Tag Archives: best books

Newbery Medalist Lynne Rae Perkins: Frank and Lucky Get Schooled

Newbery Medalist Lynne Rae Perkins: Frank and Lucky Get Schooled

Frank and Lucky

One of my favorite reads of the year (maybe of all time) is Frank and Lucky Get Schooled by Newbery Medalist, Lynne Rae Perkins. (Greenwillow, 2016) Now, it is making many best of the year lists. And it richly deserves all the hoopla.

To get to specifics, this is a picture book for older picture book readers, grades 2 through 4. In it, Frank and his roguish rescue dog, Lucky, learn about various sciences, math, reading, history, art, geography, map-making, and foreign languages. Even the Fibonacci spiral (golden spiral) makes an appearance! Frank and Lucky do this learning through their everyday, loving interactions. It’s a schooling that is both natural and hilarious, as we get to know Lucky’s thoughts on things, like trying to learn the language of ducks. It’s full of laugh out loud humor, as well as real heart.

Frank and Lucky Get Schooled is such a wonderful book! After reading it, there’s a sense that the book offered up a promise and delivered upon it 100%+. When I hold it, I feel like I’m holding a little gem in my hands.

It is a book that should be in every elementary classroom, and in every home that ever loved a dog. Get it on your wish lists now! (Below you’ll find a number of sites with reviews.)

Of course, I needed to talk with my friend Lynne Rae about writing the book. Below is a synopsis of that conversation. Enjoy!

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S.C.: First, the age-old question for writers who are also illustrators—which inspiration came first? Pictures in your head? Or a phrase? Or a general idea about a boy and a dog learning together?

LR.P.: For quite a while I’d had an idea about writing a book for preschoolers who might have an older sibling who was in school. I wanted the book to include various studies that an older brother or sister might be learning about. But that project went by the wayside. However, we actually had a dog named Lucky. And as he got older he was barely ambulatory, often taking a break and just sitting when we went out. But I remembered how much of a rogue he’d been when he was young. He once ran after our car for 7 miles before getting inside! And then one day when my son Frank was home the title came to me: Frank and Lucky Get Schooled.

S.C.: Where did you go from there? Did you start writing, or doodling?

LR.P.: I did have a list of subject areas with that first idea of the preschool book that didn’t happen. But usually what I did was to take a subject and just sit with it for a time. I let the ideas go in and out. When you put a problem in front of you, you also work on it in the background while doing other things. And you see things through that filter.

S.C.: I noticed that music is the only major field untouched. A reason for that?

LR.P.: I saw this book as a kind of companion book to SNOW MUSIC. (Greenwillow, 2003) And as this one is pretty complicated already, music was left out.  snow-music     

S.C.: I love how the small vignettes and thought bubbles show the back story, and what will happen in the future (Lucky’s plans.) I’m wondering about working with Sylvie Le Floc’h, your art director, and Virginia Duncan, your editor, at Greenwillow. There’s quite a lot of art here.

LR.P.: I’m really bad at making dummies [mock-ups of the pages]. A lot happens while I’m in the process of working. I never seemed to have a definitive dummy. So if my editor said they were having trouble getting everything on the page, we worked together to solve the problem. It was very collaborative. One good thing, though, was that I’d sent Virginia a complete manuscript ahead of time, so we knew where we were going.

S.C.: By the way, I love the first line of Frank and Lucky Get Schooled: “On a day Frank could not win for losing, he got Lucky.” Sometimes a line will come to me, and it will be the impetus for the whole story. Sometimes that line changes, sometimes it doesn’t. Was this always your opener?

LR.P.: Years ago, when we got our dog Lucky from the animal shelter the kids were riding in the back seat. One, or both of them, said something like, “He’s lucky we got him, and we’re lucky.” So we named him Lucky. And I knew for this story I wanted “. . . something, something, he got lucky.” My mom always used to say, “can’t win for losing.” I’m not sure if that’s a common saying everywhere, but it worked for that line.

S.C.: I also love the heart and the humor here. Heart is something, I think a writer either has, or doesn’t have—it’s the way we approach life and everything we do. But humor . . . that’s a bit different. Writers can learn to be humorous. (Perhaps people can learn to have “heart,” too. But that’s for another discussion.) Did you have some funny situations in mind before you wrote? Or did they come to you while “in process.”

