Sunday, November 30, 2008


Sarah C. Campbell has written Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator for all of you non-fiction fans. This is a great one. The photography is MARVELOUS and there is just enough print to keep it fresh but not too many words that it gets too long for little ones. It didn't strike me at first as a book that would "catch" me and lure me in, but once you get started, you will be amazed. VERY fun and I learned all about the world of the Wolfsnail - which previously I did not know even existed!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008


I am a fan of Rita Murphy, and her latest, Bird, did not disappoint.  In fact, this has to be one of my favorite books she's written.  This would make an excellent book discussion book - it has so many aspects that you could talk about.  It is an intriguing story about Miranda - a tiny girl - carried off by the wind and deposited at Bourne Manor - a haunting old house with only one other occupant- Wysteria Barrows.  Wysteria takes good physical care of Miranda but that is about it - she does not give her physical affection or any sort of emotional care.  It is not until Miranda meets Farley - that she comes to understand what the plight of her life really is - and how she can change that.  Quote from the back cover to get you thinking:
Fear is a strange thing.  It can creep unnoticed into your mind, seize hold of your reason and take root.
Really a lovely story - highly recommend it.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

This is the Feast

I am ALWAYS on the lookout for a good Thanksgiving-themed book to add to my repertoire, and I have found a new one! Diane Z. Shore has written This is the Feast - a wonderful rhyming "This is the house that Jack Built" take-off. Megan Lloyd is fabulous as the illustrator - really, you MUST look at the pictures in this book - they lend a nice authentic feel to the story. I think this would be a great follow-up/read aloud to a pilgrim unit or a study on Thanksgiving. And not for your younger set - the jacket cover says ages 3-8 but I would read it to the older of that set, rather than the younger.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Gone Fishing

Caldecott Honor-winning artist, David McLimans has created a beautiful book - Gone Fishing:  Ocean Life By the Numbers.  This is a book done soley in black, white and turquoise blue - featuring ocean life that is currently endangered or on the brink of being endangered.  Oh, and the other interesting part??  All of the ocean life is illustrated in the form of a number - so, of course, the "Blue-Ringed Octopus" is formed in the shape of the number 8.  This books will catch kids' eyes - AND it has some wonderful pages at the end to learn more information on oceans and ocean life.  It really is striking!

Art Games

Birdcage Press has some incredible games for our Summer Reading Theme next summer. Go check them out!!

Impressionist Go Fish for Art - yep, it plays like you'd think - Go Fish with Impressionist Art as your theme. VERY fun for a wide range of ages.

Art Ditto is for ages 4 and up - another fun memory/matching game. The cards are just beautiful and they are printed in 4 languages - another good one!

The Renaissance Art Game - This one includes a full-color art book and a deck of 30 playing cards. You can play two classic games - Go Fish or Concentration. Again - the art on the cards is amazing.

Gallery Ghost - This is a book - you have to solve the mystery using the magnifying glass and clues inside - all based around the famous masters. This is a fun one - a ghost story, a spot-the-difference game, and an art book - all in one!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Two Bobbies

Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival by Kirby Larson and Mary Nethery is another interesting "take" on Hurricane Katrina. This is a new-to-me story. I wasn't aware of this touching story of a friendship between a tailess dog and cat that are stranded together after Hurricane Katrina. It is quite something though - when they are torn apart to be put in separate cages in an animal shelter, you see just how "attached" they are, as they howl all night long. And the ending is a complete surprise that explains so much of the "attachment" these two have built. It is worth reading - a story that kids will enjoy because it is about animals and yet a story where they will learn a bit about the awful hurricane that crippled New Orleans.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

As Good As Anybody

Richard Michelson has written As Good As Anybody:  Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel's Amazing March Toward Freedom.  I started this book and was thinking - another civil rights title - don't get me wrong - that is definately a worthy theme, but as a librarian, I have seen a lot of those titles and sometimes I wonder what will set them apart and make me want to purchase another!  So, I started reading - the first part of the book is told from Martin Luther King Jr's perspective - it was good, it got my attention.  THEN, I hit the second part of the book, told from Abraham Joshua Heschel's perspective - a Jew growing up in Europe.  That is when it hit me, WOW - I LOVE this!  I had never heard this aspect of the civil rights movement - and how Abraham and Martin, together, made such an impact and formed a powerful friendship as well.  Raul Colon is fabulous on the illustrations - the texture if beautiful.  Oh, and don't skip the afterward page - what a wonderful wrap-up to a very powerful story.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Astronaut Handbook

Meghan McCarthy's Astronaut Handbook is a BLAST!! (get it?!?!) Yes, it is good. All sorts of fun tidbits about what it takes to be an astronaut told in such a friendly manner. And the pictures?? Yes, those are great too. My favorite part of the book?? The back two pages - "Fascinating Facts", "Bibliography", and "Places to Visit" - I appreciate when authors give us even more to go looking for after we read. I think kids will find this book appealing AND informative - and in non-fiction, that's a plus!

