Our Favorite Books of Winter/ ALA Awards

Happy winter day! Here in the Northeast US, this winter has been a mix of sun, wind, and more temperate days. We finally got enough snow to play in last week, so we’ve been in the mood for some picture books about winter and snow. Since winter has come around every year since the beginning of time, it makes sense that we enjoy both classic and contemporary snow/winter books.  Here are some of our favorites:

  • The Mitten, Jan Brett
  • Katy and the Big Snow, Virginia Lee Burton
  • Snowmen at Night, Caralyn Buehner
  • The Snowy Day, Ezra Jack Keats
  • Owl Moon, Jane Yolen
  • Snowballs, Lois Ehlert
  • The Snow Cat, Dayal Kaur Khalsa
  • Bear Snores On, Karma Wilson
  • Snowflake Bentley, Jacqueline Briggs Martin
  • Penguin and Pinecone, Salina Yoon
  • Jack Frost, William Joyce

What are your favorite winter picture books? Do you love a book that’s not on this list?

The other great thing about this time of year is the announcement of the American Library Association (ALA) Book and Media Awards. You can find the complete list on their website, but I wanted to highlight a few of the awards here. This was an unusual year for the John Newbery Medal, which frequently goes to a middle grade or young adult novel. This year it went to a picture book, Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña. This story about a boy riding the bus with his grandma not only won the 2016 Newbery Medal, it also earned a 2016 Caldecott Honor and a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor for Christian Robinson. Congratulations to Matt de la Peña, Christian Robinson, and all the other award winners!

Have you read Last Stop on Market Street? Did you enjoy it? What are your thoughts? Please share in the comments!

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Renewing in the New Year

Happy 2016 everyone! We are now halfway into January. Whether you have made resolutions, decided on a word to characterize your year, or skipped it all and are just trying to regroup from the holidays, each new year gives us reason to pause. 

2015 was a challenging year for me both personally and professionally. So my approach to 2016 will need a little extra effort to get things back on track. And I will need to give myself the time required for positive change to happen.

So this year, I’ve decided to combine the fresh start of a new year with the renewal that comes with Spring. I will take everything I have – a strong body and mind, wonderful supportive friends, and the unconditional love of my family – and build on that. I will need to add a good dose of patience and a sprinkling of hope.

By combining the new year and Spring, I give myself permission to meet my goals slowly and deliberately. I allow myself to take a breath sometimes while still keeping my eyes on where I am trying to go.

I’ll let you know where this approach takes me once we reach Spring. I hope each of you have a positive year planned, full of growth and moving towards where you want to be. Whether you want to improve your writing, read more books, have more adventures, or be a better friend, I hope the next few months are fruitful.