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1. Author Interview: Tor Seidler

Photo of Seidler by Charles Gold

Some of my favorite email exchanges are with the authors of the books I read and review on my blog. 


      Interview with Tor Seidler:
         author of: Firstborn, Toes, Brothers Below Zero, 
                Brainboy and theDeathmaster        






Tell us about your experience doing research for Firstborn. How long did you spend observing wolves? Where?

 Seidler: By my standards, I did a lot of research for Firstborn. Beyond the whimsical premise of the animals speaking in complete sentences, I wanted the story to be as close to nature as possible.  I read fictional and nonfiction accounts of wolves, but more importantly I had a friend who was a great source of information: Jean Craighead George, author of Julie of the Wolves, among many other books.  Best of all,I went wolf watching with Jean in and around Yellowstone Park in late May and early June, 2005.  The wolves had been reintroduced into the park in the mid 1990’s, and by the time of our visit they were pretty well established.  The pack we observed in the northeast corner of the park had twenty-six members.  We would arrive before sunrise and set up our viewing scopes on a hillside above a creek.  Often we got to see the alpha male lead the other hunters back from their night hunt on the other side ofthe creek and distribute food among the pack’s six new pups.  An amazing experience!  In more recent years I’ve also visited the wolf reserve in northern Westchester County.  But there’s nothing like seeing animals in the wild.

What did you find most challenging about writing your book?

 Seidler:There are always a lot of challenges for me in writing any novel, but in this one I think the biggest was figuring out how to tell the story.  I initially wrote it from an omniscient point of view, focusing solely on the wolves.  The story began with Blue Boy, the alpha male wolf, awaiting the birth of his pups.  But the story wasn’t quite lifting off.  When I hit on the idea of writing it from the point of view of a bird, a magpie who attaches herself to the pack, it seemed to give the material another dimension.

After writing a book about animals, do you have a favorite animal? Which one and why is it your favorite?

 Seidler: I’m a great believer in bio-diversity, so I like all animals.   But I must say in studying the wolves I gained a deep respect for them.   Their life is very hard.  Few live to see their first birthday.  But the way they learn to work together, both socially and in the hunt, is awe-inspiring.  I also have a soft spoke for coyotes, who lead much more individualistic lives than wolves.

Unlikely friendships develop in Firstborn. Did you observe any unlikely animal behavior or relationshipsin doing research? 

 Seidler: I’ve read about unlikely relationships developing between different species, but to be honest I didn’t observe any in my wolf watching.  I love the idea of multi-culturalism, though, and I’ve written about it before in the animal world, especially in a book called The Wainscott Weasel.

Your book involves conservation efforts for wildlife reintroduction. Are there any conservation efforts you would like to encourage in your young readers?

 Seidler: I’m a fan of all conservation efforts, be it joining the Sierra Club or encouraging your parents to recycle orminimizing your carbon footprint.  I have a particular fondness for the World Wildlife Fund.

 What made you want to become a writer?

 Seidler: Reading.  I enjoyed books so much as a kid that I thought, “Hey, maybe I can do that!”

What suggestions do you have for young readers who might like to become writers someday?

Read. And then read some more. And don’t accept what people tell you. Look at things with your own eyes and reach your own conclusions.

 Is there anything you would like to add about your writing and/or books?

 Seidler: Well, I hope some of you enjoy them!


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2. March Reflections

In March I reviewed 58 books.

Board books:

  1. Board book: Little Blue and Little Yellow. Leo Lionni. 1959/2011. Random House. 42 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  2. Board book: Hide and Seek Harry On the Farm. Kenny Harrison. 2015. Candlewick. 20 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  3. Board book: Hide and Seek Harry At The Playground. Kenny Harrison. 2015. Candlewick. 20 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  4. Board Book: Lullaby and Kisses Sweet: Poems To Love With Your Baby. Selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins. Illustrated by Alyssa Nassner. 2015. Harry N. Abrams. 44 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
Picture books:
  1. Audrey's Tree House. Jenny Hughes. Illustrated by Jonathan Bentley. 2015. [April] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]  
  2. Horton Hears A Who! Dr. Seuss. 1954. Random House. 64 pages. [Source: Library] 
  3. On Beyond Zebra! Dr. Seuss. 1955. Random House. 64 pages. [Source: Library] 
  4. If I Ran the Circus. Dr. Seuss. 1956. Random House. 58 pages. [Source: Library]
  5. The Cat In the Hat. Dr. Seuss. 1957. Random House. 61 pages.  [Source: Library]
  6. The Princess and the Pony. Kate Beaton. 2015. [June] Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  7. Hoot Owl Master of Disguise. Sean Taylor. Illustrated by Jean Jullien. 2015. Candlewick. 48 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  8. Les Miserables The Epic Masterpiece by Victor Hugo, Retold and Illustrated by Marcia Williams. 2015. Candlewick. 64 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  9. The Octopuppy. Martin McKenna. 2015. [March] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  10. Follow  Follow. A Book of Reverso Poems. (Companion to Mirror Mirror) Marilyn Singer. Illustrated by Josee Masse. 2013. Penguin. 32 pages. [Source: Library] 
  11. Noah's Ark. Linda Falken. Illustrated by The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2015. (April 2015) Harry N. Abrams. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
Early readers/Early chapter books: 0

