Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ten Tips for Raising Readers

I was sent a copy of Fran Hawk's Ten Tips for Raising Readers and I was told by her publicist, "It is right up your alley." She was right and I totally agree! Any book that helps parents get their children hooked on reading is "right up my alley"! I love the simplicity of the book - short chapters, ten useful tips, LOTS of reading ideas for each age group. Hawk also has created appendices that are just FULL of reading lists and websites - another bonus to this wonderful resource. PERFECT - parents will love it and I plan to "sell it" often at our library!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Kitchen Chinese

Ann Mah's Kitchen Chinese was recommended to me. Having traveled to China twice, I was immediately drawn into the story - not only reminiscing over places I had seen but also over food in China. The main character, Isabelle Lee, is a young woman that chooses to go back to her homeland, China, after living in the U.S. for most of her life. When she gets to China, she can not find a job with her limited Mandarin, so she works for an ex-pat newspaper writing culinary reviews. The whole book was just so fun - the storyline is great with Isabelle being pestered by her mother constantly for her lack-of-dating and the attempts at dating that she encounters while in China. I also appreciated the whole sister-relationship as Isabelle lives with her sister, Claire, while in China. The relationship between the two sisters is interesting and keeps you guessing through the whole story why it is as strained as it is. I thoroughly enjoyed it - my only disclaimer is the occasional use of very vulgar language - totally unnecessary, but somehow it finds its way in!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Toon Books

RAW Junior sent me two great books in their children's readers series. Zig and Wikki in Something Ate My Homework by Madja Speigelman and Trade Leoffler is a riot! Kids of all ages will relate to this hilarious story. I LOVE the whole concept of these books - not only are they funny and grab kids' attention, but they are also so readable - they are not page after page of text. The comic-book style is wonderful for beginning readers. I also appreciated in this book the little "snippets" of information that they added in so that readers learn more about some of the animals in the book.

The second book, Benny and Penny in the Toy Breaker by Geoffrey Hayes is another winner! Benny and Penny are such fun little mice - their adventures are hilarious and our readers DO want more. I am always excited to tell readers about these books - I just know they will be back for another in the Toon Books.

Thank you RAW for the whole concept - beginning readers in comic book format - I agree "Toon Books make Reading Fun!!"

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sylvan Dell New Books

I always look forward to this great set of new books!
Sylvan Dell has sent me these five new titles that will really "beef up" your science and math curriculum. In case you don't know - Sylvan Dell's website is just FULL of wonderful teaching activities, related websites, and "For Creative Minds" a wonderful educational section for each book.

Newton and Me by Lynne Mayer and illustrated by Sherry Rogers is a very fun book that will help kids explore Newton's Laws of Motion. I enjoyed this book - I mean really, how often can you find a fiction story on Newton's Laws of Motion!?!? This will be so great for our classrooms!

What's the Difference? An Endangered Animal Subtraction Story by Suzanne Slade and illustrated by Joan Waites is my second title in this set. This is a sequel to What's New at the Zoo - and is way to practice subtraction skills while learning about endangered animals. I think this is also a brilliant idea and will be great in classrooms.

Little Red Bat by Carole Gerber and illustrated by Christina Wald is a rare find. It is a book on red bats - and how they can hibernate or migrate - great information and such wonderful illustrations that enhance this story.

Felina's New Home: A Florida Panther Story by Loran Wlodarski and illustrated by Lew Clayton is another new title. This title is focused around the forests shrinking and what the animals have to do to survive when they are losing their homes. I liked this title as well - very informative - something that we need to be aware of!

Panda's Earthquake Escape by Phyllis Perry and illustrated by Susan Detwiler is a fictional story that is based on a real-life event. This is about a panda from the Wolong Panda Reserve in China and when an earthquake rocked that area this little guy escaped. What an interesting story - and learning from a natural disaster - great idea!!

Thanks, Sylvan Dell, for another set of wonderful books to use in our classrooms and homes - our library will be thrilled to share these with our community!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Horrid Henry's Joke Book

April 1 is the big day one year ago that Horrid Henry made his appearance in children's literature. Francesca Simon created a character for us that so many beginning chapter book readers can relate to. I enjoy Henry and was excited when I found out that his Joke Book was now making its appearance!!! It has been called, "Too rude for parents and for slimy toad little brothers!!" (In Henry's own words, of course!)

Horrid Henry is aimed at children ages 7 - 12 and are super for reluctant readers. Tony Ross has a wonderful sense of Henry with his adorable illustrations. This is a great series, not to be missed!