LR.P: I’ll tell you a funny story about Lucky. Even though he was a Lab, for the first five years of his life he was afraid of the water. We live on Lake Michigan and we’d take him to the lake almost every day. But he only put his paw in. He couldn’t seem to understand why water wouldn’t hold him up. And then one day while we were living in a cottage on the water, some ducks were floating by and Lucky dove in to swim out to them. I was afraid. He’d never swam a day in his life! But he was out there for hours. He was fine. He had this thing for ducks that had to do with being a real dog.

S.C.: I adore the ducks in this book, so funny! Now, thinking about heart, your novels also swell with that. It seems to me that part of the process of getting that love of life into one’s writing is through careful observation—not always of major happenings, but of many of the smaller things. And the smaller things add up . . . So tell me a little about how you observe the world. Knowing you, I think you’re an introvert. But I also think you have your eyes wide open. I know this is a vague question. But I’m trying to get at how an artist might see the world differently than a writer. Or differently than someone who doesn’t work in a creative field.

LR.P.: I always carry a piece of paper with me. I need to write down things before I forget them. And I write in my journal every day. It may just be what I’m doing, or something else minor. But I keep paper with me.

But also, part of this process is how I begin each day. I start by reading poems. I do not look at my phone until the afternoon. Checking the phone doesn’t get me off to the right creative start. Instead, I have several anthologies I like to read from. Right now it’s Garrison Keeler’s GOOD POEMS, RISKING EVERYTHING: 110 Poems of Love and Revelation by Roger Housden and Naomi Shihab Nye’s WHAT HAVE YOU LOST? Which is an amazing book!

S.C.: Thank you, Lynne Rae. It’s been wonderful to talk about this great new book of yours, FRANK AND LUCKY GET SCHOOLED.

LR.P: You’re welcome.

NOTE: Lynne Rae’s website is at: https://lynnerae.com

REVIEWS:  Kirkus Reviews

Horn Book Magazine

School Library Journal

 

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PW’s Round-Up of Best Books Lists For Teens and Children, 2015

PW’s Round-Up of Best Books Lists For Teens and Children, 2015

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Publishers Weekly’s Best Children’s Books of 2015: Curated from the thousands of books published this year are our picks for the year’s best books for all ages, from infant to teen.

The 2015 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature: This year’s medalist was Neal Shusterman.

The New York Times’s Notable Children’s Books of 2015: Selected by the children’s books editor of the New York Times.

The New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award for 2015: Every year the Times gathers an independent panel of judges to select a list of 10 picture books based on artistic merit.

The Horn Book’s Fanfare: Every year the editors of the Horn Book select their picks for the best children’s and young adult books of the year.

School Library Journal: The SLJ review editors selected their picks for the year’s best titles across books, apps, audiobooks and more.

Goodreads Choice Awards 2015: Goodreads users vote annually on their favorite books of the year, and this year they cast a total of 3,007,748 votes.

The Guardian’s best children’s books of 2015: Selected annually from books published in the U.K. by the Guardian’s children’s book editor.

Quill and Quire‘s 2015 kids’ books of the year. Selected by the books for young people’s editor of the Canadian magazine.

The Boston Globe’s best books of 2015.

Bank Street’s Best Children’s Books of the Year: Selected by the children’s book committee at Bank Street College of Education.

The Washington Post’s best children’s books of 2015: The Post’s reviewers share their picks in fiction, nonfiction, and picture books.

Amazon’s Best Children’s Books of 2015: Amazon editors select their top picks in categories for all ages.

BookPage: Best Children’s and Teen Books 2015: The BookPage staff selects 10 favorite titles in three categories: picture books, middle grade, and YA.

2016 William C. Morris YA Debut Award Finalists: Since 2009 ALA has awarded what they deem the most impressive debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens. This year’s five finalists were announced last week.

The YA Book Prize, recognizing YA books from the U.K.

 

Enjoy!

Thanks, Publisher’s Weekly

Shutta

2013 Children’s Book Award Winners (American Library Association)

2013 Children’s Book Award Winners (American Library Association)

Well the verdict is in!  The winners of the major U.S. children’s book awards, and other awards–care of the American Library Association–have been announced.

