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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: New York City, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 196
1. Happy Holidays!

I have been so swamped but there are still a couple more Romania posts to go. I will get to them soon. I am also doing a travelogue.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday! Here are some pictures from our trip to NYC to celebrate my mom's birthday. I got a bit of sketching in and this picture of Grand Central Station seemed to capture the spirit of the season.

Location shot!
Mom had her birthday dinner at the Breslin where we had a whole pig. It was amazing!
I cannot remember a time when the city was more crowded with tourists. The holiday season is the time to be in the city I guess.

We had a lot of wonderful food, drink and company.

Sketching at the Lucky Cat
Troy and I at the Rockefeller Center tree

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2. THE COPERNICUS LEGACY: RELIC HUNT IN NEW YORK CITY!

Looking for a fantasy read that’s great for the classroom this fall? One stellar recommendation is The Copernicus Legacy: The Forbidden Stone by bestselling author Tony Abbott – now in paperback!

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A perfect pick for kids who love Percy Jackson, Kingdom Keepers, or Seven Wonders series, The Copernicus Legacy is a Da Vinci Code-style story for young readers. The book follows four kids who stumble upon a powerful ancient secret of the famous astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus. Protected by notables throughout history, it now falls to our young heroes to become guardians of Copernicus’s secret, racing across the globe, cracking codes, and unraveling centuries-old mysteries in order to prevent it from falling into the hands of a vast and evil shadow network called the New Teutonic Order.

It’s the worldwide adventure and historical scope that makes the series both page turning and educational, earning it many great reviews including a starred review from Kirkus: “With engaging characters, a globe-trotting plot and dangerous villains, it is hard to find something not to like. Equal parts edge-of-your-seat suspense and heartfelt coming-of-age.”

There’s even a downloadable Common Core-aligned activities guide and star map poster so you can bring the adventure into the classroom.

Veteran children’s book author Tony Abbott is no stranger to epic adventure series having written over a hundred books including The Secrets of Droon. The Copernicus Legacy will include six full-length novels and six shorter novellas, each told from the perspective of one of the kids. The first novella, The Copernicus Archives #1: Wade and the Scorpion’s Claw, is available now and the next full-length novel, The Copernicus Legacy #2: The Serpent’s Curse, will be out on October 7.9780062194466_p0_v1_s260x420

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To celebrate the launch of the next books in this exciting series, on Saturday, September 13th, Tony Abbott will be leading a scavenger hunt at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where four lucky winners of a national sweepstakes will work together to find hidden clues amongst the exhibits, crack codes, and earn prizes. You and all readers across the country will have another chance to win a trip to New York for the second Relic Hunt starting October 7 at www.thecopernicuslegacy.com!

After the Relic Hunt, Tony Abbott will be signing copies of The Forbidden Stone at 2:30pm at the Barnes & Noble on 82nd and Broadway in Manhattan.  The Barnes & Noble event is open to the public, and we invite you to join us there for a pizza party! It’s no mystery—the whole family will be in for good food and fun!

 

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3. Floating Library on the Hudson!



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




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

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4. Delicious! by Ruth Reichl, 372 pp, RL: TEEN

I bought Delicious!,  the debut work of fiction by restaurant critic, food writer (food memoirist might be a better moniker), former editor of Gourmet Magazine, Ruth Reichl as a gift for my mother, who is a decent cook and ardent reader of Reichl's work and that of other great food writers, and my aunt, a spectacular, thoughtful cook who does not read fiction. I thought I might borrow it (

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5. At Your Service (Sounds Like Something a Librarian Would Say!) by Jen Malone





After reviewing All Four Stars by Tara Dairman I received a bunch of promotional materials for upcoming books.  Among the pile was a bookmark for At Your Service by Jen Malone.  They say don't judge a book by its cover.   I guess in this case don't judge a bookmark on a future release.   However, I am glad I did. There was something about this title that called out to me and Simon and Schuster send me a review copy.  


The book is set in a upscale hotel in New York City, similar to Eloise in the Plaza (the books author makes a slight reference to her in the book).   This book is about 13 year old Chloe who has a dad that works at the Hotel St. Michele as a concierge.  After impressing a young guest Chloe earns the the job of junior concierge.   She gets a big assignment when King Robert of Somerstein and his family including the Queen and their three royal children, Princess Alex 14, Princess Sophie 12 and Princess Ingrid 9 decide to visit New York.  The assignment gets harder than she imagines when Princess Ingrid goes missing during the tour. None of the children want to get in trouble so they decide to find her themselves.  What they do not know is that Chole's dad and the King are alerted that she is missing.  A great adventure discovering all the highlights of New York City (my hometown) takes place while they are searching for Princess Ingrid.  Some of the most unexpected things happen, but isn't this when some of the best moments occur.  



