E. L. Konigsburg 1930 - 2013

Acclaimed children's author E. L. Konigsburg passed away on April 19, 2013.  Konigsburg was the author of such beloved books as From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and The View from Saturday.  Ms. Konigsburg is one of only five authors to win the Newbery Medal twice, and she is the only author to ever win a Newbery Medal (for From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler) and a Newbery Honor (for Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth) both in the same year.  She seemed to be fond of long titles, huh? 

She wrote twenty books, almost half of which she also illustrated.  Her smart and funny books often dealt with outsiders and young people searching for independence and adventure.  She once said: ''I think most of us are outsiders. And I think that's good because it makes you question things.''

For the curious among us, the E in her name stood for Elaine, and the L stood for Lobl which was her maiden name.  The author is survived by two sons, a daughter, and five grandchildren.  She will be missed in the world in the children's literature.

Click the image below to see a list of E. L. Konigsburg books available through the library.

And the Winner Is...

It's one of the biggest days of the year for fans of books for young people.  This morning the 2013 winners of the Newbery and Caldecott medals were announced along with a slew of other awards.  So without further delay, here are the winners (and honor books).


The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate


Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz

Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin

Three Time Lucky by Sheila Turnage


This Is Not My Hat illustrated and written by Jon Klassen


Creepy Carrots illustrated by Peter Brown, written by Aaron Reynolds

Extra Yarn illustrated by Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnett

Green illustrated and written by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Sleep Like a Tiger illustrated by Pamela Zagarenksi, written by Mary Logue

Click here to see a complete listing of other award winners for 2013, including the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award (for most distinguished easy reader book), the Coretta Scott King Award (honoring African American authors and illustrators), the Pura Belpré Award (honoring Latino authors and illustrators), and other distinguished book awards for children and young adults.

Congratulations to all the winners!  I think we, the readers, are the real winners for having all these wonderful books to read.

Caldecott Reading Challenge

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott Medal. The Caldecott Medal is awarded each year to the illustrator of the most distinguished American picture book for children. Caldecott honors (runners-up) are also often awarded. The first medal was given out in 1938 to Dorothy Lathrop for the book Animals of the Bible. Last year's Caldecott winner was Chris Raschka for A Ball for Daisy. The winner of the 2013 Caldecott Medal will be announced on January 28. Who do you think should win this year?

We invite you to join in celebrating 75 years of the Caldecott Medal by participating in the Caldecott Reading Challenge!  See how many Caldecott winners and honor books you can read between January 1 - February 28, 2013. You can keep track of all the books you read on a piece of paper or pick up a form at the Olathe Public Library. After every ten books read, bring your list in to either Olathe library, and we will add your name to our Caldecott Wall of Honor. Keep reading until the Challenge ends.

  • All ages are welcome to participate.
  • No registration is required.
  • All Caldecott Medal winners and honor books count.
  • Books may be read together as a family or read individually.

Click here to find a complete listing of all Caldecott Medal winners and honor books from the past 75 years. How many Caldecott books will you read?

New Holiday Books

Looking for a good book to get you in the holiday spirit?  The Children's Department has recently received some brand new books just in time for the holiday season.


Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Christmas
by Melanie Watt

Scaredy Squirrel's quirky safety guide combines practical tips with step-by-step instructions for preparing for the worst during the holiday season of decorating, entertaining, and confronting fruitcake.




Santa Retires
by David Biedrzycki

Santa Claus is tired of delivering toys and decides to retire to somewhere warm, but things do not work out as expected.




The Christmas Story: The Brick Bible for Kids
by Brendan Powell Smith

Here's a great book for the LEGO fan in your household.  Revisit Bethlehem with Joseph, Mary, the three wise men, the angels and shepherds, and the baby Jesus—all illustrated in scenes created with LEGO bricks and figures.




Charlie and the Christmas Kitty
by Ree Drummond

Charlie, a bassett hound who considers himself to be "King of the Ranch," finds an unexpected Christmas gift under the tree.




Daddy Christmas & Hanukkah Mama
by Selina Alko

A young girl relates how her family celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah, enjoying the rich traditions of both religions.




 The Christmas Quiet Book
by Deborah Underwood

Illustrations and simple text explore the quiet moments of Christmas, such as searching for hidden presents, forgetting a line during a Christmas pageant, and listening for Santa's sleigh bells.




How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah?
byJane Yolen

                                How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas?
                                by Jane Yolen

Here are a couple of holiday titles from the very popular
"How Do Dinosaurs..." series.  Illustrations and rhyming text present some of the different ways a well-behaved dinosaur can celebrate Christmas and the eight days and nights of Chanukah.


