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Blog: ACME AUTHORS LINK (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Carnival, Mardi Gras, New Orleans, Add a tag
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Blog: First Book (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Advisory Boards, Book Distributions, Book Recipients, Books & Reading, First Book Supporters, Guest Blog Posts, Volunteers, Brenda Berg, First Book, Glacier National Park, Gump Trip, New Orleans, RV, Add a tag
Today’s blog post is by Brenda Berg, who loaded her family into an RV and spent over half a year traveling across the country. They called their adventure the Gump Trip, and along the way they distributed 6,000 brand-new books to kids in need at local schools and community programs in the First Book network.
Have you ever sat in the carpool lane and dreamed about your next vacation? Last year, I decided to make it a reality. The plan – before my daughter entered middle school– was to go from music lessons and organized sports to something real.
After months of getting things in order, my kids and I set off on an adventure of a lifetime, traveling to 49 states and two Canadian provinces. (We were also joined by an exchange student from Sweden and my husband joined us about once a month.) In seven-and-a-half months, we traveled over 35,000 miles.
Instead of guitar lessons, we visited the Fender guitar factory and attended live concerts. Instead of indoor climbing classes, we climbed in Alaska and hiked in dozens of national parks. Instead of textbooks, we visited dozens of historic and interesting sites. We definitely got real!
Our commitment to ‘return to real’ extended beyond national parks and factory tours. We were also committed to education and service. In order to reach hundreds of children across the country in a real way, we partnered with First Book to give new, high-quality books to kids in need.
Of the 200 stops we made along the way, the six First Book events – where we worked with local First Book volunteers gave away new books to kids in need – were our favorite experiences, ones that will change our lives forever. We gave away over 6,000 books and met with hundreds of children to talk about traveling in our amazing country. The smiles from those children were better than the sunrise over the Grand Canyon (and that’s a sight that is hard to beat!).
Most of us look for ways to give back in our communities, but I encourage people to consider giving back as they travel. There are isolated and other under-supported communities all over America that will benefit and you will gain a whole different perspective on America at the same time. And, just like your efforts at home, you will get back far more than you will give.
Inspired? Visit First Book on the web to find out how you can volunteer or raise funds to help kids in need get the brand-new books that will change their lives.Add a Comment
Blog: Kid Lit Reviews (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: 5stars, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Bremen Town Musicians, Gnarly Dog, Grimm, Henri Sorensen, Jan Huling, middle grade books, New Orleans, Ol’ Bloo Donkey, One-Eyed Lemony Cat, Peachtree PUblishing, picture book reviews, Retirement, Rusty Red Rooster, Add a tag
Ol’ Bloo’s Boogie-Woogie Band and Blues Ensemble by Jan Huling Henri Sorensen, illustrator Peachtree Publishers 5 Stars . Inside Jacket: Ol’ Bloo Donkey has always dreamed of retiring from the cotton field to become a honky-tonk singer. But when he overhears the type of retirement plan Farmer Brown has in mind for him—of the permanent …Add a Comment
Blog: Manga Maniac Cafe (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Harlequin, Romance, KISS, New Orleans, review, Add a tag
Title: The Downfall of a Good Girl
Author: Kimberly Lang
May Contain Spoilers
I struggled with The Downfall of a Good Girl. I never felt a connection with Vivi, the story’s protagonist. She is everything that I am not. She comes from one of New Orleans’ oldest and wealthiest families, she is a former beauty queen, and now she spends her days running an art gallery and volunteering for various charitable causes. I am fortunate to run a brush through my hair and pull it back into a ponytail on a daily basis, so a former pageant competitor was difficult from me to relate to. The plot revolves around the annual Saints and Sinners fund-raising competition, where Vivi is pitted against her childhood nemesis, Connor Mansfield. Connor and Vivi have been at loggerheads forever, and Vivi is dismayed to discover that Connor, now a successful rock star, will be her competition. She had never considered that he would be chosen to be the Sinner, and she’s not happy about it at all. She is extremely competitive, she hates to lose, and for a majority of the book, she is a poor loser just at the thought of losing. If I met her, I don’t think we would ever be buds.
