Tag Archives: Lindsay @ WPL

Calling All Teens!

Summer is in full swing, and if you’ve got teenagers at home, they’re likely taking full advantage of their new found freedom.  Sleeping in, watching movies, hanging out with friends, and soaking up the sun!  Inevitably though, that wonderful sense of freedom quickly turns to boredom, and those same teenagers start looking for something to keep them busy.  A new challenge.  Something to inspire them.

Well, the library may just be the answer!  Our online Teen Summer Reading Club is a great way for teens to explore their creativity, with contests for writers, artists, photographers and book lovers.  Club membership is open to all teens in Grades 7 though 12, and in order to register, teens simply need to create an account on our teen website, Booked!  From there, members can post their creative work to our website, for all to enjoy, and at the end of the summer, the best of the best in each contest category will win an awesome prize!

If teens are looking for something to do with a few friends, the library also has a ton of really cool programs!  Like Scratch Programming!  Teens will learn the basics of the popular programming language Scratch, and spend the day creating, collaborating, and discovering endless possibilities while designing a video game or animated story.  Or our Words Out Loud program!  Teens will join local slam legend Steve Locke to explore tools of communication and creativity by writing new poems and practicing sharing them in their own unique, authentic voice.

And of course, as always, the library has an amazing collection of books for teens to explore.  Summer is the perfect opportunity for kicking back with a good book — no grueling book report required!  Check out these amazing books for some chill poolside reading!

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Avoiding relationships to protect her sensitive heart, plus-sized Molly supports her once-cynical twin, Cassie, when the latter has her own bout of lovesickness, a situation that is complicated by sibling dynamics and an unexpected romantic triangle.

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place. She may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her twin brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands.

Children of Eden by Joey Graceffa
In a future defined by environmental devastation and the all-seeing EcoPanopticon, Rowan, an illegal second child, rebels against an impossible choice by escaping her home for a night of both friendship and tragedy.

Geekerella by Ashley Poston
Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win–unless her stepsisters get there first… Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake–until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

Lindsay

 

 

 

Real Food for Families

Making healthy choices in the kitchen is essential to your family’s health.  And yet, society is struggling against a relentless storm of less and less home cooking….and more and more processed food.  Don’t give in, and do not follow suit.  Protect your family, and invest in a healthy lifestyle.

I’m a bit crazy about “real” food.  OK, a lot crazy about “real” food.  I love to cook, and I’m pretty obsessed about simple, natural, wholesome ingredients.  I wasn’t always so obsessed though.  Growing up, some of my favorite foods were Zoodles, Fruit Loops, Kraft Dinner, and (gasp!) Cheez Whiz on toast.  It wasn’t until I moved away from home, and started cooking my own meals, that I realized how great it feels to prepare and eat nutritious dishes that actually fuel my body.

Cut scene, enter two kids.  Suddenly, I was responsible for the well-being of two little munchkins, whose bodies were growing and thriving, based on the meals that I was putting in front of them.  Not only that, I felt a renewed sense of duty to be the healthiest possible “me” I could be, in order to ensure my own longevity and health as a mother.  I want to, not only, be able to keep up with my kids, but inspire them as time goes by.

But things get complicated with kids.  You see, cooking for two adults who get excited about, say….grilled eggplant, was easy.  Cooking for two kids under the age of 4?  Extremely challenging.  It’s the pickiness factor that is the most frustrating thing.  Trust me, I know.  Neither of my kids will eat chicken without peanut butter spread on it.  And every time one of them spits out the food I lovingly prepared (“yyyyuuuuuck”), it does hurt a little.  But in the end, I know that if I offer them healthy choices, they will not starve themselves.  And I will be teaching them an important lesson about food, and how it has the power to deliver a healthy life.

Creativity is key with kids.  And cooking is no different.  So when I’m looking for a little inspiration, I wander over to the cookbook section of the library, and take a few books home with me.  Below, you will find a few of my favorites, tried, tested and true:

100 Days of Real Food by Lisa Leake
The creator of the 100 Days of Real Food blog draws from her hugely popular website to offer simple, affordable, family-friendly recipes and practical advice for eliminating processed foods from your family’s diet.

