Anna Taylor visiting the interactive exhibition The ABC of It: Why Children's Books Matter, curated by Leonard MarcusAnna Taylor works at the New York Public Library’s Columbus Library—more than a short walk from Columbus Circle—over on 10th Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets in the Clinton (aka Hell’s Kitchen or Midtown West) neighborhood... an area that has been transformed in recent years by the dramatic increase in residential construction. It is not unusual to find this library filled to the rafters with children and teens catching up on homework, meeting with friends, or just curled up with a good book. As a member of NYPL’s Children’s Books 2013 Committee, Anna had ample opportunity to test out some of this year’s newly published books.
You read so many books this year, did you notice any trends?
This was my first year on the committee. I felt like I read a lot of baseball books in both fiction and nonfiction. Fantasy and sci-fi were abundant as well. Never realized how many picture books came out each year, wow!
What are some of the books children at your branch are talking about? Any hot titles?
It seems like kids are always a step ahead of the trends so this answer changes monthly. Right now I'm seeing a lot of fairytales and myth books circulating. Kids are finding it very interesting that the stories they heard about fairytales are not the "true" version. (i.e., the little mermaid wasn't as kind as people may think). Mysteries and spooky/eerie stories are also a favorite. Take a look at Doll Bones by Holly Black for a great example of this popular genre.
What do you love about your job?
Too many things to count! A recent example is from my baby storytime. Each week, I present the same storytime to the children and their caregivers. This week, a few of my regular babies finally caught on to some of the song motions! It was amazing to see a child get that "click" when they figure out what something means. Instances like that, where I know I am having an positive and educational influence on a child, is one of the reasons I love my job so much.
What is one of your favorite books of 2013 that you plan to share with the children at the Columbus Branch?
Well, most of my favorite books did not make the list. I rooted for the underdogs of 2013, that's for sure. Here are just a few of my favorites that didn't make the cut that I hope you give a chance: Picture books: Pomelo's Opposites by Ramona Badescu, How To by Julie Morstad, and The Frazzle Family Finds a Way by Ann Bonwill; Chapter Books: Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein, Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo, and don't forget the silly nonfiction title A Little Book of Sloth by Lucy Cooke. I would love to know what favorites you didn't see on the list and loved. Comment below and let me know!
By the way—did you know the Columbus Library has been in this neighborhood since 1909? Stop by for a visit and see how the neighborhood is changing! Image from NYPL's Digital CollectionsP.S. Some of the top circulating titles at the Columbus branch last month—along with Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dora, and Babymouse—were: