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1. Tenth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge

48 Hour Book ChallengeHard to believe, but we're up to the Tenth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge, and with year ten, we're going back to basics. While I have loved past experiences of reading for RIF and in solidarity with WeNeedDiverseBooks, this time it's a simple weekend, bookish, get-together. While some will skip sleeping for the readathon, only twelve hours are needed to be an official participant of the 48HBC. So, you can do this. The rules below are to help both you (how does this work again?) and me (please link to your blog or I can't find you!). It's all on the honor system and it's all for fun.

  1. The weekend is June 19th-21st, 2015. Read and review for any 48-hour period within the Friday-to-Sunday window. Start no sooner than 7:00 a.m. on Friday the ninetieth and end no later than midnight Sunday the twenty-first. So, go from 7:00 a.m. Friday to 7:00 a.m. on Sunday... or maybe 11:00 p.m. Friday to 11:00 p.m. Sunday works better for you. But once begun, the 48 hours do need to be in a row. That said, during that 48-hour period you may still have gaps of time in which you don't read or chose to sleep, and that’s totally fine.
  2. Three winners will be chosen at random from each of three levels of reading commitment - 12 to 23 hours, 24 to 35 hours, and 36 to 48 hours. Since each level will progressively have less participants, the more you read the better your chances. Top readers will win individual prizes. International winners may be given gift cards instead of books due to mailing costs, unless a U.S. address is provided.
  3. The books can be graphic novels, middle-grade, young adult, or adult books. One audiobook can also be included in your time and book total — helpful if you have somewhere to drive to or need to prepare dinner, etc.
  4. You are welcome to include some networking time reading and commenting on other participant’s blogs, sharing on Facebook, and Tweeting about your progress (remember the #48hbc tag!).
  5. When you begin, sign in at the "Starting Line" post at MotherReader on June 19th. When you finish, check in at the "Finish Line" post at MotherReader on June 21st.
  6. At the end, write a final summary that clearly indicates hours — including partial hours — you spent reading/reviewing/networking, the number of books read, and any other comments you want to make on the experience. To be counted, it needs to be posted no later than noon EST on Monday, June 22th.

I’m always looking for donations for winners’ prize packages and other “door prizes” to be awarded to participants selected at random. Past prizes have included original sketches from illustrators, loads of signed books, t-shirts from Threadless, artistic blank journals, jewelry, gift cards, notecards, and more. Good stuff. If you’d like to contribute to the prizes this year, shoot me an email at MotherReader AT gmail DOT com.

Sign up now in the comments and block the dates on your calendar. Questions can also go in the comments, and I will respond in the comments and add a FAQ soon. Let's have some reading fun!

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

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2. Save the Date: 48 Hour Book Challenge

What better way to come back to blogging from my accidental sabbatical than by announcing the dates for the Tenth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge! We're going a touch later in the month of June than in previous years, but still before the ALA Conference. Hopefully everyone will be done with school and ready to relax with a bit - or a lot - of reading. It will be a low-key affair, but even the most casual of gatherings needs some established rules - that's why we don't double-dip our chips at parties - so those will go up on Monday. If you are too excited to wait, they will look remarkably similar to these.

So it's time to synchronize our calendars and make sure we're saving some time on...

June 19th - 21st

Yeah. You can feel the energy.

Check back for the details.

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3. Festivus: The Airing of the Grievances

Yes, it’s Festivus, the holiday for the rest-of-us, and now is the time for the airing of the grievances. You have free space in the comments for whatever is getting in your craw. I’ll start:

The director who didn't give my daughter the part she totally should have had. Still mad.

My mom - who doesn't read this blog - calling with problems that I can do nothing about from two hundred miles away. Misplaced keys? Can't program the phone? Lost the cat leash? Maybe try calling a local friend, neighbor, or my brother who lives in the same city.

Aging, like in general. My friends and I are dealing with multitudes of issues with elderly parents. And frankly, I'm not too happy with not being able to get myself off the floor without groaning. Aging sort of sucks.

Myself, for leaving so much to the last minute and generally being adverse to getting the work done.
So how about you? None of your people are likely to see your grievances all the way over at my blog, so go nuts. Talk about your boss, your neighbor, your drama queen of a friend. Tomorrow we can get back into the spirit of the season, but now it’s venting time.

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4. 150 Ways to Give a Book

I realize I haven't been posting, but it wouldn't feel like the holidays if I didn't update and share my traditional 150 Ways to Give a Book. They are all MotherReader-approved titles — i.e., Good Books. There are a lot more choices for younger kids, as that’s the group we adults most fear disappointing with giving “only” a book. And picture books are kind of easier to do. After the book and gift selections, I’ve also included ways to wrap a book, and book-themed gifts to include for a variety of ages. There are a few new 2014 titles mixed in with older ones — though there aren’t many classics, as I’ve tried to select books that kids would be less likely to have on their shelves.

Sometimes I choose the hardback when the paperback is also available, so check if that is important to you. I’ve also linked to the fun extras through Amazon, for example, to save you shopping time, and because I get some small credit for your purchases through the Amazon Associates program. But know that you can find cheaper alternatives for some small things — paints, pens, journals, etc. — at a local discount store. On the other hand, doing all your purchases online and having them sent to your door is priceless.

I'm always looking for new ideas, so leave suggestions in the comments. I hope you'll share this link as you promote giving books as gifts for the holidays and that you find some great ideas for your own friends and family. Enjoy!


