Friday, August 31, 2007

Happy Blog Day!!!

Well, I didn't even know there was such a thing, but now I do!!! So better late than never - Happy 3rd Blog Day - gosh and I didn't even get any cards or presents!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Our Seasons

You already know my LOVE for Grace Lin - so when I saw Our Seasons by Grace Lin and Ranida T. McKneally, I knew it was one to purchase without even seeing it!! And I wasn't disappointed. It is FULL of great information on each season - asks some great questions to get the kids thinking; and, as usual, with Grace Lin, the illustrations are SUPERB!! Our teachers are always looking for seasonal books - this one will be a winner!

Friday, August 24, 2007

After the Leaves Fall

I heard not long ago that Nicole Baart, a friend of mine from a nearby town, had written a book that Tyndale was publishing. How fun is that?? A friend AND an author! I was excited to read it. So, when I got my ARC I dove right in. I bet I wasn't even 20 pages in and I could not put this one down. What a great read!! After the Leaves Fall has kept me going all the way to the end - I just felt so much for Julia, the main character. Her past is sad, she goes from one grief to another, and she can not seem to overcome. This was a book that kept me involved from the beginning - I had to know if she would end up with Thomas or Parker AND would she overcome her past and finally be strong in spite (or because) of all she had been through? I am telling you - it's a MUST READ - my only dilemma - do I put it in YA or adult?? I REALLY want our YA crowd to read this one but adults will love it too. Oh, that's not a dilemma, we'll just buy TWO copies!!

Now, for the bad news??? It doesn't come out until October - you'll have to wait on pins and needles to read it! But I won't let you forget because I am having Nicole here for part of a blog tour before her book is out for sale. Stay tuned!! (By the way - if you'd like to be part of Nicole's Blog Tour - leave me a message and we'll set that up!!!)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Love, Stargirl

Jerry Spinelli has done it again - I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Stargirl and I was so excited to see the sequel, Love, Stargirl coming out - and he hasn't disappointed!! When I read these, I just wish I had the courage to be Stargirl - she is SO not afraid of what others think of her and she is who she is - people may think she's strange sometimes but she is true to herself. I admire her courage, and I love her spunk! This book is a very long letter to her boyfriend, Leo - that she moved away from at the end of Stargirl. I enjoyed the way Spinelli set it up - the letter format is fun and fresh. Yes, it's teen angst at it's best, but I appreciate Stargirl's individuality so that is what makes it a winner for me!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Award Winning Literature

Wow - this site is just awesome!! The Database of Award Winning Children's Literature is such a great site. They have cataloged award winning books and then let you do searches based on so many different variables - what a useful tool! If you haven't checked it out - go and play around a bit - it's good!!

Digby Takes Charge

I found a gem - Digby Takes Charge by Caroline Jayne Church is a funny picture book that will make even the parents laugh!! Poor Digby - his only job is to get the sheep into the pen - but making six sheep do what you want is sometimes harder than you think!!! He tries all different methods but finds that the "magic word" is the best!!! I just love this one - the pictures are wonderful and the story is even better!!

Pay It Forward Giveaway

We have a winner - I used Random Generator to pick a number and it chose #10!!! So that is Karen at Mommy of Three. So Karen, you won the Bright Ideas Calendar - just contact me with your snail mail address and I'll get it out to you!!! And stay tuned for my next Pay It Forward on Sept. 1!!!

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Color of Water

After you finish The Color of Water by James McBride, you hardly want to pick up another book - you just want to sit and savor it. What a powerful book about family and the things you can accomplish with perseverance. James comes from parents from two ends of the spectrum - he is the son of a black man that founded a Baptist church in the South. His mother was raised by a Rabbi in the South but flees to Harlem. The two meet and live in Brooklyn's Red Hook projects and when his father and, later, step father both die, they leave Mrs. McBride with 12 children to raise all on her own. It is a moving story about the faith and strength this mother had and what she did to raise 12 children - all of whom completed college and went on to receive prestigious jobs. We are using this book in our book discussion group at our library this month - if you want to use it in a book club setting, there are discussion questions HERE.

Whooo's there??

Mary Serfozo's Whooo's There? is a great book for Fall! The illustrations by Jeffrey Scherer are wonderful and add SO much to this rhyming book. Quiet crept into the dark forest deep. Wrapped in the hush, everyone seemed asleep. Until.... A little owl is out for the night and meets up with all different animals - great for a nocturnal animals study, even struck me as "fall-ish" in nature - with the nighttime, owl - would possibly work for Halloween as well. Just don't miss this fun read!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Blog Tour

I am holding an ARC right here in my hands!! Yes, my friend, Nicole Baart received her BOX OF BOOKS this week!!! And like any good author, plopped it right in the hands of one of her local librarians!! I am thrilled and can't wait to start it! Nicole has accepted my invitation to do a Blog Interview right here on my blog AND she is willing to do a few more so I told her we could arrange a Fall Blog Tour for her upcoming book, After the Leaves Fall. SO, if you would like to be a part, please leave a comment and I will get her in touch with you.

