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1. Tenth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge: Winners!

Of course, we're really all winners to have had so much great reading time! But prizes are fun too, and there are among us some dedicated reader demons and they are...

The One and Only Marfalfa who takes this year's 48HBC with 38.75 hours and 16 books! Incredible! This blogger will receive a prize package of signed books from my Book Expo America trip, along with some other great bookish gifts. Congratulations!

Specific Junkie comes in just behind with 36 hours of reading - on the weekend they got a puppy! He will receive two fantastic signed ARC's from my BEA trip, along with some special speculative fiction. Great job!

Our "Just for Playing" Winners are...

Lapwings Read and From Tots to Teens who will receive selected ARC's and books.

Our 20 Hour Club is seventeen members strong this year!

Abby the Librarian - 20 hours

As Inclination Leads Me - 25 hours

By Singing Light - 24.25 hours

Boys Rule Boys Read - 22.5 hours

Charlotte’s Library - 20.75 hours

Lapwings Read - 27 hours (teen) 20 hours (tween)

Library Chicken - 33.75 hours

Literacious - 20 hours

Merrily Reading - 21.25 hours

More Like a Flower’s - 20.5 hours

MotherReader - 22 hours

Ms. Yingling Reads - 31 hours

The One and Only Marfalfa - 38.75 hours

SonderBooks - 28.25 hours

Specfic Junkie - 36 hours

Write. Sketch. Repeat - 30.75 hours

Thanks to everyone for participating and making the 48 Hour Book Challenge a fun experience! Read on!

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

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2. Tenth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge: Finish Line

Congratulations! You've completed the challenge!

When you finish your 48 hours, sign in with Mr. Linky below with the link to your final summary, which should include the number and/or titles of books read and the amount of time spent on the challenge. Rounding to the quarter hour will do just fine. Given different time zones, all final summary posts should be up by 7:00 a.m. Monday, June 22nd. Winners, prizes and such will be announced on Monday afternoonish.

Thanks to everyone who participated, supported, and promoted the 48 Hour Book Challenge!

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

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3. 48 HBC: Personal Update II

I'll be editing this post as I finish my reading, but I wanted to get it up so that I can post the 48HBC Finish Line afterwards. So here's my quick update on my second 24 hour period.

Saturday night I read The Girl in the Torch, by Robert Shareow from 7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. I really enjoyed the book about an orphaned Jewish immigrant in the early days of New York City. Then I wrote my blog post and checked online stuff for an hour and got back to reading until 1:00 a.m. It was a challenge to keep reading after 11:00 p.m., because I was really tired from my long day. But fortunately Lies I Told, by Michelle Zink was an engrossing book.

But not so engrossing that I didn't take the out offered by a 1:00 a.m cutoff time to go to bed and return to the book this morning, finishing about 10:00 a.m. I should have done my blog post then, but didn't really think about it and went right into reading Endangered. by Lamar Giles. Then it suddenly hit me that I am not only reading for the challenge but running the challenge, and I might want to get the finish line up. So here we are at about 11:30 a.m., ready to do that and then go back to my own reading.

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

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4. 48HBC: Personal Update

Coming up on the 48 Hour Book Challenge I knew that I'd have to contend with working on Saturday and dance recitals on Sunday. I didn't expect to be engaged of the logistics of getting my teen to American Idol auditions, but there you go. So my reading has been disjointed and distracted, putting any writing or connecting on the back burner. Only now, late Saturday evening, can I even figure out what I've been doing.

I started at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, reading until about 10:30 p.m. I am glad I started off easy, with Elvis and the Underdogs: Secrets, Secret Service, and Room Service, by Jenny Lee. I really enjoyed this lightly funny book about a boy and his former service dog that is now living in the White House. Just a good, fun book - which is what I needed. Last Night at the Circle Cinema, by Emily Franklin was not light, and was too much to finish on a distracted night. The rest of the night was spent on preparations for the American Idol auditions, which included conversations about why we were just figuring out to do this the night before the bus pulled into Baltimore.

Up at 5:00 a.m. to get the teen off to auditions with her dad and sister - along with four frozen water bottles, three umbrellas, two back-up phone batteries, various granola bars, hand sanitizer, and sunscreen. Got them out and started reading about 5:30 a.m., finishing the previous book and starting Those Girls, by Lauren Saft. This is the book I kept checking to make sure it was a teen title, because it was pretty explicit in scenes and language. It was like a old-fashioned, trashy novel but with teens. I read until about 9:00 a.m. and then got ready for my work day.

I had a program to supervise in the morning, but some of it was waiting for people to check in - so I got a little reading done then, plus a little time later in the day. Not my usual approach, but it was an unusual day. My book choice there was Nuts to You, by Lynne Rae Perkins, which I really enjoyed. But again, kind of a distracted reading.

Back home after 4:00 p.m., I spent some time catching up. I knew that my teen did not move on in the American Idol auditions, but was glad to hear more about the day. She was happy with her performance and the experience, and she was really glad that we had made the last minute push for her to be able to go. At 5:00, I got back to reading Nuts to You finishing by my 24 hour mark at 6:00 p.m.

Halfway through the 48HBC, I have four books finished with nine hours to the challenge. Not as good as I'd hoped, but tomorrow is another day.

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

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5. Tenth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge: Starting Line

So it begins. Whenever you start your 48 hour period, sign in with a link to your blog with old, reliable Mr. Linky. Keep track of your time — which includes reading, reviewing, blogging, and connecting (blog reading, tweeting, and general bookish socializing). To keep the Starting Line post at the top of my blog, I won’t publish my personal posts until sometime Saturday evening.

On Sunday, I’ll have a Finish Line post where you can leave the link to your final summary, which should include the amount of time spent on the challenge. Rounding to the quarter hour will do just fine. Winners, prizes and such will be announced on Monday afternoonish. Happy Reading!

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6. 48 Hour Book Challenge: Get Ready

Okay, we are seriously close to the Tenth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge and it is time to get ready. Do you have your books? I've got mine. Do you have your plan? I sort of have mine. Which can serve as an example for those of you without clear schedules.

When I set the dates, I wasn't really thinking about my daughter's dance recitals over that weekend. With a little internal negotiating of what does or does not make me a bad mother, I've settled on going to the last one and skipping one entirely. This isn't quite as awful as it may sound because my teen is less interested in the recitals than others may be. It also turns out that I work on Saturday, so I'm going to lose a huge chunk of time. But so be it. I'm making my own goal to hit 24 hours of reading in the 48 hour period - and I'm not sure I can do it. But that's why it's a Challenge.