I can’t wait to dive into some of these I missed. Enjoy!

Shutta

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1.) John NEWBERY Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s
literature:

“The One and Only Ivan,” written by Katherine Applegate, is the 2013 Newbery
Medal winner. The book is published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, a
division of HarperCollins Publishers.
Three Newbery Honor Books also were named: “Splendors and Glooms” by Laura
Amy Schlitz and published by Candlewick Press; “Bomb: The Race to Build–and
Steal–the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon” by Steve Sheinkin and published by
Flash Point, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press; and “Three Times Lucky” by
Sheila Turnage and published by Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of
Penguin Young Readers Group.

2.) Randolph CALDECOTT Medal for the most distinguished American picture
book for children:
“This Is Not My Hat,” illustrated and written by Jon Klassen, is the 2013
Caldecott Medal winner. The book is published by Candlewick Press.
Five Caldecott Honor Books also were named: “Creepy Carrots!” illustrated by
Peter Brown, written by Aaron Reynolds and published by Simon & Schuster
Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s
Publishing Division; “Extra Yarn,” illustrated by Jon Klassen, written by
Mac Barnett and published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins
Publishers; “Green,” illustrated and written by Laura Vaccaro Seeger and
published by Neal Porter Books, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press; “One Cool
Friend,” illustrated by David Small, written by Toni Buzzeo and published by
Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group;
“Sleep Like a Tiger,” illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, written by Mary
Logue and published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, an imprint of
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

3.) CORETTA SCOTT KING (Author) Book Award recognizing an African American
author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults:
“Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America,” written by Andrea Davis
Pinkney and illustrated by Brian Pinkney is the King Author Book winner.
The book is published by Disney/Jump at the Sun Books, an imprint of Disney
Book Group.
Two King Author Honor Books were selected: “Each Kindness” by Jacqueline
Woodson, illustrated by E. B. Lewis and published by Nancy Paulsen Books, a
division of Penguin Young Readers Group; and “No Crystal Stair: A
Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller”
by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie and published
by Carolrhoda Lab, an imprint of Carolrhoda Books, a division of Lerner
Publishing Group, Inc.
Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award:
“I, Too, Am America,” illustrated by Bryan Collier, is the King Illustrator
Book winner. The book is written by Langston Hughes and published by Simon &
Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s
Publishing Division.
Three King Illustrator Honor Books were selected: “H. O. R. S. E.,”
illustrated and written by Christopher Myers, and published by Egmont USA;
“Ellen’s Broom,” illustrated by Daniel Minter, written by Kelly Starling
Lyons and published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, a division of Penguin Young
Readers Group; and “I Have a Dream: Martin Luther King, Jr.” illustrated by
Kadir Nelson, written by Martin Luther King, Jr. and published by Schwartz &
Wade Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of
Random House, Inc.

4.) Michael L. PRINTZ Award for excellence in literature written for young
adults:
“In Darkness,” written by Nick Lake, is the 2013 Printz Award winner. The
book is published by Bloomsbury Books for Young Readers.
Four Printz Honor Books also were named: “Aristotle and Dante Discover the
Secrets of the Universe” by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, published by Simon &
Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s
Publishing Division; “Code Name Verity” by Elizabeth Wein, published by
Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Book Group; “Dodger” by Terry Pratchett,
published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, a division of HarperCollins
Publishers; “The White Bicycle” by Beverley Brenna, published by Red Deer
Press.

5.) SCHNEIDER FAMILY Book Award for books that embody an artistic expression
of the disability experience:
“Back to Front and Upside Down!” written and illustrated by Claire Alexander
and published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Wm. B.
Eerdmans Publishing Co., wins the award for children ages 0 to 10.
“A Dog Called Homeless” written by Sarah Lean and published by Katherine
Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, is the winner of the
middle-school (ages 11-13) award.
The teen (ages 13-18) award winner is “Somebody, Please Tell Me Who I Am,”
written by Harry Mazer and Peter Lerangis and published by Simon & Schuster
Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s
Publishing Division.

