2/26/24

Book of the Week (2/26/2024)

I Will Tell No War Stories: What Our Fathers Left Unsaid about World War II by Howard Mansfield (Lyons Press, 2024)

When Howard Mansfield grew up, World War II was omnipresent and hidden. This was also true of his father’s time in the Air Force. Like most of his generation, it was a rule not to talk about what he’d experienced in war. “You’re not getting any war stories from me,” he’d say.

Cleaning up the old family house the year before his father's death, Mansfield was surprised to find a short diary of the bombing missions he had flown. Some of the missions were harrowing. Mansfield began to fill in the details, and to be surprised again, this time by a history he thought he knew.

I Will Tell No War Stories is about undoing the forgetting in a family and in a society that has hidden the horrors and cataclysm of a world at war. Some part of that forgetting was necessary for the veterans, otherwise how could they come home, how could they find peace?

I Will Tell No War Stories is also about learning to live with history, a theme Mansfield explored in earlier books like In the Memory House, which The New York Times called “a wise and beautiful book” and The Same Ax,Twice, said by the Times to be “filled with insight and eloquence … a brilliant book.”-- Publisher's blurb

About the author:

Howard Mansfield is the author of a dozen books, writing primarily about architecture, preservation, and history in his quest to understand the soul of American places. He lives in Hancock, New Hampshire with his wife, writer Sy Montgomery.

2/19/24

Book of the Week (2/19/2024)

Farm Girl: A Memoir by Megan Baxter (Green Writers Press, 2021)

Farm Girl is a memoir of urgent grace that crosses boundaries of genre and time. In her second year of college, Megan finds herself bonded to a lover spiraling into addiction and two thousand miles away from her heart’s home—a stretch of forty certified-organic acres along the banks of the Connecticut River separating Vermont and New Hampshire. In the crucible of a rainy Portland winter, Megan is forced to decide whether to embrace her future as a farm girl or to continue growing into the woman everyone hopes she’ll become. Farm Girl is about two love affairs that force a decision: the love between two people and the love between Megan and the landscape. With innovative prose and lush description, Farm Girl raises the earth up as a character and asks questions about the work we choose to sustain us—how careful attention and devotion to the earth transcends human tragedy. -- Publisher's blurb

About the author:

Megan has won numerous national awards including a Pushcart Prize. Her work has been listed in The Best American Essays of 2019. Recent publications included pieces in The Threepenny Review, Hotel Amerika, The Florida Review, and Creative Nonfiction Magazine. 

Megan mentors young writers and loves developing cross-genre and innovative creative writing pedagogy for her workshops and classes. Megan lives in New Hampshire, running her own small, organic farm and teaching creative writing.

2/17/24

Ladybug Longlist: School

The Boo-Boos of Bluebell Elementary by Chelsea Lin Wallace and Alison Farrell

"This book gives us a true feel for a day in the life of a school nurse, which all of us, teachers and students alike, can relate too. A lovely tribute to one of the school heroes!" --nominator

Gibberish by Young Vo

"So much of this story is told in the phenomenal artwork. Students will puzzle, then marvel, at the style of the illustrations and how they evolve over the course of the story." --nominator

This is the final post in a series of 12 "bite-sized" pieces into which we have divided the 2024 Ladybug Picture Book Award Long List to help NH librarians consider all the potential nominees. Please review the full list before you cast your vote as you can only vote once. Voting will remain open until 11:45pm on Tuesday, 2/27/2024.

2/16/24

Ladybug Longlist: Perseverance

Busy Betty by Reese Witherspoon and Xindi Yan

"...a very fun, very colorful book with great child appeal!" --nominator

Hugo and the Impossible Thing by Renee Felice Smith, Chris Gabriel and Sydney Hanson

"Great illustrations, adorable story about bravery and friends helping one another." --nominator

Knitting for Dogs by Laurel Molk

"This book is great! It's great because I first give credit to someone who is a storyteller and illustrator. The story is great for children to learn that not all plans can be perfected and sometimes you have different callings. The main character of the story struggles to knit the perfect sweater and by the end of the story she finds her niche in creating small sweaters for cold dogs at the dog park. The illustrations are simple yet nice and the story is not complicated for children to follow along." --nominator

Love in the Library by Maggie Tokuda-Hall and Yas Imamura

"...a hopeful story during an unhopeful time. It is set in a Japanese Internment Camp. It handles and explains this situation in a way children can understand. It is by a minority author and illustrator, which would help libraries increase their diversity. The pictures are beautiful, approachable, and engaging. It also highlights the importance of libraries in our communities." --nominator

The Mermaid with No Tail by Jessica Long and Airin O’Callaghan

"Represents children with physical diversity, Adoptive children, and overcoming the odds. Beautiful illustrations." --nominator

This post is one of a series of 12 "bite-sized" pieces into which we have divided the 2024 Ladybug Picture Book Award Long List to help NH librarians consider all the potential nominees. Please review the full list (or wait until we have covered all the titles) before you cast your vote as you can only vote once. 