So don't worry if you can't put in a whole weekend. Just let it be a weekend where reading is a priority and done with friends. Sign up in the comments and look for the starting line post on Friday. See you there.

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

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7. 48 Hour Book Challenge: Prizes

One reason to go to Book Expo America was to get books for the 48 Hour Book Challenge this coming weekend. Here are some of the signed books that I plan on reading this weekend and giving away as prizes:

Last-But-Not-Least Lola: Going Green, by Christine Pakkala; Last Night at the Circle Cinema, by Emily Franklin; House of Charms, by Christina Cameron; Lies I Told, by Michelle Zink; Those Girls, by Lauren Saft;

Elvis and the Underdogs, by Jenny Lee; The Girl in the Torch, by Robert Sharenow; Five Nincompoops, The Princess and One Saviour, by K. Edward; Endangered, by Lamar Giles; and The Summertime Girls, by Laura Hankin

There are also potentials for prizes among the ARC's I received. I didn't gather many, so most of these were ones that I requested that the publishers were able to give me.

The Murdstone Trilogy, by Mal Peet; Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods, by Hal Johnson; The Bamboo Sword, by Margi Preus; When Mischief Came to Town, by Katrina Nannestad; Samurai Rising, by Pamela Turner; Steve Jobs, by Jessie Hartland;
Hunter, by Mercedes Lackey; How to Capture an Invisible Cat; by Paul Tobin; George, by Alex Gino; Sunny Side Up, by Jennifer Holm; Currents, by Jane Petrlik Smolik; and The Golden Compass: the Graphic Novel, adapted and illustrated by Stephanie Melchior-Durand and Clement Oubrerie.

So I've got my reading cut out for me. Are you gathering your choices for the 48 Hour Book Challenge this weekend? If you haven't signed up to participate, there is still time. And remember, you don't actually have to read the whole 48 hours. Consider it more like blocking off the time to make reading a priority. Check out the 48 Hour Book Challenge info and read along.

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

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8. Book Expo America: Part IV

I know by Friday that some of my blogging buddies were beginning to wear out, but not me. I was ready for another day of authors, books, and kid lit learning. I got it all, plus some.

I started off tracking down my new best friend from the previous night, Jory Johns, who was listed in a number of places pretty much simultaneously. I took my chances on the table signing being the closest to accurate, and was able to get my own copy of Goodnight Already! signed by this one-to-watch author. I jumped into Sarah Durst's line to pick up her book, The Girl Who Could Not Dream, and was attracted by the lively jacket of her neighbor author to grab a copy of You Can't Ruin my Day, by Allen Klein. I also couldn't resist Carol Alt, so took her book too. Then I grabbed one of the last rounds of bagels at the Library Lounge, and sat in on the YA Book Buzz.

I made sure I was back at the signing area to see Sophie Blackall, who was signing prints from Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear. But I also got a bonus Alvina Ling sighting, who was helping out there. Then it was on to pick up Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton, written and illustrated by Don Tate. I've followed this guy online for years, so it I really enjoyed the chance to meet in person - and to get this lovely book!

After those signings, I was doing a little wandering around the booths and catching the nonfiction panel led by Betsy Bird and the Middle Grade Buzz session. Starred on my agenda was the signing by Felicia Day, which Liz informed me was getting rock star lines an hour early. Eeek. I couldn't get there that quickly, but did make it there in time and the line moved very efficiently. So my payoff was a minute with Internet star, where I told her that my daughter had her hair - which was a bit alarming, until I clarified that I meant that she had used a photo of Felicia Day to chose her new hair color and was playing her character in a school show, and ohmigod I'm an idiot. But she couldn't have been sweeter, and I can't wait to get her book You're Never Weird on the Internet.

With three hours before my bus trip back to DC, it seemed wise to get books shipped off. Indeed it took a while to get them sorted out and packed tidy enough to fit in one box. The packing up also limited what else I could take from the floor, so I tried to avert my eyes. Okay, with the one exception of picking up a copy of Steal Like an Artist, by Austin Kleon. I also snapped a quick pic of Gloria Steinem's signing which is too stalkerish to share. Instead here's the day's highlights:

I ended Friday with my BEA Buddies - Liz, Jackie, Leila, and Gwenda - hanging out at an unused publisher's table, hoping we wouldn't get kicked out and yet too tired to keep walking around. It was a great way to close out, just talking books and such. My bus trip back was not ideal, but with so many good things to reflect on, it was overall a win of good friends, good books, and good visit. What more could I ask for.

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

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9. Book Expo America: Part III

The Random House cocktail party was Thursday night and Liz Burns was taking me as her guest. Because she is the best roommate ever. We didn't know what it would be like, but it was certainly a good sign when we saw that that party had taken over the whole restaurant of A Voce at Columbus Circle. And then there was an actual sign that was also a good sign for the evening.

I mean, right? This was a great group of authors, and the Random House staff couldn't have been nicer about facilitating the meetings. And in case you needed some fortitude, the wine was flowing. Liz and I were there for only a few minutes when we were introduced to Nicola Yoon who is releasing her first novel, Everything Everything, about a girl who is allergic to everything. We had a nice conversation and even got copies of the book, which wasn't even like part of the deal. I only had to stand around Marc Brown with an awe-struck look in my eyes, before someone helpfully introduced me. I didn't know what to say to a children's literature icon, so I think I went with the weather. I feel like I mentioned libraries and thanked him for being an icon, or something like that. I can't say that it was my best.

Before things got too busy, Liz and I both wanted to chat with Rebecca Stead. Of course, because she's awesome, but also because we both had known her before her first book came out. So it's always fun to check in with your friends who are now amazing, award-winning authors. We also got her new book, Goodbye Stranger - and there were only like five copies on the table, so go us. Our selfie was ridiculous, so fortunately someone took this photo for us instead.

We split up to mix and mingle. I made sure to meet every one of the authors, like I was getting a prize. I also made sure to get some of the light food and most of the tiny cheesecakes that came my way.

Julianna Moore was there for her Freckleface Strawberry series and I had to put my celebrity author issue on hold for the night, because it was Julianna Moore and she was right there. I talked to Tad Hills about his new Rocket book and his last visit to Virginia. Very nice guy. One of my favorite conversations of the night was with Bob Shea and Jory Johns. I had great success in my library storytimes with each of their books - Don't Play with Your Food and Goodnight Already! - and it was fun to be able to share that. We also talked about humor for kids, the value of art and theatre, the importance of good design, and fart jokes. Now I'm looking forward to their book, I Will Chomp You.

