Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Works of J.K. Rowling

Author: J.K. Rowling

Appropriate Age: 9-90

About the Author:

Jo Rowling was collecting food stamps and writing tid bits of ideas on napkin corners before hitting her big break with the Harry Potter series. Since then she has inspried the youth of a nation to read again. Her tales of bravery and courage have swept across continents, bridging borders and bringing together children of all areas. It is the new universal. Rowling is an incredibly tallented writer who includes intricate complexities from first page of first novel to the last. This is a series all should experience. While her novels are considered to be "children's books," they are enjoyable and exciting for all ages.

About the Books:

Readers are welcomed to the "muggle" (or non-wizarding world) with Harry Potter, a regual boy who lives with his aunt, uncle and cousin. He discovers soon after this though that he is special and posesses a true gift. He proceeds into the wizarding world Rowling created from napkin squares and imagination. The seven books allow readers to see how much Potter grows, evolves and changes. In her most recent book, Rowling has written a collection of "fairy tales for wizards." However, these are no first-grade-level reads, they are on par with the rest of the highly educational books that include intensive vocabulary.

Why Little Aristotle's Library Loves It:

Many have condemned the books as containing "witchcraft" and "wizardry." However, regardless of this nonsense, the major themes of the stories are courage, bravery, strength of will, emphasis of heart, moral fiber and other strong attributes we should all share with one another. Everyone should read these stories.

Other Books You Might Like...

All Harry Potter Books, 1-7

A Tribute to Banned Books: Chris Crutcher

Author: Chris Crutcher

Appropriate Age: ***While these books are wonderful, there is some language to them. For parents who would truly like to gage if a book is appropriate for their child, the best way to find out is to read it yourself. Mr. Crutcher's novels have wonderful messages in them, but they must be read to be understood.***

About the Author:

Chris Crutcher never thought he would be a writer. He started his career working with children and others in therapy and counseling. Many of his stories are inspired by real life situations he saw as reoccuring problems. His stories are very real in this way. Nearly all of Crutcher's works have been considered controversial. Many have been banned and are possibly not found within your local library. He speaks out to the population that many writers will not call to. He stands up for the groups of children and middle schoolers who feel they are in the minority, like there is something wrong with them. To them, as well as many others, he gives inspiration and hope.

About Banning and Why Little Aristotle's Library Hates It:

Book banning is a serious problem in America. It takes just one voice to say they disagree with a book or dont like what it teaches and it can be taken from library shelves. However, when a child is faced with an issue, they seek mediums and look for others who have experienced the same problems. In this way, Crutcher's stories about rape, teen pregnancy, mental handicaps, and many other problems teens face are ones that real teens can use to solve their own problems.

While not everyone is going to have the same taste in novels, it is diversity that is the spice of life. Plus, many of the general favorites and classics have been removed from shelves. Books like Black Beauty, Huck Finn, The Giver, Maniac Magee, and many others that have even been added to Little Aristotle's Library. Fighting to keep books will help keep young readers reading.

If you really want to make sure what your child is read is appropriate, the best way is to read a book yourself. But remember, what you might like may be dull as mud to your student or child. Keep in mind that their likes and dislikes are very different than yours. Keep it interesting, keep it fun, but don't keep it narrow minded or closed from reality. Books are a way of learning and expressing oneself in a safe way. Keep your child reading!

Other Books You Might Like...

Crutcher's award winning books include, "Running Loose," "The Crazy Horse Electric Game," "Chinese Handcuffs," "Iron Man," "Whale Talk," "The Sledding Hill," "Running Shorts," "Deadline," and more coming soon.

Mr. Crutcher is featured below.

The Works of Beatrix Potter

Author: Beatrix Potter

Appropriate Age: 3-8

About the Author:

Beatrix Potter grew up without many peers as friends. Thus she learned to love the environment and animals around her. She published her first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, when she was thirty. It was widely popular but infuriated her parents who did not want her intellecutal side stimulated. She continued her passion of writing with many other sequels to her original, as well as others that introduced new animal friends.

About the Books:

All of Potter's stories deal closely with nature. The main characters in her stories are animals with human qualities. Meet Peter Rabbit, one of her most beloved characters. In The Tale of Peter Rabbit, the bunny has a blue jacket with brass buttons. All of the stories teach lessons and have wonderful morals to them. The adventures are terribly exciting for children. The classics have been around now since Peter Rabbit's original publishing date, 1902.

