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1. Bookish Ways (for the Young-ish Set) to Celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Avast, me hearties! International Talk Like a Pirate Day be soon upon us. Aye, very soon. Tomorrow, in fact.

If this oh-so-fun little-known holiday, celebrated annually on September 19th, has taken ye by surprise this year, never fear. We scalawags here at Bugs and Bunnies have some fun and bookish ways for teachers an' kids ta celebrate the day.




Since pirates are some of our favorite people, we've reviewed a fair number of fantastic piratical books. Below are summaries of all of 'em to date. If we've done a full review, clicking the titles will take ye to the full review posts for each one:



The Mousehunter 
Written and illustrated by Alex Milway
Ages 10 - 12

Twelve-year-old Emiline Orelia is mousekeeper for Isiah Lovelock, Old Town's most famous mouse collector and one of its wealthiest citizens. Emiline cares for her own Grey Mouse, named Portly, as well as all of the mice in Lovelock's vast collection. It's not a glamorous job, but Emiline is very good at it, and hopes one day to become a mousehunter, so she can go out and discover new and interesting mice.

In Emiline's world, collecting and trading mice is valued above all else - but these are no ordinary field mice. There is the Sharpclaw Mouse: a sneaky, mischievous mouse with huge, dagger-like claws on its front paws that can slice through even wood and metal with ease. Or the Magnetical Mouse: prized by sailors for their bulletlike nose that always points due north. Or the Howling Moon Mouse: best known of all the howler mice, it howls only on nights with a full moon. And this is only to name a few.

When Mousebeard, the most feared pirate on the Seventeen Seas, sinks Lovelock's merchant ship, Lovelock hires Captain Devlin Drewshank to hunt him down and capture him. Emiline overhears the deal and, seeing this as the chance of a lifetime, runs away and boards Drewshank's ship, excited to be on the adventure. The journey is a dangerous one, filled with pirates, and battles, and even sea monsters. And Emiline soon comes to realize that all is not exactly as she thought it was, and that no one she's met is exactly who she thought they were.




Fish
By Gregory Mone

Ages 8 and up

Maurice "Fish" Reidy is eleven years old when Shamrock dies. Without their horse, the family can't afford to feed itself, let alone farm their land. Someone has to go into the city to work and send money home. Since Fish is the worst at farming, it's agreed he should be the one to go.

His father arranges for Fish to work for his uncle as a courier. When Fish is entrusted with a mysterious package of coins, he's robbed before he can make the delivery. He tracks down the thief amongst a bunch of pirates, aboard their ship, the Scurvy Mistress. Determined to get that package back and to its rightful recipient, Fish sneaks aboard and joins the pirate crew. He soon learns the coins are more than what they seem, and some of the crew are not as loyal as they'd have their captain believe.

As the Scurvy Mistress sets sail, Fish finds himself on an adventure he never saw coming, with friends he never imagined making. It's a journey that promises to change his life - and that of his family - forever.




How I Became a Pirate
Written by Melinda Long
Illustrated by David Shannon

Ages 4 - 8

Jeremy Jacob was just a boy building a sandcastle on the beach - until the day the pirates came. The pirates were in need of a digger to help bury their treasure. And the captain couldn't help but notice that "He's a digger, he is, and a good one to boot!" The crew heartily agreed, "A good one to boot!" And that is how Jeremy Jacob became a pirate.



Here Be Monsters! The Ratbridge Chronicles, Volume 1
Written and illustrated by Alan Snow

Ages 9 - 12

Young Arthur is a resident of Ratbridge. Or, rather, a resident under Ratbridge. He's not sure why he lives below ground, except that his inventor grandfather says that they must. They share this underground world with curious creatures: boxtrolls, cabbageheads, rabbit women, and the rather fearsome trotting badgers.

One day, Arthur gets caught above-ground on one of his nightly forays to the surface world to gather food. The rather nasty Snatcher, his grandfather's old nemesis, has stolen the machine Arthur's grandfather built for him to be able to fly about, and he doesn't know how to get back home.

But Arthur is not without friends. He is helped by the kindly retired lawyer Willbury Nibble, and the underlings who live with him: the boxtrolls Fish, Egg, and Shoe, and the shy cabbagehead Titus. Then there's the pirates-turned-laundry-workers, talking rats and crows, and oh! we can't forget The Man in the Iron Socks. They are all determined to get Arthur back home safely.

Arthur and his friends soon discover that something stinks in Ratbridge, and it isn't just the cheese: Someone has begun hunting Wild English Cheeses again - an outlawed sport. And mysterious goings-on are afoot at the old Cheese Hall. And all the entrances to the underground world have been sealed up. And the boxtrolls and cabbageheads are all disappearing. And the underlings' tunnels are starting to flood. Grandfather is worried, and they all know Snatcher is the root of this mystery. Somehow. Whatever will they do?




Another Whole Nother Story
As told by (The Incomparable) Dr. Cuthbert Soup
Ages 8 and up 


Mr. Ethan Cheeseman and his three smart, polite, and relatively odor-free children are back in another adventure - with all-new names, of course. Now that they've got the LVR working (the supposedly secret, yet relentlessly sought-after time machine introduced in A Whole Nother Story), the family is all set to travel back in time to just before their beloved wife and mother Olivia Cheeseman meets her unfortunate end at the hands of those seeking to "acquire" the LVR.

But all does not go according to plan. First, they wind up not in the relatively recent past, as they'd planned, but way back in 1668. Worse, their crash landing has damaged the LVR, and unless they can find the proper parts to repair it, the family has no way to return to their own time in the 21st century. As if that weren't trouble enough, the family finds themselves facing suspicion of witchcraft, battling pirates, and navigating a haunted castle. Add to that their tangle with a dangerous nemesis from their present whom they believed they'd seen the last of, and things don't look good.

Despite these odds, the likeable Cheesemans are not without friends, meeting several helpful souls along the way. But is it enough to help them get out of the distant past, and into the nearer past, so they can save their beloved Olivia Cheeseman, and get back to their own time?



* * *


Well, land lubbers, that's all we got, and we ain't got no more. But keep a weather eye on the Bugs and Bunnies horizon – we've got our eyes on more'n a few other fantastic pirate-y books we'd love ta be postin' about in future.

But for now, mateys, we hope you enjoy what we've presented here today, and have a most fabulous International Talk Like a Pirate Day on September 19th.

 

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2. Summertime Stories

           
I started this post hoping to be able to report on any kind of literary celebration that was to take place/has already taken place at some point throughout the month of July. Having missed both Read Across America Day (though respects should be paid to the late, great Dr. Seuss every day of every month of every year), as well as National Poetry Month (April, for those who are so inclined), I was disappointed to find that there wasn’t any nationally ordained celebration of books during the month of July. Sadly, the only celebrations that I could find for July were ones of national independence (fun fact: Canada Day is July 1st, and Bastille Day (France) is the 14th), food (Blueberries and Ice Cream, the foods of summer) and good manners (National Cell Phone Courtesy Month: take note, dinner-table occupants). To some of these I say, frankly but fondly, bah humbug.

In opposition, I propose that we use this month to appreciate all of the books that make us feel warm and welcome, like nice weather or a day at the beach. I propose that we use some of our down-time to experience the books, whether newly purchased or plucked from a dusty shelf, that stick out in our minds and make us feel inspired, moved, or fulfilled. For the parents of young children, these are the days that count; fill them with memories and love and beautiful words and stories. Pick up a book and hunker down with your little one, whether inside or outside, under the sun or by a fire, and help them as they embark on adventures that, while imaginary, are everlastingly valuable.


Here are some summer stories, courtesy of Star Bright, that would make a great start!


Harriet Can Carry It
                by Kirk Jay Mueller
               Art by Sarah Vonthron-Laver
  
Follow Harriet the Kangaroo as she goes on an adventure to the beach with her little Joey. Looking for some time off after a long week at work, Harriet packs her little boy in her humongous pouch and sets off looking for some rest and relaxation. But appearances by her many marsupial neighbors make Harriet's journey both difficult and troubling, as Harriet tries to accommodate all of their requests to carry their things until finally....

Beach Socks
by Michael J. Daley
Art by Estelle Corke

No more shoes! No more socks! shouts the young boy in Beach Socks, a book by Michael J. Daley and Estelle Corke that mixes beautiful illustrations and charming descriptions in a delightful story of one child's day at the beach.


Visit our website (starbrightbooks.org) for these titles and more!





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3. Book and Activity Suggestions to Match Your Summer Adventure: Beaches!

Each week this summer, we are pairing Lee & Low titles to your favorite summer destinations with fun activities!

Our motto this summer: Love Books + Keep Cool + Learn Something New

Your summer outing: the BEACH

Book recommendations:

Surfer of the Century cover

Surfer of the Century: The Life of Duke Kahanamoku

Questions during reading:

  • What is this person’s relationship to the ocean? How does this person’s relationship to the ocean change from the beginning to the end of the story?
  • How does this person show appreciation for the ocean?
  • How is the ocean/beach a part of this person’s identity?
  • Look at a map of the world and locate the island this person is from. What is the capital? What ocean surrounds it? Infer what the climate is like based on the island’s location. What makes this island unique?
  • How does this person demonstrate pride in his/her culture?
  • How does this person remember home even when far away from home?

Seaside DreamActivity:

Create a beach ball collage!