Connor is reeling from a scandal, and though he proves that the gossip about him is false, he’s still reluctant to put himself in that kind of position again. When he meets Vivi again, he thinks he’s safe. He doesn’t even like this woman, and she hates him. Ever since that flash of temper when they were teens and she publically slapped him, they have been like oil and water. What Connor doesn’t know is that Vivi once carried a torch for him, but after realizing that he was only using her to get to know her friend better, she can’t find it in herself to forgive him. Worse, her family and Connor’s are very close, and they have been thrown together since childhood. Forget that gentle, Southern belle non-sense – she doesn’t want to be nice to him, so she usually isn’t.
While I did enjoy the sparks between them, Vivi’s personality grated on me. She determines from the beginning that she is going to win the contest by raising the most money, but when Connor is unveiled as the opposition, she gives up before things even begin. Instead, she charges herself to be a better person than Connor, though even that’s a struggle for her. Why is he back in town, stealing her thunder? This was supposed to be her moment to shine, not Connor’s! This thought process annoyed me, because it is the charity’s moment to shine, and the fact that Vivi was allowed to participate should have been honor enough. She’s been denied few material things in life, but in terms of personal accomplishments, she is lacking. She was runner up in the Miss American pageant, and she is steamed to be second best again.
Once Vivi loosens up a little and finally lets go, jumping into an affair with Connor, the pacing of the book picks up significantly. Their competition becomes fun, and they both focus on doing their best to raise as much money for the charity as they can. Vivi is having the time of her life, until Connor starts thinking about making New Orleans his home base. Suddenly, their temporary affair isn’t such a good idea anymore. She doesn’t want to risk her heart to him, and as long as their arrangement was temporary, there was no threat to her emotions. Her attitude about trying to stick with Connor permanently pissed me off. Instead of gambling on that ever elusive HEA, she decides that it’s not worth the effort. If I had been Connor, I would have been furious. It’s okay to have a fling, but not okay to try to make things work out permanently? If Connor had walked away at that point, I wouldn’t have blamed him.
I loved the setting for The Downfall of a Good Girl, and the book would have made my TBR pile just because of that. It’s unfortunate that I didn’t click with the heroine, and that some pacing issues at the beginning of the story prevented my from feeling engaged in Connor and Vivi’s romance.
Review copy provided by publisherAdd a Comment
Blog: A Fuse #8 Production (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Uncategorized, book sculptures, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, E.B. White Read-Aloud Awards, Fusenews, GLBTQ, Henry James, New Blog Alert, New Orleans, Poetry Month, public libraries that kick arse, The Hunger Games, Wonder, Add a tag
I swear that every time my computer goes on the fritz I feel like I’m walking underwater for days on end while it’s in the shop. I can’t do email effectively, I can’t update Goodreads, I can’t do anything without feeling like it’s all fake until that little laptop is returned to my knees where it belongs. It’s a sickness, man. Not healthy in the least. But now that it’s back I can’t help but be thrilled! Woot and woo-hoo and other “woo” related forms of cheering. Now on to the news . . .
