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1. Review: Harmony, USA by Lewis Bryan

Title: Harmony, USA
Author:  Lewis Bryan 
Publisher: BookLogix
Publication date: April 22, 2015
Stars: 4

Summary: Harmony, USA, the quintessential, idyllic small town, is full of beauty and simplicity. But behind the scenes of this neatly kept town lies a killer, and once you begin to peel back the layers, Harmony has secrets upon secrets. 
Everything you convinced yourself is good and pure about small-town life is challenged. One by one, the secrets of Harmony are revealed. You must decide what is right, as you believed it, and what is justice. 
Will those who have done evil ever pull themselves away from the darkness, or will their past consume them forever? 
Harmony lays in the balance.


Review: Harmony, USA by Lewis Bryan was an interesting book to say the least. You would not expect what happens in this little town. Bryan does a great job with the theory of small towns have their secrets. Harmony sure had plenty. Each page kept me intrigued to find out what happened. I myself am not a big fan of mysteries, I feel like you can pick out the killer in the first few pages. But Bryan’s mystery was one that was hard to break. He wrote it in a way that kept you interested yet you couldn’t name the killer. It took me till almost the end of the book to figure it out and I was still shocked at who it was. Although I did feel like focus of the book was not around the killer so much has around sexual assault. There was something that made me feel uncomfortable at times when every character had been sexually assaulted at some point or another. Regardless of that fact the book was extremely well wrote and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a fast yet good read. 

-Victoria

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2. 9 Books for When You Are 9

9 Books for When You Are 99 books for when you are 9

Nine is a really rad number, and a really rad age. And here are nine great books that every nine-year-old totally MUST read! From wacky to wild, these books will take you on some seriously awesome adventures.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
Middle school is full of drama — just ask Greg Heffley. After his mom forces him to keep a diary, he starts writing down all the (really hilarious) misadventures and happenings from his school year. Greg and his BFF Rowley get into all sorts of sticky situations that will keep you laughing until your sides hurt. Middle school may be full of drama, but, man, the drama is funny!

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Nine is the BEST time to start reading Harry Potter (though I strongly believe it’s never too late, even if you’re 119). Harry has had a miserable life so far, losing his parents when he was just an infant and being raised by his dreadful aunt and uncle, but things are about to get pretty magical in his world. When he finds out he’s actually a wizard, he is whisked away to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where all kinds of life-changing adventures await him.

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
Pippi is the new girl in town, and boy, is she wild! She may have no parents, but she DOES have a pet monkey and a pet horse . . . and a knack for living life freely. The sky’s the limit when it comes to Pippi, and her new neighbors Tommy and Annika are in for a whole lot of wacky surprises!

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
There seems to be nothing the unusual orphan Maniac Magee can’t do: outrun dogs, untie impossible knots, hit a homerun . . . the list is endless. When Maniac Magee arrives in the town of Two Mills, he hopes to find a home, but it’s not that easy. The troubled small town is very divided, and tensions are about to reach a fever pitch. But Maniac Magee might just be the key to helping everyone find peace.

Time Warp Trio: The Knights of the Kitchen Table by Jon Sciezska and Lane Smith
When Joe and his two friends are transported back in time to King Arthur’s court by a magical book, they accidentally defeat the dreaded Black Knight and are mistaken for heroes by King Arthur’s knights. But what will they do when they are confronted with a (really gross) giant and an attacking dragon? And how will they get home?! This super-funny book will keep you guessing — and laughing — as the trio blunder their way from one adventure to the next.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Milo is really bored by everything, but that’s all about to change because a mysterious and magical tollbooth has suddenly appeared in his bedroom. Out of boredom (of course), Milo hops into his dusty old toy car, pays the toll, and finds himself driving directly into a wild, wacky world in which each adventure is even more bizarre than the last!

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Hugo, a young orphan living in the Paris train station, is an expert at staying invisible. But when he meets a most unusual girl and a mysterious toymaker, his life changes. Hugo finds himself thrust headfirst into a mystery that will force him out of hiding for the first time, and reveal more of his own secret past.