6.) ALEX Awards for the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences:
“Caring is Creepy,” by David Zimmerman, published by Soho Press, Inc.
“Girlchild,” by Tupelo Hassman, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
“Juvenile in Justice,” by Richard Ross, published by Richard Ross
“Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore,” by Robin Sloan, published by Farrar,
Straus and Giroux.
“My Friend Dahmer,” by Derf Backderf, published by Abrams ComicArts, an
imprint of Abrams.
“One Shot at Forever,” by Chris Ballard, published by Hyperion.
“Pure,” by Julianna Baggott, published by Grand Central Publishing, a
division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
“The Round House,” by Louise Erdrich, published by Harper, an imprint of
HarperCollins Publishers .
“Tell the Wolves I’m Home,” by Carol Rifka Brunt, published by Dial Press,
an imprint of the Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House,
Inc.
“Where’d You Go, Bernadette?,” by Maria Semple, published by Little, Brown
and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

7.) ANDREW CARNEGIE Medal for excellence in children’s video:
Katja Torneman, producer of “Anna, Emma and the Condors,” is the Carnegie
Medal winner.
8.) LAURA INGALLS WILDER Award honors an author or illustrator whose books,
published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a
substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children. The 2013
winner is Katherine Paterson. Paterson was born in China in 1932 to
missionary parents and grew up in the American South, moving eighteen times
before she was 18. After graduating from King College in Bristol, Tennessee,
she herself became a missionary in Japan. She returned to the U.S. to attend
the Union Theological Seminary in New York, where she met and married John
Paterson, a Presbyterian minister. Her first book, “The Sign of the
Chrysanthemum,” was published in 1973. Katherine Paterson currently lives in
Barre, Vermont.

9.) Coretta Scott King-VIRGINIA HAMILTON AWARD for Lifetime Achievement:
Demetria Tucker is the 2013 recipient. Tucker has served as youth services
coordinator within the Roanoke (Va.) Public Library System and library media
specialist at the Forest Park Elementary School, where she was selected 2007
Teacher of the Year. As family and youth services librarian for the Pearl
Bailey Library, a branch of the Newport News (Va.) Public Library System,
Tucker now coordinates a youth leadership program, a teen urban literature
club and many other programs that support the youth of her community.

10.) MARGARET A. EDWARDS AWARD for lifetime achievement in writing for young
adults:
Tamora Pierce is the 2013 Edwards Award winner. Pierce was born in rural
Western Pennsylvania in 1954. She knew from a young age she liked stories
and writing, and in 1983, she published her first book, Song of the Lioness.
She continues to write and even record her own audiobooks. She currently
lives with her husband (spouse-creature) and a myriad of animals in
Syracuse, New York.

11.) MAY HILL ARBUTHNOT HONOT Lecture Award recognizing an author, critic,
librarian, historian or teacher of children’s literature, who then presents
a lecture at a winning host site.
Andrea Davis Pinkney will deliver the 2014 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture.
Andrea Davis Pinkney is a New York Times best-selling writer of more than 20
books for children and young adults including picture books, novels and
nonfiction. During the course of her career, Pinkney has launched many
high-profile publishing and entertainment entities, including Hyperion Books
for Children/Disney Publishing’s Jump at the Sun imprint, the first African
American children’s book imprint at a major publishing company.

12.) MILDRED L. BATCHELDER AWARD for an outstanding children’s book
originally published in a language other than English in a country other
than the United States and subsequently translated into English for
publication in the United States:
“My Family for the War” is the 2013 Batchelder Award winner. Originally
published in Germany in 2007 as “Liverpool Street,” the book was written by
Anne C. Voorhoeve, translated by Tammi Reichel and published by Dial Books,
an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Two Batchelder Honor Books also were selected:
“A Game for Swallows: To Die, to Leave, to Return,” written and illustrated
by Zeina Abirached, translated by Edward Gauvin and published by Graphic
Universe, a division of Lerner Publishing Group, Inc.
“Son of a Gun,” written and translated by Anne de Graaf, and published by
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.

13.) ODYSSEY AWARD for best audiobook produced for children and/or young
adults, available in English in the United States:
“The Fault in Our Stars,” produced by Brilliance Audio, is the 2013 Odyssey
Award winner. The book is written by John Green and narrated by Kate Rudd.
Three Odyssey Honor Audiobooks also were selected:
“Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian,” produced by Listening Library, written
by Eoin Colfer and narrated by Nathaniel Parker;
“Ghost Knight,” produced by Listening Library, written by Cornelia Funke and
narrated by Elliot Hill.
“Monstrous Beauty,” produced by Macmillian Audio, written by Elizabeth Fama
and narrated by Katherine Kellgren.