The event was over too quickly, but we both were so happy to have been there. Our hotel was only a short walk away and we picked up the world's tiniest cupcakes to top off our night - mostly because only in New York could you have an entire store devoted to bite-size desserts.

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

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10. Book Expo America: Part II

Thursday was my whirlwind Book Expo day, so I'll hit some highlights, but will have to miss many of the books I gathered and authors I met. But even looking at what I know from my notes, this day is killer.

I started off again in the author signing area with a couple of goals, which I easily met. I have really enjoyed Maryrose Wood's series of "Incorrigible Children," so I was excited to get the fifth book, The Unmapped Sea. It was fun to share my booktalking strategy for the first book, which is howling like a wolf. Seeing a cool picture book nearby, I jumped into that line to pick up Beastly Babies by Brendan Wenzel, who asked my favorite animal and added it to the book. Cool, right?

I spend much of my time in the Erin and Philip Stead line showing off the drawing and directing fellow book lovers to Brendan's table. Except for the time I was explaining to my friend and co-waiter Jackie that, "no, I'm sorry it's not Rebecca Stead's line. Wrong award-winning Stead." But we were both pleased to pick up the team's new title, Lenny & Lucy." I had to get a picture too, because I admire these guys so darn much.

After that, we ran into Paula Wiley and all headed over to the Library Lounge for a bagel and a discussion session with Barry Lyga and Libba Bray. The talk was interesting, but situated in a weird way, so I got into a nice seat but my buddies were left watching Barry's elbow, so they left before picking up the distributed ARC's After the Red Rain and Lair of Dreams. I stuck around a bit to say hello to Barry, who I've known since his first book and who has worked on projects with my husband. Wish we could have talked more, but fabulous authors have schedules to keep.

After that talk, I hurried over to pick up one of my priority books - Hurry Up and Wait. I love Maira Kalman's art, so it was wonderful to be able to tell her so. Looking around the booths, I touched base with my BEA buddies, who happened to be nearby. We made plans to escape the Javits Center and go to a nearby diner for lunch. While I might have happily stayed out of the New York humidity, it was a great opportunity for a quieter visit with friends.

Liz Burns and I were both interested in Laura Amy Schlitz's new book The Hired Girl, and made it back in time to pick up a copy - which was quite lucky. We were both also interested in M.T. Anderson's new book, Symphony for the City of the Dead, along with saying hello to this cool guy. I may have slipped out of line momentarily to grab a book for my ballet girl, Unlovely, by Celeste Conway. Then I joined the long line for the Welcome to Night Vale book. It was something I wanted to get for my college girl who is a huge fan of the series. Sent her a text from the line and she was so happy!!!!

Afterwards, I hurried over to Capstone where my friend Gwenda Bond was signing her new book about Lois Lane, Fallout. She had such a rockstar line that I was lucky to get there in time! She ended up going through all 250 copies of the book, with not a one left for possible stragglers. (Like I had expected to be after the Night Vale line.) Can't wait to read it! Gwenda's signing was our meeting place for some of the blogger crowd, so I was able to touch base with Sheila Ruth and Charlotte Taylor. But after looking unsuccessfully for a publisher booth party, I had to excuse myself to head back to the hotel and get ready for an evening activity that turned out to be A-mazing. So, tune in for that later. For now, here's the hit list of books from Thursday.

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

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11. Book Expo America: Part I

Like many others I attended Book Expo America, but unlike many others I needed another week to recover before writing about it. I also needed a full week to get my voice back, but that's another part of the story.

Being from the Washington, DC area I was able to take advantage of a full range of choices of express bus services to New York, including Bolt Bus which drops off and picks up a block from Javits. We had a winner! The easy drop off before 2:00p.m. on Wednesday got me registered at BEA with my suitcase checked and still in time to make one of my priority author signing sessions, Tim Federle at 2:30p.m. I love his books, his Twitter feed, and - from the one time I chatted with him in Alexandria - him, so I was excited to get his new picture book, Tommy Can't Stop. Though I thought I would miss it, I had enough time to get Space Taxi: Archie Takes Flight signed by Wendy Mass and Michael Brawer. I also hopped in line to pick up Bad Kitty Goes to the Vet, by Nick Bruel - who signs with a little kitty drawing. I had added a book selection for my singer teen, VIP: I'm With the Band, by Jen Calonita.

With four great author signings done so quickly, I couldn't believe my luck when a book that I had seen online and hoped to purchase happened to be available at the next table. That was pretty cool. So I brought home a little bit of self-help in Healthy Brain, Happy Life by Wendy Suzuki. I also picked up an abandoned copy of The Song Machine, just because I could.

I had allotted myself time to wait in line for Mo Willems and Tony DiTerlizzi, and wait I did. But it wasn't as bad as I expected - especially given that I ran into blogger and online buddy Emily Mitchell. We chatted a bit, the line moved quickly, and I got my book, poster and photo opportunity. The Story of Diva and Flea takes place in Paris, and the poster has that French feeling to it. Mo looked good from his year on sabbatical, which I believe I told him. Afterwards I got to talk more with Emily and her co-workers, and even got another brief chat with Mo about our kids. Almost like a normal person would do.
I'm sure I picked up a few more books along the way, but I was trying to stick to the signings where I wouldn't talk as much and save my strained vocal cords. My evening was a low-key visit with my rookie Liz Burns and our friend Jackie Parker-Robinson and her husband, Kyle. Then an early bedtime for two big days coming...

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

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12. Tenth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge

48 Hour Book ChallengeHard to believe, but we're up to the Tenth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge, and with year ten, we're going back to basics. While I have loved past experiences of reading for RIF and in solidarity with WeNeedDiverseBooks, this time it's a simple weekend, bookish, get-together. While some will skip sleeping for the readathon, only twelve hours are needed to be an official participant of the 48HBC. So, you can do this. The rules below are to help both you (how does this work again?) and me (please link to your blog or I can't find you!). It's all on the honor system and it's all for fun.