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
Nine-year-old Peter Hatcher has THE. MOST. ANNOYING. BROTHER. EVER. Little, two-year-old Fudge gets away with everything, including tormenting Peter’s pet turtle, Dribble. But one day Fudge’s antics go too far — will Peter ever be able to forgive him?

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
Have you ever wondered what it might be like to live in the wild? Sam Gribley is fed up with living in a cramped apartment with his parents and eight (Eight!! Can you imagine?) siblings in New York City, so he runs away to his grandparents’ home upstate. What he’s not ready for is the harsh wilderness living he encounters, but armed with the survival skills preparation and endless curiosity, Sam just might have what it takes to last the winter..

Which books from this list have you read? Which books do you think every nine-year-old should read? Share your thoughts in the Comments below!

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3. Review: Barbara Yelin’s ‘Irmina’ shows how history destroys us in little ways

Quiet and brooding, while still warm and with a great delicacy, Barbara Yelin’s Irmina takes the author’s own discovery of her grandmother’s World War II era diaries and letters, and applies the resulting biography to higher philosophical heights that really concern the way any of us encounter the world. Irmina is a young German girl […]

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4. IBBY Review: Paperboy by Vince Vawter

Paperboy by Vince Vawter (Delacorte Press, 2014)

I Am Not My Disability: Outstanding Books For and About Young People with Disabilities

Every two years, the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) chooses outstanding books for and about young people with … Continue reading ...

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5. Presidential Polar Bear Post Card Project No. 156 - 5.23.16


Yesterday was World Turtle Day... and I picked up where I left off with the adventurous little bear from last week. I'm liking these color washes too, so perhaps a few more like this to come!

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6. RICKSHAW GIRL the Play Pedals to the Finish Line

Last Sunday was the closing show of the Bay Area Children's Theater's adaptation of RICKSHAW GIRL. I was sad to bid farewell to the cast and crew, but the memories of their artistry bringing my story to life will uplift and sustain me for years to come. My thanks to one and all, with deep gratitude for this marvelous privilege. I know it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience for a writer.

From left to right: Amit Sharma (Cast/Tabla), Emily Alvarado (Naima), Director Vidhu Singh, Salim Razawi (Saleem), Ariel Irula (Mother), Pankaj Jha (Father), Sonali Bhattacharya (Music), and me. Missing: too many to list, but I must mention Radhika Rao (Rashida/Rickshaw Painter) and Aditi Kapil (Playwright). 
Meeting an author is kind of scary.
I found a Facebook status written by someone I didn't know who took her daughter to the show. Her words were encouraging as my friends and family can't really be trusted for an impartial response.
"Was amazed today at Bay Area Children's Theatre's production of RICKSHAW GIRL. I think it was my absolute favorite show of the season which is hard to say when I loved them all! We had not read the book before and didn't know the story so it was beautiful to discover such a treasure! It was so nice to see Holly engaged with a story so unfamiliar, and we loved the Bangla songs and the Tabla music! We were lucky to be blessed to meet the author of the book who was in attendance at this final Berkeley performance ... We are looking forward to next season already!"

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7. Angel Above the Sea

Fr. Seraphim Gascoigne’s Angel Above the Sea brings to life a frightening time and place in 20th Century history. Seen largely through the eyes of two disparate characters, the Japanese occupation of Shanghai holds many intertwining stories. Shanghai street urchin Tien Loi, searching for his sister, crosses paths with Sawabe Tomasu, an idealistic Japanese Imperial officer who is at heart an artist longing to return to his training in Paris.  City crimelords, occupying troops with corrupt officers, student resistance bands, and strange supernatural beings weave their way through the narrative. Western readers may be surprised to find a Russian Orthodox cathedral in the midst of the wartime chaos, where it stands as a haven for the street children and a jewelbox of beauty against the backdrop of death and destruction.  Preteens and young adults will enjoy following Tien Loi on his dangerous and meandering pilgrimage, encountering friends and foes,  close calls and mystical experiences. 