Check out some New York City highlights in the book trailer below and author Jen Malone's Website. She has a hedgehog in the bottom of her homepage which links to an activity related to the book.  Get your copy August 26.   Want a little more? Then you can read the first chapter on her website


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6. Loot: How to Steal a Fortune - a review


Watson, Jude. 2014. Loot: How to Steal a Fortune. New York: Scholastic.
(Advance Reader Copy)

After my book club meets tomorrow, my Loot will be long gone. Here's a quick preview before it's snatched up.

It begins with a foreboding prophecy regarding stolen semiprecious moonstones:

You will be caught tonight and made to pay.
Death by water, before the moon is set.
Before the passage of thirteen years, the two birthed together will die together.

Two of the prophecies have already come true. Two thieves are dead.

Now, 12-year-old March, son of a thief, must figure out the mystery with no other assets than a getaway bag, some cryptic clues, and remembered advice from his deceased father,

Never trust a guy who says, "Trust me."
Never give your real name to a cop.
Never let someone steal your getaway car.
If you think nothing can go wrong, you'd better think again.

March, his twin sister, and fellow foster home escapees, Izzy and Darius, will match wits with jewel thieves, fences, cops, and millionaires in a desperate search for answers and the mysterious moonstones. This is a fast-paced, action-packed thriller with plenty of plot twists and intrigue—a globe-trotting trek with its roots in the underbelly of New York City.


Due on a shelf near you June 24, 2014.
For grades 3-7
272 pages

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7. Not so far away

Tapestry 300x300 Not so far awayOff to New York tomorrow for a little 70s nostalgia (Richard is such a good sport), some modern dance (I am such a good sport),  love and murder, and, oh yes, the announcement of the 2014 winners of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards. I’ll be revealing the fated few at 1:00PM on Saturday at a press conference in the Librarians’ Lounge at BEA in the Javits Center, booth #663. You are all cordially invited but for those who can’t make it, Katrina will be tweeting @HornBook as we go, and the whole shebang will be up on the website Saturday afternoon.

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The post Not so far away appeared first on The Horn Book.

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8. They ARE judging you

idol 300x195 They ARE judging youThe Boston Globe-Horn Book Award judges will be meeting in Boston this weekend to make their decisions. Anyone have any inside dirt? I’ll be announcing the winners on Saturday, May 31st at BEA, 1:00PM in the Librarians’ Lounge at Javits.

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The post They ARE judging you appeared first on The Horn Book.

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9. The Giant - a review

Mary-Todd, Jonathan. 2014. The Giant. Minneapolis: Lerner.
(Advance Reader Copy)


The Giant is the latest in the Bareknuckle series featuring young  fighters in New York City, circa 1870.  Luc is the giant - a hulking, kind, illiterate young man who easily wins all of his bareknuckle fights.  The money he earns at the local fight club provides only shabby room and board with any small profit going to Mr. Chilton, the man who brought him from Canada to New York.  Life, however, is better than it was in Quebec; and Luc is not unhappy until a stranger with boxing kangaroos joins up with Mr. Chilton.  Thoughtful and kind, Luc is uncomfortable seeing the kangaroo, Genghis, forced to fight amidst the drunken crowds at the seedy Woodrat Club.

     One day in Quebec, when Luc was chopping wood, a few of the others dragged a man into camp.  The man had been hunting for furs when snow began to fall, covering some of the traps he'd set.  Soon the man stepped into one of them.  The older men brought him indoors before he could bleed out, but it took five of them together to pry the trap loose.
     Genghis's fight the night before worked like a trap on Luc.  Each thought of it was painful, but he could not shake the memory.  He had felt the drain throughout the morning, and he felt it in his room.
Unaccustomed to making decisions on his own, Luc's conscience finally compels him to act independently.

Bareknuckle is a "hi-lo" series, aimed at older, struggling or reluctant readers. There is an art to writing prose that appeals to young adults but needs only a minimal mastery of reading and vocabulary. Jonathan Mary-Todd capably handles the "hi-lo" genre.  Readers will be rewarded with a compelling story of self-determination and a taste of New York history.

For teachers:
  • Pages: 104
  • Reading Level: 4
  • Interest Level: 6-12
  • Ages: 11-18
  • ATOS Quiz #: 163032
  • ATOS AR Points: 2.00
  • ATOS: 4.90
  • Lexile Level: 760
On a related topic, check out this article, "Why Aren't Teens Reading Like They Used To?" 
Hi-lo books can be an option for the teen who doesn't read because he cannot read. As librarians and teachers, we should always have them on hand.

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10. #557 – Larry and Friends by Nat Jaspar & Carla Torres

Larry&Friends-CoverLarry and Friends

written by Nat Jaspar

created and illustrated by Carla Torres

Tangerine Books    3/01/2014

978-1-62847-473-2

Age 7+       48 pages

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“Larry and Friends is a captivating story about immigration and integration told in both English and Spanish language versions. The protagonist, Larry the Dog, is a juggler from Brooklyn and his friends are a diverse set of animals from all over the world. The story recounts why the characters end up relocating to New York City, how they became friends with Larry and how life has taught them a thing or two.”