Materials: poster paper, pencil, markers, colored pencils or crayons, assortment of magazines

  1. Using a pencil, draw a large circle on the poster paper.
  2. Inside the circle, draw a small circle about the size of a quarter somewhere off center.
  3. Draw a curved line from the small circle to the large circle. Repeat drawing lines until you have six lines and six spaces. Each curved line should face the same direction in a pinwheel formation. The lines will be different lengths and can be varying widths apart from each other (this will give it a 3-D effect).
  4. With a black marker, trace over the pencil so the beach ball stands out on the poster paper.
  5. Optional: lightly fill in each segment a different color using colored pencils or crayons.
  6. Select and cut out pictures and words from the assortment of magazines to answer the question: What makes the beach special to you?
  7. In each of the six beach ball segments, draw or glue pictures. In one section, think about what foods you eat while at the beach. What animals have you seen at the beach? What do you always make sure to pack before you head out? What activities do you like to do at the beach? Who do you play with while there?

For further reading:Seaside Dream

Jill_EisenbergJill Eisenberg, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 


Filed under: Educator Resources, Holidays and Celebrations, Summer Tagged: children's books, close reading, diversity, Educators, holidays, Reading Aloud, reading comprehension, summer, summer reading

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4. Happy Fourth of July!

We can now say we’ve been at the Outer Banks during a hurricane. Hurricane Arthur blew through here last night. It was windy, rainy, and loud. Didn’t lose power; just the front porch screen. Actually, I hear the weather at home has been wicked too. Hope you’re enjoying some sunshine and warmth.

Here’s wishing our readers a happy, healthy, and safe Fourth of July!


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5. Canada Day IS Family Day…


Canada Day officially kicks off holiday season for me here in the northern hemisphere. Kids have big smiles on their faces, and adults are gearing up for family getaways. Some families head for their cottages or vacation homes while others prefer to pack up the trailer or tent and venture into Provincial or State Parks armed with bug spray and bathing suits. Still others choose a stay-cation, opting to stay at home, hang by the pool, or go on day trips with their loved ones. Whatever method of holiday people decide on, the anticipation of being with family for one or two weeks is well worth the wait!

Since this will be our last summer at our lake home (cue the tears), we’re having a big family gathering to say good-bye and celebrate all the good times we’ve had here. I’m expecting a good size crowd, and have plenty of food on the menu. One such appetizer I’ll be preparing—Family Fiesta Dip—is popular at any summer bash, especially when family and friends drop by. So, juice up your taste buds and dive into my easy to make spicy dip at your pleasure.

What you Need:

250g package of cream cheese (soft)
1 tbsp. margarine
½ cup of mayonnaise
1 small jar of salsa (vegetable chunk style)
1 medium red pepper, finely chopped
1 medium green pepper, finely chopped
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 cup shredded cheese of your choice (I prefer the nacho or tex-mex brand)
1 bag of Tortilla chips

What you Do:

MIX cream cheese, margarine, mayonnaise until smooth. Spread in a medium-sized dish with edges to prevent spill over.

COVER with salsa – not too much so it’s not runny.

LAYER as follows: chopped red pepper, chopped green pepper, chopped tomato, chopped green onions, and then top with shredded cheese.

Keep refrigerated before serving. Serve with Tortilla chips (and napkins).

Family Fiesta Dip

 While you’re waiting for the Family Fiesta Dip to set, why not kick back on the beach or wherever you’ll be during your holidays and take a trip back into time with my Last Timekeepers MG/YA time travel series? Safe travels, everyone!

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6. Trick-or-Treat! Diamond Reveals Halloween ComicFest Titles!

Yes, Summer officially started last Friday.  You’re probably haven’t even done your grocery shopping for the Fourth of July cookout!  Or started packing for San Diego!

halloween comicfest 2014But for retailers and publishers, they think months in advance!  Comics shipping in October must be ordered in August.  Publishers usually try to think six months in advance!

So here are the titles for the next Halloween ComicFest, scheduled for October 25th, the Saturday before Halloween.

The big surprise?  Twelve full-size comics, and seven minis!  Last year there were eleven regular sized issues, with 11 minis.  In the first HCF, there were 4 regular-sized issues and 11 minis.

