in all blogs
Viewing Blog: Shelf-employed, Most Recent at Top
Results 1 - 25 of 427
a publics librarian's reviews, podcasts, booktalks and videos about literature for children and young adults
Statistics for Shelf-employed
Number of Readers that added this blog to their MyJacketFlap: 2
I don't read much young adult dystopian nonfiction, but I listened to the second book in the Swipe series by Evan Angler. Here is my review as it appeared in the March, 2013 edition of School Library Journal.
Sneak: Swipe Series. By Evan Angler. 7 CDs. 8:25 hrs. Oasis Audio. 2012. ISBN 978-1-61375-636-0. $48.99
Gr 6–9— With a vote nearing on the Global Union, the American Union has begun a crackdown on its Markless society in a show of solidarity with the larger worldwide community. The Markless are individuals who have refused to be permanently identified with a "swipe-able" Mark. In this second book (Thomas Nelson, 2012) in Angler's dystopian series, Logan Langley, having escaped from his marking or "pledge ceremony," is on the run from agents of the Department of Marked Emergencies (DOME), and determined to rescue his sister, who failed her own pledge some years earlier. A folk hero among the Markless and somewhat of a loner, Logan is nevertheless aided by a group of Markless known as The Dust. His former girlfriend, a marked girl whose father works for DOME, is also trying to assist. The fate of the Markless and the outcome of a late plot twist will be determined in a future installment. The very strong Christian theme, including Bible verses and songs, may be appealing to some and off-putting to others, so make purchase decisions accordingly. The lack of character depth and dialogue often unsuited to teen protagonists makes Barrie Buckner's job of narrator difficult. Jo, a member of The Dust, sounds perpetually petulant, and a British boy sounds decidedly Aussie. A halting delivery and occasional mispronunciations add to an overall lackluster delivery.
Copyright © 2013 Library Journals, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. Reprinted with permission.
Listen to an excerpt here:
Marino, Nan. 2013. Hiding Out at the Pancake Palace. New York: Roaring Brook.
(Advance Review Copy provide by NetGalley)
Due on shelves April 16, 2013
Hiding Out at the Pancake Palace
Cecilia has no rhythm, and not too many friends; but she has something special - a story. A story of a song that connects her to New Jersey's wild Pine Barrens as firmly as the roots of its Pygmy Pines and Atlantic Cedars. Everyone in Wares Grove knows the story of the song played by the forest on the night of Cecilia's birth. Only the story of the Pineland's most famous inhabitant, the Jersey Devil, is known more widely.
But two unexpected things occur as Cecilia's 12th birthday approaches. Cecilia's mother begins to doubt the song, and a young boy, a boy who has perhaps lost a song of his own, has arrived in the middle of the night under suspicious circumstances - and he's hiding out at Piney Pete's Pancake Palace.
A song, a secret, and the legendary tale of the Jersey Devil are entwined in this imaginative story of discovery set on the fringes of New Jersey's Pine Barrens, a natural wonder.
Find out who's Hiding Out at the Pancake Palace.
##Note:Lest you think that the Pine Barrens is a made-up place, or that New Jersey is nothing more than exits off the Turnpike or Parkway, be assured that the Pine Barrens are in fact, one of the world's most interesting places. The Pinelands cover 1.1 million acres, or 22 percent of New Jersey's land area. (from the official NJ tourism site - see below)
Learn more about the Pine Barrens and other locations in Nan Marino's new book at these sites:If I didn't have a sore throat, this one would have been a podcast. Look for a podcast or video booktalk for Hiding Out at the Pancake Palace soon.
|Illustration copyright © 2013 by Rebecca Guay|
Yolen, Jane and Heidi E. Y. Stemple. 2013. Bad Girls: Sirens, Jezebels, Murderesses, Thieves, and other Female Villains
. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge.
Just in time for Women's History Month, the mother-daughter duo of Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple has released a fun compendium of "bad" women in history. From Delilah, the stealthy hairstylist of the Bible (circa 110BC), to gangsters' gal, Virginia Hill (1916-1966), Yolen and Stemple highlight history's most rebellious, racy, raucous, reprehensible, and sometimes resourceful women.
The choice of subjects, twenty-six in all, isn't the only thing that makes Bad Girls: Sirens, Jezebels, Murderesses, Thieves, and other Female Villains
a unique addition to the collection of books on women in history. Illustrations are provided by Rebecca Guay. In addition to a comic portrait of each notorious woman,
Illustration copyright © 2013
by Rebecca Guay
included after each chapter is a graphic novel-style panel featuring Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple. Each panel is set in a new location (these ladies took their "research" to the ends of the earth - shopping, eating and sightseeing, in Egypt, London, Massachusetts, wherever this gallery of rogues led them!), where Yolen and Stemple debate history's treatment of each woman. Clever and humorous, these panels remind readers that societal and personal circumstances often dictate behaviors. With the exception of the truly
bad, Elizabeth Báthory, Yolen makes a case for each woman. No, they may not have all been innocent, but given their particular circumstances, some of these women may
have been given a bad historical rap. Stemple provides the counterpoint - bad is bad, regardless of circumstance. Readers will be left to decide for themselves, but regardless of conclusion, they will understand that the role of women throughout history has not been an easy one.
Despite the subject matter, Yolen and Stemple maintain a light-hearted tone in and Bad Girls
, as evidenced by the chapter titles: "Lizzie Borden (1860-1927): One Whacky Woman," "Anne Boleyn (1500-1536): She Lost Her Head for Love."
Resources are included, offering interested older readers a jump start on where to find further information. There is more than just fun to be had with Bad Girls;
download these resources from the publisher's site:
All in all, a fine day in which I'll be everywhere but here.
Happy March, everyone! Spring is coming and it feels just fine.
(Login to Add to MyJacketFlap
Add a tag
It’s been a pleasure to host Nonfiction Monday! Here is the final roundup for the In the Nonfiction Picture Book category,
February 25, roundup.
According to Jeff, "Henry and the Cannons is the story of a determined man who led a group in bringing 59 cannons to Boston from Fort Ticonderoga." I like Don Brown. He does a great job of making history accessible to younger readers.
"It's a terrific, fast read with great images, and it introduces the concept of staying healthy and safe. It shows kids that children all over the world do and need basically the same things to stay strong and healthy, but they go about it in different ways.”
When I was younger, these were numbers that were barely used except when calculating distances in outer space. Today, these numbers are most commonly used in discussing money. Kids need to know them. Thanks, Abby.
"It's not a book you'll quote in a research paper, but it is a fun book that may inspire you to pick up some more on the topic."
"Terrific new book with engaging format listing random, fascinating facts about birds."