Opening

“Every day should be a happy day. At least that’s what Larry the dog thinks.”

The Story

Today is Larry’s birthday. All of his friends, from all over the world, arrive to celebrate. Living in New York has given him the  opportunity to meet and befriend so many creatures that are both interesting  and unique in both body and spirit. As Larry is making last minute preparations for his birthday celebration, the doorbell rings. “Ringadingadong!” Who could that be this early?

It is Magda, the Polish Pig. Magda is Larry’s partner, very good at organizing, and she should be able to help Larry get all his last minute decorations ready for the party. Not long after, “Ringadingadong!” Henrick, the Irish Hare has arrived bearing a birthday gift for Larry: a special song he wrote just for Larry. Henrick is fond of craic, which means having a fun time with good conversation. All through the evening the doorbell rings, “Ringadingadong!” New and old friends from near and far show up at Larry’s doorstep, all with a unique skill, family background, and a gift for Larry. The reader learns about each guest, barely finishing before the doorbell rings, “Ringadingadong!”

Review

Larry and Friends is a fast moving introduction to some amazing and definitely unique characters, all Larry’s friends, all ready to celebrate his birthday. Each character has a unique story relating to finding their way to New York and the job they do—most all are in the entertainment industry in one way or another.

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Cecilia, the Peruvian Llama, was destined to be sheered her entire life for the benefit of the local artisans, who created things from her wool. Not willing to endure such a hard life Cecelia jumped the fence, and kept running until she reached New York, never looking back. Now she sings at the club Silencio and wears fancy clothes, none of which are made of llama wool by Peruvian artisans.

Gugu, the African Zebra is a grass expert. With only one male zebra—one stallion—allowed per family, Gugu had to leave his home. He decided to go where no other zebra as ever gone—New York City. He is now the lead percussionist at the Apollo Theater. As with the other guests, Gugu has a motto that keeps him going. For Gugu, it is, “Aim high. Look how well it worked for me!” Also very superstitious, Gugu knocks on wood.

Twenty-one anthropomorphic animals, including Larry, gather in a small apartment in New York. Everyone has gathered to celebrate Larry, but in his or her own way have celebrated themselves. The illustrations have amazing color, are bright, cheerful, and extremely detailed. The illustrated page immediately strikes you with the passion of the artist. My guess is the animals, the illustrations, arrived first and then the story found life.

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Each animal displays his or her talent, origin, or new lifestyle. It is too bad there is not a story involving these characters—all or some—other than an introduction, which is really all Larry and Friends is. The introductions are interesting, some are educational, and all are entertaining, but not in a real story kind of way. After a dozen ringadingadongs, Larry and Friends becomes rather tedious.

Kids can still learn a lot about immigration, friendship, and family. More than that is the spirit each character exudes that has kept them on top of his or her world, happy, motivated, and philosophical. Many of the character’s life mottos are worth repeating. Here are three:

“All knowledge is worthless, unless it is shared.” ~ Bernard, the French Gargoyle

“Where there is adversity, there is opportunity.” ~ Rimshi, the Tibetan Yak

“The important thing is always to be yourself, no matter who stares at you” ~ Laila, the Iranian Cat

The story, as told in the first page, is a birthday party, but readers are not invited to the party. Readers get the guest list. As unique and interesting as these introductions to Larry’s friends may be, they do not amount to a real story. The running theme of a birthday party holds these individuals together. The real story begins and ends with each new character. After all 20 are present, have told their story, and given Larry a gift, the actual celebration begins with food and drink, birthday cake and whatever else a group of interesting people with varied backgrounds do at such gatherings. When the party begins, the book abruptly ends. The reader is not invited to the actual party. Seems unkind.

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LARRY AND FRIENDS. Text copyright © 2014 by Nat Jaspar. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Carla Torres. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Tangerine Books, New York, NY.

For a younger interpretation of Larry and Friends, check out Erik’s review at This Kid Reviews Books HERE.

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Learn more about Larry and Friends HERE.

Buy a copy of Larry and Friends at Amazon—B&N—Tangerine Booksyour local bookstore.

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Meet the author, Nat Jaspar, at facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/natjaspar

Meet the creator and illustrator, Carla Torres, at her website:  http://www.carlatorres.com/

Find Larry and Friends at the Tangerine Books website:  http://www.larry-and-friends.com/

 

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larry and friends


Filed under: 4stars, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Picture Book Tagged: anthropomorphised animals, Carla Torres, children's book reviews, friendship, Immigration, life mottos, Nat Jaspar, New York City, Tangerine Books, the melting pot

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11. Window into the last unknown place in New York City

New York City, five boroughs boasting nine million people occupying an ever-expanding concrete  jungle. The industrial hand has touched almost every inch of the city, leaving even the parks over manicured and uncomfortably structured. There is, however, a lesser known corner  that has been uncharacteristically left to regress to its natural state. North Brother Island, a small sliver of land situated off the southern coast of the Bronx, once housed Riverside Hospital, veteran housing, and ultimately a drug rehabilitation center for recovering heroin addicts. In the 1960s the island, once full with New Yorkers, became deserted and nature has been slowly swallowing the remaining structures ever since. Christopher Payne, the photographer behind North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City, was able to access the otherwise prohibited to the public island, and document the incredible phenomenon of the gradual destruction of man’s artificial structures.



