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I post what I think about books, children's and adult's, and what is going on in my life as a librarian and a storyteller.
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Facebook just told me that it's Winnie-the-Pooh's 90th birthday today. It's not. The book, Winnie-the-Pooh,
was 90 years old in October. (Wikipedia gives the date of Milne's first children's story about The Bear of Little Brain as 1924. History! It's a puzzle.) The Queen (Elizabeth II) turned 90 in April. Coincidence? Hmmmm.
Still, since the Winnie-the-Pooh books count in my Top Five All Time Favorite Books Written for Young People, I jump at a chance to praise them again.
Click here, for an interview
with the author of a new Winnie-the-Pooh picture book, Winnie-the-Pooh and the Royal Birthday by Jane Riordan
. I am grateful that the illustrator, Mark Burgess, tried hard to mimic Ernest H. Shepard's iconic artwork - and not the cutesy cartoons of the Disney studio. (This is a Disney book.)
I love the book, Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick.
So, here's another chance to plug THAT book.
90 years of Winnie and Piglet and Owl and Rabbit (and Eeyore who is the embodiment of a parenthetical remark) - it's hard for me to imagine an English-speaking world without them!
The National Book Awards
were handed out on Wednesday night. John Lewis' final entry into his graphic memoir, March: Book Three,
with Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell, won the 2016 National Book Award for Young People's Literature.
Here is the School Library Journal article
about the book, the prize, the event.
The book is stunning in its timeliness. We cannot forget the fight for equal rights and equal respect. And we must continue to uphold the American ideal that all people
are created equal. That's ALL
- as in Every Single Person.
As the banner at my place of worship says, "Love Thy Neighbor - No Exceptions".
PS. The winner, in books for grown-ups, was The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.
Pay attention, readers.
I need my button box. TODAY is National Button Day and the craft I plan for tonight's storytime uses buttons. When I went upstairs to the attic yesterday, the button box was not where I thought it was. Our attic is, ahem, less than neat. I shoved things around and looked on shelves and opened bins. Nope.
So, today, I gave myself one hour to clean the main attic room and find that button box. I threw things away! (It was painful but I hope to be fine in a few days.) I filled THREE huge black garbage bags with junk. I stacked bins and reorganized my crafty items and THEN, when I was 99.7% done, I looked at the bottom of a shelf unit in the corner. There was my button box. Not lost at all, really.
I have an organized attic room with neatly stacked and labeled bins. I got rid of junk. I found my buttons! Losing things is a gift.
Books about Buttons:
Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin, illustrated by James Dean. Pete loses his buttons, one by one, but never loses his cool. The publisher's website features a video and Pete the Cat songs.
Three Little Firefighters by Stuart Murphy. Three little firefighters have to get dressed for the parade but they don't have any buttons on their coats!! This is a great book about sorting.
The Button Box by Margaret S. Reid. A little boy loves looking through his grandmother's button box. The book introduces sorting concepts.
Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback. Joseph, the tailor, loves his overcoat so much he recycles it into every smaller items until all he has a button. And, then??? Based on a yiddish folk song, this book has wonderfully colorful pictures.
Dear Levi: Letters from the Overland Trail by Elvira Woodruff. This wonderful historical fiction book features an orphan boy traveling across the country. The wagon train's cook collects buttons - (I am not alone!) - as a way to remember the people he meets.
America - the Melting Pot! That image is sort of wrong. I don't want the Mediterranean part of me melted into the Germanic part of me - not entirely! I want to own the Mangia! and the Gesundheit! both - to say nothing of the Pip Pip Cheerio! and Top o' the morning! I am proud of every single patch in my patchwork DNA.
At the same time, America as a Cooking Pot is sort of right. I love soups and stews - foods where different ingredients blend together but keep their individual flavors. America is more like a hearty soup.
|Hey! We're all people! We all share the same home, the Earth.|
A good cook doesn't let any one ingredient overpower all the others.
I think I forgot where I was going with this. Oh! Right! Diversity! Celebrate the differences, everyone! All the lovely differences!
