Monday, November 28, 2011

Best Picture Books of 2011!

Spellbinders Logo
November 21, 2011
November Book Buzz is for Picture Books!
Best Picture Books of 2011!

 We're talking and schmoozing picture books this month so here is a list you don't want to miss, all brand new this year. Will one of these win the Caldecott Award for Best Picture Book/Illustrations? It will be interesting to see in Dallas, Texas January 20-24 at the Midwinter ALA meeting.

Have any of you read these titles? Which books are your favorite? Which books will you run out and purchase for your school or library or classroom - or for your own children and grandchildren? Happy Reading!

Retellings of the classic Aesop's fable of good deeds rewarded are legion, but few are as elegantly and richly conceived as this mother-son collaboration. 

Everything? Believe it. Fisher introduces readers to a wealth of concepts-numbers, letters, colors, shapes, weather, and more--and does so using photographic tableaus made up of vintage toys, knickknacks, and other odds and ends. 

With deadpan humor and a hint of wickedness, illustrator Klassen makes his debut as an author with the deceptively simple story of a bear who just wants to find his missing hat. 

In this alphabetically audacious romp, the letter E has an accident, and while it is recovering, the letter O takes its place (with comedic results). The pages are jam-packed with so many linguistic puns, acronyms, and jokes. 
Nelson raises the bar in this ambitious account of the African-American experience, from slavery to the present day. Pairing luminous, electric paintings with a grandmotherly narrative voice, it's as unflinching, personal, and dignified account.

Wordless stories have a magic all their own, and that's especially true of Nolan's maritime fantasy, in which a child's sand castle is besieged by the tide, setting in motion a dramatic escape for the miniature family that lives within. 

Rocco's joyfully illustrated story of an urban family drawn together by a power outage tingles with the magic of a night lit only by candles and stars, while reminding readers that the technologies that connect us can sometimes keep us apart, too. 

Savage's wordless game of cat-and-mouse (or rather walrus-and-zookeeper) demonstrates how much one can do with a few simple forms, some repetition, and an effortlessly charming tusked hero.    

A boy wanders through his great-grandfather's topiary garden, the sculpted hedges reflecting the elder's story, from a rural childhood to war and finding love. Lane's young narrator serves as a poignant reminder that the things we create-stories, memories, art (in whatever form it might take)--endure long after we do. 

Tullet's simple and playfully interactive offering, which invites readers to press, shake, and turn it-and see the results on the next page. Books like this prove that there will always be a place for well-executed, and proudly low-tech picture books.

Friendship is friendship, whether with another child or with a blue toy alligator, and Willems treats the highs and lows of Amanda and her alligator's relationship with honesty and humor with Mo Willems exceptional talent. 
 Black Stripes
Meet the Spellbinders

Kim Bio PhotoKimberley Griffiths Little is the recipient of the Southwest Book Award, The Whitney Award for Best Youth Novel of 2010, and the author of the highly acclaimed, The Healing Spell and Circle of Secrets, published by Scholastic Press. Look for her books at the Scholastic Book Fairs, as well Circle of Secrets
as two more forthcoming novels in 2012 and 2013. She lives on a dirt road in a small town by the Rio Grande with her husband, a robotics engineer and their three sons. Kimberley is a favorite speaker at schools around the country, presenting "The Creative Diary", a highly successful writing
workshop and has been a speaker at many conferences. Please
to download free Teacher's Guides and Book Club Guides. 

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 Carolee Dean
Carolee Dean has made numerous appearances as a guest poet/author at schools, libraries, poetry events, and teacher/library conferences. She holds a bachelor's degree in music therapy and a master's degree in communicative disorders, and she has spent over a decade working in the public schools as a Comfort Paperback Coverspeech-language pathologist. Her first novel, Comfort,was nominated as a Best Book for Young Adults, was named the Best YA Novel of 2002 by the Texas Institute of Letters, and was on the TAYSHAS (Texas Library Association) reading list. She conducts teacher trainings on inspiring reluctant writers including "The Secret Language of Stories" and "Random Take Me There CoverActs of Haiku."

To find teacher's guides, writing activities, and information about author visits, go to

 Follow me on Twitter 

Caroline Starr RoseCaroline Starr Rose spent her childhood in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and New Mexico, camping at the Red Sea in one and eating red chile in the other. She's taught English and social studies to upper elementary and middle-school students in New Mexico, Florida, Virginia, and Louisiana. Back in New May BMexico, Caroline now writes middle-grade novels and picture books full time.



Sunday, April 29th, 2012
9-5 Preconference Session
Author's Panel at the
International Reading Association Conference
Chicago, Illinois
"Rekindling the Reading and Writing Fire"
Join us for this all day session
featuring 11 authors including
all 3 Spellbinders
Carolee Dean
Kimberley Griffiths Little
Caroline Starr Rose

Tuesday, May 1
3 p.m. - 4 p.m.
International Reading Association Conference
Chicago, Illinois
"The Secret Language of Stories: Beyond Story Grammar"
Carolee Dean 


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