North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City: Photographs by Christopher Payne, A History by Randall Mason, and Essay by Robert Sullivan (A Fordham University Press Publication). Christopher Payne, a photographer based in New York City, specializes in the documentation of America’s vanishing architecture and industrial landscape. Trained as an architect, he has a natural interest in how things are purposefully designed and constructed, and how they work. Randall Mason is Associate Professor and Chair of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design. He worked previously at the Getty Conservation Institute, University of Maryland, and Rhode Island School of Design. Robert Sullivan is the author of numerous books, including The Meadowlands: WildernessAdventures at the Edge of a CityRats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City’s Most Unwanted InhabitantsThe Thoreau You Don’t Know: The Father of Nature Writers on the Importance of Cities, Finance, and Fooling AroundA Whale Hunt, and, most recently, My American Revolution. His stories and essays have been published in magazines such asNew YorkThe New Yorker, and A Public Space. He is a contributing editor to Vogue.

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12. Musical City: Tito Puente, Mambo King - Rey del Mambo

Tito Puente Mambo KingTitle: Tito Puente, Mambo King/Tito Puente, Rey del Mambo
Author: Monica Brown
Illustrator: Rafael López
Publ. date: March 3, 2013
Publisher: Rayo/Harper Collins

Tito Puente, the Mambo King, was born in New York City to Puerto Rican parents and went on to become one of the most important musicians and composers in Latino musical history.  Tito Puente, Mambo King/Tito Puente, Rey del Mambo tells the story of Puente's life in a straight-forward tale from the time when he was a small child banging out catchy rhythms on pots and pans through his time in the Navy, at Julliard, all the way to the end of his career when he was recognized with 5 Grammys.

The text, which itself seems to sway to the beat of a mambo is in both English and Spanish, a tribute to Puente's heritage, but there is no sprinkling of Spanish words amongst the English text as one sometimes finds in bilingual books. Brown focuses primarily on general facts about Puente without getting into a lot specifics, but they are the types of events that young kids will enjoy hearing about: his love of dancing, his wish to be a bandleader, the sounds of the instruments.  My sons loved the repeated rhythmic phrases like "¡Tum Tica! ¡Tac Tic! ¡Tum Tica!  ¡Tom Tom!" at the beginning and end of the story.

López has created vibrant illustrations which fly across each full two page spread. A fun note in the copyright section indicates he used "acrylic paint that comes in recycled salsa jars from Mexico." Those swirling, spicy orange, red and brown colors of the salsa that used to inhabit those jars bring Puente's musical salsa to life. The city is ever present; skyscrapers and apartment buildings are colorful browns, purples and yellow, with windows always lit up as if constantly full of life.

This is a short biography. Older children who want to know more detail about Puente's life can read a biographical note in the back. I think the book is best used as a springboard to introduce kids to Latin Jazz. I would encourage you to listen to some of Puente's music (or watch a video like the one below) after reading the book.

I've read a lot of jazz-themed books but this is one of the few that is specific to Latin jazz. I encourage you to read it with your music-loving kids.

Want More?
The same team wrote and illustrated the bilingual My Name is Celia/Me llamo Celia : The Life of Celia Cruz/la vida de Celia Cruz.
Visit Monica Brown's website.
Visit Rafael Lopez' website.
Watch this video of Puente from 1965:


Big Kid says: He sounds like a great musician.
Litte Kid says: Can you still see his sticks?

Disclosure: Links to Amazon are affiliate links. Purchases made through links may result in my receiving a (very) small commission, at no extra cost to you. I was given a copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

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13. Signed By: Zelda, by Kate Feiffer, 232 pp, RL 4

SIGNED BY ZELDA is now in paperback! Kate Feiffer's Signed by: Zelda (with wonderful cover art by Kelly Murphy) is her second novel for young readers and comes on the heels of nine pictures books, four of which are illustrated by her father, the great Jules Feiffer. Besides her own great track record as a children's book author and her wonderful lineage, I was intrigued by Signed by:

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14. P.S. Be Eleven, by Rita Williams Garcia, 274 pp, RL 4

<!-- START INTERCHANGE - P S BE ELEVEN -->if(!window.igic__){window.igic__={};var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script");s.src="http://iangilman.com/interchange/js/widget.js";d.body.appendChild(s);} <!-- END INTERCHANGE --> With her new book, P.S. Be Eleven, Rita Williams-Garcia picks up where  her multiple-award winning One Crazy Summer, began and ended - with the Gaither sisters,