Inspired by Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, Lisa Leake decided her family’s eating habits needed an overhaul. She, her husband, and their two small girls pledged to go 100 days without eating highly processed or refined foods–a challenge she opened to readers on her blog.

Now, she shares their story, offering insights and cost-conscious recipes everyone can use to enjoy wholesome natural food–whole grains, fruits and vegetables, seafood, locally raised meats, natural juices, dried fruit, seeds, popcorn, natural honey, and more.

Weelicious: 140 Fast, Fresh and Easy Recipes by Catherine McCord
Every parent knows how difficult it is to get to get kids eating happily and healthily. Catherine McCord has the answer: Weelicious! Creator of the wildly popular blog Weelicious.com, Catherine, who honed her cooking skills at Manhattan’s Institute of Culinary Education, strongly believes in the “one family/one meal” idea–preparing a single, scrumptious meal the entire family can sit down and enjoy together rather than having to act as “short order cook” for kids who each want something different. In Weelicious, she offers dozens of recipes and tips for creating quick, easy, healthy, and fun food that moms, dads, and young children of any age will absolutely adore–from the most persnickety infants to the pickiest grade-schoolers.

The Best Homemade Kids’ Lunches on the Planet by Laura Fuentes
We all know that kids need to eat right and get the nutrition they need to be their best all day long. So why not make lunches that will power their growing brains and bodies? Making lunches at home is a great way to keep your child healthy. Not only does it allow you to nourish your child with the most pure and wholesome ingredients, but it also gives you the peace of mind of knowing what has gone into every bite your little one takes. Full of recipes to suit every age and stage, The Best Homemade Kids’ Lunches on the Planet shows you how simple and easy it is to prepare food that’ll be the envy of the lunch table. The 200+ adorable and inspiring recipes in this book are just as much a joy to make as they are to eat! There are even entire lunchbox meals that are gluten-, soy-, and/or nut-free. Make your own super-delicious, super-nutritious homemade lunches today–it’s guaranteed to be at the top of the class!

Little Bento by Michele Olivier
Your challenge: Packing a healthy lunch for your picky little eater. Your solution: The bento box! Little Bento is your ultimate bento guide to planning, preparing, and assembling yummy, wholesome, easy bento box lunches that your kids will actually eat. Say “buh-bye” to the stress of getting your kids to eat, and “hello” to the deliciously simple bento box with:

Over 100 seasonally-inspired bento recipes and 32 photos of fully-assembled bento boxes for easy guidance Expert guidance from mom, food blogger, and bestselling author of Little Foodie, Michele Olivier, who shows you how to make balanced bento meals using the #1 selling kids’ lunch box A weekly bento meal planning worksheet with helpful tips for planning your bento lunches in advance Quick reference bento ingredient lists assist in making safe decisions for food sensitive or allergic eaters.

How to Feed a Family by Laura Keogh
What could be more important to parents than a healthy, well-fed family? As two urban, working moms, Ceri Marsh and Laura Keogh learned quickly how challenging healthy meal-times can be. So they joined forces to create the Sweet Potato Chronicles, a website written for, and by, non-judgmental moms, packed full of nutritious recipes for families.

In the How to Feed a Family cookbook, Laura and Ceri have selected their very favorite recipes, to create a collection of more than 100 for all ages to enjoy. These are recipes that are tailored specifically to families: they are simple, fast, easy-to-follow, and use ingredients that are readily-available at your local grocery store. Ceri and Laura unveil their tried, tested and true tricks for turning nutritious, sophisticated dishes into kid-friendly masterpieces, that will guarantee you success at meal-time, time and time again.

~ Lindsay

 

Read ’em Before You See ’em!

Hollywood’s obsession with books has been carrying on now for a while – and it isn’t showing any signs of slowing down in 2017! Blockbuster hits like the Harry Potter franchise and the Hunger Games trilogy show just how successful film adaptations of kids’ books can be.