These are just a few of the many holiday books available at the Olathe Public Library.  Of course, during this time of year these books are in high demand, so you may have to get on a waiting list.  If you need any help placing a hold on a title, just give us a call at the library, or come to the library and browse the shelves to see what's available.

Holiday Staff Picks 2012

Ready or not, the holiday season is upon us!  That means it's time for the Chldren's staff at the Olathe Main Library and the Indian Creek Branch Library to compile our annual list of holiday staff picks.  This is a list of some of our favortie children's books from the past year, along with a few of our old favorites.  The list includes picture books, easy readers, chapter books, comics, and nonfiction titles for a variety of ages.  Our hope is that this list might give you some gift ideas for the children on your holiday shopping list.

Cick here to see our Holiday Staff Picks for 2012.  Beginning Monday, November 26, both Olathe libraries will have all the books on our picks list on display for your perusal.  The books on display will not be available for check out, but we may have additional copies on the shelf or we will be happy to help you place holds to try to get the books from another library.  We will also have printed lists of our staff picks available at the libraries.

So enjoy this holiday season.  If things get a little too hectic and crazy, as they sometimes do, may I suggest you just drop everything and spend some time reading together as a family.  The library has a great selection of Christmas and holiday books.  Be sure to include a trip to the library on your list of seasonal errands.  There's no better way to celebrate the season than with a good story.

Elephant and Piggie Bust a Move

Are you a fan of the Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems?  Who isn't, right?  I think they're the best things to happen to beginning easy reader books since Dr. Seuss!  For even more Elephant and Piggie fun, click here to play the Elephant and Piggie Dance Game.  Choose three dances for each character, such as the Twist and Snout, the Shakin' Bacon, the Funky Trunky, or the Elephant Slide.  Then sit back and watch Elephant and Piggie get down and get funky! 

Diary of a Wimpy Kid #7

Attention Wimpy Kid fans!  Love is in the air--but what does that mean for Greg Heffley?  A Valentine's Day dance at Greg's middle school is about to turn his world upside down.

The seventh book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series won't be released until November 13, 2012, but it's not too early to get your name on the library's waiting list!  Click here to go the on-order record, and place your hold on The Third Wheel by Jeff Kinney.

Staff Pick of the Month

At the beginning of each month one of the Children's staff members at the Main Library or the Indian Creek Branch pick one of their favorite books as our Staff Pick of the Month.  The Staff Pick is featured on our Good Books web page.  It may be a picture book or a chapter book, an easy reader or a nonfiction book, a new book or an old favorite.  We just like sharing some of the best kids' books in our library.

This month's pick is the 2012 E.B. White Read-Aloud Award-winning picture book I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen.  Watch the delightful book trailer below.

William Allen White Award Winners 2012

Young readers across the state of Kansas have once again voted for their favorite nominated book to win the William Allen White Children's Book Award.  The votes have been counted, and the results are in!

The winner in the 3rd - 5th grade category is 11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass.

After celebrating their first nine same-day birthdays together, Amanda and Leo, having fallen out on their tenth and not speaking to each other for the last year, prepare to celebrate their eleventh birthday separately but peculiar things begin to happen as the day of their birthday begins to repeat







The winner in the 6th - 8th grade categroy is Confetti Girl by Diana López.

After the death of her mother, Texas sixth-grader Lina's grades and mood drop as she watches her father lose himself more and more in books, while her best friend uses Lina as an excuse to secretly meet her boyfriend.









To see next year's 2012-13 William Allen White Award nominees for 3rd - 5th graders, click here.

Happy Birthday, Bill Martin, Jr.

Today is Bill Martin, Jr.'s birthday.  The late Mr. Martin is probably best known as the author of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  He wrote or co-wrote more than 300 books.


Did you know Bill Martin, Jr. was a native Kansan?  He was born in Hiawatha, Kansas on March 20, 1916.  He grew up in Hiawatha, attended college in Emporia, and taught high school in Newton and St. John.  As a child the author had difficulty reading.  Books first came alive for him when his 5th grade teacher read aloud to the class twice every day.  Enthusiastic about helping other children learn to read, he went on to earn a doctorate degree in early childhood education from Northwestern University.

The Bill Martin, Jr. Picture Book Award was established in his honor in 1966 by the Kansas Reading Association.  This distinguished book award is awarded annually to an outstanding picture book.  The 2012 winning book is Snow Dog's Journey by Loretta Krupinski.  Click here to see winners from previous years. 

Why not celebrate this beloved Kansas author's birthday by reading a good book?  Stop by one of the Olathe libraries, and we'll help you find one!

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