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15. Otis Dooda : Strange But True, by Ellen Potter, illustrated by David Heatley, 240pp, RL 3

SEND ME PICTURES OF YOUR CHILD'S LEGO CREATIONS AT books4yourkids@gmail.com TO SHARE IN THIS REVIEW! FIRST PHOTO RECEIVED WINS A SIGNED COPY OF:  Otis Dooda : Strange But True! <!-- START INTERCHANGE - OTIS DOODA STRANGE BUT TRUE -->if(!window.igic__){window.igic__={};var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script");s.src="http://iangilman.com/interchange/js/widget.js";

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16. City of Orphans by Avi, 350 pp, RL 5

City of Orphans is now in paperback! While I have read a handful of books by the prolific, Newbery Award winning author Avi, his most recent book, City of Orphans, is the first I have reviewed here! In 1991 Avi won the Newbery Honor for his book The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, a unique work of historical fiction in which the twelve year old Charlotte goes from a proper young girl to

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17. Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters, 272 pages, RL 5

First reviewed on 9/24/10, Lesley L.L. Blume's book was a wonderful discovery to me, the kind of book I know the 11-year-old-me would have loved with Cornelia and Virginia becoming fast friends. As it is, I recommend this book to young readers whenever I can. A magical, moving story that travels the world. When I was a kid and reading chapter books some thirty years ago, a book like

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18. Gods of Manhattan by Scott Mebus, 340 pp, RL 5

First reviewed in 2011, Gods of Manhattan is very much like Wildwood in that it is a fantasy squarely set in America as well as a fantasy that presents a world within a world. This time, there is a ghost world of historical figures running New York City alongside the flash and blood politicians. Excellent fantasy and adventure and really great history as well! It's really hard not to pick up

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19. Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani, 297 pp, RL 4

Same Sun Here is now in paperback! The Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani was impossible to put down and frequently had me in tears. I can't imagine what it must be like to be one of the librarians who sit on the Newbery panel each year, but as I read The Same Sun Here I kept thinking, "This book deserves a medal. This is exactly the kind of book those librarians seem to love."

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20. Invisible Inkling: The Whoopie Pie War, written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Harry Bliss, 151 pp, RL 3

<!-- START INTERCHANGE - INVISIBLE INKLING WHOOPIE PIE WAR -->if(!window.igic__){window.igic__={};var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script");s.src="http://iangilman.com/interchange/js/widget.js";d.body.appendChild(s);} <!-- END INTERCHANGE --> Last year I reviewed Dangerous Pumpkins, the second book in Emily Jenkins' Invisible Inkling series, illustrated by the marvelous Harry Bliss.

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21. The Time Fetch by Amy Herrick, 307 pp, RL 4

The Time Fetch by Amy Herrick, besides being a fantastic book, also happens to be one of the first books to be published by the brand new imprint Algonquin Young Readers. I want to take a paragraph here to tell you about Algonquin Young Readers, the recently created arm of Algonquin Books, publisher of acclaimed best selling books for adults such as Like Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.

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22. Burlesque in New York: The writing of Gypsy Rose Lee

By Noralee Frankel


In celebration of the anniversary of the first burlesque show in New York City on 12 September 1866, I reread a fun murder mystery, The G-String Murders, by Gypsy Rose Lee. “Finding dead bodies scattered all over a burlesque theater isn’t the sort of thing you’re likely to forget. Not quickly, anyway,” begins the story.

The editors at Simon & Schuster liked the setting in a burlesque theater and appreciated Gypsy’s natural style, with its unpretentious and casual tone. Her knowledge of burlesque enabled her to intrigue readers, who were as interested in life within a burlesque theater as in the mystery. Providing vivid local color, the novel describes comedic sketches, strip routines, costumes, and the happenings backstage. In a typical scene in the book, Gypsy muses about her strip act: “The theater had been full of men, slouched down in their seats. Their cigarettes glowed in the dark and a spotlight pierced through the smoke, following me as I walked back and forth.” Describing her band with precision, she wrote, “Musicians in their shirt sleeves, with racing forms in their pockets, played Sophisticated Lady while I flicked my pins in the tuba and dropped my garter belt into the pit.”

Gypsy worked as hard on her writing as her stripping, and The G-String Murders became a best seller. “People think that just because you’re a stripper you don’t have much else except a body. They don’t credit you with intelligence,” Gypsy later complained. “Maybe that’s why I write.”