Middle grade:
  1. The Case of the Cursed Dodo: A Jungle Noir (Endangered Files #1) Jake G. Panda. 2014. Wooly Family Studios. 180 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  2. The Case of the Vanishing Emerald (Maisie Hitchins #2) Holly Webb. 2013/2015. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 176 pages. [Source: Review copy]  
  3. The 100 Dresses. Eleanor Estes. Illustrated by Louis Slobodkin. 1944/2004. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 96 pages. [Source: Library]
  4.  Space Case. Stuart Gibbs. 2014. Simon & Schuster. 352 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  5. By the Shores of Silver Lake. Laura Ingalls Wilder. 1939. HarperCollins. 291 pages. [Source: Library]
  6. The Long Winter. Laura Ingalls Wilder. Illustrated by Garth Williams. 1940. 335 pages. [Source: Library]
  7. Little Town on the Prairie. Laura Ingalls Wilder. Illustrated by Garth Williams. 1941. 374 pages. [Source: Library]
  8. These Happy Golden Years. Laura Ingalls Wilder. Illustrated by Garth Williams. 1943. HarperCollins. 289 pages. [Source: Library]
  9. The Giver. Lois Lowry. 1993. Houghton Mifflin. 180 pages. [Source: Library]   
  10. Emil and Karl. Yankev Glatshteyn. Translated from the Yiddish by Jeffrey Shandler. 1940/2006. Roaring Book Press. 208 pages. [Source: Review copy]  
  11. How To Catch A Bogle. Catherine Jinks. Illustrated by Sarah Watts. 2013. HMH. [Source: Review copy]
  12. The Zoo at the Edge of the World. Eric Kahn Gale. 2014. HarperCollins. 240 pages. [Source: Library]
  13. YUM: Your Ultimate Manual for Good Nutrition. Daina Kalnins. 2008. Lobster Press. 192 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Young adult:
  1. Book of Earth (Bradamante Saga #1) Robin Brande. 2015. Ryer Publishing. 395 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Adult fiction:
  1. Ayala's Angel. Anthony Trollope. 1881. 631 pages. [Source: Bought]
  2. Ella Minnow Pea. Mark Dunn. 2001. Random House. 224 pages. [Source: Library]
  3. Sparkling Cyanide. (Colonel Race #4) Agatha Christie. 1944/2002. HarperCollins. 288 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  4. Pioneer Girl. Bich Minh Nguyen. 2014/2015. Penguin. 296 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  5. Poems. Christina G. Rossetti. 1906. 428 pages. [Source: Bought]
  6. The Accidental Empress. Allison Pataki. 2015. Howard Books. 512 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  7. The Midwife of Hope River. Patricia Harman. 2012. HarperCollins. 382 pages. [Source: Library]
  8. The Ship of Brides. Jojo Moyes. 2005/2014. Penguin. 464 pages. [Source: Library]
  9. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Rachel Joyce. 2012. Random House. 320 pages. [Source: Library]
  10. The Killings At Badger's Drift. (Inspector Barnaby #1) Caroline Graham. 1987/2005. Felony & Mayhem. 272 pages. [Source: Library] 
  11. Death of A Hollow Man. (Inspector Barnaby #2) Caroline Graham. 1989/2006. Felony & Mayhem. 306 pages. [Source: Library] 
  12. The Rector. Margaret Oliphant. 1863. 30 pages. [Source: Bought]
Adult nonfiction:
  1. Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times. Jennifer Worth. 2002/2009. Penguin. 340 pages. [Source: Library] 
  2. Farewell to the East End. (Call of the Midwife #3) Jennifer Worth. 2009/2013. HarperCollins. 336 pages. [Source: Library]
  3. Devil at My Heels. Louis Zamperini and David Rensin. 1956/2004. Harper Perennial. 292 pages. [Source: Library]
  4. Determined. A. Avraham Perlmutter. 2014. Mascherato Publishing. 172 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  5. A Great and Glorious Adventure: The Hundred Years War and the Birth of Renaissance England. Gordon Corrigan. 2013/2014. Pegasus. 320 pages. [Source: Library]
  6. The Last Jews in Berlin. Leonard Gross. 1982/2015. Open Road Media. 343 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
Christian fiction:
  1. Daughter of the Regiment. Stephanie Grace Whitson. 2015. [Late March] Bethany House. 336 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  2. Anna's Crossing: An Amish Beginnings Novel. Suzanne Woods Fisher. 2015. Revell. 336 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Christian nonfiction:
  1. To The Glory of God: A 40 Day Devotional on the Book of Romans. James Montgomery Boice. 2010. Baker Books. 183 pages. [Source: Bought]
  2. Help My Unbelief: Why Doubt Is Not the Enemy of Faith. Barnabas Piper. Foreword by N.D. Wilson. 2015. [July 2015] David C. Cook. 176 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  3. Why Believe the Bible? John MacArthur. 1980/2015. Baker Books. 208 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  4. The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine. A.W. Tozer 1948/2006. WingSpread Publishers. 70 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  5. Experiencing the Trinity: The Grace of God for the People of God. Joe Thorn. 2015. Crossway. 144 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  6. No Little People. Francis A. Schaeffer. 2003. Crossway. 239 pages. [Source: Bought]
  7. God-Breathed: The Undeniable Power and Reliability of Scripture. Josh McDowell. 2015. (April 2015). Barbour. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  8. Saint Patrick. Jonathan Rogers. 2010. Thomas Nelson. 143 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  9. The Daring Mission of William Tyndale (A Long Line of Godly Men Profiles). Steven J. Lawson. 2015. Reformation Trust. 184 pages. [Source: Bought] 

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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3. Best New Kids Stories | April 2015

We have selected three picture books, a middle grade novel and two young adult books to highlight for this month's new release kids books. Enjoy perusing our picks for kids and teen books that we feel represent some of the best new kids stories ... Read the rest of this post

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4. The Night Horses - a bookwrap





Unwrapping some quotes for you today...







Unwrapping...







Author:  Anaka Jones 

Ages:  2-5








A rhyming unwrapping of book today...


Night Horses

Early morning
Start of day
Horses gather
Eat their hay.

Off they gallop
Work with power
Toil all day
Then back for shower.

Sun descends
Dinner calls...
Served with smiles
Inside their stalls.

Humans tired
Home...days done
Horses perk up...
Time for fun!

Cards come out
They braid their manes
Paint their hooves
Now that's insane!

Funny joke time
Midnight snacks,
Dance to music,
Back to back.

Alas, they're tired
Parties done,
Time for sleep
Night, everyone!

Tomorrow's close
The sun peeks through..
Up they get
So much to do.





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5. PO-EMotion -- Anticipation


Flickr Creative Commons photo by eric lynch

ANTICIPATION

The end of the very last day of school,
standing poised on the edge of the pool,

smell of curry as I'm opening the door,
excitement of Christmas on the night before,

next in line for the roller coaster,
when will the toast come out of the toaster?

jitters, dread, a lack of patience,
waiting and waiting...anticipation.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2015







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6. Stransky: Package Received.


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7. #664 – Book-O-Beards (Wearable Books) by Lemke & Lentz

Book-O-Beardsx

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Book-O-Beards

Series: Wearable Books
Written by Donald Lemke
Illustrated by Bob Lentz
Capstone Young Readers        2/01/2015
9778-1-62370-183-3
12 pages         Size: 8” x 8”      Age 1 to 6
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“Fun interactive board book that children and adults can wear like masks, allowing for make-believe games and hilarious snapshot moments! With catchy rhymes, colorful illustrations, and interactive dialogue, everyone will enjoy this laugh-pout-load read-along.” [catalog]
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New for 2015, Book-O-Beards allows young children to become a lumberjack—TIMBER!—a pirate—ARRRG!—a cowboy—YEEHAW!—a sailor—ANCHORS AWEIGH!—a police officer—You’re under ARREST!—or Santa—HO, HO, HO! The Book-O-Beards helps young children role-play different  personas as they try these full-spread, fully bushy beards. Read the rhyming text, and then try one on..

