Thursday, December 19, 2013

Fight Crime: Read Books!

The St. Louis police department has made its own "take a book," "leave a book" book stand and has stocked it with books for children. Modeled after the "Little Free Library" concept that Todd Bol started to honor his mother, the department hopes that kids will take a book and keep a book, their twist on the concept. Just goes to show that literacy, so intrinsically important, can have unforeseen benefits beyond personal happiness. Who would have thought? (Librarians, that's who!)

Monday, December 16, 2013

When it Comes to Choosing Books, Look Before You Leap

I get Publisher’s Weekly online. It’s my favorite review journal because it is more reflective of what’s going on in the outside world, not just in library land. But even a favorite review journal needs to be regarded with a healthy dose of skepticism. Those reviews with the five star ratings may end up being only two stars or even less when you read the book yourself. That’s especially true with picture books where seeing is believing.

Tomi Ungerer’s Fog Island is a case in point. It was on Publishers Weekly’s Best Children’s Books for 2013. I picked it up at my local library through inter-library loan and I was interested to see that not too many libraries owned a copy. It’s a strange little book that ends: Weeks later… Cara found a hair in her soup, and pulled and pulled. The hair was supposed to be from the mythical “Fog Man” who rescued a brother and sister when their boat was caught in a storm. The two siblings giggle when they find the extremely long hair that is pictured coming out of the soup bowl. Yikes! I’m pretty sure this will not make it to my personal 2013 Best Books list.