  1. Give an experience like a trip to a zoo, aquarium, museum, aviary, arena, or city. Put the passes, tickets, or homemade gift certificate with a relevant book to make it feel more tangible.
  2. Take a road trip with Ask Me so you can use the driving time to ask each other the interesting questions from the book.
  3. Give a book with a movie theater gift card to see the upcoming film.
  4. Give a book with a gift card to rent the movie. Include a box of microwave popcorn.
  5. One Hen - How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference
  6. Give One Hen — How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference with a loan to Kiva or a donation to Heifer International to buy chicks.
  7. Pair any book with another book from the bargain section, maybe something silly or crafty or gimmicky.
  8. Pair a detective book with a magnifying glass.
  9. Match poetry books with word beads or magnetic poetry.
  10. Pair a picture book with a related stuffed animal.
  11. Give an interesting, insightful book with a restaurant gift card and a date to discuss the book together over a meal.
  12. Honor the book enthusiast with necklace along with a new title.
  13. Celebrate writing too with special journals from Tara Books, an independent press based in India.
Picture Books
  1. Learn letters with ABC, Baby Me! board book or The Sleepy Little Alphabet and letter links.
  2. Or work with numbers (and colors) with 10 Hungry Rabbits and magnetic numbers.
  3. Or let them battle it out with 123 vs ABC and bath toys
  4. The Day the Crayons Quit
  5. Give The Day the Crayons Quit with a pack of fat crayons and a stack of copy paper from an office supply store.
  6. Or go with Art and Max or Blue Chicken with a paint set.
  7. Pair The Curious Garden with gardening tools and seeds.
  8. It’s almost dessert when you give The Cow Loves Cookies with a cookie counting game.
  9. What else can go with Extra Yarn but extra yarn? Well, and knitting needles and instructions.
  10. Pair Kite Flying and/or Kite Day with a new kite.
  11. Give Bats at the Ballgame with a bat and ball. You can throw in a coupon book for practice sessions.
  12. Take a bedtime book like Little Owl’s Night, A Bedtime for Bear or Sweet Dreams and add a night light.
  13. Or choose A Full Moon is Rising or Moonlight with glow-in-the-dark moon and stars — or go high tech with this Moon in my Room.
  14. Giant Dance Party
  15. Get moving with Giant Dance Party with Kids Dance Party CD.
  16. Keep up the music by giving Drum City with an old-time tin drum.
  17. Pair Bubble Trouble with touchable bubbles.
  18. Ballet dancers will love the classic Angelina Ballerina or the slightly edgyVampirina Ballerina (or both) with a fancy tutu or two… two.
  19. Give little superheroes SuperHero ABC along with a superhero cape.
  20. Encourage a future Iron Chef by giving Rainbow Stew or Oscar and the Very Hungry Dragon with a cooking set.
  21. Silliness ensues with Pigs to the Rescue and the Pass the Pigs game.
  22. Take it outside with Chalk with 3-D sidewalk chalk.
  23. The Monstore
  24. Pair Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site or Building with Dad with toy construction vehicles.
  25. Give The Monstore with the monster game.
  26. Who can resist that match-up of Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek with Lincoln Logs?
  27. Give your little dragon-lover Hush Little Dragon or Guess What I Found in Dragon Wood with a cute dragon.
  28. Is there a doctor in the house? There will be with picture book Doctor Ted along with a doctor kit.
  29. Future firefighter instead? Give Fire! Fuego! along with Firefighters A to Z and firefighter gear.
  30. Pair picture book Crafty Chloe with a selection of craft supplies.
  31. What else can go with Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum other than lots of bubble gum.
  32. Cat lovers can enjoy picture books Here Comes Santa Cat, Katie Loves the Kittens, and Won Ton with a cat card game.
  33. Here Comes Trouble!
  34. Or let the dogs out with Dogs, Here Comes Trouble!, and If You Give a Dog a Donut and dog themed dominoes.
  35. Add a car to a child's train set, but include Steam Train, Dream Train or Elisha Cooper's Train.
  36. Nature lovers will enjoy Birdsongs along with a guidebook like Backyard Birds and some binoculars.
  37. For more nature, pair A Butterfly is Patient with a butterfly garden kit.
  38. Give your favorite girly-girl Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy with dress-up jewelry and/or a fancy poodle.
  39. Give your rough little boy Pirates Don’t Change Diapers along with genuine pirate gear.
  40. Another nighttime choice is Goodnight, Little Monster with an Ugly Doll.
  41. Give picture book The Moon with a special flashlight and a promise for a nighttime walk or two.
  42. Blackout
  43. Or for a different angle with that flashlight, pair with Blackout and prepare for indoor fun with the lights out.
  44. Take fun picture book Fold Me a Poem and pair it with an origami kit.
  45. Picture books A Sick Day for Amos McGee or Panda-monium at Peek Zoo would be perfect with a zoo animal collection or game.
  46. Or head down to the Farm, adding a Lace and Trace Farm Set.
  47. 999 Frogs Wake Up goes nicely with Flingin' Frogs game.
  48. For a western theme, give A Night on the Range or Every Cowgirl Loves a Rodeo with a cowboy hat.
  49. Take a special book, like Wow! It Sure is Good to Be You (which is about an aunt loving her far-away niece), and make a CD recording of you reading it.
  50. Pair Duck and Goose with a bright ball.
  51. Dusk
  52. Celebrate the season with the beautiful Dusk and appropriate lights or decorations.
  53. The funny wordless book Once Upon a Banana is a perfect fit with a stuffed monkey — but show your sense of humor by throwing a banana into the gift bag.
  54. Another wordless book choice is the visually stunning The Tree House, which works surprisingly well with Littlest Pet Shop brown bear and polar bear.
  55. Give The Snow Globe Family with a snow globe.
  56. Pair Lilly’s Big Day with dress-up clothes.
  57. Or another dress-up option is the Ladybug Girl books with wings and antennae.
  58. Pair Bubble Bath Pirates with a cool rubber duck.
  59. Give the wonderful The Day the Babies Crawled Away with a baby doll.
  60. Everyone needs Mo Willems’ book Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, maybe adding a toy bus.
  61. Pair classic A Bargain For Frances with a tea set.
Early Elementary
    Boy! Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs
  1. Pair a nonfiction book about dinosaurs, like Boy! Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs, with a bunch of plastic ones.
  2. Give Instructions with a book of classic fairy tales, and make time to read them together.
  3. Introduce a folktale with Maneki Neko: the Tale of the Beckoning Cat and giving lucky cat bank.
  4. Pair silly beginning reader book The Monster in the Backpack with a cute backpack (monster additional).
  5. Give beginning reader books Amazing Sharks! and National Geographic Readers: Sharks! and throw in a shark on a stick.
  6. Take to the ice with book choices Katie Kazoo, On Thin Ice and passes to the local ice-skating rink.
  7. Soccer Cats
  8. Give a title from the Soccer Cats series with a soccer ball.
  9. Pair Toys Go Out with a red bouncy ball, or a plush stingray or buffalo.
  10. Pair Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs with a kazoo.
  11. Give early chapter book series books Rainbow Fairies or Flower Fairies with lovely little fairies.
  12. Blooming fashionistas will appreciate Paper Fashions (Klutz) (all thirty-five Amazon reviews gave five stars!) along with Fashion Kitty.
  13. Combine sweet Jenny and the Cat Club with a red scarf (don’t worry if it’s too long — so is Jenny’s) and a black cat.
  1. Satisfy a sweet tooth with The Candymakers with a candy making kit.
  2. Pair Operation YES! with green army men.
  3. Be a hero and give Percy Jackson and the Olympians Boxed Set with Heroes, Gods, and Monsters of the Greek Myths.
  4. Pair fantasy book The Strange Case of the Origami Yoda with a Stars Wars 'Ask the Force' top.
  5. Give What the World Eats with a promise for an international dinner out or in.
  6. Pair Every Soul a Star with The Kids Book of the Night Sky and plan a date to look at the stars together.
  7. For business-minded kids, pair The Lemonade War with a coin counter bank.
  8. Expand the idea of giving with The One and Only Ivan with an adopt-an-animal program at your local zoo.
  9. All the elementary school kids will love The Invention of Hugo Cabret, but you can pair it with tin wind-up toys for extra flair.
  10. Give Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little with um, Stuart Little.
  11. Frankenstein
  12. You can’t go wrong with the funny poems and outstanding art in Frankenstein Takes the Cake along with a cake-baking session, followed by reading the book together. As a matter of fact, throw in Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich and make a whole day — and meal — of it.
  13. Speaking of the amazing Adam Rex, give the hilarious book The True Meaning of Smekday with a the related T-shirt Regarding Stickyfish Teams, I Favor the Bigfield Fighting Koobish.
  14. Give Kimchi & Calamari with a promise for a dinner out Korean style, or Italian style, or both.
  15. Wrap up A Crooked Kind of Perfect with excellent toe socks.
  16. Perhaps Fabulous Hair with a collection of hair accessories will make someone smile.
  17. Pair a diary-format book like My Explosive Diary (2nd/3rd grade), Amelia’s Notebook (4th/5th grade), or The Princess Diaries (6th/7th grade) with a journal and fun pens
.Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck
  • For a boy, how about the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul with the Do It Yourself Journal?
  • Have fun with Clarice Bean Spells Trouble and a game of Scrabble.
  • Pair Phineas MacGuire... Erupts! with a science kit, or the next book in the series, Phineas MacGuire... Gets Slimed! with the slime science kit.
  • Look to fantastic nonfiction, giving Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon with a homemade coupon for a visit to the Air and Space Museum (okay, this might only work around Washington, D.C.) or astronaut ice cream.
  • Give a drawing book like Draw 50 Aliens or Draw 50 Animals with a couple of nice sketch pads.
  • Pair a spy-themed book like Harriet the Spy (chapter book) or The Real Spy’s Guide to Becoming a Spy (nonfiction) with rear-view sunglasses and/or a fingerprint kit.
  • Bigger girls like stuffed animals, too. How about Hoot with an owl or The World According to Humphrey with a hamster?
  • Select a magic book and fun magic tricks.
  • Pair D.I.Y.: Kids with a gift card to a local craft store, and maybe some shopping and crafting time together.
  • Book of Animal Poetry
  • Match the book and the movie, like The Spiderwick Chronicles with the DVD.
  • Pair a theme book like Katie and the Mustang with a horse charm and a satin cord from a craft store.
  • Or maybe Fairy Realm with a charm bracelet.
  • Give the first books of The Series of Unfortunate Events with a brass telescope.
  • Pair The Art Book for Children with watercolor paints or an art set.
  • Give National Geographic's Book of Animal Poetry, Forget-Me-Nots: Poems to Learn by Heart or Poetry Speaks to Children with hot chocolate, a mug, and a gift certificate for time to read it together.
  • Teen
    1. Give the companion books Goth Girl Rising and The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl , and throw in How to Draw Comic Book Heroes and Villains.
    2. Pair a book that you and a teen can enjoy with a gift card to Starbucks and a promise to talk about the book over coffee. Some suggestions? Liar, Candor, or The Adoration of Jenna Fox have interesting issues.
    3. Beauty Queens
    4. Give Beauty Queens with a small makeup kit, and a healthy dose of irony.
    5. Rock out with Beige along with a mix CD of the songs in the chapter titles (or an iTunes gift card).
    6. Buy a tween Better Nate Than Ever along with tickets to a show.
    7. Pair House of Dance with ballroom dance lessons.
    8. Give delicious book A La Carte with personal cooking lessons.
    9. Match casino gambling themed Drop with a deck of cards and a family game of penny poker or blackjack.
    10. Pair King Dork with a CD of The Mr. T Experience.
    11. Treat a tween to Middle School is Worse Than Meatloaf along with pink nail polish, lipstick, post-it notes, and special bubble bath, as mentioned in the book.
    12. Pair
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    5. Cybils 2014

