Archive | April, 2017

1000 Books Before Kindergarten: My Goth Remix

7 Apr

Recently I attended a convention, and attended a panel about Goth parents.  The thing it made me realize is that though parents may not all look the same on the outside or have exactly the same parenting style, one thing we all have in common is wanting the best for our children and hoping they have happy and fulfilling lives.  To me one of the ways we can set them on that journey is by encouraging a love of learning and reading. I had written previously about the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Campaign with some of my son’s top picks.  Now here are 10 of our Gothy Picture Book Favorites featuring baby bats, cute vampires, a ghost boy, a skeleton girl and spooky adventures for you to share which are available at BCCLS libraries.  Stop by the Children’s Desk to learn more about the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Campaign and how you can take part.

1.  The Sleepless Little Vampire, by Richard Egielski

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I picked up this book on a babymoon trip to Sleepy Hollow when I was pregnant with my son.  Poor vampire thinks he can’t sleep at night because of a variety of other spooky creatures.

2. Jampires, by Sarah McIntyre and David O’Connell

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When the jam goes missing from Sam’s donuts he learns that some vampires have a taste for fruity fillings. The Jampires take Sam on a magical adventure to their homeland. This book is a silly sweet treat.

3. Dracula: A Counting Primer, by Jennifer Adams (Author), Alison Oliver (Illustrator)

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This simple board book is a fun way to introduce your little one to the ultimate gothic novel and counting. My son also enjoyed Alice in Wonderland, another in the BabyLit series by Adams and Oliver which provides an introduction to colors.

4. Stellaluna, by Janell Cannon

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Perhaps the best known of our picks, Stellaluna, titled after a fruit bat fostered by a family of birds, is a story of differences and acceptance that will resonate with children and their parents. You can also borrow the animated movie adaptation on DVD.

5. Nightsong, by Ari Berk (Author), Loren Long (Illustrator)

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Chiro (named for the Latin name for bats) learns to be self-sufficient and explore the world on his own in this charming and beautifully illustrated picture book. A nice tale for a child who may be nervous about the first day of school or other new experiences.

6. Bats at the Library, by Brian Lies

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My son loves coming to visit the library with me. Of course if kids enjoy libraries, how can the bats resist?  This beautifully illustrated picture book recounts an evening when the bats sneak in to explore the library.  If your child enjoys this book, Lies also has written further adventure about the bats at the beach, ballgame, and in the band.  Spanish speakers can borrow a Spanish language translation by Carlos Mayor of Bats at the Library here at the Hoboken Public Library.

7. Frangoline and the Midnight Dream, by Clemency Pearce (Author), Rebecca Elliott (Illustrator)

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This first book by Clemency Pearce features a little girl who is well behaved by day but goes on a naughty spooky adventure at night.

8. Skelly the Skeleton Girl, by Jimmy Pickering

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Fans of Tim Burton should enjoy Skelly the Skeleton Girl, a whimsical take on the creatures that go bump in the night, which features a helpful little skeleton girl looking for the owner of a lost bone.  If your child enjoys this book they may also want to check out Pickering’s second Skelly book, Skelly and Femur.

9. Leo: A Ghost Story, by Mac Barnett (Author), Christian Robinson (Illustrator)

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Leo is a ghost looking for a place to belong after the new family who moves in to his house mistakes his acts of kindness for a haunting. A gentle story of friendship.

10. The Wolves in the Walls, by Neil Gaiman (Author), Dave McKean (Illustrator)

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Of course I couldn’t resist including a book by my favorite author Neil Gaiman on this list. I have a signed copy my best friend got for me which has a little wolf doodle from Gaiman.  The Wolves in the Walls was inspired by his daughter’s nightmare about wolves living in the walls.  It shows that sometimes our worst fears don’t mean that everything has to be all over. This story will be enjoyable for fans of Coraline, but this picture book is a bit more suspenseful than the others I have mentioned so I have another year or two before I plan to share it with my son; reading to your kids shouldn’t stop at Kindergarten!

Remember even when children start reading on their own, reading to them is a great way to reinforce a love of the written word and to provide wonderful bonding experience with the child/ren in your care.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

A Librarian Takes on the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge: Read A Superhero Comic with a Female Lead, Task 3

5 Apr

Last week I promised a post about my next completed task in the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, and here it is!

Click here to read more about my Read Harder adventures. Learn more about Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge at this link. (Look for a post about Task 4 in this space soon.)

Ms. Marvel: No Normal, written by G. Willow Wilson and art by Adrian Alphona

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I chose to read “a superhero comic with a female lead” because my copy of Ms. Marvel: No Normal that I purchased shortly after it was published in 2014 recently turned up. I moved last year and many of my books were donated to Symposia Bookstore on Washington Street, gifted to others, or recycled (the latter was a painful but necessary choice in some cases) but Ms. Marvel made the cut of books I kept. The time was finally right to read it.

While I love graphic novels, I haven’t read many traditional comics from either the Marvel or DC Comics universes. As a kid I had comics about the late 1980s/early 1990s boy band New Kids On the Block (which can be purchased online!), but I don’t think comics purists would consider those legitimate comic books.

With Ms. Marvel I was intrigued by the concept of the heroine being a Muslim-American teenage girl living in Jersey City named Kamala Khan. Lack of diversity is a problem in books, but more effort is being made by publishers to remedy this. Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel is a step in the right direction. Check out the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign for more information on book diversity.

When we meet Kamala, she is a regular teenage girl whose religion prohibits her from eating pork, so she sniffs bacon egg and cheese sandwiches at her local deli while her friends roll their eyes at her. This is the first example of Kamala’s struggle with being part of two distinct but different cultures.

(Tangent: Where is the best bacon egg and cheese in Hoboken? I vote for Black Rail Coffee!)

Back to the topic at hand: The action starts one fateful night when Kamala sneaks out of her house to attend a party at the waterfront, where classmates she wants to be accepted by will be present. She is embarrassed by those classmates and her friend Bruno at the party and flees as a mysterious fog covers Jersey City. Kamala blacks out in the street, interacts with Captain Marvel, Iron Man, and Captain America (some of whom speak Urdu), and then awakens with superpowers.

She uses these powers to save the life of a classmate who is often unkind to her, but runs into trouble at home when her strict parents discover that she snuck out. The rest of the volume is the push and pull between Kamala trying to be a good daughter and friend while learning to harness her new powers and assuming her identity as Ms. Marvel.

I enjoyed the stories, and Kamala’s struggles feel authentic. The art was compelling and I liked the little details, such as the “Coma Chameleon” eye mask and “Nuclear Clean” for sale at the deli. I would purchase both, if those were real products.

My one gripe, as a Jersey City resident, was that the setting doesn’t feel like the real Jersey City. Sure, there were references to Grove Street, as well as a diss about the Greenville neighborhood, but the party at the “waterfront” reminds me more of Liberty State Park. Perhaps the intention wasn’t to topographically depict Jersey City and I am overthinking things. (I do that sometimes, I blame my English degree for training my brain to do that.)

Ms. Marvel was a fun read, and I look forward to reading the next volumes, which are available to borrow from BCCLS libraries. As for my found copy of Ms. Marvel: No Normal, I will pass it on to my comics-loving niece to enjoy.

What are your favorite superhero comics with a female lead? Don’t forget to shout-out your favorite bacon egg and cheese in Hoboken.

-Written by Kerry Weinstein

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