14.) PURA BELPRE’
(Illustrator) Award honoring a Latino writer and illustrator whose
children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural
experience:
“Martín de Porres: The Rose in the Desert,” illustrated by David Diaz, is
the Belpré Illustrator Award winner. The book was written by Gary D.
Schmidt and published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin
Harcourt Publishing Company.
No Belpré Illustrator Honor Books were selected this year.
Pura Belpré (Author) Award:
“Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe,” written by
Benjamin Alire Sáenz, is the Belpré Author Award winner. The book is
published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon &
Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.
One Belpré Author Honor Book was named: “The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano”
by Sonia Manzano, published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic.

15.) Robert F. SIBERT INFORMATIONAL BOOK Award for most distinguished
informational book for children:
“Bomb: The Race to Build–and Steal–the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon,”
written by Steve Sheinkin, is the Sibert Award winner. The book is published
by Flash Point, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press.
Three Sibert Honor Books were named:
“Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin,” written and
illustrated by Robert Byrd and published by Dial Books for Young Readers, a
division of Penguin Young Readers Group;
“Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95,” written by
Phillip M. Hoose and published by Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young
Readers;
“Titanic: Voices from the Disaster,” written by Deborah Hopkinson and
published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc.

16.) STONEWALL Book Award – Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young
Adult Literature Award given annually to English-language children’s and
young adult books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian,
bisexual and transgender experience:
“Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe,” written by
Benjamin Alire Sáenz and published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young
Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, is
the Stonewall Award winner.
Four Stonewall Honor Books were selected:
“Drama,” written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier and published by
Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic Inc.;
“Gone, Gone, Gone,” written by Hannah Moskowitz and published by Simon
Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division;
“October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard,” written by Lesléa Newman
and published by Candlewick Press;
“Sparks: The Epic, Completely True Blue, (Almost) Holy Quest of Debbie,”
written by S. J. Adams and published by Flux, an imprint of Llewellyn
Worldwide Ltd.

17.) THEODOR SEUSS GEISEL Award for the most distinguished beginning reader
book:
“Up, Tall and High!” written and illustrated by Ethan Long is the Seuss
Award winner. The book is published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, a division of
Penguin Young Readers Group.
Three Geisel Honor Books were named:
“Let’s Go for a Drive!” written and illustrated by Mo Willems, and
published by Hyperion Books for Children, an imprint of Disney Book Group
“Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons” by Eric Litwin, created and
illustrated by James Dean and published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, a
division of HarperCollins Publishers;
“Rabbit & Robot: The Sleepover,” written and illustrated by Cece Bell and
published by Candlewick Press.

18.) WILLIAM C. MORRIS Award for a debut book published by a first-time
author writing for teens:
“Seraphina,” written by Rachel Hartman, is the 2013 Morris Award winner.
The book is published by Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random
House, Inc.
Four other books were finalists for the award:
“Wonder Show,” written by Hannah Barnaby, published by Houghton Mifflin, an
imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers;
“Love and Other Perishable Items,” written by Laura Buzo, published by
Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of
Random House, Inc.;
“After the Snow,” written by S. D. Crockett, published by Feiwel and
Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group;
“The Miseducation of Cameron Post,” written by emily m. danforth, published
by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

19.) YALSA Award for EXCELLENCE IN NON-FICTION for Young Adults:
“Bomb: The Race to Build–and Steal–the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon,”
written by Steve Sheinkin, is the 2013 Excellence winner. The book is
published by Flash Point/Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan
Children’s Publishing Group.
Four other books were finalists for the award:
“Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different,” written by Karen Blumenthal,
published by Feiwel & Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing
Group;
“Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95,” written by
Phillip Hoose, published by Farrar Straus Giroux, an imprint of Macmillan
Children’s Publishing Group;
“Titanic: Voices from the Disaster,” written by Deborah Hopkinson, published
by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic;
“We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March,” written by Cynthia
Levinson, published by Peachtree Publishers.