Bats at the Library by Brian Lies Another inky evening’s here- The air is cool and calm and clear. Can it be true? Oh, can it be? Yes! Bat Night at the library! Join the free-for-all fun at the public library with these book-loving bats! Shape shadows on walls, frolic in the water fountain, and …Add a Comment
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Blog: abadcaseofbooks (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Bob Shea, Brian Lies, Carmen Agra Deedy, Judy Sierra, Marc Brown, Michael P. White, picture books, school-age, storytime, bats, books, dinosaurs, dragons, libraries, national library week, reading, wild animals, Add a tag
Blog: Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Agatha's Feather Bed, Carmen Agra Deedy, Springmingle, Martina the Beautiful Cockroach, Children's fiction, writers' conferences, blog tour, SCBWI, picture books, author interviews, Southern writers, Add a tag
Blog: A Fuse #8 Production (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Uncategorized, 2011 animal fiction, 2011 middle grade fiction, 2011 reviews, animal stories, Barry Moser, Carmen Agra Deedy, middle grade animal fiction, middle grade fiction, Peachtree Press, Randall Wright, Add a tag
Animal stories. Done well and you get something like Charlotte’s Web or The Incredible Journey. Done poorly and you cannot name for me a more annoying genre. Some days it seems to me that every great children’s author eventually tries their hand at the style to varying degrees of success. Burned one time too many I’ve taken to just avoiding books with animals in them altogether unless there’s something that seems to be extraordinary about them. So when The Cheshire Cheese Cat came into my possession, I was inclined to put it aside. Then a friend and an editor both assured me it was lovely. And then there was the fact that Carman Agra Deedy, author of such great picture books as 14 Cows for America had co-authored it. Finally, it’s not every day that the great Barry Moser illustrates a new work of middle grade fiction. Add in the fact that there’s a Charles Dickens connection and I cracked. I read it. And reader, it was worth the reading. Not that it convinced me to rethink my animals-in-books opinions, but at least I may be a hair more open minded in the future . . . maybe.
The Cheshire Cheese Inn is a place of secrets. It seems that anyone who works or lives there has one. For Skilley the alleycat, his is a shame that has caused him to strike up a deal with the local mouse population that haunt the inn’s famous cheese production room. For Pip, his mouse friend, it has to do with the mysterious creature that lives amongst the mice, insisting on its own freedom. For the cook it’s a secret about the cheese, and for the barmaid the same. Only the famous writer Charles Dickens, a man that patronizes the inn, seems secret free. And yet, he too harbors a difficulty and a shame. It’ll take Skilley’s deal with Pip to set the spark that causes all these secrets to come to light, and it may possibly save the very monarchy of England as well!
As with any book starring the furry, it all comes down to personality. If you don’t believe in the characters then you haven’t anything to connect to. Here, the critters are infinitely interesting. Pip’s oversized vocabulary makes for a nice side element in the tale. If Skilley comes off as a kind of hired muscle, Pip is the brains behind the operation. From his first utterance of words like “sepulcher” and “perpetual internment” you can see that he is a cut above the general mouse population. Interestingly, once Pip start throwing out one hundred dollar words, the book follows suit. I caught words and phrases like “stygian darkness” bandied about without comment. It doesn’t grate, though, and such words and phrases are understandable within context. By the way, I just referred to Skilley as a kind of thug, but in fact there are depths to him. I was particularly fond of a moment when Pip mentions that his family died in a cleaver-related acAdd a Comment
Blog: Book Dads (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Book Review, Multicultural Lit, Preschool Through Second Grade (Age 4-8), Third Through Sixth Grade (Age 9-12), 14 Cows For America, book dads, Carmen Agra Deedy, Thomas Gonzalez, Wilson Kimeli Naimoyah, Add a tag
Review by Chris Singer
About the author:
Author Carmen Agra Deedy was born in Havana and immigrated to Georgia with her family during the aftermath of the Cuban Revolution. She has been writing and traveling around the world telling stories for almost twenty years. Her books have received numerous awards and honors. She lives in Georgia. www.carmendeedy.com and www.beautifulmartina.com.
About the illustrator:
Illustrator Thomas Gonzalez, also born in Havana, moved as a child to the United States, where he became friends with Carmen Deedy. An artist and painter, he directed advertising campaigns for such clients as Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, NASCAR, the NFL, and McDonald’s. Gonzalez lives in Georgia.
About Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah:
Collaborator Wilson Kimel Naiyomah, a native of Kenya, received an MS in molecular biology from Stanford University in 2008. He was awarded a Rotary International World Peace Fellowship and began studies in peace and conflict resolution in Australia in spring 2010.
