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1. Queens Museum Children's Book Celebration

Queens Museum
Children's Book Celebration
Jul 11
Celebrate summer reading for kids of all ages at the Queens Museum! Enjoy readings and art making presented by local award-winning children’s book authors and illustrators in partnership with the Queens Library Summer Reading Program. Free and open to the public. First 200 attendees get a free poster!
  • Meet children’s book authors and illustrators: Mike Curato, Melissa Guion, Frank Dormer, Roxie Munro, Kelly Light, Kat Yeh, Joyce Wan, Sergio Ruzzier, David Ezra Stein, Anna Raff, Adam Auerbach, Kirsten Hall, Dasha Tolstikova, Mike Herrod, Sam Ita, Jen Hill, Ame Dyckman, Adam Lehrhaupt, Carla Torres, and Rowboat Watkins
  • Enjoy storytime in English, Spanish, Korean, Bengali, and Mandarin
  • Practice your reading skills with a Reading Partners volunteer
  • Visit the Books of Wonder pop-up shop for a wide selection of books and get them signed by your favorite author/illustrator
  • Recycle or trade in your old children’s books at our Children’s Book Exchange
  • Sign up for a library card, enroll in the Summer Reading Program, and check out children’s titles at the Queens Library kiosk

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This new title- All Four Stars by Tara Dairman explores the world of cooking through the eyes of a sixth grade girl named Gladys.  Gladys cooks in secret but lands herself in trouble from her parents when the kitchen almost burns down.  After that Gladys parents do not want her to cook.  However, she needs to write a essay for a school contest about her future.   Gladys tries to write about another topic, but the teacher convinces her and inspires her to write about cooking.  This leads to her contest entry getting mixed up and her being asked to be a professional freelance reviewer for The New York Standard.   Alot of adventure occurs, but she does get her review done and published! 

A delightful read about the impact of a great teacher and a sixth grade girl with strength and personality.  This is a light read for the summer.   Make sure you have a great dessert to eat while you are reading.  If you get inspired by what Gladys cooks the author listed recipes for some of  the desserts on her site.

Here's to looking back on an older post from my blog for another foodie related titled called The Tea Shop Girls.

Also kids are inspired by creative teachers and creative progams.  Plus they never forget them.   Take a look at one of my first library cooking programs!

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3. Happy Spring Reading!

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American Library Association announces 2015 youth media award winners