Here are some book lists to get you started in this celebration of America, the Cooking Pot. Mangia!
From the Cooperative Children's Book Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, here are 50 Multicultural Books Every Child Should Know.Reading Is Fundamental
has 40 books on their list.
The Center for the Study of Multicultural Literature for Children puts out a booklist for books published in the current year. 2016 isn't over yet. (Sigh.) So, here is their list for 2015.
Scholastic.com puts a LOT of work into their various websites, so here is their little 7 book long book list about diversity.
Here is an interesting list of picture books,
from Storytime Standouts, on diversity and empathy. Some of the titles seem to be off topic. But, there are all kinds of differences out there.
And No Time for Flashcards put together this list of books about families
that don't fit the mother/father/2.5 children/and a dog mold.
Hmm, I think this soup needs a little more of.....YOU!
My sister teaches music in an elementary school. Half of one of her early elementary classes is made up of first generation Americans. In explaining the words of "My Country 'Tis of Thee", my sister told those children that they were today's pilgrims.
As we prepare for Thanksgiving, let's remember those who come here to find sanctuary from persecution, poverty, and discrimination. We all came from somewhere else, no matter what some people want to believe.
|Right now, this is my favorite Thanksgiving book. Puppets, balloons and pageants - the birth of an American tradition.|
Some of my favorite Thanksgiving books, new and old. Molly's Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen.
This classic was turned into an Academy Award-winning short film. Third grader, Molly, asks her mother to make a Pilgrim doll from a clothespin. Her mother, who was born in Eastern Europe, doesn't know what a Pilgrim is. Molly explains that a pilgrim is someone who came to this country to worship freely, and to escape hard times. Her mama makes a doll that looks like a Russian girl. Molly's doll helps the teacher explain that America still welcomes pilgrims for all kinds of reasons.A Strawbeater's Thanksgiving by Irene Smalls.
Jess, a slave, looks forward to the corn shucking party. He hopes to be the special boy chosen to keep time for the fiddler by beating on the fiddle strings with a pair of strong wheat straws. Hopes don't always come true and Jess works hard to make his hope become a reality. Melodye Rosales provides beautiful illustrations for this story.A Turkey For Thanksgiving
by Eve Bunting. Mr. Moose is determined to deliver a turkey to his wife for Thanksgiving. Turkey is equally determined to stay away. No worries, happy endings abound, all around. And Diane de Groat's pictures are colorful and adorable.Balloons over Broadway by Melissa Sweet.
Tony Sarg, a German-born puppeteer, was the artistic genius behind the first Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. He designed it to mirror the parades and processions of many of Macy's immigrant employees. This picture book biography, written and illustrated by Melissa Sweet, is my FAVORITE Thanksgiving book right now. Thanksgiving Poems by Myra Cohn Livingston
. If you are looking for something short to read before you stuff yourselves, take a look at this collection.Over the River and Through the Wood by Lydia Maria Francis Child, with illustrations by David Catrow
. You MUST get the version with pictures by David Catrow. The poem is lovely but the pictures are hilarious!
There are more, so many more. I might add to this list in the next week or two. Just remember to be kind to everyone you meet. Stand up for people who need defending. Give thanks for what you have.
The election returns are trickling in and I can't even...
Sigh. No matter what happens, tomorrow some people will be relieved and others - possibly - horrified at the turn of events. If, in the morning, you wonder what just happened, Lerner Books have posted about some of their titles that deal with the elections, government, the media and propaganda behind politics and other good stuff.
Save this post til then. Here's Lerner's blog on election day titles.
For something to actually look forward to, Fox Animation just picked up the rights to The Girl who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhil
l. This will be an awesome live action/animation hybrid.
BTW, I loved Barnhill's book and reviewed it here
, awhile back. This is a film I plan to see.
Good luck, everyone.
