The Top 10 Books for Youth from 2013

Posted on December 20th, 2013 by jvanalstyne

‘Tis the season for book lists, and for me, they are truly the gifts that keep on giving. I love book lists for both affirmation (That book is awesome; so glad it’s getting some love!) and exploration (Woah! I’ve never even heard of that book; I better check it out!) and I take a lot of pleasure in creating my own list for the AC community. Although many AC children are under the impression that I’ve read all the books in the library, I must confess that I haven’t even read all the books from 2013. However, I have read a lot of book reviews and best-of-the-year lists and as many books as I possibly can, which culminates with my interpretation of The Best Books of 2013. Enjoy!

-Ms. Van Alstyne, Librarian

The complete list can be accessed at the library website. But for starters, here are the cream of the crop.

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild
by Peter Brown

Celebrating both individual expression and companionship, Mr. Tiger Goes Wild is a joy to read aloud and expertly illustrated. Ages 3 – 8.


Little Santa
by Jon Agee

Every year, the slew of new holiday books rarely fails to disappoint… until 2013 with Little Santa! Silly and charming, this tale of Santa’s childhood feels like it has always been true. Ages 4 – 9.

Journey by Aaron Becker

Breathtaking watercolors depict the travels of a girl with a magical red crayon, where adventure awaits anyone with a little creativity. Ages 4 – 10.

The Day the Crayons Quit
by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers

Why did they quit? They are sick and tired of always being used in predictable ways: blue for sky, green for grass, gray for elephants. A little creativity goes a long way to soothe these irascible crayons. Ages 5 -9.

The Animal Book: A Collection of the Fastest, Fiercest, Toughest, Cleverest, Shyest – And Most Surprising – Animals on Earth
by Steve Jenkins

Not surprising: Jenkins’ outstanding paper collage depictions of animals. Surprisingly awesome: the thematic arrangement; graphs, timelines, and other infographics; a whole section on making books the Jenkins way. A tour de force! Ages 5 – 11

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen
by Lucy Knisley

Have you ever wondered why graphic novels (or graphic memoirs, in this case) are taken so seriously these days? When done well, they are a beautiful marriage of art and story, such as in Relish: a warm, funny coming-of-age tale of an artist raised in a foodie family. Ages 12+

Counting by 7s
by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Perhaps you’ve read books about orphans, or children on the spectrum, or misfits trying to find a place in the world to fit in. But none of those books had Willow Chance in it. Counting by 7s has Willow Chance in it! She is utterly charming, disarmingly precocious, and apparently a magnet for other lovable misfits. Delightful! Ages 10 – 14

Far Far Away
by Tom McNeal

The timeless feel of the small-town setting, elegant writing, very real danger, and the ghost of Jacob Grimm all combine to create an engaging and disturbing contemporary fairy tale. Transporting. Ages 11+

Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang

Are you still not sure about graphic novels? If anyone can convince you of their merit, award-winning Gene Luen Yang must be the one. Boxers and Saints are two books telling opposing views of the Boxer Rebellion in China. Brilliantly conceived and expertly realized, this is how history should treat every war: with multiple perspectives, through the lenses of individuals’ perceptions, and showing beauty, honor, and the inevitable costs. Ages 12+

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

I don’t think it’s possible not to love this book, even if you think you can’t appreciate Young Adult literature. Eleanor and Park are both immensely relatable, quirky and sweet. From their first prickly exchange on the school bus through their tentative romance, you will be cheering them on with a fervent compassion that may surprise you. Not to be missed. Ages 12+

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Posted in: Highlights, Lower School, Middle School, Upper School

A New Book Nook Inspires Nursery and PreKindergarten

Posted on November 19th, 2013 by tcrowe

The Nursery and Pre-K children have been investigating our recently renovated Book Nook in the classroom.  The children are learning how to care for our classroom library, books, and materials.  A puppet theater, flannel board, and other storytelling materials are also featured in this space.  We’ve added a writing center as part of this updated space and a listening center will be incorporated in the near future.

The Nursery and Pre-K teachers have been working with Abbey Gebel, the Lower School reading specialist, to enhance the reading program to differentiate instruction and further prepare our children for Kindergarten.  This is being explored through Reading Workshop as well as Letter and Word Study.

A Word Wall will be a prominent feature in the classroom, and children will add names, samples of environmental prints, and key words that are being learned through literature and shared reading and writing experiences.

The photos offer a glimpse into the level of interest and involvement the children are experiencing already!

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Posted in: Highlights, Nursery, Pre-Primary School, PreKindergarten