So what’s being offered?  Lots of stuff I wouldn’t give to kids…

HCF 2014 AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #1

hcf archiePublisher: ARCHIE COMIC PUBLICATIONS
(W) Roberto Aguirre Sacasa (A/CA) Francesco Francavilla
Celebrate the most frightening day of the year with the most horrifying tale Archie has ever told! “Escape From Riverdale”: This is how the end of the world begins… Harvey Award-winning writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Carrie, Archie meets Glee) and Eisner-winning artist Francesco Francavilla (Batman, Black Beetle) take Archie and the gang where they’ve never been before – to the grave and back! A horrific accident sets off a series of grim events and Sabrina the Teenage Witch must try to repair the unspeakable evil her spell has unleashed. Gasp in horror as Riverdale faces an impending zombie Arch-pocalypse in this reprint of the award-winning, sold-out first issue! But be warned, kiddies, this one’s not for the faint of heart! For TEEN readers.
Available for FREE* from most comic shops on Halloween ComicFest, October 25th.
(*Check with your local retailer on rules and availability.)
Item Code: JUL140027
hcf batmanPublisher: DC COMICS
Just in time for Halloween, fans can get this FREE excerpt from the first chapter of the critically acclaimed graphic novel, Batman: Haunted Knight, which features dark tales of horror and intrigue featuring Batman facing off against his most demented and wicked foes. Taking place on the most evil of holidays, Halloween, the Dark Knight Detective confronts his deepest fears as he tries to stop the madness and horror created by Scarecrow, the Mad Hatter, the Penguin, Poison Ivy and the Joker.
Available for FREE* from most comic shops on Halloween ComicFest, October 25th.
(*Check with your local retailer on rules and availability.)
Item Code: JUL140031
In Shops: 10/8/2014
hcf avatarPublisher: AVATAR PRESS INC
(W) Max Brooks (A/CA) Raulo Caceres
Best-selling author Max Brooks (The Zombie Survival Guide, World War Z) takes the zombie genre to a whole new level with Extinction Parade, featuring the art of superstar Raulo Caceres (Crossed). As humans wage a losing fight against the hordes of the subdead, a frightening realization sets in with the secretive Vampire race: their “food” is dying off. This is the story of the Vampires’ decent into all-out war with the mindless hungry hordes of the zombie outbreak, with humanity caught in the middle. Extinction Parade introduces the “Vampires vs. Zombies” sub-genre with three species in mortal conflict. This is how a species dies…
Available for FREE* from most comic shops on Halloween ComicFest, October 25th.
(*Check with your local retailer on rules and availability.)
Item Code: JUL140029
In Shops: 10/8/2014
hcf grimmPublisher: ZENESCOPE ENTERTAINMENT INC
(W) Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco (A) Jean-Paul Deshong & Various (CA) Mike Debalfo
A special reprint of the first ever Grimm Halloween Special! A couple is granted one wish for their dreams to finally come true only to have that wish turn into a complete nightmare! Now Sela must try to stop Belinda’s act of evil before more lives are destroyed. From the original writers and creators of Grimm Fairy Tales, Joe Brusha and Ralph Tedesco, comes this re-telling of the classic story “The Monkey’s Paw”, retold with a terrifying Zenescope twist that readers have come to love!
Available for FREE* from most comic shops on Halloween ComicFest, October 25th.
(*Check with your local retailer on rules and availability.)
Item Code: JUL140037
In Shops: 10/8/2014
hcf hero catsPublisher: ACTION LAB ENTERTAINMENT
(W) Kyle Puttkammer, Jeremy Whitley (A/CA) Marcus Williams
A Hero Cat’s life is exciting enough, but what happens when imaginations run wild after a scary movie marathon at the local drive-in?! Ace, Midnight, Cassie, Rocket, Rocco, and Belle will win your heart in this frightfully fun-filled tale! Plus, an exclusive preview of the highly anticipated new Princeless series!
Available for FREE* from most comic shops on Halloween ComicFest, October 25th.
(*Check with your local retailer on rules and availability.)
Item Code: JUL140026
In Shops: 10/8/2014
hcf Marvel1Publisher: MARVEL COMICS
Action! Mystery! Adventure! Reprinting the tale that started it all and sparked 75 years of storytelling in the Mighty Marvel Manner! Celebrate Marvel’s 75th Anniversary with the very first appearance of two titanic Marvel mainstays – android hero the original Human Torch, and aquatic anti-hero Namor, the Sub-Mariner! Reprinting material from Marvel Comics #1 (1939)!
Available for FREE* from most comic shops on Halloween ComicFest, October 25th.
(*Check with your local retailer on rules and availability.)
Item Code: JUL140034
In Shops: 10/8/2014
hcf aspenPublisher: ASPEN MLT INC
(W) Vince Hernandez (A/CA) Agnes Garbowska
A completely brand new and unexpected Fathom tale for fans of all ages! Join none other than Fathom’s Ernie the Seahorse as the playful ocean dweller finds himself wrapped up in a magical Aspen-universes-spanning adventure that will test his limits! For the first time ever, Aspen Comics’ is excited to offer fans and readers a unique comic and coloring book that includes a crafted full length story geared for children to color, plus added puzzles, mazes and other fun-filled activities for kids of all ages! It’s the perfect treat for the Halloween holiday!
Available for FREE* from most comic shops on Halloween ComicFest, October 25th.
(*Check with your local retailer on rules and availability.)
Item Code: JUL140028
In Shops: 10/8/2014
hcf mlpPublisher: IDW PUBLISHING
(W) Jeremy Whitley (A) Tony Fleecs (CA) Amy Mebberson
The Cutie Mark Crusaders go to the one creature that might just be crazy enough to help them get their cutie marks… Discord! Is he up to the task? Find out in this madcap adventure, perfect for all ages!
Available for FREE* from most comic shops on Halloween ComicFest, October 25th.
(*Check with your local retailer on rules and availability.)
Item Code: JUL140033
In Shops: 10/8/2014
hcf rachelPublisher: ABSTRACT STUDIOS
(W/A/CA) Terry Moore
Halloween marks the return of a modern classic, Rachel Rising #1! Rachel wakes up dead in a shallow grave and climbs out to hunt for her killer. Seeking the help of Aunt Johnny and BFF Jet, Rachel encounters a mysterious woman and the scariest little girl in comics! This special reprint is just for Halloween Comicfest 2014 and features a unique cover variation to mark the occasion!
Available for FREE* from most comic shops on Halloween ComicFest, October 25th.
(*Check with your local retailer on rules and availability.)
Item Code: JUL140025
In Shops: 10/8/2014
hcf vizPublisher: VIZ MEDIA LLC
(W/A/CA) Naoki Serizawa
The highly virulent C-virus became a global disaster, but where did the outbreak start? In this prequel to the hit Resident Evil 6 game, the terrifying origins are revealed! At the prestigious and elite Marhawa High School in Singapore, a female student suffers a horrifying transformation. Called in to investigate, Professor Doug Wright and his nephew Ricky find themselves caught up in a deadly and growing tragedy. As things get rapidly out of hand, Chris Redfield and his team from the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance arrive on the scene, while behind it all a mysterious figure looms….
Available for FREE* from most comic shops on Halloween ComicFest, October 25th.
(*Check with your local retailer on rules and availability.)
hcf scoobyPublisher: DC COMICS
Just in time for Halloween, fans of all ages can get this FREE special edition of the first issue of the fan-favorite, all-ages series that features teams-up with the Scooby-Doo gang and the greatest heroes of the DC Comics Universe! Rumors of a giant bat-creature bring Scooby and the gang on the run – but Batman and Robin are already on the trail of their old foe, the monstrous Man-Bat. Before long, the crooks behind a fake bat-creature will come face-to-face with the real thing… with the good guys caught in the middle!
Available for FREE* from most comic shops on Halloween ComicFest, October 25th.
(*Check with your local retailer on rules and availability.)
Item Code: JUL140030
In Shops: 10/8/2014
hcf MSHSWPublisher: MARVEL COMICS
Experience the ground-breaking 1984 classic again – or for the very first time! Under the watchful eye of an all-powerful being, the Marvel Universe’s greatest heroes and vilest villains are transported away to a mysterious planet known only as “Battleworld.” The only way to escape? Destroy their enemies! Now, Spider-Man, Captain America, Thor, Wolverine and more must battle to the death against Ultron, Galactus, Kang, Doctor Doom and many more! Don’t miss the first issue in the genre-defining crossover that changed the Marvel Universe forever!
Available for FREE* from most comic shops on Halloween ComicFest, October 25th.
(*Check with your local retailer on rules and availability.)
Item Code: JUL140035
In Shops: 10/8/2014
The mini-comics:
hcf angry birdsPublisher: DIAMOND PUBLICATIONS
(W) Nathan Crosby (A) Ivan Portier (CA) David Baldeon
When Professor Pig mistakenly electrifies all the pigs in the graveyard, he unwittingly creates Zigs… zombie pigs with only one need – Eggs! Can Red and the rest of the Angry Birds stop this ghoulish grab at their precious unborn flock? An all-new, all-ages Angry Birds Comics tale just in time for Halloween!
Available for FREE* from most comic shops on Halloween ComicFest, October 25th.
Also available in a pack of 20 for you to purchase and hand out to your trick-or-treaters. Be the coolest house on the block-cause comics and the gift of reading lasts longer than candy!
(*Check with your local retailer on rules and availability.)
Item Code: JUL140046
In Shops: 10/1/2014
hcf b&vPublisher: DIAMOND PUBLICATIONS
(W) Dan Parent (A) Dan Parent, Rich Koslowski (CA) Jeff Schultz, Tito Pena
It’s a dark and stormy night – a fitting night for Betty and Veronica to stay inside and have a scary movie festival! But things go from “reel” to real when Archie, Jughead and Reggie try to crash the girls’ private party – and come face-to-face with an axe-wielding maniac! Is everything as it seems, or is it just a case of the boys’ imaginations running wild? Find out in “An Axe to Grind!”
Available for FREE* from most comic shops on Halloween ComicFest, October 25th.
Also available in a pack of 20 for you to purchase and hand out to your trick-or-treaters. Be the coolest house on the block-cause comics and the gift of reading lasts longer than candy!
(*Check with your local retailer on rules and availability.)
Item Code: JUL140040
In Shops: 10/1/2014
hcf boomPublisher: DIAMOND PUBLICATIONS
(W) Bryce Carlson & Various (A) Nichol Ashworth & Various
No tricks here, just treats as BOOM! Studios imprints KaBOOM! and Archaia offer up spooky tales from Adventure Time, Peanuts, and Jim Henson’s Fraggle Rock in this mini-comic collection arriving in time for Halloween!
Available for FREE* from most comic shops on Halloween ComicFest, October 25th.
Also available in a pack of 20 for you to purchase and hand out to your trick-or-treaters. Be the coolest house on the block-cause comics and the gift of reading lasts longer than candy!
(*Check with your local retailer on rules and availability.)
Item Code: JUL140042
In Shops: 10/1/2014
hcf lbxPublisher: DIAMOND PUBLICATIONS
Welcome to the world of Little Battlers eXperience! In the near future, a boy named Van Yamano owns Achilles, a miniaturized robot made of a new super-strong industrial cardboard. But Achilles is no ordinary LBX. Hidden inside him is secret data that Van must keep out of the hands of evil at all costs!
Available for FREE* from most comic shops on Halloween ComicFest, October 25th.
Also available in a pack of 20 for you to purchase and hand out to your trick-or-treaters. Be the coolest house on the block-cause comics and the gift of reading lasts longer than candy!
(*Check with your local retailer on rules and availability.)
Item Code: JUL140050
In Shops: 10/1/2014
hcf merminPublisher: DIAMOND PUBLICATIONS
(W/A/CA) Joey Weiser
Mermin, the Mer-Man from Mer, returns! In this special Halloween-themed one-shot, Mermin and his human friends introduce Halloween customs to Mer. How will the undersea inhabitants embrace the dry land holiday? What kind of treats will they exchange in place of tricks? And, most importantly, what costumes will everyone wear?
Available for FREE* from most comic shops on Halloween ComicFest, October 25th.
Also available in a pack of 20 for you to purchase and hand out to your trick-or-treaters. Be the coolest house on the block-cause comics and the gift of reading lasts longer than candy!
(*Check with your local retailer on rules and availability.)
Item Code: JUL140048
In Shops: 10/1/2014
hcf pvzPublisher: DIAMOND PUBLICATIONS
(W) Paul Tobin (A/CA) Ron Chan
Crazy Dave-the babbling-yet-brilliant inventor and top-notch neighborhood defender-helps his niece, Patrice, and young adventurer Nate Timely fend off Zomboss’s latest global attack in Plants vs. Zombies: Timepocalypse! This new, standalone tale will tickle your funny bones and thrill . . . your brains! The hit video game continues its comic-book invasion!
Available for FREE* from most comic shops on Halloween ComicFest, October 25th.
Also available in a pack of 20 for you to purchase and hand out to your trick-or-treaters. Be the coolest house on the block-cause comics and the gift of reading lasts longer than candy!
(*Check with your local retailer on rules and availability.)
Item Code: JUL140044
In Shops: 10/1/2014
hcf vampletsPublisher: DIAMOND PUBLICATIONS
(W) Gayle Middleton, Dave Dwonch (A) Amanda Coronado, Bill Blankenship (CA) Gayle Middleton, Bill Blankenship
Beware the Bitemares! Vampyres have always been obsessed with their pets, but now a new threat has arisen! Someone is releasing Bitemares all over Gloomvania, causing chaos in their wake. Who will be able to stop them, and what secret connection do they have to Cinder the Vampyre Kitten? The next chapter in the Vamplets saga starts HERE!Available for FREE* from most comic shops on Halloween ComicFest, October 25th.
Also available in a pack of 20 for you to purchase and hand out to your trick-or-treaters. Be the coolest house on the block-cause comics and the gift of reading lasts longer than candy!
(*Check with your local retailer on rules and availability.)
Item Code: JUL140038
In Shops: 10/1/2014
My opinions:
  1. I order the mini-packs ($4.99, about the same cost for candy) and have my siblings in the midwest hand them out to trick-or-treaters.  I know some librarians who do the same in their schools.  So we have seven titles.  Nothing by DC or Marvel, so no free advertising for them.  (Really, Marvel?  You couldn’t find a Marvel Age story from those digests you sold back in the mid-Aughts and reprint that?)  (Dame goes for DC.  I see the Scooby-Doo story above, but what about a story from the Showfcase reprints?  Those reduce nicely (as seen in the Blue Ribbon digests of the 70s and 80s).  Those Showcse volumes are great for young readers!  Comics Code approved (perfect for red states!) and a 25 stories in one volume for a cheap price!)  I guess I’ll order some of the “big boy” titles from my friendly neighborhood comics shop, but not as many, given the cost.  I guess those copies are for shops, like Free Comic book Day.
  2. Were I retailer, I wouldn’t order the mature titles at all.  Why risk a parent picking up “Aferlife With Archie” and reading it to their child at bedtime?  Add in the memory of a dearly-departed family pet, and you’ve got the makings of a media witch hunt. (For those who think this far-fetched, remember this?)
  3. Marvel, is the Secret Wars collection available for reorders?  Yeah, it’s cool that you’re making it available again, especially to new readers.  (It hooked me back in ’84, so maybe that’s not such a good idea…), but if retailers can’t meet demand from customers, then why bother?  As for Marvel Comics #1…?  I thought the Human Torch was verboten.  Or are there some horror stories in the first issue?  Will this be a 68-page reprint?  (Myself, I think Amazing Fantasy #15 would be better.  Some good Lee/Ditko horror stories in that issue!)
  4. Diamond, do you have digital review copies on your Bookshelf website?  Librarians and educators (and retailers) will want to review the material before ordering copies for distribution.  Publishers, why not do this as well?  Fans will still want to pick up the free comics at stores, so this won’t hurt store marketing.

