Monday, December 17, 2007
While you are out - make sure and stop by Mayra's blog and check out her contest!!
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Second - Squiggles by Taro Gomi - what can I say about this one except BUY IT!!! I have used it in story hour here at the libray and the kids BEGGED me for more pages, I have let my boys doodle in it and they love it as well. It's a great one and I already have the second one ordered too!
So - Christmas gifts, books for your library, books for yourself - go check these out - they are WONDERFUL!!!
Monday, November 19, 2007
*Reading Rants has just come out with their 2007 Top Ten Teen Books. This is a good list - some great titles are on there - and A BIG CHEER for Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt - I'm hoping that one wins a Newbery!!!!
*The Public Library of Westland in Michigan has a great collection of 100 Books Your Child Should Hear Before Starting School. Reading aloud is one of my greatest soapboxes - so you DON'T want to get me started!! Their site says reading aloud to children will:
- Improve listening and communication skills
- Build vocabulary
- Teach that written word has meaning
- And foster a love of reading
And I agree!! So let's get reading!!
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Thursday, November 08, 2007
"I have yet to find a book by Nancy Farmer that I don't like. I have read the House of the Scorpion, The Sea of Trolls and The Land of the Silver Apples.
I am looking forward to the release of The Islands of the Blessed in 2009.
In this story Jack is suspended from home after freeing a slave girl named Pega. He moves in with the
Bard, who also shares his house with Pega. Jack ends up needing to go on a mission to save his Father and reclaim Lucy, his sister.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Snowflake medium: cut paper and acrylic paint
I asked Nancy for some insight on why she decided to be a part of Robert's Snow: "When I first heard about Robert’s Snow for Cancer’s Cure, three snowflakes ago, I immediately wanted to be a part of this very special fund raiser. I had worked for many years on pediatrics with hospitalized children, at Yale-New Haven Hospital as a Child Life Specialist and Child Life Coordinator. We used the creative arts – art, music, puppetry, PLAY and expressive media to encourage children to express their thoughts, feelings, fears… and their imagination.
About creating this snowflake, SNOW was the title and subject of my first picture book published in 1995! It is coming out again this fall, 2007, as a board book. One of my favorite questions from a child after having read SNOW to a group of young children at a library program was, “Do you think the snow rabbit is real?”
I have an M.A. in Child Development from the University of Connecticut. I write full time and love sharing with children about being an author and illustrator.
My book Baby Day! is given to infants born at seven Connecticut Hospitals, through READ TO GROW/ BOOKS FOR BABIES, a Connecticut, community inspired, literacy program."
*****Nancy has kindly offered to give away a signed copy of one of her books!!! She is giving away Snow! If you are interested in being included in the giveaway - just leave a comment below AND link to this on your blog (if you have one). I will notify winners within two weeks!!
Some of her other books include:
Written and illustrated by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
SNOW Marshall Cavendish Board Book (fall 2007)
“The strength of this gentle book is the way it captures the quiet magic and cozy charm of a cold snowy day with loved ones. The simple origami collages are endearing…”
New York Times Book Review
Artists and Writers Guild Books (fall 1995)
- A National Parenting Publications Honors Award Winner
- Featured selection of the Children’s Book of the Month Club
Shells! Shells! Shells! Marshall Cavendish (spring 2007)
“A stellar introduction to mollusks and the shells they make; an informative, accessible and necessary addition to any seaside library and every school where oceans are studied.”
