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1. Video Sunday: And to think . . .

And here I thought that Dr. Seuss films began with The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T and those short animated specials and ended with stuff like the CGI fests we’re seeing in theaters practically every year.  Not so!  Good old stop-animation also has had a hand in Seuss’s silver screen career.  Interestingly, this is the only film version (that I know of) of And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street.


And To Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street by CarlStallingEnthusiast

Fun Fact: Beatrix Potter was a fan of the book.  Thanks so much to Phil Nel for the link!

So the official trailer for The Giver movie came out.  Like so:

Two words: Ruh-roh.  Or is that one word?  Hm.  By the way, 100 points to the first person who makes a mock version of this video with the title “The Giver Tree”.  I will honestly and truly send you a cookie if you make that thing.  Scout’s honor.

So a couple weeks ago we were watching the Oscars and I was happy to find that all the nominated songs were interesting and good.  But I’ll confess to you that the one that interested me the least was the U2 song.  I’m just not a U2 girl.  Joshua Tree lovers, pelt me with your stones at will.  But wait!  Hold fast your flying rocks because I just discovered a fascinating fact.  Actually someone that I’ve now forgotten (someone at a dinner, I suspect) shared this with me very recently.  If you watch the music video for the U2 song “Ordinary Love” you will find that all the writing in it (and there’s a lot) looks a bit familiar.  Know why?  Bloody blooming Oliver Jeffers did it!  I kid you not!  Wowie-zowie.  An honest-to-goodness kidlit connection.

This man may have the most famous handwriting in the business today.

Now I’m about to go all adorable on you.  Or rather, these kindergartners are.  You may recall that a year or so ago I presented a video created by Arturo Avina and his kindergarten class from LAUSD’s Olympic Primary Center.  They had adapted Miss Nelson Is Missing and it was a great look at how you can combine digital technology, reading skills, and literature into a project.  Well, Arturo wrote me recently to let me know the sequel was out.  You betcha.  It’s Miss Nelson Is Back.  Check it out:

Says Arturo, “At first, I was skeptical about how this class would tackle it because they did not come in as high academically as last year’s class.  However, a beautiful thing happened.  When my students saw what last year’s class did, they wanted to do the same, and as a result, they stepped up to the plate and succeeded…in spades.  I am particularly proud of this class because they did not start off in third base like last year’s class.  They started off at home plate and hit a home run.The reaction to our movie has been enthusiastically positive by all who have watched it so far. At this point, several parents and teachers have contacted me to let me know that their kids absolutely LOVE it!   It is still my hope that teachers, parents, and kids are entertained by our efforts and hopefully encouraged to blend more dramatic arts into literacy activities. We also hope that this can be used a resource in the classroom.  We poured an incredible about of work and love into our project, and it is with great joy and pride that we present it to the world.”

Thank you for sharing this with us, Arturo!  You have some seriously amazing actors on your hands.  Hollywood, take note.

And since we were already talking about the Oscar nominated songs earlier, might as well play this.  It’s the fun little video all your 10-year-old daughters have already seen featuring Idina Menzel, Jimmy Fallon and The Roots.  Just cuz.

By the way, is it fair to say that Idina Menzel has spent most of her working career the idol of 12-year-old girls?  Other folks too, but to go from Rent to Wicked to Frozen . . . well, it’s impressive.

 

share save 171 16 Video Sunday: And to think . . .

2 Comments on Video Sunday: And to think . . ., last added: 3/23/2014
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2. Dr. Seuss’ Birthday + School Visit = GREAT DAY!

Yesterday was Read Across America Day and the day schools celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday… and I had such a fabulous day! I had the opportunity to visit Mineral Springs Elementary School and share Being Frank with Pre-K through 2nd grade students! Big thanks to Jerry Ethridge for the pics below! Filed under: writing for children […]

3 Comments on Dr. Seuss’ Birthday + School Visit = GREAT DAY!, last added: 3/5/2014
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3. Happy Dr. Seuss’s Birthday! {and Read Across American Day}

Mark your calendars: March 2 is Dr. Seuss’s birthday and March 3, 2014, is NEA’s Read Across America Day!

RAA2014PosterThumb

“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child”

March has barely just begun and it is already jammed packed with fun events and happenings.  First up is our beloved Dr. Seuss’s birthday on March 2.  Theodor Seuss Geisel (March 2,1904 – September 24,1991) was an American writer, poet, and cartoonist most widely known for his children’s books written under the pen names of Dr. Seuss, and Theo LeSieg. Everyone in our family is a huge Dr. Seuss fan.  Last year we decided to celebrate in high fashion by having a read a-loud gathering. Everyone will bring one or two of their Seuss favorites. Here’s a sample of the “books of honor” during this fun reading event:

  • Horton Hears A Who
  • Horton Hatches an Egg
  •  Happy Birthday to You
  • The Sneetches and Other Stories
  • The Lorax
  • Yertle the Turtle
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • Oh Say Can you Seed?
  • Hop on Pop
  • Green Eggs and Ham
  • Fox in Socks
  • The Cat in the Hat
  • The Cat in the Hat Comes Back
  • One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish

Dr. Seuss

 

 

 

 

Here are some more fun and creative Seuss ideas from our fellow book lovers and bloggers.

Allie from No Time for Flashcards has a great roundup of Seuss-ey activities! (55 to be exact!)

