Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster
by Jonathan Auxier
This story swept me away to Victorian London and into the life of chimney sweep Nan Sparrow. Nan is a great climber, a child who goes up the chimney for a Sweep. Nan has never known her parents and was raised by her Sweep until he mysteriously disappeared when she was only four. Her life and the lives of the other climbers are a brutal existence that usually end quickly in accident or abuse. Nan nearly dies in a fire, until a monster born in the heat rescues her. As you read this story, you will wonder at what makes a real monster and what makes a true friend.
The Paper Bag Princess Author, Robert Munsch, Illustrator, Michael Martchenko
Illustrator Michael Martchenko's The Paper Bag Princess pops with art that perfectly captures the emotion of the moment (mostly humor, if we are being honest). The careful yet sometimes scratchy pen hatching pours life into the small cast of three. Though a short story, the tale glides so effortlessly you may well say 'tis borne on dragon wings.
Books for Learning
I’m a librarian, and as a stereotypical manifestation of my profession, I love to read. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t read all day on the job—in fact I’m lucky if I get to read for five minutes during my lunch hour—and I did not become a librarian just because I love to read, but even then, reading and librarianship go hand in hand. One of the reasons I did become a librarian is because I love to learn about everything, and libraries (as the storehouses of information) are great places to do that. Books are one of my go-to sources to learn new things, and children’s books in particular are perfect places to explore the world around us.
Let me tell you about one of my favorite series of informational books. It not only opens my adult eyes to our amazing natural world, but also serves as a great place for children to explore the world around them. The series published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is called Scientists in the Field. This series takes a close look at the work scientists do out in the field to study and understand the natural world. These books humanize the scientists’ research by getting up close and personal with a scientist and his or her team of researchers as they delve into problems and try to discover solutions.
The series also strives to show how adventurous and exciting science can be, while balancing that adventure with the hard and labor-intensive work that goes into scientific discovery. Each volume has stunning photographs of the scientists and their work. Some of the best photographers working in children’s publishing today, including my own personal favorite Nic Bishop, bring their expertise to this series. From common frogs and elephants to more exotic animals such as the Kakapo (a flightless endangered bird from New Zealand) and the Tapir (a snorkel-snouted mammal from Brazil), this series offers something exciting for every reader.
Honored with prestigious awards inducing the Robert F. Sibert Award, the Orbis Pictus Award, and the Boston-Globe Horn Book Nonfiction Award, this series is authoritative and engaging. You and your children certainly won’t go wrong if you dive into one of the amazing books from the Scientists in the Field series.
The Frog Scientist
by Pamela S. Turner, photographs by Andy Comins
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, 2009. http://www.sciencemeetsadventure.com/the-frog-scientist/
The Elephant Scientist
by Caitlin O’Connell, photographs by Donna M. Jackson.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, 2011. http://www.sciencemeetsadventure.com/the-elephant-scientist/
Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World’s Strangest Parrot
by Sy Montgomery, photographs by Nic Bishop.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, 2010. http://www.sciencemeetsadventure.com/kakapo-rescue-saving-the-worlds-strangest-parrot/
The Tapir Scientist: Saving South America’s Largest Mammal
by Sy Montgomery, photographs by Nic Bishop
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, 2013. http://www.sciencemeetsadventure.com/tapir-scientist/
Robert F. Sibert Award: http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/sibertmedal
Orbis Pictus Award: http://www.ncte.org/awards/orbispictus
Boston-Globe Horn Book Nonfiction Award: http://www.hbook.com/boston-globe-horn-book-awards/