- Cindy and Lynn, the librarian duo of Bookends, are taking it slow and easy with A Little Book of Sloth. Their consensus is that it's an "adorable picture book about sloths that is packed with fascinating information about this unusual creature." The cover certainly is adorable!
Her post "is a review of a stunning picture book about Lincoln. It includes textbook-like facts along with commentary by the narrator. The illustrations communicate emotion that can't be communicated with words."
In Middle Grade Nonfiction,
"This new Scholastic title will appeal to boys who want more information on the Vietnam War. It is graphically appealing and gives short biographies of major players."
Jennifer describes Boydguards! as "an interesting look at bodyguards through history, both male and female, with career advice for kids interested in this field and comic panels."
She's featuring this book "by Glennette Tilley Turner to highlight this important moment in history."
In Young Adult Nonfiction,
"I'm celebrating the SB&F Prizes for Excellence in Science Books on my blog over the next three weeks by giving away signed copies of the winners in the YA, middle grades, and picture book categories. (My own book, Citizen Scientists, won in the hands-on category.) The celebration starts this week with Terrie Williams' page-turner, THE ODYSSEY OF KP2. It's a great read for teens, particularly those with a scientific bent."
- The LibrariYAn has a review and discussion of a memoir, Grayson. Sharing more than just a review, Alicia tells us, "Grayson is one of the most heavily circulated nonfiction titles in my middle school library. It is a short memoir of swimmer Lynne Cox's encounter with a baby gray whale."
What we think often doesn't matter. If a nonfiction book has broad kid-appeal, then it's probably worth having in your library.
And last, but not least, in the biography category,
She notes that, "Pippin's inner strength and creativity shone throughout this book." Coincidentally, Jen Bryant was interviewed today on NPR's, Radio Times. Listen to the interview here:
- Janet at All About the Books with Janet Squires has the second Abraham Lincoln title of the day, Abe's Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln by Doreen Rappaport. Janet writes, "Rappaport sheds her light on the life of Lincoln by skillfully detailing both the major events in his life and personal moments and balancing her narrative with relevant quotes from our sixteenth president that provide context through his words and a heightened sense of emotion through his voice."
- At Stacking Books, Reshama is featuring Monsieur Marceau: Actor Without Words. "This is a beautiful dedication to Marcel Marceau , the world's greatest Mime. This picture book is an excellent dedication to his lifetime work. We loved seeing what a Mime does, what inspired Marcel, learning about his life before and after he discovered "Bip the Clown" and his performances. We hope this book inspires kids to have fun and mime!"
That's a wrap, everyone! Thanks so much for participating.
The popular, not-for-profit, educational Women’s History Month website returns in March!
Now in its third consecutive year, the blog, KidLit Celebrates Women’s History Month
founded by me and fellow librarian, Margo Tanenbaum, of The Fourth Musketeer
, brings together distinguished authors and illustrators of books related to women’s history with librarians and bloggers from across North America.
Each day features a new essay, commentary or review by some of the most noted writers in the field of literature for young people. Contributors for 2013 include Jane Yolen, Sy Montgomery, Roger Sutton, Tanya Anderson, Michelle Markel and Kathleen Krull, among others.
The blog will publish daily from March 1 through March 31, and will once again feature original posts from well-known, award-winning writers, illustrators, and bloggers. A complete lineup of contributors may be found on the site. Interested readers can sign up to “follow” the blog, or receive it via email. Visit the site at http://kidlitwhm.blogspot.com
to see “following” options, an archive of past contributions, and links to educational resources. Don't miss a single day. It's going to be a great month!
I am this week's host of the weekly Nonfiction Monday
meme, a weekly gathering of bloggers who discuss nonfiction books for children each Monday.
Here at Shelf-employed
, I will feature links and descriptions to each participating blog. Please check back later or tomorrow to see all of today's contributions to Nonfiction Monday. Thanks so much.
Despite what John Lennon urged, as adults, it's hard for us to imagine peace. As a global community, we've never had it; we've never seen it. It's more the stuff of imagination than possibility. Heck, even the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) for Wendy Anderson Halperin's new book, Peace
, is 172.42, translation - "political ethics." Pragmatic, yes - but lacking in idealism to be sure.
But to talk to children (even teenagers) and many can
envision peace - and
they have ideas on how to achieve it. That's one of the many things that make children so wonderful. They haven't lost the ability to hope and dream and imagine the to-date unachievable.Wendy Anderson Halperin
's new book, Peace
(Atheneum, 2013), seizes on that idealism, reflects it, and feeds it with new possibility.
Groupings of Halperin's delicate and peaceful, pencil and watercolor illustrations decorate each page in this circular story of peace which begins,
For there to be peace in the world ...
there must be peace in nations.
Accompanying each line is a collection of quotes from the likes of Walt Whitman, Dalai Lama, Kofi A. Annon, and other lesser-known individuals. The quotes serve as borders between the many illustrations on each page, each one, a story in itself.
The circular narrative leads inward, with the continuing theme of
For there to be ...
there must be ...
until the "heart" of the book is reached,
For there to be peace in homes,
there must be peace in our hearts.
Here the double-spread layout features the art of schoolchildren from Michigan, Ohio, and New York, and moving then outward, the refrain changes to
When there is ...
there will be ... .
Culminating in the elusive,
There will be peace in our nations.Peace
And we will have peace in our world.
is a beautiful and inspiring piece of work, or perhaps more aptly, a work of peace.
Much thought went into the design and concept for the book, as evidenced by its companion website, "Drawing Children Into PEACE
." The page with suggested Peace Projects
has some great ideas. As a matter of fact, I have an old chair that would make a fine "peace chair." It may not turn out as well as the one below, but I'm inspired to give it a try.
See several pages of Peace at the author's website.
(Login to Add to MyJacketFlap
, book review
, Advance Reader Copy
, historical fiction
, San Diego
, Add a tag
There is no easy segue from yesterday's Captain Underpants
review to today's In the Shadow of Blackbirds
. I primarily review children's books. This one is definitely for young adults.Winters, Cat
. 2013. In the Shadow of Blackbirds
. New York: Amulet.Advance Reader Copy supplied by NetGalley.
Through the windows, I watched the boys proceed to a line of green military trucks that waited rumbling alongside the curb. The recruits climbed one by one beneath the vehicles' canvas coverings with the precision of shiny bullets being loaded into a gun. The trucks would cart them off to their training camp, which was no doubt overrun with feverish, shivering flu victims. The boys who didn't fall ill would learn how to kill other young men who were probably arriving at a German train station in their Sunday-best clothing at that very moment. (From Chapter 2, "Aunt Eva and the Spirits")
The year is 1918, and 16-year-old Mary Shelly Black is on her way from Portland to San Diego to stay with her widowed 26-year-old aunt. Her mother is dead. Her father has recently been arrested - swept up in the anti-German immigrant frenzy that's sweeping the country.
