Get ready to go an epic adventure with the Bone cousins in Jeff Smith’s graphic novel series, Bone.

Bone is the magical adventure of 3 bone-looking cousins — Fone Bone, Smiley Bone, and Phoney Bone — and their new misadventures living in the Valley, after Phoney gets them ran out their hometown of Boneville. All hope seems lost for the Bones, until Fone Bone runs into Thorn, a generous and kind human teenager who lives with her Grandma Ben on a small farm. Thorn and Grandma Ben eventually take in the Bone cousins, even against the Valley people’s wishes. Weird things begin to happen in the Valley upon the Bones arrival and no one knows who to trust. Word is that the evil Lord of the Locusts is back and for some reason interested in the Bone cousins. No one knows why, not even the Bones!

What is your Chocolate Me! story? Everyone has one!

In Chocolate Me! written by Taye Diggs and illustrated by Shane W. Evans, a young boy is teased by the kids in the neighborhood for his darker skin color. The young boy, upset and confused, then inquires to his mom, who tells him that we are all unique in our own way and we should embrace our differences, it’s the thing that makes us all special! Love your chocolate skin, for it is part of you! Chocolate Me! is all about finding your own sweet inside. It is about individuality, positivity and accepting each other’s differences.

In June 2012, I got the chance to do some work with Shane W. Evans, and during that time he asked me, “What is your chocolate me story?”

Photo by Marty Umans

I had many favorite cartoons growing up as a kid… Actually, I still do!

One of my favorites was the short lived, Sheep in the Big City, created by Mo Willems. Even though his first solo show, only lasted for two seasons, Mr. Willems has many other strong credits to his name that include television shows, Codename: Kids Next Door, Sesame Street, and for those watching cartoons in the 90’s, KaBlam! Mo Willems has since then, also created a line of hilarious easy reader children’s book that guarantee to make you laugh. Below are some of my favorite easy reads from Mr. Mo Willems, hilarity and lessons in all.

I Love You All Day Long by Francesca Rusacks/ illustrated by Pricilla Burris

My daughter complained the other day, "You're working all of the time.
I never get to spend time with you!" Ouch. Seriously, is this what all kids with working parents think? I'm a single mom. There have to be others out there in the same situation as me.

There are. Statistics prove it. According to the American Census Bureau's 2007-2011 Community Survey (as found on Kansas City Public Library's American Factfinder database), 40.4% of households in KCMO with related children aged 18 and under are headed by a female with no husband present. How many moms are working to put food on the table and a roof over their kids' heads? That's a lot of kids whose mamas are not home with them for at least some part of their waking hours. The statistic doesn't even count families with two married parents who both work.

Okay, so a big portion of Kansas City kids have at least one parent who works outside the home. How does this relate to the Library? Bibliotherapy. That's a big word with a simple meaning: books that address an issue. I found some picture books that speak directly to this situation.
Here are a few that I like best:

I Love You All Day Long by Francesca Rusacks/ illustrated by Pricilla Burris

April is National Poetry Month. We are all familiar with the classics like Where the Sidewalk Ends, The New Kid on the Block, and A Child's Garden of Verses, (if you've never heard of these titles, stop right now and check them out!). If you're looking for something different, here are a few other suggestions that are bound to make your top ten list.

A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms
Selected by Paul B. Janeczko, Illustrated by Chris Raschka

Confused by the many rules of the different types of poems? This book is a great, easy way to learn the differences between a couplet and a Limerick and a Haiku. Simple and colorful, these playful poems are fun to read, even if you don’t care about the style. This book features twenty-nine different poetic forms from various poets.

Inspiring women run the gamut. There are artists, politicians, and athletes-- among others. We conclude March-- Women's History Month-- with a tribute to more books about some of our fantastic female forebearers. >

The books listed below are for elementary-school-aged readers. They all include authors’ notes in the back for those who are curious to learn more.

Amelia and Eleanor Go For a Ride by Pam Muñoz Ryan/ illustrated by Brian Selznick.

This book’s author and illustrator both did meticulous research to tell the tale (with a little artistic license) of an actual adventure that aviator Amelia Earhart and first-lady Eleanor Roosevelt share.

My name is Celia : the life of Celia Cruz = Me llamo Celia : la vida de Celia Cruz by Monica Brown/ illustrated by Rafael López.

