This blog is created by Linda Williams at the Connecticut State Library. It’s purpose is to suggest books, by topic, to replace outdated books in the children’s/YA book collection. Tabs across the top categorize ongoing posts. Please feel free to suggest topics for future posts!

Booklist: Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

September 22, 2016 Leave a comment

Picture Books

Alborough, Jez. Watch Out! Big Bro’s Coming! (Candlewick, 1997)*
Terror spreads through the jungle as animals hear the news that rough, tough Big Bro is coming.

Banyai, Istvan. The Other Side (Chronicle, 2005)*
A wordless picture book that shows a series of familiar scenes through many twists in point of view, such as a boy looking down out of a jet’s window and another boy on the ground looking up at the same jet.

Banyai, Istvan. R E M : Rapid Eye Movement (Viking, 1997)
The toys surrounding a boy who has fallen asleep while playing in his room reappear in fantastical images as he dreams.

Banyai, Istvan. Re-Zoom (Viking, 1995)*
A wordless picture book presents a series of scenes, each one from farther away, showing, for example, a boat which becomes the image on a magazine, which is held in a hand, which belongs to a boy, and so on.

Banyai, Istvan. Zoom (Viking, 1995)*
A wordless picture book presents a series of scenes, each one from farther away, showing, for example, a girl playing with toys which is actually a picture on a magazine cover, which is part of a sign on a bus, and so on.

Barnett, Mac. Guess Again! (Simon & Schuster, 2009)
For each round of guessing, readers are presented with a page of illustrations opposite a rhyming quatrain. The unexpected conclusion of the verse’s final line is revealed on the next page.

Borando, Silvia. Near, Far (Candlewick, 2016)
Abstract, boldly contrasting graphic forms create a playful exercise in visual perception, showing up-close images that gradually back away on sequential pages to enable small children to guess what animals will be revealed.

Cohen, Caron Lee. Where’s the Fly? (Greenwillow, 1996)
Illustrations from increasingly distant perspectives locate a fly on a dog’s nose in a flower bed by a house in a yard on a corner in a town near a bay on the earth.

Cole, Henry. Big Bug (Little Simon, 2014)*
Beginning with a bug, various objects are revealed as being big and small in comparison with other objects on a farm under the big, big sky.

Fischer, Jeremie. Wild About Shapes (Flying Eye Books, 2015)
Acetate inserts printed with abstract shapes transform abstract screen prints into animals, while simultaneously introducing basic color theory.

Grahn, Geoffrey. What’s Going on in There? (Orchard, 2005)
Granville looks like an ordinary town, but a turn of the page reveals that the pizza cooks are actually building a dinosaur, and many other things are not as they appear.

Hutchins, Pat. Shrinking Mouse (Greenwillow,  1997)*
Four animal friends notice that the size of distant objects seems to change depending on the location and movement of the viewer.

Kulka, Joe. Wolf’s Coming! (Carolrhoda, 2007)
All of the animals in the forest go into hiding because the wolf is coming, but why they are hiding is the big surprise.

Noll, Sally. Watch Where You Go (Greenwillow, 1990)
A gray mouse’s journey through what appears to be the grass, rocks, and tree branches of a forest proves his mother’s adage that “Things are not always what they seem.”

Portis, Antoinette. Not a Box (HarperCollins, 2006)*
To an imaginative bunny, a box is not always just a box.

Rex, Adam. Pssst! (Harcourt, 2007)*
The animals at the zoo have some unusual requests for a little girl who goes to visit.

Rinck, Maranke. I Feel a Foot! (Lemniscaat, 2008)*
Five animal friends, awakened by a strange noise, discover a creature in the dark that seems to be a giant-sized version of each of them.

Rosenthal, Amy Krouse. Duck! Rabbit! (Chronicle, 2009)*
Two unseen characters argue about whether the creature they are looking at is a rabbit or a duck.

Shaw, Charles. It Looked Like Spilt Milk (Harper, 1947)
A continuously changing white shape silhouetted against a blue background challenges the reader to guess what the shape is.