For Immediate Release
Mon, 02/02/2015


Macey Morales
Media Relations Manager
American Library Association
CHICAGO - The American Library Association (ALA) today announced the top books, video and audio books for children and young adults – including the Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Newbery and Printz awards – at its Midwinter Meeting in Chicago.
A list of all the 2015 award winners follows:
John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature:
“The Crossover,” written by Kwame Alexander, is the 2015 Newbery Medal winner. The book is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Two Newbery Honor Books also were named:
“El Deafo” by Cece Bell, illustrated by Cece Bell and published by Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS.
“Brown Girl Dreaming,” written by Jacqueline Woodson and published by Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.
Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children:
“The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend,” illustrated by Dan Santat, is the 2015 Caldecott Medal winner. The book was written by Dan Santat and published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
Six Caldecott Honor Books also were named:
“Nana in the City,” illustrated by Lauren Castillo, written by Lauren Castillo and published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
“The Noisy Paint Box: The  Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art,” illustrated by Mary GrandPré, written by Barb Rosenstock and published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.
“Sam & Dave Dig a Hole,” illustrated by Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnett and published by Candlewick Press.
“Viva Frida,” illustrated by Yuyi Morales, written by Yuyi Morales and published by Roaring Brook Press, a Neal Porter Book.
“The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus,” illustrated by Melissa Sweet, written by Jen Bryant, and published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
“This One Summer,” illustrated by Jillian Tamaki, written by Mariko Tamaki and published by First Second.
Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults:
“Brown Girl Dreaming,” written by Jacqueline Woodson, is the King Author Book winner. The book is published by Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.
Three King Author Honor Books were selected:
Kwame Alexander for “The Crossover,” published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing.
Marilyn Nelson for “How I Discovered Poetry,” illustrated by Hadley Hooper and published by Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Books (USA) LLC.
Kekla Magoon for “How It Went Down,” published by Henry Holt and Company, LLC.
Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award:
“Firebird,” illustrated by Christopher Myers, is the King Illustrator Book winner. The book was written by Misty Copeland and published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.
Two King Illustrator Honor Book were selected:
Christian Robinson for “Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker,” by Patricia Hruby Powell, published by Chronicle Books LLC.
Frank Morrison for “Little Melba and Her Big Trombone,” by Katheryn Russell-Brown, published by Lee and Low Books, Inc.
Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award:
“When I Was the Greatest,” written by Jason Reynolds, is the Steptoe winner. The book is published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.
Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement:
Deborah D. Taylor is the winner of the Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement. The award pays tribute to the quality and magnitude of beloved children’s author Virginia Hamilton.
Taylor’s career in public service began more than 40 years ago with the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, where she is currently coordinator of School and Student Services. Her career has been spent as mentor, educator and literacy advocate for young adults. As an inspiring young adult librarian, leader in national associations and university instructor, she has been distinctly effective in introducing young people and her professional colleagues to the outstanding work of African American authors.  
Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults:
“I’ll Give You the Sun,” written by Jandy Nelson, is the 2015 Printz Award winner. The book is published by Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Group USA, a Penguin Random House Company.
Four Printz Honor Books also were named:
“And We Stay,” by Jenny Hubbard, and published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc., a Penguin Random House Company.
“The Carnival at Bray,” by Jessie Ann Foley, and published by Elephant Rock Books.
“Grasshopper Jungle,” by Andrew Smith, and published by Dutton Books, an imprint of Penguin Group USA, a Penguin Random House Company.
“This One Summer,” by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki, and published by First Second.
Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience:
“A BOY AND A JAGUAR” written by Alan Rabinowitz, illustrated by Catia Chien and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, wins the award for children ages 0 to 10. 
“RAIN REIGN” written by Ann M. Martin and published by A FEIWEL AND FRIENDS BOOK, is the winner of the middle-school (ages 11-13).
The teen (ages 13-18) award winner is “Girls Like Us,” written by Gail Giles and published by Candlewick Press.
Alex Awards for the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences:
“All the Light We Cannot See,” by Anthony Doerr, published by Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
“Bellweather Rhapsody,” by Kate Racculia, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
“Bingo’s Run,” by James A. Levine, published by Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of the Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.
“Confessions,” by Kanae Minato, translated by Stephen Snyder, published by Mulholland Books, an imprint of Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
“Everything I Never Told You,” by Celeste Ng, published by The Penguin Press, a member of Penguin Group LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.
“Lock In,” by John Scalzi, a Tor Book published by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.
“The Martian,”  by Andy Weir, published by Crown Publishers, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.
“The Terrorist’s Son: A Story of Choice,” by Zak Ebrahim with Jeff Giles, published by TED Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
“Those Who Wish Me Dead,” by Michael Koryta, published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
“Wolf in White Van,” by John Darnielle, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Andrew Carnegie Medal for excellence in children's video:
Paul R. Gagne and Melissa Reilly Ellard, Weston Woods Studios, Inc., producers of “Me…Jane,” are the Carnegie Medal winners. This transcendent adaptation of Patrick McDonnell’s 2012 Caldecott Honor draws viewers into the childhood of a young Jane Goodall who, with beloved stuffed chimpanzee, Jubilee, is transformed by what she observes in her own backyard, a “magical world full of joy and wonder.”
Laura Ingalls Wilder Award honors an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.
The 2015 winner is Donald Crews, whose award-winning works include “Freight Train,” which was a Caldecott Honor Book in 1979, and “Truck,” a Caldecott Honor Book in 1981. He has been consistently excellent with a wide range of titles, such as “Harbor,” “Parade,” “Shortcut” and “Bigmama’s,” all published by Greenwillow Books.
Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults:
The 2015 winner is Sharon M. Draper, author of more than 20 books, including: “Tears of a Tiger” (1994), “Forged by Fire” (1997), “Darkness Before Dawn” (2001), “Battle of Jericho” (2004), “Copper Sun” (2006), and “November Blues” (2007), all published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.
2016 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award recognizing an author, critic, librarian, historian or teacher of children's literature, who then presents a lecture at a winning host site.