Why Little Aristotle's Library Loves It:

The stories have become part of our library because of the timelessness of the stories. Their natural state helps children from the early 1900s find similarities with children today. The stories are relatable for children who are expeirencing things like curiosity, problems with friends, and the like. I've never met a child who did not like the Tale of Peter Rabbit or the stories of the rest of her characters. For the children who grow to love the books, there is a series of videos which are basically readings from the books with illustrations on the screen that are very loved as well.

Other Books You Might Like...

Any of the Beatrix Potter books follow the same criteria listed above. My favorite story, as seen above is The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies.

Meeting the author of Albino Animals

Author: Kelly Milner Halls (seen above)

Appropriate Age: 7-12

About the Author:

Kelly Milner Halls currently resides in Spokane, Washington. Her career started in the newspaper field. She transitioned from this to magazine work and then to writing children's books. Halls always loved the strange and weird when she was a child, thus she seeks out the unusual and unique subject matter to write about. Her years in magazine work reflect on the pages of her books with their interactive cut outs and vivid, photojournalistic pictures.

About the Book:

Albino Animals brings to life the evidence of Albino Animals within various species of animals. Did you know that the Albino gene resides within each species? Well it does! Beautiful animals and even people come to life on the pages of this fabulous book. Plus, each species comes with their own stories. It is a riveting book that kids will be bound to spend hours looking at in awe of the photos.

Why Little Aristotles Library Loves It:

The book encourages kids who may be reluctant readers to find a niche they never knew existed. Just because your reader doesn't enjoy conventional reading, doesn't mean they can't find anything! Albino Animals is fun for even adults to look at and learn about.

Other Books You Might Like...

Kelly Milner Halls has several books published with equally as unique subject matter and images. Some of her other popular books include, "Tales of Cryptids," "Dinsoaur Parade," "Dinosaur Mummies," "Wild Dogs," "Mysteries of Mummy Kids," and many others. Her books can be found at many local libraries and bookstores!

The Bridge to Terabithia

Author: Katherine Paterson

Appropriate Age: 10-14

About the Author:

Katherine Paterson never thought, as a girl, that she would be a writer. She wanted to become an actress. Instead she wrote plays for her sixth grade friends to act out. The worldy traveller has many different stories to tell, in addition to her own. For more information about Katherine Paterson, visit her website at

About the Book:

Jess is known in school as fhte fastest runner in school. However, that all changes when Leslie, the new girl in school shows Jess up. After some initial hard feelings, the two become friends and embark on a magical journey through their imaginations. Readers cycle through everything with these characters, life, death, and the hardships many middleschoolers must face. It is a beautiful book.

Why Little Aristotle's Library Loves It:

This powerful story of friendship and courage has stayed with me for many parts of my life. I will never forget reading the story in my sixth grade class and avidly gobbling up page after page. The story is so elequently written and very real to me.

Other Books You Might Like...

Paterson has had several other novels that have won distinguished awards. You may enjoy these other titles, "Jacob Have I Loved," "The Great Gilly Hopkins," and "The Master Puppeteer." Seek them out at your local public library or book store, she has 15 books in all.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Miss Spider's Tea Party

Author: David Kirk

Appropriate Age: 4-6

About the Author:

David Kirk grew up in Ohio, exploring the suburbs for bugs and such. He also grew to love painting. He is said to be the utmost experts of bug poetry. He now lives in New York with his wife and his daughters, Violet, Primrose and Wisteria. Several different Miss Spider books have been released since the original in 1994.

About the Book:

The lonely lilttle spider is anxious to invite friends over for tea. However, all of the other insects are afraid of being eaten by the spooky spider. When one moth gets harmed in a rainstorm, Miss Spider nurses him back to health. He spreads the word among his friends until her tea table is full!

Why Little Aristotle's Library Loves It:

The book is wonderful for counting. Each page introduces a new number that opens a doorway for children to scower pages looking for each tea cup or butterfly. It is a very interactive story with colorful images that jump out from every page. Your readers will ask you to seek out the next books so they can read more abou the loveable yellow spider who wants to make friends with her fellow bugs.

"I loved this story when I was little. My mom used to read it to me on rainy days, like in the book, and we'd drink tea together. Sometimes she'd even make treats to go along with the story too." --Amy G. (A Little Library Supporter)

Other Books You Might Like...

Within the same series of Miss Spider are also "Miss Spider's ABC Book," "Little Miss Spider," and many others. You can find these at your local library or book store.

Raggedy Ann and Andy

Author: Johnny Gruelle

Appropriate Age: 7-11

About the Author:

Gruelle was an artist, author and political cartoonist. The Illinois native is best known though for his Raggedy Ann and Andy series. He got the inspiration for the book when he found a faceless rag doll in the attic and gave it to his daughter to play with. After that the inspiration hit him, followed by multitudes of other characers. His beloved series have crossed generaions and warmed the hearts of many.

