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Showing posts from January, 2010

Things To Come: A Special Author Visit and Work Created Especially for This Blog!!!

When I reivewed ND Wilson's100 Cupboards back in May of 2009, a reader mentioned Wilson's first book, Leepike Ridge. I added it to my list of books to read and finally got around to it a couple of months ago. It was FANTASTIC! It was so great that I knew I needed to pick up Dandelion Fire again and finish reading it even though I don't usually review sequels here. I'm glad I did. Book Three in the trilogy (the trilogy is the new series, you heard it here first! Seven + book series for the YA crowd are a thing of the past...) And I am so glad I did. In addition to it being a great book, it is entirely worthy of its own review. In no way is Dandelion Fire typical of your usual Book Two in a trilogy - it does much more than serve as a bridge between books one and two. Also, reading Dandelion Fire was a necessity knowing that The Chestnut King was due out in January 2010.










Which leads me to my very exciting announcement... I am honored and thrilled to announce th…

Hey, Look at Me!!!

I am proud to announce that a bit of my mom/bookseller/story time reader/blogger wisdom has made it to the pages of a national magazine! At the end of Parents magazine there is always a section titled "As They Grow" which offers helpful tidbits of advice and creative parenting ideas for every age. This month, the section for 2 - 3 year olds features an article by Amy Debra Feldman titled, "Storytime Fun" on page 120. Amy came across the piece I wrote in November of 2008, How To Read a Book Without Words (Out Loud) and wanted a quote from me for her article, which is about the benefits and joys of making up stories for and with your children.
Thanks to Amy Debra Feldman and Parents magazine for giving my little blog some attention!

Copper written and illustrated by Kazu Kibuishi, 94 pp RL 3

Bolt City is the name of the home to Copper and his dog Fred and it is also the name of the very talented Kazu Kibuishi's website. Kibuishi is also the creator of the Amuletseries of graphic novels (look for book 3 sometime this spring) and contributor to and editor of the Flight series for adults. There is also Flight Explorer for kids, featuringJake Parker'sMissile Mouse, now star of his own book (scroll to the bottom for a cool picture...) Kibuishi also is responsible for the Daisy Kutter and the 14 chapter webcomic Clive Cabbage.



Even though I am an art school drop out with an ongoing love of art, it has taken me a long time to fully understand and totally appreciate graphic novels. When I read a graphic novel, I sometimes either feel that there is not enough text to go along with the story being told by the illustrations or that the illustrations are not creating a complete enough world to draw me in and hold me. I am kind of an impatient reader and I often read for plot.…

Newbery and Caldecott Awards for 2010

This year the big winners were not a surprise to me and, happily I have read and loved both of them. There were also a couple I hadn't read and two I had never heard of.
Winner of the 2010 Newbery Medal
When You Reach My by Rebecca SteadRead my review here

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline KellyRead my review here

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace LinRead my reviewhere

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figgby Rodman Philbrick

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justiceby Phillip Hoose






Winner of the 2010 Caldecott Medal
The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney

HONORS
Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee

All the Other Important Awards That You Don't Know About

So, as I sat for the second year in a row watching the live webcast of the American LIbrary Association Awards I paid a bit more attention to the other awards given and what they are given for than I did last year. There are some interesting categories and spectacular books that took home awards that I wanted to share with you. The name of each award is a link to the ALA website where you can read the criteria for the awards and view descriptions of the winners and the honorees.
Alex Awards
Given to 10 books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 - 18. Since I started as mother-daughter book group with my sixteen year old recently, these books are of interest.

















Soulless - Gail CarrigerThe Kids Are All Right - Diana Welch (memoir)Bride's Farewell - Meg RosoffStitches: A Memoir - David SmallThe Magicians - Lev Grossman












YASLA Award for Excellence in Non-Fiction for YA

Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faithby Deborah Heligman















Michael L Printz Award f…

Best of, Best ever...