Girls, we have a legacy. A century ago, women in the United States of America marched at the White House in Washington D.C. to demand the right to vote.1 This month, we recognize their actions and those of other women who have made our lives better. March is Women’s History Month. However, these books about female trailblazers are available all year long at the Kansas City Public Library.
The books listed below are for elementary-school-aged readers. They all include authors’ notes in the back for those who are curious to learn more.

How do you put on a page the sharp, sweet tang of a jazz tune? Sure, someone could stick musical notes on a ledger sheet. There is another way to absorb the mood of a jazz riff, though. These books use bright colors, stylized illustrations, font changes, rhythmic text, and onomatopoeia (said sounds) to make you feel like your home is a club and your story time is a jam session.

Arranged for listeners/ readers from younger to older:

When the leaves fall from the trees and the weather turns chilly, it’s not just time to pull out your coats and mittens. It’s cold and flu season, too. Coughing! Sneezing! Sore throat! Stuffy head! Fever! Oh, no, you’re SICK! The best way that I can think of to battle winter yuckiness is to snuggle in bed with a box of tissues, a nice warm cup of chicken soup, and a great book. I found some fact books about what happens in your body when you have a cold or the flu and some story books that are sure to make you giggle to help you forget how rotten you feel.

I know it doesn’t really seem like it since the weather has stayed so warm and sunny, but it’s now December! Winter is just around the corner! We humans turn on our heat, put extra blankets on our beds, and trade our short and sandals for coats and boots, but what do our animal friends do when the weather starts to turn cold? Find out in the great books I tracked down at the Library!

Animals in the Fall by Gail Saunders-Smith describes the preparations that some animals make to survive the winter’s bitter cold. The creatures are divided into three groups that make it easy to compare what they do: Animals That Travel, Animals That Change, and Animals That Work. Large photographs and simple sentences are great for reading out loud to babies and toddlers; the youngest readers-on-their-own will not find this book too challenging at all. They can practice using the glossary and table of contents, too!

When you think of the word “model” does someone in the latest fashions strutting down a catwalk come to mind? True, that person is a model. You can be a model, too, and you don’t need a particular figure to do so. Another meaning for model, according to Macmillan Fully Illustrated Dictionary for Children (2007) is “a thing or person that serves as a good example; something to be copied.”

Does chilly weather make you want to sip hot apple cider with cinnamon in it? You aren’t alone. Fall brings with it delicious comfort foods—including pumpkins. Halloween is over, but Jack-o-lanterns are just one way to celebrate with pumpkins. Thanksgiving feasts traditionally feature pumpkin pies for desserts. According to Pumpkins by Anne L. Burckhardt, “Cookies, bread, and soup can be made from pumpkins. The seeds can be toasted for a snack.” So, there are a multitude of fall treats that we can create from this orange gourd. What if you have no idea what to make or how to make it?

All through this HOT summer, we’ve been talking about the cool things happening in our gardens: the plants we’ve grown (or tried to grow!), the creepy crawly pests that have invaded our plots, the tasty treats we can make from the produce of our hard work. We’ve learned a lot about growing our own food, but what about the rest of the things that we eat?

What about the bread that holds our tasty tomato sandwiches? What about scrambled eggs with cheese? WHAT ABOUT CHOCOLATE BARS?! I’m as hungry for information about where my food comes from as I am the food itself, and I’m sure that you have wondered about it, too. This month, I’m going to tell you about some great books that help answer the question: How did my food get to be, well, FOOD?

Market Day by Lois Ehlert is a great book to read with little kids who want to know more about the trip that their food takes from the farm to the farmers’ market. Bright colors illustrate the simple story of the journey taken by some carrots and tomatoes from the dark country fields where they grow to the lively market and then to the kitchen of a hungry family. New readers will need some help with some of the unfamiliar words, but the beautiful folk art pictures will give context clues when the story gets confusing.

Many (if not most) children will be headed back to school in the next couple of weeks. To help kick off the school season, check out these light-hearted books that will entertain even the most reluctant reader.

How Do Dinosaurs Go to School?
By Jane Yolen

It’s been a long, hot summer already and we’re still weeks away from fall! My garden is definitely showing the strain even though I have been watering almost every day to make up for the many weeks without rain. One of the ways that I’ve been distracting myself from the sad state of my garden is testing out some new recipes in the kitchen. I have come across some great kid friendly cookbooks here at the Plaza Kid Corner that I would love to share with you!