Read the first chapter now on Amazon's First Look feature. 

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8. Geoff Johns wants you to be monetarily satisfied with DC Universe: Rebirth #1

Johns_CashWhile readers tip-toe over spoilers from the DC Universe: Rebirth #1 special launching in T-minus eight(ish) hours in New York, author and DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns has offered to write checks to anyone who wasn’t satisfied with their reading experience. In an interview with ComicBook.com today, Johns urged readers who weren’t satisfied with […]

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9. Slump


This is the best I can come up with to summarize my feelings about books and blogging right now.  I've been blogging for almost six years and reading for my entire life and I cannot remember a slump of this magnitude before.  I've given up on about half the books I've started, not because of the book itself but just because I couldn't bring myself to care about it.  Books that I know at another time I'd go nuts for.  It comes up as due at the library or the day passes for its release and I just stop trying.  I can count on my hands the number of really great books that I can truly say I've loved this year.

I've read all the great posts and listicles about breaking a reading rut, but I think really you've just gotta stick it out.  It's probably largely related to having just a somewhat rough year in general.  I've mentioned depression and OCD here in the past and largely it's an issue that I have under control.  My depression particularly is cyclical and not something that affects my life 98% of the time.  The OCD is more constant, but it's not usually out of my control.  It's been about five years since my last episode, so I was due for another bout, and this one has been remarkably mild compared to the past. 

 What I'm trying to say is that things are well under control and I'm not really in need of any sympathy or sorrow, but it has seriously messed with my reading mojo.  In the past I've been incapacitated and I'm super proud that this time around I've got a handle on things and life is continuing as normal.  I'm a lot stronger than I used to be.  But this time a thing that I used to basically revolve my life around has become dry and pointless.  I've spent more time in the last two months playing Cascade and Candy Crush than I have reading and it sucks.  I miss reading.  I miss being excited about learning stuff and hearing stories.  

I've spent a lot of time pouring through Library Journal and making lists of books I'm excited about...until I get my hands on a copy, when it suddenly becomes mundane and uninteresting.  I'm not giving up on reading and I'm definitely not giving up my little blog, but it might be slower here for a while.  It's super hard to make myself write a review for a book that I didn't have strong feelings about - and right now that's almost every book.  If I really hate something, I've got lots to say, and if I love something I want to share it with the world, but it's hard to find the motivation to say "meh" about 40 of the 50 odd books I've read this year.  Especially when I don't think many of them actually deserve the "meh" I'm currently giving them.

All that to say, be patient.  I'll be back more regularly when my reading groove gets back.  I'm taking some steps to try to make it easier to read (like deleting games from my phone and only starting books I have a high likelihood of loving), but if any of you have other suggestions I'd love to hear them!


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10. MIA...WIP!

been MIA lately with this WIP...the new home page/*face* of the enchanted easel.

i'm a big believer in evolution as an artist. in the past couple of years alone, my style has changed/evolved into a place where i feel happy, at peace and comfortable...not to say that i won't keep pushing myself to be the best painter i can be but i am very much enjoying the new style my art has taken on. with that being said...

here are some peeks at the painting i am currently wrapping up this week. little bit of sakura blossoms (my favorite), little bit of nighttime (the insomniac that i am), a strawberry moon, some cotton candy clouds, a sweet little sleeping elephant (maggie) and myself, of course.

can't wait to share it in june (when of course i will have to redo the website and blog to match)!




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11. Yay, it's time for Donalyn Miller's annual summer #BookADay Challenge!

YAYYY! Donalyn Miller just announced the 8th Annual #BookADay Challenge on her blog.

Do read Donalyn's inspiring post above about why she started the Challenge, how to involve young readers, the various ways you can approach it. An excerpt:

"It doesn’t matter if you actually read a book every day or not. Dedicate more time to read. Celebrate your right to read what you want. Make reading plans. Share and collect book recommendations. Connect with other readers.The #bookaday challenge is personal, not a competition. Finish that series. Tackle that epic historical your mother gave you for your birthday (last September). Try audiobooks. How would you like to grow as a reader this summer?"