    The last couple of weeks, I've been doing much of my kidlitosphere work behind the scenes selecting the judges for this year's Cybils awards. I'm very excited to introduce the panels for Fiction Picture Books, and we're going to have a great time sorting through over two hundred expected nominations to bring you the best titles. Get in your nominations and make us work for it!

    I just wanted to say that if you weren't selected this year as a Cybils judge, don't take it personally. Please understand that the category chairs balance a lot of factors in putting together panels that can represent different perspectives and experience. Many times we were passing on former judges to let someone new have a chance. Other conversations had us we comparing how many librarians versus authors we had in a category. We might "give up" an experienced candidate to other category that needed more institutional knowledge. A blogger with tons of reviews might balance a less prolific blogger. An impassioned statement of why a candidate wanted to participate in the Cybils might trump their less passionate reviewing. Or not. In putting together panels we're looking for a mix of experience levels, different perspectives, blogging frequency, community participation, thoughtful reviewing, positive referrals, and application statements. Even the state where you live can become a tie-breaker.

    And all these factors don't even getting into the various preferences of the category chairs. For me, an enthusiastic statement on the application can be more compelling than in-depth reviews. The Young Adult category, on the other hand, may
    not choose a candidate that uses a lot of jacket-flap copy. Some of us look first to the "kidlit-related actives" part of the application, while others are noting the Twitter handle.

    So it's bit of luck, along with talent, as in many many thing. If I were to give any advice, I'd suggest to apply early in the process , use the two discussion questions to tell us about yourself, make sure you submit sample posts that are relevant and show off some level of book analysis. If you didn't make the Cybils judging this year, please try again. And certainly help us in choosing the best books by nominating your favorite titles.

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    6. Back to Basics

    This past Saturday I staffed my library's booth at the local fall festival. I have two takeaways from the experience. One, never to accept the booth location downwind from the barbecue. It's hot and you'll be soooo hungry. Two, children do not know nursery rhymes. Or kids songs. Or much about books.

    To encourage visitors to our booth, we had a trivia game to win a free book from our book sale donations. Given that we had brought a very very lot of books, we were very very disposed to the kids answering correctly. This turned out to be harder that expected.

    The five year old who didn't know the story of Little Red Riding Hood had a hard time picking out the wolf as the bad guy. A preschooler couldn't identify "wool" as the product that the black sheep might provide. I gave up on asking the color of Madeline's dress or even - most sadly for me - what the pigeon wanted to drive. (THE BUS!)