If you want to order any of these comics to hand them out on Halloween, write down the Diamond order codes (JUL140xxx) and talk to the store manager as soon as possible!

Retailers, here is an old column to re-read: Halloween and the Holidays.  Also: The Return of Halloween Comics.

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7. Celebrate Torsten’s “Nerd Birthday” With His Crazy Party Favors!

Everyone has milestone events which they remember (or wish to forget).  Some are small memories, like a first kiss, while others can be momentous anniversaries marked each year.

May 25th is one such day for me.This Star Wars Day/International Towel Day marks thirty years of my actively reading, collecting, studying, proselytizing comics.  May 25, 1984, I walked into a grocery store, and was instantly seduced by a black-suited Spider-Man.It’s the day I became a nerd/geek.  Sure, there were things before which I geeked about, like most kids.  But comics…that set me on a crazy journey around the world, meeting some amazing people, sharing my passion with everyone who would listen!

But comics aren’t my only geek passion!

I’m a polymath, soaking up all sorts of crazy stuff!

Here are some of my crazy interestest, and some crazy links you might not have realized existed!  (Or blotted out in your youth to save on psychiatry bills!)

Comics

Geez…  so much is out there already… what can I find…?

Comics retailing!    The architects!  How to get there!

comic-book-display-system

LEGOs

The wiki.

lego_falcon_cov

The Lego Millennium Falcon graphic novel!

(Take THAT, Ikea!)

Adam Reed Tucker, the genius behind the Lego Architecture series!

MAD Magazine

Why MAD doesn’t release these digitally…?

And here’s the unaired 1974 pilot…

Video Games

If you want to really delve into the history of videogames, read:

Supercade: A Visual History of the Videogame Age 1971-1984 By Van Burnham

Here’s a site for laserdisc arcade games, including one of early anime!

Reading

Go study and read everything by Ellen Raskin.  Had she not died at 56, she might have been the first author to win a Newbery and a Caldecott Medal.  She wrote, drew, and designed books, and all are worth a few hours escape.

Animation

Remember Saturday morning cartoons?  Remember when the networks would air a special the Friday night before, to introduce the new series?  Yeah, they were usually pretty cheesy… here are three samples…

Superman meeting Bugs Bunny and Yogi Bear, at a party thrown by Avery Schreiber and Jack Burns?

ALF playing detective?

Boss Hogg trying to swindle Scott Baio out of his discoteque?

Ah… to return to those innocent naive days when I hadn’t yet developed a critical eye.  (Yes, I thought the Star Wars Holiday Special was spectacular when it first aired.  Now, I think I can last five minutes before revealing the location of the  rebel base, Gilligan’s full name, and the lyrics to “Louie Louie”.)

If you’re really into pain, check out “Shirt Tails”, “Get Along Gang”, and/or “Care Bears”.

Cable Television

Weekend nights, USA would show “Night Flight”, an interesting mix of music videos, short films, and cult classics.  MTV might have been cool, but Night Flight was hep.  Here’s a memorial site.

And a playlist from YouTube:

Comedy

The comedy record to seek out: “Retail Comedy @ Wholesale Prices“!  Here’s a sample: “Mr. Wizard and Timmy”.  The entire album is comedy gold!

(Right, Don.)

Music

I’ve got a predilection for TV themes, especially the full versions which cut out stanzas so there would be more time for story and commercials.

I’ve made a series of posts over on Google Plus, with the tag #forgottentvlyrics.  Star Trek, Andy Griffith, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie…

Here’s one of my favorites, first heard during the end credits to the Buck Rogers movie!  If it was remixed, it would make a great graduation song!

That’s all for this year!  Hope you had a great time!  Thanks for stopping by!

 

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8. The Defenestration of Prague

May 23rd, 2014, marks the day, 396 years ago, that The Defenestration of Prague took place. Having learned a few years ago that defenestration is "the act of throwing a person or thing out a window," our curiosity here at Bugs and Bunnies about this Little Known Holiday was piqued.


For one thing, this particular defenestration involved not things flung from windows, but people(Eek!) For another, this wasn't the only such event to occur in Bohemia's history - nor was it even the first.

And so, into the rabbit hole of research we willingly dove. Dive with us, won't you?

* * *

The First Defenestration of Prague happened on July 30, 1419. It was a bloody and lethal affair, with a judge, a burgomaster, and about thirteen town council members heaved out of the windows of Prague's New Town Hall by an angry mob. None survived, and The Hussite Wars broke out soon after.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia
The Second Defenestration of Prague is the one people generally mean when discussing *The* Defenestration of Prague. This incident was decidedly less fatal: Two Catholic regents and their secretary were thrown from the third floor window of the Bohemian Chancellory by an angry crowd of Protestants, yet all three survived the 50 foot (some sources say 70 foot) fall. Two years later, The Thirty Year's War began.




* * *

These defenestrations are not the only ones known to have happened in Bohemian history, but they are the most well-known ones. And so, despite the knowledge that there is more to find down our little rabbit hole of research, we propose climbing out here.

Why?

First, because we scouted ahead, and this particular rabbit hole gets pretty dark, and we don't do a lot of dark here on Bugs and Bunnies. (You're free to continue researching on your own, though, if you like.)

And second, because amidst all the seriousness and gruesomeness of Prague's defenestrations, there was just a little bit of some giggle-worthy stuff, and we do so like to delve into giggle-worthy stuff. Ready? Here we go:

Catholics of the time claimed the trio from The Second Defenestration of Prague in 1618 survived that three-story fall due to the intervention of angels. Protestants of the time, however, countered with a far less heavenly explanation: that the trio survived due to the dung heap they landed in. Translation? Saved by poop!

One last thing: Philip Fabricius, the secretary from that surviving trio, fled to Vienna to tell the Emperor what had happened. The Emperor later granted this secretary the title Baron von Hohenfall. Translation? Baron of Highfall.



* * *


Sources:

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9. Happy Mother’s Day: Honoring the Mothers and Grandmothers in Our Lives

Today is Mother’s Day, a time when we tend to think happy thoughts about our mothers or other maternal figures in our lives. We might buy them cards and presents, or take them out to eat. There’s no right way to celebrate it, but we each have our own special ways or traditions.

anna jarvis

Anna Jarvis

While most people think of Mother’s Day as a joyous day, the founder of the holiday, Anna Jarvis would probably think we’re celebrating it all wrong. Jarvis originally created Mother’s Day as a way to honor her own mother after she died. She worked to get several states to recognize it as a holiday. In 1914, Woodrow Wilson declared that the second Sunday of every May would be Mother’s Day.  It was a day to honor your own mother, not mothers in general. Prior to this, Jarvis, who was a peace activist and cared for wounded soldiers during the Civil War, tried to create Mother’s Day to honor women who had lost sons during the Civil War.  When Hallmark and other card companies latched onto the holiday, it became greatly commercialized, much to the chagrin of Jarvis.

Anna Jarvis spent the rest of her life fighting against the commercialization of Mother’s Day.

Despite this, we still believe that Mother’s Day is a wonderful way to show your mothers and grandmothers that they hold a special place in your heart!

Here are five titles we’ve rounded up that celebrate mothers and grandmothers:

  1. Abuela’s WeaveA girl in Guatemala learns about family tradition and trust from her grandmother.
  2. Goldfish and Chrysanthemums: A Chinese American girl helps preserve her grandmother’s childhood memories of China by creating a special garden for her in America.
  3. Love to MamáThirteen Latino poets celebrate their bonds with their mothers and grandmothers.
  4. Love Twelve Miles Long: Frederick’s mother walks twelve miles each way for a nighttime visit with her son, during which she recounts what each mile of the journey represents. Based on facts from the life of Frederick Douglass.
  5. Raymond’s Perfect Present: A Chinese American boy receives a nice surprise of his own when he tries to surprise his mother with flowers that he grew.

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

love to mama

Image from Love to Mamá


Filed under: Holidays, Musings & Ponderings Tagged: grandmothers, History, mother's day, Mothers

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10. Celebrating Mothers and Diversity

Happy Mother’s Day! Did you enjoy celebrating Día ? Don’t forget to share any pictures that you might have taken. I hope that you had a wonderful time observing Día at your library with local families and friends. Now that April 30th has come and gone, don’t think your opportunity to incorporate diversity into your programming and collection has passed! Día celebrates children and books while also encouraging families and children to connect with multicultural books, cultures and languages. To honor the special ladies we all treasure today, I’ve put together some of my favorite books about mothers that can expose children to different cultures and languages.

Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara Joosse (Chronicle Books, 1998) is a great choice for a multicultural Mother’s Day read. This story tells of an Inuit mother and daughter and is set in the majestic wilderness of Alaska. The child seeks to find out whether her mother will love her no matter what she does. Children will learn about the native creatures of Alaska as the child imagines herself as a polar bear and musk ox.  Preschoolers will be delighted with Lavallee’s artwork depicting mother and daughter clad in Inuit garb. A Canadian historian even assisted in checking the manuscript to assure that the Inuit culture was portrayed accurately in this book.

Image courtesy of Chronicle Books.

Image courtesy of Chronicle Books.

Kindergarteners will enjoy My Mom is a Foreigner, But Not to Me by Julianne Moore (Chronicle Books, 2013). This is a lovely picture book that explores the feelings some children may have when they have a parent from another country. Children can learn how to say, “I love you, Mom!” in a variety of languages such as German and French. So’s beautiful illustrations exhibit various ethnic clothing and foods.

For the remarkable grandmothers in your life, read All About Grandmas by Roni Schotter (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2012). This charming book looks at grandmas of all shapes, sizes and colors! Children can learn how to say “grandma” in 50 languages thanks to a convenient list in the front of the book. Grandchildren will love reading this with their Lola (Philippine dialect) , Farmor (Swedish) or Oma (German).

Image courtesy of Vanita Books.

Image courtesy of Vanita Books.

My final selection for Mother’s Day, A Tale of Two Mommies by Vanita Oelschlager (Vanita Books, 2011), follows a young boy at the beach as he discusses his two mothers with his friends. This is a fun choice for any same-sex couples who may have children with questions about their non-traditional family dynamic, as it shows that they are really not that different from other families at all.

What are some of your favorite titles to share on Mother’s Day?

______________________________________________________________

Nicole Lee Martin is a Children’s Librarian at the Grafton-Midview Public Library in Grafton, OH and is writing this post for the Public Awareness Committee. You can reach her at nicolemartin@oplin.org.

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11. What does Cinco de Mayo celebrate?

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for May Fifth) is a day celebrated in the United States and Mexico to commemorate the Mexican Army’s victory over the French Army during the Battle of Puebla. In Puebla, Mexico, it is referred to as “El día de la batalla de Puebla” (The Day of the Battle of Puebla). This day was started by Mexican Americans in the days of the American Civil War as a day to commemorate democracy and freedom.

The Mexican Army, led by General Ignacio Zaragoza, defeated the French Army’s forces of 8000 men—then considered the strongest military in the world—with only 4500 men!

Though this day is commonly mistaken to be Mexico’s Independence Day in the US, Mexico celebrates its independence September 16.  Cinco de Mayo is a holiday in Puebla, Mexico; most businesses are closed on this day.

Interestingly, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated more widely in the United States than Mexico!  It’s a celebration started by Mexican Americans that later spread to Mexico. In the US, Cinco de Mayo has evolved beyond its origins to become a wider celebration of Mexican culture and heritage in the United States.


Filed under: Celebrations, Holidays Tagged: History, holidays, Latino/Hispanic/Mexican

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12. ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

It’s Cinco de Mayo! Celebrate by sharing these books starring the holiday itself, Mexican and Mexican American protagonists, and the Spanish language — all recommended by The Horn Book Magazine and The Horn Book Guide. (For more recommended Spanish-language and bilingual books, click here.)

Picture books

ada let me help ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!In Alma Flor Ada’s Let Me Help! / ¡Quiero ayudar!, pet parrot Perico knows how to say “Let me help!” He repeats this statement as his (human) family members prepare for the San Antonio Cinco de Mayo festival. They shoo him away, but to everyone’s surprise he eventually finds a way to help. Angela Domínguez’s warm-hearted illustrations — from a bird’s-eye view — support the family-centered text, printed in both English and Spanish. (Children’s Book Press, 2010)

cumpiano quinito day and night ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!Quinito describes, in English and Spanish, his family, friends, and activities in terms of opposites: “My Mami is short. My Papi is tall…I’m just the right size.” Quinito, Day and Night / Quinito, día y noche by Ina Cumpiano succeeds as a book of opposites, an exposition of bilingual vocabulary, and an engaging portrayal of family and neighborhood. José Ramírez’s naive-style paintings in warm colors over black are both comforting and energy-packed. (Children’s Book Press, 2008)

medina tia isa wants a car ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!The young narrator of Meg Medina’s Tía Isa Wants a Car, who lives in America with her aunt and uncle, describes how Tía Isa wants a car, one that’s “the same shiny green as the ocean.” However, they don’t have enough money — yet. The narrator incorporates Spanish words naturally, giving the dialogue an authenticity that is neither laborious nor stilted. Soft watercolor illustrations by Claudio Muñoz mirror the text. Also available in a Spanish-language edition. (Candlewick, 2011)

morales ninowrestlesworld 297x300 ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!Pint-sized Niño, fearless luchador and reluctantly attentive big brother, dons his red mask, ready to take on all comers, in Niño Wrestles the World. He battles a series of imagined foes from Mexican history and popular culture before facing the trickiest of opponents, las hermanitas! Working in digital collage, author/illustrator Yuyi Morales packs every polychromatic double-page spread with action, trying — not quite successfully, fortunately — to contain Niño’s energy within their frames. (Roaring Brook/Porter, 2013)

reiser my way ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!Author/illustrator Lynn Reiser uses the bilingual structure of My Way: A Margaret and Margarita Story / A mi manera: Un cuento de Margarita y Margaret in an ingenious way, with the English (Margaret’s voice) and Spanish (Margarita’s) mirroring each other on facing pages, but with each girl presenting a distinct self. Reiser’s cheerful primary-bright palette signals readers that friends liking different things is just fine. A satisfying, upbeat reminder that kids can be true to themselves and be a good friend, too. (Greenwillow, 2007)

saenz perfect season for dreaming ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!A Perfect Season for Dreaming / Un tiempo perfecto para soñar begins on the first day of summer as Octavio Rivera begins to dream. He shares these visions with his granddaughter Regina, who also experiences dreams as if they are “good friends who…console you when you’re lonely.” Author Benjamin Alire Sáenz beautifully evokes a dream state with long, languorous sentences in English and Spanish. Esau Andrade Valencia’s richly hued and textured surrealist tableaux are both accessible and inspired. (Cinco, 2008)

soto big bushy mustache ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!In Big Bushy Mustache by Gary Soto and Joe Cepeda, the only costume Ricky wants to wear for his class’s Cinco de Mayo play is a big, bushy mustache, because it looks just like Papi’s. When he wears it home from school to show his parents, he loses it along the way. Papi’s solution — he generously offers his own freshly shaved mustache — is a little unlikely, but the warm family relationship, emphasized in Cepeda’s bold paintings, comes across nevertheless. (Knopf, 1998)

 

Intermediate

ada love amalia ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!Amalia is devastated when she learns her best friend is moving to California; fortunately, her abuelita comforts her with stories about loved ones far away. When Abuelita suddenly dies, Amalia must draw on what her grandmother has taught her to accept her grief and anger. Love, Amalia, written by Alma Flor Ada and illustrated by Gabriel M. Zubizarreta, portrays a multigenerational immigrant family with sensitively drawn characters and a low-key story. Concurrently published in Spanish. (Atheneum, 2012)

ryan esperanza rising ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!In Esperanza Rising, Pam Munoz Ryan’s poignant look at the realities of immigration, thirteen-year-old Esperanza, daughter of an affluent Mexican rancher, is forced to trade fancy dolls and dresses for hard work and ill-fitting hand-me-downs after her beloved father dies. Laboring in the United States, picking grapes on someone else’s land for pennies an hour, Esperanza is transformed into someone who can take care of herself and others. (Scholastic, 2000)

 

Older

de la pena mexican white boy ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!The one place Danny feels accepted is the baseball field. He imagines becoming a star, making his father proud enough to return from Mexico. Matt de la Peña’s Mexican White Boy is a fast-paced baseball story is unique in its gritty realism, framed in the context of broken homes and bicultural pressures. De la Peña poignantly conveys the message that, despite obstacles, you must shape your own future. (Delacorte, 2008)

mcneal dark water ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!Fifteen-year-old Pearl starts an illicit relationship with Amiel, an undocumented migrant laborer. When fire consumes southern California, Pearl abandons her family to warn Amiel of the approaching flames. Pearl ominously hints at impending disaster throughout the narrative; this foreshadowing heightens the climax’s suspense. Inspired by southern California’s 2007 fires, Laura McNeal’s National Book Award finalist novel Dark Water captures the desperation of both love and survival with wrenching authenticity. (Knopf, 2010)

saenz aristotleanddante 199x300 ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!Two boys strike up a friendship that will change their lives in ways both subtle and profound in Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s Belpré Author Award—winning Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Ari saves Dante’s life but breaks his own legs in the process, cementing the bond between the two Mexican American families. Ari’s first-person narrative — poetic, philosophical, honest — skillfully develops the relationship between the two boys from friendship to romance. (Simon, 2012)

saldana finding our way ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!In the eleven disparate coming-of-age cuentos about Chicano culture collected in Finding Our Way: Stories, author Rene Saldaña Jr. forces the reader to experience the linguistic world of many of his protagonists — the decision to offer no glossary for the Spanish phrases that infuse his text serves as a curative disadvantage for the English-speaking reader. Never maudlin or overdrawn, these taut but lyrical tales bring light into the corners of kids’ lives. (Random/Lamb, 2003)

