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Blog Posts by Subject: Children's Literature

Banned Books Week: The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there was controversy surrounding The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales. The time was in fact the early 1990s, and the places were California and Arizona. In 1990, a California school district pulled an illustrated edition of Little Red Riding Hood by Trina Schart Hyman (originally called Little Red-Cap in the Brothers Grimm 1812 version) from a first-grade 

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Booktalking "Heather Has Two Mommies" by Lesléa Newman

Heather likes pairs, and one of her favorite pairs is her two mamas: Mama Jane and Mama Kate. Kate is a doctor, Jane is a carpenter, and Heather helps them both with their jobs. The girl loves to go outside for picnics with her mothers when the weather is nice.

Then, Heather joins a play group and finds out that some kids have fathers, but she does not. This makes Heather very sad, but then she realizes that some other kids have two fathers and no mother or a mother, step-father, and father, but they do not live with their father. Teacher Molly lets the kids know that 

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Banned Books Week: Green Eggs and Ham

Our next title under the microscope during Banned Books week is the canonical nonsense tale of Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. "I do not like them, Sam-I-am, I do not like green eggs and ham." The People's Republic of China most notably concurred with this key mantra of Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham. Beginning in 1965, it was forbidden to read Green Eggs and Ham in Maoist China because of its "portrayal of early Marxism," and the ban was not lifted until author 

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Banned Books Week: And Tango Makes Three

Greetings, and welcome to Banned Books Week! For each day of Banned Books Week, this blog will be highlighting a famous banned or challenged book. The campaign to highlght milestones in the history of banned and challenged books and promote intellectual freedom was spearheaded by library activist Judith Krug. She once said "You should have access to ideas and information regardless of your age. If anyone is going to limit or guide a young person, it should be the parent or 

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Fight for Your Right to Read: Banned Books Week 2013

From 2000 to 2009, 8 out of the top 10 books on "The Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books" were specifically written for teens or children. In fact out of that list of 100, 67 were books for teens or children. Titles such as the Harry Potter series (#1), the

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Pura Belpré, In Her Own Words: NYPL Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Pura Belpré reading to children at the New York Public Library. (Photo credit - Centro Archives)This year as part of Hispanic Heritage Month, the New York Public Library is celebrating its premier Latina Librarian, Pura Belpré. An exhibit at the Bronx Library Center highlights the professional life of Pura Belpré—Children's Librarian, 

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Booktalking "Listen to the Wind" by Greg Mortenson and Susan Roth

The kids of Korphe, a village in Pakistan, lived in a very do-it-yourself environment. They were a society of farmers and weavers. The people made their own clothes and produced their own food. The kids even made their own toys. Prior to having a school, they held classes outside and drew lines in the dirt with sticks. So it comes as no surprise that the people of Korphe were able to 

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Booktalking "Will You, Won't You?" by Jessie Haas

Mad is not exactly thrilled to be spending the summer learning how to dance Ceilidhs (pronounced kay-lees) in the Scottish style. However, to her surprise, she finds that dancing is just like riding, in terms of the movement. She loves the geometry of the group dance, and she feels as though she is flying.

The girl imagined that trail-riding with Cloud would be dreamy 

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Booktalking "Off Like the Wind" by Michael Spradlin

Three businessmen, William Russell, Alexander Majors and William Waddell came up with the idea of using horses and riders to transport mail from Missouri to California to expedite communication between the eastern and western states. This was particularly important since the Civil War was approaching. Also, people were able to get news from their families in several days instead of months or years.

In 1860, the Pony Express was born, and it ran until 1861. In the spring of 1861, Lincoln's inaugural address traveled from Missouri to California in record time: 7 days 

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Booktalking "Lizards" by Nic Bishop

Stunning. That one word does justice to Nic Bishop's photographic talents.

Lizards existed 150 million years ago, along with dinosaurs. Some lizards lack legs; therefore they can be confused with snakes, but snakes do not have ear holes. The biggest lizard, the Komodo dragon, which is also the largest venomous animal in the world, can grow to be up to ten feet long. One of its favorite snacks is water buffalo.