    The older kids were spotty in their knowledge, but I got better at sifting through my question choices to find easy ones. I thought the kids would know the author of Fudge and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. I thought teens would know the author of Twlight. These were the questions I thought were fairly easy - and were multiple choice, by the way - but instead revealed the Book Bubble that we occupy where everyone is a reader.

    I helped at this festival last year as well, finding the same thing, and it changed the way I do story times. I stopped looking for clever ways to incorporate fall leaves into "Old MacDonald" and started just singing "Old MacDonald." I went back to the basics with songs and rhymes. I brought in more classics that I hadn't been using because I figured everyone knew them already. Spoiler alert: they didn't.

    Another thing on the songs and rhymes. I've noticed a difference in the participation of the kids and parents from when I started doing this. Ten years ago I had more kids sing along a bit, and definitely more parents. Now the kids look at me blankly as if they've never heard "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and the parents are looking at the handout for the words.

    My fellow storytellers, I love all that is new and exciting in our book world, but it might be time to go back to the basics. What do you think?

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    7. Back to Work

    I didn't intend to take a summer-long blog break. It just sort of happened. Some part of it can be attributed to a big life change of sending my eldest to college. I will admit that I spent time sort of staring at her as if she were a great work of art. And really, it's not far from the truth. But my girls didn't dominate my attention in the way they did when they were children - negotiating playdates, refereeing squabbles, fixing snacks, and making endless trips to the pool. They were self-sufficient. The eldest with her job and college-bound friends. The younger with music/theater classes and play rehearsal. But I relished the time I could spend with them, even if it was simply sharing the same room.

    A bigger part of my blog absence is due to working at the library among children's books, which seems counter to expectation. But this was the busiest summer for me that I can remember. Mostly because we were continually understaffed and my work shifts were intense. When I wasn't answering endless questions at the information desk, I was shelving yet another influx of the new returns and replenishing the displays that I had just filled that morning. I'd leave the day tired and literally sweating.

    While it was exhausting, I was happy to see so many library patrons and summer reading participants. I was excited to help kids find books they wanted, and I loved the attention from kindergarteners who stared at me wide-eyed before shouting, "You came to my school!" I was a minor celebrity in this little world of books.

    But sometimes it could be draining, with a fair number of the summer crowd who were starting from scratch in the library. Now they wanted to know what their kids should read. But when I asked what they had been reading or liked to read, I got blank stares. Many of the parents - a diverse selection - had absolutely no idea. Occasionally I'd hit on a series like Magic Tree House or Harry Potter that helped me make a suggestion. When able, I'd turn to the child and could always find something suitable.

    I was glad that they were using the library. I loved finding the books that they liked. But the interactions left a lingering discomfort of the parental role in reading. And these were the ones who came to the library and asked for help. Has recreational reading been completely outsourced to school and the teachers?

    Knowing that these parents, the ones who cared enough to come to library, didn't know about books or what their child might be reading made it hard to write about books. Maybe, I wondered, no one really cares. The parents don't want to leaf through suggestions. They want lists, preferably by grade and/or Lexile score. They aren't interested in which books transcend the genre. They want to know the DRA level. They often didn't want to know what was good, just what was here - on the shelf.

    So much of my summer was bittersweet. Spending time with my girls who are growing up and moving on. Spending time among my favorite books, knowing that the specifics of quality that I invest myself in finding is probably less important to most parents that what book has the right Lexile score or happens to be handy.

    How does that change what I'm doing? I don't know. If my revelations and soul-searching was bittersweet, well, I tend to focus on the sweet. So I'll do that

    Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

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    8. Booktalking Season

    Last year I was so organized that I shared my booktalks online, while this year I've been lucky if they are mentally rehearsed before I go into the school. I've had a lot on my mind.

    But whether or not I have a graduating senior or need to plan the Girl Scout bridging ceremony for over a hundred girls, our booktalking season is upon us. Quite late this year as our kids are still in school. In fact, that senior doesn't even get to do the graduating part until June 23rd. Crazy, right? It's especially frustrating as other high schools were done yesterday, but we all have to take our turn with the local university facilities and we are last. It's ridiculous.

    So far I've gone into two elementary schools to talk about the summer reading program and booktalk some titles, and it's gone well. I had a great partner both times, which really helps. We have different kinds of books, and we can take turns with the introductions and the talking. I'm not thrilled to be heading out tomorrow alone for a four hour stretch with no breaks and seven class sessions. Is that how other public libraries do it, I wonder?

    Later I'll share some of the books I talked about this year. My "hooks" weren't as good as usual, but there were definitely some titles that caught their attention. It was great luck being able to pitch a soccer book - Keeper, by Mal Peet - during the World Cup games. Lots of interest there!

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    9. Ninth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge: Winners!

    What a weekend! With all the reading and reviewing done over the last couple of days, I feel like we're all winners. Am I right? But there were some noteworthy 48HBC achievements to be recognized and to prizes to award, so let's get started!

    With 38 hours and 34 books read, the Champion of the Challenge is one Ms. Yingling! She wins the opportunity to donate a set of forty multicultural titles to a school or library of her choice through the generosity of Reading is Fundamental. Since she was a big prize donor of books and is so reluctant to receive back, she'll be getting a surprise prize package from yours truly. Both congratulations and thanks go out to her!

    Coming in at 35.5 hours and 13 books read and reviewed is The One and Only Marfalfa. Beth at Library Chicken gives up 32 hours and reviews eight books for the challenge, and close behind with 30 hours of reading and reviewing is Alex at Randomly Reading. They will all be receiving an audiobook from Robin Brande and a collection of books contributed by Ms. Yingling!

    And now for some prizes selected at random, just for playing:

    The winner of five multicultural picture and chapter books from MotherReader is:
    Sprout's Bookshelf!

    The winner of a set of four diverse young adult books from Kelly at Stacked is:
    A Random Hodge Podge of Bookishness!

    And the winner of the second RIF multicultural book collection, along with an author signed Cupcake Cousins and tote bag designed by Tiffany Gholar, is:
    Library Mama!

    We had eighteen members of the 20 Hour Club:

    Always in the Middle - 25.25 hours
    As Inclination Leads Me - 21.5 hours
    Book Challenge Blog - 20.5 hours
    By Singing Light - 20 hours
    Charlotte's Library - 20.25 hours
    Confessions of a Bibliovore - 25 hours
    Library Chicken - 32 hours
    Love Notes to the Future - 24.5 hours
    More like Flowers - 20 hours
    MotherReader - 22 hours
    Ms. Yingling Reads - 38 hours
    No Boys Allowed - 24.5 hours
    The One and Only Marfalfa - 35.5 hours
    Quietly 20 hours
    Randomly Reading - 30 hours
    ReadSpace - 21.75 hours
    The Sphere Also Gazes Into You - 25 hours
    Technically a School Media Specialist - 20 hours

    Thanks to all for being part of the 48 Hour Book Challenge!