Gypsy Rose Lee, 1956

Gypsy Rose Lee, full-length portrait, seated at typewriter, facing slightly right, 1956. Photo by Fred Palumbo of the World Telegram & Sun. Public rights given to Library of Congress. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The G-String Murders briefly describes Gypsy’s career as a burlesque queen at a fictitious theater, based on those owned by the Minsky family, in New York City. In the book someone strangles a stripper, La Verne, with her G-string. The police turn up an abundance of suspects, including Louie, La Verne’s gangster boyfriend; Gypsy; and Gypsy’s boyfriend, Biff Brannigan, a comic working in the club. After someone tries to frame Biff by placing the lethal G-string in his pocket, he aids the police in solving the crime. He’s also concerned that the police suspect Gypsy and he wants to clear her by finding the actual murderer. After deducing the identity of the murderer, Biff proves his theory by suggesting that Gypsy act as bait and remains in the theater alone to tempt the murderer to strike again.

More than just a page-turner, Gypsy’s novel stresses the camaraderie among the women. Sharing a dressing room, they throw parties with everyone contributing to buy drinks and food. The women joke, drink together, and confide in each other. The women also sympathize with each other over man problems and working conditions. Gypsy describes the strippers’ dressing room with a complete lack of sentimentality. The cheap theater owner is indifferent to the disgusting condition of the stripper’s dressing room toilet. To help the women, the burlesque comics pool their meager resources to buy the strippers a new toilet.

Gypsy expressed her conviction in the importance of organized labor through a character in The G-String Murders: Jannine, one of the strippers recently elected secretary to the president of the Burlesque Artists’ Association. When the strippers receive a new toilet, the candy seller suggested having a non-union plumber install it to save money. She refuses, forbidding any non-union member to enter the women’s dressing room. She snapped, “Plumbers got a union. We got a union. When we don’t protect each other that’s the end of the unions.” She reminded the other strippers of conditions before they joined a union, when they performed close to a dozen shows without additional compensation.

In the novel, Gypsy provided Jannine with another opportunity to talk about solidarity among burlesque performers and the unequal class structure in the United States. In a tirade against the police over the treatment of the strippers during the murder investigation, Jannine raged that the performers, both the strippers and comedians, might squabble but they were loyal and do not inform on each other. When a police sergeant tried to interrupt her, she retorted: “It’s the social system of the upper classes that gives you guys the right to browbeat the workers!”

Gypsy peddled the G-String Murders in the same clever ways that she publicized herself. In a prepublication letter to her publishers, she offered to “do my specialty in Macy’s window to sell a book. If you prefer something a little more dignified, I’ll make it Wanamaker’s window.” In an interview, she joked that if people did not know her in bookstores, she would remove an earring and ask, “Now, do you recognize me?”

As an added bonus, Gypsy put a lot of herself into this book, so the reader learns quite a bit about her burlesque work life, her sense of humor, her political beliefs, and sense of independence. Spending time with this mystery is a perfect way to celebrate a New York City burlesque anniversary.

Noralee Frankel is author of Stripping Gypsy: The Life of Gypsy Rose Lee. She recently co-edited the U.S. History in Global Perspective for National History Day. Dr. Frankel is a historical consultant and can be reached through LinkedIn or Facebook.

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23. #515 – Nate Rocks the City by Karen Pokras Toz

Today is a rather long post. Eleven-year-old Nate Rockledge, his older sister Abby, and his once best friend Lisa Crane are here for a short interview followed by a review of the new–and the final–Nate Rocks book: Nate Rocks the City.        Let’s get started.

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Today Kid Lit Reviews welcomes Nathan Rockledge (aka Nate Rocks), his older sister, Abby, and his know-it-all classmate, Lisa Crane. They are all characters in the Nate Rocks series, the newest being Nate Rocks the CitySince this is the last book, I thought it would be fun if you each talked about your favorite moment from the series. Who wants to go first?

Lisa Crane :  Oh!! Me! Me!

Yes of course, Lisa, go ahead.

Lisa : Well … In Nate Rocks the Boat, there was this scene where Nathan was leaving for summer camp and his parents were giving him a going away party…

Nathan: Oh no! Really? Do we have to bring that up here?

Lisa: Hey! She said I could talk about my favorite moment from any of the books, right?

Nathan, please, Lisa, cont–

Lisa: So anyway, we were playing horseshoes – Nathan and me – and of course Nathan was missing them all, while I was getting them all. So I kindly offered to show Nathan how it’s done, only he got a little too close to me, and BAM the next thing you know, he’s on the ground crying like a big old baby. He says it’s because I hit him, but I think it’s because I beat him at horseshoes.

Nathan: You gave me a black eye!!

 Abby: It was awesome.

 Nathan: Can we move on?

Sure, Nathan. How abou–

 Abby: Ooh – I have one!

 You characters sure are, um, ready. Abby?

 Abby: So in Nate Rocks the World, Nathan was trying to get back at me for – well that really doesn’t matter – anyway, he put food coloring in my shampoo bottle, but Dad wound up using it instead of me, and he wound up with PURPLE hair! HAHAHAHA! It was so funny, and Nathan got in so much trouble.