Unfortunately, baby lizards do not get much of a childhood; they are on their own shortly after birth. Some lizards inhabit deserts, while 

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Booktalking "Book Fiesta!" by Pat Mora

The kids in this book read in many languages, including English, Spanish, Chinese, etc. They read by themselves or together at the library. In fact, a lion that looks suspiciously like one of our guardian lions of our flagship library, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building ("the library with the lions") adorns the page 

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Booktalking "Alligator Wedding" by Nancy Jewell

I love the rhyming poetry in this book:

Where the alligators slither and slide on a warm summer night when the moon was bright an alligator took a bride.

The book is full of alligator things. The pair of alligators was married in the marshy glades, and the bride had a cobweb veil and a scaly green paw. The couple invited crocodiles, 

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Booktalking "Crocodile Safari" by Jim Arnosky

Crocodiles existed in the time of dinosaurs. In some countries in Central America, crocs are an endangered species. This is the story of one couple's search for knowledge about the ancient creatures in the Everglades of Florida. They were able to see, photograph and videotape 20 crocs, including a one-foot long baby crocodile (adults are between eight and eleven feet long). It is difficult to see crocs even when they are present, since crocs like to camouflage into their environments.

Crocs are not the only animals that inhabit the Everglades. Rattlesnakes, manatees, 

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Tween Cartoonists Take off with Graphic Novels at Imagination Academy, Week 2

After a hiatus surrounding Independence Day, the Imagination Academy, a free writing workshop for tweens, resumed this past week at the 67th Street Library. This time, these 9 to 12 year olds were not just writing, but drawing, too, as this week's focus was on graphic novels. Following a presentation by a published graphic novelist, the kids explored this emerging book format in which both pictures and words work together to tell a story.

Dave Roman with studentsOn Tuesday,

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In Praise of Odd Children's Books

When I was in fifth grade, my mom read me a chapter a night of a strange and wonderful children's book by Richard Kennedy called Amy's Eyes. It had been a few years since the last time we shared nighttime reading, and I wondered if maybe I was too old for that kind of thing. I was quickly won over by this book which was more complex and seemingly adult.

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Booktalking "Frog Song" by Brenda Guiberson

Moisture helps frogs sing, not just the expected ribbit, but also different guttural sounds, such as thrum-rum. Think frogs are boring linguistically? Think again. Frogs and toads say buzz, chirp, bonk, click-clack, tink, plunk, brack, mwaa, and they whistle.

The strawberry poison dart frog in Costa Rica's rain forest sings a tiny song. Oklahoma's Great Plains narrow-mouthed toad makes a sound like a fly! The Surinam toad from 

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Booktalking "Flamingo Sunset" by Jonathan London

A baby chick is incubated by a flamingo couple for a month. When it hatches, its mother feeds it milk, mouth-to-mouth. Later, the bird baby rushes to its mother when a storm suddenly darkens the sky and rain pours down.

However, the next morning, a calm, bright world emerges. The flamingo grows and develops. Eventually, the teenage flamingo is 

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Celebrating America: A Book List for Kids

In college, I studied American History and Politics, but my interest in these subjects was sparked long before that, when as a child, I was exposed to several books, movies and TV shows that celebrated American history.

Three items in particular had a tremendous impact on me, and made me want to learn more about my country. Schoolhouse Rock was a series of educational shorts that ran in between the cartoons on Saturday mornings. Almost anyone of my generation will tell you that 

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Tween Writers Learn From Published Authors at the 67th Street Library's Second Imagination Academy

Kids embrace celebrated author Rita Williams-GarciaWe just kicked off the 2nd year of the 67th Street Library's creative writing summer program for tweens: the Imagination Academy. This past week the focus was on historical fiction and a fantastic group of local authors came to share their insights with the kids. After a presentation by the author, which anyone is welcome to attend, the kids got to spend the rest of the afternoon crafting their own stories under the tutelage of these experienced and celebrated writers.

On Tuesday, 

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Pic Pick (LGBTQ Edition): King & King by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland

King & King By Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland Recommended for Ages 6 and Up

How many times has your parent told you "That's it, I've had ENOUGH!"? Nevermind, I am sure everyone reading this blog is well behaved. Ok, well it has happened to me, I remember plenty of instances when my mom had had "enough." In this book, the Queen mother has had ENOUGH too!

King & King tells the fairy tale of a Queen who is ready to retire from ruling the kingdom. But to 

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