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...have been announced.
The prize for Best Story went to Katherine Rundell's Rooftoppers, and the prize for Best Book with Facts (I find that category name both bizarre and awesome) went to Tony Robinson's Weird World of Wonders: World War II.
Click on through for more info as well as for a list of the other shortlisted titles.
PLA 2014 attendees: join youth librarians and ALSC members for an informal happy hour and networking event on Wednesday, March 12, 6-8pm at Scotty’s Brewhouse on Virginia Avenue. This is a great opportunity to talk youth services, make new connections, and enjoy the company of colleagues. Participate in a giveaway for an ALSC gift bag! Cash bar, food will be available for purchase.
ALSC Networking and Happy Hour @ PLA 2014 Conference
Wednesday, March 12 @ 6-8pm
1 Virginia Ave., Indianapolis, IN
Get directions from the Indiana Convention Center
Blog: Kid Lit Reviews
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Churchill’s Tale of Tails
by Anca Sandu
Peachtree Publishers* March 1, 2014
Age 4 – 8 32 pages
“When Churchill the pig loses his precious tail, his friends help him hunt for a new one. But trying on new tails is so much fun that soon Churchill has forgotten his friends completely. Can Churchill solve the mystery of his missing tail? But more importantly, can he learn to put friendships first?”
“Churchill valued many things in life: smelling beautiful flowers, painting self-portraits, playing classical music, and reading good books.”
Churchill is a proud pig. Nothing unusual about that, as he is a pig and pigs are a proud animal. He loves spending time with his friends Billy and Gruff. Of all the things Churchill loved to do, the things he possessed, or the friends he had, there was one most important thing to Churchill: his small, curly, tail. That tail made Churchill feel great. Then one morning, Churchill woke up to find his precious tail was gone. He searched everywhere but came up empty. Churchill was miserable without his tail. Billy and Gruff came up with a bright idea. They called Zebra, who arrived with a spare tail for Churchill.
Churchill did not think the zebra tail felt right ad decided to try other tails. Churchill’s tail made him feel proud. He lost the feeling when he lost his tail. Maybe Peacock would have a tail that would make him proud once more. The large beautiful peacock tail made Churchill feel beautiful. He decided to try on other tails.
He tried Fish’s tail and could swim. Each tail, from Mouse’s tiny tail to Elephant’s big tail allowed Churchill to do something he could not do with his own tail. Soon, Churchill was so busy trying on tails he forgot about his friends. He just did not have time for them anymore.
I love the play on words in the title, Churchill’s Tale of Tails. Churchill is a happy pig when he had his tail. He did all sorts of things and had time for tea with his friends. When he wakes up missing his tail, he is frantic. Churchill’s good friends try to help him but Churchill becomes so carried away trying on tails he forgets all about his friends and the other things he loved to do. Churchill goes from being a proud pig to a selfish, self-centered pig. It is easy to fall into such a pattern, especially when trying out something new or trying to fix something important, like your missing tail. But Churchill may lose his friends if he does not wake up.
I love the illustrations and all the little details Ms. Sandu included. Churchill wearing a peacock tail is great. All those feathers nearly smother Churchill. Churchill felt strong and brave wearing the tiger tail. One of the best scenes is Churchill behind a dressing divider, with dozens of different tails to try on. How many tails can you recognize? A little fun for kids to do. Ms. Sandu used Adobe’s Illustrator software and added hand-drawn textures and shading. This works well, giving the illustrations a soft, pastel look.
In the end, it is best for Churchill to wear his own tail, if only he can find it. Maybe then, he will remember he has friends and spend time with them. When Churchill finds his tail, he learns a valuable lesson and makes a new friend. He also discovers that his important, proud tail does not mean the same to others. The animal that found Churchill’s tail but, not knowing what it was, he came up with several things it could, then decided against them. In the end, the animal decides Churchill’s tail is useless.
I think young kids will enjoy Churchill’s Tale of Tails. The various tails will keep them entertained as Churchill tries to find the right fit. Kids will love the way Churchill acts with each new tail. The story stresses the importance of friendship and self-identity. Churchill finally gets his tail back, remembers his old friends, and the other things he enjoyed. He needs to ask his friends to forgive him for his selfish behavior. I like that Churchill takes his new collection of tails and uses them to help his new friend. Turns out, tails can be something other than a tail.
