Monday, February 24, 2014

Making oral & repeated reading fun, while increasing fluency

1. Oral reading is important. Why? 
  • It's an important skill for life
  • It helps teachers and parents to observe and make 'visible' children's reading processes
  • It helps to develop reading fluency and support vocabulary development
  • It can help us to assess reading progress and diagnose difficulties
I've written about oral reading before covering a variety of topics, including:

How to listen to children reading (HERE & HERE),
The importance of reading to and with children (HERE), and
Readers' Theatre (HERE).

Teachers have known for a long time that oral reading can be a valuable instructional method, but sadly, for many children reading around the group (or worse still the class) kills interest and motivation. But we know from research that 'repeated readings' can improve fluency and ability (e.g. Stoddart & others 1993, Rasinski 1990, Rasinski & Hoffman 2003). So how can we move beyond 'round robin' reading and embrace more creative and enjoyable approaches to oral reading?

In this post I want to offer some suggestions for how teachers and parents can make oral reading more effective, as well as enjoyable and even fun!

2. Making it fun and enjoyable

Above: Bec reads to her day-old sister
How can we make repeated or oral reading fun? Here are some key elements to help achieve this.

1. Choose appropriate material for your children - use graded material at varied levels; favourite passages from books the class has heard or read (e.g. Roald Dahl or Dr Seuss books work); jokes & riddles; poetry or songs that they know; speeches and famous quotes.
2. Ensure that students are reading at their appropriate level.
3. Use varied strategies and avoid simply reading around the group.

3. Some alternative strategies

Most of the ideas that follow can be found in a great article by Mary Ann Cahill and Anne E. Gregory published in 'The Reading Teacher' a couple of years ago. Here is their description of oral reading in a US 2nd grade classroom they had worked in:

'One pair is rolling dice and using different voices to read; a small group is reading to small, plastic animals on their desks; three students are wearing masks while reading; and another pair is using little, red-beamed flashlights to shine on each word as they read.'
What are some simple novel ways to help children remain motivated and enjoy oral reading?
Above: Evie reads to her pet cat
1. Read to prepare for performance - By this I mean, putting exciting material in children's hands, letting them practice and then asking them to share it with a group or the class (e.g. read a favourite section from a book, read a song, silly poem etc).
2. Try Readers' Theatre - I've written about this before (HERE). Obtain some free scripts and let your children have fun reading together in small groups to present the scripts to others.
3. Read to someone or something - This might seem strange, but some teachers get their children to read not to other people but to other 'things'. A number of classes in the UK and the US have had children read regularly to a school dog (read more HERE) with great success and benefits. Some creative teachers have had their children read to plastic dinosaurs (!), a favourite doll etc.
4. Some turn it into a game such as 'Reading Dice' - This involves getting children to discuss the different voices a character could have for a reading extract; they then write 6 of them on the board and giving them the numbers 1-6. They then have children work in pairs or groups to take turns, roll the dice and use the voice that matches the number.
5. Newsreader or media presenter - Teachers have a microphone (it can be a fake one) and ask children in pairs to conduct an interview for an appropriate extract.
6. Reading Masks - the children practice reading passages using the voice and persona of the mask they are wearing (these can be animals, super heroes etc).
7. Use songs for reading - The use of songs has the added advantage that the rhythm, sound repetition, melody etc can be used to support reading (see my recent post on this topic HERE)

Summing up

Oral reading is a valuable instructional tool and has been neglected of late. It has also been misused for many years with the effect that some children have found it less than rewarding. But it can and should be enjoyable and fun. I'd love to hear of your own experiences with oral reading. Do you have any great ideas? Post a comment. 

A useful reference

Mary Ann Cahill & Anne E. Gregory (2011). Putting the fun back into fluency instruction, The Reading Teacher, Vol. 65, No. 2, pp 127-131.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Literature and Environmental Issues: 18 Challenging Picture Books

Literature has many forms, covers countless topics and can address many themes, each of which have the potential to challenge and teach children. In this post I explore how some books deal with environmental themes.

