Children's Literature

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  • Review: Home Cooking

    A Chair, A Fireplace, & A Tea Cozy
    Liz B
    20 Jan 2015 | 1:00 am
    Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen (Vintage Contemporaries) by Laurie Colwin. Illustrations by Anna Shapiro. Personal copy: Vintage, 2010. Originally published in 1988.It's About: Part memoir, part cook book.The Good: I read Colwin's Happy All the Time around when it first came out -- and it's stuck with me all these years. Since I was only in early high school at the time I read it, I thought that Happy All the Time, and Laurie Colwin herself, was my book, my discovery. While I bought a new copy when Vintage did its 2010 reissues, I still haven't brought myself to read it: would it…
  • Week in Review, January 19th-23rd

    The Horn Book
    Katie Bircher
    23 Jan 2015 | 12:00 pm
    This week on… Reviews of the Week Picture Book: The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach Fiction: Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper — plus a Q&A for the author Nonfiction: Draw What You See: The Life and Art of Benny Andrews by Kathleen Benson; illus. with paintings by Benny Andrews App: Geography Drive Arcade Read Roger: “News from the North” Out of the Box: “2015 Sydney Taylor Book Awards” and reviews of the winners: My Grandfather’s Coat, Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaustand Storm “Shhh! Top secret…
  • 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #416: Featuring Peter Carnavas

    Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
    24 Jan 2015 | 10:01 pm
      Today’s picture book is an import. Peter Carnavas’ Jessica’s Box was initially published in Australia back in 2008, but Kane Miller will bring it to U.S. shelves in March. When we first meet Jessica, her mind is racing. It’s “too busy for sleep. Her thoughts were already with tomorrow.” And that’s because tomorrow will be her first day of school, and she’s eager to make new friends. When she shows up, she brings with her a big cardboard box. By lunchtime, though her box is neglected at first, curious children gather ’round, and…
  • 5&Dime Friday: Looking for Goats!

    Finding Wonderland: The WritingYA Weblog
    23 Jan 2015 | 4:22 am
    Publishing and the kidlitosphere tends to slow down around Thanksgiving, and it tends to take awhile to get back up to speed... it seems like we slowed down a little at the Wonderland treehouse as well. There will be a little more slowing from my neck of the woods, as Tech Boy has a little surgery next Friday and I'm going to be pretending that the sight of blood doesn't make me queasy. (It would be worse if I was doing the surgery, though, I guess.) I'll be reading then as I've been reading now -- but hopefully I won't be throwing as many books as I have been. You know how that goes... you…
  • This Year’s 90-Second Newbery Film Festival

    educating alice
    23 Jan 2015 | 12:55 pm
    If you are not familiar with the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival I encourage you to change that situation now. The brainchild of James Kennedy, the competition and festival has been going strong for several years now.  Among the many clever trailers created by children from all over the world and of all ages are: The reimagining 1953 Honor Book Charlotte’s Web as a horror movie. A must-see. These teenagers from the Schaumburg Public Library are on to something: after all,the book’s first line is “Where’s Papa going with that ax?”, the plot hinges around a spider using…
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    The Horn Book

  • Week in Review, January 19th-23rd

    Katie Bircher
    23 Jan 2015 | 12:00 pm
    This week on… Reviews of the Week Picture Book: The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach Fiction: Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper — plus a Q&A for the author Nonfiction: Draw What You See: The Life and Art of Benny Andrews by Kathleen Benson; illus. with paintings by Benny Andrews App: Geography Drive Arcade Read Roger: “News from the North” Out of the Box: “2015 Sydney Taylor Book Awards” and reviews of the winners: My Grandfather’s Coat, Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaustand Storm “Shhh! Top secret…
  • Calling Caldecott 2015 ballot #1 results

    Lolly Robinson
    23 Jan 2015 | 8:59 am
    This is when it gets really exciting for Martha, Robin, and me. We had access to the secret link where we could see more and more votes come in yesterday. I stopped checking around 11 p.m. last night but got right back online at 6 a.m. If we count up the first-place votes, a total of 296 people cast their ballots here. There were 286 second-place votes and 283 for third place. I guess some people figure fewer votes will give more weight to the books they really love, or they had one or two big favorites and just wanted to vote for those. All three of us have done the full-ballot math,…
  • Veggies in undies: real-life remix

