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Title: Smile
Author: Raina Telgemeier

True story - graphic novel - funny and yet heartbreaking ...

Smile is all of these.  Many kids have braces in middle school and I think they would enjoy this book as a way to know that indeed a lot of kids are going through something similar to what they are experiencing.  Raina's story is truthful.  Especially when she demonstrates the cruelty of her "friends" and the emotions she deals with in facing multiple dental procedures, those first crushes on boys, and the coming-of-age awkwardness of finding your self-esteem in who you want to be.

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Author: Jane Yolen

After reading these short and charming poems, I want to send my granddaughter a poem everyday from this book.  Various poets come together to share their poetry for the very young.  My favorite is Bedtime Chant for the Tooth Fairy (p. 67), which starts:

Oak, ash, weeping willow, Lay your tooth beneath the pillow....

This treasury would be a nightstand favorite with any child, and adult.

Right Back At You!

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Author: Phil Bildner

You may know the aviation genius of the Wright Brothers, Earhart, and Lindbergh, but you probably don't recognize the names of Banning and Allen so well.  It's the Great Depression and these two African-Americans are about to embark on a transcontinental flight in a rickety old airplaine with no money for food or fuel along the way.  When people help them get the items they need Banning and Allen let them sign their name on the wings of the plane.  Read this aloud and let the kids echo, "Hallelujah right back at you!"  Don't let this piece of history disappear.

My Kind of Garden

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Title: My Garden
Author: Kevin Henkes

No weeding!  Only chocolate rabbits! A jelly bean bush!  This really is a dream-come-true!  Henkes is the master of simple text and beautiful illustrations.  Just like Kitten's First Full Moon, My Garden will be a huge hit in story time.  It is a terrific way to show kids how using their imaginations can be so much fun.

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Author: Dean Hacohen

Who doesn't love being tucked in?!  I bought this book for my granddaughter because I loved it so much!  From the tactile cover, to the half page "blankets" the young child will delight in tucking in a variety of animals.  Then at the end: "Does anyone else need to be tucked in?"  It has everything a book for babies and toddlers love, rhythmic text, repetition, and simple, colorful illustrations.  I highly recommend this book for gift giving at baby showers or 1st birthday parties.

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Author: Susan Gal

Susan Gal knows how to get you to think and read like a dog.  This is a perfect book for any dog lover, dog owner, or dog wannabe.  It had me sniffing and panting and wanting to go to the dog park!  I love the way the dog's eyes are illustrated, you can really get a sense of the dog's enthusiasm.  Beyond the dog, it is really a story of community in that the dog's viewpoint (and eye level) is just that of a child too.  We can see the playground, the shoppes, the park, etc. all places kids (and dogs) love to be.  Read this one at a dog themed storytime!

Master of Disguise

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Author: Anna Alter

Desmond is really good at playing "How Not to Be Seen."  This is also a talent of very shy children and this book will give hope to kids who are good at self-erasing around people, or at school.  The illustrations are fun in an "I Spy" kind of way, too.  It's only when a new student lures him out of the shadows that Desmond realizes that interacting with the other kids isn't so bad after all.

A Feminist Folktale

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Author: Tanya Landman

I remember the "golden olden days" when girls had fewer opportunities than boys.  This folktale of a farmer concerned about who will run the farm when he is "dead and gone" is a delightful read aloud.  It reminds me of the old Muppet version telling of the three little pigs when Miss Piggy steals the show with all the brains!  And what's not to laugh about the boys named Hans and Franz? 

Guys Read Poetry

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Author: Bob Raczka

When trying to introduce poetry, especially to boys, one needs special tools, and this book is the "Swiss Army Knife" of poetry for boys.  Boys love to play outdoors, and these short haiku poems are all about just that (fishing, throwing stones, damming up a river, making your bike sound like a motorcycle, etc.).  Certainly will feature this book at our next Guys Read event.

Baby Porcupette

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Author: Joyce Sidman

No wonder this book was a Newbery honor..... It's the best of many worlds.  Poems about night in the forest, great woodcut illustrations, and sidebars filled with tidbits of science to impress every reader.  My favorite is "I Am a Baby Porcupette"..... delightful!  Thinking about using it next summer when our reading program is about the night.