I will be mainly be posting my #BookADay reads on Twitter at @inkyelbows but will link to posts in my #BookADay archives.

Yes, I do read books the rest of the year! But I love the specific summer reading challenge as extra motivation. I've been working a lot of weekends and evenings in recent months, and I think it would be good to get out of that habit and do more reading instead.

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12. An interview with Katherine Langrish: British author, storyteller, and folklorist

Katherine Langrish is an award-winning author of children’s and young adult historical fantasy. Her meticulous research, gorgeous prose, and instinct for a good story have won her many fans around the world. Since 2009, Katherine has been the creator of the outstanding blog Seven Miles of Steel Thistles where she shares her thoughts and fascinating […]

The post An interview with Katherine Langrish: British author, storyteller, and folklorist appeared first on Cathrin Hagey.

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13. Writer Wednesday: Protecting Yourself as an Author

Over the past several months, this industry has seen many publishers go south. I'm referring to them closing for various reasons and/or getting exposed for not paying their authors. First, let's be clear that I'm not going to name any publishers or speak ill of any either. The intent of this post is to simply inform authors and help them in seeking a publisher for their work.

One question that seems to pop up a lot in writer forums is how to know if you're signing with a "good" publisher. To be honest, sometimes you can sign with a great publisher and then that publisher is bought out, which changes everything. Other times you sign with a publisher that has good intentions but winds up going under. And other times still, things look great on the surface but there's another world happening behind the scenes and it's not good in the least. 

So what's an author to do? The best advice I can give you is to find out which authors are with the publisher you're interested in and then contact those authors to hear what their experiences have been like. I have people do this with me all the time, and I'm very honest about my experiences, both good and bad (and yes, there have been bad ones). Also, if you notice an author has left that publisher, find out why. Keep in mind that nondisclosure agreements might keep some authors from dishing the gory details, but that should also send up a red flag. Nondisclosure agreements are set in place for a reason. As a writer, you should question that reason.

Please, research and contact authors to find out what's really going on outside of the public eye. Protect yourself and your work.  


*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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14. Former Digital Domain CEO John Textor Wins $8.5 Million For Bankrupting The Studio

Running an animation studio can be very profitable...especially if you destroy the studio.

The post Former Digital Domain CEO John Textor Wins $8.5 Million For Bankrupting The Studio appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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15. Celebrate National Geek Day! (Yeah, I Made That Up.)

Don't Panic FinalHappy National Geek Day! Why today? What’s so special about May 25th? Well, a long time ago, in 1977, Star Wars opened in 32 theaters! That’s when science fiction went mainstream! Yeah, there were Trekkies, but they were lowkey… there wasn’t a movie yet, and they mostly congregated at the Holiday Inn on weekends, along with […]

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16. Pan Tadeusz Museum

       Adam Mickiewicz's Pan Tadeusz is, of course, the great(est) Polish epic poem, and they've now opened up a museum dedicated to it, in Wrocław, the Muzeum Pana Tadeusza.
       Looks pretty fancy; see also, for example, the Radio Poland report, Museum dedicated to Polish literary classic.
       And if you're tempted to dip into the Mickiewicz in preparation for a visit, the dual-language Hippocrene Books edition of Pan Tadeusz, with the translation by Kenneth R. MacKenzie, looks like a handy volume; don't bother with their publicity-page (the world's least impressive publicity-page for a book ?), but get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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17. Read Out Loud | Chicken Soup with Rice

READ OUT LOUD - Rocco Staino_Maurice Sendak - Chicken Soup with Rice Featured Image

KidLit TV host Rocco Staino reads Maurice Sendak’s Chicken Soup with Rice on Read Out Loud. The rhyming book can be found on its own, or as a part of Sendak’s classic Nutshell Library which contains three additional titles; Alligators All Around, One Was Johnny, and Pierre.

