Wednesday, December 10, 2014

wonS? by Jan Godown Annino


            Winter white here is a shower of camilla blossoms that we saw last weekend at a resplendent public gardens. At home, stalks of candle-like peace lilies & also, Christmas cactus trying to burst out in white minty shapes & the white pom poms of mums that channel their inner-daisies, make our snowwhite showers. Lovely, lovely. But not snow.

            It’s through the gift of picture books that snow is at my fingertips.

 camellia

             Here’s a sprinkle of snowy day titles to you, with wishes this winter for your favorite kind of snows all season long or as long as you want it underfoot.  (And if you don’t like snow… FL – or AZ, CA, NM & southern TX may be in your future… Just, sayin.’)

STRANGER in the WOODS. This was the first autographed snow book that came into our Florida home. I’ve shared this gentle story of animals approaching something new with several snow-wishing folks. Our first copy featured an artistic autograph from Michigan photographer Carl R. Sams II. He staged the story & photographed it with his art teacher wife, Jean Stoick. I bought our first copy in the gift shop of the famous Cypress Gardens near Orlando (now a lovely state park) & delighted in the idea of a snow book’s popularity in a snow-less state. This modern now- classic tale is also a video & CD.

We are pleased that other flakeful titles drift into our world, either for reading at school with BookPALS or piled like an annual igloo of Christmas books that we have at the ready for young & not so young visitors to enjoy in December.



The sweet classic everyone picks up is THE SNOWY DAY. So famous there is an award named for the artist-author Ezra Jack Keats, who won the Caldecott for it (& lesser known, wasn't a person of color.) Artists & authors of color have said how that as a child, seeing a child of color enjoying the snow helped them feel normal in an otherwise white-majority world of children's books in the 1950s & 1960s & that this book, above all others, was one of the joys of their childhood reading. It is a treasure. Here are some go-withs from a mighty fine site.



THE SNOWFLAKE SISTERS. This city- set story poem, by the esteemed J. Patrick Lewis, is cleverly illustrated with collage work by artist Lisa Desimini, who is my pal. But I would pick this cleverly illustrated book even so. Although the eventual outcome of all snowflakes isn’t brushed aside, the tale works for all ages. The collage materials, such as maps, make it fun to sprinkle "Going on a Hunt" games with your family reading of it.




OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW. Children love the idea of small, hidden, spaces & this picture book, written by Kate Messner and illustrated by Chris Silas Neal, takes readers into the hush-hush under snow world – meet deer mice, shrews, voles and others that actually thrive in this in-between winter world. It's not always that I learn a new term from a picture book, but Kate introduced me to a dandy one. Hope you'll find it!



SNOWFLAKE BENTLEY.  Learn about a real quiet child obsessed with snow, or rather, each individual flake that makes a snowdrift tableau. This is an award-winning picture book biography about a boy whose parents knew to encourage his snow study. Not only is it a mighty fine look at flakes, but it’s an exciting & sweet model, for picture book bio storytelling.  Written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin & illustrated by Mary Azarian, who earned the Caldecott medal for her quite fabulous woodcut snowflake artwork.


THE ABOMINABLE SNOW TEACHER. Artist-author Lisa Passen’s character, who is a fusty schoolmarm of her other picture books, Miss Irma Birnbaum, lives & breathes school. What will she do when a snow day is called & the children don’t show up in class? This is a silly snowy romp.

And as a bonus here is a snowflake craft on video, from a site I like, Cool School.

Your turn. Be a snow angel & if you have a title to share, add a snowy picture book suggestion here.
Snowflake Bentley is non-fiction so be thinking along those lines, also. I'm off to make some paper snowflakes.

20 comments:

  1. When I owned a children's bookstore, our January store window was one of my favorites to decorate. We had our customers cut paper snowflakes when they came in to shop and we dangled them around great snow books like these. I haven't read The Snowflake Sisters yet -- one more to add to my list! Two other great ones are SNOWSONG WHISTLING by Karen Elisa Lotz and Elisa Kleven and ALL YOU NEED FOR A SNOWMAN by Alice Schertle (my favorite poet) and Barbara Lavallee.