The 2016 Arbuthnot Lecture will be delivered by Pat Mora. Pioneering author and literacy advocate Pat Mora has written more than three dozen books for young people that represent the Mexican American experience.
Mildred L. Batchelder Award for an outstanding children’s book translated from a foreign language and subsequently published in the United States:
“Mikis and the Donkey” is the 2015 Batchelder Award winner. The book was written by Bibi Dumon Tak, illustrated by Philip Hopman, translated by Laura Watkinson, and published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Two Batchelder Honor Books also were selected:
“Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust,” published by First Second an imprint of Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings Limited Partnership, written by Loic Dauvillier, illustrated by Marc Lizano, color by Greg Salsedo, translated by Alexis Siegel.
“Nine Open Arms,” published by Enchanted Lion Books, written by Benny Lindelauf, illustrated by Dasha Tolstikova, translated by John Nieuwenhuizen.
Odyssey Award for best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States:
“H. O. R. S. E. A Game of Basketball and Imagination,” produced by Live Oak Media, is the 2015 Odyssey Award winner. The book is written by Christopher Myers and narrated by Dion Graham and Christopher Myers.
Three Odyssey Honor Recordings also were selected:
“Five, Six, Seven, Nate!” produced by AUDIOWORKS (Children’s) an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster, Inc., written by Tim Federle, and narrated by Tim Federle;
“The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place,” produced by Listening Library, an imprint of the Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group, written by Julie Berry, and narrated by Jayne Entwistle;
“A Snicker of Magic,” produced by Scholastic Audiobooks, written by Natalie Lloyd, and narrated by Cassandra Morris.
Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Award honoring a Latino writer and illustrator whose children's books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience:
“Viva Frida,” illustrated by Yuyi Morales, is the Belpré Illustrator Award winner.  The book was written by Yuyi Morales and published by Roaring Brook Press, a Neal Porter Book.
Three Belpré Illustrator Honor Books were named:
“Little Roja Riding Hood,” illustrated by Susan Guevara, written by Susan Middleton Elya, and published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.
“Green Is a Chile Pepper,” illustrated by John Parra, written by Roseanne Greenfield Thong, and published by Chronicle Books LLC.
“Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation,” illustrated and written by Duncan Tonatiuh, and published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of ABRAMS.
Pura Belpré (Author) Award honoring Latino authors whose work best portrays, affirms and celebrates the Latino cultural experience:
"I Lived on Butterfly Hill" is the 2015 Pura Belpré (Author) Award winner. The book is written by Marjorie Agosín, illustrated by Lee White and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.
One Belpré Author Honor Book was named:
"Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes," written by Juan Felipe Herrera, illustrated by Raúl Colón and published by Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.
Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children:
“The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus,” written by Jen Bryant, is the Sibert Award winner. The book is published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Five Sibert Honor Books were named:
“Brown Girl Dreaming,” written by Jacqueline Woodson, and published by Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.
“The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, & the Fall of Imperial Russia,” written by Candace Fleming, and published by Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.
“Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker,” written by Patricia Hruby Powell, illustrated by Christian Robinson and published by Chronicle Books LLC.
“Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands,” written and illustrated by Katherine Roy, and published by David Macaulay Studio, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press.
“Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation,” written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh and published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of ABRAMS.
Stonewall Book Award - Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award given annually to English-language children’s and young adult books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience:
“This Day in June,” written by Gayle E. Pitman, Ph.D., illustrated by Kristyna Litten and published by Magination Press, an imprint of the American Psychological Association, is the winner of the 2015 Stonewall Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award.
Three Honor Books were selected:
“Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out,” by Susan Kuklin, photographed by Susan Kuklin and published by Candlewick Press.
“I’ll give you the sun,” written by Jandy Nelson, published by Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.
“Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress,” written by Christine Baldacchio, pictures by Isabelle Malenfant, published by Groundwood Books / House of Anansi Press.
Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished beginning reader book:
“You Are (Not) Small,” written by Anna Kang and illustrated by Christopher Weyant, is the Seuss Award winner. The book is published by Two Lions, New York.
Two Geisel Honor Books were named:
“Mr. Putter & Tabby Turn the Page,” written by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Arthur Howard, and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
“Waiting Is Not Easy!” written by Mo Willems, illustrated by Mo Willems, and published by Hyperion Books for Children, an imprint of Disney Book Group.
William C. Morris Award for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens:
“Gabi, a Girl in Pieces,” written by Isabel Quintero, is the 2015 Morris Award winner. The book is published by Cinco Puntos Press.
Four other books were finalists for the award:
“The Carnival at Bray” written by Jessie Ann Foley and published by Elephant Rock Books.
“The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim” written by E.K. Johnston and published by Carolrhoda Lab™, an imprint of Carolrhoda Books, a division of Lerner Publishing Group.
“The Scar Boys” written by Len Vlahos and published by Egmont Publishing.
“The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender” written by Leslye Walton and published by Candlewick Press.
YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults
“Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek,” written by Maya Van Wagenen, is the 2015 Excellence winner. The book is published by Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group.
Four other books were finalists for the award:
“Laughing at My Nightmare” written by Shane Burcaw, and published by Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan’s Children’s Publishing Group.
“The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion & the Fall of Imperial Russia” written by Candace Fleming, and published by Schwartz & Wade, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books.
“Ida M. Tarbell: The Woman Who Challenged Big Business—and Won!” written by Emily Arnold McCully, and published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers.
“The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights” written by Steve Sheinkin, and published by Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.
Recognized worldwide for the high quality they represent, ALA awards guide parents, educators, librarians and others in selecting the best materials for youth. Selected by judging committees of librarians and other children’s experts, the awards encourage original and creative work.  For more information on the ALA youth media awards and notables, please visitwww.ala.org/yma .
Macey Morales
Media Relations Manager
Heather Cho
Media Relations Specialist