Nicole's Website is Read more about her HERE as well.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Bookworm Carnival

The bookworm carnival is up !!! Go check it out - there are some great reviews and articles!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I Love You Always and Forever

I Love You Always and Forever by Jonathan Emmett and illustrated by Daniel Howarth

Sweet, sweet story of a daddy mouse and his baby. They have adventures all day long playing together - some things only Daddy can do because he's bigger and some things only the baby can do because he's smaller! But my favorite part is the ending- I LOVE books where parents tell their little ones they love them- they just can't hear it TOO much!!! So here's your chance - grab this one and then tell your little one you love them!

Orange Pear Apple Bear

Emily Gravett is WONDERFUL. She is one of my favorite authors for young children, and, as a side note, her website is fabulous! So when I saw Orange Pear Apple Bear, I knew it would be a good one! And I wasn't disappointed! Not only can bear look like these fruits, he can also EAT all the fruits!! Great for teaching on colors, shapes and/or sequence skills. It is sure to please young readers ~ and the illustrations are only topping on the cake!

Oh No, Gotta Go #2

There are just some things that make you laugh right from the get-go - and here's one!! Oh No, Gotta Go #2 by Susan Middleton Elya and illustrated by Lynne Avril. Yes, she's back and in this one Mom and Dad are SURE they've covered all the bases - asking not once, but twice to make sure their daughter does not need to use the bathroom. They are enjoying their time at the park when their daughter announces she does indeed need to got to the bathroom - and it's caca!!! Their scramble to get home is wonderful and rings true with any parent that has been in that situation!! Many spanish words are incorporated right into the text so it is an excellent way to learn some spanish too. Susan's website is superb - go check out more of her work!!

17 Things I'm Not Allowed to do Anymore

Want a good chuckle??? Then it is time for Jenny Offill's book, 17 Things I'm Not Allowed to do Anymore. I was absolutely laughing over this little girl's antics. She has many great ideas - like trying to staple her brother's hair to the pillow - only to find out that now she is not allowed to use the stapler anymore! I love her looks of puzzlement - I mean really, why can't she use the stapler anymore - only because her brother's head is now stapled between the pillowcase???? The illustrations are wonderful - thank you Nancy Carpenter!!! This is one not to miss!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Poetry Roundup Friday

This ought to get us in the mood....

Back to School

When summer smells like apples
and shadows feel cool
and falling leaves make dapples
of color on the pool
and wind is in the maples
and sweaters are the rule
and hazy days spell lazy ways,
it's hard to go to school.

But I go!

Aileen Fisher
I Thought I'd Take My Rat to School selected by Dorothy M. Kennedy

Who Will Tuck Me in Tonight?

Carol Roth's book, Who Will Tuck Me in Tonight? is simply SUPERB!!! Every child's quandry - who will tuck them in if Mom (or Dad) isn't there??? All of the animal moms try to tuck him in, but poor little Woolly, the lamb - no one will do but Mom!! I just love this sweet book and the best part?!?!? The illustrator - one of my favorites - Valeri Gorbachev!!! It just doesn't get much better than that!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

It's A Giveaway!!!

Yep - you got it - I have a great little item here that I want to pass along to those that can use it!! It is a Bright Ideas Calendar by McDonald Publishing. 365 Language Arts Activities for Grades 1-3. (The picture here is for the upper grades - but I wanted to at least show a picture so you could see what it looked like!) Kelly at Big A Little A had this to say:

Cloudscome (A Wrung Sponge) has brought an idea whose time has come into the kidslitosphere. (Original idea from a blog called overwhelmedwithjoy.) Here are
the details. I must admit upfront that I've changed the original rules to fit with the kidlit book world.

1) Once a month I'll pick a book (or two) to give away to one (or two) lucky reader(s) (you don't have to have a blog to enter). It may be a book that I've purchased
new or used, or it may be an ARC or a review copy of a book I've recently reviewed.

2) You can enter by leaving a comment below AND - if you have a blog - creating a post about it on your blog and a link back to this post. I will notify a winner on Aug. 20.

3) I took out rule #3, because I want people who don't maintain blogs to play. However, please feel free to pay forward the same book after you've read it on your own blog if you do keep one.