She's five now and tomorrow is her party. I went to the bookstore and I was appalled to realize that my obsession with middle grade fiction has left me unfamiliar with current picture books. I managed. I bought Mo Willems' The Thank You Book. We are big Mo Willems fans, she and I. And then, because she is my granddaughter and I don't have to care about protecting her from commercialism quite as much, I bought her an I Can Read book about one of her favorite TV shows.
|No, Mo, thank YOU!!|
You may be in a similar quandary as the frenzied gift-giving season arrives. All the FB posts and tweets are now counting down in days to You-Know-When.
Just in time!!! The New York Times Book Review has published the Best Illustrated Books of 2016 list. Hmm, it's not the best PICTURE books of the year, but, look, they all seem to be for children. Here's the list.
I am baffled to admit that I recognize only one title on this entire list.
Anyway, these may not be the best picture books but the artwork in each one is superb. If you have the luxury of giving the children in your life books they want to read AND books you want them to experience, well, do it!
The complete title of Adam Gidwitz's new book is, The Inquisitor's Tale: Or The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog. Set in the 13th century, Gidwitz starts his story in an inn. The narrator is trying to find all he can about the three children - and dog - that King Louis IX is hunting down.
Various customers tell the stories; first of Gwenforte, a loyal dog who is wrongly killed and then revered; then of Jeanne, a girl who suffers fits and can see the future. When Jeanne needs her loyal dog the most, Gwenforte comes back from the dead; then of William, a monk-in-training, bigger then anyone in the abbey, dark brown, the son of a Lord and a Saracen woman, and as strong as Samson; and last but not least, Jacob, who knows all about herbs but uses them with miraculous success. Jacob is a Jew. Through a tragedy, he loses his home.
The four must all leave their comfortable homes and eventually they come together. They perform miracles. They make enemies. They unite in a mission to save thousands of years of wisdom, threatened by bigotry. They face mortal danger, and very stinky cheese. Along the way, Gidwitz skillfully plays out legends and superstitions of the times, highlights social injustices and champions open minded thought and the acceptance of all people. What an adventure!
Teachers and curious readers will want to read Gidwitz's Author's Note. It explains his research, which parts are based on the things Gidwitz read, which he changed or fabricated and where he got his background material. There is also an Annotated Bibliography,
When a book strays into my thoughts while I am doing the laundry, or loading the dishwasher, I know it's a darn good book. Since I feared that Jeanne was actually Joan of Arc, I hesitated to finish this book. Whether she is, or not, this is a Darn Good Book. So, read it.
Also? The illustrations - oh, sorry, the Illuminations - are awesome.
Children's picture book nerds have a few saints; Eric Carle, Leo Lionni, Trina Schart Hyman -(don't get me started. What about the Petershams and Tomie DePaola and Frank Asch?...Of course, I am showing my age.)
But chief among them, for his groundbreaking work in diversity, is Ezra Jack Keats. (Is that not a most poetic name?) His books about Peter and Peter's neighborhood brought the children of Keats' neighborhood,- black children, brown children, tan and white children - into mainstream publishing.
Everybody knows The Snowy Day.
Now thank to Andrea Davis Pinkney, and illustrators Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher, we get the story behind that book's creation - the story of Ezra Jack Keats. A Poem for Peter
hits the shelves on November 1st. I can't wait to read it.
Check out the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation
, while we wait for this book to arrive.
Pixie Piper lives in a house that looks like an acorn. Rhymes pop into her head unbidden. Things that used to feel cozy and fun, like her Mom's job planning fun events at the senior residence, or her father's job as caretaker for a toilet museum, have become embarrassing and awkward.
Then a series of odd things happen;
1. Her Mom tells her a secret about her family history.
2. She hurts her very best friend's feelings, because a classmate thinks they are a "couple".
3. She meets a most annoying fortune-teller
4. She finds a goose egg in the woods.
Now, Pixie Piper has an enemy, a secret, and worse, someone is trying to hurt her pet goose!
The Secret Destiny of Pixie Piper by Annabelle Fisher is a fun, fantastic read for kids in grades 4 and up.
We hop straight from the Quaker Craft Fair to Scary Stories around the Fire!!! So much hopping. Check out our Lehigh Valley Storytelling Guild's newsletter about Saturday night's event at Jordan UCC, 1837 Church Road, Allentown, PA 18102. They have a nice big fire circle in their Peace Garden.