Dr Seuss activities

More “Seuss-inspired” treats and eats at Keitha’s Chaos! (Love McElligot’s Pool)

mcgelliot

The House of Burke had this sweet One Fish, Two Fish craft

Dr Seuss crafts

Make and Takes has 9 Creative Ways to Celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday!

Dr Seuss

KCEdventures has some great suggestions on Dr. Seuss Books and Games that Encourage Creativity – Inspire Creativity, Reduce Chaos & Encourage Learning with Kids

drseuss-books-and-games

In the mood for a different kind of Seuss Induced Fun? Check out these resources:

NEA’s Read Across America

Seussville! 

Dr. Seuss ebooks at Digital StoryTime

OceanHouse Media: Need some activity ideas for Dr. Seuss’s birthday and Read Across America Day? OceanHouse Media has an entire Pinterest board dedicated to Dr. Seuss crafts, recipes, games and more!
Check it out here: http://bit.ly/1duJxI

 

Enjoy!

The post Happy Dr. Seuss’s Birthday! {and Read Across American Day} appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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4. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: February 28

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. There are a few extras, because I missed last week (computer woes). There is a ton of great stuff in the growing bookworms section, in particular. 

Me, elsewhere

I'm quoted in this Denver Post article by William Porter about Dr. Seuss http://ow.ly/u0d4P  (text below)

""I think that the key to Dr. Seuss' enduring appeal lies in the spirit of playfulness that permeates his work," said Jen Robinson, a children's literature expert who oversees the website Jen Robinson's Book Page. "He encourages children and adults to look at the world in different ways, whether this means upside-down, from the top of a tree or from inside a tiny speck. "One can't look at the 'Whos down in Whoville' without smiling over their joie de vivre, for example," she said."

Book Lists

A fine list from @Book_Nut | 20 Middle Grade/YA/Teen Books Adults Should Be Reading http://ow.ly/tZXMh  #kidlit #yalit

12 Books for Teens Adults May Enjoy — Suggestions Welcome! » @storysnoops http://ow.ly/tZSJJ  #yalit

On the Trail of....Middle Grade Mysteries!, roundup of coming titles by @KKittscher http://ow.ly/tZXhn  #kidlit

Nonfiction Books for Kids on Architecture and Building, booklist from @growingbbb http://ow.ly/tZWWf  #kidlit

At Stacked, @catagator is collecting YA Adaptations of Adult Novels http://ow.ly/tZUGG  #yalit

Book list: Scandinavian Folktales for Kids from @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/tXIj8  #kidlit

RT @tashrow: 5 obscure children's books the whole family should enjoy http://buff.ly/1eNYEMn  #kidlit

Cybils

Very fun! 30 Bits of Wisdom and Advice from Mostly #Cybils Sources from @semicolonblog http://ow.ly/tXI6u  #kidlit

Diversity and Gender

Ms. Yingling Reads: Boys Read Pink Wrap Up with Alexander Vance @MsYingling http://ow.ly/tXIem  #kidlit

20 More Authors Who Promote Diversity in School Visits | @CBCBook http://ow.ly/tEhun  #kidlit

Boys Will Be Boys, and Girls Will Be Accomodating — Open Ticket http://ow.ly/tEcgZ  via @CynLeitichSmith

Beth Revis shares paragraphs from various authors on: Why is Diversity Important? http://ow.ly/tEc0H  @BethRevis via @tashrow

Events

CBW_Poster-smallPress Release Fun: 2014 Children’s Book Week Poster Revealed! — @fuseeight @CBCBook http://ow.ly/u4EVc  (isn't it beautiful?)

Comprehensive list of reading / #literacy events coming up in March from @BooksBabiesBows http://ow.ly/tZX4m  @ReadAloud_org

Growing Bookworms

Reading to babies is crucial for language and #literacy development | @TheTiser via @librareanne http://ow.ly/u1TSi 

Nurturing #Literacy: Tips and Resources For Developing Lifelong Readers | @Edutopia via @librareanne http://ow.ly/u0bAA 

Nice! 11 Reading Hacks for Parents | from @HarperChildrens via @librareanne http://ow.ly/u0buT  #GrowingBookworms

6 ideas for creating reading buddies for your child, from @growingbbb http://ow.ly/tZXsO  #literacy

The Board Book Conundrum, when the books your child loves are not in a a sturdy enough format by @NoVALibraryMom http://ow.ly/tZWzq 

Taking a Picture Walk (when you stroll through a book before you read it) by @ReadingWithBean http://ow.ly/tXID4  #literacy

Making oral & repeated reading fun, while increasing fluency from @TrevorHCairney http://ow.ly/tXIlN  #literacy

Great series on Using ebooks and digital media with young children by @MaryAnnScheuer | Here's Part 6 http://ow.ly/tXINJ 

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

I could relate to this @buzzfeed piece on loving and losing favorite children's books http://ow.ly/u0eOL  via @PWKidsBookshelf

Do We Really Need Negative Book Reviews? asks @nytimes http://ow.ly/tZVjQ  via @catagator

Is Writing Unfavorable Reviews a Necessary Evil? {On Reading} — @jenndon @5M4B http://ow.ly/tZXYq 

Interview of @danielle_binks from Alpha Reader by @snarkywench about the state of blogging (commercialism, burnout) http://ow.ly/tZUv0 

What’s New About New Adult? @lizb @sophiebiblio and @catagator in @HornBook http://ow.ly/tZTW2  #yalit