The sign in front of the eatery claimed the place specialized in "Liberty Steaks," but that was simply paranoid speak for We don't want to call anything a name that sounds remotely German, like "hamburger." We're pro-American. We swear! (from Chapter 13, "Ugly Things")
Young men are eagerly enlisting to fight in the trenches of Europe, and amidst it all, the "Spanish flu" ravages the population - their flimsy gauze masks are no match for the deadly virus.
The businessmen in smart felt hats rode with me, probably on their lunch break. They buried their gauze-covered noses in the San Diego Union, and one of them felt the need to read the October influenza death tolls out loud. "Philadelphia: over eleven thousand dead and counting - just this month. Holy Moses! Boston: for thousand dead." The use of cold statistics to describe the loss of precious lives made me ill. (From Chapter 17, "Keep Your Nightmares to Yourself")
The bleak situation is made all the worse by her recent discovery that her dearest Stephen, the only bright spot in her sad existence in San Diego, has enlisted in the Army, not because he desires to fight and kill German soldiers, but to show love for his country and free himself from living under the same roof as his brother, a drug-addled, "spirit photographer,"
So this is war. The declaration changed Coronado and San Diego overnight. The men are all enlisting and everyone is hurrying to make sure we all look like real Americans. One of our neighbors held a bonfire in his backyard and invited everyone over to burn their foreign books. I stood at the back of the crowd and watched people destroy the fairy tales of Ludwig Tieck and the Brothers Grimm and the poetry of Goethe, Eichendorff, Rilke, and Hesse. They burned sheet music carrying the melodies of Bach, Strauss, Beethoven, and Wagner. Even Brahm's "Lullaby."In the Shadow of Blackbirds
takes a decidedly darker turn when Mary Shelly learns of Stephen's death in the trenches of Europe. She attends his funeral, but something is very wrong. She can hear him, she can feel his torment. His spirit is not at rest; and amidst the horror of war and the flu pandemic, something else is terribly, terribly wrong. Spirit photography and séances are commonplace as millions across the country yearn to connect with loved ones lost to war or disease; but Shelly is a girl of science, of rationalism - raised in a house of reason and education. But how can science and reason explain the anguished pleas of her deceased love?
In The Shadow of Blackbirds is gripping historical fiction and Mary Shelly Black is a tragic yet strong protagonist. Containing some of the same themes as
Avi's dark, Seer of Shadows (Harper Collins, 2008) (spirit photography, rationalism vs. spiritualism), In the Shadow of Blackbirds examines these themes as well as romantic love and post-traumatic stress syndrome. The setting (San Diego and nearby Coronado Island) and the juxtaposition of love and war, disease and science combine to offer a dark and gritty debut novel. The descriptions of trench warfare and everyday life during the massive flu pandemic are gritty and graphic, reminiscent of Mary Hooper's novel of Europe's 17th century plague, At the Sign of the Sugared Plum (Bloomsbury, 2003). The fear of death is almost palpable, made even more so by the reader's knowledge that garlic amulets and gauze masks are powerless against the killer flu. To read In the Shadow of Blackbirds is to be immersed in a grim period of American history that at times, bears resemblance to our own.
From the Author's Note,
...the influenza pandemic of 1918 (this particular strain was known as the "Spanish flu" and the "Spanish Lady") killed at least twenty million people worldwide. (Some estimates run as high as more than one hundred million people killed." Add to that the fifteen million people who were killed as a result of World War I and you can see why the average life expectancy dropped to thrifty-nine years in 1918 - and why people craved seances and spirit photography.
Note: If you've ever watched the classic Academy Award Best Picture, All Quiet on the Western Front
(1930), this warning from Mary Shelly to her love will foreshadow and haunt,
"Please stay safe. It's not everyone who has the patience to photograph a butterfly."
Period photographs of life during the influenza pandemic of 1918 availabe at these sites:
There are great resources of all kinds (music, vintage video footage and photos) at Cat Winters' site.
Here's the trailer, just released today at the Mod Podge Bookshelf
. I wish it hinted at the book's rich historical detail.
. 2013. Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers
. New York: Scholastic.
Maybe you're not a fan of Captain Underpants, the superhero alter ego of mean, Jerome Horwitz Elementary School Principal, Mr. Krupp. Maybe you're not a fan of the frequent misspellings of Mr. Krupp's troublesome 4th graders, George and Harold. However, it's hard not to be a fan of one of the most wildly popular series for young and reluctant readers. This goofy, irreverent series continues to gain new fans and flies off the shelf with as much regularity and enthusiasm as the flying Captain Underpants himself. "Tra la la!"
This latest adventure finds George and Harold travelling through time with pets Crackers and Sulu, to correct the events of an earlier time-travelling venture that had disastrous consequences for the future. Pitted against Tippy Tinkletrousers, Tiny Tippy Tinkletrousers, and Slightly Younger Tiny Tippy Tinkletrousers and their Freezy-Beam 4000, George and Harold will have to use their wits if they are to save Captain Underpants and return to the future. Six great Flip-O-Ramas are included (they make a fun art activity
), as well as a 24-page wordless comic featuring Ook and Gluk
Although the series is suggested for ages 7 and up, I find that much older kids will read Captain Underpants
, too - and not just reluctant readers. I know high-level readers that enjoy Dav Pilkey's Three Stooges brand of humor and art as well. I'm not much for bathroom or pratfall humor, but Chapter 2, "Let's Get Serious, Folks," had me laughing out loud. Explaining why we miserable, regretful and grumpy grownups discourage all kinds of fun, the narrator offers readers this bit of advice,
Keeping this in mind, you might not want to smile or laugh while reading this book. And when you get to the Flip-O-Rama parts, I suggest you flip with a bored, disinterested look on your face or some adult will probably take this book away from you and make you read Sarah, Plain and Tall instead.
Don't say I didn't warn you.
When I checked today, Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers
was ranked #213 on Amazon.com. Not #213 in children's
books, #213 in all
books. Not too shabby. And the reviews? All 5 stars.
If you think kids are the only ones who follow the adventures of Captain Underpants, guess again. Captain Underpants was even featured on NPR's Morning Edition
. Read or listen to "Hold On To Your Tighty Whities, Captain Underpants is Back!" here.DreamWorks Animation has the film rights to the Captain Underpants series
, but no timeline for production has been announced yet.
Oh yes, and he's got an app, too. Preview the Adventures of Captain Underpants app here.Update: Forgot to add that Advance Reader Copies were provided at my request by Scholastic and NetGalley.
Today I am pleased to welcome Ann Redisch Stampler
, author of The Wooden Sword
, the winner of a 2013 Sydney Taylor Honor Book Award
* in the Older Readers category.
