Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Local, award-winning librarian shares favorite books for babes to teens

Posted May 18, 2015

Courtesy: American Library Association

If you've been to a Wake County Public Libraries storytime with your child, asked a youth librarian a question or signed your teen up for a leadership program, you can thank Ann Burlingame for it.

Burlingame, deputy director of Wake County Public Libraries, recently received the American Library Association's prestigious Peggy Sullivan Award for Public Library Administrators Supporting Services to Children. The award is given each year to a library administrator who has shown exceptional understanding and support of public library service to children.

Burlingame joined Wake libraries in 1990 as youth services manager at North Regional Library in north Raleigh, according to the library association. During her time here, she introduced Mother Goose time at North Regional for very young children and their caretakers. It became the model for Baby Storytime, which is now offered throughout the Wake library system. The Teen Library Corps, for middle and high school students, also was expanded across the county as the Teen Leadership Corp.

And she's ensured that each library branch as a youth services librarian on staff. Despite budget cuts, Wake was able to launch a nationally acclaimed early literacy program called Every Child Ready to Read, in part thanks to Burlingame's efforts to build the system's youth programming. The county's teen programming also expanded, giving tweens and teens opportunities to volunteer in programs such as Reading Buddies and Homework Help for young children.

As somebody who takes my kids regularly to Wake libraries and has attended many a storytime, thank you, Ann!

I asked Burlingame to share some of her favorite books for kids - babies to teens. I thought it might make for a fun summer reading list to check off while the kids are out of school.

Here are her recommendations, with descriptions from Wake County libraries.

Young Children

  • A Kiss of Little Bear by Else H. Minarik: Little Bear's thank-you kiss from grandmother gets passed on to him by many animals and greatly aids the skunks' romance.
  • My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza: When a young pig knocks on a fox's door, the fox thinks dinner has arrived, but the pig has other plans.
  • The Pig's Picnic by Keiko Kasza: Mr. Pig, on his way to call on Miss Pig, allows his animal friends to persuade him to don various handsome portions of their own bodies, with an alarming result.
  • Goose by Molly Bang: A lonely gosling gets lost, but learns to fly before she finds her family.
  • Farfallina and Marcel by Holly Keller: A caterpillar and a young goose become great friends, but as they grow up they undergo changes which separate them for awhile.

School Aged Children and Teens

  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry: In 1943, during the German occupation of Denmark, ten-year-old Annemarie learns how to be brave and courageous when she helps shelter her Jewish friend from the Nazis.
  • Agony of Alice by Phyllis Naylor Reynolds: Eleven-year-old, motherless Alice decides she needs a gorgeous role model who does everything right; and when placed in homely Mrs. Plotkins's class she is greatly disappointed until she discovers it's what people are inside that counts.
  • When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr: Recounts the adventures of a nine-year-old Jewish girl and her family in the early 1930's as they travel from Germany to England.
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio: Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student.
  • One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate: Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, this illustrated novel is told from the point-of-view of Ivan himself.
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson: Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s.​
  • Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo: Ten-year-old India Opal Buloni describes her first summer in the town of Naomi, Florida, and all the good things that happen to her because of her big ugly dog Winn-Dixie.

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