Why I Love Middle Grade Romance, by @rj_anderson for So You Want To Read Middle Grade series @greenbeanblog http://ow.ly/tZTBr 

I Bookshame Myself, admits @gail_gauthier at Original Content http://ow.ly/tEcGL 

On Not feeling Guilty about reading #YAlit by Michael M. Guevara | @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/tEcD1 

Programs and Research

Fun! ASU Students Aim To Turn Used Food Trucks Into Mobile School Libraries @LibraryJournal http://ow.ly/u0bFS 

The 13-Year-Old Who Is Championing World #Literacy, a Million Books at a Time | The Good News - Shine http://ow.ly/tEjU2  via @cmirabile

Schools and Libraries

On the joys of Skyping with authors in the classroom by @patrickontwit @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/tZVVo 

Nice post by @katsok on the long-term influence a good teacher can have http://ow.ly/tZWfc 

On making classroom read-aloud time feel like sitting Around the Campfire by @donalynbooks @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/tXIrX 

A good question RT @smaystein: Without libraries, how will schools create avid readers? http://flip.it/4pDKu 

The #CommonCore Curriculum Now Has Critics on the Left @NYTimes via @PWKidsBookshelf http://ow.ly/u0eG8 

Social Media

Some solid advice on how to avoid becoming a tweeting leper from @snarkywench http://ow.ly/tZWmZ 

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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5. Merry Grinch-mas!

My husband and I watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas (original Boris Karloff animated version) with our three year old daughter last week. She was utterly enchanted. Of course I made sure to tell her that the story was originally from a book by Dr. Seuss. But for some reason, we didn't have a copy of the book. I made a mental note to rectify the situation, but then it slipped through the cracks.

Imagine my pleasure, then, when a copy of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the book, showed up on my doorstep yesterday, sent by the folks at Random House. As soon as my daughter saw it, she insisted that I put aside my work to read it to her (despite a babysitter also being present). I was, naturally, unable to resist.

This was my first read-aloud of the book ... perhaps ever. But the lines trip off the tongue, familiar after more years than I care to admit of watching the TV/video/DVD version. And in truth, they would trip off the tongue anyway, because How the Grinch Stole Christmas is Dr. Seuss at his best. The movie isn't 100% true to book, but close enough. Sitting, reading this book to my daughter for the first time is destined to be one of my favorite memories from the 2013 holiday season. 

I can't imagine that Random House is looking for reviews of a 56 year old classic. But they are trying to spread the word about a new campaign to "extend the Grinch's heartwarming message into an annual tradition of good-deed-doing and giving back to the community with 25 Days of Grinch-mas." Here's a bit from the website:

"Grinch-mas is a new holiday tradition inspired by Dr. Seuss’s classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas! that encourages readers to “grow your heart three sizes” through the celebration of family reading, giving from the heart and community spirit. National Grinch Day, on December 1, will kick start the 25 Days of Grinch-mas. During this time, bookstores and local retailers all over the country will be hosting Grinch-mas events that will incorporate holiday story times for families and opportunities for kids to win special prizes for giving back to their communities by doing good deeds throughout the month of December."

The website features kid-accessible Daily Good Deed suggestions, like: "Make someone laugh." There are also printables and activities and the like, If you have kids who are fans of the book or the movie, it certainly couldn't hurt to use 25 Days of Grinch-mas as a springboard for fun and the spreading of good cheer. 

I think it's safe to say that I'll be reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas quite a lot in the coming days. 

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate. 

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6. Growing Bookworms Newsletter: September 18

JRBPlogo-smallToday I will be sending out the new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on children's and young adult books and raising readers. There are 1745 subscribers. I send out the newsletter once every three weeks. 

ReadAloudMantraNewsletter Update: In this issue I have a post about one of my daughter's milestones on the path to literacy, a post in celebration of Roald Dahl day, a post about the 2013 Cybils panels, a discussion of the five series I am most looking forward to reading with my daughter, and post about whether or not it matters if you read at bedtime.

I also have a post about getting my blogging groove back, after my illness this summer slowed me down. I appreciate you all staying with me through that. I don't have any book reviews in this issue, but I do expect to have more book recommendations (in one form or another) coming up soon. 

Other recent posts not included in the newsletter this time around are:

Reading Update: In the last 3-4 weeks I read 2 middle grade novels, one young adult novel, and 8 adult novels. I'm just starting to dip my toe back into the world of children's and young adult literature, after what turned out to be a refreshing break. I'm including mini-reviews here:

Jessica Day George: Wednesdays in the Tower. Bloomsbury. Middle Grade. Completed September 14, 2013. I had trouble getting into this sequel to Tuesdays at the Castle (reviewed here). The actions of the kids felt tame compared with the first book, and the device of the semi-sentient castle felt less original (perhaps inevitable in a sequel). The book did get more exciting towards the end, but then concluded with an unexpected cliffhanger. 

Holly Black: Doll Bones. Margaret K. McElderry Books. Middle Grade. Completed September 16, 2013. I haven't written a formal review of this book, because it's already been reviewed everywhere (and is on Betsy Bird's Newbery candidates list). But it really is fabulous and I highly recommend it. Doll Bones is the perfect mix of creepy possible ghost story with kid-directed adventure, with a spot on portrayal of evolving boy-girl friendships at age 12. 

Malinda Lo: Adaptation. Little Brown. Young Adult. Completed August 28, 2013. The premise of Adaptation, in which two teens awaken from a car accident and find themselves in a secret government hospital, intrigued me. I picked it up as a Kindle daily deal one day, and enjoyed it. I do plan to read the sequel at some point.