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READ OUT LOUD - Rocco Staino_Maurice Sendak - Chicken Soup with Rice Pinterest Image

 

ABOUT ‘CHICKEN SOUP WITH RICE: A BOOK OF MONTHS’

Chicken Soup with Rice
Chicken Soup with Rice: A Book of Months
Written and by illustrated by Maurice Sendak
Published by HarperTrophy

Collected in this charming book are twelve lilting rhymes and illustrations for the twelve months of the year, with chicken soup as their universal theme. Although the book starts in the middle of winter — presumably the best time for chicken soup — a case is made for the presence of chicken soup in every season. Even in the peak of the sultry summer: In August / it will be so hot / I will become / a cooking pot / cooking soup of course / Why not? / Cooking once / cooking twice / cooking chicken soup / with rice.

In this tiny volume, first published in 1962, the inimitable Maurice Sendak demonstrates his famous ear for language, rhythm, and word play and anticipates the strengths of his later children’s classics such as Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen. Likewise, his illustrations here in Chicken Soup with Rice are, as always, playful and witty. Each rhyme is introduced with a decorative bar, framing the name of each month like a calendar. And by the “year’s end,” readers are convinced that all seasons / of the year / are nice / for eating / chicken soup / with rice! 

An excellent read-aloud, demonstrating the progression of the year, seasons, and the power of poetry.

ABOUT MAURICE SENDAK

Illustrator and writer Maurice Sendak was born in Brooklyn, New York, on June 10, 1928. As a boy, Sendak and his older brother used to write stories. They then illustrated them and bound them into little books.

Sendak went to art school for a short time. But he mainly learned about his profession on his own. As a teen he spent many hours sketching neighborhood children as they played. These children were represented in A Hole Is to Dig (1952), a book by Ruth Kraus that brought Sendak his first fame.

Sendak’s ability to remember the sounds and feelings of particular childhood moments were demonstrated in his best-known work, Where the Wild Things Are (1963). He won the 1964 Caldecott Medal for this book. He later wrote and illustrated two companion books: In the Night Kitchen (1970) and Outside Over There (1981). The latter received a 1982 American Book Award. Sendak has said the three works are about “how children manage to get through childhood…how they defeat boredom, worries and fear, and find joy.”

Sendak has illustrated some ninety children’s books. In 1970, he won the international Hans Christian Andersen Medal for the body of his illustrated work. He was the first American to receive this highest honor in children’s book publishing. In 1996, U.S. president Bill Clinton presented Sendak with the National Medal of Arts

Read more, here.

ABOUT ROCCO STAINO

Rocco is the charismatic host of StoryMakers, our interview show.  A captivating and important figure in the book community, he is a prominent librarian, a contributing editor at School Library Journal, a contributing writer at The Huffington Post, and the Director of the Empire State Center for the Book, which administers the New York State Writers Hall of Fame. Rocco has interviewed such luminaries as Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, and Jean Craighead George.

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The post Read Out Loud | Chicken Soup with Rice appeared first on KidLit.TV.

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18. British Eccentricity on show at Chelsea

If Heath Robinson were alive today, he would probably feel right at home in the Harrods British Eccentrics Garden. Spinning trees, shrubs that bob up and down, a flower border rotating around an octagonal folly, window boxes repositioning themselves and a roof that tips its hat!  

Diarmuid Gavin the brains behind the garden excels at the unconventional. In 2011, he designed a garden which he suspended 82 ft in the air!  In 2012, he recreated Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree, see previous post here. This year he pays homage to English cartoonist William Heath Robinson. “I like to have a bit of fun and try something new,” he explains.    

Heath Robinson best known for his cartoons of fantastically complicated machines died in 1944, but his madcap inventions have never been forgotten. To describe something as Heath Robinson is to portray something complicated in a funny way which is not particularly practical. The British Eccentrics Garden may not be practical, but it is certainly funny.

