new books to check out at your library

We recently read this year’s Newbery Medal winner:


CJ, a main character in the book, reminded me of my own boys – of how they have responded to helping our “often overlooked neighbors.” My boys may come reluctantly, sometimes complaining, but by the time it’s over they’re glad they were included. The no-nonsense grandmother in the story made me smile. And pointed out a truth that transcends generations: “Sometimes when you’re surrounded by dirt, CJ, you’re a better witness for what’s beautiful.”

We also picked up the 2016 Caldecott Medal winner at the library:


“If the bear’s so famous how come I’ve never heard of it?” my eight-year-old asked. Once we read it, we discovered it was about a bear we’d heard of – and read about – before: Winnie-the-Pooh. The mom in the book is telling her son a bedtime story, a true story about the boy’s great great grandfather and a bear he found on the way to his assigned post as a veterinarian during World War I.

My favorite part of the book is where the boy says he doesn’t want the story to be over. His mom tells him, “Sometimes you have to let one story end so the next one can begin.” The boy wants to know how you know when that will happen. “You don’t,” the mom says. “Which is why you should always carry on.”

A brand new book of concrete poetry was another fun read:

pict wet cement

This book includes poems that allow the reader to look at and think about common things such as a firefly, hanger, balloon, and xylophone in new ways. The last poem challenges readers to give poetry writing a try.