Monday, February 13, 2017


When birthdays and valentines converge in my house
I get sketchy.
Paper animals, toothpicks, string
splay out in little heaps
 just waiting for the party to begin.
 We're abuzz.
 Happy Heart Day, friends!
Keep bringing your love and unique flair into the world!


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Book Party!

The verdict is in!
After months of evaluating beautiful books of 2016,
the Jefferson County Library Kids' Caldecott committee has chosen their favorites.
The envelope, please...    
Our Mock Caldecott Award goes to 
The Night Gardener by the Fan brothers. 
The committee found the Fan brothers' illustrations excellent, 
with great hints and subtleties in visual story, 
and a story itself both inspiring and hopeful. 

Our Mock Caldecott honors:

Ada's Violin by Susan Hood, illustrated by Sally Wern Comport
Ada's Violin captivated our committee with its powerful true account and its collage illustrations.

The Storyteller by Evan Turk 
wowed us with layer upon layer of story and meaning, woven in both text and illustrations.
The kids were also quite impressed that Mr. Turk used 
sugared tea, indigo, and fire in the making of the illustrations.

Maybe Something Beautiful by F. Isabel Campos & Theresa Howell, illustrated by Rafael Lopez
Our committee appreciated the vibrant exuberance in Maybe Something Beautiful, 
as well as the true story of how art transformed a neighborhood.

Return by Aaron Becker
This wordless book fascinated our kid voters. 
They discovered intricate details tucked within each page, 
and appreciated the fantastical world Becker created in his book trilogy.
They liked that the story dove deep, like a mystery.

And our children's librarian Martha Ashenfelter came up with the best Caldecott treat yet!

Sparked by the colorful illustrations and murals from Maybe Something Beautiful, 
Martha helped kids created their own edible canvases
with graham crackers, frosting, candy, and apricots.
A party with Caldecotts and apricots.
Candy and canvases.
Glorious in composition, sweetness, and stickiness!

Thank you, Jefferson County Library.
I'm grateful to have been part of another year of Mock Caldecott goodness. 

Hooray for beautiful books
and stories that inspire!

Here are the official American Library Associaton's picks:

Caldecott Award:  

Radiant Child by Javaka Steptoe
Caldecott Honors:

They All Saw A Cat by Brendan Wenzel

Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis

Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford and R. Gregory Christie
Leave Me Alone by Vera Brosgol

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Caldecott Club!

From Maybe Something Beautiful, illustrated by Rafael Lopez
Our Kids' Caldecott Club has savored 
and examined its selection of 2016's sharpest books.
They've learned to look for visual story, theme, mood, 
flow of text and illustrations, inference, and tiny details.
They've looked at letters we've received from authors and illustrators,
and have written letters to some of their favorites.
Here are a few letter templates made to suit writers of different ages.
Decision day!
After whittling the book forest to eight top favorites,
our committee flexed their powers of debate and persuasion. 
One at a time, they passed each book like a conch, 
discussing its strengths and potential weaknesses.

And then they cast a final vote, 
rating each book from 1-8 for visual strength, 
and then rating each from 1-8 
for how well the illustrations balanced the text.

This Thursday, we get to announce our winner, as well as the official ALA winners
at our Caldecott Club Awards Party. 

3:45 p.m. at Jefferson County Library in Port Hadlock. 

Come join us for a final hour of Caldecott delights!

Our Mock Caldecott finalists:

Ada's Violin by ill. by Susan Hood, ill. by Sally Wern Comport
Maybe Something Beautiful by F. Isabel Campoy, Theresa Howell, ill. by Rafael Lopez
Cricket Song by Anne Hunter
Return by Aaron Becker
Bloom by Doreen Cronin, ill. by David Small
The Night Gardener by The Fan Brothers
The Storyteller by Evan Turk
The Secret Tree Fort by Brianne Farley


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Dear Author, Dear Year

It's a new year, windy and cold,
and here we are,
this complex, wonderful world of people.

My hope this year
is to keep searching for the glow in our daily dirt,
to coax out stories,
to make art that spreads welcoming arms across divides,
and to find ways to bloom courage and compassion into this world.

Tomorrow, our kids' Caldecott club meets.
We've nearly finished evaluating books,
and this week we get to write letters to authors and illustrators.
Several years ago, the wildebeests and I began a snail mail letter project,
attempting to write to as many children's book illustrators and authors possible.

I think we were aiming to write 100 letters.
Haven't quite gotten to one hundred letters.
Maybe thirty.
But I like to dream big. 
And regardless, we've received delightful responses!
Here is Pip with an original art card from Dana Sullivan,
author and illustrator of the Digger and Daisy books, and
Kay Kay's Alphabet Safari.
Thank you, Dana Sullivan!

Here's Winnie with a letter from Kim Baker, author of Pickle. 
Pickle happens to be one of Winnie's most favorite books ever,
so how outstanding to receive a handwritten letter and a shirt!
We have heart eyes all the way to the moon, Kim Baker.

We've heard from a bundle of lovely people - 

I'm warmed to the toes just to think of them all.

Children's book authors and illustrators have a magical position.
They endow kids with value, saying,
 "These books are made for YOU.
You are worthy of stories true and deep, 
of stories that question and challenge,
embrace and illuminate."

Artists, writers, friends with your own creative bents,
thank you for sharing your special magic with us.

Here's to 2017.
May we be heart-bold in it.
May we create colossally,
speak bravely,
forgive freely,
love fiercely
as if this is the only today we have.


When the Sea Turned to Silver  by Grace Lin
Switch by Ingrid Law
The Storyteller - Evan Turk
Hap-pea All Year  by Keith Baker
Maybe Something Beautiful -  F. Isabel Campoy, Theresa Howell, Rafael Lopez


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