 Nathan: You got in trouble, too.

 Abby: Not as much as you though – it was classic.

 Nathan: So far, this interview isn’t quite as much fun as I thought it was going to be.

 I’m sorry, Nathan. You’re the star, so what is your favorite moment?

 Nathan: Hmmm, that’s such a hard question because I had so many great moments in every book! I really did love going to New York City in this last book though. I got to save the city from aliens, I jousted with knights in the museum, and the last scene – well let’s just say if you’ve read Nate Rocks the World, I had a chance to go full circle. I don’t really want to give anymore away than that. Overall though, the entire series was a blast. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did – even the parts with Abby and Lisa.

 Lisa: “Hey!”

Abby: “Not funny, Nate.”

Nathan: Thanks for reading and thanks for having us on your blog today!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

rocks city.

Nate Rocks the City

by Karen Pokras Toz

Grand Daisy Press    2/14/2014

978-0-9848608-9- 0

Age 7 to 12     142 pages

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Hey New York! Are you ready for Nate Rocks? Fifth grader Nathan Rockledge has been counting down the days—and meals—until his class trip to New York City. Now that the big event is finally here, he can barely stand the excitement. After all, isn’t this what being a fifth grader is all about? Oh sure, his Mom is one of the chaperones, his annoying sister Abby is tagging along, and that know-it-all classmate, Lisa, will be there as well. However, none of that matters. Not when he’ll be with his best friends, Tommy and Sam.

While seeing the sights, his teacher wants his class to take notes, but Nathan has other ideas. With paper and pencil in hand, Nathan prefers to doodle, transforming himself into Nate Rocks, boy hero. Amid ninja pigeons to fend off, aliens to attack, and the baseball game of the century to save, will Nate Rocks be able to save the day one more time?

Opening

“The piercing sound of the house alarm rips through the neighborhood as our car pulls into the driveway. ‘Nate! Come quick!’ Mrs. Jensen screams over the sound of the siren.”

The Story

Nate’s fifth grade class heads to New York City for their class trip. The chaperones include Nate’s mom and her best friend, Mrs. Crane, mother of the most annoying girl in the entire world—Lisa. Thanks to a Philadelphia Philly baseball player, the kids are getting two extra days and tickets the Phillies versus Yankees baseball game at the end of their trip. Nate counts his days by meals, starting with eleven meals. Nate savors every New York meal, even in the hotel cafeteria.

The group goes to Central Park, The City Zoo, the Statue of Liberty, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art before the final trip to Yankee Stadium. The last two days of the trip, Nate’s dad and older sister join the group. Mrs. Cogin, Nate’s teacher, gives each middle grader a journal to write notes about their trip as reference for an essay they will write later. Not much for words, Nate tends to draw his notes. Several times during the trip, Nate envisions himself as Nate Rocks, a hero to those around him. As Nate begins drawing the area around him changes. People are gone or settings change. Always, someone grabs him and an exchange like this occurs,

“Nate! Thank goodness we found you!”

“Me? Why me?”

“Why because you’re Nate Rocks, of course!”

Nate does whatever needs done, such as stop robotic birds from destroying New York City. The urgent task that only Nate Rocks can accomplished is competed and then this same adoring thanks occurs,

“You did it, Nate! You saved me/us!”

Finally, someone sharply brings Nate back to reality, reminding him that he is holding up the group or just annoying his mother. The last day of Nate’s trip to New York City culminates with a baseball game, the Philadelphia Phillies against the New York Yankees. Nate Rockledge goes out in Nate Rocks fashion one last time.

Review

Nate Rocks the City ends the Nate Rocks series. At age ten, Nate rocked the world and the boat and at age eleven, he rocked the school and now the city. In each one Nate envisions himself a hero, his current surroundings melting into a different scene and situations only an imaginative eleven-year-old boy can outwit. Nate’s biggest problem is fifth grader Lisa Crane. Lisa and Nate have spent a lot of time together as they grew up, thanks to their mothers being best friends. Nate sees Lisa as annoying and he is correct.

Ms. Toz writes like a pro. Punctuation errors, capitalization, spelling, and typos are all missing from Nate Rocks the City. One look at the credit page explains why the text is clean. Ms. Toz hired an editor from a company called There for You. Nate’s last story flows well from one scene to the next. His creativeness shines and makes his drawings come alive in his mind, on his pad, and for the reader. Ms. Toz thoroughly researched New York City and its sites before writing Nate Rocks the City. From the exhibits at The Metropolitan Museum of Art to the shops in Times Square, she has the details.

It is odd that both dad and Abby, Nick’s fifteen-year-old sister, would join the group midway through the fifth grade trip, like it were actually a family vacation. I suppose it was a way of getting all the usual characters into the story and for that, it is hard to place blame. Dad working as another chaperone at least fit nicely into the story, when he wasn’t getting the boys lost in the city, but Abby really made no sense.

