Picture Book Review: Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima

I’m a sucker for cute covers.  I mean, who isn’t?  It doesn’t matter if it’s a six year old kindergartener walking among the stacks in my library or if it’s a forty-four year old man (me!) walking through Barnes and Noble, readers are drawn to books initially due to the cover art.  I have a…

Graphic Novel Review: My Friend Dahmer by John “Derf” Backderf

Background On Halloween night, 1988, after the last trick-or-treater knocked on our door and I felt at ease to eat the leftover Kit Kats, Sixlets, and Laffy Taffy I flipped through the eight channels of our non-cable television.  I happened across a live broadcast from London and Los Angeles called “The Secret Identity of Jack…

Picture Book Review: The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors

Every six months or so I find a book to share with my students in every grade level, from the littlest kindergarteners to the biggest fifth graders.  It has to be a funny book with compelling characters, each with a unique voice.  A few months ago I came across The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors…

Of Bovines and Christmas Trees

One of the few benefits of moving is that I’m forced to look in boxes I haven’t opened since the last time I moved.  If we haven’t opened the box in a year we usually throw it away, but pictures and family mementos usually pass the “keep” test no matter how many times we move.  While going…

Kwame Alexander: The Voice of a Generation

My first encounter with Kwame Alexander was through his book Crossover.  When a title wins several awards including the Coretta Scott King Award and the Newberry Award I felt the need to pay attention.  I expected to find a novel about teenage angst set in a high school whose identity fit within the lined border of…

Little Boy Lost: Jonathan’s Adoption Story

Jon never figured into our plans to become a family.  In reality, he never seemed to fit into anyone’s plans.  When the social worker first discussed Phillip and Carl with us, she told us there were four brothers.  One was about to turn four and the other was two.  The two year old lived with…