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We are one of the nation’s leading children’s book review journals for school and public librarians. We provide concise summaries and critical evaluations to help you find the books you need for your library’s collection.

October’s Big Picture

Magic Fish coverThe Magic Fish

By Trung Le Nguyen

Themes of identity, family, and love feature predominantly in this month’s Big Picture, Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen. Elegantly illustrated, this graphic novel shifts among various threads, moving from fairy tales to family histories to a keenly felt coming out story. Subtle hues distinguish the each part, giving this an appealing readability while the layered storytelling will attract young adults putting their own disparate narratives together.

COVID-19 Resource for Children

Cover image for "Coronavirus: A Book for Children" Coronavirus: A Book for Children

Written by Elizabeth Jenner, Kate Wilson, and Nia Roberts; illus. by Axel Scheffler.

Nosy Crow/Candlewick, 2020 29p
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-5362-1921-0

Free R* 4-7 yrs

Written with the assistance of Professor in Infectious Disease Modeling Graham Medley, this UK-created overview of life under coronavirus has a solid and sensible clarity that many adult summaries lack. The book employs a direct address to young audiences and focuses on what matters to them—what’s changed for them, what may frighten them, what they can and should do—in honest and respectful terms. Q&A format provides plain-language coverage of germ theory, vaccination, social distancing, and vulnerable populations, all framed accessibly, and makes some excellent points about the challenging emotions for everyone and ways to deal with those (“Another important thing you can do is to be kind to the people that you live with”). Scheffler’s line and watercolor cast are dot-eyed and friendly and multiply diverse; though the paucity of masks may be a talking point, it’s otherwise a collection of characters that looks like most of our families and neighborhoods. This is an immensely useful tool that gives neither too much nor too little information, and it will help adults as much as youngsters. Lists of resource websites and places to help, both adapted for American audiences, are appended. The title is available to download for free from http://www.candlewick.com. DS

Note: This review will run in The Bulletin‘s June issue.

Editor’s note

Like all of you, we’re negotiating a world changed by COVID-19.  Currently, we’re under university instructions to work remotely. We don’t know yet what other disruptions we may face and how long they will affect publishing and reviewing, but it seems likely that we’ll have a very different spring and summer at the Bulletin and in youth literature and services than we anticipated.

From a Bulletin standpoint, we’ve changed some of our workflow, but we hope to continue to provide reviews in print and online largely as scheduled. We apologize in advance for any interruptions or reductions, and we’re putting measures in place to mitigate them.

From a youth literature and services standpoint, we believe that while the individual review may seem to matter less, our commitment to the value of literature for youth is firmer than ever. Literature gives young people a way to find meaning, process emotion, soothe themselves, and rally in their own space, pace, and time; to broaden their horizons even as physical boundaries contract.  The need for that remains paramount.

Deborah Stevenson, Editor

2019 Bulletin Blue Ribbons

It’s that reflective time of year again, when we cast our eyes back to the books of the past twelve months and see which ones hold magic for us from this perspective.  It was an especially glorious year for history, both fiction and nonfiction, while the picture books offered superb originality. You may not have known you needed a book about the Greek gods and World War I, the birth of food safety laws, or a wolf merchant’s trip to the marketplace, but 2019’s Blue Ribbons proves that we all do.

The 2019 Guide Book to Gift Books is here!

The holiday season brings a host of gift-giving opportunities and we’re here to help! Our latest Guide Book to Gift Books is updated and revised edition to assist you with all your shopping needs—because who gives anything besides books, right? With over one hundred titles, annotated and organized by age group, our choices are sure to please even your most challenging recipient—and there’s always the bonus of adding a few books to your own TBR list to use that gift card on.

Gryphon Award

This Is MY Fort! and What Is Inside THIS Box?, written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Olivier Tallec, and published by Scholastic Press, are the winners of the 2020 Gryphon Award for Children’s Literature. The prize is awarded to the author of an outstanding English language work of fiction or non-fiction that is exemplary in its bridging of the gap in difficulty between books for reading aloud to children and books for practiced readers.

ALA Awards

The American Association has announced its Youth Media Awards. You can check out the full list on our awards page or at the ALA website.

The Center for Children’s Books

The Bulletin is partnered with the Center for Children’s Books, a research center whose mission is to facilitate the creation and dissemination of exemplary and progressive research and scholarship related to youth-focused resources, literature, and librarianship.

Cover illustration by Trung Le Nguyen from The Magic Fish copyright © 2020 and reproduced by permission of Random House Graphic.