Dress warmly. Bring a donation of non-perishable food for Second Harvest Food Bank or the Pennsylvania Avenue Interfaith Food Pantry. (You get $3 off the admission price if you donate.) Bring blankets. There are benches around the circle.
Here's a link to MORE information about this stellar (hopefully) event. If it rains,...please check The Lehigh Valley Storytelling Guild's website before heading out.
I am busy preparing for the Quaker Craft Fair tomorrow. (Oct. 22nd, 2016 from 10 am to 3 pm). So I have not posted this week.
This does not mean that I stopped reading. I continue to revisit cozy mysteries from my past with Nancy Atherton's Aunt Dimity series.
I read Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk. I owe you a review. Til then, click through to see what Goodreads folks have to say about this historical middle grade fiction. My opinion? Good read.
Well I have to open up the Meeting House at 7 am. So good night!
In The Excutioner's Daughter by Jane Hardstaff, Moss is almost 12. She has lived her whole life in the Tower of London where her father is King Henry VIII's executioner. Moss's father told her that they must stay in the Tower as punishment for a crime he committed years ago.
Moss is the basket girl. She carries the newly chopped off heads from the block to the gates of the Tower where they will be on display. When she is pressed into service in the kitchen ,she makes friends with the King's latest enemy, an abbot. The day of the abbot's death, Moss runs away.
In her debut novel, Jane Hardstaff paints a realistic picture of the Tower and the river that flows by it during King Henry VIII's reign. The jacket blurb hints at a touch of fantasy in this otherwise historically accurate book. The touch of fantasy adds suspense and terror to the sotry of Moss's coming of age.
Moss learns about the flawed nature of people who must struggle to survive. She also learns about acceptance, love and forgiveness.
The Executioner's Daughter by Jane Hardstaff is a fine book.
A little girl "reads" to her father at bedtime. "One mouse, two mouses, three mouses."
So begins my friend's new picture book, "Once, Twice, Thrice" by Kim Chatel. Like parents everywhere in the English speaking world, the father explains that when you add one mouse to another mouse, you get two mice. Are two houses called hice, then?
The father daughter duo explore other irregular plurals in this cleverly written and charmingly illustrated book. Artist Kathleen Bullock picks just the right color palette for a night time tale.
Besides being a sweet bedtime story, this book will be a winner in primary language arts classes and with ESL teachers. Click here
to get your own copy.
Jennifer L. Holm returns to Key West during the Depression - the Great One, not the recent turn of the 21st century bank blow-up - just clarifying - in Full of Beans.
Grown-ups lie. There you have it. It's a fact and Beans can give you example after example of how this works. But as Beans tries to survive a sweltering summer in down and out Key West, he discovers that kids can be deceitful, too. Even stand-up kids like himself.
Holm did her homework in verifying the New Deal program that turned a worn-out Florida village into a tourist attraction. Beans calls the government agent a Crazy Man, and lampoons his "underwear" - bermuda shorts - in between marble tournaments and running errands for a shady businessman. Everyone in town thinks the house paint they are given is ridiculous.
When Bean's plans put his friends in danger, he has to make amends. He rallies his band of kids to help save Key West. In an unrelated subplot, Holm reintroduces the miracle diaper rash remedy - somewhat modified - that she mentioned in Turtle in Paradise.
Oh and there's an adorable dog. Can't lose with a dog in the book.
My first "real" job was working as a shelver (page) at the Bethlehem Area Public Library. I was almost 16. I worked in the Children's room.
It is 50 years later. I have worked in public libraries (and an academic library and a high school library but those were substitute positions) for 30+ years- and counting. I have always worked in Children's Departments. That's where I belong.
This video speaks to the importance of libraries - the importance of reading - the importance of books and most of all, the importance of making access to all three available to everyone.
Libraries save lives. Gary Paulsen
credits a public library for his education. Thomas Edison read his way through his public library after he left school.