Robert Crais: Suspect. Putnam. Adult Mystery. Completed August 23, 2013, on MP3. This is a standalone (or first in a new series?) novel is about an LA cop and a military service dog who help each other recover from their respective traumas while solving the mystery of why the cop was shot (and his partner killed). Some of the book is told from the dog's perspective. This worked surprisingly well (though I was a bit resistant to the premise at first). 

Marcus Sakey: Brilliance. Thomas & Mercer. Adult Science Fiction. Completed August 23, 2013, on Kindle. I found this an intriguing science fiction novel about an alternate US reality in which, starting in the 80s, some 1% of the population are "brillliants" - the kind of geniuses that previously only cropped up once in a generation. There are, naturally enough, tensions between the brilliants and others. It's the first of a series, and I can't wait to see what happens next. 

Carol O'Connell: It Happens in the Dark (A Mallory Novel). Putnam. Adult Mystery. Completed August 25, 2013. The Mallory novels are among my favorite mystery series. I find the character herself (a deeply flawed, highly capable NY cop) endlessly fascinating (even if she does break her friends' hearts). The plots are so convoluted that I can actually re-read these books, and thus buy them in hardcover. This one did not disappoint. 

Stephen White: The Last Lie (Alan Gregory #18). Signet. Adult Mystery. Completed August 30, 2013. See below. 

Stephen White: Line of Fire (Alan Gregory, #19). Signet. Adult Mystery. Completed September 4, 2013. See below. 

P.J. Tracy: Shoot to Thrill (Monkeewrench , #5). Signet. Adult Mystery. Completed September 5, 2013, on MP3. The Monkeewrench series is another that celebrates quirky characters (a crew of wealthy, odd hackers), set against a more conventional (in this case) police procedural. The premise of this one, in which people are murdering others on camera, and posting the videos on YouTube, was a bit disturbing. But the characters made it fun.

Stephen White: Compound Fractures (Alan Gregory #20). Signet. Adult Mystery. Completed September 6, 2013. I read the last few books in the Alan Gregory series pretty much all at once, after dipping in and out of the series over the years. The books are about a Boulder psychologist who, with his Assistant District Attorney wife and cop best friend, finds himself in the middle of some ugly situations. The final books of the series are all tightly connected, and it was definitely the right thing to read them as a unit. 

Louise Penny: How the Light Gets In (Chief Inspector Gamache). Minotaur Books. Adult Mystery. Completed September 8, 2013. This series is absolutely brilliant, another one of my all-time favorites. In this installment, things start out a bit bleak for Chief Inspector Gamache, and he to some extent retreats to the small town of Three Pines (which was absent from the prior book). But fans should not worry, because everything is not what it seems. The actual mystery involves a story loosely based on the Dionne Quintuplets, but there is much more to be figured out. I found this one quite satisfying. 

I'm currently listening to Never Go Back (A Jack Reacher novel) by Lee Child. I'm reading The Shade of the Moon (Life As We Knew It, Book 4) by Susan Beth Pfeffer. There are many other books on my TBR shelf, and several upcoming books that I am excited about. 

Baby Bookworm has been enjoying Splat the Cat: What Was That by Rob Scotton and Pinkalicious: Pink or Treat by Victoria Kann, as we start to think about Halloween. We're also reading lots of Curious George, Fancy Nancy, Arthur, and Little Critter books. 

How about you? What have you and your kids been reading and enjoying? Thanks for reading the newsletter, and for growing bookworms. 

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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7. Read & Romp Roundup -- August 2013

Hope you are all enjoying your weekend and have a little time left to read the August Read & Romp Roundup, which is tiny but tantalizing this time around. Thanks to all who contributed. I really do love hearing all the ways you use picture book and poetry to get the little ones in your life moving...


Catherine at Story Snug reviews the picture book Doing the Animal Bop by Jan Ormerod and Lindsey Gardiner. The book is full of animals, bold and colorful illustrations, and -- as you might expect -- dance moves. According to Catherine, "the rhyming text flows beautifully and is very easy to read. However, to get the full Animal Bop experience, the accompanying CD is a must!"


At Omazing Kids, Angela shares one of her favorite picture books to help kids learn about feelings -- My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss. In her post, Angela offers a supply list for a wonderful yoga class that incorporates music, arts and crafts, scarves for movement activities, and yoga poses for each animal in the book. Her ideas could also work in dance class, a library story time, or at home, so take a look!

2 Comments on Read & Romp Roundup -- August 2013, last added: 9/16/2013
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8. Selling Ebooks: Hard Data and Daily Deals


2013 GradeReading.NET Summer Reading Lists

Keep your students reading all summer! The lists for 2nd, 3rd and 4th, include 10 recommended fiction titles and 10 recommended nonfiction titles. Printed double-sided, these one-page flyers are perfect to hand out to students, teachers, or parents. Great for PTA meetings, have on hand in the library, or to send home with students for the summer. FREE Pdf or infographic jpeg. See the Summer Lists Now!

Selling ebooks is as hard as selling a print book and the biggest problem is “discoverability,” the new buzz word these days. Even once a reader discovers your book, how much should you charge? Mark Stoker, head of Smashwords, a service that distributes ebooks, has done some hard statistics and lets the data speak for itself. Watch this slideshare and see what data makes the most difference to what you are currently doing.