Shealy, Dennis R. I’m a T. Rex! (Golden Books, 2010)
A small T. Rex dinosaur describes who he is and how he spends his day.

Stevens, Janet. The Great Fuzz Frenzy (Harcourt, 2005)*
When a tennis ball lands in a prairie dog town, the residents find that their newfound frenzy for fuzz creates a fiasco.

Testa, Fulvio. The Endless Journey (North-South, 2001)
The reader is asked to look at everyday objects in a different way.

Thomas, Jan. The Doghouse (Harcourt, 2008)*
Cow, Pig, Duck, and Mouse are afraid to retrieve their ball when it goes into the dog’s house, but when they do go in they are pleasantly surprised.

Tougas, Chris. Dojo Surprise (Owlkids, 2016)
Six little ninjas break into Dojo Daycare with a few tricks up their sleeves.

Wenzel, Brendan. They All Saw a Cat (Chronicle, 2016)
In simple, rhythmic prose and stylized pictures, a cat walks through the world, and all the other creatures see and acknowledge the cat.

Willems, Mo. Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs (Balzer & Bray, 2012)*
Once upon a time, there were three hungry Dinosaurs: Papa Dinosaur, Mama Dinosaur . . . and a Dinosaur who happened to be visiting from Norway. One day–for no particular reason–they decided to tidy up their house, make the beds, and prepare pudding of varying temperatures. And then–for no particular reason–they decided to go . . . someplace else. They were definitely not setting a trap for some succulent, unsupervised little girl. Definitely not!

Willems, Mo. That is Not a Good Idea! (Balzer + Bray, 2013)
A surprising lesson about the importance of listening to one’s inner gosling ensues when a very hungry fox issues a dinner invitation to a very plump goose.

Willems, Mo. Your Pal Mo Willems Presents Leonardo the Terrible Monster (Hyperion, 2005)
Losing all hope in his ability to scare people, which is sorely lacking, Leonardo, who is terrible at being a monster, discovers a nervous little boy who seems to be the perfect candidate for him to practice on.

Young, Ed. Seven Blind Mice (Philomel, 1992)*
In this retelling of the Indian fable, seven blind mice discover different parts of an elephant and argue about its appearance.

*Asterisked books are available at the Middletown Library Service Center, Middletown, CT
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Booklist: LGBTQ Books for Children/YAs

June 14, 2016 Leave a comment

Online Lists:

Gay-Themed Picture Books for Children – from Patricia A. Sarles, MA, MLS 
GLBT Resources for Children: A Bibliographyfrom the GLBT Round Table of the American Library Association 
LGBT Books for Children – from Bank Street Library 
A Rainbow Celebration: Gays & Lesbians in Books for Childrenfrom the San Francisco Public Library
Rainbow Listsfrom the GLBT Round Table of the American Library Association
Suggested Reading on Coming Out, Families & Other LGBT Topicsfrom PFLAG New York City 
Suggestions for Children’s Books that Include Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Families from NAEYC 
25 Must-Read YA Books Featuring Gay Protagonistsfrom Epic Reads 


Stonewall Book Awards (ALA)

