Big Kids @ UAPL

Family Adventures for a Fun Family Road Trip

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With spring break right around the corner many of us will find ourselves on the road to our vacation destination.  A good audiobook is a great way to keep everyone happy, and make a long trip seem a lot shorter.  I've compiled a list of some of my favorite family stories for those looking for a distraction from the journey.  Some of these families are more typical, some are magical, and some are found in different ways, but they all have a little adventure and lots of love!

Celebrate Black History Month with Great Books

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It's Black History Month. Here are some great books featuring African American authors, events, people, stories, and characters. 


Realistic Fiction

Book cover for Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Ghost by Jason Reynolds is the story of Ghost (real name Castle Crenshaw) who has never known anything but running…but never for a track team. Nope, his game has always been ball. Yet when Ghost impulsively challenges an elite sprinter to a race - and wins - the track coach sees he has something: crazy, natural talent. Thing is, Ghost has something else: a lot of anger, and a past that he is trying to outrun. Can Ghost harness his raw talent for speed and meld with the team, or will his past finally catch up to him? 

Book Cover for Crossover

Crossover by Kwame Alexander is a story told in verse that reads like rap. “With a bolt of lightning on my kicks…The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I'm delivering,” announces Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he's got mad beats, too, that tell his family's story. A story of how he and his brother wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health. 

Book Cover for Words with Wings

Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes is a novel told in verse. Gabby daydreams to tune out her parents' arguments, but when her parents divorce and she begins a new school, daydreaming gets her into trouble. Her mother scolds her for it, her teacher keeps telling her to pay attention, and the other kids tease her…until she finds a friend who also daydreams and her teacher decides to work a daydreaming-writing session into every school day. With a notebook “thick with daydreams,” Gabby grows more confident about herself and her future.

Fantasy and Science Fiction

Book cover for The Menagerie

The Menagerie by Tui Sutherland is a magical mystery adventure. When Logan Wilde wakes up to discover a baby griffin hiding under his bed, he suddenly finds himself thrown into a mystery involving his classmate Zoe and a magical menagerie right in the middle of his sleepy Wyoming town.

Book cover for Little Robot

The Little Robot by Ben Hatke is a graphic novel about a girl who finds a lost robot in the woods. The two become fast friends, but they are in for an adventure when a much larger, menacing robot comes to retrieve the little robot.

Book cover fro Notebook of Doom

Notebook of Doom: Rise of the Ballon Goons by Troy Cummings is a first chapter book filled with short text, graphics, and mystery. Alexander has just moved into Stermont, but the elementary school is being torn down and his new classroom is located in the hospital morgue! A notebook he finds is full of information about monsters and everywhere he turns there are spooky balloon men determined to attack him! 

Nonfiction and Biography

Book Cover for Radiant Child

Radiant Child by Javaka Steptoe is a biography about Jean-Michael Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings which rocketed to fame in the 1980s as a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the art world had ever seen. But before that, he was a little boy who saw art everywhere: in poetry books and museums, in games and in the words that we speak, and in the pulsing energy of New York City. This book captures Basquiat's powerful message that art doesn't always have to be neat or clean - and definitely not inside the lines - to be beautiful.

Book cover for Brown GilrlDreaming

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson is a biography in verse. Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960's and 1970's, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Each poem is both accessible and emotional, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. 

Book Cover for We've Got a Job

I've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March by Cynthia Levinson recounts the events of the 4,000 black elementary-, middle-, and high school students who voluntarily went to jail in Birmingham, Alabama, between May 2 and May 11, 1963. Fulfilling Mahatma Gandhi's and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.s precept to fill the jails, they succeeded where adults had failed in desegregating one of the most racially violent cities in America. Focusing on four of the original participants We've Got a Job recounts the events before, during, and after the Children's March. 

Happy Reading!

American Library Association announces 2017 Youth Media Award Winners

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The American Library Association announced the 2017 awards for the best in children's and young adult literature on Monday, Jan. 23. Click here to read the complete article which includes a list of all the 2017 winners.

The John Newbery Medal, given for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature, was awarded toThe Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.  Visit the Newbery Medal Homepage for more information about this award and a complete list of winners since 1922.

The Randolph Caldecott Medal, given for the most distinguished American picture book, was awarded to Radiant Child:The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, written and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe.  Visit the Caldecott Medal Homepage for more information about this award and a complete list of winners since 1938.

The Coretta Scott King Author Book Award, given to an African-American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults, was awarded to March: Book Three by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin. Visit the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Page for more information about this award.

The Coretta Scott King Illustrator Book Award, given to an African-American illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults, was awarded to  Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, written and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe

The Michael L. Printz Award, given for excellence in literature written for young adults, was awarded to  March: Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell. Visit the Printz Award for more information about this award and a complete list of winners since 2000.



Graphic Novel Reading Lists for Kids

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Kids love graphic novels. Amazing illustrations, cool captions and words, great stories – all bundled into one. What’s not to love? Each year the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) puts out Graphic Novels Reading Lists of top graphic novels for kids. The lists include classic graphic novels as well as new titles. Here are some favorite choices, broken down by age range. 

K - 2nd Grade (ALSC K - 2nd Grade Full List)

Cover for Little Robot by Ben Hatke


3rd - 5th Grade (ALSC 3rd - 5th Grade Full List)

Cover for Hilo by Judd Winick


6th - 8th Grade (ALSC 6th - 8th Grade Full List)

Cover for Awkward


A few favorites not covered on these lists:

Cover fro Oddly Normal


Happy (Graphic Novel) Reading!

Your (Character) Votes Are In!

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Yesterday you voted on your favorite book and screen characters, and today the results are in:

  • Favorite picture book or early reader character: ELEPHANT and PIGGIE!
  • Favorite juvenile or young adult character: HARRY POTTER!
  • Favorite adult character: WONDER WOMAN!
  • Favorite screen hero: LUKE SKYWALKER!
  • Favorite screen villain: DARTH VADER!