9781623701833_Int01

“This orange beard
is softer than fur. I
In a deep voice
shout out, ‘TIMBER!’”

While the Book-O-Beards will appeal more to young boys, girls can certainly use this imaginative interactive board book. Made of heavy cardboard, the Book-O-Beards will stand-up to many hours of play. Young children love to play make-believe. The Wearable Books series lets kids try on teeth, hats, masks, and beards, all the while producing giggles. The love of reading can begin with one spark from these unusual dual-fun books.


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BOOK-O-BEARDS (A WEARABLE BOOK). Text copyright © 2015 by Donald Lemke. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Bob Lentz. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Capstone Young Readers, an imprint of Capstone, North Manakato, MN.
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Purchase Book-O-Beards at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryCapstone.
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Learn more about Book-O-Beards HERE.
Meet the author, Donald Lemke, at his bio box:  http://www.capstonepub.com/library/authors/lemke-donald/
Meet the illustrator, Bob Lentz, at his website:
Find more interactive fun at the Capstone website:  http://www.capstonepub.com/

Capstone Young Readers is a Capstone Imprint.

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Also available in the Wearable Books series.

maskshatsteeth

 

 

 

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fcc
Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 5stars, Board Books, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Series Tagged: beards, Bob Lentz, Book-O-Beards, Capstone Young Readers, Donald Lemke, hats, imaginative play, interactive books, masks teeth, Wearable Books

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8. Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of The Man Who Sold The Eiffel Tower by Greg Pizzoli

You may know Greg Pizzoli from his fantastic picture books, but his highly readable, crazy fun first non-fiction picture book, Tricky Vic: The  Impossibly True Story of The Man Who Sold The Eiffel Tower will knock your socks off. The story of Robert Miller and the brilliant way in which Pizzoli tells his story with words and pictures is superb. Apologies now for the frequent use of

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9. THE WICKED WILL RISE . . . and Then Fall

Review by Sara THE WICKED WILL RISEDorthy Must Die #2Series: Dorothy Must Die (Book 2)Hardcover: 304 pagesPublisher: HarperCollins (March 31, 2015)Goodreads | Amazon In this sequel to the New York Times bestselling Dorothy Must Die, who is good—and who is actually Wicked?My name is Amy Gumm—and I'm the other girl from Kansas.After a tornado swept through my trailer park, I ended up in Oz.But

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10. Progress

One of the earliest lessons of having a special-needs child was learning to recognize his progress not by comparing him to typically-developing children of the same age, but by comparing him to his own earlier self. I say ‘lesson’ and ‘learn’ but in truth this was something that happened naturally and almost instantaneously after his multiple diagnoses and the beginning of various therapies—physical, occupational, speech. As soon as I had an understanding of his developmental challenges, I was able to rejoice over each increment of progress, each small accomplishment along with the big ones. It was like my brain was wiped free of comparisons to other babies, including my first three, and all that existed was this baby, making these tremendous (even when tiny) strides.

That mental shift keeps popping into my mind lately as I keep working (and working and working) on drawing. Only here, it isn’t natural and instantaneous. Here, I have to keep relearning the lesson; some days I practically have to shout it at myself. The trouble, of course, is that I have so many friends who are spectacularly good artists. Years of training, years of dedication and work. Hundreds or thousands of pages of finished art under their belts. If I compare my drawings—or my slow progress—to them, I feel bleak. I don’t have it, that thing they have. Vision, natural talent, hand-eye coordination, vast knowledge of technique—you name it, I don’t have it. All I have is…earnestness. A belief that everyone can learn to draw, and that includes me. And this long-simmering desire to learn, kindled last fall into a full-boil determination.

So I keep reminding myself, baby artist, to compare myself to the even babier artist I was a few months ago. I remember when my son was finally able to climb up stairs on his own. He was well past a year old. He had motor planning issues, and we spent hours and hours over a period of several months, moving his limbs for him up stair by stair by stair. Hand, knee, hand, knee. Or was it hand, hand, knee, knee, I don’t remember now. Either way, it took so much practice. Until one day his brain figured it out. The pattern was learned. The pathways were formed. Soon after that we could hardly remember what it was like before he learned to climb stairs. We had to scramble to help him learn how to climb down.

Stair by stair, I’m making progress. For every ten drawings I hate, I make one that I like. But I like looking at the bad ones, too, because I know that the fact that I can see what’s wrong with them is another sign of my progress. My eye is improving along with my hand. (“Your taste is killer. Your taste is why your work disappoints you.”)

Today I looked at something I’d done, a couple of quick, surreptitious gesture sketches of some women in a meeting, and realized I’d attempted people—in complex postures, no less—without even thinking about it. Six months ago, I wouldn’t have done that. It’s nice to know I’ve made it up a stair or two.

IMG_8355

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11. And All Our April Fool’s of Yesterday

It sort of defeats the purpose to write a post that reminds folks that it’s April Fool’s Day in the post’s very title, doesn’t it?  I guess I can’t go about claiming wild and wacky things, like Peter Sieruta used to.  Remember his 2012 post on “Selznick syndrome” or 2011′s Charlie Sheen Lands Children’s Book Deal or 2009′s Graveyard Book to Be Stripped of Newbery, or (my personal favorite) his 2008 Ramona piece de resistance?  No?  Then go read them.  The man knew from pranks.

This year pranking is doing very well in the middle grade category.  Mac Barnett and Jory John put out that great The Terrible Two (reviewed best by Travis Jonker).  I’d count The Tapper Twins Go to War by Geoff Rodkey as a great prank book as well.  And if we want to look at books that have come out in the past, I was always fond of Kim Baker’s Pickle: The (Formerly) Anonymous Prank Club of Fountain Point Middle School and M3: Sir John Hargrave’s Mischief Maker’s Manual by John Hargrave.

Today, I bring to you a specific picture book prank so light and airy and sweet that it can hardly be called “prank”.  It’s the kind of thing you might expect from the film Amelie or Color Me Katie.  It’s from last year and called More Bookish Prank Fun.  And to give you a hint of which picture book it references I shall leave you with just a single photograph.