Thanks to Sourcebooks for providing me with a copy of the book to use in this review.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Twilight Gospel

Join the Flock! LitFuse Publicity Group blogger I was chosen to be part of the LitFuse Blog Tour for The Twilight Gospel by Dave Roberts. The book intrigued me from the moment I read about the tour and I am glad I was chosen. Roberts does a very good job of answering questions about Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series that parents may have if they have not read the books. AND, as a librarian, that has to be one of the most-asked questions of all time - "Should my teen be reading this book?" So, I could tell them that they needed to read it and see for themselves (which is often what I can be found saying) or I can refer them to this wonderful resource. Roberts is going to approach the book from a Christian viewpoint which I appreciate, but he does so with a very open minded approach. He does not just tell you what your teens may get from the books that might not be the best influence; he also tells you what the books have to offer that is positive in nature. I was impressed - it is a quick, easy read and gives you much to "mull over" - I love it as a way to talk to our teens about the books. Kregel also offers a fabulous discussion guide - I would definitely encourage you to check out these two resources if you have teens reading the Twilight series - they both will be great discussion starters! (I was provided a copy of this book for the blog tour by Kregel Publications.)

Friday, April 09, 2010

Young Samurai Series

I was sent both the first and second books in the Young Samurai series - The Young Samurai: The Way of the Warrior and Young Samurai: The Way of the Sword by Chris Bradford for review on my blog. I have been swamped with books to read and review lately and saw these might not be "top of the list" in style for me, so I passed them onto my husband and son - whew, good thinking on my part because they both have EXCELLENT things to say about them. Here is what they said:
First I want to say that I think these were great reads. I am not typically a fan of Samurai stories but the author did a great job of weaving Japanese history, culture and tradition into a compelling storyline. It was difficult to put either of the two books down. I passed the first book on to one of my boys and he was finished with it before I was halfway through the second. His comment, "When will you be finished, that was a REALLY good book and I want to read the second," should tell you how good they are!

The story follows the life of an English boy who was sailing with his father in search of Japan. Jack soon finds himself orphaned due to an attack by ninja pirates. He is then quickly adopted by a Samurai and begins the arduous task of training to become a Samurai. His goal is to prevent a gift that his father gave him from falling into the wrong hands and to also hunt down and kill his father's assassin.

If you were or are a fan of the Harry Potter series these stories may be just for you. The author follows a similar plot line - orphaned child, raised by another family, sent to school for a year, meets a group of good friends, has a group of enemies, has to defeat the enemy who killed his father. What is differnet is the setting. This storyline is set in ancient Japan and does a great job of giving you an understanding of this rich culture.

Here is what others have had to say about the books as well:
Eoin Colfer praised The Way of the Warrior as "...a fantastic adventure that floors the reader on page one and keeps him there until the end." Publisher's Weekly gave the novel a starred review, noting "Debut author Bradford comes out swinging in this fast-paced adventure set in medieval adventure novel to rank among the genre's best... This book earns the literary equivalent of a black belt."
I am glad I was included in this blog tour - great books - our junior high/high school readers will LOVE them!
Go HERE to see a great trailer for the books. Or visit their website - - you will find teacher's guides, videos, reviews and more!


Enter the Netflix and Nostalgia contest from author Sarah Sundin!
This is a fun one - you don't want to miss it!!!

The Winner of the 'NETFLIX® & Nostalgia' giveaway will receive a vintage prize package, including:

*A 6 month NETFLIX® subscription
*$25 Starbucks® gift card
*A box of See's Famous Old Time Chocolates®
*A jar of homemade strawberry jam
*A Big Band music CD
*A Mini B-17 Model airplane
*Vintage stationery and pen
*British specialty tea
*WWII style playing cards

Click on picture above to go enter!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Pete the Cat - I Love my White Shoes

Sometimes you read a book and you just can't get enough of it - that is where I am right now. Pete the Cat: I Love my White Shoes by Eric Litwin and illustrations by James Dean is AMAZING!!! I have read it now in two different story hours - the older kids and the toddlers - and BOTH times the kids have been mesmerized - I mean LOVE IT! BUT - disclaimer here - it DOES help if you give it all you've got and SING the refrain with a bit of "cool cat" style - I had them all singing along and, as we were coloring shoe pictures at the end of the story hour, we just HAD to sing "I love my _____ shoes, I love my ____ shoes, I love my _____ shoes!" (insert color of shoes) SO there you have it - I loved it SO much I had to share it so that you can enjoy it too..."because it's all good"! (Great for a colors theme, cats theme, walking theme - you name it!) Oh, and for more fun - visit Pete the Cat's website!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Secrets of Eden

Just finished up Chris Bohjalian's Secret of Eden - Bohjalian's books are always page turners -that is a certainty. This one is no exception - if you enjoy a suspenseful read that will keep you guessing to the very end - look no further. Tie together a murder, a pastor, a writer, some angels, and you will be as puzzled as I was to the very last section of the book. AND that has to be my favorite way to end a book - when I say - "I never saw it coming."

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