About the Book:

The stories of Raggedy Ann have been around for nearly 100 years. All of the stories have plots with swashbuckling adventures! In Raggedy Ann and Andy, and the Camel with the Wrinkled Knees, Raggedy Ann and Andy are off to save the beautiful French doll, Babbett from pirates. The nursury rhymes and fables are a wonderful adventure for children of all ages.

Why Little Aristotle's Library Loves It:

This book was a wonderful adventure for myself. I loved the fact, as a child, that I could have a doll with frizzy red hair to cuddle while reading the stories. I also loved that my mom and dad both knew the stories so well that they could recite them from memory. There was all kinds of Raggety Ann and Andy memorabelia in our house. I had my own new doll next to my mom's doll from her childhood. The adventures never seem to get old and are all very exciting.

"I loved these books because I love the color red, even now. I loved the dolls with their red hair. I even have a red couch now!" --Angie H. (A Little Library Supporter)

Other Books You Might Like...

If you enjoyed Raggety Ann and Andy and the Camel with the Wrinkled Knees, you will enjoy any of the other stories in the Raggety Ann series.

The Rainbow Fish

Author: Marcus Pfister

Appropriate Age: 3-7

About the Author:

Pfister is a Swiss author that has been writing and illustrating books since the early 1980s. While known for his illustrious illustrations, his children's books have become equally as famous. He uses special forms of watercolor over watercolor to give his pictures a dream-like state with happy, cheerful colors that blend together.

About the Book:

Children are introdcued to the book when the meet a beautiful, shining Rainbow Fish. However, this beautiful fish is not only vain, but selfish and proud. He clings to his scales because he feels they make him better than the other fish. When refusing to share his glittering gifts, the other fish refuse to speak to him. However, after some kind advice from a wise old octopus, Rainbow Fish decides to give away his scales. This results with new found friends and happiness. This beloved book has been on best selling children's book lists since 1992.

Why Little Aristotle's Library Loves It:

This book is a wonderful lesson in sharing. Upon completion of the story, parents and teachers can have the discussion about what it means to share and truly be a friend. They can ask why Rainbow Fish's scales didn't make him different, but his kindness did. The book was so wildly popular among children it was turned into a 26 episode television series.

"I love this book! I've always been infatuated with fish, I even have one as a pet! This book taught me a lot. I remember my mom telling me that I should share my gifts, just like the rainbowfish does." --James K. (A Little Library Supporter)

Other Books You Might Like...

Pfister has published many other, lesser known books. All are for children who love to read. You can find "Wake Up, Santa Clause!" "Sun and Moon," "Hopper," "Dazzle the Dinosaur" and many others at your local library or bookstore.

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie

Author: Laura Joffe Numeroff

Appropriate Age: 3-7

About the Author:

Laura Joffe Numeroff was born in Brooklyn, New York. She is the author and illustrator of many books. Other than her "If You Give..." series she has produced several wonderful works of literature. In her down time she loves to ride horses, play with her pets and and read, read, read at her new home in California. Numeroffe is a strong advocate for the First Book program. A portion of her royalites are donated to their literacy program.

About the Book:

Children will love the little adventurer who comes asking for cookies. It is a simple, very brief read about what happens after giving a mouse a cookie. The cartoonish illustrations from Felicia Bond, with their colorful images and cheerful pictures will make them smile and laugh. It is bound to be a family favorite. Books are also available in Spanish. But remember, if you give a mouse a cookie...

Why Little Aristotle's Library Loves It:

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie is a wonderful book for children. Every time I've ever read this story to children they will laugh, giggle and try to guess what he will ask for next. Often times young boys and girls will ask for this story over and over again. It aids in their memory development because they will try to remember what comes next.

"I loved this book when I was a kid. I loved cookies and I always thought it was funny what he would ask for. I love all of her books!" --Anna K.

Other Books You Might Like...

Laura Joffe Numeroff has two other fabulous picture books to enjoy. "If You Give A Moose a Muffin," and "If You Give A Pig A Pancake," are her wildly popular sequels.

Maniac Magee

Author: Jerry Spinelli

Appropriate Age: 11-15

About the Author:

Jerry Spinelli has many different young adult books that are beloved by teen audiences everywhere. He decided he wanted to be an author when he was sixteen years old, this was when he was first published. He now is the acclaimed author of more than a dozen books that have received multiple awards, including a Newberry Medal. His books are very real, funny and personal to his targeted audiences. When asked where he get's his ideas, Spinelli always gives credit to his readers. He gets inspiration from his six children and the readers who love his books.

