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Emily Jenkins Loves...Ruth Krauss!

Author Emily Jenkins

Author Emily Jenkins

One of my favorite things to do with my children is something we call Storytime Breakfast on the Couch. That means early in the morning—sometimes before dawn—we bring bowls of fruit or plates of toast into the living room, cozy up, and read stacks and stacks of picture books. This practice was a regular feature of our mornings when the kids were small, and it continued, though not as frequently, through their later elementary years. No one is ever too old for a good picture book. One of my favorites to this day is Ruth Krauss’s A Very Special House, illustrated by Maurice Sendak. Krauss and Sendak also collaborated on many books that might be best termed poems, including Open House for Butterflies. Her book, The Carrot Seed, illustrated by Crockett Johnson, is a beloved classic with a more formal style.

The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss

 Krauss was unique as a writer because she spent so much time listening to children. She replicated their speech and thoughts on the page, showing tremendous respect for their depth of feeling. In A Very Special House, there is a small refrain that my children and I grew to love: “A door knob, a dear knob, a dear little door knob; a dear knob, a door knob, a door little dear knob.” After loving that phrase and repeating it with my children for over a decade, I used it as inspiration for my new book, A Greyhound, a Groundhog. The phrase took on a life of its own as I played with it, changed it, and expanded it, but the poem I wrote is completely indebted to Krauss’s book and her genius. Go check out A Very Special House. The Sendak pictures aren’t too bad, either.

A Greyhound, a Groundhog by Emily Jenkins

Emily Jenkins is a classroom and kid favorite for her picture books and middle grade series, which include Toys Go Out, Toy Dance Party, Toys Go Home, and Toys Meet Snow, with illustrations by Paul O. Zelinsky, and Upside-Down Magic, which is co-authored by Sarah Mlynowksi and Lauren Myracle. Find The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss and Emily Jenkins' A Greyhound, a Groundhog in stores January 3rd! 

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Lucky Boy Punch

In Shanthi Sekaran’s Lucky Boy, two women love the same little boy.  While his birth mother – illegally in the US – is being detained, his foster mother discovers her own love for the child is boundless.  You’ll want to drown your sorrows after reading their heartbreaking story, and this punch will help you do just that. 


Lucky Boy Punch
1 bottle red wine
½ cup mezcal
½ cup orange juice
1 cup raspberries
½ cup pomegranate seeds
1 lemon, sliced
1 orange, sliced
1 mango, sliced

Combine all ingredients, except the Prosecco, in a large pitcher or bowl and refrigerate overnight.  When serving, top with the Prosecco. 

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2017 Recommendation: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

In just two weeks it will be 2017!  I'm sure some of you are already planning your TBR pile for the new year or getting geared up for a reading challenge. Well, let me recommend a book to add to your list. 

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour. 

Follow @nymbc on Twitter and Instagram!


Nina LaCour is a local author and we hosted her earlier this year with David Levithan for their book, You Know Me Well. We Are Okay is a stand alone, contemporary about grief, depression, family, and friendship.  It can easily be read in one sitting. From the very beginning I knew it was a heart breaker. I also had a few, what I like to call, "Gasp Moments": *Gasp* MY name is Hannah!" *Gasp* I live with my grandpa too!" But that's about where the connections between fiction and reality ended for me. Thankfully. 

I was able to dive into the story right away. LaCour sets up the story so you know, instantly (no spoilers here) that Marin's grandfather, whom she lived with, has died and it turned her world upside down in more ways than obvious, and now she has runaway to college in New York City and getting ready to spend a drepressing month alone in her dormroom. Excpet, her old best friend Mabel is coming for three days to catch up. 

What follows next is three days of revelations and healing between the two girls and, most importantly, within Marin's heart. 

As I said in an NYMBC Instagram post about this book: "Nina LaCour ripped my heart out and put it back together again in less than 250 pages. We Are Okay is a beautiful story of healing, friendship, and family. Just have a few tissues near by." 

I would recommend this book to the 14+/ mature teens due to difficult topics and slight sexual content. Oh! And Marin happens to be LGBT. It's a big part of the story, because that's who she is, but it's not the plot. 

I definitenly enjoyed We Are Okay and I hope if you pick it up, you do too. It'll be available in stores February 14th. 

-Hannah, NYMBC Coordinator


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