Saturday, January 31, 2015

Reading with Little Miss Muffet: January 2015

In this new monthly feature I'll be recording my experiences reading with my toddler daughter. These will include my observations of her behavior with books, a current list of favorite titles, and tips from my experience that may help other parents.

New Book Behaviors

Since she turned one, Little Miss Muffet's interest in books has increased exponentially. Because she is completely mobile and working on becoming verbal, she can interact much more freely with the books she owns and borrows from the library. I see her doing all kinds of interesting things with books every day. Here are some of the highlights:  

  • Morning reading. On many mornings, Miss Muffet wakes up, grabs a book, and "reads" to herself for a little while before we even know she is awake. I have started leaving a few sturdy board books in her sleeping space so she can get to them easily when she wakes up. It's a much better start to the day than fussing or crying!
  • Paperbacks. Miss Muffet loves paperback books. I gave her two review copies I was finished with and she has explored them fully, including folding and ripping many of the pages. It's nice to be able to hand her some books that she is allowed to destroy in order to keep from destroying every book she encounters.
  • Preferences. As she becomes less of a baby and more of a toddler, Miss Muffet is also starting to make her preferences known. When she wants a particular book to be read, she will throw it or bang it against something until a grown-up takes notice. If the story ends, and she wants to hear it again, she immediately starts to cry until she is either distracted by something else or someone begins the book over again. I think she could easily listen to the same book 25 times in a row.
  • Labeling. Though Miss Muffet does like to listen to a story, she has started interrupting frequently to point out pieces of the illustrations and ask me to label them, Often, she will say "Whassat?" or "Da?" and if she likes a particular word, she will point to that item several more times so I will repeat it for her. I see this paying off greatly in her vocabulary development; there are now dozens of animals and objects she can recognize by name, even if she can't yet say the words.

Five Current Favorites 

We read a lot of books, but some always rise to the top of the pile. These are Miss Muffet's current favorites:

  • Baby Pig Pig Talks by David McPhail
    We borrowed this board book from the library because of how much Miss Muffet enjoyed another from the same series, Baby Pig Pig Walks. This is a very short and simple story where Mama tries to get Pig Pig to talk, but instead of repeating her words, he assigns his own baby talk names to things. Then, in the end, when he is scared by a dog, he says Mama. Miss Muffet refuses to say my name unless she is angry, so the fact that I am asked to read it 20 times a day is a bit torturous, but it goes back  to the library very soon... 
  • Can You Say It Too? Growl! Growl! by Sebastien Braun
    This is a short lift-the-flap book, also from the library. It focuses on animal sounds. For some reason, Miss Muffet got the idea that every time she opens a flap, she should scream at the top of her lungs. Even now that I know to expect it, I still laugh hysterically every single time it happens, which probably does nothing whatsoever to discourage her. There are others in this series, and I plan to seek them out on our next library trip.
  • Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
    I consider this a picture book for preschoolers, so having a 14-month-old sit still and listen to it repeatedly amazes me. Surprisingly, it is not the monkeys who catch her attention, but the peddler himself, and his colorful caps. I am trying to teach her to point her finger, shake her fist, and stomp her feet like the peddler does when he begs the monkeys for his caps back. So far, she just seems to like watching me do those motions, but I know one of these days she will surprise me by joining in.
  • DK My First Word Board Book This was one of her favorite books of 2014, but now that she is so into labeling, it has taken on a new significance for Miss Muffet. I get tired of reading the same labels over and over again, so I try to incorporate songs with as many pages as possible. On the food page, we sing "Going on a Picnic" and on the Farm page, we sing "Old MacDonald" and on the transportation page, we sing about every vehicle to the tune of "The Wheels on the Bus." And occasionally, when I can't take it anymore, I hide this book.
  • Highlights Hello Magazine
    We have subscriptions to both Babybug and Highlights Hello. The first issue of Hello that we received has a story in it about sitting in a big, soft chair, and Little Miss Muffet absolutely loves it. We usually read the whole magazine at least once a day (it's short), but sometimes we do an encore (or five) of just that one story because she can't get enough of it.  