Betsy Bird over at FUSE#8 is compiling the mother of all lists - The Top 100 Fictional Children's Chapter Books - with the help of her readers. She asks that you vote for your top 10 favorite middle grade books of ALL TIME and submit your list (IN ORDER OF PREFERENCE) to her atFusenumber8@gmail.com. and submit by 11:59 am on January 31. If you are unsure if a book is a middle grade reader, she suggests you check out the website for the most amazing bookstore in America and one of the best parts of my college years, Powell's City of Books.

This got me to thinking about my list and what makes a book really, truly, memorably GREAT for me. Here is my criteria:
1) The author creates a world that, when I am reading and for a good time after, I inhabit, most happily. I can visualize the geography, if not always the characters (a personal flaw of mine, not the authors', which is probably why I am such a slavish fan of illustrations), of a fabulous book.
2) The author create…

Newbery and Caldecott Awards Announced on January 18, 2010

It's that time of year again! Feeling hopeful since I actually READ last year's Newbery Winner before it was announced... However, I had never seen or hear of the Caldecott winner. If you need a reminder of what won last year, click here for my post from last year. To watch the awards being announced live on Monday morning beginning at 7:45 am (Pacific time) check out the webcast. If you want to see some pretty good predictions, check out Betsy Bird's predictions from way back in October of 2009 over at FUSE#8. For a very in depth, fascinating look at the process, check out Heavy Medal, a blog dialogue between two librarians who have served on the selection committees for these awards. Here are some of the titles being bandied about:




I am very excited (and not the least bit surprised) to see Rebecca Stead'sWhen You Reach Me at the top of list. I am THRILLED and very hopeful to see Grace Lin'sWhere the Mountain Meets the Moon on the list!












Other books mentione…

11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass 267 pp RL 4

It's not possible to write a review of Wendy Mass' bouyant new book 11 Birthdays without comparing it to the 1993 movie Groundhog Day. Like Bill Murray, Amanda Ellerby is forced to repeat the day of her eleventh birthday, Friday, June 5th, over and over again until she gets it right. That is where the similarities end, however. Mass takes the idea of having to repeat the same day over and over, puts it in the hands of her characters and lets them run with it.
Each named for a great-great grandparent, Amanda Ellerby and Leo Fitzgerald are born on the same in the same birthing center. Unbeknownst to them, their great-great-grandfathers carried on a legendary feud that turned town upside down until they ended it, instantly and mysteriously, and were friends for the rest of their lives. Also unbeknownst to Leo and Amanda is the presence at their births of Angelina D'Angelo, the woman who, with a little bit of magic, brought about the end of the Fitzgerald and Ellerby feud…

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson, 300 pp RL 5

Chains, by Laurie Halse Anderson, is yet another National Book Award finalist from this excellent author. Not as well known or as old as the Newbery Award, which is given by theAmerican Library Association, the National Book Award is given to writers, by writers. This year's judges for young people's literature are Cynthia Voigt, a Newbery Award Winner, Angela Johnson, winner of three Coretta Scott King Awards, Holly Black, author of the Spiderwick series with Tony DiTerlizzi and Carolyn Mackler, a new author of teen fiction. The panel of judges is chaired by Daniel Handler, who goes by the pen name of Lemony Snicket. This may be the biggest award for children's literature you have never heard of, short of the Smarties, awarded in the UK, and also known as the Nestle Children's Book Prize. And, Chains was also named the 2009 winner of the Scott O'Dell Award For Historical Fiction.

Laurie Halse Anderson is a diverse writer. She has authored non-fiction pictur…

2 Birds: New National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and New Look

Bird #1: I am sure that those of you who are interested in this kind of thing already know that, on Tuesday, January 5, 2010, two time winner of the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award Katherine Paterson was named the new National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. Paterson takes the helm from the first ever ambassador,Jon Scieszka. And I had finally mastered the spelling of his name... Now it will take me months to remember that Katherine spells her last name with one "t," not two. But, I will have lots of practice. While I have read many of Paterson's books (my husband and I took turns reading Jacob I Have Loved while I was in labor with my second child. Weird, yes, but a memory that sticks with you) I have yet to review one here.
Besides being the author of 38 novels and picture books, Paterson is the vice president of The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance which is an organization of award winning authors and illustrators workin…