Thursday, November 29, 2007

Chronicle Box!!

Awhile ago now Chronicle Books sent me a WONDERFUL box of books to preview. All I can say is that I Loved them all!! I have since had my kids test them for me and ALL have passed the Mom test and the kid test!!

First - the Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook, Jr. Edition - this one my son just laughed and laughed over and then in the next breath would say, "There's some useful stuff in here!" So, from my 12 year old son, "It's a good one!!"

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!

Third - Olive, the Other Reindeer by Vivan Walsh and J. ooto Seibold - another GREAT one!! I collect a new Christmas book every year and this is mine for this year! I loved Olive, the book, but this deluxe edition is wonderful with pop-ups and other fun details.

So - Christmas gifts, books for your library, books for yourself - go check these out - they are WONDERFUL!!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Goodies for You...

I have just run across some fun tidbits that I thought others might enjoy:

*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

The Liberation of Gabriel King

All I can say is, "WOW!!" This book is absolutely wonderful - I have all of my boys reading it quick before I take it back to the library. K. L. Going's book, The Liberation of Gabriel King is just superb!!! I love it that the main character, 4th grader, Gabriel King is afraid of everything. I love it that his best friend, Frita, is set to "liberate" Gabriel. I love it that deep down Frita also has her own fears. I love it that it interweaves so nicely prejudice. I love EVERYTHING about it, and you can be sure ALL of the kids that come through my library will know about it too!!! And here I go to read another of Going's books - she is a new-found blessing!!

Peony In Love

I SO LOVED Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See that I just could not wait to read her latest book, Peony in Love. In all honesty??? I was disappointed! First of all, you start off with a wonderful love story and within a few mere chapters you kill off the female in that relationship - I could hardly get over that. THEN, the entire rest of the book is following that female character as a ghost in the after world - as she watches other women love the man she loved - I am telling you, it was SO sad, even bordered on depressing for me. What I do love about See's books is the strong Chinese culture and history. I feel like I know more of Chinese culture when I read her works. I guess it just shows that NO BOOK can compare with Snow Flower - that was, and still is, definitely one of my favorites!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Wow - what a website. For those of us that book buy - this one looks to be quite helpful. Today I ran across Lookybook. You can visit this site and look through books before you purchase them. I need to go check it out a bit more, but so far, I see it as a great tool for my job!! Maybe you will find it useful too!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Land of the Silver Apples

My guest blogger (my husband!!) has just finished The Land of the Silver Apples by Nancy Farmer - SO I asked him to give me a brief synopsis - he took me literally on the word "brief"!! If you want to know more - go check it out and read it!! He did reiterate that ANYTHING by Nancy Farmer is a MUST-READ!
"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.

This book is a sequel to The Sea of Trolls - another of my husband's favorites!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Robert's Snow - Nancy Wallace

Nancy Wallace is the illustrator I have chosen to focus on for the Robert's Snow fundraiser. She is an illustrator I HIGHLY admire, and I go back to her books over and over for story hours here in our library!

Her Snowflake is titled "Snow".

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:

Children’s Picture Books and Video/CDs
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.”

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

Miss Spitfire

All I can say is - I am not often left in tears and this book did me in. I just sat and sobbed. Miss Spitfire ~ Reaching Helen Keller by Sarah Miller is a wonderful story of Annie Sullivan - the brave woman that was the only one that could "reach Helen Keller." Her story is compelling - I could not put this book down, and I found myself thinking about it throughout the day. I have read other stories of Helen Keller, and I always find them fascinating, but this one has got to be my favorite. What a woman of strength - Annie Sullivan did not give up but kept trying to reach Helen - and, at the end, when the breakthrough occurs - I was left in tears - the bond they forged is amazing - one that totally inspired me!! I just can not say enough good about this book! I LOVED it!!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

River Boy

Tim Bowler has written an intriguing novel, River Boy. It is the story of 15 year old, Jess and her dying grandfather. Her grandfather refuses treatment for his heart problems and instead wants to accompany the family on a vacation. It is not easy for Jess, or her family, to have her grandfather along and watch him slowly die, but he is determined to finish a painting before he leaves this life. It is a sad story - strong with family - which I love!! It has an interesting twist though as Jess meets a boy at the river when she goes to swim - but as you read you wonder - is he really just a boy or could he be connected to her grandfather!?!? Captivating read - one worth enjoying!

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