Happy April Fool’s!

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12. Video: A School Visit with Author G. Neri

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

G. Neri is the Coretta Scott King honor-winning author of Yummy: the Last Days of a Southside Shorty (Lee & Low) and the recipient of the Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award for his free-verse novella, Chess Rumble (Lee & Low).

His novels include Knockout Games (Carolrhoda Lab), Surf Mules (Putnam) and the Horace Mann Upstander Award-winning, Ghetto Cowboy (Candlewick). His latest is the free-verse picture book bio, Hello, I'm Johnny Cash (Candlewick).

Prior to becoming a writer, Neri was a filmmaker, an animator/illustrator, a digital media producer, and a founding member of The Truth anti-smoking campaign. Neri currently writes full-time and lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida with his wife and daughter.

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13. Social Media Etiquette

What not to do when using social media.


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14. Best Books of March 2015

March 2015: 9 books and scripts read

Knee-deep in rehearsals, I read a scant 9 books this month.

I enjoyed Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman. I posted my review of the book here and at GuysLitWire.

I read and discussed The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon with a friend who had also read it - and then I recommended that she read Snowblind by Christopher Golden stat. Both of those books make me grateful for life and sunshine.

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15. Purposeful Play Programming

Ever envy those fabulous, expensive play spaces some libraries have? You can create a temporary, educational play environment within your existing library space that promotes adult interaction, is highly inclusive, and creates opportunities for outreach to the underserved.

Introducing, SMART STARTS!

Smart Starts (2) Smart Starts (5)

Three years ago, we founded Smart Starts, a hands-on, interactive environment where adults help children develop early reading, writing, math and science skills through fun play activities. This drop-in program is offered several times over the course of a few days during weeks we are not holding storytimes. Patrons can come anytime during the posted hours and stay as long as they wish.

The goal of Smart Starts is to provide a richer, more meaningful library experience where adults can play side-by-side with their children, enhancing learning experiences. Dad John Witte observed, “The chance to interact with other kids in a learning environment is valuable both for the kids and the parents.”

Each Smart Starts program has a theme, developed around an educational focus. Six to eight stations are created for each theme. PowerPoint slideshows display scrolling instructional slides featuring the various stations.

Smart Starts has allowed us to embrace the community’s educational initiatives as well as reach out to the underserved. We encourage community groups to schedule special sessions just for their members.

CREATE YOUR OWN LEARNING THROUGH PLAY PROGRAM

Wanted: Head Coach. Find a staff member who will lead others in choosing activities and gathering supplies. You could then recruit one person to find science experiments, another to work on crafts and a third to handle parent tips and extension activities, etc. Once planned, various individuals can run the program while it is open. Their role is to help visitors get started and model conversation and play behavior.

Themes

Brainstorm themes. These can be derived from educational initiatives in your community or staff interest and expertise. Many of our themes have been STEAM-related. For instance, we have created programs featuring air, measurement, plant growth, patterning and weather. After you have selected themes, search preschool curriculum books and websites for ideas for the activity stations. These might include . . .

Science Experiments

Smart Starts (9)Kids love to experiment with hands-on science. We have explored how polar bears stay warm in the arctic, compared the speed of objects traveling down ramps and practiced using all five senses. Imagine a child’s face when they smell cotton balls soaked in vanilla, mint, lemon or garlic!

Crafts

Offer crafts that can be used to explore the subject further. A kaleidoscope promotes discussions of light. A feeder allows children to observe backyard birds. A texture collage may prompt additional investigation of the five senses at grandma’s house. These crafts should be accessible to a wide range of developmental levels. The emphasis is process, not product. I always say, “If it looks too much like the sample, something is wrong!”

Mini Library

Gather a collection of your library’s books, puzzles, and other resources related to your theme ready for check-out. We set out a couple of beanbag chairs for those who want to curl up with a book. We also provide a sheet explaining the educational research and suggesting extension activities. These materials promote further learning and exploration of the topic at home.

Games

“Go Fish!” Games are a fun way to encourage learning and repeatedly practice skills. Create and laminate your own matching games and sequencing cards. Ask for donations of educational games and puzzles or scout for them at garage sales and re-sale stores. Kids also love to play with real objects made into a game. Sort small, medium and large kitchen items. Match socks or mittens. Make sets of 2, 5 and 10 blocks.

Other Activities

Here’s where you can get creative and courageous! Here are some ideas we have tried – with success!

  • Build walls with stones and play-dough
  • “Mess-free” fingerpaint using instant pudding in a sealed plastic bag
  • Bubblewrap hopscotch
  • Climb in various moving boxes
  • Guess the object based on its shadow
  • “Paint” a chalkboard with water
  • String cereal, beads, dry pasta and straw pieces on chenille wires and bending them into letter shapes
  • Create iSpy games with stickers, beads and sequins
  • Pretend to be a gardener with a shovel, rake, watering can, spray nozzle, silk flowers, etc.
  • Make up narrative stories with puppets or dollhouse figures

Tips for Success

Patrons are delighted that such an enriching program is not only available at the library, but free. Many intentionally add Smart Starts to their weekly schedule and arrange to meet friends. Mom Melissa Drechsel remarked, “I am homeschooling my kindergarten-aged daughters this year and Smart Starts has been the perfect complement to reinforce some of the things we are learning about at home. We have enjoyed the many activities at Smart Starts and I have recommended the program to many other mothers with little ones at home.”

Smart Starts (8) Smart Starts (7) Smart Starts (4) Smart Starts (3)

This program has also allowed us to interact with our patrons and attract previous non-users in a whole new way. Adults feel more comfortable to ask questions, and children enjoy playing with the library staff in this informal setting. The variety of activities and levels of engagement allows all children to participate, including those with special needs and beginning English language learners. We even host special sessions of Smart Starts for at-risk preschool classes, the local Newcomers chapter and young moms groups from area churches.

Once set-up, we offer the space at various times over the course of a few days. Themes may be repeated every year. This type of program is also be easily modified to a smaller scale or for outreach at local community events.

Author Diane Ackerman wrote, “Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.” Through activity programs such as Smart Starts, we can provide a fun, educational environment at our libraries to help equip our local children for a life of learning.