Learn more about Churchill’s Tale of Tails HERE!
Get your copy of Churchill’s Tale of Tails at Amazon—B&N—Peachtree—your local bookstore.
Also available at Waterstones
Find out more about author/illustrator Anca Sandu: website blog facebook twitter
Get more great books at Peachtree Publishers: website blog facebook twitter
*Churchill’s Tale of Tails was originally published in Great Britain in 2012 by Jonathan Cape, an imprint of Random House Children’s Publisher, UK.
CHURCHILL’S TALE OF TAILS. Text and Illustrations copyright © 2012 by Anca Sandu. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Peachtree Publishers, Atlanta, GA.
PEACHTREE BOOK BLOG TOUR
Churchill’s Tale of Tails
Check out all the participants!
Sally’s Bookshelf www.sallysbookshelf.blogspot.com
It’s About Time http://itsabouttimemamaw.blogspot.com/
Reading to Know. www.readingtoknow.com
A Word’s Worth. www.awordsworth.blogspot.com
Tolivers to Texas www.ToliversToTexas.com
Kid Lit Reviews. www.kid-lit-reviews.com
Geo Librarian http://geolibrarian.blogspot.com/
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I am excited to see my kindergarten class today and introduce them to a woman I truly admire: Jane Goodall. I will read aloud the wonderful picture book Me, Jane by Patrick McDonnell, but first I want to tell them a bit about Jane's life. I will share this video from the Jane Goodall Institute to introduce students to her life work:
Jane Goodall: Showing Us the Way to a Better World from the Jane Goodall Institute on Vimeo.
We will then read aloud Me, Jane by Patrick McDonnell and talk about how you can see her interest in animals when she was a young child.
by Patrick McDonnell
Little, Brown, 2011
2012 Caldecott Honor Award
your local library
Little Jane carries her stuffed chimpanzee Jubilee around with her everywhere - reading stories, exploring outside, climbing trees.
Right from the beginning, children can relate to having a favorite stuffed animal. Jane loves exploring the outdoors - and so she spends most of her time either watching animals and plants outside or writing in her journal about facts she's discovered. Children can easily imagine keeping a journal with questions and observations about the animals around them.
Is there a scientist you look forward to telling students about during Women's History Month?
The review copy came from our school library collection. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.
©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books
Mary Fahl shares how audio production can go beyond the narrator behind a mic, by enhancing the experience with an original musical setting, on Random House Audio’s The Wolves of Midwinter. On the American Songwriter blog, Fahl explains that it all started when the singer-songwriter, and long-time Rice fan, gave a copy of her album Love & Gravity to the novelist before it was released. Fahl was flattered to receive a galley copy of Rice’s newest work in return, via her publicist - it was the
The Wolves of Midwinter with an inscription that read “For Mary Fahl of the supernatural voice…” “Give this to Mary”, Anne said, “Tell her she’s in the book.” Some discussion followed and it was decided that it would be a great idea for me to write a song for the audiobook version of the novel.
In Fahl’s blog post, she shares exactly how she met this challenge:
Random House needed the recording in less than two weeks, and with my already packed schedule, I was left with a little more than 6 days to write, arrange, record, mix and master the song. I hadn’t even read the book yet. As you might imagine, nausea ensued, but I had already committed to the project, and not being one to back out of a promise, I plunged in.
Audiobooks can be magical when the publishers provide a soundscape that enhances and extends the author’s text. Whether it’s the inspired casting of the perfect narrator, or the care involved in crafting a soundscape that includes music or sound effects, listeners know that production preparation = audiobook awesomeness.
Give a listen to Fahl’s theme song below, and read the whole blog post here: http://www.americansongwriter.com/2014/02/songwriter-u-guest-blog-mary-fahl-approached-anne-rice-write-theme-song-exiles-wolves-midwinter-new-audiobook/
ARE THE HUNGRIEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD!!!!
Sorry. But if it’s going to be caught in my head all day then I may as well share the love.
What has inspired today’s bout of cannibalism? A conversation at work, as it happens. Is it just me, or is there a whole lot more people eating in books for youth these days? Time was you could go through the stacks and not find a single title that referred to the devouring of human flesh without it having to do with animals, vampires, or zombies. These days it feels like you can’t get away from it.