  1. The weekend is June 19th-21st, 2015. Read and review for any 48-hour period within the Friday-to-Sunday window. Start no sooner than 7:00 a.m. on Friday the ninetieth and end no later than midnight Sunday the twenty-first. So, go from 7:00 a.m. Friday to 7:00 a.m. on Sunday... or maybe 11:00 p.m. Friday to 11:00 p.m. Sunday works better for you. But once begun, the 48 hours do need to be in a row. That said, during that 48-hour period you may still have gaps of time in which you don't read or chose to sleep, and that’s totally fine.
  2. Three winners will be chosen at random from each of three levels of reading commitment - 12 to 23 hours, 24 to 35 hours, and 36 to 48 hours. Since each level will progressively have less participants, the more you read the better your chances. Top readers will win individual prizes. International winners may be given gift cards instead of books due to mailing costs, unless a U.S. address is provided.
  3. The books can be graphic novels, middle-grade, young adult, or adult books. One audiobook can also be included in your time and book total — helpful if you have somewhere to drive to or need to prepare dinner, etc.
  4. You are welcome to include some networking time reading and commenting on other participant’s blogs, sharing on Facebook, and Tweeting about your progress (remember the #48hbc tag!).
  5. When you begin, sign in at the "Starting Line" post at MotherReader on June 19th. When you finish, check in at the "Finish Line" post at MotherReader on June 21st.
  6. At the end, write a final summary that clearly indicates hours — including partial hours — you spent reading/reviewing/networking, the number of books read, and any other comments you want to make on the experience. To be counted, it needs to be posted no later than noon EST on Monday, June 22th.

I’m always looking for donations for winners’ prize packages and other “door prizes” to be awarded to participants selected at random. Past prizes have included original sketches from illustrators, loads of signed books, t-shirts from Threadless, artistic blank journals, jewelry, gift cards, notecards, and more. Good stuff. If you’d like to contribute to the prizes this year, shoot me an email at MotherReader AT gmail DOT com.

Sign up now in the comments and block the dates on your calendar. Questions can also go in the comments, and I will respond in the comments and add a FAQ soon. Let's have some reading fun!

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

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13. Save the Date: 48 Hour Book Challenge

What better way to come back to blogging from my accidental sabbatical than by announcing the dates for the Tenth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge! We're going a touch later in the month of June than in previous years, but still before the ALA Conference. Hopefully everyone will be done with school and ready to relax with a bit - or a lot - of reading. It will be a low-key affair, but even the most casual of gatherings needs some established rules - that's why we don't double-dip our chips at parties - so those will go up on Monday. If you are too excited to wait, they will look remarkably similar to these.

So it's time to synchronize our calendars and make sure we're saving some time on...

June 19th - 21st

Yeah. You can feel the energy.

Check back for the details.

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14. Festivus: The Airing of the Grievances

Yes, it’s Festivus, the holiday for the rest-of-us, and now is the time for the airing of the grievances. You have free space in the comments for whatever is getting in your craw. I’ll start:

The director who didn't give my daughter the part she totally should have had. Still mad.

My mom - who doesn't read this blog - calling with problems that I can do nothing about from two hundred miles away. Misplaced keys? Can't program the phone? Lost the cat leash? Maybe try calling a local friend, neighbor, or my brother who lives in the same city.

Aging, like in general. My friends and I are dealing with multitudes of issues with elderly parents. And frankly, I'm not too happy with not being able to get myself off the floor without groaning. Aging sort of sucks.

Myself, for leaving so much to the last minute and generally being adverse to getting the work done.
So how about you? None of your people are likely to see your grievances all the way over at my blog, so go nuts. Talk about your boss, your neighbor, your drama queen of a friend. Tomorrow we can get back into the spirit of the season, but now it’s venting time.

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15. 150 Ways to Give a Book

I realize I haven't been posting, but it wouldn't feel like the holidays if I didn't update and share my traditional 150 Ways to Give a Book. They are all MotherReader-approved titles — i.e., Good Books. There are a lot more choices for younger kids, as that’s the group we adults most fear disappointing with giving “only” a book. And picture books are kind of easier to do. After the book and gift selections, I’ve also included ways to wrap a book, and book-themed gifts to include for a variety of ages. There are a few new 2014 titles mixed in with older ones — though there aren’t many classics, as I’ve tried to select books that kids would be less likely to have on their shelves.

Sometimes I choose the hardback when the paperback is also available, so check if that is important to you. I’ve also linked to the fun extras through Amazon, for example, to save you shopping time, and because I get some small credit for your purchases through the Amazon Associates program. But know that you can find cheaper alternatives for some small things — paints, pens, journals, etc. — at a local discount store. On the other hand, doing all your purchases online and having them sent to your door is priceless.

I'm always looking for new ideas, so leave suggestions in the comments. I hope you'll share this link as you promote giving books as gifts for the holidays and that you find some great ideas for your own friends and family. Enjoy!