Will the movie versions be better than the books? There’s only one way to find out: Read ’em before you see ’em. Check out what’s headed for the big screen in 2017.

May 12
Long Haul by Jeff Kinney
A family road trip is supposed to be a lot of fun…unless, of course, you’re the Heffleys. The journey starts off full of promise, then quickly takes several wrong turns. Gas station bathrooms, crazed seagulls, a fender bender, and a runaway pig – not exactly Greg Heffley’s idea of a good time. But even the worst road trip can turn into an adventure – and this is one the Heffleys won’t soon forget. The film adaptation stars Alicia Silverstone as Greg’s mom and Jason Drucker as Greg.

 

May 19
Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
George and Harold have created the greatest superhero in the history of their elementary school – and now they’re going to bring him to life! Meet Captain Underpants! His true identity is so secret, even HE doesn’t know who he is! DreamWorks’ animated adaptation, titled simply Captain Underpants, features the voice talents of Kevin Hart, Ed Helms, Nick Kroll, and Kristen Schaal.

 

May 19
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
A teen girl who can never leave her house, because she’s allergic to just about everything, falls in love with the new boy next door and starts taking risks in this compelling romance/coming-of-age story. The film adaptation of this young adult novel stars Taylor Hickson (Deadpool) and Nick Robinson (Jurassic World, The 5th Wave).

 

November 17
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Auggie Pullman is an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face. Born with a terrible abnormality, he has been homeschooled and protected by his loving family from the cruel stares of the outside world. Now he must attend school with other students for the first time – but can he get his classmates to see that he’s just like them, underneath it all?  The film adaptation stars Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson as Auggie’s parents, Mandy Patinkin as his understanding teacher, and Jacob Trembly (Room) as Auggie. 

 

December 25
Mary Poppins
 by P.L. Travers

It all starts when Mary Poppins is blown by the east wind onto the doorstep of the Banks’ house. She becomes a most unusual nanny to Jane, Michael, and the twins. Who else but Mary Poppins can slide up banisters, pull an entire armchair out of an empty carpetbag, and make a dose of medicine taste like delicious lime-juice cordial? A day with Mary Poppins is a day of magic and make-believe come to life! The film sequel, Mary Poppins Returns, will be a musical set in Depression-era London, with Jane and Michael Banks all grown up. It stars Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins, Hamilton star/creator Lin-Manuel Miranda as her lamplighter friend Jack, and Meryl Streep as Mary’s cousin, Topsy.

Lindsay

Classics for the Kiddos

I love picture books.  And the fact that I have two kids at home who I can read them with, makes it even better.  They love to cozy up with a good book at bedtime, and to be able to watch their faces light up while we read a story together, is the best feeling in the world.

As a mom, and a librarian (mombrarian?), it is my job to find books we can all enjoy, and on my latest story “shopping spree” at the library, I came across the beautiful books of Nikki McClure.  Nikki McClure is a New York Times bestselling children’s author and paper artist who has written and illustrated several acclaimed children’s books including To Market, To Market (2011), Mama, Is It Summer Yet? (2010) and illustrated the New York Times bestseller All in a Day, by Cynthia Rylant (2009).

market   mama   allinaday

McClure is known for her painstakingly intricate and beautiful paper cuts. Armed with an X-acto knife, she cuts out her images from a single sheet of paper and creates amazing and endearing pictures.  The result is a very retro feel, with a purity and simplicity that is extremely refreshing.

After reading McClure’s books (and with a vintage vibe in my veins), I was inspired to check out some old classics that I remember loving as a child.  Classic books are timeless.  They’ve stood the test of time.  And it can be fun to revisit books that you, yourself, loved as a child.  Here are some of my favs, tried, tested and true:

capsCaps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
The story of a peddler and a band of mischievous monkeys who steal the peddler’s caps.

blueberriesBlueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
Little Sal and Little Bear both lose their mothers while eating blueberries and almost end up with the other’s mother.

snowyThe Snowy Day by Ezra Keats
The adventures of a little boy in the city on a very snowy day.

ducklingsMake Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
Mr. & Mrs. Mallard find the perfect spot to raise their young in Boston’s Public Garden.

mittenThe Mitten by Jan Brett
Nicki drops his white mitten in the snow, and one by one, a number of woodland animals find the mitten and crawl inside to keep warm.

