooseHermann, PeterOh no! The S and E in MOOSE have come loose. Cow must...more 
These Colors Are Bananas: Published in Association with the Whitney Museum of American ArtShopsin, TamaraWe know bananas are yellow, but can they be other colors...more 
Julián Is a MermaidLove, JessicaJulian loves mermaids, and his grandmother finds a way to help...more 
Why The Face?Jullien, JeanWhy the face? Look at the picture. Why is she making that...more 
But First, We Nap: A Little Book about Nap TimeMiles, David WHow many words does it take to tell a story? This little board...more
Khalida and the Most Beautiful SongMoeckel, Amanda A song keeps appearing to Khalida but no one gives her time...more 
The FieldPaul, BaptisteA girl and her friends play a game of pick-up soccer. It's a little...more 
Misunderstood SharkDyckman, Ame It's time for Underwater World with Bob, and right in the middle...more 
AfricvilleGrant, ShauntayWho knew there was an Africville in Canada, a thriving black...more
Mixed: A Colorful StoryChung, ArreeIn the beginning there were just three colors: Red, Yellow,...more 
Mirror PlayShin, MonteThis wildly novel board book challenges children to fold a mirror...more
Let the Children MarchClark-Robinson, Monica In 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama, blacks were still not free...more 
The Old ManV, SarahThe Old Man shares a day in the life of a homeless man...more 
Madeline Finn and the Shelter DogPapp, Lisa Madeline Finn learns about the sadnesses of shelter dogs, and...more 
Whale in a FishbowlHowell, TroyWednesday the whale lived in a fishbowl. Secretly she longed...more 
IslandbornDíaz, JunotLola can't remember much about the island where she was...more 
A Stone for SaschaBecker, Aaron A girl is sad after losing her beloved dog. At the beach she...more
The King of BeesLaminack, Lester L.Henry wants to help his Aunt Lilla with her bees. One day he...more
Drawn TogetherLê, MinhA boy and his grandfather don't speak the same language, but...more
When the Cousins CameYamasaki, KatieCousins come from two different places, and they have...more 
This Is My Eye: A New York StoryVaswani, NeelaA girl roams around New York City and takes beautiful photos...more
The Pink UmbrellaCallot, AmélieAdele and her cafe are the soul of her community. Everyone...more 
Polar Bear IslandBonilla, LindsayOnly polar bears are allowed on Polar Bear Island. The mayor...more 
The Patchwork BikeClarke, Maxine BenebaA girl and her brothers in Africa create their own bike from...more 
Lorraine: The Girl Who Sang the Storm AwaySecor, KetchLorraine and her grandpa make music together. Slowly all their...more 
Night JobHesse, KarenA boy goes with his dad to his night job as a school custodi...more 

The Cybils finalists for 2018 were announced on January 1, 2019.

The Cybils winners were announced on February 14, 2019.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Books I LOVED That No One Else Has Read: I Bet You Haven't Read Any of These

I'm going to make a bet with you. Do you want to bet me? I bet you a cup of coffee and a homemade blueberry muffin right now that you have not read ANY of the books I am listing below. Check yourself. (BTW, the ratings refer to the number of ratings on Goodreads).

Mrs. 'arris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico 
1795 ratings

The Gold Bug Variations by Richard Powers 
1493 ratings

That Night by Alice McDermott 
1420 ratings

So Many Ways to Begin by Jon McGregor 
1400 ratings

Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathanael West 
1238 ratings

Happenstance by Carol Shields 
1184 ratings

The Box Garden by Carol Shields 
956 ratings

Rhoda: A Life in Stories by Ellen Gilchrist 
659 ratings

Wife by Bharati Mukherjee 
220 ratings

The World is Not Enough by Zoe Oldenbourg 
182 ratings

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber 
88 ratings

How did you do? Did you win the bet? Have you read any of these? If you haven't, you need to find copies and read them this year. Time's a-wasting.

Oh, and if I need to pay up, let me know when you will be in my part of the woods and I'll put a pot of coffee on for you.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each Tuesday That Artsy Reader Girl assigns a topic and then post her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

The Sunday Salon about The Sunday Salon

The Sunday Salon and I go way back. Way, way back. My first blog post was on June 8, 2008; my first Sunday Salon post was on July 6, 2008, not even a month later.

I started my blog for a class that met the requirements for summer inservice hours. I've been a computer person from the get-go. I joined the math club in high school (ugh, math) primarily so that I could play on the room-sized computer that only those in the math club could use. The first real purchase we made as a family was a home computer. (Funny story: I was used to the Apple computers we had at school, but this newly purchased computer was a DOS computer. I had it for a week before I finally, in desperation, called my cousin and told him that I thought our computer was broken; once it booted up, all it would do was sit there and blink C:// over and over again.) I'd joined an online book club as early as 1999.