Here then is a list that I can’t imagine you’ll have much use for. Still, in case you’re looking to do some interesting curricular tie-ins, consider the following examples of that strangest of diets:
The Secret of Ferrell Savage by J. Duddy Gill
This was my first clue that 2014 was shaping up to be more interesting than expected. First off, it wins points for its cover. As for the plot, it concerns a boy who has a crush on a girl. Nothing noteworthy there, until you discover that the boy’s ancestor sort of went off and ate the ancestor of said girl. Now he’s afraid someone will discover the family secret.
The Savages by Matt Whyman
This one isn’t quite sure what to call itself. On the one hand it seems to have a middle grade cover. On the other, it has a YA sensibility. Ultimately this one really isn’t for kids as much as it is teens. Like a contemporary Addams Family except that this follows a clan with a taste for people. Near as I can figure, this is the book to hand to the kid who really dug The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs. Hand it over then back away slowly . . .
Donner Dinner Party by Nathan Hale
A little nonfiction never hurt anybody. And this book, in spite of what we know about the story, is much more than just a bit of gnawing on bones. I still consider this the #1 best unknown series for kids out there. Read this then wait in anticipation with me for the next installment involving WWI!
The Lunatic’s Curse by F.E. Higgins
Like Nathan Hale’s book, this one came out a while ago. Though I was a big fan of the other books in this series, this is not Higgins’ best. The cannibalistic turn throws it over from mere penny dreadful to merely dreadful. Still, there are glimpses of brilliance, and I can honestly say that four years after I read it, I can remember parts of it vividly.
The Compound by S.A. Bodeen
This one’s YA so I didn’t read it myself, but when I was discussing this topic with some co-workers, mention was made of this book. The cannibalism appears to only serve as a threat, but I’m including it because as threats go it’s a pretty convincing one.
Anything I’ve forgotten? I feel like there may even be yet another 2014 title that touches on this subject area
Finally, should the title of this blog post be driving you slightly insane, you can exchange one cannibalistic ballad for another, if you simply listen to that old (and really not very p.c. but darn tongue-in-cheek) Flanders & Swann song The Reluctant Cannibal.
You may have come to expect a full science program from my monthly posts here on the ALSC Blog. Today I’m going to share something a bit different, because my overall goal is to share STEAM programs–and science is just one facet of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math). I want to focus today on a recent school-age STEAM program we did at my library: Marshmallow Towers. It combined engineering and the creative aspects of arts and crafts. Here’s what we did:
Photo by Amy Koester.
The Opener: Talking about building. What sorts of things do architects and construction workers have to take into account when they think about building? We talked about design and knowing the materials you’re working with. I also made available lots of the library’s non-fiction titles that give a sneak peak into buildings and construction. Heavily illustrated books like those from David Macaulay and DK Eyewitness were attendees’ favorites, and many of the kids grabbed a book to take with them to the construction tables as inspiration.
The Challenge: Build marshmallow towers using mini marshmallows and toothpicks. Or, if the idea of a tower wasn’t sufficiently inspiring, kids could build whatever they wanted. In addition to mini marshmallows and toothpicks, I also made available paper and writing utensils in case kids wanted to sketch or plan their towers before building.
Photo by Amy Koester.
The Process: The bulk of the program was spent with children at tables building, and I spent my time moving from table to table and talking to the kids as they worked. These conversations are the prime opportunity to make any program’s STEAM connections explicit. All of the kids who were building were doing engineering, but they might not think of it that way without a bit of prompting. I like to point out how engineering is all about figuring out how to build something to the specifications you want. It’s about creative problem-solving, and building with marshmallows certainly offers instances of problem-solving.
When kids were occasionally struggling with their towers, I tried to make connections back to our non-fiction inspiration texts. “Structure falling down? Maybe it’s time to consider the types of shapes you’re making. Let’s look at some of these pictures of bridges. What shapes do you see in the construction of the bridge? How could you use those shapes in your building?” I like to set an example that, when we have a problem or question, we can usually turn to a book to find some possible answers.
Photo by Amy Koester.
The Result: First and foremost, the children who participated in this program had fun. They said they really liked getting to “play” with a food like marshmallows.