- First off, I’m pilfering this next link from the always amusing and informative Jennifer Schultz. Because I am a member of PEN here in New York I’ve been vaguely aware of the efforts to help New Orleans rebuild post-Katrina (the Children’s/Young Adult Book Authors Committee helped move an elementary school library from St. Joseph’s School in Greenwich Village, New York City, to the Martin Luther King Jr. School in New Orleans and have continued to aid that school ever since). The New Orleans public libraries themselves haven’t been on my radar as much. Jennifer filled me in on the matter:
“Yesterday’s Times-Picayune (New Orleans’s newspaper) had an excellent article about the rebirth of the New Orleans Public Library system, which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Ever since they started to rebuild the libraries, their motto has been “Building Back Better.” The NOPL libraries were okay—they’ve always had strong community programming, but there was a lot of room for improvement—but drastic improvements were never going to be in the city’s finances, until Katrina came and they had no choice but to literally start over with many of their libraries. They didn’t want to just rebuild what they had—they wanted to take this unusual and tragic opportunity to make a strong and community-oriented system for the city. They wanted to make them public transportation-friendly, since many residents rely on it, technologically savvy, environmentally-friendly—you name it. This is their website: http://nutrias.org/ (The nutria is a pest —they are great at destroying wetlands-and a source of humor in Louisiana-Louisianians can have a dark sense of humor. They had a rather colorful governor years ago who suggested that folks should hunt and eat the nutrias in order to cut down on their numbers, and they’ve been sort of a joke ever since. Nutria fur is marketed as “guilt free fur,” etc).”
Thank you, Jennifer! Fantastic info. I can’t wait for ALA to return and to get to see the city (and it’s libraries!) firsthand.
- There’s a new Diary of a Wimpy Kid book coming out this November. Kinney says the new book will in Add a Comment
Blog: Appalachian Morning (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: photography, travel, photographing pets, New Orleans, photographing people, Add a tag
Well, this brings me to my last post on our trip to New Orleans...sigh. Have you enjoyed seeing glimpses of it as much as I've enjoyed telling you about it? I hope so.
Here are the various posts on our trip:
1) Wonderful Food and Restaurants
2) The French Quarter and Street Bands
3) The Garden District
4) Shopping, Books, and Miscellaneous
5) People and Animals
I want to share with you a few photos of people and animals. I realized that while it is easier and I am more drawn to take photos of buildings and landscapes and beautiful trees that, as a writer, it would be good for me to spend more time looking at people. How they are dressed. How they hold themselves. How they interact with others. What does their body language say? This new travel camera Mark gave me has a "discreet" setting (no flash and no "click"). I found that in crowds no one is really paying attention to me; I can get some good photos.
In one case, where musicians were involved, I felt hesitant to draw close for the photo I wanted (and couldn't get at night using the zoom feature...I had to be close). But then I realized that musicians who play on sidewalks in tourist centers probably aren't worried about having their photo taken.
The photo at the top of this post was taken while we were sitting at Cafe Du Monde. A group of uniform-clad schoolkids was milling about and this young lady on the left and her posture were interesting to me. I wondered what sort of books she liked to read. Would she like Lucky Press's latest YA novel, My Beginning? (By Melissa Kline) She sat on the bench a while, then got up and these young men came in and sat down and I loved their posture.
Here is my guy at Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse.
I loved the view from our table into the kitchen at Emeril's. Here is a waiter, waiting.
Blog: First Book (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Books & Reading, First Book Events, First Book, Kipp Believe College Preparatory Academy, New Orleans, Oprah, The Oprah Winfrey Show, United Center, Add a tag
First Book is deeply grateful to have been part of “Oprah’s Surprise Spectacular.” We were overwhelmed when 13,000 people at the United Center stood in tribute to Oprah Winfrey and the power of reading – each holding a brand new children’s book to be donated to a child in need through First Book. Surprises don’t get much better than that!
But the story doesn’t end there. Thanks to the audience’s generosity, more than 25,000 new books in total will be given to children in low-income communities throughout the country, including a donation of over 1,100 books for the children at KIPP Believe College Preparatory Academy in New Orleans, the school that was featured in the broadcast.
Honoring The “Oprah” Show’s 25-year legacy with a donation of 25,000 books for kids in need makes for a pretty spectacular surprise. Even though the guest of honor may not like surprises much, we could tell she liked this one.
Everyone at First Book thanks The “Oprah” Show’s audience for supporting our work and sharing the love of reading with children who need books in their lives.