Also provocative is Julie Bosman’s recent NYTimes article about the impact of a “daily deal” to get your ebook noticed and catapult it to the top of the charts. Last year, I heard ebook developers talk about turning Dr. Seuss books into ebooks. They said they put everything into the launch date, hoping and expecting the new release to hit the number one spot in the iBook store and Kindle store. It MUST hit that spot, they said, in order to sell well.

What other strategies are working for your ebooks?

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9. Book Titles

The title of a book is so important – and not many people have titles as consistently good as Gabriel Garcia Marquez (in my humble opinion) – and I suppose that is linked to the fact that not many people write as well as he does (again … in my humble opinion..)

Think of these:

Love in the time of Cholera

One Hundred Years of Solitude

Chronicle of a Death Foretold

The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World

No-one writes to the Colonel

Memories of my Melancholy Whores.

The General in his Labyrinth

General

Other titles I like, from other authors

Up in Honey’s Room – Elmore Leonard

The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver

Of Mice and Men – Steinbeck

And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street – Dr Seuss

Death is a lonely business – Ray Bradbury

Dandelion Wine – Ray Bradbury

Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe

Looking for Transwonderland – Noo Saro Wiwa

Looking for Transwonderland

OK I’ll stop now … but it is a hard thing getting a title right, and it does matter!


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10. BookMentors Seeks Poems That Endorse Books of Poetry

BookMentors, a nonprofit book donation organization, is hosting a National Poetry Month celebration.

To participate, you can write a poem that endorses a book of poetry. You can submit your poem to the organization’s social media platforms (including Google+, Facebook, or Tumblr). Check it out:

we are celebrating #NationalPoetryMonth with daily poems mimicking the style of our favorite poetry books! Post your own poem about your favorite book of poetry or like one of the poems that has already been posted. BookMentors will donate the book featured in the post that gets the most “likes.” Get creative!

continued…

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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11. The Moth, Dr. Seuss & Selina Alko Get Booked

Here are some literary events to pencil in your calendar. To get your event posted on our calendar, visit our Facebook Your Literary Event page. Please post your event at least one week prior to its date.

Celebrate the fourth anniversary of the Franklin Park Reading Series at their bash! Party it up on Monday, March 11th at the Franklin Park Bar & Beer Garden starting at 8 p.m. (Brooklyn, NY)

The next installment of the Pen Parentis Literary Salon will take place at Andaz Wall Street. Join in on Tuesday, March 12th starting 7 p.m. (New York, NY)

continued…

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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12. Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss

And the turtles, of course...all the turtles are free
As turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be.

Today is the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel A/K/A Dr. Seuss.  Dr. Seuss was born in Springfield, MA on March 2, 1904.  He attended Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, where he first began using the pen name Seuss while working on the college's humor magazine Jack-O_Lantern.  Not long after graduation, Seuss became Dr. Seuss.

Meanwhile, Dr. Seuss published his first children's book And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street in 1937.  This was followed by The 500 Hat of Bartholomew Cubbins in 1938, The King's Stilts and adult book The Seven Lady Godivas in 1939 and Horton Hatches the Egg in 1940.

After Dartmouth, Dr. Seuss went to Oxford graduate school, got bored and traveled around Europe instead.  Returning to the US, he worked in advertising and did some cartooning but once World War II started, Dr. Seuss began working for a left wing weekly magazine called PM.  Seuss was a strong opponent of American isolationism, and used his PM cartoons to express his feelings:


After the US entered the war, he continued to use his biting humor in his political cartoons, like the one below that introduced his idea of the vulnerability of stacking turtles to call out the defense producers that were delivering defense material 'at a turtles pace' thereby slowing down defense production and the threatening an Allied victory with instability and failure:



All of which brings me to Yertle the Turtle.  With a history of no-holds-barred political cartooning, it wasn't surprising to find out that Dr.Seuss, that master of political satire, was at it again just few years after the war ended.

Yertle is the story of the king of the pond who one day looks around and despite the contentment of his turtle subjects, decides he needs to increase the area he rules over.  So he demands that build his a higher throne:
"If I could sit high, how much greater I'd be!
What a king! I'd be ruler of all I could see!" 
The turtles pile themselves up, one on top of the other, creating a higher throne, so Yertle could "see 'most a mile!"

But then the bottom turtle, named Mack, complains about the standing so long with turtles on his back.  Angered, Yertle demands a higher throne and once again,  turtles,"Whole families of turtles, with uncles and cousins" come to add themselves to the stack of turtles already there.
And once again Mack speaks up:
"I know, up on top you are seeing great sights,
But down at the bottom, we, too, should have rights.
We turtles can't stand it. Our shells will all crack!
Besides, we need food.  We are starving! groaned Mack."
But Mack speaks to no avail.  That night, when the moon rises, Yertle, seeing that it is higher than he is, starts to demands more and more turtles when suddenly Mack, having had enough of Yertle, burps and the whole stack of turtle shakes, throwing Yertle into the mud below - where he remained, ruling all he could see through the mud.
"That plain little turtle below in the stack,
That plain little turtle whose name was just Mack,
Decided he'd taken enough. And he had
And that plain little lad got a little bit mad
And that plain little Mack did a plain little thing
He burped!And his burp shook the throne of the king!
Now, I am sure you can see the resemblance to Hitler and his quest for more and more Lebensraum in Yertle.  And it isn't hard to figure out that the turtles are the German people under Hitler's dictatorship.  But there is a moral of this story and it is simply that anyone can make a difference and their action can bring about change.