(All photos courtesy Glen Ellyn Public Library)

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

Photo by Stephanie Blackwell/GEPL

Photo by Stephanie Blackwell/GEPL

Our guest blogger today is Bari Ericson, Youth Programming Associate at the Glen Ellyn Public LibraryBari enjoys combining her experience as an art student, corporate paralegal, law firm librarian, preschool teacher and mom to serve local families at GEPL.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

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

The post Purposeful Play Programming appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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16. Women Heroes of World War I: 16 Remarkable Reisters, Soldiers, Spies and Medics by Kathryn J. Atwood

Today is the last day of Women's History Month for 2015 and because the theme this year is about Weaving the Stories of Women's Lives, I thought who better to turn to for today's post than Kathryn Atwood.  A few year ago, Atwood wrote a fascinating book called Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance and Rescue.  Now she has followed it up with a book about women heroes in World War I and once again, their stories are as amazing as they are compelling.

In Women Heroes of World War I, Atwood introduces the reader to some of the women, a few still in their teens, who decided to serve their country, despite the real dangers that they were to face.  Some became nurses, caring for the wounded as close to the front lines as they could get.  Others joined the resistance or became spies, some became soldiers fighting side by side with men, and still others were journalists, reporting events from the heart of the conflict.

Some of the women are familiar, like British born Edith Cavell who found herself in Belgium when the war started, director of a school of nursing there.  After the Germans invaded Belgium, hospitals were forbidden to care for any Allied soldiers that might find their to one of them.  Edith, ignoring the Germans, cared for wounded Germans soldiers openly, and for wounded Allied soldiers secretly.  And when these were healthy enough, she made such they had safe passage out of Belgium to the Netherlands.  Edith and her network can be credited for heroically getting a lot of Allied soldiers to safety before the getting caught by the Germans.  Her capture and punishment, which caused an uproar around the world, subsequently changed the way Germany handled women POWs at the insistence of the Kaiser.

One of my favorite stories is Helena Gleichen and her friend Nina Hollings, two ambulance drivers in Italy who sometimes found themselves driving through intense shelling to get wounded men to hospital.  Later, after training in Paris to become radiographers, they could be found driving around the Italian front with a portable x-ray machine.  With their x-ray skill, Helena and Nina were able to help the wounded in some surprising ways, for example, locating shrapnel lodged in areas that wouldn't have been found otherwise and bringing relief to the wounded man.  For their heroic work, the women were awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (the OBE).

My personal favorite is the story of Mary Roberts Rinehart.  Yes, I do mean the mystery writer.  Mary was also a journalist who wrote for the Saturday Evening Post and in 1915, she decided she wanted to go to Belgium.  After all, she had nursing experience and could report of the conditions of the hospitals there, but what she really wanted to do was experience the war as soldiers do.  Mary finally did get to see the front lines, including no man's land, and even managed to get an extensive interview with the King of Belgium.  Returning home she wrote her articles, but realized the war was going to last longer than anyone thought.  

Women Heroes of World War I is a well-written, riveting book.  Atwood divides the women's experiences into four sections - Resisters and Spies, Medical Personnel, Soldiers, and Journalists.  The women profiled come from different countries, including the United States, France, Britain, Russia and each of their individual stories ends with a Learn More inset listing where to find more information them.  Atwood's extensive, intelligent research is evident in all the women's stories and she includes sidebars that give additional information about the women and the war.  Also included are an Introduction, an Epilogue and many, many photographs of war and the different women in it.  An extensive and useful Glossary and Bibliography, and well as a list of websites can also be found at the back of the book.

World War I was at first greeted with incredible enthusiasm, causing young men to unhesitatingly leave school, jobs, and families to join their countries armed services.  After all, no one thought it would last more than a few months.  Women were also eager to do their part and for some that meant being in the thick of the fighting, not working on the home front.  Women Heroes of World War I not only informs the reader about these now mostly forgotten women heroes, but pays homage to them and all the women who decided to do constructive for their warring countries.   

I can't recommend Women Heroes of World War I highly enough, and what a wonderful book with which to end this year's Women History Month.

This book is recommended for readers age 12+
This book was borrowed from the NYPL

March is Women's History Month



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17. 30 Days of Teen Programming!

prog guideAs the chair of YALSA's Programming Guidelines taskforce, I'm excited to announce that the Teen Programming Guidelines are now available! The guidelines cover all aspects of programming, from idea to evaluation. They were developed in alignment with The Future of Library Services For and With Teens: A Call to Action, and with input from YALSA members. Our hope is that these guidelines will be a valuable tool for you in your library work with teens, both as how-to guide and as an advocacy tool.

To celebrate, YALSAblog is hosting 30 Days of Teen Programming, a month-long series of posts to help get us all started thinking about the guidelines in concrete terms. Each post will tie into one of the ten guidelines with examples, ideas, best practices, or problem-solving.

We'd love to hear from you as well. How do the guidelines reflect the work you're already doing? How do you hope to use the guidelines in your library?

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18. New Non-Fiction for Inquisitive Teens: Rockin Books from Zest

Zest Books is a fantastic publisher of non-fiction for teens. If you're looking for fun, engaging, and informative non-fiction, add these to your collection!



Secret societies are fascinating. Did you  know there's even a secret (and pricey!) club at Disney? Some of the groups may be familiar, some may be new, but all have interesting secrets to share! 

For teens looking for a fun read exposing secret clubs and societies, this is a book that would be a blast. It could also be a fun starting point for research projects. 



With so much information coming at teens, how do they know who and what to trust? How can they find out information for themselves? Debunk It helps teens sort out what's true and what's false. 

Debunk It helps teens sort out information and decide for themselves what to believe. 




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19. Spotlight and Giveaway: The Scandalous Secret of Abigail MacGregor by Paula Quinn

This morning I have a guest post and giveaway for Paula Quinn’s latest, The Scandalous Secret of Abigail MacGregor.

Top 5 distractions while working on a deadline by Paula Quinn

Everything is a distraction when I’m working on a deadline. The worst are:

1. Shopping

2. Arrow (The T.V. show. Have you seen it? Have you seen Stephen Amell?)

3. My dogs. The seem to know when I’m on a deadline and want all my attention.

4. Journaling—I love to write!

5. Reading

About THE SCANDALOUS SECRET OF ABIGAIL MACGREGOR:

A LADY’S MISSION . . . 

Known for her beauty and boldness, Abigail MacGregor must preserve her clan’s dangerous secret: that her mother is the true heir to the English Crown. If the wrong people find out, it will mean war for her beloved Scotland. To keep peace, she embarks for London, unprepared for the treachery that awaits-especially from her wickedly handsome escort. He is the enemy, but his slow, sensuous kisses entice her beyond reason . . . 