Three Tips from Mom 

When I worked in the library, people would always tell me how much trouble they had getting their toddlers to sit and listen to them read. Here is what is working for me right now:

  • Read when the mood strikes. Sometimes we start a book, and it becomes clear immediately that Miss Muffet is much more interested in something else. In that case, we set the book aside and try again later when she is more receptive. 
  • Always read when asked. If Miss Muffet brings me a book, I almost always read it unless I am in the middle of something that can't be interrupted. I don't always indulge every demand for repeat readings, but I will usually do at least two encores before trying to move her attention to something else. 
  • Talk about the pictures. Sometimes instead of reading a book straight through, we choose a page or two and just spend some time with the illustrations. I name objects for her to find, or ask her to label items I know she has the words for. This kind of interactivity often keeps her engaged better than reading what is written. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Learning Activities for Favorite Children's Books: May I Bring a Friend?

May I Bring a Friend? was written by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers and illustrated by Beni Montresor. It was published in 1964 and received the Caldecott Medal in 1965. In the story, the king and queen invite a young boy to their castle each day for a different meal or celebration. The boy inquires whether he may bring a friend to each of these visits, then shows up every time with a different zoo animal. The following are extension activities to share after reading the book.

I’m Looking for a Friend

Create flannel board pieces of the animals which appear in the story - giraffe, rhinoceros, monkey, elephant, lion, and seal - and line them up on the flannel board. Tell your child you are looking for a specific friend,then give a description of one of the animals. (For example, “I am looking for a friend with a long neck.” ) Have your child locate and remove the correct animal from the flannel board. Then allow your child to take a turn giving the clues and allow you to guess. This game can also be played on a tabletop.

Clipart images of the animals can be found on in the following documents:

Feed the Animals

Use the animals you created for the game above along with the linked images of food below to play a matching game. Decide which animal would be most likely to eat each food and “feed” the animal by placing the food next to it on the flannel board or table top.

King and Queen Match-Up

The kings and queens in the printable document below each bear the name of a day of the week. Mix them up and have your child match King Monday with Queen Monday, King Tuesday with Queen Tuesday, etc.

Cut & Paste Calendar

Using the printable calendar below, have your child retell the story by cutting and pasting the appropriate animals and foods into the space for each day of the week. (Lunch is represented by a sandwich, and Halloween by a jack o’lantern.)

For more learning activities for favorite children's books, click here.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

9 Easy Reader Series Starring Girls

Series are really popular with beginning readers. Here are some great easy reader series starring girls!

Katie Woo

by Fran Manushkin, illustrated by Tammie Lyon
Book 1: Best Season Ever
Katie Woo guides readers through typical school problems and experiences including moving, celebrating birthdays, losing a tooth and getting new glasses. Watch a book trailer for the series here.


by Jean Little, illustrated by Jennifer Plecas
Book 1: Emma's Magic Winter
Emma deals with making a new friend, gaining an adoptive brother, and finding a pet that doesn't bother her allergies in this trilogy.

Amelia Bedelia (Level 1 I Can Read Books)

by Herman Parish, illustrated by Lynne Avril
Book 1: Amelia Bedelia Makes a Friend
Herman Parish has written several books about Amelia Bedelia as a sweet but literal-minded child, in which she engages in typical childhood activities, such as going on a hike, having a sleepover, and making a new friend. Click here to see the publisher's webpage for this branch of the Amelia Bedelia series.

Fancy Nancy

by Jane O'Connor, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glassman
Book 1: The 100th Day of School
This series is spun off from the popular picture books. Nancy takes on various problems with school and friends using her exceptional vocabulary. Each volume concludes with a short glossary.


by Victoria Kann
Book 1: Pink Around the Rink 
Also spun off from a popular picture book series, these books tell stories of everyday occurences at home and at school with a splash of pink. 


by Robin Farley, illustrated by Olga Ivanov
Book 1: Mia and the Too Big Tutu
Mia the cat is a ballerina whose adventures all revolve around dancing.


by Kevin Henkes
Book 1: Penny and Her Song
Penny is a mouse who lives with her parents and infant siblings. In this trilogy, Penny learns a new song, names her new doll, and makes amends when she makes a terrible mistake. Penny and her Marble, the third book of the series, was a 2014 Geisel Honor book. Kevin Henkes introduces the series in this short video.

Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa

by Erica Silverman, illustrated by Betsy Lewin  
Book 1: Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa
Kate and her horse, Cocoa, are best friends who argue, play, and have fun together. The first book of this series was a 2006 Geisel honor book.  There are six books in all. 