Lambda Literary Award Children’s/YA Winners

2016 – George by Alex Gino (Scholastic)*
2015 – Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle (Simon & Schuster)
2014 – If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan (Algonquin)
2013 – Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz (Simon & Schuster)*
2012 – Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy by Bil Wright (Simon & Schuster)*
2011 – Wildthorn by Jane Eagland (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
2010 – Sprout by Dale Peck (Bloomsbury)
2009 – Out of the Pocket by Bill Konigsberg (Simon & Schuster)*
2008 – Hero by Perry Moore (Hyperion)
2007 – The Full Spectrum edited by David Levithan (Random House)*
2006 – Swimming in the Monsoon Sea by Shyam Selvadurai (Tundra)
2005 – So Hard to Say by Alex Sanchez (Simon & Schuster)
2004 – Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan (Knopf)
2003 – Letters in the Attic by Bonnie Shimko (Chicago Review)
2002 – Finding H.F. by Julia Watts (Alyson)
2001 – Out of the Ordinary edited by Noelle Howey (St. Martin’s)
2000 – Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger (Simon & Schuster)
1999 – Telling Tales Out of School by Kevin Jennings (Alyson)
1998 – The House You Pass on the Way by Jacqueline Woodson (Delacorte)
1997 – Good Moon Rising by Nancy Garden (Farrar Straus Giroux)
1996 – From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun  by Jacqueline Woodson (Scholastic)
1995 – Am I Blue? edited by Marion Dane Bauer (HarperChildren’s)
1994 – The Cat Came Back by Hilary Mullins (Naiad)
1993 – When Heroes Die by Penny Raife Durant (Atheneum)
1992 – The Duke Who Outlawed Jelly Beans by Johnny Valentine (Alyson)
1989 – Losing Uncle Tim by MaryKate Jordan (Albert Whitman)*


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Booklist: Baseball Books

April 4, 2016 Leave a comment

Links to lists online:
Fantastic Fun and Learning– Picture books (fiction and nonfiction).
Top 10: Best Baseball Chapter Books (ages 7-16) – Pragmatic Mom.
Baseball Books – Growing Book by Book – Picture books (fiction and nonfiction).
15 Books About Baseball – No Time for Flashcards – Picture books (fiction and nonfiction).
Girls & Baseball – A Mighty Girl.
Baseball Books for Kids – Imagination Soup – Picture books, fiction and nonfiction.
Books About Baseball – Book Mama – Picture books (fiction and nonfiction).
Baseball Books for Beginning Readers – Scholastic.
Take Me Out to the Ball Park – Reading Rockets.
Baseball Books – Adolescent
Baseball Books for Kids – Somers Library Pinterest.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

Updated December 22, 2014

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European Countries – Fiction

March 20, 2016 Leave a comment

Fiction which take place in specific European nations:
Akrotiri ; Albania ; Andorra ; Austria ; Belarus ; Belgium ; Bosnia and Herzegovina ; Bulgaria ; Croatia ; Cyprus ; Czech Republic ; Denmark ; Dhekelia ; Estonia ; Faroe Islands ; Finland ; France ; Germany ; Gibraltar ; Greece ; Guernsey ; Holy See (Vatican City) ; Hungary ; Iceland ; Ireland ; Isle of Man ; Italy ; Jan Mayen ; Jersey ; Kosovo ; Latvia ; Liechtenstein ; Lithuania ; Luxembourg ; Macedonia ; Malta ; Moldova ; Monaco ; Montenegro ; Netherlands ; Norway ; Poland ; Portugal ; Romania ; San Marino ; Serbia ; Slovakia ; Slovenia ; Spain ; Svalbard ; Sweden ; Switzerland ; Ukraine ; United Kingdom


Stolen Words by Amy Goldman Koss (American Girl, 2001)
In her diary, eleven-year-old Robyn describes her family’s visit to Austria, from the disastrous theft of their luggage to adventures in the countryside, while she tries to recover from the death of her Aunt Beth.


Brothers by Bart Moenaert (Front Street, 2005)
Relates the daily adventures and misadventures of seven brothers living in Belgium, told through the eyes of the youngest, who is seven years old.

What About Anna? by Jan Simoen (Walker, 2002)
In Belgium in 1999, upon learning that her brother who was reported killed by a landmine in Bosnia may still be alive, sixteen-year-old Anna resents that she is the only one strong enough to try to uncover the truth.









NOTE: Red numbers denote how many holdings are noted in reQuest. An asterisk means that the book is available at the State Library Service Centers.

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GNM Booklist: Diversity/Kindness/Caring/Respect – K-5

March 17, 2016 Leave a comment

Booklist suggested on the goodnightmoon listserv

Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts (Candlewick 2007)
Jeremy, who longs to have the black high tops that everyone at school seems to have but his grandmother cannot afford, is excited when he sees them for sale in a thrift shop and decides to buy them even though they are the wrong size.

