Ladybug Nominee

The Wall in the Middle of the Book
Author/Illustrator:  Jon Agee
ISBN: 978-0525555452
Publisher:  Dial Books (October 2, 2018)

There's a wall in the middle of the book, and our hero--a young knight--is sure that the wall protects his side of the book from the dangers of the other side--like an angry tiger and giant rhino, and worst of all, an ogre who would gobble him up in a second! But our knight doesn't seem to notice the crocodile and growing sea of water that are emerging on his side. When he's almost over his head and calling for help, who will come to his rescue? An individual who isn't as dangerous as the knight thought--from a side of the book that might just have some positive things to offer after all!

About Jon Agee

Big Ideas: Preconceived notions or assumptions, xenophobia, symbolism, fear & safety


  • Why is there a wall?
  • Is the other side better or safer?
  • Is it wise to pre-judge people?

Vocabulary: Protects, Ogre, Fantastic


Companion Titles:

  • Read about inclusiveness and hospitality in Big Umbrella by Amy June Bates; co-written with Juniper Bates (Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018)
  • Community, resilience, and optimism: The Breaking News by Sarah Lynne Reul (Roaring Brook Press, 2018)
  • Overcoming fear of what we can’t see: The Dark by Lemony Snicket; illustrated by Jon Klassen (Little, Brown & Co., 2013)

Preconceived notions

  • They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel (Chronicle Books, 2016)
  • Flashlight by Lizi Boyd (Chronicle Books, 2014)
  • Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems (Hyperion Books for Children, 2005)
  • The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf; illustrated by Robert Lawson (Viking Press, 1936)
  • The New Neighbors by Sarah McIntyre (Penguin Workshop, 2019)

Other Links and Resources:
 This is one of ten titles nominated for the 2019 Ladybug Picture Book Award. This info sheet post was created by Deborah Dutcher, Youth and Adult Services Librarian, NHSL and Karen Landsman,  Library Media/Tech Integration Specialist, Hooksett School District. 


Book of the Week (8/19/2019)

Except for Love: New England Poets Inspired by Donald Hall edited by Cynthia Brackett-Vincent (New Sharon, ME : Encircle Publications, 2019).

The anthology "Except for Love" includes poetry from thirty-five New England poets inspired by literary giant Donald Hall, former Poet Laureate of New Hampshire and of the United States.

The following poets are included in this anthology: Sherry Barker Abaldo, Mary Anker, L.R. Berger, Edward Bruce Bynum, David Cappella, Jenny Doughty, Max Roland Ekstrom, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Elizabeth Brule’ Farrell, Monica Flegg, James Fowler, David Giannini, Patricia Gomes, Kathleen McKinley Harris, Scott T. Hutchison, Elizabeth Knies, Tricia Knoll, Katherine Leigh, Jim Mello, Mark Melnicove, Andrew Periale, Dawn Potter, Kyle Potvin, Jessica Purdy, Gary Rainford, Steven Ratiner, Dave Read, Russell Rowland, Clemens Carl Schoenebeck, John Surowiecki, Wally Swist, Jeri Theriault, Irene Willis, Warren Woessner, Jane Yolen.

Praise for Except for Love:

"Cynthia Brackett Vincent writes in her preface to Except for Love, a tribute to the late, acclaimed poet Donald Hall, that Hall had an undying love for so many things, among them, Jane Kenyon, baseball, and New Hampshire (with all its warts and beauty). She speaks of his amorous reverence for the past, present, and the future, or, as Longfellow wrote in his poem, “A Psalm of Life”: “Still achieving, still pursuing,/Learn to labor and to wait.” As we all know, love is infectious, and Hall’s poetry and persona have touched so many poets and readers alike. Through their poetry, the contributors to this stunning anthology show their love for the poet and the man.
Hall gives gravitas to the most arcane rituals of the everyday, and so do the poets here. L.R. Berger writes in the poem, “First Acts”: “Filling the teapot at the tap,/turning on the burner—//praise be for the first acts/requiring no imagination,/no choices of consequence.//You can be half asleep/and already a success at life,//draw encouragement/mastering the rituals of morning—.” I think Berger has raised my first pot of morning coffee to the high holy!
The poems in this collection celebrate the primal, the unaffected beauty of the world. They celebrate nature, and all the poems bloom like a flower, enriched by metaphor. The poems have so much to say and with originality. You will learn to say, “I love you like an apple,” the title of one poem here by Jenny Doughty. On these pages, a rose can be a totem for where you have been and where you are now.
The sensibility of Hall is deeply embedded in this collection, and continues the tradition of highly-crafted work for which Encircle Publications is known."
—Doug Holder/Founder, Ibbetson Street Press/Lecturer in Creative Writing, Endicott College
Join some of the poets from this anthology on Thursday, September 5th, 2019 at 6 p.m. at Gibson's Bookstore in Concord, NH where they will be presenting their work.


Ladybug Nominee

Thank You, Omu!
Author/Illustrator:  Oge Mora
ISBN: 978-0316431248
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (October 2, 2018)

Everyone in the neighborhood dreams of a taste of Omu's delicious stew! One by one, they follow their noses toward the scrumptious scent. And one by one, Omu offers a portion of her meal. Soon the pot is empty. Has she been so generous that she has nothing left for herself? Debut author-illustrator Oge Mora brings to life a heartwarming story of sharing and community in colorful cut-paper designs as luscious as Omu's stew, with an extra serving of love. An author's note explains that "Omu" (pronounced AH-moo) means "queen" in the Igbo language of her parents, but growing up, she used it to mean "Grandma." This book was inspired by the strong female role models in Oge Mora's life.

About Oge Mora

Big Ideas: Gratitude. Kindness. Acts of Generosity. Grandparents


  •  How does setting play a part in a story?
  • Could this have happened in a rural setting?
  • What foods remind you of your family, neighborhood or culture?
  • The author called her grandmother Omu. What are some other names for a grandparent?

Vocabulary: Seasoned, Supper, Simmered, Block, Mayor


  • Game of Synonyms: When Omu tells them about her stew, they each reply with different words (delectable, tasty, yummy) that all mean the same thing. Introduce a thesaurus. Try replacing words in sentences.
  • This is a perfect book to act out with a class or group.
  • Create a gratitude jar.

Companion Titles:

  • A Gift from Abuela by Cecelia Ruiz (Candlewick, 2018)
  • Quiet by Tommie dePaola (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018)


  • You are Not My Friend, But I Miss You by Daniel Kirk (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2014)
  •  Rabbit’s Gift by George Shannon; illustrated by Laura Dronzek (Harcourt, 2007)


  • Thankful by Eileen Spinelli; illustrations by Archie Preston (Zonderkidz, 2015)
  • Thankful Book by Todd Parr (Little, Brown, 2012)
  • Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson; illustrated by Jane Chapman (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2012)
  •  The Thank You Book by Mo Willems (Hyperion Books for Children, 2016)
 This is one of ten titles nominated for the 2019 Ladybug Picture Book Award. This info sheet post was created by Deborah Dutcher, Youth and Adult Services Librarian, NHSL and Karen Landsman,  Library Media/Tech Integration Specialist, Hooksett School District.