First of all, my congratulations on your book's Sydney Taylor Honor Award.What did you do when you heard the news?
Thank you so much! Receiving recognition from the Association of Jewish Libraries is extremely significant to me personally, and in my career as a writer.
I feel a sense of responsibility and stewardship when I retell folktales -- in terms of language and humor and all of the things that make picture books work, but also in terms of presenting tales in a way that is authentic to their cultural context. The version of The Wooden Sword that I retold here is from Afghanistan, far from my Eastern European background, and my editor, the illustrator, and I worked hard to remain true to its roots. So when Aimee Lurie called to give me the news, I was overjoyed! An award from people who know and love Jewish children’s books is always enormously gratifying, but with this particular book, receiving the Sydney Taylor Honor was a very special affirmation.
The awards hadn’t been announced publicly yet, so I couldn’t share the news with the world, but I immediately told my editor, Abby Levine, my husband and kids, and of course, my mother, all of whom know how much Sydney Taylor recognition means to me, and who celebrated with me.
You mentioned in the author's note that you grew up knowing a "mean-spirited" European telling of "The Wooden Sword." How did you find this Afghani version?
Given that many older folktales are "mean-spirited" or have grim (no pun intended) endings, do you think that they impart different lessons than the milder, gentler versions written for modern children?
I didn’t realize that the Afghani version of The Wooden Sword existed until Natalie Blitt, who was then with PJ Library, told me it was her favorite folktale. Given the version I knew (and didn’t love), I was more than surprised. But as I probed to find out why on earth she was so fond of this story, it emerged that the version she was thinking of came from Afghanistan. And as I researched the Afghani story, learning more about the culture of the Jews who lived with their Muslim neighbors in Afghanistan for a thousand years, I loved it. It was hilarious, but at the same time, its message was profound.
As a child, "The Princess and the Pea," was my favorite folktale. Which were your favorite folktales as a child and which did you share with your own children?
This is a complex question that has inspired some brilliant writing; I would refer people who find the question as fascinating as I do to Bruno Bettelheim’s The Uses Of Enchantment and Alison Lurie’s work on folk and fairytales.
Suffice to say, for myself, declawing and misrepresenting folktales is right up there with drawing overalls on Maurice Sendak’s Mickey in In The Night Kitchen so as not to offend library patrons with his nakedness. (Not sure if this actually happened, but as a folklore person, I love urban legends – especially those that pertain to books!) I am crazy about fractured fairy tales and stories that riff on well-known folktales, but bowdlerizing folktales – no! Just no.
The folktales I retell in book form tend to be my favorites, so I can answer this question by pointing to my books. Also, my father was very fond of Chelm stories*, so I heard a lot of those as a child as well. With my own children, there was a strong desire to hear tales turned on their heads, and I can’t even tell you how many times I read them Trivizas’ The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig.Your commitment to popularizing folktales is admirable. I would hazard a guess that among the world's nations, our country does not rank among the highest in the sharing of traditional folktales - even ones that originated in our own country. I am always surprised to see how few American children are familiar with traditional songs and tales. The Sydney Taylor Award seeks to address this problem as it relates to Jewish culture, but it addresses a larger issue as well. What do you think we (modern society as a whole) lose when we forget our traditional stories?
America is an immigrant culture populated with families that arrive here with folktales that reflect their diverse backgrounds. I love that when I go to a library in Glendale, California and share a Jewish story from Poland, a Syrian Christian woman tells me of a similar folktale she learned growing up in Aleppo.
The stories I learned from my family growing up were not American in the sense of coming from Native American communities, Pilgrims or pioneers. They were European stories my grandparents brought with them, but that changed to reflect their American immigrant experience. There is something profoundly American about those Syrian-American children, who arrive at school knowing more about the folklore of Aleppo than Babe the Blue Ox, enjoying a Jewish folktale from Eastern Europe in their family’s new country.
While our children might not share a common body of folklore, we can rejoice in the many different traditions their stories represent, and encourage them to share their tales with one another, to let them know that their parents and librarians can lead them to books and other resources that tell stories from their ancestral homes, as well as their common, very diverse home in America.
Of course, traditional stories deserve a place in our children’s lives, and in all of our lives. They can teach us not only about ourselves and our own families’ roots, but about our friends’ and neighbors’ communities. The tales that survive beyond academic collections tend to be extremely entertaining, wise, deep, satisfying, and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. Folktales convey our values, our challenges and triumphs, in a way that is accessible and moving, and that affects us on a deep, personal level that is very difficult to reach with didactic instruction.
In many religious and cultural traditions, our most deeply held convictions and beliefs are explored through stories about our ancestors, bringing their beliefs and struggles into our daily lives, illuminating our path. I would never suggest that folktales elevate us to that level or should be revered, but I do think that before dismissing our time-honored stories, we ought to think about how relatable, profoundly meaningful, and successful in conveying our values, folktales can be.
Thank you so much for sharing your time and your thoughtful answers. It's truly been a pleasure. I hope you have as much success with your newest book, The Cats on Ben-Yehuda Street.
* Note: If, like me, you are unfamiliar with the Chelm stories that Ann mentioned, this article by Matti Friedman from The Times of Israel (March, 2012) will shed some light on their origin. LT
All of the medal and honor winners will be on blog tour this week. A complete schedule of the Sydney Taylor Award blog tour is available below and at the Association of Jewish Libraries
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2013Ann Redisch Stampler, author of The Wooden SwordSydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Older Readers CategoryAt Shelf-Employed Carol Liddiment, illustrator of The Wooden SwordSydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Older Readers CategoryAt Ann Koffsky’s Blog Doreen Rappaport, author of Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the HolocaustSydney Taylor Honor Award in the Teen Readers CategoryAt BildungsromanTUESDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2013 Linda Glaser, author of Hannah’s WaySydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Younger Readers CategoryAt This Messy Life Adam Gustavson, illustrator of Hannah’s WaySydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Younger ReadersCategoryAt Here in HP Louise Borden, author of His Name was Raoul WallenbergSydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Older Readers CategoryAt Randomly Reading Deborah Heiligman, author of IntentionsSydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Teen Readers CategoryAt The Fourth Musketeer WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2013 Sheri Sinykin, author of Zayde Comes to LiveSydney Taylor Honor Award in the Younger Readers CategoryAt Read, Write, Repeat Kristina Swarner, illustrator of Zayde Comes to LiveSydney Taylor Honor Award in the Younger Readers CategoryAt Writing and Illustrating.THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2013Linda Leopold Strauss, author of The Elijah DoorSydney Taylor Honor Award in the Younger Readers CategoryAt Pen and Prose Alexi Natchev, illustrator of The Elijah DoorSydney Taylor Honor Award in the Younger Readers CategoryAt Madelyn Rosenberg’s Virtual Living Room FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2013Blog Tour Wrap-Up at The Whole Megillah
*From the Association of Jewish Libraries
The purpose of the Sydney Taylor Book Award is to encourage the publication of outstanding books of Jewish content for children and teens, books that exemplify the highest literary standards while authentically portraying the Jewish experience. It is hoped that official recognition of such books will inspire authors, encourage publishers, inform parents and teachers, and intrigue young readers. The committee also hopes that by educating readers about the Jewish experience, they can engender pride in Jewish readers while building bridges to readers of other backgrounds.
