Celebrating Indigenous Voices for National Native American Heritage Month

Celebrate National Native American Heritage Month in your school or library! Keep reading to find more book recommendations, watch a presentation by Firekeeper’s Daughter author Angeline Boulley, download the We Are Water Protectors activity kit, and watch a read-aloud of Fry Bread by author Kevin Noble Maillard!

Watch author Angeline Boulley discuss her inspiration, storytelling, and research process for her bestselling debut novel Firekeeper’s Daughter. Plus, educator Kit Robinson shares how teachers can use Firekeeper’s Daughter in the classroom.

Find Ojibwe language translations, correct spellings, and audio pronunciations for Firekeeper’s Daughter in this Anishinaabemowin resource center, created by Margaret Noodin, a professor at UW-Milwaukee.

Find more books for National Native American Heritage Month here →

Book Round-up: Talking to Kids About Current Events: Ukraine

Not sure how to talk to kids about what’s happening in world events? We’ve rounded up some books that provide an accessible way to talk to kids about lessons we can learn from history, and also included some books to use as resources for media literacy. Plus, see below to find journal entry prompts to help your kids process their emotions.

A Note:

Because talking about current events–especially those involving war–can be a triggering experience for people at any age, it can be a good idea to allow kids to process what they’ve already seen and heard before starting any new conversations. By creating a space for kids to journal, they can start digesting their own emotions and responses. Keep in mind that some children have experienced the effects of war and may feel a personal connection to the Eastern European population closely impacted by Putin’s actions. To provide you with some talking points, we’ve found a list of sources that can help educators talk about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with students.


Sources for Talking to Children About the Attack on Ukraine

Teachers can offer a safe space for students to talk about the war in Ukraine and help them take action – with entry-level talking points for kids at varying ages

Talking to Kids About the War in Ukraine – from San Diego County Office of Education, many resources for talking to children of all ages and includes social-emotional resources

Hear what teens have to say about the war in Ukraine – teen posts from the New York Times forum


Journal Entry Prompts for Processing Current Events:

Prompt 1 for early education: Think about the news events that you’ve watched or heard adults talk about this week. What was the news? Do you think it is important? How do you feel about this news?

Prompt 2 for middle graders: Think about the news events that have happened this week. Choose the one event that you think is important, and write a paragraph journal entry about it. What happened? Why do you think it is important? How do you feel about what you’ve heard?

Prompt 3 for high schoolers: Think about the current events that have happened in the world this past week. Choose a specific event that you think is important, and write a multi-paragraph journal entry about it. What happened? Why is it important? Do you feel personally impacted by this? How can you empathize with those affected by the event?


Click the tabs below to view more books in each age category.

Find a list of recommended books here →

Storytime & Drawing Lesson: Bad Kitty Gets a Phone by Nick Bruel

The phenomenally successful Bad Kitty series is purr-fect for fans of Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man and Ben Clanton’s Narwhal and Jelly series, reluctant readers, comic book fans, and cranky cats. Watch a storytime and drawing lesson with creator Nick Bruel and download free resources below!


Bad Kitty Gets a Phone (Graphic Novel) by Nick Bruel
Ages
On Sale Now!

Bad Kitty will not be good until her owners cave and get her a cell phone in this next, full color chapter book in Nick Bruel’s New York Times bestselling series.

Kitty has everything any cat could want–a warm bed, plenty of fresh litter, a machine that dispenses food whenever she wants! But Kitty isn’t satisfied. She has her eye on something that will make her the happiest, most grateful cat in town.

Something all the other cats have but that her owners refuse to get her!

Something she desperately needs!

Kitty wants…a cell phone. And she can have one if she does all her chores with zero complaints.

But can she handle the responsibility? What do you think?

Find more Bad Kitty books here including picture books, chapter books, and graphic novels!

Download free Bad Kitty resources here →

Activity Kit: My Parents Won’t Stop Talking by Emma Hunsinger and Tillie Walden

Looking for a hilarious read-aloud for storytime? Look no further!

My Parents Won’t Stop Talking written and illustrated by Emma Hunsinger and Tillie Walden
Ages 3-6
On Sale 4/5/22

A child’s plans are ruined when her parents have the gall to stop to talk to the neighbors in My Parents Won’t Stop Talking!, a laugh-out-loud picture book about patience by Emma Hunsinger and Tillie Walden.

It’s time to go to the park, and Molly can’t wait! It’s going to be awesome and amazing and—OH NO!

The neighbors have spotted her moms, and now they’re talking. A lot. And everything they say is boring. Minutes feel like hours, hours feel like days, and days feel like eons . . .

Will her parents ever stop talking?!

This is a clever, irreverent take on a universal childhood dilemma, written and illustrated by two stars in the comics world.