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5. New York City Weather Calls for Earmuffs-EARMUFFS for EVERYONE! by Meghan McCarthy

It is the perfect release date (for New York weather anyway)for Meghan McCarthy's new title Earmuffs for Everyone! How Chester Greenwood Became Known as the Inventor of Earmuffs. It is amazing to think there is a history behind every object you own and wear.  Earmuffs are no exception.

Meghan McCarthy's back page note explains, "I start work on every book with a bit of free association. For Earmuffs, I started doing searches on the internet-"unique inventors," odd inventions"-until ultimately I put in the word "kid inventors."   That's when I read about Chester Greenfield, who was born in 1858.  "Mary Bells of about.com wrote,A grammar school dropout, he invented earmuffs at the age of 15 (1873).  While testing a new pair of ice skates, he grew frustrated at trying to protect his ears from the bitter cold...." Meghan McCarthy explains, "That's when I knew that Chester was going to be the topic of my next book.

The topic of the book led her to look for more information and the book starts off with an explanation of a few others that were associated with the invention of earmuffs.  However, Chester is the one given credit for the invention.  The story talks about his patent and explains what a patent is and how to get one. The people of Maine have even declared December 21 as Earmuff Day in his honor!

Here is a video clip of Maine celebrating Earmuff Day - 

Just makes you wonder about all the things you don't know about! 

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6. Michelle Knudsen - Part II Writing, The Evil Librarian and Marilyn's Monsters

 I am happy to continue my interview  and raffle a copy of Michelle Knudsen's latest title Evil Librarian.  Just leave a comment at the end of the post. 

Q - Illustrations are a big part of picture books.  However your middle grade series and new YA title Evil Librarian are based on writing.  Since you do not do the illustrations is the writing of the picture book easier or harder?  

A-  Picture books and novels are both challenging in their own ways.  For picture books, it can be really hard to find the true core of the story -- there always seems to be a central piece that ether works or doesn't and without that, no amount of revising ever seems to make it right.  And then even once you find it, there are still the challenges of telling the story in as few words as possible and making sure you leave room fin the story for the illustrator.  The illustrators I've worked with have all done  a wonderful job of contributing to and enlarging the story through the artwork. 

For novels, there's obviously a lot more writing involved, and the plots are more complicated , wth more characters and events,  I think that in some ways, though, all that material to work with makes it easier to work out the story ..there's a lot more room to figure things out in the first draft than with a picture book.  But it's also a lot harder to hold the whole story in your mnd at one time, and a lot more to keep track of.  I think that's why I'm almost always working on at least one picture book and novel at the same time--they're hard(and fun) n different ways, and it's nice to be able to go back and forth, and take a break from one by working on the other.

Q- What gave you the idea for Evil Librarian?  How did you create Mr. Gabriel?

The Evil Librarian
A- I started Evil Librarian while taking a break from a somewhat heaver novel -- I was feeling a bit weighed down and wanted to work on something a little fun.  I didn't actually know what the story was going to be about when I first started it.  Really all I had was the voice of the main character, Cyn, and I just started writing to see what she had to say,  I don't think I even knew there would be a librarian until I got to the part where Annie first mentions him.  But then I somehow knew right away he would be evil.:) It took a while to figure out exactly what Mr. Gabrriel wanted and why he was there, but his overall character and personality came very quickly.  I liked him a lot from the start, even knowing he was going to be a very bad guy.

Q- Why a protractor and biology textbook (knife and shield) as the items used for protection?  Did you consider any other items?

A- I liked the idea of the magic items taking the form of very mundane school objects.  Both because things not being what they appeared was a constant theme running through the book, and because it just struck me as funny,  I wanted Cyn to be completely unimpressed by the protractor and the book to not be entirely sure she could put her faith in them at first.

Q- There are so many different genres mixed in - Horroe, Mystery, Romance.  Do you have a favorite genre to read and or write?

A-  I am definitely a science fiction and fantasy girl more than anything else, probably because those where the first novels I came to love as a young reader.  But I especially love cross-genre books. My favorite SFF stories are character driven and often have a dash of romance or mystery or horror mixed in.  I try to read  a variety of things, but I'm rarely drawn to contemporary fiction on my own-- I often really enjoy it, but it usually takes a trusted source making a recommendation before I'll pick something like that up.  As for writing, I definitely prefer to write things with a fantasy or supernatural aspect, Even my picture books tend to involve unexplained strange things happening ( a lion coming to the library, bunnies that just show up one day for no discernable reason, etc).

Q- The deal included multiple trips to the demon world.  Does ths mean ths might be part of a three part series?

A- I hadn't necessarily planned on a series at first-- I just liked the idea of leaving the story a little open-ended, so readers would know Cyn wasn't truly out of the woods quite yet.  But I'm happy to say that there is an Evil Librarian sequel in the works, and I'm planning on a third one as well.

Q- I saw the title of your new picture book Marilyn's Monster (release date March 2015).  Were you writing this at the same time as Evil Librarian? I just read a brief description that Marilyn might look for her monster.  Can you reveal anything about this new title?

A- Yes, I was working on Marilyn's Monster during the time I was writing Evil Librarian. It's another story that involves unexplained events--monsters begin showing up as companions to children.  Day by day all of Marilyn's friends and classmates acqure monsters, but the way it works is that you can't just go out and get one -- you have to wait for a monster to find you. Marilyn waits, and keeps waiting..but her monster still doesn't come. So finally she decides to take maters into her own hands, even if that's not supposed to work.


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7. The Past, Present and Future - Interviewing Michele Knudsen about her books (Part I)

It was an honor to get children's book author, Michele Knudsen to answer some questions about her books.  Here is what she had to share

Q - I love your picture books Library Lion and Big Mean Mike.  I have read Big Mean Mike to many classes and the students love Mike.  How did you get the idea for Mike?   Also why did you select to pair him with bunnies?

