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  • Writer's pictureNora Curry

Spotlight on MSBA: Chickenology

This week continues a series of posts spotlighting books from this year's Maine Student Book Award list. If you missed the previous posts, here's a little summary:

Every year, a committee of teachers and librarians from across Maine (this one included), read through hundreds and hundreds of books for young readers to craft a final list of forty titles that students in grades 4 through 8 across the state can read throughout the school year. It's an exciting announcement each spring as we find out which book captured the most young hearts and minds throughout Maine when students vote for their favorites! You can find the award and voting process and the list for the 2022-2023 Maine Student Book Award here. Follow the links at the end of this post to request any of this year's MSBA books from our catalog.

In Chickenology: The Ultimate Encyclopedia, Barbara Sandri and Franceso Guibbilini bring the world of chickens to life for young readers in an informative and fun way. The pictorial encyclopedia, with illustrations by Camilla Pintonato, conveys information about a fascinating array of all things chicken, from breeds to courtship rituals to sound interpretation. The spreads in Chickenology are busy and chock full of information but laid out in a digestible, easy-to-follow way with a lively tone and plenty of labels to help absorb all of the factoids. You can learn a coop's full of interesting details about an assortment of chickens... And in case you were wondering, there is a chicken (the aptly named Jersey Giant) that is about as tall as a three-year-old boy!

While informational books for children can introduce them to the wider world, as far afield as different galaxies, it can be even more rewarding sometimes to learn the facts and details of a more familiar world. Granted, not every child knows a chicken personally, but with backyard chicken-keeping so popular, the information in Chickenology may feel closer to home than many of the other topics covered by children's informational books. Chickens are unique and full of personality, and learning about these birds in an engaging way can show young and old alike just how much there is to know about the creatures with which we share our world. For budding observers, paying attention to the distinction between different types of feathers can teach a lot more than just vocabulary and animal anatomy. It teaches readers to pay attention to the many details of their worlds.

If Chickenology doesn't satiate your craving for learning about all things farm animal, fear not! Pintonato has lent her artistic skills to the follow-up Pigology: The Ultimate Encyclopedia as well.

To discover more about other books from this year's list, check out these past blog posts:

The Girl from the Sea, a graphic novel by Molly Knox Ostertag

Garlic & the Vampire, a graphic novel by Bree Paulsen

The 1619 Project: Born on the Water, a picture book written by Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renée Watson, illustrated by Nikkolas Smith


Maine Student Book Award

Combined 2022-2023 Reading List

Applegate, Katherine. Willodeen.

Bacon, Lee. Imaginary.

Bailar, Schuyler. Obie is Man Enough.

Baron, Chris. The Magical Imperfect.

Bowling, Dusti. Across the Desert.

Chan, Maisie. Danny Chung Sums It Up.

Culley, Betty. Down to Earth.

Durham, David Anthony. The Shadow Prince.

Fagan, Deva. Nightingale.

Fipps, Lisa. Starfish.

Fox, Janet S. Carry Me Home.

Freeman, Megan E. Alone.

Guerrero, Tanya. All You Knead is Love.

Higuera, Donna Barba. The Last Cuentista.

Hoyle, McCall. Stella.

Lawrence, Iain. Deadman’s Castle.

Lim, Elizabeth. Six Crimson Cranes.

Ostertag, Molly. The Girl From the Sea.

Parks, Amy Noelle. Summer of Brave.

Paulsen, Bree. Garlic & the Vampire.

Pineiro, Victor. Time Villains.

Rosenberg, Madelyn. One Small Hop.

Roux, Madeleine. No Humans Allowed.

Smith, Matthew Ross. The Million Dollar Race.

Sorosiak, Carlie. Leonard (My Life as a Cat).

Swinarski, Claire. The Kate in Between.

Uss, Christina. Erik Vs. Everything.

Venable, Colleen A. Katie the Catsitter.

Walker, Angharad. The Ash House.

Zhao, Katie. Last Gamer Standing.

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