The Castle Behind Thorns
by Merrie Haskell
Katherine Tegen/ HarperCollins
Sand and Perrotte, both fourteen-year-olds, can mend the Sundered Castle, but can Perrotte forgive those who imprisoned them there? (11-14)
Our Young Reviewer says:
Not only did the story have an intriguing plot, but everything mentioned in the story had a reason to be there… The author not only created an intricate history behind the people and the place they lived, but she combined the past and the present in a way that both worlds collide. The history of Perrotte’s family line is explained, as well as the reason why the castle was abandoned. I think that the author almost went out of her way to create a completely believable history for this book.
My favorite aspect of the book was the sometimes-sudden plot twists Haskell added to the book. These minor details added depth to the story, making it more than a simple story of friendship and persistence, but a book about forgiveness and acceptance.
Jonah, Bronx, NY, age 12
See our past monthly picks.
Elaine Margolis Wickens, photographer, author, educator, and activist, died on July 19, 2014. A talented documentarian, Wickens’ photographs from Kirt’s New House and What I Like to Do are currently on display in the library lobby.
During her forty-year tenure at Bank Street, Elaine Wickens served in a number of roles. An avid interest in photography led her to serve as Bank Street’s unofficial documentarian. For much of the late 1960s and early 1970s, Elaine travelled around the country as a field representative and curriculum developer for Project Follow Through.
Her time in Macon County, Alabama inspired her to document the life of children outside of school. Kirt’s New House and What I Like to Do, her two collaborations with Calvin Cannon, demonstrate Elaine’s commitment as an educator to the importance of home and school in the life of a child.
The Elaine Wickens Papers are housed in the Bank Street College Archives.
Bank Street’s 2nd-graders delighted in BATTLE BUNNY by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett. The ultimate subversive picture book, BATTLE BUNNY is what happens when a (fictional) kid named Alex decides to improve upon an insipid book, BIRTHDAY BUNNY, given to him by his (also fictional) Gran Gran.
At mybirthdaybunny.com you can download your own BIRTHDAY BUNNY and transform it however you please. Here are some from Bank Street’s 2nd Grade:
Here you can see pictures and a short video of the kids at work:
-Allie Jane Bruce
Sea Turtle Scientist
by Stephen R. Swinburne
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt BFYR
Scientist Kimberly Stewart leads the fascinating study of the life cycle and behavioral habits of an ancient and endangered species and explores the efforts to save them. Explicit, vivid photos. (9-13)
Our Young Reviewers say:
We liked the pictures and photographs – especially the one that showed all the turtles, how they are endangered and what we can do to help them. Also, we enjoyed how kids are learning about the conservation of the turtles as well as how they survive. Scientists study the turtles without affecting them.
– Wesley, Age 16 & Tristan, Age 15, Wilmington, NC
See our past monthly picks.
Many thanks to Children’s Librarian Allie Bruce for sharing her 2014 Bank Street summer reading lists. They include her tips for making summer reading a non-chore and have already been scooped up by eager parents, students, teachers, and faculty. So print, share, and most importantly enjoy!
The Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2014 Edition includes more than 600 titles chosen by the Children’s Book Committee as the best of the best published in 2013. In choosing books for the annual list, committee members consider literary quality and excellence of presentation as well as the potential emotional impact of the books on young readers. Other criteria include credibility of characterization and plot, authenticity of time and place, age suitability, positive treatment of ethnic and religious differences, and the absence of stereotypes. Nonfiction titles are further evaluated for accuracy and clarity. Each book accepted for the list is read and reviewed by at least two committee members and then discussed by the committee as a whole. To learn more about the process, please see our Review Guidelines.