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    10. Ninth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge: Finish Line

    You made it! Yay you!

    When you finish your 48 hours, sign in with Mr. Linky below with the link to your final summary, which should include the number and/or titles of books read and the amount of time spent on the challenge. Rounding to the quarter hour will do just fine. Given different starting times over the weekend and time zones, the absolute end is set at Monday, June 9th, at 7:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time and all final summary posts should be up by then. Winners, prizes and such will be announced on Monday afternoonish.

    Thanks to everyone who participated, supported, and promoted the 48 Hour Book Challenge!

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    11. Another #48 Hour Book Challenge Update

    Got in five solid hours of reading and blog reading/responding last night with two books, both of which broke my heart a little. The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond, by Brenda Woods reminded me of my niece, as she is biracial raised in a white family. At seven, I haven't heard her express the concerns or thoughts of Violet Diamond, but I've always thought I was prepared to address them. Reading this book, I'm not as ready as I believed myself to be. It was just so open about things, it took me off guard. But in a good way. Really enjoyed it.

    After reading Zane and the Hurricane, I felt like going back to read Ninth Ward, by Jewell Parker Rhodes. It was a good decision, because it filled the lyrical and emotional gap I found wanting in the first book. That said, Zane's story is a better account of what happened in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. A good pairing should be enough, but I realized that I had Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere in my small ARC pile, so we're going for three Katrina books in one weekend. I'd watch Beasts of the Southern Wild again to complete the experience, but I don't need to cry on my birthday.

    Yup, it's my birthday. One of the reasons I started doing 48 Hour Book Challenge around this time of year to spend my birthday reading. Not a bad plan, right? I've started with a light title this morning, Tua and the Elephant, and now it's time for some YA.

    Wondering if you could still join us even now? Sure, why not? From where I sit you could do a block from now through the early morning and get your twelve hours in on time. Nothing like last minute Sunday plans. Here's where to start.

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    12. Halfway Through 48HBC Update

    If you're going to host a reading marathon thing, maybe don't make it around your daughter's senior prom. Because while you might think that after she heads out the door - a sparkling princess in a gabbing group of giggly girls - you'll have the evening to relax and read as you wait for her post-midnight pick-up call, you won't. Well, there will be the time to read, if you can avoid the pictures already coming up online and if you don't drift off mid-paragraph wondering if they'll play her jam.

    So while I put in five hours of reading time on Friday evening, with two middle-grade titles completed it was not my speediest reading. Reviews come later, but I'll mention the titles, Zane and the Hurricane and The Garden of My Imaan, and that I enjoyed them both.

    This morning I woke up and found myself analyzing Facebook pictures with the Teen and her best friend, as we talked about the current style of prom dresses, who is really dating as opposed to who needed a date, and which couples are just the nicest people.

    I can really only claim another five hours so far today, with another two books down and a little writing to show for it. (Did I mention that new pictures from my senior Girl Scouts are coming out all day? It's very distracting.) While The Servant by Fatima Sharafeddine left me a little cold, I was surprised by the depth and insight of The Counterfeit Family Tree of Vee Crawford-Wong, by L. Tam Holland. I'd expected the first title to have a literary feel, and it read rather dry. Interesting, but the third person point of view through me off. The cover of Holland's book led me to think I was in for fun, and while there was humor, there was a lot more hurt and heart within. Honestly this afternoon, I would have preferred something light and fluffy, but I can't be annoyed at a book for being too good.

    I did break in the middle of today's reading to run up to my library, where one of my books I had earmarked for this weekend had come in from a hold, and because after reading Zane and the Hurricane I had a craving to revisit Ninth Ward. So after a bit of writing and dinner, that book is up next along with the library book I retrieved, The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond, by Brenda Woods. I also have some fantasy on deck.

    I'm holding off on posting my reviews so I don't crowd out the official 48 Hour Book Challenge posts. Oh, and if you are just tuning in, you are welcome to play along. At this point there isn't the whole weekend to work with, but enough to carve out at least the twelve hours that officially counts you as a participant. Sign-up at the 48HBC Starting Line and get reading!

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    13. Ninth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge: Starting Line

    Okay, it’s go time, people. Make ready the snacks, caffeine, and good books. Oh, and here are the guidelines and FAQ's, in case you need a refresher.

    When you start your 48 hours, sign in with Mr. Linky below. (I know, going old school here.) Keep track of your time — which includes reading, blogging, and connecting (for every five hours reading/reviewing you can take one hour of blog reading, tweeting, and general bookish socializing). To keep the Starting Line post at the top of my blog, I won’t publish my personal posts until sometime Saturday morning.

    On Sunday, I’ll have a Finish Line post where you can leave the link to your final summary, which should include the amount of time spent on the challenge. Rounding to the quarter hour will do just fine. Winners, prizes and such will be announced on Monday afternoonish.

    Have fun, read well, and read diversely.

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    14. 48 Hour Book Challenge: Prizes and Heroes

    Like many causes of equality, the issue of diversity in children's literature is nothing new, though I am hopeful that the rising voices across multiple platforms can affect change. But it's also a great time to acknowledge some of the heroes of the cause along the way... or at least those that somehow are connected to the 48 Hour Book Challenge.

    Thank you to Reading is Fundamental, who will contribute their Multicultural STEAM Book Collections sponsored by Macy's to be donated by winner to a school or other child serving organization where they will be used. These wonderful collections have been part of the RIF initiative for a while, bringing diverse books to kids who need them. I will award one collection to a random selected winner from all 48 Hour Book Challenge finishers who complete twelve hours or more during the weekend. Thanks again to RIF for their support.

    Thank you to A Year of Reading who made me teary-eyed with this:
    In honor of all of the reading Pam has inspired over the years with her blog and with 48HBC, and especially because of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks focus this year, we are making a donation in her honor to First Book, a non-profit organization that provides access to new books for children in need.
    I am not only touched by the gesture of Franki and Mary Lee, but am so excited that they would donate to another hero of the cause, as First Book stepped up with a commitment to purchase 10,000 copies of diverse books it selects to distribute. And that's just another step for an organization already devoted to the cause of Stories for All.

    Another note of appreciation goes to Lee & Low Books, who've continued to send me review copies even as I've been less than great about getting reviews published. But for me, they've exposed me to a world of titles that I've been able to ask my public library to acquire. For you, they've now contributed a collection of books that I'll be giving out as prizes to 48 Hour Book Challenge winners. I'd also like to thank them for just being there, publishing books that are so very needed. I suspect it is not the most profitable business model that could be conceived in an industry that always seems to be chasing the next Harry Potter or Wimpy Kid or Twilight series, but it's honorable and admirable. Thank you Lee & Low Books, for being a leader in diversity.

