Our Children's Bookshelf is updated each month with a curated list of exciting reads, compiled by a trusted librarian from one of Connecticut's invaluable public libraries.
Children's Bookshelf - June/July 2020
Imagine Your Story This Summer
by Deirdre Sullivan
Imagine your library. Some see the children’s room where their child took their first steps at story time, amidst rows of books, singing and laughter. Others see the learning lab where their child attended STEAM workshops and learned to code, knitted a scarf, or made their own paper-bag puppet. Maybe your family visited the library for book club discussions, homework help and music performances, or your child looked forward to sharing their favorite books with librarians and listen to their advice on what to read next.
Many libraries closed their physical spaces this spring, but the narrative of the story of libraries did not end. A new chapter began, with libraries continuing to provide digital services and offering virtual programs to their communities. Libraries saw the need to provide social interaction in virtual spaces, and shifted story times, book clubs, STEAM learning and even yoga to live programs online. We strengthened relationships with local schools to provide distance learning support. We introduced many to downloadable books, movies and music in our digital collection. Libraries continued to recommend books and provide homework help through email and telephone services.
“Imagine Your Story” is the Collaborative Summer Library Program theme for summer reading 2020. During these summer months, the library will be filled with folk and fairy tales, magical creatures, heroic journeys and adventure. A child who participates in a summer reading program will discover their reading skills will grow along with their imagination. Here are great reads to “Imagine Your Story.”
The Lion and the Mouse
by Jerry Pinkney
This is Caldecott Award Winner Jerry Pinkney’s beautiful picture book adaptation of a tale focusing on an act of kindness. Set in the African Serengeti, a mighty lion spares the life of a tiny mouse, who later comes to the lion’s rescue. Don’t miss Pinkney’s other retellings of folk and fairy tales including The Tortoise & the Hare, The Grasshopper & the Ants, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, Puss and Boots and Little Red Riding Hood. Ages 3-6.
by G. Brian Karas
A fun introduction to mythology for young readers, through the boyhood of the Greek god Zeus. Greek myths are retold in stories full of silly humor and action, as you learn how this boy grew up to rule Mt. Olympus. Ages 5-8.
The Unicorn Rescue Society: The Creature of the Pines
by Adam Gidwitz
Meet Elliot and Uchenna, two friends whose encounter with a mysterious creature on a field trip leads them to an introduction to the Unicorn Rescue Society. In this series of humorous adventures, readers are along for the journey to save mythical creatures including a dragon, sasquatch, chupacabras and sea serpents. Ages 8-10.
A Tale of Magic
by Chris Colfer
Fans of Colfer’s fairy tale series Land of Stories, as well as fans of all things magic, will immerse themselves in Colfer’s new series. Fourteen-year-old Brystal Evergreen knows she is destined for greatness, even in her world where women are not allowed to read, and magic is outlawed. Books are her only escape in the library where she works as a maid. After discovering a special book that gives her magical powers, Brystal is invited to a secret magic academy where she may just change her own story. Ages 8-12.
Pages & Co: The Book Wanderers
by Anna James
Anna James Eleven-year-old Tilly Pages, who has found comfort in her grandparents’ bookshop since her mother’s disappearance, now learns that she can bookwander into any story, and decides to search for her mother. Book one in a delightful, charming series. Ages 8-12.
by Chad Sell
Imagination and alter-egos come alive as neighborhood children find outlets for their angst by creating homemade costumes and envisioning themselves as superheroes, sorceresses and other fantastical beings. Featuring dynamic illustrations and inspired storytelling, this graphic novel is an ode to the power of play. Ages 9-12.
by Anne Ursu
A realistic fantasy and modern day take on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen. A series of events tests the friendship of two fifth graders. Are they growing up and growing apart, or has something terrible happened to Hazel’s friend Jack? The only way to know for sure is for Hazel to go into the woods, navigating strange fairy tale characters and challenges to rescue Jack. Ages 10-12.
Events at the Greenwich Library
Greenwich Library’s Imagine Your Story summer reading program runs from June 15-August 15. Students, in grades K to 6, can join the online reading program, and preschool children can join the Read-to-Me program. Special events in June include Sciencetellers: Dragons and the Return of the Ice Sorceress and Waterbury Symphony’s Creating Musical Readers. In July and August, WonderSpark Puppets will present fairy tale shows and puppet workshops. For events, book recommendations, activities for families and all things summer reading, visit www.greenwichlibrary.org/children/summerreading
Deirdre Sullivan is Head of Children’s Services at Greenwich Library.