Click the left and right arrows below to preview this picture book:


Teacher’s Guide & Storytime: Fart Quest by Aaron Reynolds

Join author Aaron Reynolds for a read-aloud of the first book in Fart Quest, his middle-grade fantasy adventure series that’s jam-packed with potty humor, feats of bravery, and a metric buttload of monsters —  with illustrations throughout by Cam Kendell. Book 3 in the series, Fart Quest: The Dragon’s Dookie, is now available — it’s the perfect time to introduce your young readers to this gut-busting series that will blow them away! Plus, look out for Book 4, Fart Quest: The Troll’s Toe Cheese, coming September 2022!

From bestselling author (and real-life Dungeon Master) Aaron Reynolds comes a Dungeons & Dragons inspired fantasy adventure series for middle-grade readers.

When their masters go POOF in a goblin battle gone bad, three young apprentices — a monk, a warrior, and a mage named Fart — strike out on their own to become fearless heroes of great renown.  But before they can truly call themselves heroes, the hapless trio must embark on a series of adventures that will test their courage, their wits… and their noses.


Learn more about Fart Quest here →

Storytime: Celebrate Lunar New Year with these books!

Author E.L. Shen teaches readers how to make dumplings for Lunar New Year + hear her read aloud from her middle grade debut, The Comeback, available in paperback on February 1st! Plus, find more books to celebrate Chinese New Year, including the heartwarming new picture book Friends Are Friends, Forever!

The Comeback: A Figure Skating Novel by E. L. Shen
On Sale Now! Paperback Available February 1, 2022
Ages 8-12

A heartfelt debut about a young girl trying to be a champ, in figure skating and in life. Introduction by champion figure skater Mirai Nagasu.

Twelve-year-old Maxine Chen is just trying to nail that perfect landing: on the ice, in middle school, and at home, where her parents worry that competitive skating is too much pressure for a budding tween. Maxine isn’t concerned, however—she’s determined to glide to victory. But then a bully at school starts teasing Maxine for her Chinese heritage, leaving her stunned and speechless. And at the rink, she finds herself up against a stellar new skater named Hollie, whose grace and skill threaten to edge Maxine out of the competition. With everything she knows on uneven ice, will Maxine crash under the pressure? Or can she power her way to a comeback?

Set in Lake Placid, New York, this is a spunky yet stirring middle-grade story that examines racism, female rivalry and friendship, and the enduring and universal necessity of love and support.

Praise for The Comeback:

“With fast-paced prose and an ear for authentic dialogue, Shen brings big emotions and ideas to the hyper-focused world of the obsessive skater. Her sharp depiction of an eager and courageous Maxine makes the lessons about the ebb and flow of friendship less clichéd than they might have been . . . Shen has created a high-spirited character worth cheering for.” —The New York Times

★ “Shen has created a wonderfully grounded character who navigates both middle school and the world of elite athletic competition with an authentic voice—foibles, insecurities, and all. And deftly woven around edge-of-your seat competition scenes are more mundane but significant issues: everyday racism, sportsmanship, burnout among young athletes, the value of true friendships, and the unfaltering love and support of family… That Maxine’s figure-skating idols are all Asian (and that there are so many of them) reminds readers of how important representation is.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review


More Books to Celebrate Lunar New Year:

Friends Are Friends, Forever by Dane Liu; illustrated by Lynn Scurfield
On Sale Now
Ages 3-6

A picture book based on the author’s own immigration story, the infinite impact of friendship, and passing on love and kindness around the world.

On a snowy Lunar New Year’s Eve in Northeastern China, it’s Dandan’s last night with Yueyue. Tomorrow, she moves to America. The two best friends have a favorite wintertime tradition: crafting paper-cut snowflakes, freezing them outside, and hanging them as ornaments.

As they say goodbye, Yueyue presses red paper and a spool of thread into Dandan’s hands so that she can carry on their tradition. But in her new home, Dandan has no one to enjoy the gift with—until a friend comes along.

Storytime & Activity Kit: Where Is Bina Bear? by Mike Curato


Where is Bina Bear? by Mike Curato
On Sale Now
Ages 4-8

In Mike Curato’s funny, poignant picture book Where Is Bina Bear?, a little rabbit throws a party—but can’t find best friend Bina Bear anywhere!

Tiny is having a party, but Bina Bear is nowhere to be found. Is that Bina hiding under a lampshade? It looks like Bina . . . but it must be a lamp. Is that Bina beneath the fruit bowl? It could be . . . but it’s probably just a table.

Searching for Bina, Tiny realizes something is wrong—and sets out to make it right. This is a humorous yet sincere picture book about friendship, understanding, and embracing our loved ones just as they are.


Watch the Where is Bina Bear? book trailer here:

Learn more about WHERE IS BINA BEAR? →

Storytime: Jonathan Stutzman and illustrator Heather Fox read Santa Baby + download the activity kit!

Santa Baby by Jonathan Stutzman; illustrated by Heather Fox
Ages 4-8
On Sale Now!

Jonathan Stutzman and Heather Fox, the duo behind Llama Destroys the World, take their trademark hijinks up to the North Pole in this laugh-out-loud, heartfelt Christmas-themed picture book.

Santa is feeling old, and being in the business of Christmas for centuries is . . . well, it isn’t all milk and cookies. In hopes of regaining some of his pep, Santa asks the spirit of Christmas to give him something for a change: skim off a couple of years and make him younger.

