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26. Thanks for Thanksgiving by Markes

Thanks for ThanksgivingThanksgiving is quickly approaching. One of my favorite Thanksgiving stories to share is Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes. This simple story is told in rhyme and features a boy and a girl sharing the things that they are grateful for. It is a great book to read before talking to little ones about the things they are thankful for in their lives. Preschoolers will enjoy looking at the beautiful, detailed illustrations and can relate to the children in the story.

Posted by: Liz


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27. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore Audiobook Review

Title: Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore Author: Robin Sloan Narrated by: Ari Fliakos Publisher: Macmillan Audio Publication Date: February 26, 2013 Listening copy via local library I know I'm not the first to call this a mash-up of Umberto Eco and Doug Coupland because that's exactly what Robin Sloan's Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is. It's a mystery about manuscripts and codes, it's a

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28. Shh! We Have A Plan by Chris Haughton


 "Shh! We Have a Plan" revolves around four friends going into the woods to capture a bird. The smallest (or youngest) friend has another idea, however. He just wants to talk to the bird: "hello birdie". After several attempts, the youngest succeeds and draws a whole forest of red-hued birds to him.  A large angry bird chases them off when the friends again attempt to capture a bird. At the end, the youngest points out a squirrel and they're off and running again. Younger readers will appreciate this book's slapstick humor, simple art and minimal text.

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29. Library Loot: Fourth Trip in November

New Loot:
  • A Medal for Murder by Frances Brody
  • The Art of the English Murder by Lucy Worsley
  • Goodbye, Piccadilly: War at Home, 1914 by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
  • Operation Bunny by Sally Gardner
  • Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear
  • Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear
  • Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms by Katherine Rundell
  • What If...? by Anthony Browne

Leftover Loot:

  • Hero on a Bicycle by Shirley Hughes
  • Hercule Poirot's Christmas by Agatha Christie
  • Follow Follow: A Book of Reverso Poems by Marilyn Singer
  • McElligot's Pool by Dr. Seuss
  • Horton Hatches The Egg by Dr. Seuss
  • And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss
  • The King's Stilts by Dr. Seuss
  • The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins by Dr. Seuss
  • Death at Buckingham Palace by C.C. Benison
  • Keepers of the Covenant by Lynn Austin
  • The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott
  • Train by Judi Abbot
  • Waiting is Not Easy by Mo Willems
  • The Time Traveler's Almanac ed. by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
  • Sleep in Peace Tonight by James MacManus
  • The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson
  • A Great and Glorious Adventure by Gordon Corrigan
  • Murder at Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison
    Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.  

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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30. GUs & Me - a review

Richards, Keith. 2014. Gus & Me: The Story of my Granddad and my First Guitar. Hachette Audio.

Keith Richards, the rough-edged, raspy-voiced, Rolling Stones guitarist, is hardly the man that comes to mind for a picture book writer and narrator, but then again, who better to tell the story of his first guitar?

Richards wins the listener over immediately with his folksy, working class Estuary English accent (think dropped h's and "intrusive" r's) and unmistakable fondness for his topics - his first guitar and his beloved Granddad, Gus. It was the musically talented Gus who introduced a young Keith Richards to the guitar, teaching him how to 'old it, and suggesting the classical Malagueña(r) as the pinnacle of guitar mastery.

I have yet to see the print version of this story, but I don't believe it could surpass the audio book.  A story with music at its heart needs music to be understood. Richards plays bits from Malagueña in appropriate spots throughout the story, and during a visit to a music shop in London, we hear Steve Jordan on drums.  Once, the listener even hears a little chuckle - not musical, but surprisingly sincere.  Richards collaborated with other authors, but this is obviously his story, and he delights in telling it.

(Run time: about 7 minutes)

My review of Gus & Me for AudioFile Magazine appears here with a small excerpt.  Take a listen!



Visit the Nonfiction Monday Blog, "rounding up the best nonfiction for children and teens."

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31. Where There's A Will (1940)

Where There's A Will. Rex Stout. (Nero Wolfe #8) 1940. Bantam. 258 pages. [Source: Bought]

I always begin Nero Wolfe mysteries wanting to love them. I do love, love, love Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe. And I have certainly loved plenty of them in the past. Some more than others, of course. But at the very least, the mysteries generally serve as entertainment or distraction. Where There's A Will is not one of my favorites.

Wolfe and Goodwin are in need of clients, wealthy clients preferably. That isn't exactly unexpected. They almost always are in need of clients according to Goodwin. The book opens with the two meeting a family--dysfunctional family, don't you know?! This high-status family is in mourning. Three sisters (and their lawyers) come to Wolfe upset about their brother's will. Each had been under the assumption that they'd be left a million dollars each. They'd been left nothing, or almost nothing. They were disappointed, perhaps a bit ashamed at how angry they were. But the very fact that their brother's mistress received so very, very much is infuriating. Especially since he was married. The widow is outraged. Will Nero Wolfe go about trying to persuade this mistress woman to share the inheritance? Before that case gets a proper chance to be taken up, there comes a great shock. The brother's death was no accident. Someone murdered him. Now someone else in the family comes to Wolfe and begs him to take the case and solve the murder.