The Christmas Menorahs by Janice Cohn (A. Whitman 1995)
Describes how people in Billings, Montana joined together to fight a series of hate crimes against a Jewish family.

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena (Putnam’s 2015)
A young boy rides the bus across town with his grandmother and learns to appreciate the beauty in everyday things.

Never Say a Mean Word Again by Jacqueline Jules (Wisdom Tales 2014)
When Samuel’s father, the grand vizier, hears Hamza call Samuel names and tells his son to make sure Hamza never speaks an unkind word to him again, Samuel knows he must obey but has a hard time finding the right means to do so.

Painting for Peace in Ferguson by Carol Swartout Klein (Layla Dog Press 2015)

The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig (Knopf 2013)
Brian has always felt invisible at school, but when a new student, Justin, arrives, everything changes.

Pine and the Winter Sparrow by Alexis York Lumbard (Wisdom Tales 2015)
When sparrow injures his wing and cannot fly south for the winter, he asks for shelter from each of the forest trees.

Happy in Our Skin by Fran Manushkin (Candlewick 2015)
Depicts families of different colors and orientations as they play at a park, swim, and celebrate at a block party.

The Way to School by Rosemary McCarney (Second Story Press 2015)
Describes the different ways children in developing countries travel to school, crossing rivers, mountains, and fields of ice, emphasizing the difficulties of accessing education in remote areas.

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? : A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids by Carol McCloud (Ferne Press 2006)

We All Sing with the Same Voice by J. Philip Miller and Sheppard M. Greene (HarperCollins 2001)
This joyful Sesame Street song embraces the notion that no matter where children live, what they look like, or what they do, they’reall the same where it counts–at heart.

Enemy Pie by Derek Munson (Chronicle 2000)
Hoping that the enemy pie which his father makes will help him get rid of his enemy, a little boy finds that instead it helps make a new friend.

The Three Questions by Jon J. Muth (Scholastic 2002)
Nikolai asks his animal friends to help him answer three important questions: “When is the best time to do things?” “Who is the most important?” and “What is the right thing to do?”

I’m New Here by Anne Sibley O’Brien (Charlesbridge 2015)
Three children from other countries (Somalia, Guatemala, and Korea) struggle to adjust to their new home and school in the United States..

Beautiful Hands by Kathryn Otoshi (Gosling Press 2015)
A celebration of the many things children can accomplish with their little hands is illustrated with artwork created using thumbprints and handprints.

Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson (Gibbs Smith 2002)
A young girl’s good deed is multiplied as it is passed on by those who have been touched by the kindesss of others.

Horton Hears a Who! by Dr. Seuss (Random House 1954)
A city of Whos on a speck of dust are threatened with destruction until the smallest Who of all helps convince Horton‘s friends thatWhos really exist.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (Random House 1992)
A young boy grows to manhood and old age experiencing the love and generosity of a tree which gives to him without thought of return.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead (Roaring Brook 2010)
Zookeeper Amos McGee always makes time to visit his friends who live at the zoo until the day he stays home because he is sick.

Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins ()
A story about a rude cake who never says please or thank you or listens to its parents, and a Giant Cyclops who is polite.

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson (Nancy Paulsen 2012)
When Ms. Albert teaches a lesson on kindness, Chloe realizes that she and her friends have been wrong in making fun of new student Maya’s shabby clothes and refusing to play with her.

Books From These Booklists Added to the List Above:
13 Children’s Books That Encourage Kindness Towards OthersBuzzFeed

Other Booklists Online:
The Best Kid Lit on Bias, Diversity and Social JusticeAnti-Defamation League.
Bibliography of Children’s BooksUnderstanding Prejudice.



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School One Book Ideas

February 2, 2016 Leave a comment


Books that have been used as “one school, one book” reads.


Applegate, KatherineThe One and Only Ivan.
Used here: West Elementary School, New Canaan, Connecticut.