Beyond just the element of fun, however, kids got to truly engage in this program. They got to exercise creativity–envision a tower–as well as building and problem-solving–figuring out how to produce a desired result, making modifications as obstacles arose. That’s engaging the whole brain and demonstrating that neither engineering nor art are mutually exclusive. I think it’s very important for children (and their caregivers in the program with them) to experience the fact that all the STEAM areas are connected, and they are all interesting and enjoyable.
I have observed that there are far too many kids who come out of school and extracurricular activities thinking that they “aren’t good at art” or “aren’t good at science/math/etc.” all because of a standalone assignment or activity. In the real world, it’s all intertwined. And if kids get to experience that interconnectedness first hand, they’ll be more empowered to realize their own potential. They’ll also be able to engage in all the interesting things the world has to offer them, better understanding the world and thus enjoying it more deeply. If the library can facilitate some of those experiences? Well, that’s even better.
...have been announced.
The Older Readers' Prize went to Claire McFall, for Ferryman.
Which I know absolutely nothing about, but judging by the title, I'm going to take a stab in the dark and just assume that it's got something to do with THE AFTERLIFE.
Anyway, click on through for the other category winners!
A 6th grade girl entered the library with a look of trepidation. She needed a book for her independent reading time but was convinced there was nothing for her in our collection. As we talked she expressed the frustration of searching for books in the Young Adult collection of the local public library. She told me how nothing in that collection was right for her. Fortunately the Prairie Creek Intermediate School library is built around the needs and interests of the 800+ 5th and 6th grade students who attend our school. Of course we have YA titles on the shelves but we also have a large collection of materials intended especially for this unique audience.
Drawing distinctions between YA and middle grade literature is an important topic for librarians serving the upper range of the ALSC scope of attention (birth to age 14). In a two part posting we’ll dig into the attributes of middle grade literature, the needs of these readers, and how to best serve them as a distinct group between early childhood and young adult. There has been much in the news about the tendency of mass media and the general public to refer to all children’s literature as Young Adult. A few background readings for our discussion:
Jeanne Birdsall writes in the Horn Book about her own youth reading habits in Middle Grade Saved My Life. She also comments on the trends in publishing for this age:
The immense success of young adult books, written for teens and known to everyone as YA, has been overshadowing the quieter middle grade category and, in some cases, threatening to subsume it.
Anne Ursu has been writing about the capacities of middle graders to handle serious stories told exclusively for them (sometimes more quietly). She has described this age as often being overlooked and under appreciated by the general public, reviewers, and sometimes their own parents. How are children’s librarians doing in this regard?
I had the opportunity to share 5 questions with Anne on the IRA blog. Anne will be joining me for part 2 of this post, to be published in April. What questions do you have for Anne about writing for the middle grade audience? How do you provide great service and resources to middle grade patrons? What are the major barriers to serving middle graders in your library? How can we get more people to see middle grade this year? I look forward to hearing from you.
Speaking of great middle grade books – take a moment to download the Tween Recommended Reads list from the ALSC School Age Programs and Services Committee.
Even though I wasn't writing here last month, I was still reading—albeit less than usual. (DAMN YOU, GNOMORIA.)
And one of the books that I read was Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman's Why We Broke Up.
So here is my question to you all: WHY DIDN'T SOMEONE SIT ME DOWN AND MAKE ME READ IT SOONER?
Because, HO. LY. COW.
I loved it.
I loved it so much that immediately after finishing it, I jumped online and ordered a copy for myself. In hardback.
As you probably already know, the book itself is about the rise and fall of Min Green and Ed Slaterton's relationship. The entire thing is an epic letter that Min, film buff extraordinaire, writes to Ed, basketball star, after their break-up. Her plan is to toss it into the box that holds all of the objects she has that are related to him, and then to chuck it onto his porch, drive away, and BE DONE WITH HIM FOREVER. Daniel Handler wrote the text, and Maira Kalman painted pictures of each object that is included in the box, and again, I loved this book so much that I can't even.
