Holiday Giving – Part 4

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One of my favorite things about the winter is looking at picture books about snow.  To be clear, I don’t enjoy being in the snow, but I like looking at pictures of others enjoying it.  I always tell my family that I should live in Florida because snowy days – although beautiful – only make me think of icy roads and trying to clear a path for our 10-pound-dog to do his business.  Snow, however, is one of the most beautiful subjects for picture books, and because kids love it so much, snow stories make wonderful holiday gifts. I have a collection of favorite picture books about winter which I pull out every January to share with our students.  I went through all of them today and chose my favorites. It was no easy task, but these six books emerged as the ones I would not want to live without:

Snow by Uri Shulevitz

Snow by Roy McKie and P.D. Eastman

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

The Snow Day by Komako Sakai

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin (The winner of the 1999 Caldecott Medal, Snowflake Bentley is the true story of the Vermont native who made the science of snowflakes his life’s work.)

Geraldine’s Big Snow by Holly Keller (This book is out of print, but there are many inexpensive copies available from Amazon. I have such fond memories of sharing this book with my son when we were anticipating a possible snow day!)

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Anticipation…

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The Snow DayMy passion for books, reading, libraries and bookstores began when I was very young.  One of my most vivid memories is of a bookstore that was on the bottom floor of a small shopping center where my family would sometimes go because they had a nicer grocery store.  I remember feeling so overwhelmed and excited at the prospect of all of those books in one place.  I wanted them all—regardless of what they were about or if I could read them.  Sometimes I would have to step out of the store for a minute because I could truly feel myself hyperventilating.  How would I ever have time to read all of them!  Can I just live here!

I’ve calmed down (a little) since those days.  But when I visit a particularly wonderful store for the first time, I stand there a bit paralyzed—planning my route so that nothing will be missed.

The only sensation that comes close to my childhood memories of the bookstore  is a couple of times a year when The New York Times Book Review dedicates a whole section devoted to children’s books.  My husband announces its arrival as he brings the paper in and I quickly pull it out—without looking!  That’s key.  I need to wait until the perfect moment to look.  It can’t be when there is laundry to do or papers to grade.  I can literally “feel it” all day as I move through my tasks.  I love knowing it is there.  Especially this one.  The issue in November that announces the NYT choice for the 10 best illustrated books of the year.

So, I looked—but only at the back cover where, to my surprise, the best picture books were featured.  I could be wrong, but I think this is the first year the selections are on the back.  Usually, they are on the center spread over two pages.  Ummm….a little strange.  Good selections, but I miss the larger pictures that could be featured over two pages.  I can only comment on this part of the insert because it’s all I’ve looked at.  Really.  I still have a few things to do and it’s getting late, so the rest will have to wait until tomorrow—something to look forward to!

I love all of the selections and am happy to see that they are all books in the Inly Library collection.  And the one I was most crossing my fingers for is there—The Snow Day by Komako Sakai.  It is such an incredibly beautiful book.  The pictures make me kind of hurt because they are so gentle and cozy.  And, of course, Only A Witch Can Fly by Alison McGhee and Moonshop by Brian Floca are there.  The little witch in McGhee’s book (illustrated by Taeeun Yoo) looks like she stepped out of a farmhouse in the mid-1900s.  I know it’s a Halloween book, but I’m hopeful McGhee and Yoo collaborate on the rest of the holidays.