Can Wolfe solve the murder? Will Goodwin reach the same conclusion as Wolfe--in the same amount of time?

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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32. Thoughts on the Debut Author/Illustrator

BrownGirlDreaming 198x300 Thoughts on the Debut Author/IllustratorLast week Jackie Woodson won The National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.  It was a win so deserved that I had difficulty processing it.  Under normal circumstances National Book Awards for children’s books come out of left field and are so blooming unpredictable that they almost always serve my perpetual amusement.  The fact that a deserving book (one might call it “the” deserving book of the year) won was enormously satisfying.  Of course, Ms. Woodson’s not exactly the new kid on the block.  She’s been writing for decades, her style growing sharper, her focus more concentrated.  When she wins awards it’s often for personal stories (her family story Show Way was the last picture book to win a Newbery Honor, for example).  Now Brown Girl Dreaming is poised to do the rare double win of National Book Award and Newbery Award, a move that hasn’t happened since Holes back in 1999.

It feels right that a familiar author who has honed her craft should accrue more and more awards as time goes on.  It seems logical.  Yet once in a while a wrench is thrown in the works and a debut author will pop onto the scene and win scores of awards.  It’s not a bad thing.  It just sometimes happens that such authors and illustrators get more immediate attention as a result than their longstanding hardworking fellows.

On a recent(ish) episode of the podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour the topic was debuts.  The show discussed musical debuts, acting debuts, and authorial ones as well.  At one point I think it was Glen Weldon who pointed out that if you look at a typical high schooler’s summer reading list, it’s just debut title after debut title.  To Kill a Mockingbird, Frankenstein, Jane Eyre, The Catcher in the Rye, Invisible Man, Catch-22, The Bell Jar, White Teeth, The Kite Runner, and on and on it goes.

Naturally, after thinking about this I wondered if this equated on the children’s side of things.  So I took a gander at those old Top 100 Picture Books and Top 100 Children’s Novels polls I did of yore to see if the debuts were the majority of the titles there.  Here are the top 20 in each category (correct me if I’m wrong about any of these):

Picture Books:

#1 Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (1963) – No
#2 The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (1979) – No
#3 Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems (2003) – Yes
#4 Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd (1947) – No
#5 The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats (1962) – No
#6 Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey (1941) – No
#7 Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems (2004) – No
#8 Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Ray Cruz (1972) – No
#9 Bark, George by Jules Feiffer (1999) – No
#10 The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone, illustrated by Mike Smollin (1971) – Yes (?)
#11 Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes (1996) – No
#12 Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss (1960) – No
#13 Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney (1982) – No
#14 Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina (1947) – No
#15 Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel (1970) – No
#16 Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson (1955) – Yes (in that it was the first he wrote and illustrated himself, I believe)
#17 The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf, illustrated by Robert Lawson (1936) – No
#18 A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead (2010) – Yes
#19 The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (1902) – Yes
#20 Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin, illustrated by James Dean (2010) – Yes

Children’s Novels

#1 Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (1952) – Yes
#2 A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (1962) – No
#3 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (1997) – Yes
#4 The Giver by Lois Lowry (1993) – No
#5 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (1950) – Yes (for kids anyway)
#6 Holes by Louis Sachar (1998) – No
#7 From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg (1967) – Yes (sorta – this was the weird case where her first two novels were published in the same year and BOTH received Newberys of one sort or another)
#8 Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (1908) – Yes (?)
#9 The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (1978) – No
#10 Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (1977) – No
#11 When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (2009) – No
#12 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (1999) – No
#13 The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (1997) – Yes (if a previously published short story doesn’t count)
#14 The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (1938) – Yes (for kids, though I’m not sure when he did that Santa Claus letters book)
#15 The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1911) – No
#16 Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt (1975) – No
#17 Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh (1964) – Yes
#18 The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander (1964) – No
#19 Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder (1932) – Yes
#20 Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (2000) – Yes

I was admittedly surprised by how many “Yes”es there were here.  To my mind stunning debuts happen from time to time but are relatively rare.  This seemed to hold true for the picture books, but on the novel side of things the classics are continually peppered with debut works.

Then there’s the difference between an authorial debut and that of an illustrator.  I wasn’t able to tell if Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day was Ray Cruz’s debut or if he’d been working in the field for years.  What about Mike Smollin and The Monster at the End of This Book?