Amanda Pig

by Jean Van Leeuwen and Ann Schweninger
Amanda Pig is the younger sister of Oliver pig. She stars in some books of her own, as well as those about her brother. Amanda Pig and the Really Hot Day was also a 2006 Geisel Honor book.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

12 Kids' Books Illustrated by Marla Frazee

Clementine Series

Marla Frazee provides the lively pictures of curly-haired, spunky Clementine, the beloved chapter book heroine whose adventures are written by Sara Pennypacker. Throughout the series, Clementine deals with the difficulties of growing up, including sibling rivalry with her unnamed brother, conflicts with her neat and organized friend, Margaret, and learning to behave herself in school. There are six Clementine titles in all, with a seventh and final book, Completely Clementine, due out in March.  

Picture Books

Though Frazee has written some of her own picture books, there are some she has illustrated that were written by other well-known authors. 
  • All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon
    This celebration of the interconnectedness of people and nature is one of my top ten picture books of all time as well as a 2010 Caldecott Honor Book. 
  • The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman
    Mrs. Peters is the mother of seven very picky eaters. Day in and day out, she caters to their specific preferences until one day the kids decide to give something back. 
  • Harriet, You’ll Drive Me Wild! by Mem Fox
    When Harriet misbehaves, her mom does her best not to get angry, but some days are harder than others in this sweet book about handling strong emotions. 
  • Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers
    A rhyming text celebrates the joys of being a baby. Frazee provides a diverse cast of busy little babies in her signature illustration style. 
  • Stars by Mary Lyn Ray
    In poetic text, the author marvels at the beauty of the stars, both as scientific entities and as possible wish-granters. This is a great read-aloud for early elementary audiences in particular.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Early Literacy in Everyday Places: The Grocery Store

Trips to the grocery store can seem boring to kids, but sometimes giving them something to do makes the experience more interesting and therefore easier on parents.Here are a few fun ways to practice early literacy skills on your next trip to the supermarket. 
  • Have your child cross off your shopping list as you collect items.
    If you have a handwritten shopping list, or even a digital list on your phone, allow your child to read you the items and cross them off as you add them to your shopping cart. This gives them the opportunity to see the words for foods and other household items in print and to see how close you are to being finished at the same time. 
  • Point out signs and labels for familiar foods.
    As you shop for the staples of your child's diet, point out the names of these items on the packaging and store signage. Kids will be invested in these words because the foods are well known to them, and they might even recognize the words when you unload the groceries at home. 
  • Let child help match coupons to items.
    Have your child help you find the correct coupons to go with some of your items. Show them how the words and pictures on the coupons are clues to which item they belong to.
  • Talk about the way the items for sale are categorized on the shelves.
    Help your child learn to categorize his world by discussing the way items are sorted and arranged in the grocery store. Why are milk and cheese often close to one another? Why are sugar, flour, and cake mix all together? Where might you find paper towels? This activity promotes language skills, as well as science and math background knowledge. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Flannel Friday: There's a Little Wheel a-Turnin' in my Heart (Valentine's Day Extravaganza)

There's a Little Wheel a-Turnin' in my Heart has been a favorite story time song of mine for years, so it's surprising that it never occurred to me to turn it into a flannel board. Inspired by the original verses on Nancy's Stewart's website, I have finally done just that, and added a couple extra verses of my own. It suits the Valentine theme, but I think it's also usable all year round.

There’s a little wheel a turnin’ in my heart
There’s a little wheel a turning’ in my heart
In my heart, in my heart 
There’s a little wheel a turnin’ in my heart

There's a little bee a-buzzing in my heart...

There's a little bird a-singing in my heart...

There's a little bunny hopping in my heart...

There's a little cow a-mooing in my heart...

There's a little frog a-leaping in my heart...

There's a little owl a-hooting in my heart...

Flannel Friday is a weekly round-up of ideas for using flannel boards and other props at story time. This week's host is Lisa.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

13 Kids' Books Illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky

Paul O. Zelinsky is a one-time Caldecott medalist and three-time Caldecott honor winner. He has been illustrating children's books since 1978, and according to his website bio, he was first inspired to follow this career path by a class he took at Yale which was co-taught by Maurice Sendak. This is a list of selected works for which he has provided the artwork.

Toys Series

This trilogy by Emily Jenkins (also known to YA readers as E. Lockhart) is a set of beautifully written stories about the inner lives of sentient stuffed animals. These books have wide appeal - they work as family read-alouds, chapter books for beginners, and comfort reads for older kids as well as adults. The are listed here in order of publication, but Toys Come Home is a prequel.