First Book also thanks the fabulous people at Harpo for tapping us for this remarkable opportunity. You are an inspiring group, and we are honored to have worked with you.Add a Comment
Blog: the pageturn (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Authors, Books, Conferences, Illustrators, Picture Books, Storytime, ALA, ALA Annual, American Library Association, Bob Shea, crafts, New Orleans, sharks, storytime ideas, swag, Add a tag
SHARK FANS!!!!! These are to celebrate Bob Shea’s super-fun picture book I’M A SHARK…and heaven knows that you’ll need a fan in sultry New Orleans. Check out the back of the fan:
We’ll have these in the HarperCollins Children’s Booth #1315 (while supplies last) so come by and ask for one while checking out this storytime-ready picture book (try making your own shark fans as a storytime craft!).
See you in New Orleans!Add a Comment
Blog: the pageturn (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Authors, Awards, Books, Conferences, Illustrators, Libraries, ALA, ALA Annual, Alex Flinn, American Library Association, Carolyn Mackler, Christopher Myers, Claudia Gray, Dan Gutman, Daniel Handler, Jack Gantos, Kadir Nelson, Katherine Hannigan, Katherine Paterson, Kevin Henkes, Lemony Snicket, Maureen Johnson, Mo Willems, New Orleans, Patrick Carman, Rita Williams-Garcia, Thanhha Lai, Veronica Roth, Walter Dean Myers, Add a tag
FRIDAY, JUNE 24
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Veronica Roth (DIVERGENT)
SATURDAY, JUNE 25
11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Kadir Nelson (HEART AND SOUL posters)
11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Katherine Hannigan (TRUE…(SORT OF))
12:00 pm – 12:30 pm
Patrick Carman (DARK EDEN galleys)
12:30 pm – 1:00 pm
Katherine Hannigan (BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA)
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Dan Gutman (THE GENIUS FILES: MISSION UNSTOPPABLE)
SUNDAY, JUNE 26
9:00 am – 9:30 am
Bob Shea (I’M A SHARK)
9:30 am – 10:30 am
Christopher Myers (WE ARE AMERICA)
10:30 am – 11:30 am
Rita Williams-Garcia (Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Author Winner for ONE CRAZY SUMMER)
1:30 pm &Add a Comment
Blog: the pageturn (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Books, Conferences, Libraries, ALA, ALA Annual, American Library Association, HarperCollins, librarians, New Orleans, Add a tag
We arrived in NOLA yesterday and have already had an amazing time. First, check out this cup I found in a kitschy gift shop yesterday:
It says: “Proud to be a public serving, friendly, book stamping, soft spoken, helpful, well-read librarian.” And I couldn’t help but chuckle (and be a little annoyed). As a former librarian, I never stamped a book in my ten years as a librarian – everything had gone automation by then. And most of the librarians I know are anything BUT soft spoken. What say all of you about this mug???
And here’s a sample of what waited at our booth at the convention center:
This is only one of about FIVE pallets of books waiting for us. Or, shall I say, waiting for YOU?
Stop by and see us (HarperCollins Children’s) in booth #1315. Look forward to seeing you!Add a Comment
Blog: Darcy Pattison's Revision Notes (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: book marketing, 2011, ALA, American Library Association, exhibits, New Orleans, publishers, Add a tag
Just back from ALA, that great gathering of 25,000 people devoted to archiving and disseminating the best of the best of our culture. Walking around the massive exhibit hall, it is a bewildering and humbling mixture of businessmen hawking library furniture or the latest software, the old-timers and the newcomers signing books with the hope of generating interest in their project amidst the thousands of new books, the authors meeting–pressing the flesh–of the gatekeepers to vast audiences out there somewhere in the US, the editors and marketers and salespeople hoping that decisions made months earlier were the right ones which will give their publisher–not to mention their individual careers–a boost.
You get a sense of the vast reach of publishing industry, of how the latest new piece of technology can excite–and yet how Greek mythology can be made new for a new generation. It’s both about innovation and about rebirth of old stories, about the newest author and about the venerated pro.
Observations During ALA 2011
There are still some family owned publishing companies. Yes, in today’s economy and world, some families still carry on the family business: for example, Lerners, Erdmans, John Briggs of Holiday House. I walked through the aisle of small and independent publishers and wondered if any would rise to this type level? It has happened, it can happen again.