 

Poetry, folklore, and nonfiction

muu moo ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy’s ¡Muu, Moo!: Rimas de animales / Animal Nursery Rhymes collects sixteen traditional nursery rhymes. Spanish is the preeminent language, with each rhyme presented first in Spanish and then in a free retelling in English (by Rosalma Zubizarreta) that captures the flavor of the original. This will be an invaluable resource for librarians and teachers, and with soft, warm watercolor illustrations by Viví Escrivá, it also makes an attractive gift book.

delacre arrorro mi nino ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!Selector/illustrator Lulu Delacre includes the best known Latino lullabies and finger plays in her collection Arrorro mi nino: Latino Lullabies and Gentle Games, a veritable Latina Mother Goose. The fifteen selections are presented bilingually; the English versions are literal (unrhymed) translations of the original Spanish. Oil-wash illustrations capture lovely scenes of mothers and grandmothers with children and offer glimpses of Latino life. Finger-play instructions and music are included. (Lee and Low, 2004)

hayes coyote under the table ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!The Coyote Under the Table / El coyote debajo de la mesa: Folktales Told in Spanish and English, Joe Hayes’s collection of bilingual folktales drawn from the Hispanic New Mexico oral tradition, provides refreshing depth and humor. Brief source notes expand on the history of each of the ten tales and add social/historical context. Clean, unencumbered prose draws attention to the structure and rhythm of the stories, which are best read aloud. Antonio L.Castro’s amusing illustrations face the start of each entry. (Cinco Puntos, 2011)

shahan fiesta ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!In ¡Fiesta!: A Celebration of Latino Festivals, author Sherry Shahan describes twelve Latino festivals, one for each month of the year, in brief poems accompanied by short explanatory paragraphs. Some of the celebrations, such as Cinco de Mayo and Día de los Muertos, will be familiar; others that are very specific to certain countries or ethnic groups may not be. Paula Barragán’s vibrantly flowing digitally enhanced cut-paper illustrations accompany the text. (August/Little Folk, 2009)

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13. Storytime: Mother’s Day round-up, part 1

  Ladybug Girl and Her Mama by Jacky Davis & illustrated by David Soman Ladybug Girl loves her mama, and can’t wait to spend the day with her. They plant flowers in the garden, share a special lunch, and enjoy a favorite movie. Together-time has never been so sweet. Just right for Mother’s Day! My …

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14. Happy Earth Day from Lee & Low Books!

In an era of great global change, it’s more important than ever to take a moment today to think about how the Earth sustains us and how we can help to sustain it in return.

We asked author Jan Reynolds, whose work we have been showcasing throughout April here on the blog and whose travels have taken her from a hot air balloon over Mount Everest to the Sahara Desert, to share a few of her favorite photos and some thoughts on celebrating Earth Day:

I chose photos for Earth Day that aren’t big landscapes on purpose. We think of Earth Day as the Earth, pristine, something separate, while in reality…

Jan Reynolds with giraffe…the Earth is one big party with all kids of life on it, not just plant life and oceans. 

Jan Reynolds with monkeysWe are all a part of it, including man. 

BaboonsSo therefore, the baboon pics. Hoping we can see ourselves in the baboons, and vice versa.

Further Reading and Resources:

Don’t miss our Pinterest board of recommended books about Earth, the Environment, and Human Impact:

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 12.04.16 PM

Raising Global Citizens: Jan Reynolds Author Study

Teaching Geo-Literacy Using the Vanishing Cultures series

Where in the World? Using Google Maps to explore the Vanishing Cultures series


Filed under: Curriculum Corner, Holidays Tagged: common core, Earth Day, environment, environmentalism, informational text, nonfiction, photos

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15. Review of Here Comes the Easter Cat

underwood here comes the easter cat Review of Here Comes the Easter CatHere Comes the Easter Cat
by Deborah Underwood; 
illus. by Claudia Rueda
Preschool    Dial    80 pp.
1/14    978-0-8037-3939-0    $16.99    g

Cat discovers an advertisement for the Easter Bunny’s arrival on the front endpapers of this witty offering, and from the very first page he is unhappy about it. The text addresses Cat directly throughout the book, and he responds using placards, humorous expressions, and body language to convey his emotions to great effect. When asked what’s wrong, Cat explains that he doesn’t understand why everyone loves the Easter Bunny. To assuage Cat’s jealousy, the text suggests that he become the Easter Cat and “bring the children something nice too.” Intrigued, Cat plans his gift idea (chocolate bunnies with no heads), transportation method (a motorcycle faster than that hopping bunny), and a sparkly outfit (complete with top hat). But multiple naps are an important part of Cat’s daily routine. When he discovers that the Easter Bunny doesn’t take any naps while delivering all his eggs, a forlorn Cat devises an unselfish way he can instead assist the hard-working rabbit. Rueda expertly uses white space, movement, and page turns to focus attention on Cat and the repartee. The combination of Underwood’s knowledgeable authorial voice and Rueda’s loosely sketched, textured ink and colored-pencil illustrations make this an entertaining, well-paced tale for interactive story hours. And if he isn’t going to usurp the Easter Bunny, then clever Cat will just have to take over another ho-ho-holiday.

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16. Poetry Friday: “A Poem!” from Etched In Clay

andrea chengAndrea Cheng is the author of several critically-acclaimed books for young readers. Her most Guest bloggerrecent novel, Etched in Clay, tells the story in verse of Dave the Potter, an enslaved man, poet, and master craftsperson whose jars (many of which are inscribed with his poetry and writings) are among the most sought-after pieces of Edgefield pottery. Etched in Clay recently won the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award.

April is National Poetry Month, so we asked author Andrea Cheng to share one of her favorite poems from Etched in Clay:

FEATURED POEM

Etched in Clay, p. 65

A Poem!

Dave, July 12, 1834

The summer’s so hot,

it’s like we’re living

in the furnace.

The clay doesn’t like it either,

getting hard on me

too quick.

I better hurry now,

before the sun’s too low to see.

What words will I scrawl

across the shoulder

of this jar?

I hear Lydia’s voice in my head.

Be careful, Dave.

Those words in clay

can get you killed.

But I will die of silence

if I keep my words inside me

any longer.

Doctor Landrum used to say

it’s best to write a poem a day,

for it calms the body

and the soul

to shape those words.

 etched in clay jar

This jar is a beauty,

big and wide,

fourteen gallons

I know it will hold.

I have the words now,

and my stick is sharp.

I write:

put every bit all between

surely this jar will hold 14.

Andrea Cheng: There are three poems in Etched in Clay which speak directly about the act of writing.  In the first one, “Tell the World,”  (EIC p. 38) Dave writes in clay for the first time.  Using a sharp stick, he carves the date, April 18, into a brick; he is announcing to the world that on this day, “a man started practicing/his letters.”  In the poem called “Words and Verses,” (EIC p. 52) Dave thinks about writing down one of the poems that has been swirling around in his head as he works on the potter’s wheel.  Finally, in “A Poem!” (EIC  p. 67) Dave actually carves a couplet into one of his jars.  His words are practical and ordinary; he simply comments on the size of the jar.  But he is no longer silent.

Further Reading:

Andrea Cheng on Writing Biography in Verse

An interview with Andrea Cheng about Etched in Clay in School Library Journal

A look at how Andrea Cheng made the woodcut illustrations for Etched in Clay


Filed under: guest blogger, Holidays, Musings & Ponderings Tagged: Andrea Cheng, dave the potter, david drake, Etched in Clay, National Poetry Month, poems, poetry, poetry Friday, pottery, slavery

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17. Find a Rainbow Day is April 3rd

Who knew there was a day dedicated to finding rainbows? Not me. But apparently, Find a Rainbow Day is a thing.

Well, I didn't find a rainbow today (yet), but I did find a pretty awesome one last year. The picture is a great reminder for me, but seeing it in person...well, it was just spectacular. It showed up all of a sudden, big and bright and beautiful, when the sun burst through all at once after a totally epic summer afternoon rainstorm:





Have a radiant Find a Rainbow Day, and happy colorful hunting!

 

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18. Resources For Teaching About Wangari Maathai and Seeds Of Change

Jill_EisenbergJill Eisenberg, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 

Seeds of Change cover

Seeds Of Change

In honor of Wangari Maathai’s birthday on Tuesday, April 1 and upcoming Earth Day later this month, we at Lee & Low Books want to share all the fantastic resources and ideas that are available to educators who are teaching about Wangari Maathai’s legacy and using Seeds Of Change: Planting a Path to Peace.

Wangari Maathai

Seeds Of Change

Elementary School:

Seeds of ChangeMiddle School and High School:

  • Seeds Of Change won the American Library Association’s Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent in Illustration in 2011. The Committee Chair and Book Jury have prepared activities and discussion questions for Seeds Of Change in the 2011 Discussion Guide for Coretta Scott King Book Awards, P. 20-21.
  • Have students read and discuss author Jen Cullerton Johnson and illustrator Sonia Lynn Sadler’s joint interview with Lee & Low, which covers the environment, their travels, and Wangari Maathai’s achievements.
  • After introducing Wangari Maathai with Seeds Of Change, delve deeper with the Speak Truth To Power human rights education curriculum, a project of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. They present an in-depth exploration on Wangari Maathai, the Green Belt Movement, and sustainability issues.
  • In teaching standard 7 of the ELA Common Core, have students evaluate how Wangari Maathai is presented in a documentary compared to the Seeds Of Change biography. PBS’s documentary on Wangari Maathai and the Green Belt Movement, Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai, contains a classroom section full of video modules, handouts, and lesson plans.