Birney, Betty G.The World According to Humphrey.
Used here: Frank J. DiLoreto School, New Britain, Connecticut.

Bowen, FredWinners Take All.
Used here: Cranbury Elementary School, Norwalk, Connecticut.

Broach, EliseMasterpiece.
Used here: Hart’s Hill Elementary School, Whitesboro, New York.

Bunting, EveNasty, Stinky Sneakers.
Used here: Edgewood School, Bristol, Connecticut.

Burnett, Frances HodgsonThe Secret Garden.
Used here: Redding Elementary School, Connecticut.

Cleary, BeverlyThe Mouse and the Motorcycle.
Used here: Lone Star Elementary, Jacksonville, Florida.

Davies, JacquelineThe Lemonade War.
Used here: E. H. Parkman School, Enfield, Connecticut.

DiTerlizzi, TonyKenny and the Dragon.
Used here: Daniels Farm Elementary School, Trumbull, Connecticut.

Selden, GeorgeThe Cricket in Times Square.
Used here: Kings Highway Elementary School, Westport, Connecticut.

White, E. B.Charlotte’s Web.
Used here: Nathan Hale Elementary School, Meriden, Connecticut.

White, E. B.The Trumpet of the Swan.
Used here: A. W. Cox School, Guilford, Connecticut.


Applegate, KatherineHome of the Brave.
Used here: P.S. Jones Middle School, Washington, North Carolina.

Draper, SharonOut of My Mind.
Used here: Horizon Community Middle School, Aurora, Colorado.

Palacio, R. J.Wonder.
Used here: Meriden middle schools, Connecticut.

Park, Linda SueA Long Walk to Water.
Used here: Holcolm Bridge Middle School, Alpharetta, Georgia.

Preller, JamesBystander.
Used here: John Winthrop Middle School, Deep River, Connecticut.

Sonnenblick, JordanDrums, Girls and Dangerous Pie.
Used here: Kennett Middle School, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

Yousafzai, MalalaI Am Malala (young readers’ edition)
Used here: Stanley Middle School, Lafayette, California.


Albom, MitchTuesdays with Morrie.
Used here: Cape Central High School, Girardeau, Missouri.

Alexie, ShermanThe Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.
Used here: Neuqua Valley High School, Naperville, Illinois.

Beals, Melba PatilloWarriors Don’t Cry.
Used here: Somerville High School, New Jersey.

Cline, ErnestReady Player One.
Used here: Waltham, Massachusetts.

Doctorow, CoryLittle Brother.
Cancelled here: Booker T. Washington High School, Pensacola Florida.

Fadiman, AnneThe Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down.
Used here: Brooklyn Friends School, New York.

Gladwell, MalcolmOutliers.
Used here: Pope John XXIII High School, Sparta, New Jersey.

Greitens, EricThe Warrior’s Heart.
Used here: Melrose High School, somewhere.

Grisham, John A Painted House.
Used here: Cape Central High School, Girardeau, Missouri.

Hillenbrand, LauraUnbroken (Young Adult Adaptation)
Used here: Palm Beach Central High School, Florida.

Houston, Jeanne Wakatsuki – Farewell to Manzanar.
Used here: Saklan Valley School, Moraga, California.

Ilibagiza, ImmaculéeLeft to Tell.
Used here: Bishop O’connell High School, Arlington, Virginia.

Kingsolver, BarbaraThe Bean Trees.
Used here: Herron High School, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Laybourne, EmmyMonument 14.
Used here: Oliver Wolcott Tech High School, Torrington, Connecticut.

Patterson, James Maximum Ride.
Used here: Silver Lake Regional High School, Kingston, Massachusetts.

Pfeffer, Susan BethLife As We Knew It.
Used here: Allentown High School, New Jersey.

Rosnay, Tatiana de – Sarah’s Key.
Used here: Middletown High School, Rhode Island.

Schroff, LauraAn Invisible Thread.
Used here: Eastchester High School, New York.