Booklist Thoughts on the Debut Author/IllustratorThen there comes the question of how debut authors and illustrators are celebrated.  Recently the periodical Booklist revealed an issue called “Spotlight on First Novels“.  The cover showed primarily adult and YA titles, though there was an inclusion of Wonder by R.J. Palacio.  Inside the regular feature “The Carte Blanche” by Michael Cart concentrated on what could potentially have won the William C. Morris YA Debut Award if it had originated in 1967.  The Morris award, for folks who might not be familiar with it, “honors a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens and celebrating impressive new voices in young adult literature.”  Cart’s list is good and worth reading, though it include the baffling inclusion of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (a book that never could have won since it’s so clearly a children’s title).  Children’s books too often get the short end of the stick when folks discuss debuts.  For example, later in the issue a list of the “Top 10 First Novels for Youth for 2014″ mentions only the entirely worthy (and rather charming) The Luck Uglies by Paul Durham as the sole children’s inclusion.

Here then is a listing of some of my favorite children’s book debuts of 2014.  I’m sure I’m getting folks here wrong when I say they haven’t published before, so if you see a mistaken entry do be so good as to let me know and I’ll amend accordingly.

Picture Books

  • Anna Carries Water by Olive Senior, ill. Laura James – For Laura James.  I believe Ms. Senior has written several books before.
  • Anna & Solomon by Elaine Snyder, ill. Harry Bliss – Elaine’s debut, that is.
  • Henny by Elizabeth Rose Stanton
  • Sparky! by Jenny Offill, ill. Chris Appelhans – He’s contributed to the Flight series, but I hardly think that counts.  Jenny is a known entity and not a debut.

Middle Grade Fiction

  • Secrets of the Terra-Cotta Soldier by Ying Chang Compestine & Vinson Compestine – Vinson anyway.  His mother has certainly written many of her own books over the years.

Graphic Novels

Non-Fiction

  • Neighborhood Sharks by Katherine Roy (she did the illustrations for books like The Expeditioners but this is her formal writing debut)
  • Grandfather Gandhi by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus; ill. Evan Turk – For Turk, naturally, though you could probably count Arun as well.

Then there’s the question of what you count as a debut when a picture book author writes their first middle grade or a YA author writes an easy book series.  I leave that to the publishers.

Is there any debut author or artist with whom you were particularly taken this year?

 

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33. 2015 Challenges: TBR Pile

Host: Roof Beam Reader
Name: 2015 TBR Pile (sign up here) Note to self: actually go and share review links each month
Dates: January - December 2015
# of books: 12 to 14

My list of twelve:

Rachel Ray by Anthony Trollope. 1863. 403 pages. [Source: Bought]

Miss Marjoribanks. Margaret Oliphant. 1865. 512 pages. [Source: Bought]

Footsteps in the Dark. Georgette Heyer. 1932. 336 pages. [Source: Bought]

Green for Danger. Christianna Brand. 1944. 256 pages. [Source: Bought]

Georgette Heyer. Jennifer Kloester. 2013. 464 pages. [Source: Bought]

Escape from Sobibor. Richard Rashke. 1982/1995. 416 pages. [Source: Bought]

The Nazi Officer's Wife. Edith Hahn Beer. 1999. 305 pages. [Source: Bought]

The New World (History of the English Speaking Peoples, Vol. 2) Winston Churchill. 1956. 400 pages. [Source: Bought]

Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze. Elizabeth Foreman Lewis. 1932. SquareFish. 306 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I, Juan de Pareja.  Elizabeth Borton de Trevino. 1965. SquareFish. 192 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Thimble Summer. Elizabeth Enright. 1938. SquareFish. 144 pages. [Source: Review copy]

 Schindler's List. Thomas Keneally. 1982. 429 pages. [Source: Bought]

My two alternates:

Ayala's Angel. Anthony Trollope. 1881. 631 pages. [Source: Bought]

The Silmarillion. J.R.R. Tolkien. 1977. 386 pages. [Source: Bought]


© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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34. The Man Who Invented Christmas (2008)

The Man Who Invented Christmas. Les Standiford. 2008. Crown. 241 pages. [Source: Library]

Different readers will have different expectations when they see the full title of this one: The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits.

The focus is not so much on Christmas, as it is on Charles Dickens: his private and public life, his writing career, his inspirations, his fears and worries, his relationship with his publishers. The focus isn't solely on A Christmas Carol. Yes, this work gets discussed in detail. But the same can be said of many of Dickens' novels. The book, despite the title, focuses on Dickens' career as a writer or novelist. This book mentions and in some cases discusses most of Dickens' published works. Not just his books published BEFORE A Christmas Carol, but his whole career.