On the other end, the big publishers are big. And diverse. And in that sprawl, they almost lose any type identity. Individual imprints actually have a personal stamp of an Editor in Chief; but most publishers have one marketing department, so that individuality is blurred at a large convention like this, where Macmillan displayed together the books from Feiwel & Friends, Henry Holt, Macmillan Children’s Books, FSG and Square Fish. You can never be sure what you’ll get with a Macmillan book, because there’s so much variety.
It’s hard to get noticed. 25,000 people attending. Probably 3000+ new books for children and who knows how many for adults. Thousands. And you want to catch the attention of , well, thousands. Impossible. I spoke as part of a 10-person panel, Nonfiction Book Blast, of nonfiction authors. We were given the unfortunate time slot of 8 am on Sunday morning. Still–we drew about 80-90 people. For two hours, those librarians listened to presentations on non-fiction from
these authors: April Pulley Sayre (Rah, Rah, Radishes), Kelly Milner Halls (In Search of Sasquatch), Deborah Heiligman (Charles and Emma), Loree Griffin Burns (The Hive Detectives), Carla Killough McClafferty (The Many Faces of George Washington), Christine Taylor-Butler (Magnets), Shirley Duke (You Can’t Wear These Genes), Darcy Pattison (Prai Add a Comment
Blog: Shelf-employed (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: hurricanes, book review, New Orleans, music, African Americans, history, dogs, Hurricane Katrina, historical fiction, musicians, J, Add a tag
It's hard to believe that I'm labeling a book about Hurricane Katrina "historical fiction," but to middle-grade readers, that's exactly what it is. While memories of Katrina are still fresh in the minds of New Orleans and Gulf Coast residents, 2005 is a lifetime ago for a 5th grader, born in 2001.
This first-person fictionalized account of 11-year-old Saint Louis Armstrong Beach (named for his grandfather King Saint and the famous trumpeter), tells the brief story of the run-up to Hurricane Katrina, the storm (in which he is trapped with an elderly neighbor), and its aftermath. With freakish good luck and a family with money and decent jobs, Saint will fare better than many, if not most, New Orleanians actually did. However, Saint Louis Armstrong Beach: A Novel (a boy, a dog, and the hurricane that almost separated them) serves as an excellent middle-grade introduction to this important page in American history. The plight of the less fortunate provides a backdrop for Saint's story. When he wonders why others are not evacuating to shelter in other cities, his father reminds him that not all people can leave,
"And who's gonna pay for that? Some people got no jobs, others got no money, and when I say no money ... I mean no money. Some people got nuthin' except the clothes on their backs, Saint."If it's a tad didactic and Saint is a tad too saintly, so be it. Sometimes we need the obvious lesson. A short (136 pages) and accessible book for young readers. Light on scientific information, pair this one with an appropriate nonfiction title.
"Money's real important, huh?"
"Yep, but what you do with it is even more important. Most a the people who claim money's not important are folks who have plenty of it. You remember that."
Brenda Woods is a Coretta Scott King Honor Award winner for The Red Rose Box.
Other reviews @
Waking Brain Cells
Bermuda Onion's Weblog
Teachers, there's a Reader's Companion for Saint Louis Armstrong Beach. Add a Comment
Blog: First Book (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Advisory Boards, Authors & Illustrators, Book Recipients, Books & Reading, First Book Events, Volunteers, Dianne de Las Casas, Elephant and Piggie, First Book, Friendiversary, James Singleton Charter School, Lynetta Rhodes, Mo Willems, New Orleans, Add a tag
Today is Friendiversary, when we celebrate the anniversary of our friendships. Think of one of your oldest and dearest friends. When did you first meet? How did you meet? That story is the story of your Friendiversary.
