Monday, September 29, 2008

Madeline and the Cats of Rome

Madeline's Back!!!  What a wonderful treat - after the stories began in 1939, this is the newest installment in the series written by Bemelmans' grandson, John Marciano.  Madeline and the Cats of Rome is excellent!  Just like the older Madeline's - she is off an an adventure, complete with rhymes and her new found set of orphans - cats!!  I loved this and I am glad that Marciano is taking over!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Forbidden Daughter

When the publisher asked me to read The Forbidden Daughter by Shobhan Bantwal, I thought - why not - I love something new!?!? But I didn't realize what a wonderful "treat" I was in for. Bantwal is SUPERB - the book kept me riveted from page one! I loved the story, I loved the premise - what more can I say!?!? It is a topic that is near and dear to my heart - having my own daughter from China - and China having much the same practices on this topic as India. It was a refreshing novel, and I always enjoy a novel set in another country. I really can not say enough good about this wonderful, new novel. Here is what the publisher said:
"When a young widow refuses to comply with her in-laws' dictate to abort her unborn child, will her rebellion turn out to be the greatest mistake of her life, or a blessing in disguise? This is the story of one mother’s valiant fight to protect her daughters in a society that often frowns on female children, and the only man who will help her in her battle when the stakes become impossibly high.
THE FORBIDDEN DAUGHTER is woven around the hot-button social issue of vanishing girl children in contemporary India, where gender-based abortions and female infanticide continue to be practiced in some areas despite laws to ban the practices."

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cybils - HERE WE COME!!!

I am honored to be chosen again to be on the Cybils award committee.  Last year I was a finalist judge in the Nonfiction Picture Book Category - THIS year, I get to be on the nominating committee for Nonfiction Picture Books.  THAT means I get to read LOTS of books and send our committee's favorites to the final judges!  SO - I'll let you know at the end here, which was my favorite spot to be in!!  Right now - I am just sitting back and waiting to hear what to start reading - can't wait!!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Toon Books

I first saw this new series, Toon Books, at PLA - in fact, we even got to hear the mastermind behind the series, Francoise Mouly, speak. I have been "hooked" ever since. I just got a box of them to look over and review and they are WONDERFUL! What a great idea - beginning reading in comic book format - I LOVE IT!! Why in the world has this not been done before!?!?  They are wonderful - the illustrations are fun and the stories are not lame (as beginning readers often are!!).    My favorite?  Jack and the Box - but hey, I'm always a sucker for a good "box" book!!

5 Little Monkeys

Need a new game to play with your little ones???
HERE it is!!!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Silent Tears

Kay Bratt's Silent Tears is a book I had read about all over adoption web rings - so I thought I had better read it - now, I have finished and all I want to do is start over and begin again. It is the story of Kay's time spent in China because her husband is transferred there for his job. While in China, Kay is allowed to help in a local orphanage. What she sees there is absolutely eye-opening - it confirmed many thoughts I had had as an adoptive mom. And it also answered some questions I had. We see things STILL in Chloe that we wonder how far back they go - after I read this - I can see why she does some of the things she does. The book is powerful - I am going to recommend it to our adoption agency as required reading for adoptive China families. I know you can not take one orphanage and say all are like that, but I do think that many of the things do not change. This is a book that I will keep on my shelf and refer to for years to come. Thank you, Kay, for a powerful, and honest, look at life in an orphanage.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Madam President and Big Plans

Anytime Lane Smith is mentioned with children's books you know you are in for a treat! And these two latest publications are just that - a REAL TREAT - and timely for this presidential season.
Madam President by Lane Smith is hilarious, witty, and such a great introduction to the president's job - kids will love this one.  I love it too that the main character is a girl - a girl wanna-be president - how fun with today's times!
Big Plans by Bob Shea and Lane Smith is a funny story about a boy that has "big plans".  He goes through the story telling everyone his "big plans" and we don't know until the end of the book what his "big plans" are.  Or do we!?!?!?  You will need to read it to find out!  This book also touches on the president's job as well - so it would be a great read-aloud at this time of year!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fall Into Reading

Ok - so I'm signed up but I'm still building my reading list!!!
  1. Life as We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer
  2. Lost on Planet China - J. Maarten Troost
  3. Misreading Masculinity: Boys, Literacy, and Popular Culture - Thomas Newkirk
  4. Impossible - Nancy Werlin
  5. A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Keesha's Bright Idea

Kane Press has a new book called Keesha's Bright Idea by Eleanor May and illustrated by Amy Wummer.  It is in their "Social Studies Connects" series.  I thought this book was such a great idea - a way to incorporate Social Studies  - ways to help the environment, to be exact - and still be in story form.  Keesha is such a fun character that kids will want to read this one!  She had me chuckling as I was reading along - Great idea for grades 1-3.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Happy Family

Happy Family by Wendy Lee is a story about an American couple that adopts a baby from China - but the REAL story revolves around a Chinese Immigrant, Hua Wu, that becomes the nanny for this adopted child, Lily.  I felt for Hua Wu - her life here in the U.S. is a struggle, but what was so hard was all of the not-so-smart choices she made.  It was hard to read about her making poor choices.  The book was also a downer in that the adoptive parents' marriage is barely staying together - and that was hard to read as well.  Then there is Lily - the little girl caught in the middle of a marriage that is nearly done and a nanny that can not seem to make a "go of it" in the U.S.  Very sad book - hard to read.  There are some great points and good things to learn from Hua Wu's life, but I just felt it was a tough book to read.  I was hoping it would be more about adoption as well and there was not much about that.  I found this REVIEW and agree with it as well.

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