Min's voice. Her love of old movies comes screaming through in her voice, both in her dialogue and in her writing. She's super-bright, a bit pretentious (and she knows it), she's funny and she's hurting and she's over Ed completely except when she's not. And her RHYTHM. The rhythm, the way that Handler strings the words together... it's just phenomenal, in how they feel totally RIGHT, and how the book just BEGS to be read aloud. (Ask Josh, he'll tell you. I read, like, three-quarters of it aloud to him because I JUST COULDN'T STOP MYSELF.)
Like this bit, about the first note that Ed wrote to her:
And this note was a jittery bomb, ticking beneath my normal life, in my pocket fiercely reread, in my purse all week until I was afraid it would get crushed or snooped, in my drawer between two dull books to escape my mother and then in the box and now thunked back to you. A note, who writes a note like that? Who were you to write one to me? It boomed inside me the whole time, an explosion over and over, the joy of what you wrote to me jumpy shrapnel in my bloodstream. I can't have it near me anymore, I'm grenading it back to you, as soon as I unfold it and read it and cry one more time. Because me too, and fuck you. Even now.
And wow, don't get me started about the section where she describes the endlessness of a school day. Because, even though it's been almost twenty years since I experienced one, those three pages BROUGHT IT ALL RIGHT BACK. Beautifully done.
The friendships. I loved that it was so clear that Al was in love with Min from his very first appearance, but that their romantic arc was only touched on, because as much as I wanted more Al—he was wonderfully well-rounded, in that as much as it was clear that he'd be a better match for Min than Ed, he had plenty of flaws, too—this was Min and Ed's story. And the dynamics between Min and Ed's friends, those between Ed and Min's friends, those between Min and Ed's ex-girlfriends, between Min and Ed's sister, between Ed and Al, within Min's group of friends and within Ed's group of friends... all so fabulously done.
The characters. As I said, Al was wonderfully three-dimensional. And so was everyone else. Ed wasn't just a stereotypical Jerk Jock. That was certainly one of his faces. But he was also good at math, had a close relationship with his sister, was capable of being thoughtful, and, at times, hugely charming. Min is just as flawed as anyone else: some of those flaws are acknowledged by her, and some of them of them are just apparent from her chronicle. She and Ed play off of each other really well, and it's clear from the start why they are attracted to one another. (Beyond physically, I mean.)
The design. THE THICK, GLOSSY PAPER. THE COLOR ILLUSTRATIONS. THE HEFT OF IT. I swoon.
I just loved it. So much so that I read it, like, a month ago, and I'm still having a hard time letting it migrate out of my Currently Reading pile and onto my shelf.
Book source: ILLed through my library.
I have been blessed with the ability to make bad puns, and when you have such a gift, it should be shared. My bad Greek god and goddess puns have proved popular, and so today I offer bad Norse god and goddess puns. This is quite challenging, much harder than with the Greeks, but I've bravely done my best, although I realize, after having posted this, that I don't actually have any good ones for any of the goddesses. Sorry.
Scroll over the blanks to see the answers...
There's the obvious:
Which Norse god had less hair than you? Baldur.
Which Norse god shows up on a crying baby's face? Tyr.
And of course one can do unraveling puns with Frey and Freya.
But here are the two that I'm actually rather pleased with:
Why is the Norse god of thunder the best hitchhiker of all? Because nothing sticks out like a Thor thumb.
Which Norse god is the most relaxed? Loki (Low Key).
I do not, however, think I will ever get a good, quality, pun for Odin.
Join us by sharing a slice of your life today!
Recommended for ages 12 and up.A Death-Struck Year
is an excellent historical novel for teens from debut author Makiia Lucier
about the 1918 flu epidemic, which continues to fascinate and frighten into the 21st century. As the novel opens, we meet Cleo, a 17-year old orphan who's being raised by her older brother and his wife. She's a student at a ritzy girls' boarding school in Portland when the flu epidemic begins in the United States, but despite the dire news reports about the epidemic striking East Coast cities, she feels safe enough 3000 miles away in Portland.
But when a train filled with soldiers coming home from "The Great War" brings the epidemic to the West Coast, the influenza quickly spreads and Cleo's school is shut down, with girls that have no family at home quarantined at the school. Telling no one that her brother and his wife are out of town, Cleo escapes to her own home, where she lives alone--just for a few days, she thinks, until their housekeeper returns from a trip out of town. But when the epidemic strikes in force, Cleo decides to volunteer with the Red Cross, putting herself in harms' way but feeling a strong pull to help out in some way. This being a YA novel, she meets a handsome young medical student with whom she falls in love. The Red Cross volunteers are not immune to the flu epidemic, despite wearing masks (which did little if nothing to protect them). What will happen to Cleo and her new brave friends?