It is always hard to pinpoint exactly where the  initial idea for a story comes from.  I do try to pay attention these days, though since I know people may ask me after a book comes out!  I believe my first glimmer of the story for Big Mean Mike camd during a cab ride home form the airport in April 2007.  Maybe, a big, though-looking guy rode by on a motorcycle, or maybe I noticed a dog in a passsing car, but for whatever reason, I started thinking about this big though dog character  In my early thoughts he rode a motercycle, and by the end of the story the bunnies were all riding in the side car.  I started trying to think about what kind of story this character might be part of, and I liked the idea of pairing him with something (or somethings) really different from what he was like.   loved the contrast of this big, though dog with these tiny, adorable bunnies.   I could easily imagine that Big Mean Mike might have trouble with those cute bunnies, and it was fun thnking about how he might try to deal with them. 

Q- There is a constant highlighting of bullying today in schools.  Where you thinking about this when you were writing Big Mean Mike?

I wasn't intentionally trying to write a book about bullying, but I am very glad that teachers have found ways to use Big Mean Mike as part of discussions about this issue,   I don't think Mike himself s a bully, exactly -- he's big and tough and likes everyone to know it, but he mostly just does his own thing..he's not really interested in picking on anyone else.  The bullying moment really comes later, when the other dogs begin to harass Mike for hanging out with the bunnies.  That's when he needs to decide how much it matters to him what others might think or say, and whether he's going to stand up for himself and his new friends.

Q- The illustrations by Scott Morgan are just fabulous.  When did you know what Mike would look like?

I agree!  I love Scott's illustrations so much.  I got a bit teary when I first saw the sketches of the bunnies-they were just perfect, so small and fuzzy and adorable!  Scott did a couple of different versions of Mike before landing on the one that appears in the book,  I think Mikde turned out just perfectly too and I especially love the outfit he wears to the gym.

Found this funny quote at Scott's site- 

And remember, as Gene Weingarten once said, “always try to put the funniest word at the end of your sentence underpants.”

I will end on this note and continue with Part II with Michele Knudsen on Thursday as we talk about her newest book Evil Librarian and her future book Marilyn's Monsters.  

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8. Clifford the Big Red Dog Creator Norman Bridwell has died

    Norrman Bridwell, creator of the "Clifford the Big Red Dog" children's books, died Friday in Martha's Vineyard, Mass., his publisher Scholastic announced. Bridwell was 86. “He’s red and he’s warm. Clifford does what you’d like to do but can’t," Bridwell said of his famous character. "Because Clifford is so big and also because he’s a dog, he’s able to do the most unbelievable and imaginative things.”

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9. Happy Thanksgiving - A Time to Enjoy HOME!

This Thanksgiving Mark Fearing has a new book titled The Great Thanksgiving Escape.

Gavin thinks it is going to be another boring Thanksgiving at his grandma's house until he runs into his cousin Rhonda who reminds him, "sometimes you have to make your own fun."   So the pair tries to sneak out of the house to play outside.   They encounter some unexpected obstacles along the way.   First, two vicious guard dogs are blocking the front door, Then Rhonda gets trapped in the "Hall of Aunts".  However, there is no stopping these two.   They finally make it to the back door only to find a surprise.  And, it still does to stop them!

Also coming in the Spring is a new title by Carson Ellis called Home.   The Holiday time often brings thoughts of home so I taught I would share a sneak peak.   This book takes a simple look at the Home. The main question being, "This is my home, and this is me.   Where is your home?  Where are you?" It looks at various types of homes from many different angles, styles and cultures.   Here is a sneak peak-

Also I can never talk about Thanksgiving titles without looking back on a old post for Balloons over Broadway by Melissa Sweet.   The Balloons over Broadway activity kit at her site is just wonderful!

Plus, would just like to mention a new photography exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York
        Oct 15, 2014 - Feb 15, 2015
Pushing the boundaries of traditional documentary photography, Liao (b. 1977) creates large-scale panoramas by combining multiple exposures of the same location taken over the course of several hours. The resulting composite photographs are often fantastical; complex, hyper-real views that no single shot—or the eye—could capture.     ONE OF THEM IS A PAST NEW YORK CITY THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE!

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10. TOMBOY by Liz Prince

Liz Prince talks as part of a panel on her new graphic memoir TOMBOY.

This book takes a look at fitting in during her preteen and teen years and remaining true to herself even years later. 

Liz Prince Talks TOMBOY

How she started -
I came into prominence in the comic scene with books that are comprised of short, autobio gag comics, and those are something that are fairly easy for me to make; that doesn’t mean that they are worthless, they  make a lot of people, and myself, very happy, but they are instant gratification for me as an artist.  I can draw a short comic about my cats and post it online immediately and get some likes and “LOLs” and call it a day.  These are the things that my fans have seen over the years.  But behind the scenes, I had a few false starts on some larger projects.