  1. Give an experience like a trip to a zoo, aquarium, museum, aviary, arena, or city. Put the passes, tickets, or homemade gift certificate with a relevant book to make it feel more tangible.
  2. Take a road trip with Ask Me so you can use the driving time to ask each other the interesting questions from the book.
  3. Give a book with a movie theater gift card to see the upcoming film.
  4. Give a book with a gift card to rent the movie. Include a box of microwave popcorn.
  5. One Hen - How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference
  6. Give One Hen — How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference with a loan to Kiva or a donation to Heifer International to buy chicks.
  7. Pair any book with another book from the bargain section, maybe something silly or crafty or gimmicky.
  8. Pair a detective book with a magnifying glass.
  9. Match poetry books with word beads or magnetic poetry.
  10. Pair a picture book with a related stuffed animal.
  11. Give an interesting, insightful book with a restaurant gift card and a date to discuss the book together over a meal.
  12. Honor the book enthusiast with necklace along with a new title.
  13. Celebrate writing too with special journals from Tara Books, an independent press based in India.
Picture Books
  1. Learn letters with ABC, Baby Me! board book or The Sleepy Little Alphabet and letter links.
  2. Or work with numbers (and colors) with 10 Hungry Rabbits and magnetic numbers.
  3. Or let them battle it out with 123 vs ABC and bath toys
  4. The Day the Crayons Quit
  5. Give The Day the Crayons Quit with a pack of fat crayons and a stack of copy paper from an office supply store.
  6. Or go with Art and Max or Blue Chicken with a paint set.
  7. Pair The Curious Garden with gardening tools and seeds.
  8. It’s almost dessert when you give The Cow Loves Cookies with a cookie counting game.
  9. What else can go with Extra Yarn but extra yarn? Well, and knitting needles and instructions.
  10. Pair Kite Flying and/or Kite Day with a new kite.
  11. Give Bats at the Ballgame with a bat and ball. You can throw in a coupon book for practice sessions.
  12. Take a bedtime book like Little Owl’s Night, A Bedtime for Bear or Sweet Dreams and add a night light.
  13. Or choose A Full Moon is Rising or Moonlight with glow-in-the-dark moon and stars — or go high tech with this Moon in my Room.
  14. Giant Dance Party
  15. Get moving with Giant Dance Party with Kids Dance Party CD.
  16. Keep up the music by giving Drum City with an old-time tin drum.
  17. Pair Bubble Trouble with touchable bubbles.
  18. Ballet dancers will love the classic Angelina Ballerina or the slightly edgyVampirina Ballerina (or both) with a fancy tutu or two… two.
  19. Give little superheroes SuperHero ABC along with a superhero cape.
  20. Encourage a future Iron Chef by giving Rainbow Stew or Oscar and the Very Hungry Dragon with a cooking set.
  21. Silliness ensues with Pigs to the Rescue and the Pass the Pigs game.
  22. Take it outside with Chalk with 3-D sidewalk chalk.
  23. The Monstore
  24. Pair Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site or Building with Dad with toy construction vehicles.
  25. Give The Monstore with the monster game.
  26. Who can resist that match-up of Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek with Lincoln Logs?
  27. Give your little dragon-lover Hush Little Dragon or Guess What I Found in Dragon Wood with a cute dragon.
  28. Is there a doctor in the house? There will be with picture book Doctor Ted along with a doctor kit.
  29. Future firefighter instead? Give Fire! Fuego! along with Firefighters A to Z and firefighter gear.
  30. Pair picture book Crafty Chloe with a selection of craft supplies.
  31. What else can go with Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum other than lots of bubble gum.
  32. Cat lovers can enjoy picture books Here Comes Santa Cat, Katie Loves the Kittens, and Won Ton with a cat card game.
  33. Here Comes Trouble!
  34. Or let the dogs out with Dogs, Here Comes Trouble!, and If You Give a Dog a Donut and dog themed dominoes.
  35. Add a car to a child's train set, but include Steam Train, Dream Train or Elisha Cooper's Train.
  36. Nature lovers will enjoy Birdsongs along with a guidebook like Backyard Birds and some binoculars.
  37. For more nature, pair A Butterfly is Patient with a butterfly garden kit.
  38. Give your favorite girly-girl Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy with dress-up jewelry and/or a fancy poodle.
  39. Give your rough little boy Pirates Don’t Change Diapers along with genuine pirate gear.
  40. Another nighttime choice is Goodnight, Little Monster with an Ugly Doll.
  41. Give picture book The Moon with a special flashlight and a promise for a nighttime walk or two.
  42. Blackout
  43. Or for a different angle with that flashlight, pair with Blackout and prepare for indoor fun with the lights out.
  44. Take fun picture book Fold Me a Poem and pair it with an origami kit.
  45. Picture books A Sick Day for Amos McGee or Panda-monium at Peek Zoo would be perfect with a zoo animal collection or game.
  46. Or head down to the Farm, adding a Lace and Trace Farm Set.
  47. 999 Frogs Wake Up goes nicely with Flingin' Frogs game.
  48. For a western theme, give A Night on the Range or Every Cowgirl Loves a Rodeo with a cowboy hat.
  49. Take a special book, like Wow! It Sure is Good to Be You (which is about an aunt loving her far-away niece), and make a CD recording of you reading it.
  50. Pair Duck and Goose with a bright ball.
  51. Dusk
  52. Celebrate the season with the beautiful Dusk and appropriate lights or decorations.
  53. The funny wordless book Once Upon a Banana is a perfect fit with a stuffed monkey — but show your sense of humor by throwing a banana into the gift bag.
  54. Another wordless book choice is the visually stunning The Tree House, which works surprisingly well with Littlest Pet Shop brown bear and polar bear.
  55. Give The Snow Globe Family with a snow globe.
  56. Pair Lilly’s Big Day with dress-up clothes.
  57. Or another dress-up option is the Ladybug Girl books with wings and antennae.
  58. Pair Bubble Bath Pirates with a cool rubber duck.
  59. Give the wonderful The Day the Babies Crawled Away with a baby doll.
  60. Everyone needs Mo Willems’ book Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, maybe adding a toy bus.
  61. Pair classic A Bargain For Frances with a tea set.
Early Elementary
    Boy! Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs
  1. Pair a nonfiction book about dinosaurs, like Boy! Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs, with a bunch of plastic ones.
  2. Give Instructions with a book of classic fairy tales, and make time to read them together.
  3. Introduce a folktale with Maneki Neko: the Tale of the Beckoning Cat and giving lucky cat bank.
  4. Pair silly beginning reader book The Monster in the Backpack with a cute backpack (monster additional).
  5. Give beginning reader books Amazing Sharks! and National Geographic Readers: Sharks! and throw in a shark on a stick.
  6. Take to the ice with book choices Katie Kazoo, On Thin Ice and passes to the local ice-skating rink.
  7. Soccer Cats
  8. Give a title from the Soccer Cats series with a soccer ball.
  9. Pair Toys Go Out with a red bouncy ball, or a plush stingray or buffalo.
  10. Pair Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs with a kazoo.
  11. Give early chapter book series books Rainbow Fairies or Flower Fairies with lovely little fairies.
  12. Blooming fashionistas will appreciate Paper Fashions (Klutz) (all thirty-five Amazon reviews gave five stars!) along with Fashion Kitty.
  13. Combine sweet Jenny and the Cat Club with a red scarf (don’t worry if it’s too long — so is Jenny’s) and a black cat.
  1. Satisfy a sweet tooth with The Candymakers with a candy making kit.
  2. Pair Operation YES! with green army men.
  3. Be a hero and give Percy Jackson and the Olympians Boxed Set with Heroes, Gods, and Monsters of the Greek Myths.
  4. Pair fantasy book The Strange Case of the Origami Yoda with a Stars Wars 'Ask the Force' top.
  5. Give What the World Eats with a promise for an international dinner out or in.
  6. Pair Every Soul a Star with The Kids Book of the Night Sky and plan a date to look at the stars together.
  7. For business-minded kids, pair The Lemonade War with a coin counter bank.
  8. Expand the idea of giving with The One and Only Ivan with an adopt-an-animal program at your local zoo.
  9. All the elementary school kids will love The Invention of Hugo Cabret, but you can pair it with tin wind-up toys for extra flair.
  10. Give Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little with um, Stuart Little.
  11. Frankenstein
  12. You can’t go wrong with the funny poems and outstanding art in Frankenstein Takes the Cake along with a cake-baking session, followed by reading the book together. As a matter of fact, throw in Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich and make a whole day — and meal — of it.
  13. Speaking of the amazing Adam Rex, give the hilarious book The True Meaning of Smekday with a the related T-shirt Regarding Stickyfish Teams, I Favor the Bigfield Fighting Koobish.
  14. Give Kimchi & Calamari with a promise for a dinner out Korean style, or Italian style, or both.
  15. Wrap up A Crooked Kind of Perfect with excellent toe socks.
  16. Perhaps Fabulous Hair with a collection of hair accessories will make someone smile.
  17. Pair a diary-format book like My Explosive Diary (2nd/3rd grade), Amelia’s Notebook (4th/5th grade), or The Princess Diaries (6th/7th grade) with a journal and fun pens
.Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck
  • For a boy, how about the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul with the Do It Yourself Journal?
  • Have fun with Clarice Bean Spells Trouble and a game of Scrabble.
  • Pair Phineas MacGuire... Erupts! with a science kit, or the next book in the series, Phineas MacGuire... Gets Slimed! with the slime science kit.
  • Look to fantastic nonfiction, giving Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon with a homemade coupon for a visit to the Air and Space Museum (okay, this might only work around Washington, D.C.) or astronaut ice cream.
  • Give a drawing book like Draw 50 Aliens or Draw 50 Animals with a couple of nice sketch pads.
  • Pair a spy-themed book like Harriet the Spy (chapter book) or The Real Spy’s Guide to Becoming a Spy (nonfiction) with rear-view sunglasses and/or a fingerprint kit.
  • Bigger girls like stuffed animals, too. How about Hoot with an owl or The World According to Humphrey with a hamster?
  • Select a magic book and fun magic tricks.
  • Pair D.I.Y.: Kids with a gift card to a local craft store, and maybe some shopping and crafting time together.
  • Book of Animal Poetry
  • Match the book and the movie, like The Spiderwick Chronicles with the DVD.
  • Pair a theme book like Katie and the Mustang with a horse charm and a satin cord from a craft store.
  • Or maybe Fairy Realm with a charm bracelet.
  • Give the first books of The Series of Unfortunate Events with a brass telescope.
  • Pair The Art Book for Children with watercolor paints or an art set.
  • Give National Geographic's Book of Animal Poetry, Forget-Me-Nots: Poems to Learn by Heart or Poetry Speaks to Children with hot chocolate, a mug, and a gift certificate for time to read it together.
  • Teen
    1. Give the companion books Goth Girl Rising and The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl , and throw in How to Draw Comic Book Heroes and Villains.
    2. Pair a book that you and a teen can enjoy with a gift card to Starbucks and a promise to talk about the book over coffee. Some suggestions? Liar, Candor, or The Adoration of Jenna Fox have interesting issues.
    3. Beauty Queens
    4. Give Beauty Queens with a small makeup kit, and a healthy dose of irony.
    5. Rock out with Beige along with a mix CD of the songs in the chapter titles (or an iTunes gift card).
    6. Buy a tween Better Nate Than Ever along with tickets to a show.
    7. Pair House of Dance with ballroom dance lessons.
    8. Give delicious book A La Carte with personal cooking lessons.
    9. Match casino gambling themed Drop with a deck of cards and a family game of penny poker or blackjack.
    10. Pair King Dork with a CD of The Mr. T Experience.
    11. Treat a tween to Middle School is Worse Than Meatloaf along with pink nail polish, lipstick, post-it notes, and special bubble bath, as mentioned in the book.
    12. Pair
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    16. Cybils 2014