This is a well-researched and compelling historical novel that will appeal to teens 13 and up. It paints a realistic view of the tragedy of the 1918 flu, which struck particularly hard at healthy young people, as well as children and the elderly. The author does not try to spare the reader's feelings, and be prepared with some tissues to deal with the many tragedies described. Highly recommended, particularly for those teen readers looking beyond the plethora of paranormal and dystopian novels that have been flooding the YA market in the last few years.
A historical note provides further background about the flu epidemic, particularly in the Pacific Northwest.
By: Guest Contributor,
Blog: ALSC Blog
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I love being a children’s librarian. But, I also have a secret love of numbers. Luckily for me, I am the chair of the ALSC budget committee where we have the thrill of looking at spreadsheets, puzzling out numbers and analyzing trends with ALSC’s Executive Director, Aimee Strittmatter. My committee also has the honor of overseeing the Children’s Library Service Endowment, which provides funding of approximately $1500 annually for ALSC committee projects. We make dreams come true, okay maybe not dreams, but we make good ideas a reality.
The Children’s Library Service Endowment fund (CLSE) started in 1982 and was formerly known as the Helen Knight Memorial Fund. The proceeds of this fund support long and short-range projects and programs of ALSC. The endowment is designed to support committees that have ideas for special projects not covered by the operating budget. Through the years it is has been the financial engine behind the “Seal” created by the Great Interactive Software for Kids Committee, School-Age Programs and Service Committee’s PDF booklist “Great Elementary Reads”. The endowment also financially supported the Great Web Sites Committee in the redesign of the website and in 2013, CLSE funded the Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee webinar speaker and provided free access for ALSC members.
If you are part of an ALSC Committee please consider using CLSE funding to make your idea a reality. The Special Funds Application (also known as Form M) is located in The Division Leadership Manual and on ALA Connect in the ALSC Budget Committee Files and is easy to complete. Remember that projects must align with ALSC’s strategic plan. If you have any questions along the way please contact Diane Foote, ALSC Fiscal Officer firstname.lastname@example.org or myself, Paula Holmes, ALSC Budget Chair email@example.com. Deadline for Applications is April 15, 2014 with notification of funding approval after Annual 2014. Monies must be spent prior to August 31,2015.
Paula Holmes chairs the Budget Committee for ALSC. She is the past chair of the Library Service to Special Population Children and their Caregivers, serves as a member of the United for Libraries Awards Committee, another division of ALA and serves on the Upper St. Clair Township Library Board. Outside her board responsibilities she runs a book group at the USC library. Before entering the world of Library Land, Paula was a retail buyer for a major, no longer existing, department store chain. Her husband Neal, sons Thomas and Sean have benefited from her keen fashion sense, even if they don’t know it. She is secretly proud of her LEGO trophy she won in Denmark at LEGO headquarters.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow her on twitter @qsprite.
By: Terry Doherty,
So excited to see the #MCAseal on Carrie Goldman blog with this gr8 list of #adoption resources http://buff.ly/NU9lYa Top Adoption Books and Resources: A Not-To-Be-Missed List of Recommendations
from Google+ RSS http://ift.tt/1dsX9r7
Afternoon of the Elves. Janet Taylor Lisle. 1989. Scholastic. 128 pages. [Source: Review copy]
I enjoyed reading Afternoon of the Elves. At its heart, the novel is simply about an unlikely friendship, and how that friendship impacts the two girls. Sara-Kate is the oldest of the girls. She does not have any friends at school. She is not exactly invisible, but, her real self is not seen by anyone. If Sara-Kate were successfully invisible at school, perhaps the girls would not go to so much trouble to talk about her all the time, to tell of scandalous doings, to share every rumor, perhaps to invent every rumor. They are noticing Sara-Kate for all the wrong reasons: she doesn't look like me, she doesn't dress like me, she doesn't act like me, she doesn't talk like me. Hillary, the youngest girl, is Sara-Kate's neighbor. Sara-Kate has NEVER to anyone's knowledge invited another girl to play with her. But she does invite Hillary into her backyard. She shows her an elf-village. Hillary isn't exactly sure that elves are real, that they do in fact live in a village in her neighbor's backyard. But the "proof" of such a village does exist. And together these two girls meet almost daily through the fall. They keep it to the yard. They keep the subjects limited. No probing questions on subjects Sara-Kate would rather avoid. But. Hillary, eventually, comes to realize that some of the rumors she thought were mere lies had some basis in truth.