What did we miss? Let us know how you are using Seeds Of Change in your classroom!

 

 


Filed under: Curriculum Corner Tagged: African/African American Interest, biographies, CCSS, children's books, common core standards, diversity, Educators, ELA common core standards, environmentalism, History, holidays, lesson plans, Reading Aloud, reading comprehension, ReadyGEN, Wangari Maathai

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19. Where Do Boys Belong In Women’s History Month?

Jill_EisenbergJill Eisenberg, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 

Irena's Jars Of Secrets

Irena’s Jars Of Secrets

I entered the education field to broaden the minds of a new generation and teach the truths that I felt I had missed or was denied in my own education. Indeed, I was not alone in those motivations. According to the Primary Sources project by Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, of the more than 20,000 public school classroom teachers polled, 85% of teachers say they chose the profession in order to make a difference in children’s lives.

Despite my righteous ambitions, once in the classroom, I was hesitant to broach the conversation about gender with a mixed class of boys and girls. So many of my own college classes that focused on social justice and equality issues were almost entirely women.

Acutely aware of my students’ fragile perception of themselves, I was intimated by the prospect of guiding the discussion. When I was leading a classroom of my own, it was often easier to concentrate on the benign world of synonyms, dictionary skills, main idea, and genre features than push my students to think about what role gender plays in achievement, history, and identity.

I wondered: How do we teach about women’s history and contributions without alienating boys? Will boys disengage if a girl or woman is on the cover or is the main character? In this day and age, do girls still need explicit attention drawn to high-achievers that share their gender?

Leading up to my first month of March as a teacher, I thought I would “just” read more books with women as the central figures during Women’s History Month, but not explicitly point out that these were all women so as not to freak out boys and hope the girls would pick up on my subliminal messages of empowerment….

Face palm

Insert face palm here.

This thinking was a huge disservice to ALL of my students’ educations. As I introduced books with prominent women historic figures or girl characters, I realized if the books were about gender, we would discuss identity and tolerance. Other times if the story just happened to have a girl character, but gender wasn’t a central feature of the story, my scholars just wanted to focus on the great story and how the universal lessons applied to their lives.

Four lessons to think about when teaching women’s history so both boys AND girls grow and learn:

  1. Two words: cool stories. Above all, if it’s a great story, it doesn’t matter who is on the cover. Everyone will want to sit up and participate.
  2. Pick contemporary and diverse stories. To continue to show the relevancy of the women’s movements and contributions of women to society, we owe it to all of our students to find more contemporary examples of women figures and showcase more diverse participants in equality. Let’s keep exposing our kids to women of today and of different backgrounds.
  3. Show explicit examples of men championing women. Boys need to see great role models of men advocating for women alongside or behind the scenes. There are plenty of men who have been in the trenches with women fighting for social If we want to instill resiliency and develop children’s imaginations, we need to present children with stories about long odds, big dreams, and fantastic leadership that come in all shapes, sizes, and bodies.justice and as invested in their wives, daughters, sisters, and mothers achieving great success in a field of study as the women themselves. If we want future generations of men to respect and support women, we need to offer boys examples of how to recognize and champion women’s contributions. Boys and girls need to see that the struggles for equality impacted everyone and were not about one group’s success at the other’s detriment.
  4. Talk about the universal lesson and character traits. Everyone can learn from a story about overcoming obstacles, persistence, and courage. Women like Wangari Maathai and Pura Belpré fought for what they loved and believed was right first, and then fought for who they were and who they represented. If we want to instill resiliency and develop children’s imaginations, we need to present children with stories about long odds, big dreams, and fantastic leadership that come in all shapes, sizes, and bodies.

Throughout the year and especially during Women’s History Month, we need to teach that gender shouldn’t be an excuse to bar someone from exploring or contributing to a field of study. Concurrently, we want to show all students that gender can offer a unique perspective or approach that should be recognized and celebrated.

Alongside our girls, boys need the language of equality and a broader view of history. Women’s contributions advanced our society and continue to impact all of us. We need to teach that gender totally does matter and, at the same time, totally doesn’t matter.

Shining Star: The Story Of Anna May Wong

Shining Star: The Story Of Anna May Wong

Susan B. Anthony Is Great, But Who Else Do We Have? Here are books about high-achieving women from diverse backgrounds with diverse pursuits.

Baby Flo: Florence Mills Lights Up The Stage

Baby Flo: Florence Mills Lights Up The Stage

Women and The Men That Championed Them. Explore these books with awesome men celebrating awesome women:

Killer Of Enemies

Killer Of Enemies

Stories That Will Hook ’Em All. Here are stories so fun that it won’t matter who is on the cover…but the cover just happens to feature a girl:


Filed under: Curriculum Corner Tagged: children's books, diversity, Educators, Girls/women, History, holidays, Reading Aloud, reluctant readers, Wangari Maathai, women in history, women's history month

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20. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Kitty Kelly

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Above art by Jill Bauman, a World Fantasy Award nominated artist who specializes in horror and fantasy. Bauman has a whole set of cat holiday paintings in the link. Confession: back in the day I had a bunch of these prints hanging up in my office at Vertigo. Bauman is an accomplished artist but I find these cats a bit more disturbing than endearing! I’m not sure if that was the intent or not, but one thing is certain: YOU CAN’T LOOK AWAY.

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21. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 3/17/14: Top o’ the Kibble to ye!

Let’s start out this late St. Patricks Day roundup with Shaenon Garrity on two webcomics that adapt Irish Mythology:

I’ve said this many times before and I’ll say it many times again, but one of the joys of webcomics is their ability to cover every possible subject and fill every conceivable niche. Say, for example, you’re into early Irish literature and you want to read it in comics form. Webcomics are happy to help you out. At this very moment, in fact, there are at least two ongoing webcomics based on the Táin Bó Cúailnge, or Cattle Raid of Cooley, the central epic of the Ulster cycle: Patrick Brown’s The Cattle Raid of Cooley and M.K. Reed’s About a Bull. Thank you, webcomics! You’ve justified the existence of the Internet yet again!

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You won’t read a better piece of comics criticism this month than this and then be sure to check out Patrick Brown’s The Cattle Raid of Cooley (above) and M.K. Reed’s About a Bull (below, with art by Farel Dalrymple) and enjoy some REAL Irish culture this day.

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§ We’re very lucky that Qiana Whitted is writing more about comics; here’s an examination of meta-fiction in the work of M.F. Grimm and Howard Cruse.

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§ And Samantha Meier continues her look at some long neglected history of women in the underground comics movement with a piece on the sexual anthology Tits & Clits

From its inception, Tits & Clits was a fundamentally different anthology than Wimmen’s Comix. Not only was it more single-minded thematically, it completely lacked the collective structure and underlying democratic ideology of Wimmen’s Comix. Whereas Wimmen’s Comix at its inception was a collaborative effort aiming to unite all of the women currently in the underground comix world (and to bring in even more women), Tits & Clits began as a partnership between Joyce Farmer and Lyn Chevli, who created all of the material for Tits & Clits #1 and #2, Pandora’s Box, and Abortion Eve by themselves. (Farmer and Chevli produced seven issues of Tits & Clits between 1972 and 1987.)

§ The Tiny Report rejoices over John Pham as should we all:

Why isn’t John Pham super famous? I think he’s respected by most of us who are familiar with his work, but not enough indie comics fans are. This probably has something to do with the fact that a large portion of his work has been self-published or appeared in anthologies, so it tends to reach a limited market for a limited time. Maybe he’s a famous graphic designer, but I wouldn’t know it. That’s not my scene.

§ Dan Slott is truly a good sport.

§ An interview with Indie Age great Mike Baron reminds us some of that era wasn’t that great:

Q: I’ll be asking about your prose career, but first I wanted to ask you about comics. When I was thinking of people I wanted to interview, you were in my top five because of what you’re doing and what you’ve been doing for over 30 years: creator-owned comics. Before Image Comics and “creator-owned comics” were cool, you were doing them steadily and heavily with Nexus and later Badger. What was it like being a trailblazer?

A: Well, it was extremely exciting, but I do have to point out that when we originally signed the deals for Nexus and Badger we signed away the rights to those characters. It’s only thanks to Dark Horse Comics’ Mike Richardson that Steve Rude and I got the rights back to Nexus, but First still holds an interest in Badger. But since the creation of those two I’ve done numerous creator-owned series like The World of Ginger Fox, Spyke and Feud.

Flat Squirrel Productions

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22. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Erin go bragh! Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with nonfiction about Ireland and its history, fiction starring Irish and Irish American protagonists, and a little bit of pure blarney, all recommended by The Horn Book Magazine.