Imagine your surprise if you found yourself walking through this garden;



I agree with Diarmuid this garden sums up everything that is wonderful about Britain.  You don’t have to be mad to live here, but it certainly helps! This is British eccentricity at its very best.


William Heath Robinson pictured at his desk in 1929 via 

How about you – love it or loath it?

If you enjoyed this post, please share it.

Tweet: March House Books - British Eccentricity on show at Chelsea #bookblogs #fbloggers #bbloggers via @MarchHouseBooks

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19. I didn’t want you guys to think that I only drew fuzzy...


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20. Painting with Primaries

Our local school is building a Natural Playground, and they are holding several fundraisers. I was recently asked to be part of a Really Good Idea for a fundraiser, which I think would make a fun library program! The idea, which was hatched and hosted by the owner of our local craft shop, was this: local artists would each lead a classroom in painting a large 2-foot square painting which would then be auctioned off.
IMG_1399
I was happy to find out that I was chosen to work with the Grade Primary class (here in Nova Scotia that translates to Kindergarten). I went with a big flower for them to paint. I had them in groups of 3 — the painting had seven areas to be painted, and I had each group work on a section. I might be biased, but I love our painting the most. I love the colours and the freedom of expression that 4 & 5 year olds are unafraid to exhibit. I really didn’t paint much at all— I gave them tips, and once had to quickly grab a paintbrush from an over-exuberant artist who was about to turn the whole thing into a big smear.

I started in the classroom with a stack of books and talked to them about art in picture books.  I read Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales to them and we talked about the art in that book. Their teacher had been part of some workshops I did earlier in the school year, and she had them looking closely at the art in picture books, so this group of 4-5 year olds were pretty savvy about examining the pictures. We had a lively discussion about the art and how everyone can do art. I was impressed that they were able to determine the medium, and talk a little about shape and colour.

I love to combine literacy with art lessons, and this project – and a Caldecott honour book – allowed me to do that. We also did a really great painting which will help raise money for a playground that will further their learning in the great outdoors. IMG_1401

So— to turn this into a library program, you could buy several large canvases (you can get them for a pretty decent price at dollar stores these days). Draw the outlines on the canvases, and have your program participants paint them in, using acrylic paint (again, a fairly inexpensive investment at dollar stores). These could hang in the children’s area, could be donated for charity fundraisers, or you could auction them as library fundraisers. Add a few books on art and a few art picture books, and you’ve got yourself a fairly simple, low-cost program that kids will remember each time they see those paintings. Host an art show in your library and you’ve got another program that will draw in the families of the kids who did the paintings. Art and literacy. They make good companions.

The post Painting with Primaries appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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21. Debut Year Tips

You learn so much as a debut author, including many of these tips.

http://blog.liviablackburne.com/2015/06/random-practical-tips-for-your-debut.html

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22. On the finiteness of the atmosphere

I guess the funniest thing I ever saw was a person driving down the highway in a Toyota Prius smoking a cigarette with the windows closed. It was like they were telling me, “I respect your atmosphere but not mine.” That got me thinking, does human generated, gaseous, atmospheric pollution actually make up a significant part of the total atmosphere, and can it possibly affect it?

The post On the finiteness of the atmosphere appeared first on OUPblog.

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23. tuesday muffin

Rilla and Huck and a bug book

A lot of the replies to my blog-topics post asked for more glimpses of our tidal homeschooling days, especially how I work with my teens and my elementary-aged kids at the same time. So here’s a peek at a fairly typical Tuesday morning. The broad strokes—the basic rhythms—of our days stay consistent, four days a week (with one morning given to group piano and [for Beanie] literature classes). The details (what exactly we read, do, discuss, sing) vary, but the shape is the same—sort of like a muffin pan. Yeah, that’s it. Our days are like muffins, alike in shape, but we vary the recipe quite a bit. Make sense?