The varied responses to the theme

There are many ways that authors have explored environmental issues. In some books it is central to the book, while in others, it is secondary to the narrative and other themes. Here are just some of the ways children's books explore environmental issues:
  • The relationship of people to the environment
  • The negative impact of humanity on the environment
  • A celebration of the environment, its beauty and wonder
  • Environment as creation and the metaphysical experience of our world

1. The relationship of people to the environment

This first category includes books that tell of the fine balance between man and his environment and the disastrous consequences when we get this balance wrong. In these stories it is not a matter of deliberate action, but rather ignorance and failure to plan effectively, which leads to the destruction of environments whose beauty was once a lure to people.

'Can We Save the Tiger?' by Martin Jenkins & illustrated by Vicky White (Walker Books, 2011) 

This is a stunning book which was nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal in 2012. Conservationist Martin Jenkins and Vicky White celebrate some of the world's most endangered species in this book and show us why we must try to save them. Martin is a conservation biologist and consultant for the UN conservation organisation WCMC. Vicky White had experience as a zookeeper at the Cheshire Zoo caring for great apes. This is Vicky's second book; her first was 'Ape'.

The book has stunning images and a punchy text that confronts the reader. It begins with the matter of fact reminder that some of the animals and plants we have shared the planet with "...have coped with the changes very well. But some haven't. In fact, some have coped so badly that they're not here any more. They're extinct". Jenkins then introduces us to five species that are extinct, the Dodo, Steller's Sea Cow, the Tasmanian Tiger (Marsupial Wolf), Great Auk and Broad-faced Potoroo, before another challenge, "and then there are all those species that are still around, but only just." Like the tiger!

This is without a doubt one of the best conservation picture books that I've seen. White's illustrations are fine-grained pencil sketches, some in colour and some simply black and white, and are wonderful. They invite you to gaze and browse for the pictures alone. Children aged 5 to 12 will love the book. 

'Window', by Jeannie Baker

Jeannie Baker is a wonderful artist who is a master of collage who tells her stories with wonderful illustrations and a minimum of words. This book is in fact wordless that tells the story of a changing place when viewed from a boy's window. He grows from a baby to a man with the view changing from dense bush and diverse wildlife to suburbia, before he moves on to a new place on the urban fringe where no doubt the process begins afresh.

'Flute’s Journey: The Life of a Wood Thrush'
, by Lynne Cherry
Flute is a wood thrush who migrates from North America to Costa Rica. The story traces the hatching and travels of Flute and in the process introduces the reader to issues of endangered species, environmental hazards, toxic waste, loss of habitats and co on.

'The World that Jack Built', by Ruth Brown

This is an interesting picture book that plays on the idea of the well-known rhyme 'This is the house that Jack built'; but with a twist. The narrative follows the main character who is a black cat chasing a butterfly. The cat's trail moves from Jack's house in the idyllic English countryside, to the trees that gave the raw materials, the stream that flowed nearby, the woods etc. The cat eventually finds its way to a much different stream that flows by the factory that guess who built?

'Kenju's Forest', by Junko Morimoto

This book is the opposite message of 'Window', and tells how a boy with a vision to plant some trees in a rural farming environment sees his dream become a reality over his lifetime. And as it does, the forest becomes the playground for the town that eventually was to grow near his forest. It tells a more positive story about how humanity can improve the environment rather than just degrading it.

'The Earth and I'  by Frank Asch

This is an ideal book for young preschool readers. It tells the story of the friendship between a child and the earth. They play together, listen to each other, and nourish each other. When the earth is sad, the child is sad. The child sets out to find a way to make his 'friend' happy. This is a beautifully illustrated book which shows in word and image a tender and special relationship between a child and their world. 

2. The negative impact of humanity on the environment

Stories in this category reflect man's careless destruction of the environment motivated by greed and ignorance. These are stories that tell of humanity's failure to see environmental damage and act to prevent it. They also tend to have a much stronger ideological message.

'Where the Forest Meets the Sea', by Jeannie Baker

This is another wonderful book by Jeannie Baker (perhaps her best). It tells the story of a boy and his Dad who go regularly to a wonderful beach in northern Queensland at a place where the ocean meets the edge of the Daintree Rainforest. This threatened landscape has been shrinking for decades. As the boy explores the rainforest he imagines what it might have been like 100 million years before when dinosaurs roamed. He finishes the day cooking fish on the beach and contemplates coming again someday. But in the background we see a landscape overlain by ghostly images of what it might be like when he comes back again, should development do in this place what it has done in many other parts of the Daintree.