If you wish to explore the social and political meanings behind Yertle the Turtle in greater depth, you can find a excellent lesson plan at the Teach Peace Foundation.

Two interesting notes:
1- Yertle the Turtle was first published in 1958 by Random House (which is actually the copy I own, a hand-me-down from an older cousin I wouldn't to give up to a younger cousin).  At the time, a word like burp was considered to be in poor taste and there was some concern at publishing it, never mind the political message in it.  But kids being kids, the book was an instant successful and no one was the worse for the use of burp.  And speaking of the political message...

2- In 2012, a teacher at a school in British Columbia was asked to remove a quote from Yertle the Turtle that she had displayed in her classroom because there was a line in it that was considered too political.  It seems that there was a vote in 2011 to keep political materials out of classrooms in British Columbia, because children must be shielded from them.  The quote in question:
"I know up on top you are seeing great sights,
But down at the bottom we, too, should have rights." 
 You can read the whole story here.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DR. SEUSS! 

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13. Happy Read Across America Day!

Happy Read Across America Day!

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14. Will YOUR KIDS Have Books for ‘Read Across America’ Day?

Chandler Arnold, First Book's executive vice-president, with a student from Belmont Runyon Elementary school in Newark, NJ, at a ‘Read Across America’ event last year.

Chandler Arnold, First Book’s executive vice-president, with a student from Belmont Runyon Elementary school in Newark, NJ, at a ‘Read Across America’ event last year.

Read Across America Day is fast approaching; on March 1, children across the country will celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday by reading ‘The Cat in the Hat’ and other childhood favorites.

But, as much as we love Dr. Seuss, the READING part is the important bit. At First Book, we will always line up for cake and ice cream, but books and reading come first. Because kids who read at home become stronger, more capable readers, and that’s the critical ingredient in become successful — in school and in life.

‘Read Across America’ is an annual event sponsored by our friends at the National Education Association (NEA). First Book is proud to do our part for such a critical issue.

Here’s what you can do:

And most importantly of all, take the time to read to a child in your life. You’ll both be glad you did.

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15. Illumination Plans CG Remake of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”

Illumination Entertainment, the company responsible for Despicable Me and The Lorax, announced this week that it will produce a CGI remake of Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The book has been adapted into film multiple times, most famously by Chuck Jones in a 1966 TV special (pictured above).

The new feature, which has no release date or writer yet, will be directed by Pete Candeland, who is best known for directing the Gorillaz music videos.

Illumination CEO Chris Meledandri produced his first Dr. Seuss project, Blue Sky’s Horton Hears a Who!, while he was the head of Fox Feature Animation. In addition to the Grinch project, Melendandri is developing a CG adaptation of Seuss’s Cat in the Hat and a live-action Dr. Seuss biopic.

Read more details about the Grinch film at Variety.

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16. Hats from the collection of Theodor Geisel

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17. How Dr. Seuss Helped the Berenstain Bears

In the early 1960s, the great agent Sterling Lord began to work with Stan Berenstain and Jan Berenstain, helping the couple sell a new children’s book to Beginner Books.

The Random House imprint was founded by Theodor Geisel (who wrote under the legendary pen name, Dr. Seuss). In his new Lord of Publishing memoir, the literary agent recalled how Dr. Seuss dissected the entire first draft in front of the aspiring writers.

We’ve collected Dr. Seuss’ advice below–this draft eventually became the classic kid’s book, The Big Honey Hunt.

continued…

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18. Green Eggs and Ham

When I was little, I loved Dr. Seuss's GREEN EGGS AND HAM.  So, when Cyn and I went to Stories Restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort last weekend to celebrate our anniversary, I had to order the Green Eggs and Ham appetizer.

Here's how it was described on the menu:

And here's what it looked like when it came to the table:

Yes, I like green eggs and ham.

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19. David A. Carter on The Lorax Pop-Up

By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: April 6, 2012

David A. Carter

David A. Carter is the amazingly talented paper engineer behind 75 pop-up books, including the bestselling Bugs in a Box® series that has sold more than six million copies. He is also the creator of the magnificent pop-ups One Red Dot, Blue 2, Horton Hears a Who Pop-up!, Oh, the Places You’ll Go Pop-up!, and Lots of Bots! David lives with his wife and two daughters in Auburn, California.

TCBR: Describe THE LORAX POP-UP in 5 words or less.

David A. Carter: Real 3D, no glasses required.

What is it like adapting a classic like THE LORAX that is so popular and pertinent to our times, especially with the film release?

As with all of the Dr. Seuss books that I have adapted, I felt it was important to keep true to the feel and concept of the the original book. We did not edit the text and we used as much of the original illustration as possible. The fact that the film was in the works influenced the publishing of the pop-up version, but as you can see, the film did not influence the treatment I used for the pop-up.

You’ve done a Seuss pop-up before—HORTON HEARS A WHO—but what new challenges did you come across with THE LORAX POP-UP?

The biggest difference between the LORAX POP-UP and the HORTON is that because of an increase in the cost manufacturing, we had to reduce the complexity of the paper engineering in THE LORAX.

How do you determine which part of the illustrations will “pop” from the page and which will remain flat?

The beauty of Dr. Seuss’ work is that, even though the drawings are two dimensional, they have a stupendous amount of dimension and movement, which makes my job easy. The problem was not what to make pop-up or move, but what I had to leave two-dimensional.