~ Lindsay

 

 

Music to my (little) ears!

Many of us grew up singing “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” But how many times did you sing the song before you actually knew what a waterspout was?

When I was little, I thought a waterspout was the faucet in the bathtub. My mother could never understand why I didn’t want to get in the tub until the faucet was turned off–I was waiting for the spider to come tumbling out!

Singing songs with children provides a great opportunity to build vocabulary, and in many ways, music can act as a springboard to literacy. Singing can help children hear the smaller sounds that make up words — and this will help them sound out words when they start to read.

At the library, music and rhymes are a key component of our pre-school programming.  You can also borrow a huge stack of kids music CDs from any of our branches — or stream music directly to your phone, tablet or computer using Hoopla, a free online service available through WPL!

Here are some of the most popular CD’s for kids currently available on Hoopla!:

sing

moana

laurie
frozen

kidzbop

disney

Lindsay

 

 

Helping Kids Affected by Incarceration

Children whose lives have been impacted by crime within their family may not know how to deal with the stress of the situation — and that’s why Winnipeg Public Library, in partnership with Canadian Families and Corrections Network, is hosting ‘Strengthening Families Affected by Incarceration Day’ at Millennium Library on October 22 from 2-4 p.m.

Meet Sesame Street friends and support families in our community who are affected by incarceration.  Play in Big Bird’s reading corner, read a book with Elmo, share a cookie with Cookie Monster, watch Sesame Street’s Little Children Big Challenges and learn about community resources.

There will also be a special presentation of Canadian Families and Corrections Network and Sesame Street resources to the Winnipeg Public Library and the community.

The event is free of charge, and open to all families.

Reading together as a family can also provide the opportunity to explore and discuss hardships that may arise for children.  Check out these titles as one way to support children who are dealing with these issues:

amberAmber Was brave, Essie Was Smart: The Story of Amber and Essie Told Here in Poems and Pictures by Vera B. Williams
Times are hard for Essie and Amber – their mother works long hours, leaving them with sitters or cousins or often on their own, and their father is in jail.  While the girls share their heartache, they also share their special talents-Essie teaches Amber to write her name in script, and Amber convinces the grocer to trust them with milk until payday. The good times are good, but the bad times are really hard. The shadow of their father’s mistake is always there.

rubyRuby on the Outside by Nora Raleigh Baskin
Eleven-year-old Ruby Danes has a real best friend for the first time ever, but agonizes over whether or not to tell her a secret she has never shared with anyone–that her mother has been in prison since Ruby was five–and over whether to express her anger to her mother.

secretSecret Saturdays by Torrey Maldonado
Sean is Justin’s best friend – or at least Justin thought he was. But lately Sean has been acting differently. He’s been telling lies, getting into trouble at school, hanging out with a tougher crowd, even getting into fights. When Justin finally discovers that Sean’s been secretly going to visit his father in prison, and struggling with the stress of that, Justin wants to do something to help before his friend spirals further out of control.

everyoneEveryone Makes Mistakes: Living With My Daddy In Jail by Madison Strempek
10-year-old author Madison Strempek candidly depicts her life experience of living with a father in jail. Through her eyes, you will feel the heartbreak of that life-changing news, discover how she survives with her secret, and ultimately finds resolution and strength in the understanding that everyone makes mistakes.

nightThe Night Dad Went to Jail: What to Expect When Someone You Love Goes to Jail by Melissa Higgins
When someone you love goes to jail, you might feel lost, scared, and even mad. What do you do? No matter who your loved one is, this story can help you through the tough times.

— Lindsay

 

 

 

 

Pokémon Go at Winnipeg Public Library

Seemingly everyone is playing Pokémon Go… and if you (or your kids) aren’t already playing it, you’ve likely heard about it.