Becoming a blogger wasn't very interesting at first; I wrote posts, but no one read them or commented on them. Learning about the social aspects of blogging was world-changing for me. That first year of blogging I learned the most important thing: Blogging isn't a monologue; it's a conversation. That first month I blogged other bloggers told me about Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon, the Cybils (Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards), and the Sunday Salon.

It was through these social venues that I began to love blogging. And one of my favorites has always been the Sunday Salon.

The Sunday Salon was started sometime before 2008 by Debra Hamel. She blogged at Typepad and used some sort of complex system called Yahoo Pipes to allow bloggers to share links with each other. It didn't take long for the Sunday Salon to explode. By 2010, the Sunday Salon had 500 participants and could no longer accept new members. Debra moved the Salon to Facebook in 2011 but the intimacy of the original Salon was hard to maintain in this new venue, and by 2019, only a few bloggers were posting links each week.

At the end of 2018, I began to compile information for a post on book blogging memes (see Book Blog Memes: An Exhaustive List for my results). I checked to see which memes were still active, and one of the memes I checked on was the Sunday Salon. Debra assured me she was still the administrator of the Facebook group, but she showed some interest in passing the baton. Would I like to press on with the Salon?

Yes, I would. I am retired now, for goodness' sake, and how better to spend my time than to take this lovely tool and see if I can revive it a bit?

But how to proceed?

I need some input. Could you share your thoughts with me? I am imbedding a short Google Form here and I'm also adding it on Facebook. Could you answer the questions? It's anonymous, though you can certainly reveal who you are in the comments section of the form, if you wish. Please let me know what you think.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

February: It's Spring

Ten years ago, this is what February looked like at my house.

These photos are from today.
My azaleas aren't as lush as they used to be.
But they are over thirty years old.

It's early yet. Let's see what happens.

For more wordless photos, go to Wordless Wednesday.

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by A Web of StoriesTo participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken and then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky at A Web of Stories.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Favorite Couples In Books (The We-Love-Our-Companion-Animals Edition)

Of course we will always love Scarlett and Rhett, and Eleanor and Park, Gatsby and Daisy, Elizabeth and Darcy...and all the other wonderful classic romances novels.

But what about those great love stories of people for our animals? Here are a few of my favorites.

Because of Winn-Dixie
"One summer’s day, ten-year-old India Opal Buloni goes down to the local supermarket for some groceries – and comes home with a dog. But Winn-Dixie is no ordinary dog. It’s because of Winn-Dixie that Opal begins to make friends. And it’s because of Winn-Dixie that she finally dares to ask her father about her mother, who left when Opal was three. In fact, as Opal admits, just about everything that happens that summer is because of Winn-Dixie."

Where the Red Fern Grows
"Billy has long dreamt of owning not one, but two, dogs. So when he’s finally able to save up enough money for two pups to call his own—Old Dan and Little Ann—he’s ecstatic. It doesn’t matter that times are tough; together they’ll roam the hills of the Ozarks. Soon Billy and his hounds become the finest hunting team in the valley. Stories of their great achievements spread throughout the region, and the combination of Old Dan’s brawn, Little Ann’s brains, and Billy’s sheer will seems unbeatable. But tragedy awaits these determined hunters—now friends—and Billy learns that hope can grow out of despair, and that the seeds of the future can come from the scars of the past."

American Wolf
" recent decades, conservationists have brought wolves back to the Rockies, igniting a battle over the very soul of the West. With novelistic detail, Nate Blakeslee tells the gripping story of one of these wolves, O-Six, a charismatic alpha female named for the year of her birth. Uncommonly powerful, with gray fur and faint black ovals around each eye, O-Six is a kind and merciful leader, a fiercely intelligent fighter, and a doting mother. She is beloved by wolf watchers, particularly renowned naturalist Rick McIntyre, and becomes something of a social media star, with followers around the world."

The Black Stallion
"First published in 1941, Walter Farley's best-selling novel for young readers is the triumphant tale of a boy and a wild horse. From Alec Ramsay and the Black's first meeting on an ill-fated ship to their adventures on a desert island and their eventual rescue, this beloved story will hold the rapt attention of readers new and old."

A Dog So Small
"For months, Ben Blewitt has been thinking about dogs. So he is very disappointed when, for his birthday, he receives not a dog, but a picture of a dog. But Ben's imagination soon gets to work, and then the strange adventures begin."

Gentle Ben
"The Alaskan wilderness is a lonely place for Mark Andersen, especially after the death of his brother. But Mark finds a friend named Ben, who happens to be an Alaskan brown bear. Ben and Mark form a special bond, but the townspeople are determined to destroy it. It is only through the strength of an enduring friendship that Ben—and Mark—have a chance of being saved."