A Christmas Carol gets special treatment in this one, perhaps, not because it has a Christmas theme, but, because it is a significant to his career. Before A Christmas Carol, he'd had a few really big bestsellers. But. He'd also experienced some failures. His last three books were disappointing to his fans. They didn't sell as well. The critics didn't like them. His publishers were discouraged and worried. Dickens needed his next book to be something wonderful, something that would sell, something that would be loved by one and all. He needed a success: a feel-good success, something to give him confidence and something to give his publishers confidence in him again, and a financial success, something to get him out of debt, something to pay his bills.

The secondary focus of this one is not Christmas. Readers might expect it to be related to Christmas, the history of Christmas, its invention, or reinvention. But. Something gets more time and attention than Christmas. And that is the writing and/or publishing industry. The book gives readers a history lesson in publishing. How books were written, illustrated, printed, published, sold. Not just what went on BEFORE it was published, but also what typically happened next. How novels were adapted to the stage by others, by many others. How little control--if any--that the publisher and author had over their books, their stories, their characters and plots. Plays could do justice, at times, to the books they were based upon. But they could also be absolutely dreadful. The lack of copyright laws or international copyright laws. How publishers in other countries could steal entire books, republish them, not paying the author anything at all. The book even has a chapter or two on fan fiction. Not that he calls it fan fiction. But he writes of how other writers could "borrow" characters and give them further adventures and publish them.

Does the book talk about Christmas at all? Yes. It does. It tells of two extremes: those in the past who celebrated Christmas too wildly, too wantonly, and those in the past who refused to celebrate it all, who would have it be illegal. Either extreme seems a bit hard to believe, perhaps, for modern readers. The book tells of traditions. Some traditions being somewhat established before A Christmas Carol, and other traditions becoming more established by being described in A Christmas Carol. What I probably found most interesting was his mention of how traditionally it was goose served for the Christmas feast UNTIL the publishing of A Christmas Carol. When Scrooge buys a turkey to give to Bob Cratchit and his family, it seems he inspired his readers to change their traditions. Turkeys becoming more and more popular.

For readers interested in the life and death of Charles Dickens, his whole career, this one has some appeal. It provides plenty of details about his books and the publishing industry, how he was received by the public.

For readers looking for a quick, feel-good holiday read, this one may prove to be a chore to get through.

I liked it well enough. I've read a good many of his novels. I have some interest in his life. It worked for me. It was packed with plenty of information.

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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35. 2015 Challenges: Vintage Mystery Bingo

Host: My Reader's Block
Name: Vintage Mystery Bingo 2015 (sign up)
Dates: January - December 2015
# of Books: at least 6, preferably 12

I'll be going for the gold edition which is mystery books published before 1960.

Bingo #1

Category:
Title:
Category:
Title: 
Category:
Title: 
Category:
Title: 
Category:
Title: 
Category:
Title:

Bingo #2:

Category:
Title:
Category:
Title: 
Category:
Title: 
Category:
Title: 
Category:
Title: 
Category:
Title:

 © 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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36. Sensory Storytime Tips

I’ve been doing my Sensory Storytime for 3 years now. I posted a brief “how-to” guide here a few years ago, and still get contacted frequently by people who are looking to start a storytime and want some help. I am so happy that librarians continue to want to reach this audience and serve these families in their communities. In the interest of providing more useful advice to people looking to get started, I’m going to list out some of my “top tips” here, stuff I’ve learned during my 3 years doing this program. You’ll see that the prep that goes into a Sensory Storytime is really similar in many ways to the prep you’d do for a “typical” storytime. (For even more great tips, check out Renee Grassi’s recent post. It is full of helpful info for those getting started or those who have tried and want to change their approach.)

1) Think Like a Teacher

The way I see it, families bring their children to storytime to have fun, but librarians always have the motive of educating while we entertain. A Sensory Storytime crowd is no different, but the skills they are learning might be a bit different or broader than the early literacy skills we weave into our typical storytimes. For my Sensory Storytime, when choosing activities or books, I always ask myself “How can I turn this into a way for kids to practice their language skills? (both receptive and expressive) How can it help them practice social skills like eye contact or executive functioning skills?”

  • Example 1: When I read The Deep Blue Sea by Audrey Wood, I pass out squares of colored felt. While I read the book, they need to wait for me to read the name of their color before they can come up and put it on the felt board (impulse control, receptive language, following directions…).
  • Example 2: I hand out yellow, pink, and blue egg shakers. Then we sing a song and shake our eggs.  I’ll put laminated colored ovals on my felt board that are yellow, pink, and blue and explain that while we’re singing, they can only shake their egg when they see their color on the board. (Receptive language, following directions, impulse control, motor planning…)

2) Think Like a Special Education Teacher:

When preparing materials for Sensory Storytime, I also ask myself questions like “How can I incorporate visual supports? How can I involve sensory input?” Visual supports are key for children with language challenges because it helps them know what to expect and scaffolds their language learning. You can see a picture of my visual schedule at my other post. Sensory input can come in many forms: tactile, visual, auditory, vestibular, proprioceptive… (If you’re interested in learning more, I like The Out of Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz). Some kids are sensory seekers, some are sensory avoiders, and some are both, so you’ll see a range of responses to your sensory toys.