Why she did this book -
I drew this book because I was actively courted by the publisher, who was looking for non-fiction graphic novels by women.  Other publishers have invited me to pitch a project to them before, but none had come to me saying that they really really wanted one.  It took me about a year to have a project worth pitching: Zest Books is a teen/young adult publisher, and none of my other ideas for books would have worked for them, so it wasn’t easy for me to come up with a concept that I felt excited to work on, that would also fit the audience.  And before I was confident in pitching this project, I had to be sure that I could actually fill a book with it.  Tomboy is my story of growing up with gender identity issues.  For the first half of my life I wanted to be a boy; this book deals with the reasons why, and the reactions to, my staunch refusal of being a girl.  Before I pitched the book, I did an outline of what episodes I would discuss, and how long I felt the book would be.  I guessed around 150 pages.  I was presented a contract which gave me less than a year to complete the book; I signed in June 2013, the finished book was due March 15th, 2014.  I was someone who had never successfully completed a graphic novel before, and I just jumped into an agreement that would have me completing one in about 9 months.

How she feels about the book -
It ended up being more personal, and more about gender politics than I imagined it would.  I know that people will feel very strongly about this book, both in a positive way, and in a negative way, but I take solace in knowing that both reactions will spark discussion on what gender should mean, and what it shouldn’t.  I’ll put myself on the chopping block as a sacrificial lamb, if it can help us move forward, as a culture who can eschew gender stereotypes.


Check out some other bloggers as they talk about Tomboy.
November 5th
November 8th

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11. Ivy and Bean Take Over New York!


book, lyrics & music by SCOTT ELMEGREEN
based on the books by ANNIE BARROWS
illustrated by SOPHIE BLACKALL
directed by ALISON BEATTY
Linda Gross Theater, 336 W 20th St.
Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30am
1 hour, no intermission. Best for ages 4 and up.

Based on The New York Times best-selling children’s book series by author Annie Barrows
 and Illustrator Sophie Blackall, Ivy + Bean, The Musical is the story of an unexpected friendship 
between two very different second graders. The moment they saw each other, Bean and Ivy 
knew they would never like each other. Bean is loud and wild and goofy. Ivy is quiet and full of ideas.
 But when Bean plays a joke on her sister, and needs a place to hide, Ivy comes to the rescue. 
When the two become a team, there’s mischief and laughter at every turn—along with lessons 
to be learned about the challenges and joy of family, friendship, and love.

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12. Can Second Graders Appreciate a Seven-Course, $220 Tasting Meal?

Check out these second graders at Daniel!

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Rise and Shine

Americans tend to lack imagination when it comes to breakfast. The vast majority of us, surveys say, start our days with cold cereal — and those of us with children are more likely to buy the kinds with the most sugar. Children all over the world eat cornflakes and drink chocolate milk, of course, but in many places they also eat things that would strike the average American palate as strange, or worse.

Here is one highlight from the article-

Tiago Bueno Young, 3 years old, São Paulo, Brazil
Tiago likes chocolate milk and often wakes up asking for it, but sometimes even that is hard to get excited about at 7 on a weekday morning when his mother, Fabiana, has already left for work and he still has to get ready for kindergarten. Cold cereal is the favored breakfast food of the three Young sons. Here, Tiago, the middle child, sits before cornflakes, banana cake and bisnaguinha, a sweet white bread popular with Brazilian children and served with a mild cream cheese called requeijão.

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14. More School Librarians For New York City!

State ed chief rules city must put more librarians in middle and high schools

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15. Bulk of Sendak Collection Leaving Rosenbach

The Sendak trustees have served notice that they are exercising an option in a 1969 agreement between the author and the Rosenbach to reclaim all items owned by the estate - 98 percent of the Sendak collection housed at the Rosenbach. Sendak items will begin the migration to Connecticut in October in a process that may continue through the end of the year, said Rosenbach director Derick Dreher.

Look at Full Article 

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16. Please Don't Feed The Pigeons!

 I don't think Mo Willems pigeon would be a fan of this sign located all over a parking lot in Jackson Heights, New York. However, he might just walk right past it to visit this bakery steps from the sign.

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17. OF MONSTERS AND MADNESS Q and A with Jessica Verday

Jessica Verday is the New York Times best-selling author of The Hollow trilogy. She wrote the first draft of The Hollow by hand, using thirteen spiral-bound notebooks and fifteen black pens. The first draft of The Haunted took fifteen spiral-bound notebooks and twenty black pens. The Hidden took too many notebooks and too many pens to count. She lives in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, with her husband.  You can visit her online at www.jessicaverday.com.  She was happy to take some time to answer questions about her new book Of Monsters and Madness.

Q&A - OF MONSTERS AND MADNESS (I asked the questions in red).  

1.      I really enjoyed your book Of Monsters and Madness.  How did you come up with this title? - I’m so glad you enjoyed OF MONSTERS AND MADNESS! I’m not really sure where the idea for this title came from. I was thinking one day about the book overall, and how it was sort of a mash up of mad scientists mixed with a dash of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and that made me think of monsters. Then the title just kind of popped into my mind. Originally, EDGAR & ALLAN was the title when I wrote the book, but it was changed after I had a discussion with my publishing team and we agreed that the title drew too much attention away from Annabel, our leading lady.