    The last couple of weeks, I've been doing much of my kidlitosphere work behind the scenes selecting the judges for this year's Cybils awards. I'm very excited to introduce the panels for Fiction Picture Books, and we're going to have a great time sorting through over two hundred expected nominations to bring you the best titles. Get in your nominations and make us work for it!

    I just wanted to say that if you weren't selected this year as a Cybils judge, don't take it personally. Please understand that the category chairs balance a lot of factors in putting together panels that can represent different perspectives and experience. Many times we were passing on former judges to let someone new have a chance. Other conversations had us we comparing how many librarians versus authors we had in a category. We might "give up" an experienced candidate to other category that needed more institutional knowledge. A blogger with tons of reviews might balance a less prolific blogger. An impassioned statement of why a candidate wanted to participate in the Cybils might trump their less passionate reviewing. Or not. In putting together panels we're looking for a mix of experience levels, different perspectives, blogging frequency, community participation, thoughtful reviewing, positive referrals, and application statements. Even the state where you live can become a tie-breaker.

    And all these factors don't even getting into the various preferences of the category chairs. For me, an enthusiastic statement on the application can be more compelling than in-depth reviews. The Young Adult category, on the other hand, may
    not choose a candidate that uses a lot of jacket-flap copy. Some of us look first to the "kidlit-related actives" part of the application, while others are noting the Twitter handle.

    So it's bit of luck, along with talent, as in many many thing. If I were to give any advice, I'd suggest to apply early in the process , use the two discussion questions to tell us about yourself, make sure you submit sample posts that are relevant and show off some level of book analysis. If you didn't make the Cybils judging this year, please try again. And certainly help us in choosing the best books by nominating your favorite titles.

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    17. Back to Basics

    This past Saturday I staffed my library's booth at the local fall festival. I have two takeaways from the experience. One, never to accept the booth location downwind from the barbecue. It's hot and you'll be soooo hungry. Two, children do not know nursery rhymes. Or kids songs. Or much about books.

    To encourage visitors to our booth, we had a trivia game to win a free book from our book sale donations. Given that we had brought a very very lot of books, we were very very disposed to the kids answering correctly. This turned out to be harder that expected.

    The five year old who didn't know the story of Little Red Riding Hood had a hard time picking out the wolf as the bad guy. A preschooler couldn't identify "wool" as the product that the black sheep might provide. I gave up on asking the color of Madeline's dress or even - most sadly for me - what the pigeon wanted to drive. (THE BUS!)

    The older kids were spotty in their knowledge, but I got better at sifting through my question choices to find easy ones. I thought the kids would know the author of Fudge and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. I thought teens would know the author of Twlight. These were the questions I thought were fairly easy - and were multiple choice, by the way - but instead revealed the Book Bubble that we occupy where everyone is a reader.

    I helped at this festival last year as well, finding the same thing, and it changed the way I do story times. I stopped looking for clever ways to incorporate fall leaves into "Old MacDonald" and started just singing "Old MacDonald." I went back to the basics with songs and rhymes. I brought in more classics that I hadn't been using because I figured everyone knew them already. Spoiler alert: they didn't.

    Another thing on the songs and rhymes. I've noticed a difference in the participation of the kids and parents from when I started doing this. Ten years ago I had more kids sing along a bit, and definitely more parents. Now the kids look at me blankly as if they've never heard "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and the parents are looking at the handout for the words.