Kirkus * STARRED REVIEW
Seeds! Seeds! Seeds! (paperback edition) Marshall Cavendish (spring 2007)
“Highly recommended.” Library Media Connection, *STARRED REVIEW
- A Texas 2x2 Reading List Book
- International Honor Book Winner, Society of School Librarians
Tell a Bunny (paperback edition) Marshall Cavendish (spring 2007)
“The humor of the twisted telephone conversations is sure to please even slightly older readers, and the illustrations might inspire budding artists.” Publishers Weekly
- A Junior Library Guild Selection
The Kindness Quilt Marshall Cavendish (fall 2006)
“Wallace’s familiar illustrations have a charm that always appeals. But here, it’s the idea behind the story that will attract attention. Parents and teachers will find myriad uses for this book, with its gentle message and practical approach to making a better world.” Booklist
Look! Look! Look! Marshall Cavendish (spring 2006)
“This adorable and informative look at a mouse family the “borrows” a postcard depicting a famous painting is a winning choice. … a charming foray into the world of art, complete with a helpful glossary and lessons on how to make a self portrait. This is not only an amusing, creative story, but also an adventure into art that encourages originality while inspiring creativity. Great for libraries and elementary art instructors.” SLJ
Alphabet House Marshall Cavendish (fall 2005)
“Intricately cut-paper collages overflow with details and wit, giving readers numerous opportunities for letter- appropriate objects. The vignettes provide easily identifiable items for new learners as well as more esoteric objects to challenge older readers. The energetic colors of the collages combined with the intriguing and changing scenarios are bound to capture readers’ attention.” Kirkus
- Baker’s Dozen: The Best Children’s Books for Family Literacy from 2005 award
- Best Books for Babies (Beginning with Books - a nationally recognized leader in early literacy)
- Winner - 2006 Connecticut Book Awards – for Best Illustrator
A Taste of Honey paperback edition Marshall Cavendish (spring 2005)
“Readers travel backwards to the bee and learn all about the way honey becomes available to spread on Lily’s bread. Wonderful cut paper illustrations detail every step of this fascinating process. An added bonus is the Bee game and a list of honey facts.” Children’s Literature
- The National Parenting Center Seal of Approval
- Kids’ Pick of the Lists
- Foreword Press Award
- Texas Library Association 2 x 2 reading list (1 of 20 children’s books selected)
- ALA Booklinks Lasting Connection
Seeds! Seeds! Seeds! Nutmeg Media Videocassette (winter 2005) CD (coming)
“Through a week’s worth of activities, Buddy, with his mother’s help, learns about parts of a seed, different types of seeds, and seed germination. “… also reinforces sorting, comparing and contrasting, counting, problem solving, and sequencing. Days of the week, colors and deductive reasoning are also touched on. There’s even a little nutritional information…. This well planned, beautifully executed production flows together seamlessly and has multiple classroom applications.” School Library Journal
The Valentine Express Marshall Cavendish (late fall 2004)
“Wallace’s bunnies are so adorable they could be discussing how paint dries and they’d still be fun to look at, and the story brings home the pleasures of Valentine’s Day, a red-letter day on most kids’ calendars. Perhaps most important, the book stresses how sharing the holiday spirit can make everyone happy.” Booklist
APPLES APPLES APPLES Marshall Cavendish paperback edition (fall 2004)
“This book is a wonderfully imaginative read-aloud. Watching a family of bunnies go apple picking, young readers learn how apple trees grow, marvel at how many kinds there are to eat, and get a good idea of how an apple orchard works.” Bookselling This Week
- Bank Street College of Education Best Books of the Year 2000
- Kids’ Pick of the Lists
- NEBA Pick of the Lists
Seeds, Seeds, Seeds Marshall Cavendish (spring 2004)
“Clearly written and brightly illustrated, this will be an appealing addition to classroom units on seeds and germination.” Booklist
- Children’s Book Council - CBC Showcase Nonfiction Picture Book
- Society of School Librarians International Honor Book
- Texas 2 x 2 Reading List
- Library Media Connection *STARRED REVIEW
The Sun, the Moon and the Stars Houghton Mifflin (fall 2003)
(poems written, collected, and illustrated by N.E.W.)
“Each colorful page is beautifully designed, and the well executed cut-paper collages draw readers into the poems, enhancing the mood suggested by the words. All of the selections are appealing, amusing and gentle in tone. A perfect choice for storytime, this collection will also be useful for inspiring creative writing.” School Library Journal
Leaves, Leaves, Leaves Marshall Cavendish (fall 2003)
“Wallace successfully blends fiction and nonfiction, art and informational text. Buddy Bear and his mama go on leaf walks during the different seasons of the year. They observe, collect and examine leaves and trees in various stages of their annual cycles. During these excursions, the little bear asks probing questions and his mother answers using clever analogies and other techniques of a gifted teacher. The cub’s lively curiosity will be contagious to readers and his playful riddles will add to the enjoyment.” School Library Journal
- The Association of Booksellers for Children - Best Books Recommendation
- Society of School Librarians, International Honor Book
- A Best Children’s Book of the Year (Outstanding Merit) – Bank Street College
Recycle Every Day! Marshall Cavendish (spring 2003)
“Wallace’s illustrations are her very recognizable cut paper collages done here with found and recycled paper. The story is a Be Green message.. there are plenty of ideas youngsters can act upon to be kinder to the Earth. An excellent introduction to this increasingly important subject.” Kirkus Reviews