'The Sign of the Seahorse: A tale of Greed and High Adventure', by Graeme Base

This wonderful ballad tells of the exploitation of an underwater world by a corrupt and evil Groper, his side kick Swordfish and a band of 'henchfish', who pollute a reef to drive out its inhabitants, secure their 'land' at rock bottom prices, and then sell them new homes on another reef. A tale of greed, corruption, and environmental exploitation, where good eventually wins out.

'The Lorax', by Dr Seuss

Many of the books of Dr Seuss offer a social commentary (see my post on Seuss here). In this story a small boy notices at the end of a desolate street on the edge of town, a ramshackle house with a memorial to the 'Lorax'. What was it he wonders as he gazes at the home of the Once-ler? The Once-ler drops his Whisper-ma-Phone and for a small fee tells the boy the story of the Lorax and the once beautiful Truffula trees that covered the landscape, and the creatures that enjoyed the environment they helped to sustain. The story of greed, excess, and environmental destruction ends with the Once-ler giving the boy the last seed of a Truffula tree. Perhaps, just perhaps, in his young hands there may be hope for this place once more.

'Lester and Clyde', James H. Reece

This is the story of two frogs one a young and mischievous youngster (Lester) and the other an older stayed frog named Clyde. Lester plays just one too many tricks and is kicked out of their beautiful wetland and heads off to find his own way in the world. He is shocked to find that not all ponds are like his, and in fact some have been destroyed and made unsuitable for frogs. He returns repentant and is embraced by Clyde and the story ends happily with the words of Clyde: "try not to worry, although it's so wrong, at least we're safe here...until Man comes along!"

3. A celebration of the environment, its beauty and wonder

Books in this category celebrate the world's biodiversity and beauty without pointing to problems or making strong comments about human action. These are books where often the environment is secondary to the story, but where everything about the book reinforces the value, beauty and wonder of our world.

'Aranea: A Story About a Spider', by Jenny Wagner & Ron Brooks (Illustrator)

This (as the name suggests) is the story of a back yard spider who weaves its wonderful web each night using its skill and the elements to survive. Its encounter's with man is just one of life's challenges, just as dangerous is nature's elements of storm, wind and rain.

'Wind in the Willows', Kenneth Grahame

The Wind in the Willows is one of my favourite books (see my previous post on it here). Kenneth Grahame manages to tell a wonderful tale of animals of the English wood and riverbank. It opens in spring, and the weather is fine and animals are stirring from their winter slumber. We first meet the good-natured and uncomplicated Mole discards his spring cleaning and leaves his underground home. He reaches the river, a thing he had never seen before and meets the wise and worldly Ratty (in reality it was a ‘water vole’), who sees life as something that must be lived along the river. A parade of rich characters is introduced against a backdrop of the wonderful physical world. Otter and Badger, Toad, Stoats and Weasels are introduced as he weaves his wonderful tale of friendship, devotion and the challenges and 'human' frailties of life. There are many wonderful versions including the more recent illustrated version with Robert Ingpen's wonderful art (here).

'The Little Island', Golden McDonald and Leonard Weisgard

This classic picture book was the winner of the Caldecott Medal in 1947. It is a fine example of a book that had its genesis in a place that formed part of the author’s life. Weisgard loved this island where he explored its waters. His wonderful illustrations capture the beauty and rich biodiversity of this place.

'S is for Save the Planet: A How to be Green Alphabet'
, by Brad Herzog and Linda Hold Ayriss (Illustrator)

This is a book for the very young. It is an alphabet book that focuses on environmental issues. The illustrations support the clever use of simple text to raise environmental issues and suggest ways to save the planet from environmental disaster. Suitable for children aged 3-6 years.

4. Environment as creation and the metaphysical experience of our world

There are a number of children's books that simply celebrate the world as creation. Some of these books simply focus on the beauty of nature, while others offer creation accounts, myths and metaphysical explanations of the world and humanity's connection to it.