    Thanks go out to my KidLitosphere buddies who have been promoting the 48HBC through blogs, tweets, and listservs so that we can have a weekend reading and sharing titles for all kids. Thanks to #WeNeedDiverseBooks as a movement and website, which invigorated me to take my weekend off work and give it back to books.

    An official 48 Hour Book Challenge sign-in goes up tomorrow morning, but I'd love to see your comments or book lists on the original post or here. Thanks!

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    15. 48 Hour Book Challenge More Prizes

    Last year the indomitable Ms Yingling ran the challenge, and she's not slacking this year either contributing yet another stack of books for prizes. There are at least two titles here that I would snatch right up, so I better have them sent directly to winner or I can't be held responsible for my behavior. (Note: I had to look up indomitable both for spelling and meaning, and I nailed it.)

    Perhaps you'll be putting your haul in a lovely tote bag designed and donated by Tiffany Gholar.

    I'm excited to share a title written and contributed by Robin Brande, Doggirl a great story featuring the perfect intersection of dogs and drama and time-limited challenges. There's more, but I promised a piecemeal approach to prizes. Plus I have to take the Kid to pointe class. So stay tuned...

    (I mean stay tuned unless you're writing me to offer prizes, in which case you can do so anytime at MotherReader AT gmail DOT com.)

    Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

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    16. 48 Hour Book Challenge Prizes

    Ack! I had a whole post to do about 48 Hour Book Challenge prizes, but it's been one of those mornings. And by that I mean specifically one of those mornings where I sort of forgot that I have to get to work today for a meeting at 1:00 p.m. So, I'm going to do this in pieces and it won't be thorough and I'll remind everyone that 48 Hour Book Challenge isn't about the prizes, but an opportunity to share an experience as a community from the comfort of our own homes doing what we love to do, i.e. read, while also advocating, promoting, and otherwise celebrating diversity in children's and young adult literature in this year's connection to #WeNeedDiverseBooks.

    Meanwhile, I'll be going back to my email later this afternoon to pull together the prizes that I know are there but don't have time to write about this very instant. But hey, how about the timing on this lovely package from Abrams Books today?

    It's now a prize! See how easy it is to become a prize in the 48HBC? Have something you'd like to contribute? Drop me a line at MotherReader AT gmail DOT com.

    Oh, and sign up to participate in the 48 Hour Book Challenge!

    Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

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    17. 48 Hour Book Challenge: Call for Diversity

    With this year's 48 Hour Book Challenge devoted to the cause of diverse books, I started pulling together my own reading pile for this weekend. It's been more than a little sad. I haven't been requesting review books for a while, so I turned to my public library to find something current. I could only find two middle-grade titles.

    Now, I know that it takes months for titles to show up at the library, and these just happened to be on the shelf. So I searched the catalog and eyeballed covers finding a total of four recent books in a large public library system that serves a broad and very diverse community. Granted, this was in no way a detailed examination of our collection, but it gives me another reason to ask for your participation in the 48 Hour Book Challenge. I need your book reviews so that I can make collection requests to my library.

    You know what, you need book reviews so that you can make requests to your public library.

    Many kid lit folk are working hard to promote titles, and that excites me. Our writers and illustrators can create them, and we can continue to put pressure on publishers to acquire them. But at the heart of it all, bookstores and libraries need to buy these books. We can help with that too by asking our public and school libraries to add these titles to their collections.

    But we can't do that if we don't know what they are. So let's keep up the steps that created outrage at BEA and yet also featured strongly at the same setting with an excellent BookCon panel. Something that started as a hashtag and moved to an online home at WeNeedDiverseBooks. Let's show each other and anyone else who will see all the great titles that are out there. I hope you'll participate in the 48 Hour Book Challenge - even if you can't commit the weekend, or even much of it, to read and promote books. We need you and We Need Diverse Books.

    Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

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    18. Countdown to 48 Hour Book Challenge

    With the 48 Hour Book Challenge at the end of this very week, it is time to get prepared. That admonishment was certainly less for my readers than for me, as I have been trying to get it together while navigating a minefield of end-of-school madness added to my usual run-of-the-mill madness. But I'll start with a tease of prizes donated by Ms Yingling and continue with more during the week. So these look pretty pretty good:

    There's more to come, for sure. Stay tuned! I'd also like to collect some suggestions for diverse books to explore in our collaboration with #WeNeedDiverseBooks. So if you have a list, post, Pinterest board, or interpretive dance that you can share, well that's what comments are for. (Though obviously, their tumblr page is a pretty pretty good place to start too.)

    The official sign-up will go up on Friday, June 6th but you're invited to pop into the comments of the 48 Hour Book Challenge opener for a pre-commitment support group. Remember that you don't actually have to read/blog for 48 hours to participate. Just look to reading a bit more and perhaps a bit differently than you would otherwise and we'll all have a bit of fun together.

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    19. Ninth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge

    48 Hour Book ChallengeYup, it's the Ninth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge — that weekend readathon of legend. Last year, Ms. Yingling graciously hosted this challenge as I had multiple conflicts. Of course, now this year I've ended up busy and distracted with the remarkable adventures of two teenage girls. But then something was percolating around the Internet that inspired me and gave me a reason to engage. So in solidarity of the cause of WeNeedDiverseBooks, this year's 48 Hour Book Challenge is dedicated to reading, sharing and reviewing books that show diversity in all ways.

    I'm hoping with lots of participants over the weekend, that we can saturate the blogosphere with dozens - nay, HUNDREDS - of titles that show the beautiful range of the human experience. That's our challenge. And saying that may be a good time to reminder readers that while the window of reading allows 48 hours, you could read for much less and STILL participate. Twelve hours - and not even in a row - qualifies you as an official participant who can join in reading and sharing diverse books for one wonderful weekend. So please consider coming on board. Here are the basics:

    1. The weekend is June 6-8, 2014. Read and blog for any 48-hour period within the Friday-to-Monday-morning window. Start no sooner than 7:00 a.m. on Friday the sixth and end no later than 7:00 a.m. Monday the ninth. So, go from 7:00 p.m. Friday to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday... or maybe 7:00 a.m. Saturday to 7:00 a.m. Monday works better for you. But once begun, the 48 hours do need to be in a row. That said, during that 48-hour period you may still have gaps of time in which you can’t read, and that’s fine.
    2. The books should be middle-grade, young adult, or adult books. If you are generally a picture book blogger, consider this a good time to get caught up on all those wonderful books you’ve been hearing about. Graphic novels can be included in the reading. One audiobook can also be included in your time and book total — helpful if you have somewhere to drive to or need to prepare dinner, etc.
    3. Three winners will be chosen at random from each of three levels of reading commitment - 12 to 23 hours, 24 to 35 hours, and 36 to 48 hours. Since each level will progressively have less participants, the more you read the better your chances. Top readers will still win individual prizes. International winners may be given gift cards instead of books due to mailing costs, unless a U.S. address is provided.
    4. It’s your call as to how much you want to put into it. If you want to skip sleep and showers to do this — and some people do — go for it. If you want to be a bit more laid back, fine. But you have to put something into it or it’s not a challenge. Twelve hours is the benchmark for winning prizes.
    5. The length of the reviews or notes written in your blog are not an issue. You can write a sentence, a paragraph, or a full-length review. Up to you. The time spent reviewing counts in your total time.
    6. You can include some amount of time reading other participant’s blogs, commenting on participating blogs and Facebook pages, and Tweeting about your progress (remember the #48hbc tag!). For every five hours, you can add one hour of networking. This time counts in your total time.
    7. On your blog, state when you are starting the challenge with a specific entry on that day and leave the link to that post at the Starting Line post at MotherReader on June 6th. And please link to the contest on your post.
    8. When you finish, write a final summary that clearly indicates hours — including partial hours — you spent reading/reviewing/networking, the number of books read, and any other comments you want to make on the experience. It needs to be posted no later than noon EST on Monday, June 9th. Also, check in at the Finish Line post on MotherReader that will be posted Sunday and please link to that post from your final summary post.

    I’m always looking for donations for winners’ prize packages and other “door prizes” to be awarded to participants selected at random. Past prizes have included original sketches from Mo Willems and Matthew Holm, signed and sketched books from Adam Rex, loads of signed books, t-shirts from Threadless, artistic blank journals, jewelry, gift cards, notecards, and more. Good stuff. If you’d like to contribute to the prizes this year, shoot me an email at MotherReader AT gmail DOT com.

    Sign up now in the comments and block of the dates on your calendar. Questions can also go in the comments, and I will respond in the comments and add a FAQ soon. Talk this up, people! Let's have some fun!

    Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

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    20. Ninth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge FAQ's

    As we count down to reading as a marathon sport on June 6th, let's go over a few points. More questions? Ask them in the comments.

    Why does the 48 Hour Book Challenge actually takes place over more hours in the weekend?
    With time zones, work schedules, and "having a life," a broader window of opportunity gives more people a chance to participate.

    I can't read the whole time because I have a wedding/graduation/recital/monster-truck rally to attend. Is that okay?
    Yes. Once you start your hours they are continuous, but that doesn't mean that you won't have breaks - maybe even truly significant breaks - in your time. Though I'd gently suggest that if it is your wedding, you might reassess your priorities.

    Like, I have a LOT going on that weekend. How can I participate?
    Twelve hours is the minimum for the 48HBC, so if you read for four hours Friday evening, four Saturday afternoon, and four Sunday morning, you've officially participated. I don't know about you, but that's awfully close to a normal weekend at my house. ;)

    Do I need to have a blog to participate?
    Pretty much. But if you set one up just for this challenge, you wouldn’t be the first to do so. You might find that the 48HBC kicks off a new hobby for you.

    Do we have to read diverse books?
    I won't be policing participants' reading, but since we are not doing a readathon for monetary contribution, this is our social cause for the challenge. It is not required, but strongly encouraged.

    Can I count time reading to my child? Can my kids join in?
    You can certainly count time reading aloud to your child. Kids can always play along for the fun of it, but no prizes are offered. However, that doesn't mean that you couldn't give your own prize to your kid.

    Can I count hours spent writing reviews during the 48HBC even if I schedule them to post after the challenge? That is so adorably organized. Yes, feel free to write reviews that will post later, though you might note that in your final summary.

    How can I contact you to donate prizes?
    Write me at MotherReader AT gmail DOT com and let me know what you’d like to donate. I usually pull together a bunch of things — books, jewelry, notecards, T-shirts, etc. — to make prize packages for the winners. I also like to have a few authors who’d be willing to send a personalized, signed book to a blogger for a few randomly selected “door prizes.”

    I love this idea! How can I help?
    Blog it. Tweet it. Share it. Tell friends. Tell frenemies. Most of all, sign up! Being part of this community event is helping in a big way.

    Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

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    21. Theatre Mom Life

    With every thing that the Teen finishes up, I'm all, "thank God that's done." And then the next day, "ohmigod, that's DONE!" College decisions, made. AP tests, taken. Prom dress, selected. And the killer, last high school performance, completed.

    Performing Shakespeare's Antony & Cleopatra was an incredible undertaking for a high school. I'm not usually one to comment on how many lines are memorized - actors know that's the easy part - but in this case, let's give credit where credit is due. For A Midsummer Night's Dream, the leads Oberon, Puck, and Titania each have in the neighborhood of 250 lines. In this production - with a few cuts to the play - Antony and Cleopatra have about 700 each. So, yeah.

    Top off that incredible bit of memorization in about two months with incredible, emotional performances by both leads. Of course I'm extremely proud of my Teen, but I have to give credit also to her Antony without whose commitment she couldn't have shined so brightly. The student critics described their chemistry as impeccable, excellent, impressive, intense, dynamic, and unfaltering. And from someone who clearly needs a hug, “fairly believable.” Not too shabby for two teens who aren't dating but need to present one of the most passionate couples in history.

    Back to that critic thing. Our area participates in the Cappies program where student critics attend each other's plays and submit reviews for local publication and for local theatre awards. Teen's reviews came in with wonderful acclaims that pass a parent's glowing accounts. She was noted highly in just about every review (with the exception of one where the critic seemed to find the actors a necessary focal point for the lighting) described as a "driving force" with "vibrant physicality,"and "amazing, both sensual and insane," with "constant energy" and a "broad range of emotional acting." And the line that sums it up, "Possessing both a vice-like grip on the audience and a brimming amount of confidence, Coughlan held the audience’s attention from her extravagant entrance to her tragic end."

    So yeah again, I'm proud. And glad the practice and performance is over, because it was intense. And sad that it's over too. It's hard being a mom of a Senior, but especially of a theatre kid. She plans to do some Shakespeare in college, but who knows how she'll be able to compete there. But honestly, if this was the last thing she did in theatre, it would be such a high note that I'd take it.