Pokémon Go is a kind of digital scavenger hunt.  Your prize?  Pokémon, or “pocket monsters.” What’s unique about it, is that it’s one of the first games on the market to use “augmented reality” — a blending of real life and the online world. The game makes it look like Pokémon appear in real life places by using the GPS and camera on your phone.

Pokémon Go is a social game that gets people active and visiting places in the community. Players can travel to PokéStops to get supplies, and they can travel to Gyms, where trainers battle for their teams and earn badges. More likely than not, when you’re out and about at public places (like Assiniboine Park, or The Forks, for instance), you’ll see likeminded people catching Pokémon together. Complete strangers, instantly friends.

Of course, there are safety concerns. People staring at their phones while walking around… people trespassing on private property… strangers looking to use the game for nefarious reasons. But with a little bit of rule setting, and perhaps a discussion about interacting with strangers, parents need not be afraid. Here are a couple of great articles if you need a bit more convincing:

This game is a cultural phenomenon. It has caught on like wildfire with kids and adults alike; and there is plenty of buzz about it on social media. Celebrities like Mario Lopez, Justin Bieber, and Ellen DeGeneres are self proclaimed addicts of the game. Even Hillary Clinton is chiming in on the craze (much to the delight of late night TV hosts).

And people are going to great lengths in order to catch Pokémon! The dog needs walking? Let’s take the scenic route. We ran out of milk? Let me grab my rollerblades. A visit to Grandma’s house on the other side of the city? Sounds like a plan… as long as we can all go for a stroll in the neighborhood.

Some have even turned their rusty old bikes into Pokémon Go machines, while others have quit their jobs to become full time Pokémon hunters.

But why all the hype? I think a lot of it has to do with nostalgia. Pokémon was originally a video game released in 1995. Many of us played it on our game boys, watched Pokémon cartoons on Saturday mornings, and battled it out with Pokémon trading cards at recess. And over the years, the popularity of Pokémon seems to have stayed strong. Just a few months ago, my nephew was proudly showing off his Pokémon trading card collection. Pokémon Go is essentially a childhood dream, come to life.

And what’s really great, is that it’s getting people out of the house, exploring their own neighborhoods, and cities. It’s bringing a new sense of awareness to peoples’ surroundings, and for some people, it is the first time they are actually visiting a library in years — many of our branches are PokéStops, and Millennium Library is a gym. What a great opportunity to show off all of the amazing things libraries have to offer!

IMG_0446     IMG_0444     IMG_0441     IMG_0442

So if you’re looking to catch a few Pokémon this summer, pop into the library — and while you’re there, sign the kids up for Summer Reading Club and check out a few books to take home with you! I have a feeling it won’t take much convincing. Especially with titles like these at your fingertips:

pokemon handbookPokémon: Ultimate Handbook
This deluxe handbook includes facts and figures for every Pokémon ever. That’s over 480 entries—packed with special tips and Pokédex info—right at your fingertips. It’s the ultimate guide for every Pokémon fan.

 

pokemonxyPokémon XY
Action packed manga!  As the new champion of the Pokémon Battle Junior Tournament in the Kalos region, X is hailed as a child prodigy. But when the media attention proves to be too much for him, he holes up in his room to hide from everyone – including his best friends.

pokemon academyPokémon Academy
A suspenseful chapter book for Pokémon enthusiasts!  Ash, Dawn, and Brock attend a week of training at the academy with their Pokémon, and Ash competes in a triathlon to test his skills against a scary, ghostly Pokémon.

 

runawayThe Runaway Pokémon
A book for the youngest Pokémon fans just beginning to read on their own.  The story of one of Ash’s most exciting adventures.

 

 

japanese animationJapanese Animation: From Painted Scrolls to Pokémon
A sweeping journey through the history of Japanese animation, tracing this cultural phenomenon from its origins in traditional art to the present day.

 

Don’t forget, Winnipeg Public Library also has video games, movies and music!

movie      pokemontournament        movie2

music

What Pokémon have you caught at the library? Let us know on Twitter @wpglibrary!

Lindsay

It Runs in the Family

Big feet…musical talent…dimples…these are all things you might inherit from your parents.  But what if your parents are authors of a classic children’s book series?  Until recently, I didn’t realize just how many series actually run in the family.