 

Picture books

bunting ballywhinney girl Happy St. Patricks Day!In Eve Bunting’s Ballywhinney Girl (Clarion, 2012) Maeve’s grandpa unearths a mummy — common in Ireland, where (a note says) scores of remains have been found. Maeve’s uneasiness at the find turns to empathy for the long-ago girl who, like her, had blond hair. Emily Arnold McCully’s masterful pen-and-ink lines capture Maeve’s feelings; watercolors evoke the lush countryside. This is a sensitive opening to the universal theme of curiosity about death.

depaola jamie orourke and the pooka Happy St. Patricks Day!In Jamie O’Rourke and the Pooka (Putnam, 2000), Tomie dePaola’s good-humored tale about the folly of counting on someone else to do your work, Jamie O’Rourke, “the laziest man in all of Ireland,” and his cronies have a grand time while his wife is away, but the house ends up a mess. When a pooka, or animal spirit, arrives and cleans the place from top to bottom, Jamie thinks his problems are over. DePaola’s cozy, colorful illustrations are a good match for the lighthearted, rhythmic text.

wojciechowski fine st. patricks day Happy St. Patricks Day!In the St. Patrick’s Day contest with rival burg Tralah, young Fiona Riley’s idea to paint the town green gives the town of Tralee hope for a win. When Tralee stops painting to help a red-bearded little man in green, it looks like they’ve sacrificed their chance to win. Susan Wojciechowski’s A Fine St. Patrick’s Day (Random, 2004) is a folk-like tale of kindness rewarded featuring a winning heroine and lots of atmosphere in Tom Curry’s rich illustrations.

 

Intermediate fiction

dowd kathleen Happy St. Patricks Day!A light hand, sharp wit, serious social issues, and a hint of subversion are ingredients in Siobhan Parkinson’s lively Kathleen: The Celtic Knot (Girls of Many Lands series; AmericanGirl, 2003). Times are hard for Kathleen and her family, who live in a crowded tenement in 1930s Dublin. Her opportunity for advancement comes when an unexpectedly kind nun recommends Irish-dance lessons. Well-contextualized Irish words and phrases are further defined in the appended glossary; historical notes and photos are included.

giff nory ryans song Happy St. Patricks Day!Patricia Reilly Giff’s Nory Ryan’s Song (Delacorte, 2000) recounts the tragic days of Ireland’s mid-nineteenth-century potato famine. Twelve-year-old Nory’s struggle to find food for her family brings her to the outcast village wise woman, where she overcomes her superstitions to learn the art of healing. Reflective rather than suspenseful, this first-person narrative allows the reader to become an eyewitness to history. This is a story of raw courage that ends hopefully if not happily. Look for sequels Maggie’s Door (2003) and Water Street (2006).

 

Older fiction

dowd bog child Happy St. Patricks Day!In 1981, eighteen-year-old Fergus finds a body of a girl from the Iron Age in the bog between Northern Ireland and the Republic. He dreams about her while struggling to focus on exams as his brother, a political prisoner, begins a hunger strike. Parallel themes of sacrifice and resurrection dominate the imagery of Siobhan Dowd’s novel Bog Child (Random/Fickling, 2008), and the suspense sustains momentum. An author’s note gives background.

heneghan grave Happy St. Patricks Day!After construction workers discover a mass grave in his schoolyard, thirteen-year-old foster child Tom falls — or is pulled — into the excavated grave. He emerges from the darkness to find he has traveled through time from 1974 Liverpool to 1847 Ireland. Tom’s colorful first-person narrative in The Grave by James Heneghan (Farrar/Foster, 2000) describes the era of the great potato famine with honesty; his time travel experiences also provide some clues to his family background.

 

Nonfiction, Poetry, and Folklore

bartoletti black potatoes Happy St. Patricks Day!In explaining how repeated years of blighted crops decimated Ireland’s huge subsistence class, Susan Campbell Bartoletti’s Black Potatoes: The Story of the Great Irish Famine (Houghton, 2001) draws on an impressive array of sources to give faces and names to those who suffered and to those in positions of influence in Ireland and England. Added materials include a map, time line, and discussion of sources. Numerous archival prints add haunting evidence.

brown across a dark and wild sea Happy St. Patricks Day!A picture book biography based on the Irish legend of Columcille, Don Brown’s Across a Dark and Wild Sea (Roaring Brook, 2002) emphasizes the love of books and learning that helped preserve Western civilization during the Dark Ages. The text is lilting; the sentences vary in length and intensity to make it suitable for reading aloud. The design (with calligraphy by Deborah Nadel) is dramatic, and Brown’s illustrations are almost dreamlike in quality. An informative author’s note is appended.

depaola patrick the patron saint Happy St. Patricks Day!In Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland (Holiday, 1994), Tomie dePaola separates his narrative into two sections: the first, a biographical account of Patrick’s life; the second, a compilation of legends. The uncluttered illustrations are reminiscent of murals in their emphasis on essential elements of the narrative. The whole is a well-executed treatment of an appealing subject.

doyle one two three oleary Happy St. Patricks Day!Malachy Doyle gathers together seventeen Irish playground rhymes for calling someone out in One, Two, Three O’Leary (McElderry, 2004), a tale about the O’Learys and their ten children. Illustrator Will Hillenbrand depicts the family as bouncy and jolly, with bright colors against white backgrounds. The premise of the book is quite ambitious (a story told completely in nonsense rhymes), but the pictures tie the rhymes together to tell a lively bedtime story.

doyle tales from old ireland Happy St. Patricks Day!In another collection, Tales from Old Ireland (Barefoot, 2000), Doyle retells seven of his favorite tales, beginning with “The Children of Lir,” one of the best loved of Irish tales. “Lusmore and the Fairies” warns of the need to respect supernatural powers; “Fair, Brown, and Trembling” is a Cinderella variant; other tales are deeply rooted in Celtic mythology. Niamh Sharkey’s illustrations are richly colored like illuminated manuscripts. Thorough source notes are included.

snell thicker than water Happy St. Patricks Day!While sharing a common Irish heritage, the voices and styles of the well-known and award-winning writers gathered in collection Thicker than Water: Coming-of-Age Stories by Irish and Irish American Writers (edited by Gordon Snell; Delacorte, 2001) are as refreshingly diverse as those of any top-notch short story collection. A strong sense of place, from a tiny island off Ireland’s west coast to a roadhouse in West Texas, is the common thread of these growing-up stories; that, and the strength of the writing.

souhami mrs mccool and the giant cuhullin Happy St. Patricks Day!Irish folk-hero Finn McCool hides behind his clever wife in Jessica Souhami’s Mrs. McCool and the Giant Cuhullin: An Irish Tale (Holt, 2002), a teasing tale of two cowardly giants. When Finn sucks his magic thumb, he can see fierce Cuhullin, who has his own magic finger, coming after him. Finn runs home to his wife, who hatches a plan to fool Cuhullin and deprive him of his magic finger. Both the light, playful text and vividly colored art are well matched to the comic tale. A well-made source note is appended.

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23. Eleanor Davis illustrates Google Doodle for the first day of Spring

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Here for the moment, on the Google homepage you’ll find a lovely animation by Eleanor Davis celebrating the first day of Spring. Of course it’s barely scraping 40°F as I type this. Hurry, Spring, hurry!

I know it’s popular to say this winter wasn’t all that but Nate Silver’s new 538 site says it was so there. Having spent two winters in Maine, I know that people all over the world have winters like this all the time, but in the Northeast US and New York in particular it was still pretty hairy. I spent the last few months scrambling between piles of revoltingly filthy snow and glare sheets of ice as I fought my way to Pret a Manger for my daily egg salad sandwich. It was like Act V in Diablo II complete with Halls of Anguish.

Usually by this time of year the daffodils and forsythia are showing their buds, but nothing has sprouted yet. So for now I’ll just watch that animation over and over and over. Hurry, Spring.

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24. Call for Halloween-themed Submissions: Conclave: A Journal of Character

Conclave: A Journal of Character is open for submissions for Issue 8, Autumn, 2014. We are particularly seeking HALLOWEEN photography, short stories, poetry, and short works of all creative forms. Death, candy, costumes, leaves, pumpkins, ghosts--whatever Halloween means to you.

Conclave is a bi-annual print journal that focuses on character-driven writing. See our website to see what we believe comprises great character.

We also select six of our best works each year to be nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

You may read all submissions guidelines here.

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25. Win a Signed Copy of Billy and the Monster who Ate All the Easter Eggs

Today, I’d like to share with you the chance to win a signed copy of the Amazon Best-seller ‘Billy and the Monster who Ate All the Easter Eggs’ Billy and the Monster who Ate All the Easter Eggs

With Easter around the corner, this book will be a welcome addition to your loved ones library.

This is the third book in the Billy and Monster series and it has gotten about 48 glowing reviews on the Amazon website.

I recently read this book to Years 1 and 2 at Raglan Primary School and the children loved it. I’m sure your loved ones will too.

Before I reveal how you can enter to win a signed copy, let’s find out what happens with Billy and Monster in this Easter edition.

Billy and Monster love all the holidays as they get to spend quality time together. However, their best holiday is Easter as they get to eat their favorite food…CHOCOLATE!

This year, they’re spending Easter with Grandma Chocalicious who loves Chocolate even more than Billy. She’s an expert at making chocolate cake, chocolate waffles and even chocolate pasta.

This year Grandma Chocalicious has made a pyramid of Easter eggs for her party on Easter Sunday. Billy and Monster want one of the Easter eggs but Grandma says they have to wait till Easter Sunday.

What happens when Billy and Monster tip toe downstairs and the pyramid of Easter eggs comes falling down?

For a chance to find out what happens simply click the link below and you could very well have your signed copy just in time for Easter.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Billy and the Monster Who Ate All the Easter Eggs by David Chuka

Billy and the Monster Who Ate All the Easter Eggs

by David Chuka

Giveaway ends April 15, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

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