2/15/24

Ladybug Longlist: Nature

Fungi Grow by Maria Gianferrari and Diana Sudyka

"Fungi Grow is an informational text that is visually appealing and the text is multilayered. It is easy to read the main text in large font to youngest students, and add the subtext information for olders. It feeds the curiosity we all feel for fungi!" --nominator

I’m Going to Build a Snowman by Jashar Awan

"The determination to build and the following less than perfect result. Sends a wonderful message of success and joy of achievement." --nominator

Moving Words About a Flower by K. C. Hayes and Barbara Chotiner

"Lovely story with fantastic illustrations that match the words. Would be an excellent book to share in springtime or in a collaborative unit on seeds and gardening." --nominator 

No One Owns the Colors by Gianna Davy and Brenda Rodriguez

"This book is a celebration of individualism and being true to one's self.  All colors are found in nature and are thus for everyone." --nominator

Remember by Joy Harjo and Michaela Goade

"Absolutely beautiful vividly illustrated book of Joy Harjo's iconic poem." --nominator 1

"It is exquisite in every way. A masterpiece every child should hear." --nominator 2

The Tree and the River by Aaron Becker

"Wordless picture book that beautifully captures change over time and new beginnings." --nominator

We Are Branches by Joyce Sidman and Beth Krommes

"Beautifully illustrated, and informative, book about the branches that are all around us." --nominator

This post is one of a series of 12 "bite-sized" pieces into which we have divided the 2024 Ladybug Picture Book Award Long List to help NH librarians consider all the potential nominees. Please review the full list (or wait until we have covered all the titles) before you cast your vote as you can only vote once. 

2/14/24

Ladybug Longlist: Identity

Big by Vashti Harrison

"This book led to some great discussions about loving yourself and appreciating differences." --nominator 1

"The message and the diversity this book represents is inspiring and needed for children. This book has become a favorite of all grades and prompted important conversations." --nominator 2

"...a story about how children, especially little girls, grow up thinking it's a good thing to be big - to be getting big and acting like a big kid. Then one day, they are suddenly too big, which makes them feel small. This book is about body positivity and loving your whole self." --nominator 3

"...allows for text to self connects for dealing with hurtful words as well as having a positive self concept.  There is also the opportunity to focus on how pictures tell a story as well as words since some of the pages are wordless." --nominator 4

Hidden Gem by Linda Liu

"Wonderful message about self-worth." --nominator 1

"A sweet story of learning that we are all more than we appear to be." --nominator 2

I Am Not a Penguin by Liz Wong

"Fun, silly but informative book that blends non-fiction and fiction facts about a pangolin, who is often mistaken for a penguin." --nominator

Wallflowers by MacKenzie Joy

"Mackenzie Joy beautifully pairs her gorgeous illustrations with minimalist text in this heartwarming book that doesn’t just acknowledge shy children, but celebrates them—because every wallflower deserves their chance to grow." --nominator

This post is one of a series of 12 "bite-sized" pieces into which we have divided the 2024 Ladybug Picture Book Award Long List to help NH librarians consider all the potential nominees. Please review the full list (or wait until we have covered all the titles) before you cast your vote as you can only vote once. 

2/13/24

Ladybug Longlist: Flying Creatures

100 Mighty Dragons All Named Broccoli by David LaRochelle and Lian Cho

The title alone made my students laugh, and they thoroughly enjoyed figuring out how many dragons were left after some of them went to join a band, became surfers, went to live in France, etc." --nominator

Becoming Charley by Kelly diPucchio and Loveis Wise

Sweet illustrations and a great message about being true to oneself." --nominator

I am a Dragon! by Sabina Hahn

[nominator did not offer a reason for selecting]

I Eat Poop by Mark Pett

While the title and story relies on scatalogical humor to attract and keep the reader, the plot is engaging and ultimately rewarding.  I Eat Poop is a bug positive book celebrating the individual and reclaiming "weirdness" as a desirable trait. A young dung beetle with a secret in his backpack finds lunchtime courage during a typical bug-school day.  For an extra treat, it's filled with adorable illustrations throughout and fun bug facts in the back matter endnotes." --nominator 1

I love this book because it addresses issues such as bullying, acceptance, and friendship while at the same time is very informative about the various characteristics of different bugs. But the best reason is because about halfway through the book, my coworkers could hear me chuckling aloud to myself while reading it-it is very funny! Great book!! " --nominator 2

The Red Jacket by Bob Holt

A funny, sweet story of a seagull who receives a gift that boosts his confidence.  He shines in the glow of friendship and ends up passing it on.  And there are French fries!" --nominator 1

This book has broad appeal and will have the kids giggling, for sure while sharing positive messages about friendship and paying it forward." --nominator 2

This post is one of a series of 12 "bite-sized" pieces into which we have divided the 2024 Ladybug Picture Book Award Long List to help NH librarians consider all the potential nominees. Please review the full list (or wait until we have covered all the titles) before you cast your vote as you can only vote once.