Novels by Beverly Cleary

I know Paul Zelinsky best as the artist who drew Leigh Botts in Dear Mr. Henshaw. In fact, he is the illustrator of three Beverly Cleary books: 

  • Dear Mr. Henshaw
    In letters to his favorite author, eleven-year-old Leigh Botts reveals his feelings about his father's frequent travel, bullies in school, and many other occurrences from his daily life.
  • Strider
    In this sequel to Dear Mr. Henshaw, Leigh is now fourteen and in love with running, a red-haired girl named Geneva, and a dog named Strider. 
  • Ralph S. Mouse
    This is the third book in the series about an adventurous mouse who rides a motorcycle. It follows The Mouse and the Motorcycle and Runaway Ralph.

Picture Books

  • Swamp Angel by Anne Isaacs
    A tall tale about a very large woman who lassos tornadoes and drinks lakes dry. There is a second picture book about the same character entitled Dust Devil.
  • Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham
    As the animals present the alphabet letter by letter, Moose finds it difficult to wait his turn. A companion book, Circle Square Moose uses a similar concept to teach shapes.
  • Doodler Doodling by Rita Golden Gelman
    This tongue twister of a story shows what can happen with a blank page, a pencil, and a ton of imagination.

Other Titles

  • The Random House Book of Humor, selected by Pamela Pollack
    A collection of excerpts from funny favorite children's novels.
  • Earwig and the Witch by Diana Wynne Jones
    In this, Diana Wynne Jones's last book, explores what happens to a young orphan who finds herself in foster care in a house of dark magic.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

30 Books to Share with Kids and Teens on Valentine’s Day

There are plenty of books for kids and teens that are explicitly about Valentine's Day, which are fairly easy to find. Today, I'm sharing books that don't necessarily talk directly about Valentine's Day, but which embody the fun and the spirit of the holiday. Links are to my reviews, when available.

Babies & Toddlers

  • My Lucky Little Dragon by Joyce Wan
    In this board book, a series of colorful animals introduce sweet pet names for parents to call their little ones.
  • Grandma Calls Me Gigglepie by J.D. Lester, illustrated by Hiroe Nakata
    This is another board book about animal nicknames, this time celebrating the special relationship between young children and their grandmothers.
  • The Nice Book by David Ezra Stein
    This book shares a long list of reminders about how to be nice, accompanied by abstract illustrations of various wild animals showing signs of affection.
  • All Kinds of Kisses by Nancy Tafuri
    Different baby animals love to be kissed in different ways - but nobody's kiss is better than Mommy's!
  • The Way I Love You by David Bedford and Ann James
    A spirited little girl loves her sweet dog in many ways.
  • Always by Emma Dodd
    An baby elephant's parent reminds the baby that he will always be loved even when he sometimes misbehaves.


  • Henry in Love by Peter McCarty
    Henry, a young cat, falls in love with a girl named Chloe and declares his devotion by sharing his delicious blueberry muffin. One of the only age-appropriate love stories for kids under five!
  • A Hug Goes Around by Laura Krauss Melmed
    This book celebrates the love of family as they mark their day with hugs.
  • My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall
    Colorful geometric shapes come together to make different animals, who express a range of emotions from anger to love.
  • I Love Animals by Flora McDonnell
    A little girl loves all the animals on the farm, and they love her right back!
  • Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin and James Dean
    No matter what he steps in or how stained they become, Pete the Cat loves his white shoes - and loves to sing about them, too! 

Early Elementary

  • Panda Kisses by Alyssa Satin Capucilli and Kay Widdowson
    A little panda tests out all kinds of kisses to find out which is best.
  • Princess Hyacinth: The Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated by Florence Parry Heide and Lane Smith
    A princess who floats unless weighted down finds love with a boy who flies kites. Laughs ensue.
  • Henry’s Heart by Charise Mericle Harper
    This STEM-themed picture book shows what happens to the heart of a boy named Henry when he runs, sits down, and falls in love.
  • Jasper John Dooley: NOT in Love by Caroline Adderson,
    Jasper John is not in love, but he might pretend to be if it means he gets to play on classmate Isabel's trampoline.
  • Love is in the Air by Jonathan Fenske
    A kite and a balloon become friends, but changes in circumstances - and altitude - keep trying to drive them apart. 