- Featured in Newsweek’s Hot Tips Growing Up Green - Family
- AN NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People
- A Best Children’s Book of the Year – Bank Street College
Baby Day! Houghton Mifflin (spring 2003)
El Dia del Bebe - bilingual Baby Day! Houghton Mifflin (fall 2003)
“Simple pictures and text show a baby’s day filled with objects of all colors, textures, and shapes. Cut paper collages are layered to create visually stimulating illustrations that will interest even the smallest child. Endpapers consist of graphic black-and-white designs perfect for young babies, while the lyrical text, combined with the bright images, will entice slightly older children. Stiff pages with rounded corners and a small format make this a perfect choice for tiny hands.” Kirkus Reviews
- CHILD magazine, a best book of 2003
Pumpkin Day! Marshall Cavendish (fall 2002)
“Although there are many other books on this topic, this one stands apart because of its simple, yet dynamic collage artwork and the quality and quantity of information that is tucked into the text in all sorts of interesting ways. The origami and paper collages placed against pure backgrounds are the best Wallace has done to date and that’s saying something.” Booklist *STARRED REVIEW
- Bank Street College of Education Best Books of 2002
- ALA Book Links, Lasting Connection 2003
- A Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books Blue Ribbon Titile
Count Down to Clean Up! Houghton Mifflin (fall 2001)
“This is a pleasing developmentally appropriate volume that not only supports the math concepts but will be a welcome addition for neighborhood studies. Delightful.” Kirkus Reviews
- Bank Street College of Education Best Books of the Year 2001 *Starred review
Paperwhite Houghton Mifflin (fall 2000)
“Using her signature cut-paper rabbits, Wallace has created a gentle tale in which two neighbors nurture a narcissus bulb… What follows is a lovely paean to the simple acts shared by friends as they monitor the plant’s progress.” School Library Journal * STARRED REVIEW
Rabbit’s Bedtime Houghton Mifflin (fall 1999)
Hora de dormir del conejo Houghton Mifflin (bi-lingual Rabbit’s Bedtime fall 2000)
“As a young rabbit prepares for sleep, the pleasures of the day are recounted in couplets… While the rhymes and imagery are highly accessible, Wallace has added incidentals that expand the age range for the book and are fun to discover and identify.” Kirkus Reviews
- Children’s Book of the Month Club Selection
- Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award
- Selected for ALA’s El dia de los ninos/el dia de los libros 2002
- Included in “Great Books for Babies and Toddlers” 2002
Friday, November 02, 2007
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007
To see Levi's website - go HERE. And to learn more about the orphanage near Beijing that the Bentley family was called to start for special needs children, go HERE.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
- Interactive components
- Rhyming, repetitive, or predictable text
- High contrast images
- Familiar subjects and surroundings
- Simple concepts
- Distinct leveling between the ages 0-3
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Sadly enough, it all began when Grace Lin's husband, Robert, was battling a long battle with cancer. He passed away just a few short months ago and this is ALL IN HIS HONOR.
Each blogger that wanted to participate has chosen an illustrator/illustrators to showcase. I asked right away for Grace and was so pleased to be allowed to post on her snowflake. I am a BIG, BIG fan of Grace Lin - she is just one of THE BEST, in my humble opinion!!! And not only that, I feel honored to showcase her as it was her husband that this whole auction is in honor of! I asked Grace for some background of why she became a writer/illustrator and she said:
"I grew up in Upstate NY and I knew at an early age that creating children's books was what I wished to do. In my book, "The Year of the Dog" the main character enters a National Book contest and wins 4th place. That really
happened to me and it was from there on that I knew I wanted to make books for my job."
Grace has written so many wonderful books that I could not even begin to tell you our favorite over here, but I will say that she was a favorite LONG before we ever adopted our daughter from China, and now her "Asian flair" just makes her books all the more sweet to us!! When I asked Grace about participating in the blog event she said "I would like to try to participate in promoting Robert's Snow as it is very important to me. My hope is that the fundraiser continues on forever, so that Robert will always be remembered." These last few months have not been easy for Grace but she believes firmly in Robert's Snow and has decorated a beautiful snowflake.
"My snowflake is called "Flower." Amidst white snow, a vividly clothed girl stands like a flower. I painted it when Robert was declining, while things like hope and happiness were not obviously in the landscape. Yet, even in those days, we were able to find bits of beauty and bittersweet joys. Those moments were like finding flowers in the snow. "
Oh yes, AND one last thing!!! Grace has graciously offered to give away a wonderful gift here at my blog!! All you need to do is leave a comment on this post and you will be entered into a drawing for a signed copy of her book, Lissy's Friends, AS WELL AS an accompanying Lissy Doll!! (Ok, to be honest I'd be jealous except, yes, we already have them both!!!) And if you don't win - go ahead and buy a set for yourself anyway - you won't be disappointed!!
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Saturday, October 06, 2007
What a great list!!! Just in case you ever wanted a comprehensive list of book blogs - this might be it!!!
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
I loved the storyline - it was quite a touching story - but yes, it was tough to read - I just HATE it when adults abuse children - enough said!