'The Waterhole' by Graeme Base

This beautifully illustrated book is centred on a waterhole that is progressively drying up. While the book is a counting book for young children, the constant focus on the waterhole and its diminishing size as the water is used by an international collection of animals, is used by Base to show how water is essential to life. Without it the land withers and dies and life is lost, but as the first drops of replenishing rains return life begins to emerge again.

'Enora and the Black Crane', Arone Raymond Meeks

The Aboriginal artist who wrote and illustrated this book tells the story of a young man who lived in a rainforest at peace and in harmony with the physical world. That is, until one day after encountering a flock of amazing birds he accidentally kills a crane with dramatic consequences. Enora and his world lose their innocence.

'The Rainbow Serpent', by Dick Roughsey

This is another Australian Aboriginal legend that tells the Dreamtime story of a time when there were only people and how Goorialla, the great Rainbow Serpent travels across the country with a dramatic transformation of the land and the resulting creation of animal life.

'The Fisherman and the Theefyspray', Paul Jennings & Jane Tanner (Illustrator)

This story tells of the encounter of a fisherman with a strange fish and its mother. He catches young fish from deep within the sea, just after its mother has given birth to this, the last young, of its species. The old man looks at the beautiful creature as its colour and beauty begin to fade away in the bottom of his boat and he returns it to the sea. It survives and he is changed by the encounter.

The Whales' Song, Dyan Sheldon (Author) & Gary Blythe (Illustrator)

This is the story of Lilly and how she is captured by the story of the Whales' song that is told to her by her grandmother. A species once so plentiful that her grandmother would hear them sing at night, but now they are just a memory of an era of whaling that has gone. Lilly's mystical connection with the whales is the focus of the story.

A Useful Resource

An Annotated Bibliography of Children's Literature with Environmental Themes (Here)

Monday, February 10, 2014

2014 Newbery, Caldecott & ALA Children's and YA Book Awards

The American Library Association has announced its annual award winners for books, videos, and other outstanding materials for children and teens. The prizes for children's books are recognized throughout the world as amongst the most prestigious, theses awards increase market success and longevity. Committees of librarians and other literature and media experts, choose the award winners on behalf of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). Their purpose is to encourage original and creative work in the field of children’s and young adult literature and media. The 2014 winners were announced on January 27 in Philadelphia.

The Newbery Medal was named after the eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is presented to the author of the book judged to have made the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. The winner can be a work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry. The author must be a citizen or resident of the United States and the work written for children up to 14 years of age.

The Caldecott Medal was named in honour of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott.  It is awarded annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. 

There are also a number of other specialist awards for fiction and non-fiction that were announced on the same day.

1. Newbery Medal 2014

The Newbery Medal was awarded to Kate DiCamillo’s 'Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures'. K.G. Campbell brilliantly illustrates the book. It was published by Candlewick Press. This is the second time Kate DiCamillo has won the Newbery, having also won in 2004 for 'The Tale of Despereaux'.

This is an hilarious and unlikely story. It begins with an overactive super vacuum cleaner and a tragic accident that involves Mrs Tickman and a squirrel that never saw the vacuum cleaner coming.  Flora tried to warn her but ... too late! However, Ulysses (the flying 'super hero' squirrel) has not been killed '...but rather is been born anew, with powers of strength, flight, and misspelled poetry..'. Flora too is changed and is about to discover many things about herself. Ulysses joins forces with Flora to deal with her mother.

The 233-page book is a mix of text, full-page fine illustrations and graphic (comic-like) pages, all in black and white. The book will engage the most reluctant of 7-12 year old readers.

Honour Books

Four honour books were also announced.

'Doll Bones,' written by Holly Black and published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division

'The Year of Billy Miller,' written by Kevin Henkes and published by Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

'One Came Home,' written by Amy Timberlake and published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books.

'Paperboy,' written by Vince Vawter and published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books.

2. Caldecott Medal 2014

The Caldecott Medal was awarded to 'Locomotive'. The book was written and illustrated by Brian Floca. published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.

Floca is the author and illustrator of many books for children, including three Robert F. Sibert Honour Books: 'Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11', 'Lightship', and 'Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring', written by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan.

'Locomotive' is the story a family’s journey across America in 1869 on the newly completed transcontinental railroad. The star of the story is the steam engine, but a mother and her two children and all those who keep the train moving are essential extras as it races down the Californian coast.

