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Fan Favorite Episodes of 2020: 5-1

We're continuing the countdown of your fan favorite episodes of the Children's Book Podcast from 2020. Today we countdown the top 5 episodes of the show!

Thank you for listening to the show. Thank you for sharing it with your friends. Thank you for supporting the authors and illustrators who make these exceptional books. And thank you for bringing these books into your homes, your story times, your libraries, and your lives.

A whole lot of awesome awaits in 2021! Cannot wait to share even more memorable conversations with you!

Here we go! Your top 5 episodes of the Children's Book Podcast from 2020.

#5: Traci Sorell shares Indian No More

This is a dedication to the life and light of Charlene Willing McManis, and the story she told the world. Traci Sorell joins me to share INDIAN NO MORE, a debut middle grade novel by the late Charlene Willing McManis with Traci Sorell. Charlene poured a lot of life and a lot of history we don’t get taught in schools into the writing of her debut novel. The result is an unforgettable protagonist named Regina Petit who has always been Umpqua and has always lived with her family on the Grand Ronde Tribe’s reservation. Following true events, the federal government enacts a law determining that it will no longer acknowledge the existence of the Umpqua or several other tribes on this land. Regina’s family moves to Los Angeles as part of the federal Indian Relocation Program and the family attempts to start life anew amid the backdrop of the Civil Rights era. I reference in our conversation an outstanding review of INDIAN NO MORE on the blog Indigo’s Bookshelf by a 13 year old member of the Children of the Glades group of Seminole and Miccosukee teens and I’ve linked that review in the show notes for this episode. Hearing how this author processed this book profoundly affected the way I read it. And I loved reading this book.

#4: Arthur A. Levine introduces Levine Querido (with special guest Susan Kusel)

Today I’m welcoming Arthur A. Levine, head of Levine Querido and a publisher and advocate responsible for bringing many widely loved books in our world and in front of our readers. Arthur previews his Fall 2020 titles as well as what else is to come from Levine Querido. Our conversation looks broadly at publishing and at the world, but it also focuses on that one reader that needs the book you’re publishing. The one that needs to know they’re not alone in their experiences or in the world. To quote Arthur, “sometimes healing the world is healing one person.” Joining us also is Susan Kusel, synagogue librarian, book seller, and author.

#3: Elizabeth Lilly shares Geraldine

Elizabeth Lilly shares GERALDINE, a picture book about a giraffe whose family moves to a new town where they are the only giraffe family. Geraldine tries to fit in as much as she can, but an encounter with a schoolmate and a conversation centered on labels gives new light to what it looks like to see and make space for another. Elizabeth Lilly is local to our school and so my 3rd graders had the chance to interview her in person. We also went totally off script, asking Elizabeth questions on the fly. The end result was what I think is a sincere and genuine conversation between a bookmaker and her readers.

#2: Angela Joy shares Black is a Rainbow Color

Angela Joy shares BLACK IS A RAINBOW COLOR. This beautiful book, illustrated by one-to-watch and the one-to-wow Ekua Holmes, is Angela’s debut to the children’s book world. The book answers a question from her daughter, and it also bears witness to history, to legacy, and to community. Angela included robust back matter, incorporating an author’s note, an explanation of phrases referenced, a selection of poems from poets mentioned, a timeline entitled “And What Shall We Call You?”, and a playlist. This picture book has its own playlist! But what I will also say is that this picture book has its own presence, and it’s one that I hope many, many adults will welcome into their reading spaces and those spaces they share.

#1: Ann Braden shares The Benefits of Being an Octopus

Ann Braden shares THE BENEFITS OF BEING AN OCTOPUS. This is a story about the strength of a 12-year-old girl named Zoey, even from before the moment when she realized she possessed such strength. It is a story about the things people tell us about ourselves and others, and how those things can become truths if we believe them, for good or for harm. It is a story about depending on someone to provide for you, and being taken advantage of and degraded because of your dependence. But most of all, it is a story that is true for many, many children and families. And it’s on us to see these children. It’s on us to see these families.

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