So—during high tide, we do lessons from 9 to noon, more or less. Noon to 1 is lunch and (often) a read-aloud. From 1-3 the younger kids get gaming time (iPad, Wii) and then they play outside most of the rest of the day. The older girls spend their afternoons reading, writing, gaming, walking, and whatever else they have on tap. I work (write) in the afternoons, and sometimes pop out to teach weekly classes to other homeschoolers. For example, I wrapped up a six-week poetry workshop yesterday with a lively group of boys who always keep me laughing. Love those kids.

Anyway, here’s our Tuesday morning.

9 a.m.
Beanie is outlining her Tempest paper for the weekly literature class I teach to her and a few friends.
Huck is playing with refrigerator magnets.
Rilla has drawn a scene from the story of Elissa of Carthage, and is now writing a description under the drawing, complete with Phoenician letters for the names.
Now Huck is noodling around on the piano.

9:15
Read Stone Soup to Huck. Rose stopped unloading the dishwasher to come listen—she says it’s one of her favorite stories from childhood.
While I read, Rilla finished her Elissa of Carthage passage. Beanie moved to another room for better concentration.

9:30
Rose finished the dishes and began making pretzel rolls for our teatime. Huck, Rilla, and I did our morning stretches and recitations. That word sounds so formal! What we do is quite casual. About four mornings a week, we gather in the living room for some singing, memory work, and movement games. It goes something like this:

—We move through a series of stretches (this is mostly for me) which include two planks. During the first plank, we skip-count by sixes; during the second, by sevens.

—Practice the Shakespeare speech or poem we are currently memorizing. Huck, Rilla, and I learn these all together, and usually the older girls wind up knowing them too, because they’re hearing us recite them all the time. This year, I’ve been using Ken Ludwig’s Midsummer Night’s Dream passages from How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare. I had already had Pucks “merry wanderer” speech in mind for Huck and Rilla to learn this year—I earned a small scholarship for performing that one during college, so I’m extra fond of it—when I read the Ludwig book (last summer) and decided his approach meshes perfectly with mine. So: this year they’ve learned “I know a bank where the wild thyme grows,” the merry wanderer monologue, the “Lord what fools these mortals be” speech, and now we’re working on Puck’s final speech (“If we shadows have offended”).

—Then we sing an assortment of memory songs and folk songs. Today it was: U.S. Presidents song; United States song; Horrible Histories English Monarchs song. Yesterday was the same lineup plus Skye Boat Song—a family favorite. This is an informal (meaning not planned-in-advance) part of our day, and basically I just starting singing things and the kids join in. Our Presidents and States songs come from an old Singin’ Smart cassette (cassette!!) I bought back when Jane was little, circa 1999. I wish I could find the booklet—there were some other useful tunes in there. I remember the melody for the U.S. Capitals song and have been meaning to print up a list so my littles can learn to sing along. I’m a big fan of music for anything requiring rote memory. We lean heavily on Schoolhouse Rock around here. Last year our mornings were dominated by French songs, as you may recall.

—This week I started Huck and Rilla on the Latin vocabulary chants from Latin for Children Primer A. We are not doing the workbook—just the rhythmic vocab chants: amo, amare, amavi, amatum and so on. Again, this was something that worked really well with my older set and is a solid, painless way to implant a bunch of Latin roots. We also enjoy my friend Edith Hope Fine’s Cryptomaniacs workbook (Greek and Latin roots)—Rilla will be using that steadily next year.

10 a.m.
Rose’s rolls are in the oven. She’s playing piano. Beanie is doing German on Duolingo. I send the littles outside with a snack.

10:15
Rose heads to her room to maybe do some math? She’s taking business math this year. Yesterday we slogged through the compound interest chapter together. I know you’re jealous. Beanie’s studying geometry, which I find much more entertaining.

I call Huck and Rilla back inside for some history. I read them the Elizabethan Era chapter from A Child’s History of the World—Walter Raleigh, Roanoke, Shakespeare. Long side-discussion of tobacco was sparked by a mention in the chapter. Also a lot of discussion about Roanoke because who isn’t fascinated by that story? I mention to Rose (who is back, checking on her rolls) that Gwenda Bond has a YA novel about Roanoke she might enjoy. This reminds us we need to return some books to the library.