The book is interesting. Sara-Kate is mysterious: veiling her darkest truths but at the same time showing glimpses here and there that do hint at her desperate need to be seen and loved and helped. Hillary is observant enough to know that Sara-Kate likes to have control, that she hates to be vulnerable. She comes to think of her friend as an elf, having all the elf qualities that she learns about from Sara-Kate. Hillary does make decisions. She decides to NOT listen to her friends. She chooses to befriend Sara-Kate even though no one else likes her. She does decide to go over to her friend's house every day despite the fact that her mother does not approve. She decides that her mother just doesn't know Sara-Kate, and that her mother is wrong to think the worst of Sara-Kate and her mother. She decides to steal money from her mother's purse to help Sara-Kate when she realizes that her friend has no food in the house. Hillary never has to make the hardest decision. She never has to make the ultimate choice of keeping her friend's secret no matter what, or, telling her mom. I'm not sure what Hillary would have decided.
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
We Were Liars. E. Lockhart. 2014. Random House. 240 pages. [Source: Review copy]
We Were Liars isn't a novel to be read; it's a novel to be experienced. From the start, I was almost haunted by the raw emotion of the narrator, Cadence Sinclair Eastman. We Were Liars is an emotional, compelling examination of family, friendship, and first love. Most of the novel focus on a series of summer vacations, but it isn't a light, frivolous read.
Gat, Cadence, Johnny, and Mirren are best friends, at least during the summer; they've been spending their summers together on the island for years now. But one summer EVERYTHING changes...
We Were Liars has an unforgettable narrator. It is a powerful novel, very haunting in all the right ways. And its characters are oh-so-flawed that you just can't help making connections. I would definitely recommend this one!
I have read and loved Lockhart's Ruby Oliver novels. I was surprised by how moved I was by this story. It's just so good, so very different from her previous novels.
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
So, an unnamed person didn't like a recent post at LifeNPublishing, wrote a note that threatened his/her anonymity, and now LNP is no more.
From Open Culture:
danah boyd (she doesn’t capitalize her name) is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and a Fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center, where she looks at how young people use social media as part of their everyday lives. She has a new book out called It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, and she’s made it available as a free PDF. On her website she writes, “I didn’t write this book to make money. I wrote this book to reach as wide of an audience as I possibly could. This desire to get as many people as engaged as possible drove every decision I made throughout this process. One of the things that drew me to Yale [the publisher] was their willingness to let me put a freely downloadable CC-licensed copy of the book online on the day the book came out.”
Related: NPR interview with the author.
Celebrate all students' efforts to rise to the Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge, even if they don't write daily. Teacher and Blogger (and Slicer!) Katherine Sokolowski has some great tips.
It's Day 7 Classroom Slicers! Today's post is about helping students get better at writing process as they write daily.
Bwahahahahaha. I fell over laughing when I read that sentence.
Anyway, it's from an article at the New Yorker about Tove Jansson.
So click on through if you are so inclined!
With all the snow and cold weather, it is nice to dream of going somewhere warm. Penguin on Vacation provides just that escape. Penguin is tired of all the regular winter activities and wants to go someplace tropical. He heads north and finally makes it to the beach. At first the beach isn’t quite what he expected. But with the help of a friendly crab, he discovers just how much fun the beach can be. Unfortunately, his vacation must come to an end but on his way home he discovers that crab is a stowaway on his raft. They have a delightful time, and penguins shows him all the fun that can be had in the snow. Eventually, crab’s vacation comes to an end. But crab leaves behind a shell as a reminder of the beach and a promise to return. This is another sweet story about friendship.
Posted by: Liz
Here is the final painting for the jacket of Sprout Street Neighbors. I began with this sketch
. I'll post the jacket design soon!
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It's day six of our month-long writing party!