2.       Why did you choose Edgar Allan Poe’s writing to connect with your ideas for this book?  Do have a personal connection to any of his stories? - Like a lot of people, I grew up reading Poe and would be hard pressed to name just one or two stories that were my favorites, but I was always particularly drawn to Annabel Lee. The funny thing is that when I first had the idea for this book I was imagining what would happen if Edgar Allan Poe had been inspired by real life events to use as fodder for his dark stories. Once I had that idea, the connection to Annabel Lee came from there.

3.       There are lots of unexpected moments in the book and surprise turns.  Is there one part that you enjoyed writing the most? - I really enjoyed writing the medical scenes that took place in Father’s basement laboratory. They took me really far out of my comfort zone and I’m quite proud that I was able to write them. (Usually, I’m so squeamish that just the sight of blood makes me feel queasy!) But there was something uniquely fascinating about watching these scenes unfold.

4.       Is there any hidden meaning behind Annabel wearing the scarf?Ahh, very astute of you to pick up on this. There most definitely is a hidden meaning to Annabel wearing the scarf and while you see the reason why she wears the scarf at the end of this book, book two reveals even more!

5.       I read you write all your books by hand using lots of notebooks and pens.  Did you also write Of Monsters and Madness by hand?  How many notebooks and pens did it take?  Do you then type the whole thing? - OF MONSTERS AND MADNESS was initially started in a notebook, and then I switched to a computer as my deadline drew closer. I only used one notebook and three pens.

6.       Do you want to share any ideas that you are developing for the sequel? - The sequel (tentatively titled OF PHANTOMS AND FURY) picks up where book one left off, and introduces another fantastic literary character -- Dorian Gray. Not only does he have quite the impact on Annabel’s life, but she learns more about her background and who she truly is. Book two was a really exciting book to write and I hope you like it as much as OF MONSTERS AND MADNESS.

7.       Are there any other literature characters or authors you would like use in future stories? - I do have one famous author in mind that I’m working on a story for, but I can’t give it away just yet... I’m always on the lookout for interesting stories that can be retold or famous people to write about. I keep a running list of future stories to tell.There are so many to choose from!

 Come back for more about this new title on September 11 and enter for a copy below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Check out the review stops all next week!

Monday, September 08, 2014
Book Briefs
Guest post and giveaway
Bookaholics Ananymous Online
Review and giveaway
Tuesday, September 09, 2014
Mundie Moms
Review and giveaway
The Mod Podge Bookshelf
Guest post and giveaway
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Live to ReadGiveaway only
Jump Into Books
Review and Giveaway
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Miss O’s Library Land
Q&A and giveaway
Write All the Words
Guest post for Banned Books Month
Friday, September 12, 2014
Pamela Thompson’s Blog
Guest post and giveaways
The Book Beacon
Review and giveaway
Saturday, September 13, 2014
Curling Up with a Good Book
Q&A and giveaway
The Children’s Book Review
Guest post and giveaway
Sunday, September 14, 2014
A Backwards Story
Review and giveaway
Monday, September 15, 2014
Pinky’s Favorite Reads
Q&A and giveaway

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18. Grandparents Day - September 7, 2014

This Sunday is Grandparents Day.   

"The impetus for a National Grandparents Day originated with Marian McQuade, a housewife in Fayette County, West Virginia. Her primary motivation was to champion the cause of lonely elderly in nursing homes. She also hoped to persuade grandchildren to tap the wisdom and heritage their grandparents could provide. President Jimmy Carter, in 1978, proclaimed that National Grandparents Day would be celebrated every year on the first Sunday after Labor Day"

This year you might need to celebrate again in early October with the release of a new title Grandma and her Chocolate Labrador by P.J. Fischer.   In this touching story, Grandma's family moves away and she misses them dearly.   She takes a visit to the attic to relive her childhood memories.  In the attic, Grandma tries playing with a number of different things, but something still seems missing.  Then Grandma thinks to herself, "I just miss my old dog Buddy".   Grandma thinks to herself  she is too old for a new dog,  However, her neighbor has a special surprise for her and Grandma gets a new friend.  As the saying goes, "dog is man's best friend" or in this story "dog is grandma's best friend".  

Look for this title in early October from Minted Prose publishing.  Make sure you celebrate by reading a special story with your grandparent on Sunday! 

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19. International Night

Every year schools everywhere hold an International Night.  I am always thinking to myself can the school get a new idea.   Today, my interest in International Night event was renewed at a booktalk on a new release called International Night by Mark Kurlanksky and his daughter Talia Kurlansky.  Kurlanksky expressed during the talk that the title had to be International Night because it was inspired by a game his family played by the same name.  No other title would work.  They game involved spinning a globe once a week and where ever Thaila's finger landed they would cook a meal from that place on Friday.  For each country in the book(Hawaii and New Orleans are also included) they made an Appetizer, Main Course, and Dessert and Drink.   Her father took notes and soon discovered this could be an idea for a book.   Mark Kurlankshy work as a journalist has also allowed him to travel to many of the countries in the book and he loves to share stories about the countries which are included in the book.  


This is a great way to introduce a child to many different types of food.  It is also a fun way to introduce a food project to a class.   Thalia expresses in her introduction to the book, "It is adults that think children cannot enjoy sophisticated cuisine.  Restaurants often give children a "kids menu."  She hopes children will be able to taste these foods as they learn about the cultures. 

