Book Buzz 2015: Award Winners and Honorees on Brain Hive! (Part II)

It’s time for Part II of our round-up of some of this year’s most celebrated titles in children’s publishing, all available for $1 check-out on Brain Hive today!

Water Can Be… – by Laura Purdie Salas, Illustrated by Violeta Dabija – Millbrook Press

A 2015 Zolotow Highly Commended Book – This award honors outstanding writing in picture books

Water Can Be...

Water Can Be… asks readers to think abstractly. Laura Purdie Salas has crafted a book of deceptively simple rhyming phrases such as “Water can be…a drink cooler / rainbow jeweler” or “Water can be…a salmon highway / eagle flyway.” These short couplets nudge us toward thinking about water as something more than just the wet stuff we get out of the drinking fountain down the hall. Reading this short, beautiful book encourages us to think beyond the literal, to ponder the metaphorical, scientific, and emotional roles that water (in all of its forms) performs in making our world as vibrant and intriguing as it is. This book would be a lovely accompaniment to an environmental science lesson about the seasons or the water cycle, or it could serve as a fabulous introduction to the use of figurative language and imagery in creative writing.

My Heart is Laughing – by Rose Lagercrantz, Illustrated by Eva Eriksson – Gecko Press

A 2015 United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY) Outstanding International Book

My Heart is Laughing

Young readers breaking into the world of chapter books will be delighted with Rose Lagercrantz’ My Heart is Laughing, the follow-up to 2013’s My Happy Life. This sequel (which can very easily be read without having read My Happy Life first) traces a day in the life of Dani, Lagercrantz’ plucky and optimistic heroine, whose interests include “hamsters, doing crafts, sleeping in late, and playing with her friends.” When we catch up with Dani in My Heart is Laughing, she is determined to continue seeing her glass as half-full, despite her encounters with a slew of events that seem bent on discouraging her: her best friend has moved away, she endures teasing and bullying from her classmates, and people just don’t seem to understand her. In her description of Dani’s tribulations, Lagercrantz has managed to tell a heartwarming story of resilience and positivity with a healthy dose humor and grace. Readers will be able to relate easily to the challenges Dani faces, and discussing Dani’s reactions to the poor treatment she receives from her classmates could serve as a useful entry point for a group conversation about the complex and painful subject of childhood bullying.

Goldie Takes a Stand – by Barbara Krasner, Illustrated by Kelsey Garrity-Riley – Kar-Ben Publishing

A 2015 Sydney Taylor Honor Book for Young Readers – Presented by the Association of Jewish Libraries to “outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience.”

Goldie Takes a Stand

Barbara Krasner has provided us with a narrative glimpse into the early life of Golda Meir, the dynamic woman who served as Prime Minister of Israel from 1969-1974. Using information gathered from a variety of historical documents, Krasner tells the story of how 9-year-old Golda (known as Goldie in her childhood) led the Milwaukee American Young Sisters Society in their efforts to raise money to provide children from needy families with schoolbooks. Krasner’s Goldie is a real mover and a shaker: spunky and determined, she overcomes her nerves and the sideways glances she receives from skeptics to rally community support for an important cause. Goldie Takes a Stand will fit comfortably into any Women’s History Month library promotions, and it would be a solid recommendation for readers interested in encountering realistic portrayals of everyday girl-power.

This rounds out our coverage of award-winning and -honored Brain Hive eBooks for younger readers. Next week, check back with us on the Brain Hive Buzz to read about this year’s celebrated books for teens and young adults! Questions? Let us know by emailing Molly, our Concierge at, or by calling (toll-free) 855-554-4483. Happy reading!

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