  • Example 1: When I read If You’re a Monster and You Know It by Rebecca and Ed Emberley, I put up a visual for each movement I want the kids to do. A typical child will know to watch me and try to copy my movement. For my Sensory Storytime kids, a visual can help remind them of what the movement is going to be so they can focus more attention on the motor planning aspect of actually doing the movement.
  • Example 2: When we read Tanka Tanka Skunk by Steve Webb, I hand out rhythm sticks. The kids clap their sticks together to match the rhythm of the book, as well as the tone (quiet when the animals are sleeping, loud when they wake up). The sticks give excellent sensory input (both auditory and proprioceptive). As I mentioned above, each child has a different sensory profile, so I noticed one little boy marching and beating the sticks really hard (and enjoying himself very much!) while another child seemed a bit nervous about the sound the sticks were going to make. Even the motor planning of holding the two sticks and clicking them together can be great practice for many children.

3) Be Flexible & Friendly

I’m sure this goes without saying, but go into the storytime room with way more books and activities then you’ll have time to do. Since my storytime is drop-in, I never know who I’m going to get, and I often need to switch my activities to cater to the ages and abilities in the room. The example above about matching the egg to the color on the board, for instance, may work well for kindergartners and up, but if I get a room full of young preschoolers and their toddler siblings, I won’t do it.
By being friendly and engaging, you can help create a trusting environment where parents can share more about their children. One mom shared with me that her son prefers nonfiction books, so I created visuals to go along with Who Lives Here? by Nicola Davies. And again, since my program is a drop-in, I had this book and these visuals with me and ready to go every month in case this family came to storytime.

4) Try Out Some Technology

iPads can be very motivating to all children, including those with special needs. One of my favorite apps I’ve used with this group is Cookie Doodle by Shoe the Goose. I have the children take turns coming up to interact with the app, which is based on making cookie dough, then baking, decorating, and eating cookies. Before the child gets to touch the iPad, I ask a simple question like, “What color icing will you use?” or “What shape cookie do you want?” The promise of using the iPad can be a strong motivator for kids to have a short social interaction with me!

Are you offering a Sensory Storytime or other program for children or teens with special needs?  What top tips would you offer to someone getting started?

**********************************************************************************

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

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37. 2015 Challenges: Newbery Reading Challenge

Host: Smiling Shelves
Name: Newbery Reading Challenge 2015 (sign up here)
Dates: January - December 2015
# of Books Points:   30 to 44 points (Spinelli) 3 points for each Newbery winner, 2 points for each Newbery Honor Book (So 30 points could be reached by 10 Newbery books, for example, or 15 Newbery Honor books)

Newbery Winners Read in 2015:

1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)
7)
8)

Newbery Honor Books Read in 2015:

1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)
7)
8)


© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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38. Perpetual Challenge: Victorian Bingo

Host: Becky's Book Reviews
Name: Perpetual Victorian Bingo (sign up)
Dates: for me--any book read from January 1, 2014 on
# of books: minimum 8, I'd love to get multiple bingos or even fill up the whole card!!!

My card for 2014.

1837
1838
1839
1840
1841
1842
1843
A Christmas Carol. Charles Dickens. 1843. 96 pages. [Source: Bought] (review coming late November)
1844
1845
1846
1847
Jane Eyre. Charlotte Bronte. 1847.  300 pages. [Source: Own] (review coming late December)
1849
1850
1851
1852
1853
1854
A Tale of Two Cities. Charles Dickens. 1854/2003. Bantam Classics. 382 pages. [Source: Bought]
North and South. Elizabeth Gaskell. 1854-1855. 452 pages. [Source: Bought]
1855
1856
A Rogue's Life. Wilkie Collins. 1856. 159 pages. [Source: Book I bought]
1857
1858
1859
1860
1861
1862
No Name. Wilkie Collins. 1862/1998. Oxford University Press. 748 pages.
1863
1864
1865
1866
The Belton Estate. Anthony Trollope. 1866/1993. Penguin. 432 pages. [Source: Bought]
1867
1868
1869
Stepping Heavenward. Mrs. Elizabeth Prentiss. 1869/1998. Barbour Books. 352 pages. [Source: Bought]   
1870
1871
1872
1873
The Eustace Diamonds. Anthony Trollope. 1873. 794 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
1874
Phineas Redux. Anthony Trollope. 1874. 768 pages. [Source: Book I bought]
1875
The Law and the Lady. Wilkie Collins. 1875. 430 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
1876
The Prime Minister. Anthony Trollope. 1876. 864 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]   
1877
Black Beauty. Anna Sewell. 1877. 245 pages. [Source: Bought] 
1878
Is He Popenjoy? Anthony Trollope. 1878/1993. Penguin. 632 pages. [Source: Bought]
1879
1880
The Duke's Children. Anthony Trollope. 1880. 560 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
1881
1882
1883
1884
1885
1886
1887
1888
1889
1890
1891
1892
1893
1894
1895
1896
1897
1898
1899
The Story of the Treasure Seekers. E. Nesbit. 1899. Puffin. 250 pages. [Source: Bought]
1900
1901
Melisande. E. Nesbit. Illustrated by P.J. Lynch. 1901/1988/1999. Candlewick. 48 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]


© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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39. 2015 Challenges: Alphabet Soup

Host: Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book
Name: Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge (sign-up)
Dates: January - December 2015
# of books: 26

Titles
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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40. Picture Book Month: Mac Barnett

Mac Barnett is having a very good 2014! He has three picture book releases this year, all of which are delightful! Be sure to check them out!


Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

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About the Book: Sam and Dave are digging a hole and they won't give up until they find something spectacular.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Mac Barnett teams up with Jon Klassen for another winner. Klassen's illustrations match the text perfectly and gives the feel of an outdoor adventure. Readers will spot the spectacular treasure that is hiding just out of Sam and Dave's reach and are sure to laugh when the get so close but then change directions. They'll also be sure to notice the dog is the only one who seems to have a nose for treasure hunting. A fun tale that is sure to inspire some digging of your own.

President Taft is Stuck in the Bath

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About the Book: President Taft is stuck in the bath! How will he get out?

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Mac Barnett takes on a presidential tall tale with humorous results. The president is stuck in the bath and everyone has an idea of how to help. The ideas get more and more ridiculous, from butter to explosions. There are also plenty of textual humor from the secretary of the treasury who responds with "throw money at the problem" to "the answer is inside you" from the secretary of the interior.  Chris Van Dusen's illustrations are cartoonish and add to the humor of the tale. The end of the book provides some historical facts about President Taft and his bathtub. This would pair with King Bidgood's in the Bathtub for a silly bathtime storytime.

Telephone

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About the Book: It's time for Peter to fly home, but his message about dinner gets scrambled along the telephone line.

GreenBeanTeenQueen: Remember the game telephone? Where what you start out saying ends up completely different? Mac Barnett and Jen Corace re-imagine the telephone game with a flock of birds on a telephone wire with hilarious results. Each new message gets more and more mixed up which is sure to leave young readers howling with delight. Each bird hears something new that makes sense to them and matches their own interests and hobbies. The illustrations reflect the each birds interests and helps the reader find clues as to why each bird heard what they did. A hilarious take on a the game of telephone perfect for reading aloud.

Full Disclosure: Sam and Dave Dig a Hole and President Taft is Stuck in the Bath reviewed from finished copies sent by the publishers. Telephone reviewed from library copy.


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41. Challenge Completed: Vintage Mystery Bingo

Host: My Reader's Block (Sign-Up Post; Review Links)
Dates: January - December 2014
Requirements: Golden Card (mysteries published before 1960) Silver Card (mysteries published before 1989) I will be signing up for the GOLDEN CARD level.
Required Books: At least six (one bingo); two bingos encouraged (12 books)

First Bingo (Diagonal)

  1. Read One Book With a Color in the Title:  Red Mystery by A.A. Milne. 1922.  [August]
  2. Read One Book With A Number in the Title: Second Confession by Rex Stout. 1949. 
  3. Read One Book With An Amateur Detective: The Law and the Lady. Wilkie Collins. 1875
  4. Read One Book With A Professional Detective: In the Best Families by Rex Stout. 1950
  5. Read One Book Set in England: Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey. 1948
  6. Read One Book Set in the U.S. And Be A Villain by Rex Stout. 1948.
Second Bingo (Bottom Row)
  1. Read One book Set in the Entertainment World: Dancers in Mourning. Margery Allingham. 1937 [October]
  2. Read One book With A Woman in the Title: Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey. 1946.
  3. Read One Book That Involves a Mode of Transportation: The Singing Sands. Josephine Tey. 1953. [September]
  4. Read One Book Outside Your Comfort Zone: Brat Farrar. Josephine Tey. 1949 (because there are horses)
  5. Read One Book That You Have To Borrow Free Space: READ A BOOK BY AN AUTHOR YOU'VE READ BEFORE : The Daughter of Time. Josephine Tey. 1951 [August]
  6. Read One Another Book Set in the U.S.: Where There's A Will by Rex Stout (November)


© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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42. Día in Iowa!

Over the past two years, Iowa Library Services/State Library of Iowa has incorporated the recognition of Día in its annual strategic plan.  Our efforts have resulted in a greater level of awareness among staff in many of Iowa’s 544 public libraries of the importance in recognizing the multiple cultures present in Iowa’s towns and cities, and of providing programming and collections that reflect those cultures.