Take the Eastman family, for instance.  P.D. Eastman was a protégé of Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) — in fact, Eastman and Geisel were army buddies, having been assigned to the Signal Corps Film Unit together.  Eastman went on to write many books for children in his own distinct style, under the Dr. Seuss brand of Random House, including a series of books about two loveable canines: Fred and Ted.

You know how it goes.  Fred is a big dog.  Ted is a small dog. Fred likes the color green, prefers spinach over beets, and tends to do things the hard way. Ted likes the color red, prefers beets over spinach, and tends to do things the easy way.  A classic case of “opposites attract.”

Eastman’s son, Peter,  took the helm as dad got older, and he has since written several more Fred and Ted stories…not to mention, he’s also become an award-winning television director and animator. 

bigdog              fredandted

Peggy Parish was known best for the children’s book series and fictional character Amelia Bedelia.  Amelia was, of course, extremely literal-minded, and as a household servant and cook, she got herself into all kinds of conundrums that left readers in stitches.  Simple instructions to “run over the tablecloth with an iron,” or to “serve coffee with porridge” were taken all too literally with hilarious results.

The series was continued after her sudden death from an aneurysm by her nephew Herman Parish.   Herman says, “Peggy still received fan mail from children. They wondered when the next Amelia Bedelia book would be out. Then other children’s authors wrote and volunteered to continue the series.  I felt uneasy about Amelia Bedelia leaving our family. As I was in the fourth grade when she first appeared, I had literally grown up with her. So I decided to try to write a new Amelia Bedelia adventure.”

amelia             unleashed

Stanley and Janice Berenstain started out their careers as a magazine cartoonist team. They published in The Saturday Evening Post, Colliers Magazine, McCall’s, Good Housekeeping and many more focusing on humor about children and families.  Since both of their sons were big Dr. Seuss fans, Stan and Jan decided to try their hands at creating a children’s book, themselves — The Big Honey Hunt, published in 1962 with Dr. Seuss (aka Ted Seuss Geisel) as editor and publisher. Over two hundred Berenstain Bears books followed over the next forty three years until Stan’s death in 2005.

Son Mike had become a children’s book illustrator and author in the 1970s and joined with his parents in the 1980s on magazine work, moving to illustrating and co-writing Berenstain Bears books by 1992.  After a long illness, Stan passed away in November 2005, at the age of eighty-two.  Jan died in February 2012, at the age of eighty-eight.  Mike continues to write and illustrate Berenstain Bears books on all sorts of subjects–everything from going for a ride on the train to the golden rule.

honeyhunt              graduation

The Babar books began as a bedtime story Cécile de Brunhoff invented for their children when they were four and five years old.  The boys liked the story of the little elephant who left the jungle for a city resembling Paris so much that they took it to their father, Jean de Brunhoff  who was a painter, and asked him to illustrate it.  He turned it into a picture book, with text, which was published by a family-run publishing house.  After the first book Histoire de Babar (The Story of Babar), six more titles followed before Jean de Brunhoff died of tuberculosis at the age of 37.

Soon after the end of World War II, Jean’s son Laurent, who had followed in his father’s footsteps as a painter, began work on a Babar book of his own. He trained himself to draw elephants in strict accord with the style of his father, and consequently, many people did not notice any difference in authorship. Laurent has always been careful to emphasize that Babar was his father’s creation (and to some extent his mother’s) and that he continued the series largely as a way of keeping his father and his own childhood alive.

babar               games

So if all you got from your parents was a peanut allergy and a knack for rolling your tongue, you might want to think about writing that children’s book you’ve always wanted to write.  You never know what kind of legacy it will bestow upon your own children!

Lindsay

Photography in Picture Books

A picture is worth a thousand words — or so the saying goes.

Photography has always had the ability to convey stories, but it seems as though in the modern era of Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, (and the list goes on)….we’ve taken visual storytelling to a whole new level.  Your niece’s first ever snowman.  Your best friend’s failed attempt at lemon meringue pie.  Your brother buried in sand up to his neck while on vacation in the Bahamas.  Everyone’s got a camera in their pocket, and even the smallest of moments are captured for everyone to see.