For the true enthusiast of trains the author gives us plenty of technical information about 19th-century railroading. This is not surprising, as Floca seems to have aimed at a very broad audience. Some will be pulled along by rhythm of the story, others will love the train details, and some will revel in the sense of history (even in the very typefaces used). Floca uses free verse and as you'd expect plays with words and sound to great effect. 

Now comes the locomotive! 
The iron horse, the great machine! 
Fifty feet and forty tons. . . 
Hear the clear, hard call of her bell: 
clang-clang! clang-clang! clang-clang! 
Hear the hisssssssss and the spit of the steam! 
Hear the engine breathe like a beast: 
huff huff huff!”

The technical craft and book design are both brilliant, as Floca uses every device to good effect to engage readers in this exciting journey by an incredible piece of 19th century technology.

Even the way he uses his pictures provides a cinematic style that is hard to create, but which adds to the richness of the text. The detail in the illustrations is superb; it is as much draftsmanship as it is fine illustration.

The chair of the Caldecott judging panel commented:
“The committee was impressed with Floca’s ability to creatively capture the immensity and inner workings of the early locomotive and combine it with a family’s adventurous journey west,”

Readers of all ages will enjoy this book

Honour books

The judges also announced three honour books.

'Journey,' written and illustrated by Aaron Becker and published by Candlewick Press.

Aaron Becker is an experienced artist but this is his first children's book and it is 'a masterwork' (to quote the New York Times).

This is a story told completely using through images. It tells of a lonely little girl in a dull world where she  and boring world who longs to escape. The sepia-toned city images give way to a world of colour when one day she takes a red crayon one day and draws a doorway on her bedroom wall that permits entry to another world. This is a completely different world of colour and imagination. Bedroom walls give way to an incredible walled city where every challenge and need can be solved with the stroke of her new tool to other places. The imagination is all that it takes to be transported to other places. In new worlds filled with the product of such imaginings our main character soars and navigates air and water, escapes problems and challenges and triumphs. Even on her return life now has more colour and life. Children aged 3 to 7 years will enjoy this stunning picture book.

'Flora and the Flamingo,' written and illustrated by Molly Idle and published by Chronicle Books. This is an amusing and innovative wordless picture book with interactive flaps. Flora and her flamingo friend explore the trials and joys of friendship through an elaborate synchronized dance.

'Mr. Wuffles!' written and illustrated by David Wiesner and published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. This is another largely wordless book in which a cat named Mr. Wuffles shows little interest in a toy mice or goldfish, but much more interest in playing with a spaceship full of aliens. Brilliant and humorous book!

3. Other major awards

a) The 'Pura Belpre Award

This award category is for Latino or Latina writer and illustrators whose work best portrays the Latino cultural experience in works of literature for children or youth. The award is named after Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library. Separate awards are announced for best-illustrated book and best author.

Award to an author

Meg Medina has won the Pura Belpre Author Award for 'Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass'.

This is the story of a Latina teenager Piddy Sanchez who discovers one morning at school that Yaqui Delgado hates her and wants to 'kick her ass.' Piddy doesn’t know her, but she's been told that Yaqui thinks she's stuck-up, and can't be Latina. After all her skin is "too white", she gets "good grades", and she doesn't even have an accent. In parallel with this ever present threat is Piddy's desire to find out more about the father she’s never known. For Piddy life is complex as she tries to do well in her high school studies while working weekends at a neighbourhood hair salon. As the harassment escalates it becomes harder to avoid the dreaded Yaqui and her gang. Piddy tries to work through who she really is as she struggles to identify the face to show to her oppressors. This tale of struggle with life and identity will resonate with many teenagers whether Latino or not.

Award to an illustrator

Yuyi Morales has won in the Illustrator category for 'Niño Wrestles the World,' which she both wrote and illustrated. The book was published by Roaring Brook Press.

Dressed in a traditional wresting costume (mask and underwear) energetic and imaginative Niño is ready to take all comers. That is, until his real life sisters give him a run for his money! No opponent is too big a challenge for the cunning skills of Niño—popsicle eater, toy lover, somersault expert, and world champion lucha libre competitor! A brilliant picture book that has an authentic Latino voice and will appeal to readers aged 5-9 years.

b) Michael L. Prints Award

Susann Cokal has won The Michael L. Printz Award for her book 'The Kingdom of Little Wounds'. The award is offered annually and honours the best book written for teens, and is based entirely on its literary merit.