    My fellow storytellers, I love all that is new and exciting in our book world, but it might be time to go back to the basics. What do you think?

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    18. Back to Work

    I didn't intend to take a summer-long blog break. It just sort of happened. Some part of it can be attributed to a big life change of sending my eldest to college. I will admit that I spent time sort of staring at her as if she were a great work of art. And really, it's not far from the truth. But my girls didn't dominate my attention in the way they did when they were children - negotiating playdates, refereeing squabbles, fixing snacks, and making endless trips to the pool. They were self-sufficient. The eldest with her job and college-bound friends. The younger with music/theater classes and play rehearsal. But I relished the time I could spend with them, even if it was simply sharing the same room.

    A bigger part of my blog absence is due to working at the library among children's books, which seems counter to expectation. But this was the busiest summer for me that I can remember. Mostly because we were continually understaffed and my work shifts were intense. When I wasn't answering endless questions at the information desk, I was shelving yet another influx of the new returns and replenishing the displays that I had just filled that morning. I'd leave the day tired and literally sweating.

    While it was exhausting, I was happy to see so many library patrons and summer reading participants. I was excited to help kids find books they wanted, and I loved the attention from kindergarteners who stared at me wide-eyed before shouting, "You came to my school!" I was a minor celebrity in this little world of books.

    But sometimes it could be draining, with a fair number of the summer crowd who were starting from scratch in the library. Now they wanted to know what their kids should read. But when I asked what they had been reading or liked to read, I got blank stares. Many of the parents - a diverse selection - had absolutely no idea. Occasionally I'd hit on a series like Magic Tree House or Harry Potter that helped me make a suggestion. When able, I'd turn to the child and could always find something suitable.

    I was glad that they were using the library. I loved finding the books that they liked. But the interactions left a lingering discomfort of the parental role in reading. And these were the ones who came to the library and asked for help. Has recreational reading been completely outsourced to school and the teachers?

    Knowing that these parents, the ones who cared enough to come to library, didn't know about books or what their child might be reading made it hard to write about books. Maybe, I wondered, no one really cares. The parents don't want to leaf through suggestions. They want lists, preferably by grade and/or Lexile score. They aren't interested in which books transcend the genre. They want to know the DRA level. They often didn't want to know what was good, just what was here - on the shelf.

    So much of my summer was bittersweet. Spending time with my girls who are growing up and moving on. Spending time among my favorite books, knowing that the specifics of quality that I invest myself in finding is probably less important to most parents that what book has the right Lexile score or happens to be handy.

    How does that change what I'm doing? I don't know. If my revelations and soul-searching was bittersweet, well, I tend to focus on the sweet. So I'll do that

    Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

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    19. 48 Hour Book Challenge: Prizes and Heroes

    Like many causes of equality, the issue of diversity in children's literature is nothing new, though I am hopeful that the rising voices across multiple platforms can affect change. But it's also a great time to acknowledge some of the heroes of the cause along the way... or at least those that somehow are connected to the 48 Hour Book Challenge.

    Thank you to Reading is Fundamental, who will contribute their Multicultural STEAM Book Collections sponsored by Macy's to be donated by winner to a school or other child serving organization where they will be used. These wonderful collections have been part of the RIF initiative for a while, bringing diverse books to kids who need them. I will award one collection to a random selected winner from all 48 Hour Book Challenge finishers who complete twelve hours or more during the weekend. Thanks again to RIF for their support.

    Thank you to A Year of Reading who made me teary-eyed with this:
    In honor of all of the reading Pam has inspired over the years with her blog and with 48HBC, and especially because of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks focus this year, we are making a donation in her honor to First Book, a non-profit organization that provides access to new books for children in need.
    I am not only touched by the gesture of Franki and Mary Lee, but am so excited that they would donate to another hero of the cause, as First Book stepped up with a commitment to purchase 10,000 copies of diverse books it selects to distribute. And that's just another step for an organization already devoted to the cause of Stories for All.

    Another note of appreciation goes to Lee & Low Books, who've continued to send me review copies even as I've been less than great about getting reviews published. But for me, they've exposed me to a world of titles that I've been able to ask my public library to acquire. For you, they've now contributed a collection of books that I'll be giving out as prizes to 48 Hour Book Challenge winners. I'd also like to thank them for just being there, publishing books that are so very needed. I suspect it is not the most profitable business model that could be conceived in an industry that always seems to be chasing the next Harry Potter or Wimpy Kid or Twilight series, but it's honorable and admirable. Thank you Lee & Low Books, for being a leader in diversity.

    Thanks go out to my KidLitosphere buddies who have been promoting the 48HBC through blogs, tweets, and listservs so that we can have a weekend reading and sharing titles for all kids. Thanks to #WeNeedDiverseBooks as a movement and website, which invigorated me to take my weekend off work and give it back to books.

    An official 48 Hour Book Challenge sign-in goes up tomorrow morning, but I'd love to see your comments or book lists on the original post or here. Thanks!

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    20. Ninth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge: Starting Line

    Okay, it’s go time, people. Make ready the snacks, caffeine, and good books. Oh, and here are the guidelines and FAQ's, in case you need a refresher.

    When you start your 48 hours, sign in with Mr. Linky below. (I know, going old school here.) Keep track of your time — which includes reading, blogging, and connecting (for every five hours reading/reviewing you can take one hour of blog reading, tweeting, and general bookish socializing). To keep the Starting Line post at the top of my blog, I won’t publish my personal posts until sometime Saturday morning.

    On Sunday, I’ll have a Finish Line post where you can leave the link to your final summary, which should include the amount of time spent on the challenge. Rounding to the quarter hour will do just fine. Winners, prizes and such will be announced on Monday afternoonish.

    Have fun, read well, and read diversely.

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    21. Halfway Through 48HBC Update

    If you're going to host a reading marathon thing, maybe don't make it around your daughter's senior prom. Because while you might think that after she heads out the door - a sparkling princess in a gabbing group of giggly girls - you'll have the evening to relax and read as you wait for her post-midnight pick-up call, you won't. Well, there will be the time to read, if you can avoid the pictures already coming up online and if you don't drift off mid-paragraph wondering if they'll play her jam.

    So while I put in five hours of reading time on Friday evening, with two middle-grade titles completed it was not my speediest reading. Reviews come later, but I'll mention the titles, Zane and the Hurricane and The Garden of My Imaan, and that I enjoyed them both.

    This morning I woke up and found myself analyzing Facebook pictures with the Teen and her best friend, as we talked about the current style of prom dresses, who is really dating as opposed to who needed a date, and which couples are just the nicest people.