About the Book:

Readers meet Jeffrey Lionel Magee. However, after his parents are killed, he must start a new life with a new name. He goes to live with his aunt and uncle. When it becomes too much he runs away and makes a new life for himself. Maniac makes new friends, as well as some enemies on his travels through town. He also becomes a legend. It is a book that bridges communities, makes friends from those who are unwilling to make friends in the first place. It is about overcoming the odds to find what is really important in the end. It is a book everyone should read, no matter their age, to get back to their funny bone and find out what it is like to be thirteen again.

Why Little Aristotle's Library Loves It:

This book is a great tool for kids to continue reading when it's not necessarily "cool" to read anymore. Maniac Magee is a book beloved by all who read it and understand what it means to go above race, borders and problems to find what we truly want to fight for. While Maniac Magee has been banned in some places for "racial content," it is by those who have not gotten to the end of the book. Maniac is known for overcoming the stereotypes and borders that are set up for him. He walks along the borders of East Side and West Side.

"I loved Maniac Magee when I was in middle school. It was the first book that inspired me to run for the fun of it. I started to run more and more. Now I've run six marathons!" --Laurel S. (A Little Library Suporter)

Other Books You Might Like...

If you enjoyed Maniac Magee, Jerry Spinelli has many other books for avid readers. "Who Put Hair in My Toothbrush," "Space Station Seventh Grade," and Star Girl."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Giving Tree

Author: Shel Silverstein

Appropriate Age: 4-8

About The Author:

Shel Silverstein is a wonderfully popular author among children's literature. His life is as colorful as his books. He grew up in Chicago and went to school there before being drafted into the military. After he was honorably discharged from the army in 1955 he began his career writing. While he is best known for his poetry collections he has also drawn cartoons for several newspapers, magazines and written several screenplays. Two of his books are dedicated to his two children. His son Matthew is his only successor and published one unfinished book after Silverstein's death in 1999. His books and illustrations still inspire children today to be silly and laugh out loud while loving literature.

About The Book:

The Giving Tree is a classic among classics. Published in 1965, the book is still popular among today's children. It starts with a boy who loves to play with a tree in the forest. He does all kinds of childlike things such as swinging from branches and playing king of the forest. As he grows older though he doesn't appreciate the tree as it was but takes what it can give him. However, later in life he learns to appreciate the tree again as an old friend.
Why Little Aristotle's Library Loves It:

I remember loving this book and having a great many discussions with my parents about what it meant, even as a small child. It was a tool they used to discuss "wants" versus "needs." The boy always says he needs more money or needs a new boat, but really they are just his desires.

"I loved all of Silverstein's books as a kid. He had so many great books of poetry. There was one poem called 'Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Will Not Take the Garbage Out,' and my dad used to read it and get faster and faster until I would laugh out loud. It is a great memory for me."

--Caitlin R. (A Little Library Supporter)

All of Silverstein's books are expertly done and reach to the deepest pits of our souls to make us think or to make us smile. This is one book that I know children as well as adults can benefit from to inspect their own lives.

Other Books You Might Like...

Silverstein has many famous children's books and collections of poetry that are wildly popular as bedtime stories or are fun to read at any other time of day. If you enjoyed "The Giving Tree" you might also enjoy "Where the Sidewalk Ends," "Falling Up," "A Light in the Attic," "The Missing Piece" or the most recently published "Runny Babbit."

Monday, January 19, 2009


Author: Peter Holwitz

Genre: Picture Book

Appropriate Age: 5-8

About the Author:

Peter Holwitz is the author and illustrator of "Scribbleville." He has three books published currently. Holwitz lives in California. He graduated from the University of California with a degree in Fine Arts.

About the Book:

Welcome to Scribbleville. It is a town that is as it sounds, made from scribbles. Everything is scribbled from the people to the street signs. Problems arise when someone new moves into town who is completely straight with no scribbles in sight. But with the help of some nice neighbors and a wise little boy, the town changes its views and begins to learn that the combination of straight and scribbled makes for a better town all around.

Why Little Aristotle's Library loves it:

The first thing that caught my eye about "Scribbleville" was the artwork. As it sounds, it is done almost completely with scribbles. The children I've read the book to enjoyed it because the pictures were silly. All pages though seem to use mediums children are accustomed to using. Colored pencils, scribbled watercolor, crayons, markers, etc.

Once the book had me within its pages though the story was what got to me. The book preaches diversity in a very relatable way for kids. The world is made up of scribbles and straight lines, but it is the collection of both that makes it beautiful.

"I loved the book because it is crazy and scribbly like my hair! If I were a kid still I'd love it for the zaney pictures." --Chris D. (A Little Library Supporter)