First Book is celebrating Friendiversary this week by providing 7,000 new Elephant & Piggie books to second-graders at Title I schools in Louisiana and Massachusetts. The Elephant & Piggie series is written and illustrated by our friend Mo Willems, whose support makes it possible for First Book able to provide these books. Every book includes a special Friendiversary note from Mo, and his publisher, Disney Publishing Worldwide, is also providing activity kits, stickers and posters free of charge to each classroom.
In fact, we’re so delighted with the Friendiversary kit that we also made it available to all the schools and programs in First Book’s national network.
There are Friendiversary parties happening in classrooms and programs all over today … or tomorrow, or last weekend. We’re pretty flexible on when you actually celebrate Friendiversary.
The biggest party we’ve heard about so far took place in New Orleans, at James Singleton Charter School. (Mo grew up in New Orleans, and has a special place in his heart for New Orleans kids, so making sure they all had copies of his books was important to him.)
Lynetta Rhodes, the chair of the local First Book volunteer group in New Orleans, helped put the party together. She sent us some great pictures, and filled us in on all the details:
- Every student got two copies of Mo’s books to keep, including There’s a Bird On Your Head, Are You Ready to Play Outside?, Today I Will Fly and Should I Share My Ice Cream?. (“I can’t believe I got two books!” one of the students told Lynetta).
- There were all kinds of local celebrity guests on hand to read with the kids, including New Orleans city councilmember Susan Guidry, children’s author Robin Washington, Louisiana State Rep. Wesley Bishop and TV reporter Rosa Flores.
- There was plenty of ice cream.
“The children looked adorable in their ‘Elephant and Piggie’ ears and the costumed characters made the kids shout with glee,” said Dianne de Las Casas, who hosted and helped plan the event. “Friendiversary at James Singleton Charter School was a great success.”
Happy Friendiversary, everyone!
If you work with kids from low-income families, you can be a part of Friendiversary and other great events and opportunities throughout the year. Sign up with First Book to find out how we can help you get new books for your kids.0 Comments on Happy Friendiversary! Mo Willems and First Book Join Forces to Bring New Books to New Orleans Kids as of 1/1/1900
Blog: Book Love (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: New Orleans, American Girl, series review, PoC, multicultural lit, en francais, historical fiction, fearless female, Add a tag
The American Girl 1853 series: Cecile and Marie Grace by Denise Lewis Patrick and Sarah Masters Buckey, American Girl, 2011
Cecile Rey is one of the "gens de couleur libres" or "free people of color" living in New Orleans in 1853. Together, she and her friend, Marie Grace, experience all that the diverse, busy city has to offer: Mardi Gras parades and costume balls, outdoor French markets, helping to fight a yellow fever epidemic, volunteering at a local orphanage, and performing at a city-wide benefit for the orphaned children.
Happy Mardi Gras, book lovers! In honor of the holiday, today I'm featuring a series set in New Orleans, and the first two books take place during Mardi Gras!
I was first inspired to cover this American Girl series after seeing a feature on author Denise Lewis Patrick on The Brown Bookshelf. I'd never given a thought to the authors behind my beloved American Girl books, and reading the story of how Patrick was asked to author the Cecile series piqued my interest. The Cecile series is unique from that of the other American Girls because she shares her books with a girl named Marie Grace. I read "Meet Marie Grace" and then all of the Cecile books in the series, and it's very clear that the two authors plotted the stories out together. Between the two "Meet ____" books, some lines were actually word-for-word the same. I'm really not sure why they chose to have two main characters this time. If any of you know, please fill me in!
On the surface, the Cecile/Marie Grace series follows the same "formula" as every other in the AG line. We "Meet" the girls, they go through some "troubles" but eventually save the day, and everyone ends up stronger and wiser. A little didactic, yes... but these characters are brave, self-confident role models for little girls today. I really like the fact that each book includes a chapter of nonfiction in the back, explaining how the events in the story are a reflection of real events from the past.
Cecile's story is notable because, unlike so many black characters in historial fiction - including 10 Comments on American Girl: Cecile's New Orleans Series, last added: 2/21/2012