This fantasy for young adults (16+) begins with a young seamstress who must stitch the Queen's gown on the night that her eldest daughter is to die. A royal nursemaid finds herself at the centre of a struggle. It is the eve of Princess Sophia’s wedding, in the Scandinavian city of Skyggehavn. All prepare for the grand occasion where unseemly riches will be displayed. But there is evil and darkness within the palace. A mysterious illness plagues the royal family, (syphilis) which is almost a metaphor for this novel as it threatens the lives of the privileged.
In the palace at Skyggehavn, things are rarely as they seem. The events of the novel's first night set in train a sequence of events that will alter the course of history in this ancient land.  This is a tale of power, lust, intrigue, mystery and deception.

The book is an engaging read and is both beautifully written and stunningly produced as a book. I love the cover and the design throughout. Its deep crimson colour and detail throughout (even to the page edges), presents an object that certainly evokes some of the mystery and intrigue that the novel invites readers to enter. Some will find the themes raised challenging and might see the novel better saved for late teens, but the book is marketed at older teenagers and young adults. An excellent book for young adults.

c) Andrew Carnegie Award

Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee have won this award for their book 'Bink & Gollie: Two for One'. The book was illustrated by Tony Fucile. The award recognises the most outstanding video productions for children released during the previous year.

This is the second in a series of books that began with 'Bink & Gollie', winner of the 2011 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award.

Bink and Gollie are two precocious and irrepressible but opposite friends and this book tells three related stories that occur at the state fair, which is in town. Bink and Gollie are about to have three very funny adventures! Bink (the smaller of the girls) decides to try her luck at the 'Whack-a-Duck' (the knock-em down stall) with the prize being the world's largest doughnut. With enthusiasm, power, but poor aim she hits some marks, but all the wrong ones. The normally quiet and reserved Gollie decides to try her hand at the talent show. But just what is her talent? In the final story, Bink and Gollie find themselves in the tent of Madame Prunely, fortune-teller spectacular! She looks into her crystal ball and tells them everything they could ever need to know, they will always be together.

This simple 80-page book with illustrations on every page is an easy read for readers aged six to eight years. Newbery Medallist Kate DiCamillo, award winning author Alison McGhee and talented illustrator Tony Fucile deliver a funny book about friendship, imagination and adventure.

d) YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction honours

Tanya Lee Stone has won the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction, for her book 'Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles. America’s First Black Paratroopers'. It was published by Candlewick Press. This award honours the best nonfiction book published for young adults (ages 12-18).

This is a true story that has been a long time coming. It tells in a fair but powerful way of the racism that has often existed in armed forces around the world. Americans may well have heard of the Tuskegee Airmen, but few would know of the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion - the Triple Nickle. These were the first US black paratroopers. They showed that black soldiers could do anything their white counterparts could do. The text and over 100 carefully labelled photographs in this 150 page book offer us an insight into how some brave and persistent African American men paved the way for others to be a full part of the US armed forces.

Tanya Lee Stone (author of 'Almost Astronauts') has done extensive research to tell her true story for readers of all ages. Boys in particular will love reading and looking at the historic photos. The work took Stone almost 10 years and the meticulous care and passion shows in this wonderful book. This amazing story will challenge all readers irrespective of age, race or ethnicity. It is a very worthy winner.
4. Notable Lists

Above: One of the notables, 'The Day the Crayons Quit' by Drew Daywalt

Each year a committee of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) identifies the best of the best in children's books. According to the Notables Criteria, 'notable' is defined as: "Worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, outstanding. As applied to children's books, notable should be thought to include books of especially commendable quality, books that exhibit venturesome creativity, and books of fiction, information, poetry and pictures for all age levels (birth through age 14) that reflect and encourage children's interests in exemplary ways." The lists are organised in four categories:

Younger Readers – Preschool-grade 2 (age 7)

Middle Readers – Grades 3-5, ages 8-10

Older Readers – Grades 6-8, ages 11-14

All Ages – These have appeal and interest for children in all of the above age ranges

You can find the lists for each category HERE