A WARRIOR’S TEMPTATION

General Daniel Marlow, loyal knight and the kingdom’s most desirable hero, would rather be on the battlefield than transporting a spoiled Highland lass. But Abby MacGregor is unlike any woman he’s ever met, in a ballroom or in his bedroom. Captivated by her daring spirit and seduced by her lovely innocence, Daniel must choose between betraying his queen or giving up the woman who would steal his country-and his traitorous heart.


About Paula Quinn:

New York Times bestselling author Paula Quinn lives in New York with her three beautiful children, three over-protective chihuahuas, and a loud umbrella cockatoo. She loves to read romance and science fiction and has been writing since she was eleven.  She loves all things medieval, but it is her love for Scotland that pulls at her heartstrings.


Paula’s SM:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/253272.Paula_Quinn?from_search=true

http://facebook.com/pages/Fans-of-Paula-Quinn/336691429368

https://www.pinterest.com/quinnsromance/

http://www.paulaquinn.com/

@Paula_Quinn

Buy Links:

Amazon – http://amzn.to/1IrFQEb

BAM – http://bit.ly/1FTJxCB

B&N – http://bit.ly/1u6Wkgl

IndieBound – http://bit.ly/1sFMkb3

GooglePlay – http://bit.ly/1CnmAXk

iTunes – http://apple.co/1AHmJGd

Kobo – http://bit.ly/1FBNoWy

Excerpt:

“Aye, ye did say that,” she murmured. “Well, since we’re both awake, we might as well spend the night together again.”

The innocence in her voice struck him in the guts. She wanted nothing more from him than someone to be with outside in the night.

He, on the other hand, was not innocent at all. Her choice of words sent a little spark of heat to his groin. The way she turned on the pads of her feet and ended up pressed against his side and tucked neatly under his shoulder tilted him on his axis a little.

“I’m cold,” she whispered, her teeth chattering.

He put up no fight when she lifted his arm around her shoulder, then covered them both with her plaid. The desire to protect her overwhelmed him and sent tremors through his muscles. He knew little of her. Was she an innocent daughter of a Jacobite chief, or part of some secret scheme Anne was devising.

Hell. Anne didn’t devise schemes.

“I wasn’t certain if you were ever going to speak to me again,” he said, when what he should have said was, You should go sleep somewhere, lady, and not on me.

“I was verra’ angry with ye. But I’ve forgiven ye.” He heard the smile in her voice and made a mental note of how well it pleased him that she was no longer angry. He would decide what to do about his unwanted concerns for her tomorrow. Right now, he only wanted to sit with her just like this, with her beneath his arm and pressed snuggly into his side. Warmth swept over him like fine wine until he felt drunk on it.

How was it that she fit so neatly into him, now and earlier when she slept in his lap, like she belonged there, close to him?

Close to his heart.

Hell, it scared him, and after fighting for over a decade, not much scared him anymore.

“D’ye have a wife, General Marlow?” Came her sweet voice against his chest.

“No, lady.”

“Are ye betrothed?”

“I am not.”

“Is there a lass somewhere who has yer heart?”

“No.”

“Well,” she laughed softly, “are all the ladies in England fools?”

“They’re the opposite,” he told her. “They’re wise to set their interests in another direction.”

She shook her head then tilted her face up to his. In the filtered light of the moon, he could make her out enough to fall victim to the alluring curves of her mouth, her soft, sweet breath against his chin. “Nae, they are fools not to try to win yer affections.”

He knew every reason there was to stop what he was thinking, what he was feeling, and what he was about to do. But reason was a puny opponent compared to desire.

Slipping one hand behind her nape and the other to her throat, he tilted her chin another half-inch then covered her mouth with his. The instant after he did it, he regretted it, but then she coiled her arms around his neck and drew him closer, and he couldn’t stop. He never wanted to. She didn’t resist him, in fact, she melted in his arms. She groaned softly when he drew his tongue across the seam of her mouth. She bit his lip and ignited his blood to liquid fire. He swept his tongue in and out of her, holding her close to him while they kissed, wanting nothing more from her than what she gave him now. Making love to her could be dangerous if Charlotte found out. He’d have to make sure she didn’t find out, at least until he had proof of other crimes and could arrest her. If she hurt Abigail before that he’d hang her himself.

He wondered, as he held her in his arms and kissed her long into the night, how he could be so content with one he was supposed to hate.

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20. Book of Earth (2015)

Book of Earth (Bradamante Saga #1) Robin Brande. 2015. Ryer Publishing. 395 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Bradamante knelt in the mud and cut away all of her hair. Rain peppered her bare scalp. The wind shoved at her in gusts, plastering her wet clothes against her skin. It was stupid, she knew, to kneel here in the storm--even in summer the combination of wet and wind could prove deadly. Her fingers were already wooden from the cold. But she continued working, pulling each new section of hair taut and slicing it away with her hunting knife.

Did I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Robin Brande's Book of Earth? No. I didn't LOVE it. Did I love it enough that I'd want to read more in the series? Yes. In fact, I probably would enjoy them more.

The main focus of Book of Earth is on world-building and introducing the characters. Both are important, essential even. But it had a prologue feel to it, like the real story had yet to begin. That's not to say that the book lacks action or suspense. But most of it comes towards the end.

Bradamante is the heroine of Book of Earth. Is she weak? Is she strong? Is she decisive? Is she impulsive? At the start of the novel, Bradamante has perhaps taken the first step towards her future. Her decision to cut her hair may seem small, but, it's life-changing. That night she has her first vision. (This first vision reminded me of Samuel's calling in the Bible. For those that are interested, you can read about it in 1 Samuel 3.) In the vision, she sees a teacher, Manat, and an older-stronger-wiser self. I believe at the time of the vision, she is twelve, but her older self, her "warrior" self is in her twenties. She listens to what Manat has to say. She's at a crossroads of sorts. She can choose what direction her life will take. She can choose to commit to the warrior-path knowing that it will be difficult and demanding and require tough sacrifices, or, she can remain where she is and take a more passive  role. (I hesitate to use the word "victim" here, but, in some ways it might apply. Since most readers can guess this will not be her choice, I'm not sure if it matters.) Bradamante chooses to become a warrior: to begin her training. But this training is unique. For it occurs NIGHTLY in her visions. She's training for the future while she sleeps. She wakes and plays instructor for her brother, Rinaldo. I'll be honest: these visions add strangeness to the novel. I wasn't sure, at the beginning, who Manat was, if she was a real person, or a spirit. Her brother also had some doubts about "Manat." Is his sister crazy? Why is she suddenly having all these strange dreams or "visions"? How does she know what she knows? Bradamante's biggest fear--at first--is that her new life will take her away from her brother. She is hoping that it WILL take her far, far away from her mother, however. But in her reckoning, the perfect life would take both of them far, far away, and they'd be together and both strong warriors.