    I can really only claim another five hours so far today, with another two books down and a little writing to show for it. (Did I mention that new pictures from my senior Girl Scouts are coming out all day? It's very distracting.) While The Servant by Fatima Sharafeddine left me a little cold, I was surprised by the depth and insight of The Counterfeit Family Tree of Vee Crawford-Wong, by L. Tam Holland. I'd expected the first title to have a literary feel, and it read rather dry. Interesting, but the third person point of view through me off. The cover of Holland's book led me to think I was in for fun, and while there was humor, there was a lot more hurt and heart within. Honestly this afternoon, I would have preferred something light and fluffy, but I can't be annoyed at a book for being too good.

    I did break in the middle of today's reading to run up to my library, where one of my books I had earmarked for this weekend had come in from a hold, and because after reading Zane and the Hurricane I had a craving to revisit Ninth Ward. So after a bit of writing and dinner, that book is up next along with the library book I retrieved, The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond, by Brenda Woods. I also have some fantasy on deck.

    I'm holding off on posting my reviews so I don't crowd out the official 48 Hour Book Challenge posts. Oh, and if you are just tuning in, you are welcome to play along. At this point there isn't the whole weekend to work with, but enough to carve out at least the twelve hours that officially counts you as a participant. Sign-up at the 48HBC Starting Line and get reading!

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    22. Ninth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge: Finish Line

    You made it! Yay you!

    When you finish your 48 hours, sign in with Mr. Linky below with the link to your final summary, which should include the number and/or titles of books read and the amount of time spent on the challenge. Rounding to the quarter hour will do just fine. Given different starting times over the weekend and time zones, the absolute end is set at Monday, June 9th, at 7:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time and all final summary posts should be up by then. Winners, prizes and such will be announced on Monday afternoonish.

    Thanks to everyone who participated, supported, and promoted the 48 Hour Book Challenge!

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    23. Another #48 Hour Book Challenge Update

    Got in five solid hours of reading and blog reading/responding last night with two books, both of which broke my heart a little. The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond, by Brenda Woods reminded me of my niece, as she is biracial raised in a white family. At seven, I haven't heard her express the concerns or thoughts of Violet Diamond, but I've always thought I was prepared to address them. Reading this book, I'm not as ready as I believed myself to be. It was just so open about things, it took me off guard. But in a good way. Really enjoyed it.

    After reading Zane and the Hurricane, I felt like going back to read Ninth Ward, by Jewell Parker Rhodes. It was a good decision, because it filled the lyrical and emotional gap I found wanting in the first book. That said, Zane's story is a better account of what happened in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. A good pairing should be enough, but I realized that I had Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere in my small ARC pile, so we're going for three Katrina books in one weekend. I'd watch Beasts of the Southern Wild again to complete the experience, but I don't need to cry on my birthday.

    Yup, it's my birthday. One of the reasons I started doing 48 Hour Book Challenge around this time of year to spend my birthday reading. Not a bad plan, right? I've started with a light title this morning, Tua and the Elephant, and now it's time for some YA.

    Wondering if you could still join us even now? Sure, why not? From where I sit you could do a block from now through the early morning and get your twelve hours in on time. Nothing like last minute Sunday plans. Here's where to start.

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    24. Ninth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge: Winners!

    What a weekend! With all the reading and reviewing done over the last couple of days, I feel like we're all winners. Am I right? But there were some noteworthy 48HBC achievements to be recognized and to prizes to award, so let's get started!

    With 38 hours and 34 books read, the Champion of the Challenge is one Ms. Yingling! She wins the opportunity to donate a set of forty multicultural titles to a school or library of her choice through the generosity of Reading is Fundamental. Since she was a big prize donor of books and is so reluctant to receive back, she'll be getting a surprise prize package from yours truly. Both congratulations and thanks go out to her!

    Coming in at 35.5 hours and 13 books read and reviewed is The One and Only Marfalfa. Beth at Library Chicken gives up 32 hours and reviews eight books for the challenge, and close behind with 30 hours of reading and reviewing is Alex at Randomly Reading. They will all be receiving an audiobook from Robin Brande and a collection of books contributed by Ms. Yingling!

    And now for some prizes selected at random, just for playing:

    The winner of five multicultural picture and chapter books from MotherReader is:
    Sprout's Bookshelf!

    The winner of a set of four diverse young adult books from Kelly at Stacked is:
    A Random Hodge Podge of Bookishness!

    And the winner of the second RIF multicultural book collection, along with an author signed Cupcake Cousins and tote bag designed by Tiffany Gholar, is:
    Library Mama!

    We had eighteen members of the 20 Hour Club:

    Always in the Middle - 25.25 hours
    As Inclination Leads Me - 21.5 hours
    Book Challenge Blog - 20.5 hours
    By Singing Light - 20 hours
    Charlotte's Library - 20.25 hours
    Confessions of a Bibliovore - 25 hours
    Library Chicken - 32 hours
    Love Notes to the Future - 24.5 hours
    More like Flowers - 20 hours
    MotherReader - 22 hours
    Ms. Yingling Reads - 38 hours
    No Boys Allowed - 24.5 hours
    The One and Only Marfalfa - 35.5 hours
    Quietly 20 hours
    Randomly Reading - 30 hours
    ReadSpace - 21.75 hours
    The Sphere Also Gazes Into You - 25 hours
    Technically a School Media Specialist - 20 hours

    Thanks to all for being part of the 48 Hour Book Challenge!

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    25. Booktalking Season

    Last year I was so organized that I shared my booktalks online, while this year I've been lucky if they are mentally rehearsed before I go into the school. I've had a lot on my mind.

    But whether or not I have a graduating senior or need to plan the Girl Scout bridging ceremony for over a hundred girls, our booktalking season is upon us. Quite late this year as our kids are still in school. In fact, that senior doesn't even get to do the graduating part until June 23rd. Crazy, right? It's especially frustrating as other high schools were done yesterday, but we all have to take our turn with the local university facilities and we are last. It's ridiculous.

    So far I've gone into two elementary schools to talk about the summer reading program and booktalk some titles, and it's gone well. I had a great partner both times, which really helps. We have different kinds of books, and we can take turns with the introductions and the talking. I'm not thrilled to be heading out tomorrow alone for a four hour stretch with no breaks and seven class sessions. Is that how other public libraries do it, I wonder?

    Later I'll share some of the books I talked about this year. My "hooks" weren't as good as usual, but there were definitely some titles that caught their attention. It was great luck being able to pitch a soccer book - Keeper, by Mal Peet - during the World Cup games. Lots of interest there!

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