4) If you're really motivated and want to host your own "Pay It Forward" giveaway at any time, feel free to grab the button above to use on your own blog. Just let her know so she can publish a post plugging your giveaway and directing readers your way!Let's get some books zipping about the kidlit book world.

So this month I am kicking it off here at my blog! This one may be one you choose not to "pay forward" and that is just fine! You just keep it and enjoy if you choose! Most months I will be giving away a book or novel, but this month (before school starts) I thought this one would be fun! So leave a comment - and I hope you win!!!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Paper Daughter

Paper Daughter: A Memoir by M. Elaine Mar, is ,quite possibly, one of the most difficult books I have ever had to read. It is the story of an immigrant family from China. The author tells of her struggle to fit in in America ~ possibly even to survive. Her story is bleak - it is of being a daughter that is not wanted in a culture where girls are frowned on, it is one of never fitting in - no matter how hard she tries. She tries to wear the right clothes - only by giving up her lunch money and starving herself - and it still gets her nowhere. It is working SO hard just to make money to apply to colleges, being accepted to Harvard, and STILL not fitting in or being accepted. She was a smart girl and a good student who soon chose the American name Elaine and "only spoke Chinese when absolutely necessary," but she still found it hard to distinguish the "cultural cues" on which success, socially, in school depended. This book honestly shows conflicts with her parents, whose horizons and expectations seemed to Elaine, unbearably limited. She explains her youthful rebellion and her parents' response with mature understanding. Her observation of American life is as clear and realistic as her description of a girl caught between two cultures. From the deep depression, the starving of herself, to the VERY bleak ending, this was a difficult novel to read - one where even the ending leaves you wondering, "Is there no hope?"

All Things Book

Here it is - all you ever wanted to know about EVERYTHING "book" - THIS is a good one!!!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Poetry Map and Your State

The Academy of American Poets has introduced a new feature on their already awesome Web site—it’s a poetry map of the U.S. with clickable links to each state featuring poetry info for each state. What a wealth of great Poetry Info!!! I am impressed - and I wanted to share it with you all!!

Dragonfire ~ Dragon Keeper Chronicles

I have one 12 year old son that is a voracious reader and so I often have him help me review books for our junior high/teen sections at our library. Well - here is one series that I never have to "force" him to read. He just LOVES the Dragon Keeper Chronicles. In fact, last week when Mrs. Donita K. Paul sent us her latest in the series, DragonFire, you would have thought Christmas had come early!!! He devours these books and can't get enough! When I asked him why he likes these books he said, "Well Mom, there are dragons, good and evil, and fighting ~ What more could you want?!?!" Then he added, "Oh yeah, in the third one there was a little romance - I think that was for the girls!!" So there you have it - RUN, don't walk, and pick up your copies. Oh, and thank you Mrs. Paul for the latest book - my son was thrilled that you signed it even!! And now our second son, age 10 is starting them as well - he just said last night, "I hope Mrs. Paul keeps writing!!"

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Saturday Review Challenge

I'm taking part in the Saturday Review Challenge over at Semicolon's Blog. SO - I have to choose six books that have been reviewed on Saturday Reviews and read and review them by December 31, 2007.

So here they are - my choices:
1. Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale. Reviewed by Miss Erin.
2. The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish by Neil Gaiman. Reviewed at Educating Petunia.
3. An Egg Is Quiet by Diana Hutts. Reviewed by Leslie at Abiding.
4. Once I Ate a Pie by Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan Charest. Reviewed by MotherReader.
5. Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God by Mary DeMuth. Reviewed by Katrina at Callapidder Days. Reviewed by Jennifer Snapshot at 5 Minutes for Mom.
6. Peony in Love by Lisa See. Reviewed by Wendy at Caribous Mom.
Now pardon me while I go read!!!!

I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean

Here's another good one!!! I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry is a simply wonderful book that we've used successfully in Toddler Storytime and regular Story Hour. It is about a squid that thinks he is the biggest thing in the ocean - he compares himself to lots of fun creatures and still believes he is the largest until he meets Mr. Whale!!!! And what ensues is GREAT FUN!!!! You won't be disappointed!!

How Will We Get to the Beach?

Oh, I LOVE this one!! How Will We Get to the Beach by Brigitte Luciani and Eve Tharlet is an adorable picture book about a mom and her baby and her four other items - all that she wants to take to the beach! BUT - each mode of transportation only allows for 4 items, not 5. So on each page you try to remember which item she does not have - great for memory skills! Until she tries the hot air balloon - which the baby is afraid of - but she won't go without her baby!!! Her final mode is just perfect and they make it to the beach!! I love the illustrations and the fact that you have to do some memory skill work too!!!

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