About the book:
In June of 2002, a very unusual ceremony begins in a far-flung village in western Kenya.
An American diplomat is surrounded by hundreds of Maasai people. A gift is about to be bestowed on the American men, women, and children, and he is there to accept it. The gift is as unsought and unexpected as it is extraordinary.
A mere nine months have passed since the September 11 attacks, and hearts are raw. Tears flow freely from American and Maasai as these legendary warriors offer their gift to a grieving people half a world away.
Word of the gift will travel news wires around the globe. Many will be profoundly touched, but for Americans, this selfless gesture will have deeper meaning still. For a heartsick nation, the gift of fourteen cows emerges from the choking dust and darkness as a soft light of hope and friendship.
My take on the book:
My wife and I lived 40 miles away from the World Trade Center. Like many others, we have both been profoundly affected by this atrocity. While our daughter is too young to be told the story of September 11th, some day she will and the first book I’m going to show her about it will be 14 Cows For America.
This is a beautiful book on so many levels. Not only is it a beautifully illustrated and touching story, but there’s so many wonderful lessons for young readers. It powerfully puts forth the message that all of humanity is one and when one of us suffers through such an atrocity, we all truly suffer as one. We are all brothers and sisters and to see our brothers and sisters of the Massai in Kenya grieve together with all of us is very powerful.
On another level, I appreciate how this book dispels myths many may have about people in Africa. I loved reading Wilson Kimeli Naimoyah’s afterword where he discusses getting a scholarship to come to the U.S. and study medicine. Naimoyah is proof positive that everyone has the potential to be who they want to be. Wilson’s visit back home and the book’s description of the Massai people also shows that just because a culture lives much simpler than us, doesn’t mean they are any less capable of being an intelligent and wonderful people.
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Blog: Books 'n' stories (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Aaron Shepard, Carmen Agra Deedy, Franny Billingsley, Chime, storytellers, book reviews, Add a tag
Many storytellers become authors - and sometimes authors become storytellers. It sort of follows - spoken words, written down; written words, spoken out loud. Here are the websites of two storyteller/authors:
Aaron Shepard: I don't know which came first for Aaron - out loud storytelling or paper telling - but Aaron has enriched folktale collections for quite a while. I linked to his storytelling page where he offers some of his own stories to other tellers. Please read any copyright requirements before taking these stories to the public. But wait, there's more - more, more, more! - on Aaron's pages, including tips for storytellers, resources for teachers and parents and even Reader's Theater scripts! Thanks so much, Aaron.
|This face is made for storytelling|
Carmen Agra Deedy! Her latest book, The Cheshire Cheese Cat, written with Randall Wright and illustrated by Barry Moser, was one of my favorite books of the year. Carmen started doing commentaries for All Things Considered. I remember listening to her tell a story about trying to recreate one of her grandmother's dishes - rice pudding - as I drove home from work. She is a featured teller and speaker at storytelling conferences and literacy related events. She is a HUGE supporter of libraries, too.
Chime by Franny Billingsley. Since I just finished reading this last night, this book did not make my list of favorites..but it certainly IS one of my favorite books of the year. It was also a hard book to read, because the narrator and main character, has trouble separating her feelings from her story. Briony's ramblings make the story so diffused that the reader spends a lot of time shoving aside pieces of emotional lint. But these incomplete memories and moods create an atmosphere of dread. Don't go back into the Swamp, Briony! Listen to your dead Stepmother's words, Briony. DON'T listen to your dead Stepmother's words, Briony. Watch out for Rose - in more than one way. Can you trust Rose? Can you trust Eldric? Can you trust yourself?
In an imagined early 20th century English town, on the edge of the Swamp, 17-year-old Briony lives in the Parsonage with her distant father and her twin sister, Rose. Rose is "different". We'd likely say she had high-functioning autism, today. And Briony knows that Rose's differences are Briony's fault - because her dead Stepmother told her so. Her dead Stepmother told Briony many things, many awful, sad, confusing things - and promised to protect Briony Display Comments Add a Comment
Blog: A Garden of Books (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Carmen Agra Deedy, World War II, Holocaust, Henri Sorensen, Add a tag
When Nazi Germany during World War II invaded Denmark. King Christian X defied the order to fly the Nazi flag. This was resistance against a frightening and powerful Germany. King Christian X was the rallying point for his country. He was a wise and brave king.
I'd never heard this story before. I'd heard little about the country of Denmark during World War II.
It made me wonder if more of the European nations had stood up to Hitler and Nazi Germany, what difference it could have made?