(Login to Add to MyJacketFlap
, book review
, concrete poetry
, STEM Friday
, Add a tag
On Fridays, you may find many bloggers participating in STEM Friday or Poetry Friday.
Here is a book that covers both bases.
Hale, Christy. 2012. Dreaming Up: A celebration of building. New York: Lee and Low.
As a youth services librarian in a public library, I don't have the same type of interaction with children as a teacher or school media specialist might. I see more preschool than school-aged children, and though my goal is to "teach" the love of reading and the power of information, children and parents often come to the library seeking pleasure and entertainment. Teaching and learning moments are offered in the form of story time programs, book clubs, or crafts.
That's why a book like Dreaming Up is so perfect! Imagine a book that "teaches" architecture, concrete poetry, design, and the power of imagination. Now imagine that book is suitable for preschoolers up to grade 4, that it sparks opportunities for imaginative play, that it is factual (Architecture, DDC 720), that it is properly sourced, that it is multicultural, and yes - it's attractive, too!
On the page facing each illustrated poem is a photograph of the famous or architecturally significant structure which inspired the poem. Featured buildings are from locations around the globe and include the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain, Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater in Pennsylvania. Back matter includes information on each of the fifteen structures as well as biographical information on each building's architect.
No need to dream; there is such a book and it's Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building. Go. Read it. Share it.
Get out some boxes, and blankets, and pillows, and playing cards, and Popsicle sticks and building blocks. Encourage the young people you know to "dream up."
STEM Friday may always be found at http://stemfriday.wordpress.com/ - use it as a great resource for children's books featuring Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
Join STEM Friday!
We invite you to join us!
- Write about STEM each Friday on your blog.
- Copy the STEM Friday button to use in your blog post.
- Link your post to the comments of our weekly STEM Friday Round-up. (Please use the link to your STEM Friday post, not the address of your blog. Thanks!)
- "Frederick Douglass appealing to President Lincoln and his cabinet to enlist Negroes," mural by William Edouard Scott, at the Recorder of Deeds building, built in 1943.
- Highsmith, Carol M., 1946-, photographer
Last year, I reviewed a copy of Russell Freedman's, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass: The Story Behind an American Friendship
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012). The story of their friendship and the "back story," was so interesting, that I thought it might make a good topic for a Black History Month program for younger children. I began searching for a way to communicate to a young library audience the connection between the history of African Americans and these two great men. In researching, I found that the founder of African American History Month (it was originally called Negro History Week), Dr. Carter G. Woodson, initiated this cultural celebration in 1926, and chose February because the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass are both celebrated in February. (1)
I then discovered an earlier book, Lincoln and Douglass: An American Friendship
(Henry Holt, 2008), that recounts the friendship but targets a younger audience. Even better, it has a companion DVD. So, I planned a Lincoln and Douglass birthday celebration, featuring the Lincoln and Douglass picture book and an explanation of the founding of Black History Month. Perfect, right?
Well, not quite. In reading Lincoln and Douglass: An American Friendship
, I found several discrepancies. As it turns out, the timeline included in the picture book's back matter is correct, but some dates within the book's narrative are not. For example, Freedman's thoroughly researched book has the initial meeting of Lincoln and Douglass as a central theme. The picture book gets the date wrong. Though the picture book still has merit and will be useful to introduce Douglass and Lincoln to a young audience, I can also use it as a teaching moment. Always check to see that a book has been properly researched if you plan to use it as a representation of factual material.
Oddly, the same thing happened to me last year. I sketch out my programs many months in advance to satisfy printing and publicity deadlines. I fill the details in later. Last year, I offered a Black History Month program on Follow the Drinking Gourd
(Knopf, 1988). While investigating resources, I found that the story, while well-known and generally accepted, is more folk legend than truth. (2)
Again, the story is not without merit and I was again able to use it as a teaching moment. Besides the obvious lesson, we looked at ways in which to read the stars without a compass.
I understand narrative license. I understand that it's particularly useful in treatments of difficult topics for younger children. I also understand, however, that there is a concerted effort by our nation's leaders to raise a new generation of critical thinkers, and to achieve that end, the use of nonfiction books will rise dramatically. It is up to us as librarians, teachers, caregivers and parents to discern fact from fiction, even when the line between them may be indistinct. In doing so, we will help children to navigate a world where information is everywhere for the taking, but truth must be mined.
Today's Nonfiction Monday
roundup is at Apples with Many Seeds
And don't forget, February is a perfect time to head over to The Brown Bookshelf
; each day in February will feature a different artist in this annual celebration of Black History Month and children's literature.(1) Library of Congress, "African American History Month"http://www.loc.gov/law/help/commemorative-observations/african-american.php (Douglass' actual birthdate is not known conclusively)(2) Follow the Drinking Gourdhttp://www.followthedrinkinggourd.org/
(Login to Add to MyJacketFlap
, book review
, Advance Reader Copy
, Non-Fiction Monday
, easy reader
, Add a tag
"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring."
Baseball Hall of Fame baseball player, Rogers Hornsby
|Jay Schyler Raadt CC-BY-SA-3.0|
Source: Baseball Almanac
Yes, it's January and the temperatures have been in the teens, but soon catchers and pitchers will report to spring training, and on February 21, Spring Training
games will begin.
Here are two new books for the littlest of fans:
- Kawa, Katie. 2013. My First Trip to a Baseball Game. New York: Gareth Stevens. (part of the My First Adventures series)
In three very simple chapters, this little book introduces children to a baseball game, offering information on the park, the food and the game. From the chapter, "At the Baseball Park,"
My dad holds our tickets. They tell us where to sit. We get food to eat. My mom and dad get hot dogs.
The illustrations are simple cartoon-style depictions of a family's trip to the game with a heavy focus on the family's activities. If just a little bit of baseball is what you're seeking, this will do fine.
A Table of Contents, Index, and Words to Know make this one perfect for school use, however, it's also suitable for adding a little nonfiction to storytime.Reading Level: Grade K Fountas & Pinell: C Dewey: 796.357 Specifications: 7 5/8" x 7 1/8", 24 pages Lexile Level: 130
Less perfunctory and more enjoyable is Goodnight Baseball
- Dahl, Michael. 2013. Goodnight Baseball. N. Mankato, MN: Capstone. (Illustrated by Christina Forshay)
Beginning with a sing-song rhythm,
The great big stadium is outside of town.