But Christmas magic is powerful, and Santa gets more than he wished for. Instead of a fresh new outlook and boundless energy, he needs diapers and a nap—stat. With Christmas only a few days away, the elves rush to teach Santa Baby the basics. But will there be enough time to prepare their new bundle of holiday joy for the job?

Funny and spirited, bright and inspiring, and with an unforgettable title, Santa Baby is destined to be a yuletide read families revisit every year.

“Plenty of laughs…playfully complemented by Fox’s child-friendly illustrations,” says Horn Book!

Snacktime with Debbi Michiko Florence & Jamie Michalak, co-authors of Niki Nakayama: A Chef’s Tale in 13 Bites

Join authors Debbi Michiko Florence and Jamie Michalak for a cooking lesson and make wonton pizzas, a recipe from their new picture book, Niki Nakayama: A Chef’s Tale in 13 Bites!

Niki Nakayama: A Chef’s Tale in 13 Bites by Debbi Michiko Florence and Jamie Michalak; illustrated by Yuko Jones
On Sale Now!
Ages 4-8

Niki Nakayama: A Chef’s Tale in 13 Bites is a picture book biography that tells the story of the powerhouse female Japanese-American chef and her rise to fame

As a child and adult, Niki faced many naysayers in her pursuit of haute cuisine. Using the structure of a traditional kaiseki meal, the authors Debbi Michiko Florence and Jamie Michalak playfully detail Niki’s hunger for success in thirteen “bites” — from wonton wrappers she used to make pizza as a kid to yuzu-tomatillo sauce in her own upscale Los Angeles Michelin-starred restaurant, n/naka.

To anyone who tells her a woman can’t be a master chef, Niki lets her food do the talking. And oh, does it talk. Niki was featured on the first season of Netflix’s culinary documentary series Chef’s Table. And Chrissy Teigen proclaimed that Niki’s restaurant was one of her absolute favorites. She’s currently a featured teacher on MasterClass.

A smart, strong woman with starpower, Niki is only just getting started — like the young readers who will devour this book, featuring illustrations by Yuko Jones!

Praise for Niki Nakayama: A Chef’s Tale in 13 Bites:

★ “In 13 ‘Bites,’ the duo follows Nakayama through food-centered memories, including bonding moments with her grandmother, embarking on a post-high school Tokyo food tour, and trying and then studying kaiseki at a cousin’s ryokan…Mixed media and digital art by Jones make each vignette atmospheric, with varying angles and insets, toothsome details, and watercolor washes.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

★ “Art, storytelling, and food work together on so many levels in this beautiful tale about master chef Niki Nakayama’s life… Young readers will be inspired.”Booklist, starred review

“The meticulously detailed illustrations highlight the food, experiences, and Japanese culture. Included at the end are a timeline of Nakayama’s life, deeper explanations of the concepts of kuyashii and kaiseki, and a recipe for wonton pizza. A flavorful, inspirational biography of a woman who showed the world what she could cook up.” —Kirkus Reviews

STORYTIME: Katherine Applegate reads her new middle grade novel Willodeen

Willodeen by Katherine Applegate
Ages 8-12

From #1 New York Times bestseller Katherine Applegate, a singular middle-grade novel about a girl who risks everything to help a handmade creature who comes to life.

The earth is old and we are not, and that is all you must remember . . .

Eleven-year-old Willodeen adores creatures of all kinds, but her favorites are the most unlovable beasts in the land: strange beasts known as “screechers.” The villagers of Perchance call them pests, even monsters, but Willodeen believes the animals serve a vital role in the complicated web of nature.

Lately, though, nature has seemed angry indeed. Perchance has been cursed with fires and mudslides, droughts and fevers, and even the annual migration of hummingbears, a source of local pride and income, has dwindled. For as long as anyone can remember, the tiny animals have overwintered in shimmering bubble nests perched atop blue willow trees, drawing tourists from far and wide. This year, however, not a single hummingbear has returned to Perchance, and no one knows why.

When a handmade birthday gift brings unexpected magic to Willodeen and her new friend, Connor, she’s determined to speak up for the animals she loves, and perhaps even uncover the answer to the mystery of the missing hummingbears.

A timely and timeless tale about our fragile earth, and one girl’s fierce determination to make a difference.


Praise for Willodeen:

“Employing flawlessly simple, candid prose that belies deeper messages, Newbery Medalist Applegate again considers the complex relationship between humans and the natural world. … Fiercely protective Willodeen is easy to champion, and her belief that “nature knows more than we do” is a message worth sharing.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

Applegate’s gentle yet honest tale mixes magic with very real environmental messaging, both warning of human-caused harm and pointing to nature’s resilience and interconnectedness… Applegate empowers her young characters by not only granting them courage but also ensuring they earn the respect of their elders.”—Booklist, starred review

“An endearing fable that illuminates the importance of recognizing that all living things serve a purpose in our beautifully complex world and are worthy of care and dignity.” —BookPage


Watch more author storytimes here!