All through the story—and in every Nate Rocks series—Nate envisions himself the hero of one situation or another. It is easy to know when Nick goes off on one of his tangents! You will find an exclamation point at the end of nearly every sentence! Nick sees these adventures as something exciting! At Yankee Stadium, Nate finally becomes that hero, exclamations not needed. I like the idea of Nate behind what happened, but the scene did not stand up. I would love to explain why, but it is the ending and I have no right to ruin it for anyone.

Nate Rocks the City is an enjoyable story with terrific imagination, too perfect annoying mom behavior, and a giant sense of fun kids will enjoy. The story is a fast read. Not wanting to leave the story helps this along. Kids will love Nate Rocks the City, whether as a fan of the series or a first time reader. Nate knows how to put on a show. Like the others, Nate Rocks the City can stand on its own, but read in order is more fun as Nate gets better with each book. The series is perfect for boys. Even young reluctant readers will find the Nate Rocks series worth keeping. I am sorry to see Nick leave us, but he does so in fine Nate fashion. Nate does indeed Rock the City!

Check out the Nate Rocks Series HERE.

Buy Nate Rocks the City at AmazonB&Nauthor websiteyour neighborhood bookstore.

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Meet the author, Karen Pokras Toz at her website:  www.karentoz.com

Find other great books at Grand Daisy Press website: http://www.granddaisypress.com/ 

You can also find Karen Pokras Toz here:

Blog: http://kptoz.blogspot.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/karenptoz

Twitter: www.twitter.com/karentoz

Amazon: http://bit.ly/amznNRTC

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/bnNRTCity

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5009570.Karen_Pokras_Toz

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NATE ROCKS THE CITY. Test copyright © 2014 by Karen Pokras Toz.

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ALSO BY KAREN POKRAS TO

#1 Nate Rocks the World

#1 Nate Rocks the World

#2 Nate Rocks the Boat

#2 Nate Rocks the Boat

#3 Nate Rocks the School

#3 Nate Rocks the School

 

 

on sale! 99¢ through March 21, 2014

 

Millicent Marie Is Not My Name

Millicent Marie Is Not My Name

Pie and Other Brilliant Ideas

Pie and Other Brilliant Ideas

 

 

 

 

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nate rocks city

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Filed under: 4stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Digital Book, Series Tagged: chapter books, children's book reviews, fifth grade school trip, Grand Daisy Press, Karen Pokras Toz, Lady Liberty, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, reluctant readers, Times Square

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24. A true Dutch treat

Fairy Godfather A true Dutch treatI hope you jumped on those Sutherland Lecture tickets yesterday because they are gone baby gone–I understand that even the waiting list is full. A big fan of John Green’s books, I am nevertheless nervous about being in an auditorium filled with John Green Girls, beautiful, complicated and ka-razy creatures that they are. Or do I infer too much? Come say hello–I’ll be the flustered chaperone in the corner.

In the meantime I am off to White Plains today to visit Brian Kenney’s library and speak to the Youth Services Section of  NYLA tomorrow morning. Then a weekend with our lovely Dutch friends in Rye, taking the adorable Julia, Mads, and Lizze to see Matilda on Broadway, for what else are fee peetvaders for?

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25. Poetry Friday: “Broadway Moon Again” from A Full Moon is Rising

marilyn singerMarilyn Singer is the author of more than eighty-five children’s books, including many poetry collections. Her works have won numerous honors, including the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award Honor and the Orbis Pictus Honor. A Full Moon is Rising is a collection of poems that bring readers on a whirlwind tour of the world to discover an amazing collection of full moon celebrations, beliefs, customs, and facts. You can find out more about Marilyn Singer and her work on her website here.

Since April is National Poetry Month, we asked author Marilyn Singer to tell us a little bit more about what inspired her to write A Full Moon is Rising:

I’ve always been entranced by the moon—especially when it’s full.  In NYC, where I live, it can sometimes be hard to see because of the tall buildings.  But one night in Midtown Manhattan (and many times thereafter), I saw it peeking out between two skyscrapers.  I’m a big theatre-goer, and I had the image of that moon being an actor who’d been waiting to make a grand appearance.  That inspired “Broadway Moon” and “Broadway Moon Again,” the opening and closing poems of A Full Moon is Rising.

broadway moon again poem

“Broadway Moon Again”

“Broadway Moon Again”

New York City, USA

On the sidewalk, the audience of one

is now ten.

“What you looking at, girl?” they ask.

“Oh, the moon,” she says. “Just the moon.”

But what a moon!

Between the skyscrapers, it takes a bow.

“Encore in one month!” it proclaims.

“Admission is always free.”

Further Reading:

Poetry Friday: Andrea Cheng & Etched in Clay

Marilyn Singer on how to read a poem out loud


Filed under: guest blogger Tagged: A Full Moon is Rising, children's books, full moon, Marilyn Singer, National Poetry Month, New York City, poetry

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