We’re all a bit photography obsessed, which is why it’s no surprise that the latest trend in children’s picture books seems to be photography illustration.  Sure, photographs have dominated the nonfiction scene for decades, but only recently has the art form moved into the world of fiction in a big way.

Check out these amazing picture books that feature real-world photography in very creative ways!

The Secret Life of Squirrels by Nancy Rose
You may think you know what squirrels do all day…but Mr. Peanuts is no ordinary squirrel. Instead of climbing tress, he plays the piano.  Instead of scurrying through the woods, he reads books; but everything is more fun with company, so Mr. Peanuts writes a letter to Cousin Squirrel and invites him for a visit!  Featuring candid photographs of wild squirrels in handcrafted, homemade miniature settings.

Peanut Butter and Cupcake by Terry Border
What’s a little piece of bread to do when he’s feeling lonely? Find a friend, of course!  And that’s exactly what Peanut Butter tries to do. But sometimes friends are hard to come by, especially when Hamburger has to walk his (hot) dogs, Cupcake is too busy building castles in her sprinkle box, and Egg laughs so hard he starts to crack up! Does Peanut Butter have a soul mate? Young readers will know the answer long before Peanut Butter does and laugh along with each mismatched pairing.

Flo & Wendell Explore by William Wegman
Flo thinks the family’s last vacation together was just grand. Her little brother, Wendell, thinks it was absolutely terrible. So, being the good big sister that she can sometimes be, Flo has agreed to take Wendell on his very own camping adventure. They’re going to go canoeing, fishing, and hiking—well, as best they can in the comfort of their neighborhood.  Wegman has become well known for his dog photography, and in this creative follow-up to Flo & Wendell, he starts with dogs and creates worlds around them.

Nancy Knows by Cybèle Young
Nancy knows she’s forgotten something. Something important. When she tries to remember, she thinks of all kinds of other things instead. She remembers things she knows and things she doesn’t quite know. She remembers things one way, then another. Sometimes she remembers with her ears or her stomach or even her heart. But Nancy knows she’s still forgetting something. It’s only when Nancy stops thinking altogether that she finally remembers the very important thing she’s forgotten. Nancy Knows is the charming story of an elephant who remember lots of things, except the very thing she is trying to remember. Each spread of this whimsical picture book features fantastic miniature paper sculptures within expressive outlines of a puzzled elephant.

Swim Duck Swim by Susan Lurie
It’s time for Duckling to jump in the water and do what ducks do—swim! But he doesn’t want to get wet. He’d rather take a nap. And he’s really, really mad that everyone keeps telling him what to do!  Luckily, Mama and Papa Duck are very, very patient, and soon, Duckling will join his siblings in the pond. Here is a charming story, illustrated with exquisite, up-close photos, that will help young readers learn to swim—or try anything new.

I Wish I Had a Pet by Maggie Rudy
Who hasn’t yearned for the perfect pet? The mice in this book–hand-sewn and inhabiting enchanting, diorama-style scenes–know all about critter care, and they’re here to share wise words about choosing and keeping animal companions.  Whimsical images of the mice with their own petite pets, including bumblebees, ladybugs, and butterflies, complement the warm humor of this extraordinary picture book that’s like no other!

-Lindsay

Top 10 Picture Books of 2014

December is a time of reflection.  An opportunity to look back at the year that was.  For some, it’s a wake-up call.  (Next year, I am definitely going to spend less time on Facebook, and more time drinking coffee with my friends.)  For others, it’s a time to be proud.  (I can’t believe I finally organized my closet!) And for book lovers, it’s a chance to replenish that stack of books on your bedside table, and read the best of the best from the year past.  Of course, if you’re a book lover parent, like me, that means picture books.  Here’s a look at the best picture books of 2014, as chosen by your resident Children’s Librarian, and bedtime book connoisseur.  Be sure to check out these sure-fire hits!

samSam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett
Sam and Dave are on a mission. A mission to find something spectacular. So they dig a hole. And they keep digging. And they find . . . nothing. Yet the day turns out to be pretty spectacular after all. Attentive readers will be rewarded with a rare treasure in this witty story of looking for the extraordinary — and finding it in a manner you’d never expect.