Fans and friends come from miles around.
and ending with a nod to Margaret Wise Brown's Goodnight Moon
Goodnight, popcorn boxes under the stands Goodnight Baseball
Goodnight, mascot and goodnight, fans!
Goodnight, friends. Goodnight, cars.
Goodnight, stadium, under the stars ...
takes the reader on a baseball outing with a small boy and his father. Snacks, caps, and even a foul ball are part of a winning day. Brightly colored full-bleed illustrations offer a broad view of the game, the fans, and the park with a focus not on the boy and his dad, but rather, on their place in the larger context of the day. Expressive faces show the myriad expressions seen during a day at the park - excitement, determination, surprise (no sadness here - the home town wins). Creative endpapers evoke the Green Monster
, the boy's favorite team, and tickets stuffed in the pocket of denim jeans. Goodnight Baseball
is a hit.(Due on shelves March 1, 2013)
My review of Hard Gold as it appeared in the January 2013, issue of School Library Journal.
Hard Gold: The Colorado Gold Rush of 1859 (I Witness Series). By Avi. 4 CDs. 4:00 hrs. AudioGo. 2012. ISBN 978-1-935430-84-1. $49.95.
Gr 5-8--Early Whitcomb's family is in danger of losing their farm. They're behind in their payments, and a local banker is working with the railroad company to force them into selling. Early's young uncle, Jesse, thinks he has the answer. Handbills from the West indicate that gold has been found in Pike's Peak, Nebraska Territory, and it's there for the taking. Early's parents and older brother discount the reports, but Jesse and Early have the itch. Jesse soon sneaks off (under a cloud of suspicion due to a coincidentally timed bank robbery) to strike gold and save the farm. Early's family forbids him to follow, but when word arrives that Jesse has found gold and is in danger, he strikes out alone, joining a wagon train as a hired hand for a barber, his ailing wife, and feisty daughter. The grueling journey, a budding romance, and the possible ill intentions of fellow travelers add suspense and intrigue as Early learns how desperation and circumstances can change the course of one's life. The historical focus of Avi's novel (Hyperion, 2008) is broad. The endless wagon trains are likened to advancing lines of tiny white ants, but individual hardships are presented with considerably less detail. Dialogue and behaviors ring true, and the narration by Alston Brown is clear and pleasing. The diary style is well-suited for audio format. Similar to the "My Name Is America" series, Hard Gold brings history alive, particularly for boys.
Copyright © 2013 Library Journals, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. Reprinted with permission.
(Login to Add to MyJacketFlap
, Add a tag
|By In Helmolt, H.F., ed. History of the World. |
New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1902.
Author unknown, [Public domain or Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
Whether you're a school media specialist, a public librarian, a parent or a teacher,
if you know children over the age of 7, you're familiar with "the biography assignment." It comes around every year, and depending one's perspective, it may be a source of excitement, drudgery, irritation, disappointment, interest, or a mixture of all.
Some thoughts on "the biography assignment"Children need to understand the difference between an autobiography and a biography.
Many students arrive at the library insistent that their teacher has assigned an autobiography and a biography will not suffice. I always try to comply with their request, however, there are few autobiographies written for children, though if the child is slightly older, I will always recommend Jon Scieszka's, Knucklehead (
hands down, the best and funniest autobiography for children). For older kids, Walter Dean Myers and Gary Paulsen have both written excellent memoirs. In most cases, the teacher will accept either an autobiography or a biography, but children don't always realize that.Graphic novels biographies are perfect in certain circumstances and I wish more people would give them a try.
A reluctant reader might love Terry Collins', King of Pop: The Story of Michael Jackson,
or any title from the American Graphic Biography Collection, or other similar offerings. Just because they have panels, that doesn't make them less true, less valuable, less informative.Picture book biographies are not just for very young children - in fact, seldom are.
There are so
many wonderful and informative picture book biographies. I urge teachers to read a few and give them a chance. Demi's books are not only informative, but beautiful and evocative - Marco Polo,
for example is simply stunning. Or how about Bill The Boy Wonder
by Marc Tyler Nobleman? Or Michelle Markel's, The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau
? I could go on for days ...The most important thing to look for in a biography is veracity.
Are there source notes, back matter, photo credits, suggestions for additional reading - in short, all of the things that indicate the author has thoroughly researched the subject? Has the author taken "artistic license?" That's not necessarily a bad thing, however, older students should be trained to look for it.
The point is, I understand the dictates of local, state and national policies on what must be taught to children, however, within the parameters of those dictates, there is, hopefully, some room for flexibility - some leeway for children to choose different formats, different topics, different means of delivery. To this day, I don't like the poetry of Percy Bysse Shelley. Why? Because when I was in grammar school, I wanted to do my "famous poet" report on Edgar Allen Poe. I was forced to choose Percy Bysse Shelley. I've long forgotten that teacher's name, and I still don't like Shelley. In another year, a wonderful teacher allowed me to choose Edgar Allen Poe. Her name was Ms. Romano and I still read Poe from time to time. See how it works?
When the biography assignment rolls around, keep your options open!
One more thing:
I haven't had one in hand yet, but Abdo Publishing has a new series of Children's Author biographies.
Tell me what young boy given a biography assignment would not want to choose, Dav Pilkey
(Login to Add to MyJacketFlap
, ancient Greece
, book review
, ancient Rome
, Percy Jackson
, Add a tag
Riordan, Rick. 2012. The Heroes of Olympus: The Mark of Athena
. New York: Disney Hyperion.
Usually, I listen to Rick Riordan's books, but I read this one instead. I think I prefer this series in print.
UK trailerThe Mark of Athena
, in which:
Percy and Annabeth are finally reunited
We don't see nearly enough of Ella (I love that harpy!)
Seven demigods set forth on a quest
Leo is odd man out
The end is a real
Here's the plot, according to Ella,
Wisdom’s daughter walks alone
The Mark of Athena burns through Rome,
Twin snuff out the angel’s breath,
Who holds the key to endless death.
Giant’s bane stands cold and pale,
Won through pain from a woven jail.
Some odds and ends:
Next up: The House of Hades
, due out in October 2013.
Villa, Alvaro F. 2013. Flood. North Mankato, MN: Capstone.