I read that Dr. Seuss’ books were some of your favorite books during your childhood years. What is it about Dr. Seuss and his stories that you enjoy so much?

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20. Top 100 Picture Books #61: How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

#61 How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss (1957)
30 points

Yes, that’s two Dr. Seuss books on my top ten list. In all honesty, I had trouble not including Horton Hears a Who as well. Between the Lorax’s anti-capitalist, pro-environment stance, Horton’s anti-racism, and this book’s anti-consumerism, Dr. Seuss taught me most of what I stand for as an adult. Plus, his absurdist verse and drawings are absolutely irresistible. - Mark Flowers

Books set during Christmas are akin to songs on top 40 radio – tons of people enjoy them, but critics don’t give them much credit. Don’t get it twisted: Seuss’s 1957 Yule-time tale deserves all the credit it can get, if for no other reason than the creation of The Grinch, one of the most indelible characters in picture book history. – Travis Jonker

You tell, ‘em, Travis! He makes a good point.

When you stop to consider the sheer number of memorable folks that appeared out of the Seussian brain, it’s quite impressive. And we’re not talking about the overblown musical or the lamentable Jim Carrey production (rivaling only Mike Myers’ The Cat in the Hat as worst children’s picture book to film adaptation in history).  That would be the only children’s film I’ve ever seen that had a key party in it.  This is true.  No we’re talking about the book. A book that should be shown to more kids, particularly when you consider how much better known the Chuck Jones Grinch is these days.

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21. Top 100 Picture Books #63: The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss

#63 The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss (1961)
30 points

This book is a perfect sampler of Dr. Seuss stories. The title story and “The Zax” provide some of his powerful and beautifully simple fables. They’re quirky, they’re strange, they roll off the tongue, and they leave you with one simple message that you won’t soon forget. “Too Many Daves” is a brilliant example of Seussian word play, cataloging his incredible imagination and magical ear for language. Who else would think of names like “Oliver Boliver Butt,” and “Zanzibar Buck Buck McFate”? And then, “What Was I Scared Of?” is sort of a Very First Ghost Story. Who else on earth would have thought of telling a story about pale green pants with nobody inside them? I remember the spooky thrill I got as a child from that story. It scares, but it fascinates. - Sondra Eklund

I like that Sondra highlighted the “Other Stories” in this book.  It’s easy to forget that this collection was more than just a Sneetches tale alone.  There are other books to be found in here, and mighty interesting they are indeed.  And thanks to her write-up I don’t have to try to find another description out there of the book.  Bonus!

According to Jonathan Cott’s Pipers at the Gates of Dawn: The Wisdom of Children’s Literature the inspiration for the book came out of Geisel’s opposition to religious intolerance.  He is quoted as saying, “children’s literature as I write it and as I see it is satire to a great extent … there’s The Sneetches … which was inspired by my opposition to anti-Semitism.”  I suppose the star should have been a giveaway.

Now here’s a news headline for you. Can’t get much more eye-popping than, “Agency of NATO and United Nations to Distribute Dr. Seuss Stories to Foster Racial Tolerance in War-Torn Bosnia”. The story dates back to August of 1998 when Random House and Seuss Enterprises made an announcement.  “The Sneetches and Other Stories, a book by the celebrated children’s author Dr. Seuss, will be translated by NATO into Serbo-Croatian and distributed in the fall to 500,000 children in Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of an information campaign to help encourage racial tolerance.”  A NATO soldier had come up with the idea, having loved the book as a kid.  You can be the judge as to how well it worked, of course.

You have the option of wearing a star on your own belly, so to speak, if you like:

And, naturally, there was the film version of the titular story:

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22. Top 100 Picture Books #33: The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

#33 The Lorax by Dr. Seuss (1971)
53 points

A timeless classic. I haven’t seen the movie, and I don’t plan to; it’s one of those cases in which the book is perfect just as it is. – Melissa Fox

because “UNLESS someone like you / cares a whole awful lot, / nothing is going to get better. / It’s not.” - Philip Nel

Previously #83 our little Lorax take an almighty leap and goes up fifty places to #33.  Undoubtedly the film helped to give him a bit of a push.  That’s the way a list like this works sometimes.  Classics with recent tie-ins move up faster because of their new status.  So here he is, ladies and gentlemen!  The little guy who starred in a made-for-TV movie that I saw when I was eight and have been effectively traumatized by ever since.  If I’m a good environmentalist, it’s because The Lorax made me so.  Violently.

Basic plot:  The Once-ler moves to town, takes advantage of all the natural resources he can get his grubby hands on (and the guy is mostly hands) and ignores the pleas of The Lorax to stop before it’s too late.  Too late it becomes and The Lorax takes off for greener pastures.  Hope then resides in a small boy and the single seed of a Truffula Tree that The Once-ler has saved in spite of everything.

Said School Library Journal, “The big, colorful pictures and the fun images, word plays and rhymes make this an amusing exposition of the ecology crisis.”

So the recent movie . . . I haven’t seen it myself, though I was a little perturbed that none of the commercials showed anything closely resembling pollution in them.  Even more disturbing?  A commercial that may well be remembered as the most ironic children’s literature/movie tie-in of all time.

I hate to say it, but give me that old creepy hand drawn version any day of the week.

And I’d show you the pretty Lorax statue but . . . well . . .