Things don't go as Bradamante would wish. To say the least! And there's a dark, cruelty to the world Brande has created in Book of Earth. There were definitely scenes that brought the Bible to mind once again. (Genesis 19 and Judges 19). I'm struggling with how much to reveal--in general. How much is too much in a review? I will add this perhaps. There comes a time when Bradamante's training moves from nightly visions to reality. In other words, she begins to physically train and do battle with other would-be warriors. She continues to learn from Manat, Samual, and others. Not just how to do battle or how to survive, but, more meaning-of-life, philosophical, spiritual stuff.

The world Brande has created definitely has a spiritual side to it. But it isn't exactly a spirituality that one would recognize or distinguish as being "Christian". There isn't one God. In fact, lower-case "g" throughout. And all the talk is of each person finding and listening to their god. There isn't any one message to be spread or taught either. In fact, in quite a few places, it's stressed that what happens between a person and their god is private and personal and just for them. That being said, Bradamante's message from her god comes almost straight from the Bible--Jeremiah 1:5. Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born I set you apart. That is the message Bradamante's god gives her along with: Do not be afraid. I have called you to this life. Do not be afraid. Be strong in body. Strong in mind. Strong in heart. And know that I am with you.

Book of Earth kept me reading. Even if I didn't always "like" a particular scene. (Intense scenes can make me uncomfortable in the moment. I want to know what happens, if characters get out of a situation. But until they do--I have an almost hate-to-look reaction.) For the most part, I cared about the characters and thought they were well-developed. (Jara and Astolpho are other characters I came to care about.) The world she created was interesting. Not one I'd like to visit, mind you, but interesting all the same. I do want to know what happens next.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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21. Over the Hills and Far Away: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes collected by Elizabeth Hammill and illustrated by more than 70 celebrated artists

As Elizabeth Hammill says in her introduction to Over the Hills and Far Away, nursery rhymes are "borderless - migrating with ease, begetting intriguing cultural variants along the way." With Over the Hills and Far Away, Hammill has collected 150 nursery rhymes from all over the world and invited 77 contemporary, award-winning illustrators like Eric Carle, Jerry Pinkney, Jon Klassen, Mo

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22. Picture Book Monday with a review of A tale of Two Beasts


We often like to think that there is only one side to a story, the side we know and believe in. This is rarely true, and into today's picture book we see how the same story can be very different depending on who is telling that story. Children will be amused by this tale, and hopefully they will also take something away with them after they have read it.

A tale of two beasts
Fiona Roberton

A tale of two beasts
Picture Book
For ages
Kane Miller, 2015, 978-1-61067-361-7
One day a little girl is walking home through the woods when she sees a peculiar little beast hanging from a tree. The little beast is “whining sadly,” so the little girl decides to “rescue” the little animal. She takes him home wrapped in her scarf, washes him, dresses him in a sweater and hat, and gives him a bowl of nuts to eat. She takes him for walks and shows him off to her friends.  Then the little girl realizes that the little beast is not happy and soon after he runs away, returning to his home in the woods.
   One day, a little beast is happily hanging from a tree singing when he is “AMBUSHED by a terrible beast!” The beast ties it up, takes it to her “secret lair” and then proceeds to do unspeakable things to the little beast, things like bathing it, dressing it, and giving is stupid squirrel food to eat. Eventually the little beast comes up with a “cunning plan” and it escapes into the woods before its cruel captor can get her hands on him again.
   In this clever book the author tells us the same story from two points of view. First the little girl tells the story, and then the little beast tells the story. They both think the other is a “beast,” and they don’t think very highly of each other either. It is interesting to see how the little girl thinks she is saving the beast, whereas he thinks she is kidnapping, or rather beastnapping, him.
   Both the stories are funny, and together they will help children to see that there are always at least two sides to every story.  The wonderful thing about both stories is that in the end the two beasts come to an understanding. They see things from slightly different perspectives to be sure, but the end result is a good one for both of them.

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23. It's live!! Cover Reveal: Your Voice Is All I Hear by Leah Scheier + Giveaway (US/Canada)

 

Hi, everyone!

Today we're super excited to celebrate the cover reveal for YOUR VOICE IS ALL I HEAR by Leah Scheier, releasing September 1, 2015 from Sourcebooks. Before we get to the cover, here's a note from Leah:

 

Welcome to the cover reveal for my second novel, YOUR VOICE IS ALL I HEAR. I am so excited to share it with you!  Getting a cover mock-up is so nerve-wracking for an author. I tell people that I'm "graphically-challenged;" I know what looks good when I see it but I can't visualize or design anything, not even if my life depended on it.  So when people asked me what I wanted my cover to look like, all I could say was, "I don't know. Sad. But not too sad. Also hopeful? There should be a girl on it.  Or maybe a boy?"
 
A couple of months ago, I was in a deli ordering sandwiches when my phone beeped. My editor had just sent me the cover photo! I couldn't believe it was ready. I tapped on the message, holding my breath for the big reveal, as I bounced in place like a little kid on a sugar high. I waited. And waited. AND THE ATTACHMENT WOULDN'T OPEN ON MY PHONE. It was an awful moment. I gasped out, "Oh my god, oh my god! Extra pickles, please!" to the mystified deli waiter and frantically messaged my daughter. "Open my email," I begged her. "I can't see my cover! You have to tell me what you think." An eternity passed as she downloaded the picture. "Ohhhh, Mom," she replied. "Wow. You are so lucky!"
 
My daughter was right. It had turned out even better than I'd hoped for. When the snapchat popped up on my screen, I finally saw the girl I'd imagined for years, right there in front of me. Joanna Jankowska and her team had captured the mood of the book in one perfect photo.
 
"Hey, lady? Your sandwiches are ready." The waiter held them out nervously. "Extra pickles, just like you said, okay?"
 
"Thank you, that's just wonderful!" I exclaimed. "You're wonderful!"
 
He smiled and backed away slowly. I guess he wasn't used to seeing wild-eyed enthusiasm over pastrami on rye.  
 