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    22. BACA Alert! Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Author of the Year

    BACAAs Bloggers Against Celebrity Authors founder and let’s say president, I see it as the kid lit equivalent of the four horsemen of the apocalypse when the Children's Choice Book Awards Author of the Year is Rush Limbaugh. I'm sure that there are and will be many thoughtful articles about what happened to make the winner of a prestigious children's literature award for Rush Revere and The Brave Pilgrims: Time-Travel Adventures With Exceptional Americans. But all I can say is, "Dear God, what have we done?"

    The power of the bestseller was a slippery slope for children's literature awards. Certainly the power of the celebrity author - with their top budget promotions and guaranteed WalMart shelf space - was enough for a snarky online cause like Bloggers Against Celebrity Authors. But now, we've added to this mixture the nebulous and sometimes nefarious power of the Internet, which allows anyone to vote for this now-less-prestigious award. There is no way - NO WAY! - that children voted for Rush Limbaugh over Rick Riordan or Veronica Roth.

    I'll let cooler heads prevail on what happens next, but for what it's worth BACA's back!

    Though perhaps, a little too late.

    Rush Limbaugh? Are you kidding me?

    Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

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    23. Existential Emptiness in The Ocean at the End of the Lane

    Feeling down and reflective today. Everything seems slow. The morning has moved by me with no effort or action on my part, aside from a writing part of song that has long been tickling the inside of my brain. The Internet is sluggishly loading, my email seems stuck, and even as I'm writing this post I'm reading above the ominous "An error occurred while trying to save of publish your post. Please try again."

    Oh I'm trying. Lord knows, I'm trying.

    I planned to start the week off with a review but it feels more like a quoting sort of day. And not even from a title that needs to be shared, as it's old news online, but it was a book that truly moved me in an unexpected way. See, I have issues with the darkness of Neil Gaiman's tales where I respect the artistry of his craft but often find it isn't for me. Not so with The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I was hooked from a haunting description of childhood that felt much like mine:
    I was not happy as a child, although from time to time I was content. I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.
    Isn't that ridiculously telling for two sentences? The story itself is not like my life, as it then moves into an allegorical fairy tale slash horror story that kept me enthralled slash quaking. Beautifully done and leading to one of the most moving descriptions of the existential emptiness that I've ever read. Though it's towards the end of the book, I don't think it gives away anything - except maybe the heart of the book. But you've probably all read it anyway, so here:
    How can you be happy in this world? You have a hole in your heart. You have a gateway inside you to lands beyond the world you know. They will call you, as you grow. There can never be a time when you forget them, when you are not, in your heart, questing after something you cannot have, something you cannot even properly imagine, the lack of which will spoil your sleep and your day and your life, until you close your eyes for the final time...


    Okay, maybe I need to take a walk or pet a puppy or something.

    Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

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    24. Thursday Three: Diverse Picture Books

    Everywhere I go online I am happily seeing references to the cause of diversity in our books. Fantastic! We're going to continue that focus during our 48 Hour Book Challenge coming up on the weekend of June 6th, so please sign-up to participate. I'm hoping in the lead-up to that weekend to share some of the titles I've come across in the library, starting here with three picture books that feature African-American children in stories that have nothing to do with racial issues. I know, what a concept. Enjoy!

    Here Comes Trouble!
    by Corinne Demas, illustrated by Noah Z. Jones

    Scholastic, 2013
    Emma’s dog didn’t like cats, but it seems for good reason as the cats were never in trouble, but Toby was. The neighbor cat was especially irritating, so when she came to stay for a while, well it was a challenge. The cat does things that Toby gets blamed for, so you can see why he’s mad. But when Pandora gets herself stuck in a tree, it’s Toby’s trouble-making ways – and sudden ability to write out words with mud – that save the day. Cartoon illustrations with bright colors make it an easy choice to share in storytime, and there's bits of humor in the background for closer inspection. It's a good story that shows friendship and problem-solving, but honestly my favorite thing is that it features an African-American family for no reason related to their race. Just cause.

    Ruby’s Sleepover
    By Kathryn White and Mirian Latimer

    Barefoot Books, 2012
    Two girls are having a sleepover in a backyard tent, and as they hear noises in the night, one of the girls solves their worries with her “magic” items. Magic beans to grow a stalk to take a giant back home. An egg that the dragon might be seeking. And rings to wear to sleep to “keep danger at bay.” The focus on imagination and the idea of using your own thoughts to face your fears is a great lesson gently delivered. Nice rhyming couplets with a good rhythm, bright, cheerful illustrations and diverse characters make this a wonderful book to share.

    by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Christian Robinson

    HMH Books for Young Readers, 2013
    It’s raining in the city, and two different people – an old man and a child – have entirely different outlooks on the wet weather. The Boy delights in the day with excitement, putting on his green rain gear and froggie hat. The Man frowns and complains as he too ventures outside. At the coffee shop, the two meet accidentally and a good deed by the child clears the Man’s grumpy mood, reminding him of a pleasant way to be. The cute paper illustration is perfect in combination with the subtler paint composition. Excellent diversity in the book, representing a city very well, and featuring a child of color. Simple in language, but great in the message of the power of a positive outlook.

    Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

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    25. 48HBC Prep and BEA Angst

    48 Hour Book ChallengeWe're coming up on the 48 Hour Book Challenge! Yay!!! And Book Expo America is this week! Yay!!! But I'm not going... booooooo. I'm really struggling with my non-attendance this year as it looks to be exciting and I always enjoy my time at BEA, which combines my favorite things: books, socializing, and New York City. In my mind it's also linked to 48 Hour Book Challenge because I generally spent a great deal of my time at BEA standing in line for author signings to collect prizes for the 48HBC. For me, it was another win-win. I got a signed book to give away and I got to meet the author in person, which is always nice. Okay yeah, I did keep some of the books. I'm not made of stone, people.

    If you're going to Book Expo America and would be willing to collect a signed book or two for 48 Hour Book Challenge prizes, I'd be ever grateful. And not even the least bit jealous that you were there meeting Shannon Hale, Jarrett Krosocaka, Melissa de la Cruz, A.S. King, and/or Laurence Yep while I was not. Okay, maybe ten percent jealous and ninety percent grateful. (Actually, as those names were selected from a quick skim of the signings on just Thursday morning, maybe it's more like 20/80.)

    My work life has also tied these two events together, as I couldn't get the time off for both. We've been short-staffed at the library, forcing us all to make accommodations. I suspect others in public library systems will understand. Easier to clear the Saturday for 48 Hour Book Challenge than take off mid-week, and I don't regret that decision at all. Nope. Not me.

    So have a fantastic time at Book Expo America! Grab a spare book for 48HBC if you get a chance, make time for lunch with friends, and keep an eye out for the good swag - which sometimes includes glasses of champagne. (If you hang around until the publisher reps are distracted, you can usually grab a second drink - so I've heard.)

    Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

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