Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Shelf Challenge: Picture Book Authors starting with "B"

I'll try not to feel too much like a failure as I admit that I didn't finish the shelf challenge in time. The "B" section of our picture book collection is enormous...lots of great authors still to go: Brown, Browne, and Bunting to name a few! 

During April I read 168 picture books in our A and B sections and am eager to continue.

It's so fun to discover gems on our own shelves. Thanks to Matthew Winner at Busy Librarian for hosting this challenge.

Here are a few favorites from the "B" section. Fill in the doc below for a giveaway of one of these titles! See what I've read so far here.

B Section Favorites (available for giveaway!)

Pelle's New Suit, by Elsa Beskow 

This is a simple and charming story about a young Swedish boy who needs a new suit and the way he gets it. There are several steps in the process: shearing and carding the wool, washing it, dyeing it, weaving the cloth, and cutting and sewing. Pelle doesn't have the skills needed, but others in his community do, so he offers his strengths in exchange for their work: raking, feeding pigs, rowing a boat to town, and so forth. 

I love the connection between the desire for something and the work needed to get it. In this day of instant gratification, it would be interesting for students to see how much thought and effort go into a simple article of clothing.

I'm in Charge of Celebrations, by Byrd Baylor

When asked if she's lonely, this character laughs. How can she be lonely when she's alone in the natural world? There's so much to discover and celebrate! She's in charge of creating her own celebrations. We hear of the day she saw a triple rainbow and the week-long celebration of falling stars in August. 

Every event connects her deeply to her environment, and the surrounding illustrations support that connection. She is pictured as a tiny speck amidst the vast glory of her setting. I love the concept of taking charge, slowing down, and relishing time alone. 

The Table Where the Rich People Sit, by Byrd Baylor

A girl calls a family meeting to discuss her family's financial situation. She's sure they could be doing better. Sitting at their handmade wooden table, she asks her parents how much money they have. They begin adding up all of their riches - their sunsets, the wildlife they've seen, the time they have to watch a cactus flower bloom - and assign each a monetary value in the thousands of dollars. Gradually the girl begins to understand that the world her parents have created for the family is more beautiful and rewarding than anything money could buy. 

The message is powerful and poetically delivered, but the tone is not preachy. This is a celebration of nature, particularly of the American southwest, and the line drawings with washes of yellows and orange highlight the stark beauty of the region. 

I will give away a new copy of one of these to a lucky winner. Fill in the form below to participate!

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