Since then, whenever I go back to that deli, I always get a crap-load of pickles with my order.    
   
I want to thank the team at Sourcebooks for the beautiful cover design. And for the many pickles that have come into my life. 
 
 
~ Leah Scheier (YOUR VOICE IS ALL I HEAR, Sourcebooks)
 

 

 

Ready to see?

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Here it is!

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_your-voice.png

*** If you choose to share this image elsewhere, please include a courtesy link back to this page so others can enter Leah's giveaway. Thank you! ***

 

YOUR VOICE IS ALL I HEAR

by Leah Scheier
Release date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks
ISBN: 1492614416
 
 
About the Book

 

April won't let Jonah go without a fight. He’s her boyfriend—her best friend. She’ll do anything to keep him safe. But as Jonah slips into a dark depression, trying to escape the traumatic past that haunts him, April is torn. To protect Jonah, she risks losing everything: family, friends, an opportunity to attend a prestigious music school. How much must she sacrifice? And will her voice be loud enough to drown out the dissenters—and the ones in his head?

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_leah-scheier.jpgAbout the Author

Leah Scheier is the author of Secret Letters, a historical mystery featuring the daughter of the Great Detective. After finishing up her adventures in Victorian England, Leah moved back to modern times, and currently writes about teens in her hometown of Baltimore. During the day she waves around a pink stethoscope and sheets of Smurf stickers; at night she bangs on her battered computer and drinks too much caffeine. You can visit her website at leahscheier.com or say hi to her on Twitter @leahscheier.

 

Twitter | Web | Goodreads | Facebook | Pre-order Amazon | Pre-order Barnes & Noble | Pre-order Book Depository | YABC Profile

 
 
 

Giveaway Details

Two winners will each receive a signed copy of YOUR VOICE IS ALL I HEAR (when available). 

Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. Winners will be announced on this site and in our monthly newsletter (sign up now!) within 30 days after the giveaway ends.

During each giveaway, we ask entrants a question pertaining to the book. Here is the question they'll be answering in the comments below for extra entries:

What do you think about the cover and synopsis?

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24. Review: Becoming Rain by K.A. Tucker

Title: Becoming Rain
Author: K.A. Tucker
Publisher: Atria
Publication date: March 3, 2015

Summary: Luke Boone doesn't know exactly what his uncle Rust is involved in but he wants in on it—the cars, the money, the women. And it looks like he's finally getting his wish. When Rust hands him the managerial keys to the garage, they come with a second set—one that opens up the door to tons of cash and opportunity. Though it's not exactly legal, Luke's never been one to worry about that sort of thing. Especially when it puts him behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 and onto the radar of a gorgeous socialite named Rain.

Clara Bertelli is at the top of her game—at only twenty-six years old, she's one of the most successful undercover officers in the Washington, DC, major crime unit, and she's just been handed a case that could catapult her career and expose one of the West coast's most notorious car theft rings. But, in order to do it, she'll need to go deep undercover as Rain Martines. Her target? The twenty-four-year-old nephew of a key player who appears ready to follow in his uncle's footsteps.

As Clara drifts deeper into the luxurious lifestyle of Rain, and further into the arms of her very attractive and charming target, the lines between right and wrong start to blur, making her wonder if she'll be able to leave it all behind. Or if she'll even want to. 

Review: I absolutely loved this book! It is the first book in a really long time I've been able to just jump into. At first I will admit I wasn't quite sure I would be able to read it. For me it started out kind of dull and slow. But soon enough I was hooked and hoping to not have to go to work so I could just keep reading. I fell in love with Rain and Luke quickly and always hoped for the best. Books like this always renew my belief in Love. The best part about this is that the whole focus is not romance. Yet it feels like that's all that matters. I absolutely will be looking for more books by this author. As always I wish the story would never end! 4 stars

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25. The Holiday and the Holyday

The Story Of Easter

By Aileen Fisher; illustrated by Stephano Vitale

 

 

As Easter 2015 approaches, I am always looking for picture books for young readers that emphasize both the holiday and holyday components of Easter.

For young children growing up today whose families celebrate Easter, perhaps it is harder than ever to find picture books that combine both.

The Easter Bunny, rebirth and spring, dominate the cultural landscape in April, and that is not necessarily a bad thing for children. But, for those families for whom Easter is the central holyday of the Christian calendar, they are looking for something more.

 

And Aileen Fisher’s “The Story of Easter” is one picture book that offers that “moreness.”

Originally published in 1968, her book opens with the central theme of “rejoicing.” Nature, it appears is reflecting the greatest holiday of the year for Christians as it signifies their belief in the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Ms. Fisher and the elegantly subdued pastel folk art feel of Stephan Vitale combine completely in a depiction of the events in the life of Jesus leading up to Easter,  whose events can be a difficult thing to present to very young children. Ms. Fisher, I think, does a fine job here.

Her picture book also provides an interesting overview of the spring festivals that preceded Easter, as people celebrated the renewal of life from winter. I can certainly identify with that after our “winterus horribilus.”

 

“After the Christian religion spread

to many lands, the joy of Jesus’

Resurrection became mingled with

the joy of the spring festival. Both

celebrations stood for new life. Both

stood for new hope in the hearts of people”

 

Ms. Fisher gives a wonderful thousand  years perspective on many of the symbols of Easter such as the egg. It takes its significance of new life from cultures as ancient as Persia and China. Plus the egg is also ….”one of the ritual foods eaten at Passover.”

From Ukranian and Polish dyed eggs to the beauties that Carl Peter Faberge created, the Easter egg takes on a whole new history. Did you know that Sephardic Jews invented a way to dye eggs using ONION SKINS? Who knew?

And the Germans, Ms. Fisher relates, were the first to initiate the Easter Egg Tree. Poked holes in an egg shell with the liquid blown through, then dyed or painted and hung on a tree or bush, is a tradition that we have done with our children ourselves for years. Try using quince branches in a pot to hang the eggs from. It blooms beautifully and usually in time for Easter!

Traditional Easter egg hunts are here of course.

And the tradition of new Christians baptized at Easter with white robes as a sign of renewal, perhaps is also reflected in the wearing of new Easter outfits?

Sunrise Easter services and lilies blooming all announce to your young reader in this great picture book, a very interesting perspective on the history, holyday and holiday combination of celebrations that make up Easter.

Ms. Fisher’s book is an entertaining and informative prelude to the old saying concerning Easter Sunday – “The sun dances as it rises on Easter morning.”

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