Iowa’s population is currently just over 3 million people, with significant populations of many cultural groups.  Among these are the following:  5.5% of the state’s population is Latino, with a projected increase by 2040 to 12.4%;  African Americans at 3.2%; Asian-Pacific Americans at 2.3%; Native Americans at under .5% and recent immigrants from Eastern Europe and Africa. Information at these links from the Iowa Data Center and the PowerPoint presentation by Dr. Mark Grey of the University of Northern Iowa detail the specific cultural groups within these broader categories.

Families enjoy reading together during a Día storytime in Skokie, IL.

Families enjoy reading together during a Día storytime in Skokie, IL.

Preceding Iowa Library Services’ inclusion of Día in its strategic plan, the Marshalltown Public Library, which has long celebrated Día and has made other significant efforts to include Latino families in its services, was awarded the National Medal for Museum and Library Services in 2013, awarded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services.  Marshalltown’s youth services manager, Joa LaVille, was instrumental in developing the services that in large part led to this award, and inspired us collectively to encourage other libraries to engage in outreach to all families in their communities, and to recognize the richness of the cultural diversity within their communities.

We then offered a webinar, offered on a statewide basis, last April 2, which is archived on our website.  Joa and another youth services librarian, Betty Collins of the Musser Public Library in Muscatine, presented their successes with Día programming to Iowa’s youth services librarians.  Both libraries have successfully mounted a variety of programs recognizing the multiple cultures in their communities.  Many of Iowa’s libraries are very small, with limited staff and hours.  But we encouraged them to do what they can, perhaps a display of books and other resources that can act as a welcoming gesture to families in their communities.

This spring, we were delighted to learn that one of our libraries, the Sioux Center Public Library, which serves a community of about 7,300 people won the national Mora Award, presented by REFORMA for the program their staff offered to celebrate Día.  Ruth Mahaffy, Bilingual Services Director, developed the program and will accept the award at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in January.

This spring, at our biennial conference for Iowa’s public youth services librarians entitled “Kids First,” Ruth and other staff from the Sioux Center Public Library will present a program on Día, and how they put together an award-winning program with very little money.  Joa LaVille will also be presenting a session on outreach to Spanish-speaking populations.  We used to hold this conference at the end of April, but I’ve moved it to early May, so that it no longer conflicts with Día.

Putting together a state-wide initiative means a commitment to a long arc and working to help library staff start where they are . . . sometimes small rural libraries with one staff member and relatively few hours of service per week can feel overwhelmed at the thought of an outreach project.  But by showing them that their peers are doing this, we can build momentum across the state in emphasizing the importance of recognizing the growing cultural diversity of their communities in their choices for programming, outreach, and collection development.


Merri M. Monks is the Youth Services Consultant for Iowa Library Services/State Library of Iowa.  Her email is merri.monks@lib.state.ia.us.

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43. 2015 Challenges: Victorian Bingo

Host: Becky's Book Reviews
Name: Victorian Bingo (Sign-Up)
Dates: January - December 2015 (you can start reading now)
# of books: minimum of 5, I'm going to try to read 10 books


First Bingo

Category:
Title:
Category:
Title: 
Category:
Title: 
Category:
Title: 
Category:
Title:
Second Bingo

Category:
Title:
Category:
Title: 
Category:
Title: 
Category:
Title: 
Category:
Title:


© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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44. Highlights from NCTE

We're sharing our presentations from NCTE with you, along with quotes I jotted down from a variety of authors and literacy leaders. ALSO, take a peek at some photos from our Slicer Dinner.

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45. Highlights from NCTE

We're sharing our presentations from NCTE with you, along with quotes I jotted down from a variety of authors and literacy leaders. ALSO, take a peek at some photos from our Slicer Dinner.

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46. The Fourteenth Goldfish, by Jennifer L. Holm: curiosity & discovery, believing in the possible (ages 8-12)

Kids and teachers are loving a new book, The Fourteenth Goldfish, and it makes me so happy to hear them raving about it. I had a chance this weekend to sit down with Milana, a ten year old I lent my copy to, and we really had fun talking about this book. Talking about books together really helps us deepen our appreciation, deepen our thinking about the layers in a story.
The Fourteenth Goldfish
by Jennifer L. Holm
Random House, 2014
Your local library
Amazon
ages 8-12
*best new book*
Sixth grade is tricky for Ellie, but the day her mom brings home a new kid turns everything upside down. At first, he seems like a typical surly teenager, but something "tickles at (her) memory." Ellie is shocked when she realizes this is her grandfather Melvin, somehow turned into a thirteen year old boy. "I discovered a cure for aging... the fountain of youth!" he shouts. But he's stuck in this new body and can't get into his lab to recover the T. melvinus specimen, the species of jellyfish that helped him change back into a teen.

