Thursday, February 28, 2008

Counting in the Crazy Garden

I was just sent a copy of Margarette Burnette's book, Counting in the Crazy Garden. This is in her "Chipper Kids" series. What a fun book - not only does it provide lots of counting fun, but it also teaches healthy eating habits AND humor! The illustrations by Brooke Henson are also fun with this story. The story reminded me of when my boys were little and would go outside and make all sorts of lucious "treats" for me to be tempted with!!! (Not many of those would you ever want to eat ~ but hey, at least they were being creative!) That is exactly the premise of this book - it's fun. Don't miss her awesome website as well - - it has free games and coloring pages!!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pay It Forward Book Giveaway

Now that I'm finished with Kite Runner - I will share it with another!!! That's how I got it in the first place - by winning a Pay It Forward - so here goes!! Leave a comment to play along - I will choose a winner on Thurs., Feb. 28!!!

Kite Runner

So, am I the last person in the world to read Kite Runner??? Probably, but I did just finish it and wanted to blog on it. I started it and said to my husband, "Does this ever pick up??" He told me to keep going, so I did. AND I am SO GLAD I did!! I thought it really did "pick up" and I just wanted to keep going to find out what would happen to Amir and Hassan. On a different topic than Afghanistan, it is a wonderful story of friendship ~ how we need to treasure our friends. It was wonderful - some parts are very hard to read, but WOW - what a different life it is living in Afghanistan.... I thought the book gave hope at the end - after much tragedy and pain. I came away wanting to read his new one, A Thousand Splendid Suns. I truly enjoyed this book!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Cybils Winners Announced!!!

The WINNERS are up!!! Go check it out at the Cybils Blog. I am honored to say I had a part - I thoroughly enjoyed being able to choose a finalist in the non-fiction picture books!!!

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Because it is a National Book Award Winner - AND I've heard so much about it all around bloggerland, I just read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Now the daunting question - did I like it?? As for giving me information about growing up on a reservation and the life of an American Indian - YES!!! Very enlightening and one of the best for this topic! Was I kept interested from beginning to end?? YES!!! The book was great at keeping me interested and wanting to know more. Did I enjoy the characters?? YES!! Junior is the main character - a teenage boy with physical disabilities but he doesn't let those stop him - he is a great character, full of life and a zest for life! You just want to cheer him on - and I love it that he's not afraid to tackle life head-on - despite all of the difficulites life deals him. Would I want my sons to read it?? Not for awhile - the book is about a teenage boy - I realize that - but I don't need to know how often he thinks about sexual matters - boys have enough trouble with that without giving them more reasons to think about it!! SO, in all - a great read - just not ready to suggest it to EVERYONE!!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Copper Sun

Having just finished Copper Sun by Sharon Draper, I am, once again in awe of the horrific conditions of slaves and their treatment. I seem to be getting "hit over the head" with this lately - between Amazing Grace, Uncle Tom's Cabin, and now this book - Wow - I am just having my eyes opened. I thought this was a wonderful book - it told the story wonderfully of Amari, a 15 year old girl - taken away from her life in Africa and sent to America on a slave ship and then sold to Clay, a 16 year old boy, as his birthday present. It is sad and yet totally believeable. I came away with my eyes opened - this is truly a great read.

'Twas the Day Before Zoo Day

Today I am featuring the author, Catherine Ipcizade. She is the author of 'Twas the Day Before Zoo Day - a WONDEFUL children's book about a trip to the zoo. I first read this book when Sylvan Dell sent me a copy, and I immediately fell in love!!! There just aren't too many books written on going to the zoo and this one was such fun! I can see this being such a hit in the classroom before a trip to the zoo OR just before a unit on animals or zoo animals. (And many other units as well - you name it!!!) So, when I was offered the chance to ask Catherine some questions about her book and writing, I jumped at the chance!! Here is our blog interview!!

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

When I was a kid, I borrowed a beautiful copy of Little Women from a friend. I'd lay on my mom's bed for hours reading the pages, feeling the pages, smelling the pages, and devouring the story. That is when I knew I always wanted to be around books.That's also when I knew I wanted to write my own. Then, later that same year, ,I wrote a poem for class. It was a simple poem--terribly, really. But my grandma saw it, and, quick as lightening, she got on the phone with every major newspaper in the city, declaring that my "talent" should be recognized. It wasn't, but I've never forgotten that. That is when I knew I wanted to be a writer, and to create things people wanted to read.

What made you want to write?

I love stories where I can find myself in snippets. Maybe the character is clumsy. Maybe she finds love. Maybe she doesn't. Maybe she has a great best friend or wants one. I love univeral themes. I wanted to write stories people could find themselves in. For young children, I wanted to write stories that could make kids laugh I prefer full-blown belly laughs, but I'll settle for chuckles, too. :)

How long have you been writing?

Like most writers, since I was a kid. I've been seriously pursuing children's writing for about five years.

What inspired you to write ‘Twas the Day Before Zoo Day?

I started volunteering in my son's class and I quickly noticed a trend. The kids (first graders) LOVE animal books. They love science and social studies and learning about the world around them. But here's the catch--they want to be entertained, too. The books they were reading didn't do that. They either entertained without teaching or taught without entertaining. I decided to write a book that did both. I wanted kids to laugh, but I wanted them to learn, too...even if they didn't realize they were learning.

Anything fun you want us to know about you???

Ooh, fun!
Let's see--
1. I have a twin sister.
2. I am ridiculously afraid of bees.
3. I love to cook but can't bake a cake to save my life.
4. As a kid, I talked in my sleep...a lot.
5. For two years, we had a fish...named Froggy.
6. I love pajamas--I'd live in them if I could.
7. My best writing ideas come to me in the's true!

I just can't say enough good about this fun children's book - go get a copy and enjoy it for yourself!!! Oh yes, and the best thing about Sylvan Dell???? Their website is just full of tie-ins for teachers - if you go on this book's webpage, you will see links along the right hand side for teacher and parents to click on for more information on the topic, tie-ins for classroom and units - and SO much more!! Go check it out - this is such a wonderful tool for teachers!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

I'm an Omnivore!

Yes - 8% of the American Public fall into the Omnivore category -
Members of this group use their extensive suite of technology tools to do an enormous range of things online, on the go, and with their cell phones. Omnivores are highly engaged with video online and digital content. Between blogging, maintaining their Web pages, remixing digital content, or posting their creations to their websites, they are creative participants in cyberspace.

I don't fit much of this description though:
Who They Are: They are young, ethnically diverse, and mostly male (70%). The median age is 28; just more than half of them are under age 30, versus one in five in the general population. Over half are white (64%) and 11% are black (compared to 12% in the general population). English-speaking Hispanics make up 18% of this group. Perhaps unsurprisingly, many (42% versus the 13% average) of Omnivores are students.

Want to know what you are?? Go HERE. Oh, and leave a comment - I hope I'm not the only Omnivore out there!!!!

Friday, February 01, 2008

The Ones that Got Away!!

This was a fun article put out by School Library Journal - some of the good books of this year that didn't get their "due" - go check it out HERE.

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