Henry Huggins
"Just as Henry Huggins is complaining that nothing exciting ever happens, a friendly dog sits down beside him and looks pleadingly at his ice-cream cone. From that moment on, the two are inseparable. But when Ribsy's original owner appears, trying to reclaim his dog, Henry's faced with the possibility of losing his new best friend."

Lily and the Octopus
"Ted—a gay, single, struggling writer is stuck: unable to open himself up to intimacy except through the steadfast companionship of Lily, his elderly dachshund. When Lily’s health is compromised, Ted vows to save her by any means necessary. By turns hilarious and poignant, an adventure with spins into magic realism and beautifully evoked truths of loss and longing, Lily and the Octopus reminds us how it feels to love fiercely, how difficult it can be to let go, and how the fight for those we love is the greatest fight of all."

Marley and Me
"Is it possible for humans to discover the key to happiness through a bigger-than-life, bad-boy dog? Just ask the Grogans. John and Jenny were just beginning their life together. They were young and in love, with not a care in the world. Then they brought home Marley, a wiggly yellow furball of a puppy. Life would never be the same."

My Friend Flicka
"The first time that Ken McLaughlin sees Flicka galloping past him on his family's Wyoming horse ranch, he knows she's the yearling he's been longing for. But Flicka comes from a long line of wild horses, and taming her will take more than Ken could ever have imagined. Soon, Ken is faced with an impossible choice: give up on his beautiful horse, or risk his life to fight for her."

Never Cry Wolf
"More than a half-century ago the Canadian Wildlife Service assigned the naturalist Farley Mowat to investigate why wolves were killing arctic caribou. Mowat's account of the summer he lived in the frozen tundra alone-studying the wolf population and developing a deep affection for the wolves (who were of no threat to caribou or man) and for a friendly Inuit tribe known as the Ihalmiut ("People of the Deer")-is a work that has become cherished by generations of readers, an indelible record of the myths and magic of wild wolves."

Old Yeller
"When his father sets out on a cattle drive toward Kansas for the summer, fourteen-year-old Travis Coates is left to take care of his family and their farm. Living in Texas Hill Country during the 1860s, Travis comes to face new, unanticipated, and often perilous responsibilities in the frontier wilderness. A particular nuisance is a stray yellow dog that shows up one day and steals food from the family. But the big canine who Travis calls “Old Yeller” proves his worth by defending the family from danger. And Travis ultimately finds help and comfort in the courage and unwavering love of the dog who comes to be his very best friend."

"Nothing's surprising in the North household, not even Sterling's new pet raccoon. Rascal is only a baby when Sterling brings him home, but soon the two are best friends, doing everything together--until the spring day when everything suddenly changes."

"An African American boy and his family rarely have enough to eat. Each night, the boy's father takes their dog, Sounder, out to look for food. The man grows more desperate by the day.  When food suddenly appears on the table one morning, it seems like a blessing. But the sheriff and his deputies are not far behind. The ever-loyal Sounder remains determined to help the family he loves as hard times bear down."

The Whale Rider
"Eight-year-old Kahu, a member of the Maori tribe of Whangara, New Zealand, fights to prove her love, her leadership, and her destiny. Her people claim descent from Kahutia Te Rangi, the legendary "whale rider." In every generation since Kahutia, a male heir has inherited the title of chief. But now there is no male heir, and the aging chief is desperate to find a successor. Kahu is his only great-grandchild--and Maori tradition has no use for a girl. But when hundreds of whales beach themselves and threaten the future of the Maori tribe, it is Kahu who saves the tribe when she reveals that she has the whale rider's ancient gift of communicating with whales."

The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill
"Mark Bittner was down on his luck. He’d gone to San Francisco at the age of twenty-one to take a stab at a music career, but he hadn’t had much success. After many years as an odd-jobber in the area, he accepted work as a housekeeper for an elderly woman. The gig came with a rent-free studio apartment on the city’s famed Telegraph Hill, which had somehow become home to a flock of brilliantly colored wild parrots.  In this unforgettable story, Bittner recounts how he became fascinated by the birds and made up his mind to get to know them and gain their trust. He succeeds to such a degree that he becomes the local wild parrot expert and a tourist attraction. People can’t help gawking at the man who, during daily feedings, stands with parrots perched along both arms and atop his head. When a documentary filmmaker comes along to capture the phenomenon on film, the story takes a surprising turn, and Bittner’s life truly takes flight."

Have you read any of these?
Do you have any favorites I have left off?

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each Tuesday That Artsy Reader Girl assigns a topic and then post her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.