My young friend, Milana, loved reading this so much that she bought one of her good friends a copy. "I got it for my friend because she's really into science and she really likes sea life. Now she's started it and won't stop reading it."

Holm seamlessly weaves into the story a love of science and Milana picked up on this. Right away, she talked about wanting to learn more about Salk's discovery of the cure for polio and Oppenheimer's race to build the atomic bomb. As I've been rereading this, I love how much science Holm incorporates, especially as Ellie gets to know her grandfather.
Melvin tells Ellie, "Scientists fail again and again and again. Sometimes for our whole lives. But we don’t give up, because we want to solve the puzzle... Scientists never give up. They keep trying because they believe in the possible."
The relationship between Ellie and her grandfather is what makes this book special for me. Holms creates believable, nuanced characters and I think that's one reason so many readers are responding to this story.
When Melvin, Ellie's grandfather, tells her mother, "'Your daughter’s interested in science. She shows great aptitude. You should encourage her.' I feel a flush of pride. Maybe this part of me—the science part—was there all along, like the seeds of an apple. I just needed someone to water it, help it grow. Someone like my grandfather."
As Milana and I were talking more about the characters, I asked her if Melvin reminded her of any of her grandparents. I wish Jenni Holm could hear this young girl talking about her grandfather, a doctor who's always busy thinking and talking on the phone -- and how this story helps her see a different side of him. Milana told me, "It makes me wonder what my grandfather looked like, how he acted and what he was interested in when he was my age."

The Fourteenth Goldfish left me thinking most about the themes essential to science: curiosity, discovery, possibility. A recent TED Radio Hour explores these same things, albeit more for adults. It starts with James Cameron talking about his childhood, when he loved collecting and studying all sorts of things, curious about everything. "It's almost like the more we know about the world, the limits of what's possible start to crowd in on us." But this curiosity stayed with him--and imbues both his movies and his love of oceanography.

The real power of The Fourteenth Goldfish? It's like so many well-crafted stories: creating conversation, creating a moment to think a little more deeply about those around us, creating an ah-ha moment that curiosity and a passion for discovery lay at the heart of science--believing in the possible.

More reviews:
The review copy came from my home collection and our library collection and Milana's collection (I've already purchased many many copies!). If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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47. Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos

Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos  by Stephanie Roth Sisson Roaring Brook Press, 2014 ISBN: 9781596439603 Grades K-4 The reviewer borrowed a copy of the book from her local library. Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos is an engaging picture book biography that will inspire young readers to ask "why" and "how" as they wonder about the universe. Stephanie

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48. Hansel & Gretel by Neil Gaiman and Lorenzo Mattotti

Hansel & Gretel, written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Lorenzo Mattiotti is the newest release from TOON Graphics, a line of graphic novels for kids reading at 3rd grade level and above, launched by the superb François Mouly and the fantastic people at TOON Books. What Gaiman and Mattotti do with a very familiar fairy tale in their rendition is amazing, both for the spare starkness of

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49. Instagram of the Week - November 24

A brief look at 'grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform. This week we're looking at how libraries can use Instagram as a platform for readers' advisory. An interesting example that popped up this week comes from the UK. In the United States National Bullying Prevention Month takes place during October, but the UK holds Anti-Bullying Month throughout November with National Anti-Bullying Week falling during the third week (November 17-21 this year). As a way to raise awareness and spark discussions about bullying, Sarah Churchill, a bibliophile with a book-focused YouTube channel, started the Anti Bullying Readathon for which participants would read books with bullying themes. A Goodreads group was created and more than 700 members have created a list of 150 books that touch on bullying for a variety of reading levels. Participants engaged in discussions and shared their reading on social media using #AntiBullyReads. Engaging readers in an active discussion, developing themed reading challenges, as well as posting images of recommended books and resources available in the library are excellent ways for libraries to reach patrons on Instagram for readers' advisory.

How has your library engaged in readers' advisory through social media? Share with us in the comments section below.

Please follow the link to view this week's Instagram of the Week images directly on the Storify website: Instagram of the Week - November 24

 

To view the list of bullying books created by the Anti Bullying Readathon, visit the Goodreads group: Anti Bullying Readathon 

Have you come across a related Instagram post this week, or has your library posted something similar? Have a topic you'd like to see in the next installment of Instagram of the Week? Share it in the comments section of this post.

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50. 2015 Challenges: 42 Challenge

Host: 42 Challenge
Name: 42 Challenge (sign up)
Dates: Officially January 1- December 31, 2015
# of "items": 42+

About the challenge: Review 42 sci-fi related items: short stories, novellas, novels, radio show episodes, television show episodes, movies, graphic novels, comic books, audio books, essays about science fiction, biographies about sci-fi authors, etc.

What I Read:

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What I Watch:

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20)
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© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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