Upper Elementary

  • Emma Emmets, Playground Matchmaker by Julia deVillers
    Fourth grader Emma Emmets, who is not yet into boys, accidentally becomes a matchmaker for her classmates when a friend credits Emma with finding her a boyfriend.
  • The Candy Smash by Jacqueline Davies
    Jessie Treski upsets her brother and many of their classmates when she creates a Valentine's Day survey questioning everyone about their secret crushes.
  • The Cybil War by Betsy Byars
    In an elementary school love triangle, best friends Simon and Tony fight for the affections of Cybil Ackerman, a smart and generous girl in their class.
  • Revenge of the Flower Girls by Jennifer Ziegler
    Triplets Dawn, Darby, and Delaney Brewster set out to ruin their sister's wedding to convince her she is marrying the wrong guy.
  • French Ducks in Venice by Garret Freymann-Weyr and Erin McGuire
    Two ducks are distraught when their friend, Polina a California seamstress, ends her romance with a movie star named Sebastian Sterling, and she must explain that the end of a relationship is not the end of the world. A great alternative to some of the more unrealistic "happy ever after" stories. 

Middle School & High School

  • The Boy on Cinnamon Street by Phoebe Stone
    Thumbelina (formerly called Louise) is trying to forget her previous life on Cinnamon Street, where terrible things happened to her, when a series of mysterious love notes begin appearing on her doorstep.
  • Sweet Treats and Secret Crushes by Lisa Greenwald
    On a snow day, three best friends work out the boy drama in their lives while delivering fortune cookies to everyone in their apartment building.
  • A Song for Bijou by Josh Farrar
    Alex Schrader does not know what he is in for when he develops a crush on Bijou Doucet, a new girl in the neighborhood who is a survivor of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and whose strict family does not allow her to date.
  • Fake Me a Match by Lauren Barnholdt
    When Avery is put in charge of the class matchmaking project for charity, she promises to rig the results so that her new stepsister is matched with the boy she likes. When a teacher catches on, Avery know it's just a matter of time before she is in huge trouble.
  • How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford
    Beatrice and Jonah are outsiders and best friends who know their friendship will be limited by Jonah's ultimate plan to disappear.
  • Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern
    Amy, a teen girl with CP and Matthew, a teen boy with OCD, form an unlikely friendship - and later, romance - when Amy decides to attend school for a year and Matthew is assigned to help her.
  • Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo
    Fifteen-year-old Amelia falls in love with her coworker at the grocery store, an older man whose heart has been badly broken.
  • Not Exactly a Love Story by Audrey Couloumbis
    In 1977, fifteen-year-old Vinnie makes an obscene phone call to a girl's house which leads to a surprising friendship in which the two teens tell each other things they would never say to anyone else.
  • Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
    Levi and Macallan have been inseparable best friends since seventh grade, but both of them sometimes wonder about the possibility of becoming more. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

5 Reading Goals for 2015

I spent part of New Year's Day considering what goal to set for myself in the 2015 Reading Challenge on Goodreads. I became frustrated pretty quickly because every goal I had in mind was specific to one type of book, but Goodreads only allows me to track the total number of books marked with a 2015 read date. Finally, I decided to plug in 500 books - 9 books fewer than this year - and to supplement that basic goal with some more specific ones. These are listed below.

Goal #1: Read Through History

I like historical fiction. I find it easier to understand history when there is a character to empathize with and a plot to follow. Over the summer, I got the idea to publish a year's worth of reviews of historical fiction novels for kids and teens to help me get a better sense of history, and to encourage me to read some of the well-known titles I have missed over the years. Though I started reading the books in August, they will all be posted in 2015, one per week, for 52 weeks. The feature is called "Reading Through History" and I am reading the books in chronological order based on their setting. The first post goes up tomorrow, as my first Old School Sunday of the new year.

Goal #2: Go Easier on the ARCs

In 2014, I combined my two blogs into one, leaving fewer days in my line-up for posting book reviews. This seemed like a wise decision with a new baby at home, and it has worked out fairly well. I have stuck with Old School Sunday, and participated semi-regularly in Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, and I've reviewed a picture book almost every week. The only problem is that a significant portion of the new books I've read and reviewed came from Edelweiss and NetGalley, meaning that I have missed out on a lot of books that were not available from those services. I'm not quite sure yet how I will do this because I already have so many ARCs waiting to be read, but I hope to focus at least a little bit more on finding books at the library after they are published instead of only reviewing ARCs.