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Sunday, September 09, 2007
My earliest memories include wanting to be an author, so I can’t really pinpoint when it all began. I’ve practically been a bookworm since birth and a wannabe author for nearly as long.
How long have you been working on your books?
I wrote After the Leaves Fall in just under six months in my spare time. The book more of less flowed out of me, which is kind of funny because the story was very new in my mind. I have some stories that have been rattling around in there for years, but for some reason I struggle to finish them. Then along comes this character of Julia De Smit, and suddenly I’m writing over 700 pages of her story in no time. Summer Snow, the sequel, came out equally as fast as the first one. I guess together they took me a year to write. Who knows, maybe my next book will be like pulling teeth--it could take years to finish! (Though I kind of doubt it, the story is mostly written in my head already.)
I’ve heard it is a trilogy that you are writing. Can you give us some background? Will they all be about the same characters, what is the main storyline, etc?
Honestly, I don’t know if these books about Julia will become a trilogy or not. Summer Snow is definitely a sequel; it picks up only weeks after the conclusion of After the Leaves Fall. But I’m not sure if there will be a third book or not. I’m not sure if Tyndale would even want a third book in this series! I guess we’ll have to see what happens.
However, I can tell you that Summer Snow contains most of the same characters that readers will hopefully have grown to love in After the Leaves Fall. Plus, there are a few new characters that I am particularly fond of! I don’t want to give anything away, but I’m just crazy about these new additions to Julia’s already complicated life.
As far as a main storyline goes, in both books Julia continues the journey to understanding herself and her place in this world. It’s a simple concept, but something that I think we all struggle with. I think in some ways I wrote After the Leaves Fall because I’ve seen so many people (including myself) stumble through life struggling with those big, existential questions: Who am I? What am I here for? Am I valuable/loved/needed? And often our culture tries to convince us that if we can’t answer those questions with something brilliant and wonderful we are worthless. Our story isn’t worth telling. Instead we focus on the glamour stories, the happily ever after endings, the impossible unrealities we view from our couches. I wanted to tell the story of a normal young woman and show how her life can be, and is, very beautiful even though it is nothing extraordinary in the eyes of the world. In fact, in many ways Julia is a failure in the eyes of the world. That’s the best part about her--her brokenness is exactly where her beauty takes root.
Is it all fictional or does something from your past play into the storylines?
Julia and I don’t have a lot in common. But in some ways I suppose she embodies some of my deepest fears--I think a psychologist would probably be able to show me how I used her to role-play my own reactions to some ugly situations that life could have thrown at me. Or maybe I’m overanalyzing! Anyway, there is very little in her character that is drawn from me.
Two specific elements of the book are very real to me though: the role of Julia’s grandmother in her life and her deep connection to and appreciation of nature. I am very attached to both of my grandmothers and the character of Nellie is an amalgamation of my sweet grandmas. And all the descriptions of the Midwest--the weather, the scenery, the hidden beauty--are from my own experiences. I love Iowa, I think it’s beautiful, and I think that sentiment definitely comes through in the book.
How do you juggle being a busy mom and an author?
It’s hard! I have not been able to write much this summer because our schedules have been so off, and I’m definitely feeling it. I’m just not myself when I’m not writing. But on the other hand, I have had times when I’m writing too much and not spending enough time with my family. It’s a tough balance to strike sometimes, but we (my husband Aaron and I) are learning as we go and willing to adjust as necessary. For now, I write a lot in my head and then scramble like a madwoman when I have time alone with a pen and paper. My mom watches the boys one morning a week and Aaron takes a morning, too, so that’s when I’m most productive. I can do about a chapter a week.
Tell us about the moment when you found out that Tyndale wanted you!
Wow, I don’t know how to describe it. It’s so silly to say this, but I guess I felt like my body no longer had room for my spirit. I wanted to crawl out of my skin because there wasn’t room for me inside of it anymore! For days I just floated around the house smiling like an idiot. Aaron would catch me grinning to myself and start laughing. We laughed a lot for a few weeks. Oh, and my family took me out to a really nice restaurant and gave me a bunch of silly “authorly” gifts: a pair of reading glasses with a long, bead chain, a ream of paper, a pretty scarf…
Who is your favorite author?
Do I have to pick just one? I’ll pretend you wrote authors… J
I love rich language (which explains my adoration for poetry) so I’m a huge fan of Annie Dillard. One of her essays is like eating a single piece of dark chocolate--I could savor it for an hour. This love of language also makes me a sucker for English authors (Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, Shakespeare, etc.). As for newer authors, I’m crazy about Leif Enger’s debut novel Peace Like a River. I could read it again and again.