(Advance Reader Copy provided by NetGalley)
If you read my blog regularly or read my monthly posts on the ALSC Blog, you'll know that my family was one of the tens of thousands affected by Hurricane Sandy. It is for that reason, that I requested a copy of Flood for review. I now have first-hand knowledge of the devastation caused by a hurricane, but more importantly in my area of the Jersey Shore, by flooding; I feel that I have a certain sad connection with the topic. While I say that, I am also mindful of the fact that though thousands may be affected by the same natural disaster, no two personal disasters are the same. There is a commonality, but yet, each town, each neighborhood, each family, each individual, must deal with a different set of difficulties. Because of this, I approached Flood with trepidation and apprehension. It was obviously not written in response to Superstorm Sandy, but nevertheless, it arrives at a time when people are particularly vulnerable. To date, more than half a million disaster assistance claims have been filed with FEMA, with much of the damage caused by flooding.
Forgive me if I reveal the entire story, but this one I must follow through to the end.
Alvaro F. Villa's Flood appears to be the story of a flood more typical to the Midwest than along the nation's coastlines. In this wordless picture book, a family's modest home stands alone in the middle of a beautiful, grassy, rolling countryside, a river flowing behind. Two children and a dog play alongside a weathered picket fence. Only the lone dark bird flying overhead hints at danger to come. In the evening, the family spends a relaxing evening indoors. Dawn brings the first hint of trouble as bad weather moves in. The next days are spent in anxious discussion, preparation, and finally, evacuation. A violent and raging storm arrives, the river rises, wreaking destruction on the idyllic landscape. In an eerie depiction of the storm's aftermath, the lone bird now sits upon the stump of a broken tree - looming large and black against the reddish hues of the dawning sky and the browns of the sandbags and silt left in the yard. The family's muddied SUV returns. From a distance the house can be seen, damaged but still standing. The hopelessness of the family, the agonized tears of the young daughter are palpable as they survey the wreckage. But of course, that is not the end. It can never be. No matter one's sense of hopelessness, helplessness - a start must be made. There is no other choice. And so the rebuilding begins. As the family paints and replants, the palette brightens and smiles return. The house, in its new coat of paint looks better than ever. It's not the same. It will never be. But the family is together and they have survived.
I passed this book along to my husband and children. Of course, they are not librarians or book reviewers or educators. I asked them only because the experience is fresh in their minds. My daughter had a keen observation. There is a scene in which the family is spending the night in another location, having evacuated their home; the children are shown sleeping on the floor (as so many children, including mine, have recently done for days, weeks and months on end) while the parents and dog huddle in bed watching the television, presumably for news about the flood. In a powerful use of symbolism, Villa shows their calm refuge surrounded by dark and raging flood waters - a powerful reminder of what is occurring elsewhere; but as my daughter pointed out, also easily misinterpreted by young readers who may be frightened by the water that appears to be menacingly approaching their makeshift beds. Although beautiful and moving, and ultimately uplifting, this is not a picture book for preschoolers. Appropriately, the publisher suggests Flood for Grades 1-3.
hopeful? Cautionary? Bibliotherapeutic? Empathetic? Preparatory? I suspect Alviro F. Villa intended to offer hope. I also suspect that much depends upon who reads it and when.
Due on shelves February 1, 2013.
(Login to Add to MyJacketFlap
Add a tag
Happy New Year! It's been a hectic few months, and it's time for me to get caught up. This is what you can look forward to on Shelf-employed in the coming weeks:
I've got piles of new books to read but here are a few that I know I won't miss:
Other coming attractions ...
Coming up in March, Margo, of The Fourth Musketeer
, and I, will again host our month-long celebration of Women's History Month at KidLit Celebrates Women's History Month
. We'll have a guest post for each day in March, and as in the previous two years, the lineup will be a stellar group of authors, illustrators, and kidlit bloggers. Follow the blog and watch for the lineup that we'll be posting soon.
And in musical news,
|By TJCWemba at en.wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or |
from Wikimedia Commons
I've got a ukulele! Thanks to this post
and encouragement from Tess Goldwasser, I asked for a ukulele for Christmas. I plan to bring more music and fun to storytime with my nice, new, Red Burst Makala Dolphin ukulele. What better to accompany poor singing than poor playing? Seriously, I'm practicing very hard and hoping that the kids will like it. In any case, I'd love to hear from any of you who may be ukulele players. All advice, particularly for storytime use, will be cheerfully and gratefully accepted. I'll let you know how it goes.
And a final few notes ...
If you didn't catch my post on the ALSC blog today, see how life as we know it would change "If the world were a children's novel..."
A bit of humor for the weekend.
If Facebook or Twitter is more convenient for you, I've got a fledgling Facebook page
and I'm @shelfemployed on Twitter.
If you cannot find a review you're looking for on this blog, use the search bar on the right or visit my searchable collection of over 1,000 books and nearly 600 reviews on LibraryThing
That's where I stand at the cusp of a new year. How about you?
I am blogging at the ALSC blog today. Please stop by and find out why I think "Nobody does it better" than librarians.
Here's the link: http://www.alsc.ala.org/blog/2012/12/nobody-does-it-better/
Have a wonderful weekend!
and Alison Blank. 2012. The Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure
. New York: Clarion.
The minute I saw this book, I knew that I would read it, not because I am a fan of nonfiction and Jim Murphy, but for personal reasons. While my mother would often tell me stories of what it was like to be a child during WWII, my stepfather was older. He lived what I considered to be a fascinating, history-book life. He was an orphan. He remembered the Great Depression. He was a runaway. He was a "runner" on Wall Street. He had tuberculosis. He recalled being forced to march outside in the cold New York winter wearing nothing but a t-shirt and underpants, a common aspect of a patient's "curing" regimen. I can only imagine that a poor orphan boy's regimen was harsher than most. To this day, I cannot look at a sepia-tinged photo of poor scantily clad children in the snow without thinking of my stepfather. The girls on the cover of The Invincible Microbe
, "curing" outside on a porch, may be smiling in the photo, but I don't believe for a minute that it was by choice. To the end of his days, my stepfather loved rich foods and warm temperatures - small wonder.
So, to me growing up, TB was a thing of the past - a disease like polio, generally eradicated and of no concern to me. Then came the late 1980's and 1990's. My sister lived in Manhattan, and lo and behold, tuberculosis was suddenly a topic of discussion again. There was an outbreak in the City. She was worried. So to me, tuberculosis was then an urban thing, of no concern to me, except where my sister was concerned. My sister moved away from the City, and I thought little of it again ... until my children were born. Then to me, TB was "the bubble test," and I thought little of it, except that it seemed to be an easier test than the "tine test" I remembered from childhood, and I was thankful that my kids were protected...
or so I thought, until I read The Invincible Microbe
.The Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure
, tells the story of TB from its known beginning, in prehistoric times, through the days of magical, prayerful, and deadly "cures," until today, when TB is still a scourge in five areas of the world (Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, The Philippines, Swaziland, Vietnam) and i
s only as far away from you as a plane ride.
