Skip to main content

GREAT GIFT GIVING IDEAS: 26 Authors Share Their Holiday Gifts at

If you love books as much as I do, then Powell's Books in Portland, OR, is your mecca. Happily, I graduated from college in Portland and had three glorious years of roaming the aisles. Now that I'm no longer a bookseller and enjoying my bookseller's discount, I've been buying a lot of books from at a very nice price. So, if you don't have a local independent bookstore you can shop at, check it out! Another great thing about Powell's Books is all the book-talk going on on the website, especially this latest feature, 26 Authors Share Their Holiday Gifts. There were a few authors I had to feature here, but be sure to click through to see what titles all 26 authors and the book that they are giving to everyone this year.

The Reason I Jump, a memoir by Naoki Higashida, a thirteen-year-old boy with autism who is non-verbal. Higashida used an "alphabet grid to painstakingly construct words, sentences and thoughts" and, with "disarming honesty and a generous heart, Naoki shares his unique point of view on not only autism but life itself." As the father of an autistic child who immersed himself in books and blogs on the subject, Meloy calls The Reason I Jump "absolutely a must-read for anyone connected to someone on the spectrum." Click here to read more.   

 Colin Meloy is the author of The Wildwood Chronicles, illustrated by his wife, Carson Ellis.

Click here to find out which bestselling author is giving Kate DiCamillo's The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. I guarantee you will be surprised...

As I was reading the New York Times Book Review this morning the book Hild, by Nicola Griffith caught my eye, both for the stunning cover and the long list of awards that it has received. Then, I open my email and see that Robin Sloan, author of the fantastic Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, an adult book that I reviewed last year that is perfect for teens, has chosen Griffith's book is what he's giving this year. As Sloan says, Hild is a "story  set in seventh-century England, tracing the life of its namesake, the woman known today as St. Hilda of Whitby. Early reviews have compared it to George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire, and there is, indeed, plenty of court intrigue here, but I think Hild is both subtler and less cynical than Martin's saga. It's a grown-up tale that could nonetheless sit comfortably alongside books by Susan CooperRosemary Sutcliff, and Susanna Clarke (all favorites of mine)." Click here to read all of Sloan's review.

I was especially excited to see what my favorite, new YA author, Rainbow Rowell, (author of the stunning Eleanor & Park and the equally wonderful fangirl) is giving this year. Her pick is Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan. I have loved and reviewed two of Levithan's books and always intend to read more... Of Levithan's newest book, Rainbow writes, "Two Boys Kissing is about teenage boys trying to make sense of their lives and relationships. Thinking about gender and sexuality. Coming out. Being out. Talking to their parents and boyfriends and friends. Falling in love. Falling out of love. Kissing and kissing and kissing.But it's the way these stories are told that makes the book so potent. The narrator is sort of a Greek chorus — a generation of gay men who have died of AIDS. Their perspective on the boys' lives is both eloquent and heartbreaking — and it really resonated with me." Click here to read all of Rowell's review.

Eleanor & Park                 fangirl 

Books by David Levithan reviewed at

David Levithan also coauthored my favorite John Green book that I really need to review here, 


Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers remains the most read post on my blog since I wrote it in 2012. Because of this, I have cleaned up this post, tightened the writing and added in any pertinent information that has come about since it originally ran. When I first started in August of 2008, I was scrambling for content, finding my purpose and my voice and not always doing my best writing. How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers was one of the first articles I wrote and, as a bookseller and a book reviewer, and now as an elementary school librarian where I have gone from working with kids reading well beyond their grade level to kids reading well below, this philosophy remains my organizing principle and central focus when reading and recommending books to parents and children. 

In the interest of my mission and the attention this article continues to receive, I have updated and expanded this article and included a guide to using …

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…