Shusterman, NealUnwind.
Used here: Algonquin Regional High School, Northborough, Massachusetts.

Tashjian, JanetThe Gospel According to Larry.
Used here: Silver Lake Regional High School, Kingston, Massachusetts.

Winters, BenThe Last Policeman.
Used here: Attleboro High School, Massachusetts.

Yancey, RickThe 5th Wave.
Used here: Pemberton High School, Pemberton, New Jersey.



Categories: Uncategorized

Books With Female Protagonists

October 15, 2015 Leave a comment

A compilation of booklists focusing on female protagonists.

Always check here first!:
The Amelia Bloomer Project: Recommended Feminist Literature for Birth Through 18, created annually by the Feminist Task Force of the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association. Here’s the current list.

Mostly Picture Books:
Beyond Female Protagonists: Female voices in Picture Books by Kay E. Vandergrift
Non Traditional Princess Books to Empower Our Daughters at The Artful Parent
Six Princess Books for Parents Who Really, Really Hate Princess Books at Building a Library
Spunky Girl Characters at There’s a Book for That
Strong, Brave, Courageous Girls: Picture Book Characters for Our Daughters at Creekside Learning

Elementary Grade Chapter Books:
Early Chapter Books with Fierce Female Characters at Brightly

Mostly Middle School:
Books for Strong Girls in Middle School at Flashlight Worthy 
Empowering Books for Middle-School Girls at PBS Parents
Girl Scientists in Middle-Grade Fiction at The Booklist Reader
Middle Grade Novels about African American Girls listed by Becky Birtha
Top Read Aloud Books Starring Mighty Girls at A Mighty Girl
Top Ten Girl Power Books: Middle Grade at Nerdy Book Club

Mostly Young Adult:
8 YA Books With Kickass Girls You Need To Read This Year at
10 Books With Female Leads and No (or Little) Romance at Book Nut
100 Young Adult Books for the Feminist Reader at Bitchmedia
Comics and Graphic Novels: Strong Female Protagonists Win the Day by Brigid Alverson at School Library Journal, May 5, 2014
Comics with Strong Female Characters at Booklist Online
Five Books Where the Girl Saves the Boy at
Girl Power! Fiction at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
STEM Girls: Books with Girls Rocking Science and Math (fiction) at School Library Journal
What We Talk About When We Talk About “Strong” Heroines in Young Adult Fiction at YALSA’s The Hub
YA Books with Strong Female Friendships at OH! the

Mostly Nonfiction, or Mixed Lists:
6 Nonfiction Books about Strong Girls at On How to Be Lovely
Girls with Gumption: Books with Strong Female Characters at Moore Memorial Public Library, TX
Kid’s Books on the Women’s Suffrage Movement at Books Kids Love

Articles of interest:
Gender Bias Uncovered in Children’s Books with Male Characters, Including Animals, Leading the Fictional Pack at Science Daily, May 4, 2011
Gender by the Numbers by Roger Sutton at the Horn Book, March 31, 2015
I Hate Strong Female Characters by Sophia McDougall at New Statesman, August 15, 2013
Must Every YA Action Heroine Be Petite? by Julianne Ross at The Atlantic, March 21, 2014
The Princess and the Poor Self-Image: An Analysis if Newbery Medal Winners for Gender Bias and Female Underrepresentation Leading into the Twenty-first Century by Melissa A. McCleary & Michael M. Widdersheim in Pensylvania Libraries: Research & Practice, Spring 2014.
Reading and Critiquing: An Analysis of Talk about Strong Books for Girls by Renita Schmidt, Amanda Thein, and Kathryn F. Whitmore (Talking Points, May 2013 – copyright NCTE)
What Does it Mean that Most Children’s Books Are Still About White Boys? by Soraya Chemaly at The Huffington Post Blog, November 7, 2013
Where Are the Girls in Children’s Lit? by Adriane Allan at Ms. Magazine Blog, May 25, 2011
Where are all the Heroines in YA Fiction? at The Guardian

Categories: Uncategorized