Helen

 Stomp by Ian Aurora, Illustrated by Natalie Moore

This author was signing at OLA Super Conference and a colleague picked up a copy for me. The book takes a minute and fifteen seconds to read, but will take about twice as long if you do all the different kinds of stomping! Many librarians have asked for exactly this kind of book, which is why we selected it for our Winter Bestseller List (It’s shipping in early March). I imagine this book would work really well to get fidgety kids under “control” in the sense that they would at least be stomping when they’re supposed to be. It might become a favourite to start or end EVERY story time. The author’s 2016 book – Clap - is still available, as well.

ARP libraries, please let me know if you’d like a copy or copies.

Picture Book Hardcover pr2722342

 The Lady from Kent by Mackenzi Lee

The protagonist of this picture book meets a lady (from Kent) while waiting in line for a concert. The lady starts telling stories which grow more and more far-fetched, one of which is that she has a stunning singing voice. Just as our protagonist grows skeptical, the doors open, the crowd surges inside, and our protagonist loses track of the lady. Waiting for the music to begin, our protagonist decides all of the lady’s crazy stories must have been fabrications. Then the concert begins, and the Lady from Kent emerges, and sings like an angel. If that story was true, then maybe the rest were...

This is a really fun and clever picture book. Though the rhyming narrative works read from cover to cover, each two page spread has a title and is a stand-alone poem and one of the lady’s stories. One could read the first spread, a sampling of a few stories, and the last spread, and it would make sense. Each reading could be different. Or one could read just one of the stories, and carry on the next night, or story time. The CBC’s Eleanor Wachtel and author Linda Spalding both endorse this interesting and precisely crafted gem. The age range given is 5 to 95, and I agree!  

Picture Book Hardcover pr2625131 

 A Story About Cancer (with a Happy Ending) by India Desjardins, Illustrated by Marianne Ferrer

Our protagonist, who is never named, opens the story walking with her parents to an oncologist appointment. As she waits, she remembers different parts of the five years since her leukemia diagnosis. The illustrations and colours succinctly augment the text with emotional energy. For example, the smell of hospitals and drab colours on the walls are offset when the protagonist escapes home. She loves the smell of lavender. At home, beyond the scent of the lavender spray in her room the protagonist’s mother uses lavender products everywhere, bath water, sheets, etc. Our still gray protagonist is cozy in these scenes surrounded by vibrant colour and images of plants and leaves and even the protagonist’s mother is more colourful. It’s a pretty beautiful metaphor of her mother’s love. Lavender is dear to my heart, particularly as an essential oil. It’s especially pleasing to me that the protagonist is comforted by this scent. 

This 96 page illustrated novel deals with the feelings as well as the logistics of diagnosis, the death of a friend, being a patient with a possibly terminal illness, relationships, etc. Our protagonist even falls in love. It might be challenging to place this book in your library, but I urge you to welcome it. The publisher pegs the age of this book at 10-14. We feel it fits best in the young adult section of our LBI KIDS Bestseller list, even though normally we would place that age range in juvenile fiction. We did this for reasons already given, as well as the fact that the protagonist is 15 years-old for most of the narrative. I’m interested to know where you would put this book in your library.   

It’s scary to be diagnosed with cancer. I think this book could be a short, comforting, empowering read for a teenager facing this dragon. It could work for adults, as well.  

Young Adult Hardcover pr2765801 

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