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20. Back to School Special - Why Lunch Ladies Are Heroes!

Children’s book author Jarrett Krosoczka shares the origins of the Lunch Lady graphic novel series, in which undercover school heroes serve lunch…and justice! His new project, School Lunch Hero Day, reveals how cafeteria lunch staff provide more than food, and illustrates how powerful a thank you can be.

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21. Telephone by Mac Barnett Illustrated by Jen Corace

Telephone Wires With Birds on Top?
Not unusual in the City!

There is a new book called Telephone by Mac Barnett and Illustrated by Jen Corace that uses this idea to tell a delightful story.  The book takes a spin on the old childhood game called Telephone where children whisper a message and it usually gets all mixed up.   

In this book the author and illustrator have created colorful birds and fun messages.  The Mama bird starts the message by telling a red birdie - Tell Peter: Fly Home For Dinner. 

The message continues from bird to bird and bird and gets a little more mixed up each time.   

The question is can the correct message reach Peter?   Children will enjoy this title and will probably want to play a game of telephone just like the birds.  

Pick up a copy on September 9.   On a side note check out the Bird Call Lady who knows 146 bird calls.

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22. I am taking the Great Ivy and Bean Reread Challenge!


Parents, get your reader on board with the Great Ivy + Bean Reread Challenge! This year’sInternational Ivy + Bean Day is on Saturday, October 18th. And boy, have we got some treats (no tricks!) in store for your little reader.
We’re kicking things off today with The Great Ivy + Bean Reread Challenge! Encourage your reader to take the challenge and reread all 10 Ivy + Bean books in the 10 weeks leading up to Ivy + Bean Day–then enter your email address for a chance to win a prize for your Ivy + Beanie.
Each week we’ll randomly choose a winner to receive a prize. Weekly prizes might include an Ivy + Bean personalized lunchbox, an Ivy + Bean Button Factory, a set of Ivy + Bean mini-notes, or an Ivy + Bean personalized folder.
How does that sound? Is your little reader ready for the challenge?
On your mark…get set…yow!

Here is a week-by-week breakdown:
Week 1, August 4th, 2014 : Ivy + Bean (Book 1)
Week 2, August 11th, 2014: Ivy + Bean and the Ghost that Had to Go  (Book 2)
Week 3, August 18th, 2014 : Ivy + Bean Break the Fossil Record (Book 3)
Week 4, August 25th, 2014: Ivy + Bean Take Care of the Babysitter (Book 4)
Week 5, September 1st, 2014: Ivy + Bean Bound to be Bad (Book 5)
Week 6, September 8th, 2014: Ivy + Bean Doomed to Dance (Book 6)
Week 7, September 15th, 2014: Ivy + Bean What’s the Big Idea? (Book 7)
Week 8, September 22nd, 2014: Ivy + Bean No News is Good News (Book 8)
Week 9, September 29th, 2014: Ivy + Bean Make the Rules (Book 9)
Week 10, October 6th, 2014: Ivy + Bean Take the Case (Book 10)

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23. Floating Library on the Hudson!

The Floating Library is a pop up, mobile device-free public space aboard the historic Lilac Museum Steamship berthed at Pier 25 on the Hudson River in New York City. It will be open September 6- October 3.

"The library afloat on water is always on the verge to sail into the distance just as books contain the magic to transport our minds to unknown terrains. A reader is a dreamer/traveler/pirate as to open a book is to embark on an adventure into the wider world as well as dive deeper into oneself. Given this, the Floating Library celebrates boats and books to map a path towards a waking life, self-organization, citizen autonomy and fertile imagination."  -  Lilac Museum

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24. NOT JUST A DOT by Loryn Brantz

This new picture book looks at a small dot that is feeling unimportant.   The author uses a number of different pictures to look at all the uses for a small dot.    

Dots have all sorts of purposes. "How can this little girl ask for ice cream without you on the question mark?"   The author makes the dot realize how important it is in the world.

The reader learns that the whole world is seen as a dot if you go high enough.

This book takes a modernistic approach to explaining something simple and the illustrations do the same.  The cover is a combination of New York City and Outerspace.   The illustrations take me back images of the Jetsons. 
There are many books about dots and this title comes just in time for the International Dot Day Celebration on September 15.  Check out this new title

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25. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and Sesame Street to Celebrate Beloved Show's 45th Season with Behind-The-Scenes Exhibition | The New York Public Library

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and Sesame Street to Celebrate Beloved Show's 45th Season with Behind-The-Scenes Exhibition | The New York Public Library

6:30 p.m.Muppet Master Class with Martin P. Robinson
1 p.m.Sesame Street Family Day
Pre-schoolers (3-5 years),
School Age (5-12 years),
6 p.m.Sesame Street: Making Learning a Funny Affair
3 p.m.KID'S FILM - Sesame Street Presents: Follow that Bird
6 p.m.FILM - The World According to Sesame Street
6 p.m.Sesame Street: A Digital Playground

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