10:45(ish)
Rilla has done a little Math-U-See, and Huck and I had an impromptu chat about the short E sound. He is reading incredibly well these days, devouring Boxcar Children books with ease. I picked up an easy spelling workbook a couple of weeks ago and pull it out occasionally to talk about sounds with him. Rilla is the first of my kids to need some deliberate, steady spelling instruction (she’s using a Spelling You See book this year and really enjoying it because it came with a set of erasable colored pencils, which (art supply) is the key to her heart. With Huck, age 7, I’m now casually pulling out some light spelling games to help him start making those phonics-y connections.

Okay, so that was going on but only for a few minutes, and now Rose’s pretzel rolls are ready. We hurry to the table to enjoy them while they’re warm. Tuesday mornings are our Poetry Teatime—which for us generally means Something Rose Baked and a glass of milk. I usually grab our battered Favorite Poems Old and New and read six or seven poems. Not a week goes by that they don’t beg for their favorite, To My Son Thomas…some days I have it in me, and other weeks I’m not up to the performance. When you do that poem, you gotta DO that poem. 🙂

11:10
Huck and Rilla have gone off to play together. This usually means I will find my bed turned into a fort later. Last week, it became some kind of Monkey Kingdom and I had stuffed primates hanging from the miniblind cords all week.

Time for some history with Rose and Beanie. Today was a selection from Don’t Know Much About American History, one of several books we rotate through. Charles Lindbergh, mostly.

11:45
I go grab a sweater from my room. Sure enough, every pillow in the house is piled high. I send Huck and Rilla to get their shoes on. Rose and Beanie are at the piano again, working out a duet—Beanie began taking violin lessons a few months ago and likes to try to work out simple accompaniment to the pieces Rose is working on for piano class.

Everyone piles into the minivan for a quick library run. We have a million things to return. Rilla found a new graphic novel, Jellaby: The Lost Monster, that looks fun. Rose recommended Sarah Zettel’s Palace of Spies for Beanie—a YA historical novel I read for the 2014 CYBILs and passed along to Rose when I finished.

12:30
Home for a late lunch. I forgot to read our chapter of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler! I’ll have to try to squeeze it in after dinner. This is because—in an unprecedented development—I went into Scott’s office (aka our boys’ bedroom) to give him a package that had arrived, and I stretched out on the bed just for a second and fell asleep. I never nap.

1:05
I guess I napped. Scott is amused. I’m totally discombobulated. Wonderboy is just arriving home from school and the littles are already deep into Terraria. Jane is pinging me from college. My afternoon has begun.

Palace of Spies by Sarah Zettel Jellaby The Lost Monster by Kean Soo Greek and Latin for Cryptomaniacs by Edith Hope Fine How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig Blackwood by Gwenda Bond Stone Soup by Marcia Brown Don't Know Much About History by Kenneth C. Davis From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler Favorite Poems Old and New

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24. Stone Tablets review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Wojciech Żukrowski's Stone Tablets, a 1966 Polish novel -- set in 1950s India, no less -- that's only now appearing in English, from Paul Dry Books.

       (I was amused when I realized that I've actually read a work by Żukrowski before -- his Nieśmiały narzeczony, in a German translation (Der schüchterne Bräutigam) in a flimsy little East German paperback in Aufbau Verlag's paperback 'bb'-line that I picked up and read in the mid-1980s.)

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25. INTERVIEW: Farel Dalrymple on POP GUN WAR: GIFT, New York, & Brandon Graham’s ISLAND

PopGunWar_Gift-1The cartoonist sits down with us to discuss the legacy and future of his legendary series.

0 Comments on INTERVIEW: Farel Dalrymple on POP GUN WAR: GIFT, New York, & Brandon Graham’s ISLAND as of 5/24/2016 6:33:00 PM
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