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23. Top 100 Picture Books #36: The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

#36 The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss (1957)
50 points

Adore the story and it brought reading to an access level for beginning readers. - Mary Friedrichs

The poor cat didn’t make it onto the list last time because I wasn’t including easy readers.  Now he bursts onto the scene, hat askew, intentions questionable, lovable to his core.  Recently he’s been turned into an animated serious on television.  He’s appearing in countless easy nonfiction books.  He’s even slated for a new movie (see: the end of this post).

The plot as described by Anita Silvey’s 100 Best Books for Children reads, “The cat arrives one day to entertain two young children.  As the rhyme spins out of control, so do the antics of the mayhem-making cat, and chaos ensues.  But before Mother returns, the cat cleans up everything, leaving the children to ponder whether or not to tell her what happened.”

In terms of its creation, one of the best explanations I’ve found actually came from Cracked.com in an article discussing how Dr. Seuss had a tendency to write books as responses to dares.  As they so eloquently put it, “It started with a 1955 article by William Spaulding of Houghton Mifflin, called ‘Why Johnny Can’t Read’. Instead of taking the easy route (‘Because Johnny is stupid.’) Spaulding analyzed the state of reading material for young children and found it insufferably boring. Not only did nobody care about Dick and Jane throwing a ball, least of all small children with short attention spans, but the choice of words was haphazard – throwing in anything with one or two syllables instead of deliberately coming up with the most useful words to help kids learn. Spaulding hooked up with Seuss and challenged him with the novel idea of writing a book with an actual story kids would want to read. If that wasn’t crazy enough, he asked him to use a list of 300 words that they had come up with, targeted toward helping kids practice phonics. Seuss thought this was insane and was attempting to politely back out of it when he glanced at the list one more time and decided he’d make a title out of the first two rhyming words he saw. They were “cat” and “hat”. Nine months of frustrating work later, he had a book that was 1702 words long with only 220 unique words, telling an interesting story, introducing an unforgettable character, and completely written in anapestic dimeter.”

According to Silvey it wasn’t until the bookstore edition was published that the title made any waves at all.  Once it was discovered it managed to sell a MILLION copies in three years.

As I may have mentioned before, I’m a sucker for a good statue.  This pairing from the Dr. Seuss National Memorial at The Quadrangle in Springfield, Massachusetts fulfills my every need. So cool.

In 1971 they turned it into an animated film.  It’s a bit long but this doggone song, THIS DOGGONE SONG, will simply not leave my brain.  The ultimate earworm.  Watch it at your own risk.

I will spare you the horrendous produce-placement-strewn Mike Myers fiasco.  Are you happy or sad to hear 4 Comments on Top 100 Picture Books #36: The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss, last added: 6/2/2012

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24. Five Family Favorites with Elizabeth Bard

By Nicki Richesin, The Children’s Book Review
Published: July 8, 2012

Elizabeth Bard

It’s a special treat to have Elizabeth Bard contribute her family’s top five favorites to The Children’s Book Review. An American journalist and author based in France, her first book, Lunch in Paris: A Love Story with Recipes has been a New York Times and international bestseller, a Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” pick, and the recipient of the 2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award for Best First Cookbook (USA). Bard’s writing on food, art, travel and digital culture has appeared in The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, Wired, Harper’s Bazaar and The Huffington Post. Thanks to Elizabeth for sharing her thoughtful personal reflections on raising her son abroad with us.

Story time at our house is fun time, bed time, but it is also the site of a good-natured – but genuine – culture war. From the moment I moved to Paris to be with my French husband, I knew our children would be bilingual. As our lives have unfolded here, it’s become clear that most of my son’s childhood will be spent in France, worlds away from Sesame Street, Twinkies and other staples of my American childhood.

Augustin is almost three now. In addition to speaking English with me, and on vacations with his grandparents, books are the most effective tool I have to make sure he becomes – and stays – fluent in English, and is introduced to the different world view that creeps into the stories we choose to tell. There’s a part of all this that is inherently selfish: I want him to love these books because I love them. If he couldn’t – or didn’t want to – read in English, it would be like sewing up half my soul. A piece of his mother, and one of his cultures, would become unknowable to him.

Here are a few of our early and current favorites:

Spoon

By Amy Krouse Rosenthal

One of Augustin’s very first words was “Poon” – shorthand for his favorite book. Spoon is a wonderful “the grass is always greener” story of a little spoon who thinks his friends, knife, fork and chopsticks have it so much better than him. He never gets to twirl spaghetti. He never gets to cut bread. His mother thoughtfully reminds him that knife can’t swim around in a bowl with the Cheerios, and chopsticks never get to dive into bowl of vanilla ice-cream.

Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children | April 7, 2009

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25. Fifty Shades of Grey Boosts Random House Earnings

Random House posted a 64 percent increase in operating profit for the first half of 2012. According to Variety, the publisher also boasted a 20 percent increase in revenue–rising to $1.2 billion.

Here’s more from the article: “The titillating [50 Shades of Grey] trilogy sold more than 30 million copies between March and June, with sales evenly divided between the trade paperback and e-book editions. The Social Network producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti are producing the big-screen adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey the first book in the trilogy, for Universal Pictures and Focus Features.”

Random House also credited the growth in eBook sales and the popularity of some of their biggest bestselling authors including George R.R. Martin  (A Song of Ice and Fire series), John Grisham (Calico Joe), Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) and Dr. Seuss (The Lorax).

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