Thanks to Brain Pickings
for sharing this story.
After 7 years of blogging, I am thinking about "monetizing". The easiest way is to sign up with Adsense.
This is not the most popular blog out there. I write when I want. Sometimes every day for a week. Sometimes not at all for a month. So, monetizing might not work for me.
Still, a little extra money would be nice. They claim that I would have control on the ads they run, etc.
What say you, my eclectic mix of readers? Do you have experience with this Adsense they speak of?
Should I continue to write this blog for the fun of it?
I await your reply.
I LOVE Winnie the Pooh - the REAL Winnie the Pooh. I have read the books too many times to count and Milne's poems are the only ones that I can recite reliably.
And now I love Wookiee the Chew, an illustrative meme by artist James Hance. When you visit Hance's website, you will see he likes to re-imagine EVERYTHING as Star Wars. Why not? Star Wars is as close to a religion as some people get.
Hance wrote a book about Wookiee the Chew and his friends and the website for that book is here .
I can't share any of the images - copyright and all that - but when you see them, you will understand my infatuation.
In the last 48 hours I have read:
The Magic Mirror by Susan Hill Long; (fairy tale style fantasy, pretty good) 3 1/2 stars
The Black Dragon : Mysterium #1 by Julian Sedgwick; (rock 'em, sock 'em, fast-paced underworld crime novel set in Hong Kong to be continued, of course.) 3 stars
The Storyteller by Aaron Starmer; (last of what may be a psychological thriller trilogy, or it may be a study in mental illness, or alternative fiction. This entry is good enough to read to the very end but I don't need to know what went before.) 3 stars
Swing Sideways by Nanci Turner Stevenson. (friendship/family relationship novel. I just finished this one and am tempted to say more. Tragedy rears it's ugly tissue wielding head at the end. Sigh.) 3 stars
Earlier this week, I finished As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds( No one has a terminal illness in this book. YAY!!!!! Two city boys spend the summer at the family farm with their dad's parents. Family stuff, brother stuff, city boys in the country stuff and growing up stuff.) 3 1/2 stars
Mayday by Karen Harrington. (Uncle dies. Family flies to funeral. Mom and son are in airplane accident. Granddad is sick. There you have it.) 3 1/2 stars
Oh and a little cozy mystery novella and I started an Aunt Dimity novel that I never read.
My eyes hurt.
But let me say this. I have decided that I will fight the urge to give any book that deals with C.A.N.C.E.R. more than 3 1/2 stars. As a survivor, I am well and truly tired of books that use cancer to manipulate their readers. The book better have me prostrate on the floor weeping; or feeling so uplifted I want to sing before I will give it 4 or 5 stars. But, that's just me.
The Evil Wizard Smallbone has some competition in the evil department in this book by Delia Sherman. But Nick, the runaway who takes refuge with the old, smelly, grumpy and wicked wizard, has to do some heavy duty sleuthing - and endless chores - to get to the bottom of Smallbone's dastardly behavior.
The setting is backwoods Maine where the coyotes are numerous and the wolves rule the forest - some on motorcycle. The small village of Smallbone Cove depends on the evil wizard for their protection against, what, exactly? Here is part of the mystery. Another part is why so many of Smallbone Cove's residents look so similar and how some of the residents can be as old as they say they are.
An odd mix of werepeople, selkie legends, the reversing of spells, and ancient badness come together in a delightful fantasy. I loved the ending. And I thoroughly enjoyed the ride there. I also liked the smart alecky books that plague Nick as he searches for answers. That boy is too curious.
STEM, STEAM and girls who do experiments - hearken! A new scientist is on the block.
Some people are lucky. I received an ARC of this book several months ago. I will never part with it. Melissa Sweet has put together a masterpiece about a masterful writer, E. B. White.
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From my inbox to yours! Candlewick's Classroom Guide for October includes an annotated book list on immigration stories - about families moving here from far away. (Oh and other cool stuff, as well.)
Find books to share with classes, storytimes and your favorite small listener. Maybe, you will get a chance to share your own family's story of arrival.