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Ever heard of Qlubb??  I hadn't either until recently - but I am impressed.  This is a wonderful social organizer website started by a mom that KNOWS a busy schedule.  You have got to go check it out.  You can start groups for church, book clubs, sports groups, literally anything that needs to be organized all in one spot.  Qlubb has the ability to create a main calendar, reminders, send information, keep track of organizational things - all in one central location - I LOVE IT - but then, you know I'm an organization fiend!!  You don't need to know HTML to use this online program - you just fill in your info and go - it is really a great tool.
Qlubb has the following features:
• Super easy registration and Qlubb creation
• Every Qlubb has its own URL
• New members can get on, as long as they have the Qlubb password – no individual user registration
• Group calendaring
• Online sign-up sheets – great for organizing events, delegating tasks
• Online event RSVP, integrated into the calendar

• Automatic email reminders (i.e. notifying members of upcoming events, assigned tasks, to rsvp)

• Photo/file sharing

• Roster management

• Automatic generation of a public website

And more... it really is good - I can see so many uses for this.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Off the Menu

I was contacted a bit ago and asked to be on a blog tour for Christine Son's book, Off the Menu.  I love to read new authors so I was thrilled to be a part.  This new book is about three high-achieving women - their lives - and how they deal with the expectations put on them by their families, friends, society, etc.  Each of these women has a career path, and is very successful, but that isn't really the dream of each of their hearts - so through this novel, you get to see how they go about fulfilling those dreams - each in her own different way.  The book does include discussion questions so that makes it nice for book groups. 

This is Christine's first book so you may not be familiar with her.  I'll share with you a bit about her:
Christine Son graduated from the University of Texas and Duke University School of Law. She works as Corporate Counsel for a Fortune 500 company and she lives with her husband. For more fun facts about Christine, and answers to questions such as “What are you?” and “What do you do in your free time?”, click HERE.
I love it, because, on her website, she says the book could even be a bit about her - working for a big law firm and then still following her dream of being an author.  I liked the book - I thought it was compelling enough to keep me turning pages!  I thought some of the language was a bit "rough" - so for those that read my blog and are used to my style of recommended read - I just want to throw that out there.  But it was a fulfilling read - one that is a great start for a new author!

Global Wonders

If you know anything about me - you know I am ALL about cultural awareness. Even long before we adopted our daughter, Chloe, from China, I tried to fill my boys' lives with awareness of other cultures. Being a librarian - we read books that build a sense of "culture" into our lives, I do what I can to stress that America isn't the only culture out there and that, even in America, we all live very differently. We make it a point to learn about where the missionaries our church supports live - we even email them periodically just to get a "feel" for their culture. We have done different reports on countries that we want to learn more about; and our favorite?? We celebrate holidays from other cultures. Since getting Chloe, we celebrate the New Moon Festival every fall AND Chinese New Year. We attend an FCC Chinese New Year event each year that our whole family looks forward to. We are BIG fans of Putumayo CD's - and bringing music from different cultures into our home as well. SO, when I saw an annoucenment for these DVD's on TwitterMoms - I was just thrilled. We need more awareness of how others live - and these DVD's look wonderful for helping us do just that. Global Wonders are a set of DVD's that are put out to encourage kids to celebrate and learn about other cultures. They are quality - they have catchy tunes and characters that keep kids excited and interested. There are 4 DVD's out now - Around the World, Mexico, India, and African-American - with more to be relased soon - China, Italy and America. Make sure and check out their accompanying CD's - what a great series!
I would love, if you read this, for you to leave me a comment telling us all what you do to encourage cultural awareness - let's share the ideas and ALL benefit!!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

A Birthday for Cow!

Can I just tell you how much I LOVE Jan Thomas?!?!?  Her last book, What Will Fat Cat Sit On?, made Chloe and I laugh for hours.  Now, in her latest, A Birthday for Cow!, we were rolling again!  All I can say is you will never look at a turnip the same way after reading this one!!  This is a hoot!!  And, once again, the illustrations are SUPERB!!  Jan DOES NOT disappoint!!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Amadi's Snowman

Katia Novet Saint-Lot has written Amadi's Snowman. I thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful children's book set in Nigeria. Amadi is a little boy that is convinced there is no need to learn to read - especially if he only plans to be a great businessman - an Ibgo man. While purposely missing one of his reading lessons, he finds himself amongst some books and becomes intriqued with one book that has pictures of a strange creature - all in white - with a carrot for a nose! Thus begins his adventure to find out that reading could open up a whole new world for him - yes, even for an Igbo man of Nigeria!! The illustrations by Dimitrea Tokunbo only enhance this touching story - they give it an authentic feel. I think this is a wonderful addition to our shelves - because it shows the importance of learning to read and the lifestyle of another culture.

The publisher says:
Amadi's Snowman is the story of a mischievous young boy in Nigeria who believes that he can become a great businessman in his village without learning to read. But one day, after running away to the market, he spots an older boy at a book stall, reading a story about a strange white creature with a carrot for a nose. Amadi soon realizes that learning to read will open up whole new worlds for him, and introduce him to places and ideas he never knew existed outside his village. The author, Katia Novet Saint-Lot, now lives in India with her family. Her husband's work for UNICEF took them to Nigeria, where she was inspired to write this story. The illustrator, Dimitrea Tokunbo, brings to life the day-to-day experiences of life in Nigeria, where her father grew up.

And the bonus today!?!? If you leave a comment - you will be in the drawing to win a copy of the book signed by both the author and the illustrator from the publisher, Tilbury House! (Sorry, only US and Canada addresses are eligible.)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

National Book Award Winners

Finalists have been named for this year's young people's selection of the National Book Award. Two to check out for middle readers: Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson and The Underneath by Kathi Appelt.

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