The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak
You might think a book with no pictures seems boring and serious. Except . . . here’s how books work. Everything written on the page has to be said by the person reading it aloud. Even if the words say . . .BLORK. Or BLUURF.  Cleverly irreverent and irresistibly silly, The Book with No Pictures is one that kids will beg to hear again and again (and parents will be happy to oblige).

mixMix It Up by Hervé Tullet
Accept Hervé Tullet’s irresistible invitation to mix it up in a dazzling adventure of whimsy and wonder. Follow the artist’s simple instructions, and suddenly colors appear, mix, splatter, and vanish in a world powered only by the reader’s imagination. Tullet—who joins such greats as Eric Carle and Leo Lionni as a master of his craft—sets readers on an extraordinary interactive journey all within the printed page.

dinosaurIf You Happen to Have a Dinosaur by Linda Bailey
If you happen to have a dinosaur, lying around your living room, and you don’t know what to do with it … why don’t you use it as a can opener? It will make a terrific nutcracker too! There are oodles of uses for a dinosaur — from a fine umbrella to an excellent kite and a dandy pillow, not to mention a reliable burglar alarm and the perfect excuse to forget your homework. This delightfully absurd exploration of the domestic uses of dinosaurs — and the things dinos just aren’t good for at all — is guaranteed to tickle funny bones and spark imaginations.

hugHug Machine by Scott Campbell
Watch out world, here he comes The Hug Machine! Whether you are big, or small, or square, or long, or spikey, or soft, no one can resist his unbelievable hugs! HUG ACCOMPLISHED!  This endearing story encourages a warm, caring, and buoyantly affectionate approach to life. Everyone deserves a hug – and this book!

humansLittle Humans by Brandon Stanton
Little humans are helpful and playful, friendly and loving, flexible and resourceful.  They love their brothers and sisters, their moms and dads, and their friends.  Little humans are growing each day. They won’t be little for long. Soon they will be… BIG!  Street photographer and storyteller extraordinaire Brandon Stanton is the creator of the #1 New York Times bestselling book Humans of New York as well as the wildly popular Humans of New York blog. To create Little Humans he combined some of his favorite children’s photos with a heartwarming ode to little humans everywhere.

mooseThis is a Moose by Richard Morris
When a movie director tries to capture the life of a moose on film, he’s in for a big surprise. It turns out the moose has a dream bigger then just being a moose–he wants to be an astronaut and go to the moon.  His forest friends step in to help him, and action ensues. Lots of action. Like a lacrosse-playing grandma, a gigantic slingshot into space, and a flying, superhero chipmunk.

libraryA Library Book for Bear by Bonny Becker
Bear does not want to go to the library. He is quite sure he already has all the books he will ever need. Yet the relentlessly cheery Mouse, small and gray and bright-eyed, thinks different. When Bear reluctantly agrees to go with his friend to the big library, neither rocket ships nor wooden canoes are enough for Bear’s picky tastes. How will Mouse ever find the perfect book for Bear? Children will giggle themselves silly as Bear’s arguments give way to his inevitable curiosity, leading up to a satisfying story hour and a humorously just-right library book.

pigeonThe Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems
The Pigeon really needs a bath! Except, the Pigeon’s not so sure about that. Besides, he took a bath last month! Maybe. It’s going to take some serious convincing to try and get the Pigeon to take the plunge.

onceOnce Upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers
From an Astronaut who’s afraid of heights, to a Bridge that ends up burned between friends, to a Cup stuck in a cupboard and longing for freedom, Once Upon an Alphabet is a creative tour de force from A through Z. Slyly funny in a way kids can’t resist, and gorgeously illustrated in a way readers of all ages will pour over, this series of interconnected stories and characters explores the alphabet in a way that will forever raise the bar.

-Lindsay