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    1. Aww. what a sweet image I have in mind of your winter bookshop window & the young readers creating their flakes. Great that you did that & all your other holiday events, which I think we all wish we could have attended... where we would have wanted to buy out your store!

      Thanks for these titles, which are new to me.

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  2. You listed two of my favorites - Over and Under the Snow and Snowflake Bentley. I hadn't seen Snowflake Bently before I began working in our local kids' library. Loved it so much decided I wanted to write nonfiction picture books. Thanks for this list!

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    1. Agreed, Leslie, on these 2 titles.
      Thanks for sharing how SB is a catalyst - a great model.

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  3. When I lived in AZ and So. Cal, we had no snow for Christmas. Just wasn't the same. So I like your perspective that picture books can bring snow into the home!

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    1. I always feel for kiddos who go thru childhood without the sweet snow experiences (but..none of the dreaded slip-slide, caught in a car in a blizzard, etc.which those of us who have lived in snow states or countries, well know.)
      Thanks for visiting Tina.

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  4. I'm pulling THE SNOWY DAY off the shelf now and will find the rest this weekend. Great post, Jan! Thank you. :0)

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    1. You're welcome & if you round up some others on your hunt that aren't here, it would be fun to know the titles. thank you for visiting DonnaLouise.

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  5. I love the scene you paint w/how winter comes to "your neck of the woods." Great snow collection no mater where we live. The Snow Flake Sisters is a new one on me. Thanks for a great round-up, Jan.

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    1. Snowflake cookies to you Kathy, thanks.!

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  6. Love your snow fall of words :) Going to check out the titles I don't have. Thank you.

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    1. HI Janie. You are a poet with this "snow fall of words" phrase!

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  7. I love all of these, plus THE SNOWMAN by Raymond Briggs and "If It's Snowy and You Know It, Clap Your Paws!" by Kim Norman, illustrated by Liza Woodruff.

    Enjoy those camillas!

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    1. Oooh, Cathy. I'm a Kim Norman fan so I should know this title - thank you so much. And I'm going to look into Raymond Briggs, too.

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  8. Some new ones and some old favorites here. My favorite of all is A Snowy Day. I would also recommend Winter Eyes by Douglas Florian, a lovely collection of winter poems. Thanks for your list.

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    1. Rosi, hello there. Douglas Florian is a favorite for p.b. reading in school & I don't know WINTER EYES so appreciations to you for visiting & sharing. Glad we share a fondness for A SNOWY DAY.

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  9. Even MORE snowy titles:

    ROBERTS SNOW & ROBERT's SNOWFLAKES - Because I gave these 2 precious books by artist/author Grace Lin away years ago, they inadvertently slipped my mind. ROBERT is a mouse who is shut inside his family's old boot, outdoors, for the winter. But then something magical happens. Grace wrote it to celebrate her husband's treatment for illness, when they couldn't play in the snow. After her dear husband passed, she created the Dana Farber Cancer Center picture book, now a collectible, ROBERT'S SNOWFLAKES, with individual snowflakes draw by a snowfall of talented children's book artists. Each of these are huggably sweet books.

    Also, no list of snow stories is complete without the determined BRAVE IRENE by William Steig, which I should have somewhere but it isn't in with my Christmas books so it temporarily slipped my ind. Irene loves her seamstress Mother, who is sick, so much, that when an important handmade party gown must be delivered to the Duchess, BRAVE IRENE trudges through the winter and a snowstorm to help out. Lovely!

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  10. Hi Jan: You have introduced me to some new books. I own three of the books that you shared on this post. My students and I always enjoyed making ice crystals after reading the book Snowflake Bentley. Perhaps you can pretend that the beautiful, white sandy beaches along the Gulf of Mexico are covered with a white blanket of snow.

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    1. Suzy, lovely idea! I'm glad our bookselves are so simpatico! H Snowy NY!

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  11. THIS JUST IN!!
    Do you Know the Jump Into a Book blog? Today Valarie sent out a snow festival extravaganza & here is the list to her snow books list. They look great:

    http://www.jumpintoabook.com/2014/12/snow-festival-day-6-snow-booklist/

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