This is a book where more teaching would be needed to the child, explaining about World War II, Holocaust.
It is a large hardcover book.
Every page has watercolor drawings of Danish people on the street, business people, shop owners, children, and animals. There are also war images---this would definitely spark discussion.
At the end of the book is further explanation about Denmark and its stand they took for the Jew's.
Link @ publisher:
Published 2000 by Peachtree Publishers
For ages 8-12
Link for book at Amazon:
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Blog: The Well-Read Child (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: bill wise, bill farnsworth, louis sockalexis, lee and low books, Add a tag
- Author: Bill Wise
- Illustrator: Bill Farnsworth
- Reading level: Ages 9-12
- Hardcover: 32 pages
- Publisher: Lee & Low Books (March 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1584302690
- ISBN-13: 978-1584302698
The year is 1897, and Louis Sockalexis, a baseball player for the Cleveland Spiders is in
Bill Wise’s account of the first acknowledged Native American major league baseball player is nonfiction but reads like a story. We are taken back to Louis’s childhood when he plays his first baseball game and falls in love with the sport. We watch him grow into a man and a powerhouse slugger, and we witness the insults, the stinging words, and the prejudice he faced every day. As I was reading, I found myself feeling anger towards the people, empathy towards Louis, and great excitement as Louis stood at the plate. The sepia tones of Farnsworth’s illustrations take us back to the time period, but I hardly noticed the pictures as I was reading because I was so involved with the story. Much more than a book about baseball, Louis Sockalexis: Native American Baseball Pioneer is a book about determination, hard work, adversity, and acceptance.
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This would be a great pick for a baseball fan or someone who is interested in learning more about famous Native Americans. In addition, it’s a nice book to prompt discussion about prejudice and racism, but I’ll talk more about that tomorrow when discuss reading tips and discussion opportunities.
Blog: The Well-Read Child (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: bill wise, bill farnsworth, louis sockalexis, learning opportunties, lee and low books, Add a tag
Whether you're a parent, teacher, librarian, or anyone else who enjoys reading books with kids, Louis Sockalexis: Native American Baseball Pioneer is a great book that will inspire discussion.
It can be a short conversation or can be expanded into more in-depth learning activities or lessons. Here are just a few ideas.
- Discuss the sport and its most prominent figures, past and present
- Tell your child Jackie Robinson's story who faced similar issues as Louis Sockalexis
- Compare and contrast the game today to the game back then; in the book, there are many obvious differences, both in the text and illustrations
- Talk about your favorite team or players
- If you or your child plays baseball, discuss an important game you or he/she played
- Talk about the Native American culture, their traditions, and the pride they have in their land and people; why was it important for Louis's father to accept him? What impact did Louis's achievements have on his people?
- Discuss a Native American tribe in your area if applicable
- Visit a museum or exhibit that features Native American culture, art, people
- Talk about other famous Native Americans...in the past and present. How are they portrayed in the textbooks and culture?
- Louis was treated poorly because he was a Native American...talk to your child about how he/she felt about this and how they think Louis felt. Talk about his strength and determination.
- What other groups are victims of racism? Discuss the Civil Rights Movement and the Trail of Tears.
- Have they witnessed or experienced racism first-hand? Have you?
- How should you respond when someone makes a racist remark or joke? What should you do if someone is being treated unfairly?
- What is the difference between racism and prejudice? What groups are victims of prejudice?
Blog: PaperTigers (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Eventful World, american library association, Association for Library Services to Children, Carmen Agra Deedy, David Diaz, free downloadable artwork, Michael P. Smith, The Library Dragon, Add a tag
One of the initiatives of the ALA’s Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) is Kids! @ your library. As part of this campaign ALSC provides free, downloadable artwork for libraries to use in promoting their programs and services to kids and families. ALSC Program Officer, Laura Schulte-Cooper tells me that parents and care-givers are also invited to print off this material to use in their own homes as long as it is for non-commercial uses.
Check out the the original artwork that award-winning children’s book illustrator David Diaz has created for this campaign. The full colour mini-posters and bookmarks are lovely! You can also download clip art adapted from Michael P. White’s illustrations in the book The Library Dragon written by Carmen Agra Deedy. With the winter rain and snow just around the corner, we are always looking for indoor activities to keep us busy and these downloadable craft projects like door hangers and coloring pages should help do the trick.
To keep up to date with all the ALSC happenings check out their blog.Add a Comment
Blog: Living the Dream... (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Art, Artists, Events, Librarians Rock!, Library Events, Presentation, Ashley Bryan, Auburn Avenue Research Library, Carmen Agra Deedy, Add a tag
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