Goal #3: Be Proactive About Picture Books

I am going to stop accepting picture books for review in 2015. The ones I've received have been fine, but not amazing, and because I have spent my time on them, I've wound up missing almost everything published by any of the major publishers. I only read one title from the Cybils finalist list, and I couldn't make a Caldecott prediction now if my life depended on it. When I was working, I used to check in, or at least review, the new picture books pretty much every time they arrived at my branch before they went out on the shelves. Now, as a patron, I often don't even know the books exist unless they happen to be on a new books display on the day I visit the library. My goal is to pay better attention to what is being published each month and to use inter-library loan to actually borrow the books and bring them home to read and review so I can continue to be in the loop, even when I'm staying home with Miss Muffet.

Goal #4: Phase Out YA 

I have almost completely stopped reviewing YA. Part of the reason is that I am just not that into reading about teenagers having sex, and it seems like that is happening in a lot of the books I pick up. The other part of the reason is that I really love middle grade and want to save as many spots on my review calendar for middle grade books as I can. I continued to review YA for years after leaving my teen librarian position, but since I don't have any plans to work with teens in the near future, and I won't have a teenager myself for 12 more years, I feel like I can let this part of my professional development go for now. There might be a few YA ARCs on my reading list that I requested before I made this decision, but otherwise, I will not be posting YA reviews in 2015.

Goal #5: Bring Back Books for Beginners

This year, my blog was very light on easy readers. I reviewed a good number of chapter books, but as with picture books, I was not as aware of what was being published at the easy reader level as I have been in the past. Based on the small number of nominations we had for Cybils, I think it is also possible that not as many easy readers were published this year, but even so, I'd like to do better at being on top of what is being published, especially since not many bloggers regularly review books for beginning readers.

Do you have any reading goals you hope to follow in this new year? Share in comments!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Flannel Friday: One, two, three BLOW!

"One, two, three, BLOW!" is a simple rhyme from Wriggle and Roar: Rhymes to Join in With by Nick Sharratt and Julia Donaldson. The first verse goes like this:

Three red candles
In a row.
One, two, three, 
There are three more verses:

The biscuits (or cookies) are up too high ("One, two, three, SIGH!").

Tigers are on the prowl ("One, two, three, GROWL!") 

And monsters appear in a dream ("One, two, three, SCREAM!") 

I think of this rhyme as the next step up from something like Let's Make a Noise. It invites everyone to participate by asking them to count and to make a specific sound, and provided you can come up with more rhyming words, you can adapt it however you like. I obviously have not posted the full text here because it is copyrighted, but if you can't find the book, feel free to email me, and I will be happy to share.

Flannel Friday is a weekly round-up of ideas for using flannel boards and other props at story time. This week's host is Anne.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Cybils Finalists: Easy Readers and Early Chapter Books

The Cybils finalists have been announced, so at long last, I and my fellow round one judges in the Easy Reader/Early Chapter Book category  - Caroline FloryMaggi IdzikowskiMike LewisKimberley MoranDebbie Nance, and Melissa Taylor - are able to share with you our shortlists. These lists are the end result of hours of reading, reviewing, and discussing, and they represent the best-written books published this year that beginning readers will love to read. 

Easy Readers

  • Extraordinary Warren: A Super Chicken by Sarah Dillard (Aladdin)
  • Okay, Andy! by Maxwell Eaton (Blue Apple Books)
  • Clara and Clem Under the Sea by Ethan Long (Penguin USA)
  • Pigsticks and Harold and the Incredible Journey by Alex Milway (Candlewick Press)
  • The Ice Cream Shop: A Steve and Wessley Reader by Jennifer E. Morris (Scholastic)
  • Inch and Roly and the Sunny Day Scare by Melissa Wiley (Simon Spotlight)
  • My New Friend Is So Fun! by Mo Willems (Disney-Hyperion)

Early Chapter Books

  • Violet Mackerel's Possible Friend by Anna Branford (Atheneum)
  • The Chicken Squad: The First Misadventure by Doreen Cronin (Atheneum)
  • The Lion Who Stole My Arm by Nicola Davies (Candlewick Press)
  • Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon (Dial Books)
  • Lulu and the Rabbit Next Door by Hilary McKay (Albert Whitman & Company)
  • Like Carrot Juice on a Cupcake by Julie Sternberg (Abrams Books for Young Readers)
  • Lulu's Mysterious Mission by Judith Viorst (Atheneum)
View this list, along with our blurbs, on the Cybils website

Starting today, these books will be handed over to the round 2 judges: Narineh Ferderer, Amanda Furman, Catherine Nichols, Mia Wenjen, and Matthew Winner. They will choose one winner from each subcategory, which will be announced on February 14. 
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