Thoroughly researched, sourced and indexed, with numerous photographs, The Invincible Microbe
is a chronological look at the Tuberculosis germ, containing first-hand accounts (including a poem written by Robert Louis Stevenson en route to a sanatorium in Saranac Lake), period advertising, and quotes from scientific journals and other sources. It incorporates both the scientific and social aspects of infectious disease, answering such questions as:
How were breakthroughs in identification and treatment of the disease achieved? How did the medical community vet new procedures and ideas? How was public health policy created? How did the germ mutate to survive? How did Tuberculosis attack the human body? How was it spread? Who decided which patients received treatment and which do not?
Sadly, these questions are still being answered, and to date, Tuberculosis has no cure.
Comprehensive and engrossing, this is a book that will appeal to ages 10 to adult.
Want to know more about TB? Check the Tuberculosis section of the World Health Organization (WHO) website.
On Fridays, kidlit bloggers gather for Poetry Friday and STEM Friday. Today I offer my original haiku featuring science and the moon. I hope you like it.
filters blue light from the sky
a red moon rises
|Photo by David Saddler|
Creative Commons license 2.0
Visit them both and enjoy your Friday! I'll be going to see The Hobbit!
(Login to Add to MyJacketFlap
, Non-Fiction Monday
, Add a tag
As 2012 is quickly coming to a close, I'll use today's Nonfiction Monday event to feature my two favorite nonfiction books of the year - one for young listeners and one for older readers.
Without a doubt, my favorite nonfiction book for older readers was
Educational, inspirational, celebratory!
Though I first reviewed it in March, it has remained on the top of my list. Click the title for my review.
Rhyming, whimsical, gorgeous illustrations!
(click the title for my review)
If you haven't checked out these two nonfiction books yet, hurry to your library or bookstore!
They're not to be missed!
If you're looking for a way to inspire very young people to wonder about math and science, look no further than Infinity and Me
. 2012. Infinity and Me
. Minneapolis, MN: Carolrhoda. (Illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska)Infinity and Me
will open up (dare I say it?) infinite possibilities and questions!
A small girl, Uma, ponders infinity while gazing at stars,
How many stars were in the sky? A million? A billion? Maybe the number was as big as infinity. I started to feel very, very small. How could I even think about something as big as infinity?
Uma proceeds to ask others how they
conceive of infinity, and hears it defined in quantities of numbers, time, music, ancestors - even spaghetti! Finally, she settles on her own measure of infinity, quantified in something that is both personal and boundless. Full-bleed painted illustrations by Gabi Swiatkowska capture the magical sense of the endless immensity of infinity that at first perplexes Uma, and finally envelops her in understanding.
In the end, it doesn't matter how one envisions infinity; what does
matter is kindling an interest in something broader, wider, more infinite
This is an intriguing introduction to a mathematical concept.
For Teachers:A curriculum guide for Infinity and Me is available on the author's website
Book details from the publisher's website:
Pages: 32Trim Size: 9 1/4 x 11Dewey: [E]Reading Level: 3Interest Level: K-4Ages: 5-10ATOS Quiz #: 0.5ATOS AR Points: 3.40ATOS: 151611.00Lexile Level: 670It's STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)
Spinelli, Jerry. 2013. Hokey Pokey. New York: Knopf.Advance reader copy provided by NetGalley
In the world of Hokey Pokey, populated by Snotsnipppers, Newbies, and Gappergums, and others, The Kid is king. In fact, kids are its only human inhabitants.
For Big Kid, Jack, days pass in a comfortable rhythm of regularity - hanging out with his Amigos, LaJo and Dusty, and riding his bike Scramjet, the envy of every kid in Hokey Pokey. The rules are simple. Just remember the Four Nevers:
Never pass a puddle without stomping in it. Never go to sleep until the last minute. Never go near Forbidden Hut. Never kiss a girl.It's a simple life, a good life. Until one morning, when things are not the same. His bike is gone, and
Hokey Pokey is unusual fare for Jerry Spinelli. It's an allegorical story of childhood delivered by a narrator following the escapades of several different children, and focusing primarily on Jack and his rival and antagonist - the girl, Jubilee. It's recommended for ages 10 and up, but the beauty of Hokey Pokey is that it may be read on several levels. Though the symbolism may be somewhat obvious for older readers, younger readers may simply enjoy Hokey Pokey as a fantasy adventure in an alternate universe. Older readers will see beyond the obvious symbolism of the approaching train and will ponder the relationships between older kids and younger, boys and girls. Short and thought-provoking. Recommended reading.
Hokey Pokey received starred reviews in School Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews.
Preview the book here:
Interesting note: This is the second book that I've read that features living bicycles. Anyone know the other one?
(Login to Add to MyJacketFlap
, digital audiobook
, book review
, folk tales
, fairy tale
, Add a tag
View Next 25 Posts
Before the year 2012 slips away from me,I'd like to post my fiction favorites.
Two of the books that I was most looking forward to reading in 2012, did not disappoint me, and they are my 2012 favorites in fiction.Starry River of the Sky
The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There
- The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente (Macmillan) and in audio book by Brilliance Audio, is a follow-up to my favorite book of last year, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her own Making. In The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland, September returns to find and reunite with her shadow, Halloween, who has taken up residence in Fairyland Below as the Hollow Queen. After having learned the complicated rules of Fairyland in her last journey, September must now learn to navigate by the rules of Fairyland-Below:
Beware of dog The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There
Anything important comes in threes and sixes
Do not steal queens
A girl in the wild is worth two in chains
Necessity is the mother of temptation
Everything must be paid for sooner or later
What goes down must come up
is as good or better than its predecessor. The levels of Fairyland and their inhabitants are rich and wonderful and magical and utterly satisfying. I had the pleasure of alternately reading and
listening to this one, and in an unusual occurrence, both versions were equally enjoyable. The voice of S.J. Tucker is perfectly suited for the fantastic world of Fairyland. Her voice has an unidentifiable quality which defies the listener's attempts to place a location on her accent. Although she is American, she could just as easily be Fairylander.
My library system classifies this book as a young adult novel, however, as with the first in the series, I find it suitable for both younger and older audiences.
I can't wait to read the third book in the Fairyland
For a slightly younger audience (though also entertaining for all ages) is Grace Lin's,
- Starry River of the Sky (title links to my earlier review) (Little Brown). This is also a follow-up book, although in this case, Starry River is a stand-alone, "companion" book to the earlier Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (2009 Little Brown). Grace Lin always shows herself to be a gentle and thoughtful writer, and never more so than in Starry River.
This is a captivating story that, while holding deep meaning, may be enjoyed in many layers. A magical fantasy, a Chinese folktale, a tale of a boy lost and found, a love story, a mystery, a journey of self-discovery -- all may be found in the tiny and remote Village of Clear Sky.
Enjoy them both!