What’s great about Joyce Sidman’s DARK EMPEROR AND OTHER POEMS OF THE NIGHT, is that each poem has a totally unique voice and form, as each “narrator” from the fleeing mouse in “Dark Emperor” to the industrious spider in “Night-Spider’s Advice” tells their evening tale. The factual information on every facing page is an added bonus. And the illustrations beautifully capture the creatures in their habitats. My big kid particularly likes the title poem, “Dark Emperor” and has read it aloud many, many times. Though she declined to pen a review of the book, she dubbed it “a little scary and interesting.”


DARK EMPEROR won a Newbery honor this year and the illustrations are Caldecott-calibre. It’s available in hardcover and also as a NOOKbook.


A great day for book lovers

At the ALA Mid-winter¬†conference yesterday, book awards were announced, and folks were all atwitter (some literally on Twitter) with their congratulations and their praise and their reminders to non-winning authors that even if they didn’t get gold, it didn’t mean that their books were unworthy. It all makes me want to read so much more than I do. But enough about me. Here are the winners and honorees:

2011 Caldecott Medal winner:

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Phillip Christian Stead, illustrated by Erin Stead

2011 Caldecott Honor books:

Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick Hill, illustrated by Bryan Collier

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein


2011 Newbery Medal winner:

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

2011 Newbery Honor books:

Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm

Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus

Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Rick Allen**

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia**


And though these are the official awards, there’s an unofficial one with equally excellent picks.

The 2011 Allen County Public Library Mock Caldecott winner:

Art & Max by David Weisner

2011 Mock Caldecott Honor books:

Chalk by Bill Thomson

City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems, illustrated by Jon J Muth


The 2011 Allen County Public Library Mock Newbery winner:

Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes

2011 Mock Newbery Honor books:

They Called Themselves the KKK by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Mockingbird by Katherine Erskine*

Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman**

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia**


What to do with all this fabulous book information? Why go out and get them of course. Buy, or borrow from your local library and read them all. One book blogger is doing a 100 books in a year challenge, and this can help you jump start your list. Both INTERRUPTING CHICKEN and DAVE THE POTTER are on my kids’ Scholastic book orders, so we’re getting those immediately.

Happy reading, everyone!

*Erskine won the National Book Award last year for MOCKINGBIRD

**DARK EMPEROR and ONE CRAZY SUMMER are honorees on the Newbery and Mock Newbery lists.