Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Blog Tour: Agnes’s Place

Agnes’s Place, by Marit Larsen/Illustrated by Jenny Løvlie, Translated by Kari Dickson, (March 2021, Amazon Crossing Kids), $17.99, ISBN: 9781542026758

Ages 4-7

Agnes wakes up every day in her familiar home, with her familiar life, but no one said it was always exciting. When you don’t have anyone to play with, and you’re the “only child in a place full of adults who never have time” it can be quite sad. So when a new little girl moves into the building, Agnes is thrilled and sends her a message – it’s really just a drawing of the swings at the park, and the word, “Here!”, but it should get the message across, right? After a few days of waiting, Agnes is disappointed and a little frustrated – not only did the little girl never respond, but now she’s taking over things that Agnes used to do, like play with Amadeus the cat, feed the birds, and fetch Emilia’s newspaper from the mailbox! Will Agnes and the little girl, named Anna, ever meet and get to play together?

Originally published in Norwegian (2019), Agnes’s Place is about so many childhood emotions: the feelings of being sad and ignored by the adults, the excitement and anticipation of making a new friend, and the frustration of feeling rebuffed. But it’s also about how one person can change someone’s life by just showing up: and that’s what Anna does for Agnes. Who knows if Anna understood Agnes’s message? She didn’t sign it or mention where she lived! But when the two finally meet in the building stairwell, all frustration and sadness go out the window, and all it takes is one outstretched hand to bring two children’s lives to a better place. Digital media illustrations are bright and cheerful, showing the two girls living their separate lives in a wash of color, until they meet and enter a fantastic, happy new world where they enter together. A lovely story about the magic of new friends.

A love letter to new friendships and apartment living.” –Kirkus Reviews

Marit Larsen is a Norwegian songwriter and musician. Agnes’s Place, her debut picture book, was first published in Norway and will also be published in Denmark and Italy. She currently resides in Brooklyn, New York. Learn more about the author at www.maritlarsen.com.

On Instagram: larsenmarit

Jenny Løvlie is a Norwegian illustrator. Her previous picture book, The Girls, written by Lauren Ace, was the winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. She currently lives in Cardiff, Wales. Learn more about the illustrator at www.lovlieillustration.com.

On Instagram: lovlieillustration

Kari Dickson is a literary translator from Edinburgh, Scotland. In 2020 she won the Mildred L. Batchelder Award for best children’s translation for Brown, written by Håkon Øvreås and illustrated by Øyvind Torseter. She holds a BA in Scandinavian studies and an MA in translation.

Amazon Crossing Kids aims to increase the diversity of children’s books in translation and encourage young reading from a range of cultural perspectives.

*****************************************************************

Posted in professional development

Professional Development Reading: Exploring the Science of Sounds

My latest professional development read is Exploring the Science of Sounds: 100 Music Activities for Young Children, by Abigail Flesch Connors. Since I enjoy singing songs and teaching my storytime kids fingerplays, I wanted to see how else I could bring music into my programs. Two of my colleagues have done great programs with musical instruments and musical play, so I want to get in on the fun!

Exploring the Science of Sounds: 100 Musical Activities for Young Children, by Abigail Flesch Connors,
(October 2017, Gryphon House), $16.95, ISBN: 9780876597316

Although aimed at professionals that work with kids from preschool to age 7, many of these activities are easily adaptable to toddlers. We get an explanation of the science behind sounds – pitch, tempo, musical instruments and how they make the sounds they make – and activities that translate to teachable moments for kids (and caregivers!). Teach kids to make their own guitar/harp/stringed instruments using a tissue box and rubber bands! Use different surfaces to understand how sound travels with different thicknesses! Every single activity in here will enrich a storytime or form the groundwork for a STEAM/STEM music program that kids will love. I’m putting this one in my professional development budget; I can see myself referring to this book again and again.