    Elissa Gershowitz
    23 Jan 2015 | 8:06 am
    Hey, it’s an art form. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Mutant carrot. Mutant carrot in undies. The post Veggies in undies: real-life remix appeared first on The Horn Book.
  • Caldecott ballots, tallies, and selection of honor books

    Lolly Robinson
    23 Jan 2015 | 7:43 am
    Reprinted from pages 36 and 37 of the Randolph Caldecott Medal Committee Manual (ALA/ALSC June, 2009)   Balloting When there is consensus that all the books on the discussion list are fully discussed, the committee proceeds to a selection ballot. Certain procedures apply: Committee members list first, second, and third place votes for the award on a selection ballot. In tabulating ballot results, the tellers assign four points to each first place vote, three points to each second place vote, and two points to each third place vote. There is a formula to determine the winner. A book must…
  • Geography Drive Arcade app review

    Katie Bircher
    22 Jan 2015 | 11:30 am
    Spinlight Studio’s Geography Drive Arcade app (2013) quizzes users on their United States geography knowledge in an engaging way. The app has six sections: Study Map: This streamlined map of the U.S. shows the states color-coded by region, with all fifty capitals marked and labeled. Tap each state to go in-depth, accessing a page where its silhouette and a list of facts (capital, size in square miles, date and chronological number order of statehood) accompany a brief overview of the state’s history. On the next screen, the state flag is displayed next to its time zone, nickname,…
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    Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

  • 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #416: Featuring Peter Carnavas

    24 Jan 2015 | 10:01 pm
      Today’s picture book is an import. Peter Carnavas’ Jessica’s Box was initially published in Australia back in 2008, but Kane Miller will bring it to U.S. shelves in March. When we first meet Jessica, her mind is racing. It’s “too busy for sleep. Her thoughts were already with tomorrow.” And that’s because tomorrow will be her first day of school, and she’s eager to make new friends. When she shows up, she brings with her a big cardboard box. By lunchtime, though her box is neglected at first, curious children gather ’round, and…
  • What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week,Featuring E. B. Lewis and Benny Andrews

    23 Jan 2015 | 7:49 am
    “It’s a peaceful spring and summer in Huntsville in 1963, but not elsewhere in Alabama. More than a thousand black children gather for a nonviolent protest in a Birmingham park. They are met with gushing fire hoses and snarling dogs. …Two hundred thousand people march for freedom in Washington,D.C.Dr. King gives a speech, echoing the dream that black children andwhite children will join hands in peace. It’s on television, nationwide.”– From Hester Bass’ Seeds of Freedom, illustrated by E. B. Lewis(Click to enlarge)   “When Benny’s…
  • Finding Spring with Carin Berger

    22 Jan 2015 | 7:16 am
    “In Finding Spring, a little bear named Maurice strikes off on his own in search of Spring, instead of hibernating. It is a story about seeking and about the magic of discovery. It is about those empowering childhood adventures that I remember so vividly – those moments of exploration without an adult supervising. It is also about the elusiveness of that which we seek and the happy accidental discoveries along the way.” This morning over at Kirkus, I chat with author-illustrator Carin Berger about her new picture book, Finding Spring (out on shelves next week). Carin has actually…
  • A Peek at Nicole Tadgell’s Drawing Table

    19 Jan 2015 | 10:01 pm
    “As the tea cooled down, their conversation heated up. … [T]hey weren’t afraid tostand up for their beliefs. In fact, they loved a good fight!”– Rough sketch, final sketch, and final art (without text)(Click second image to enlarge) Illustrator Nicole Tadgell (pictured left) is visiting 7-Imp (for a third time — you can check the archives for her previous visits) to share artwork and early sketches from Suzanne Slade’s Friends for Freedom: The Story of Susan B. Anthony & Frederick Douglass. This book was released back in September…
  • 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #415: Featuring Steven Weinberg

    17 Jan 2015 | 10:01 pm
    Every now and then here at 7-Imp, I like to link back to this 2008 post I wrote with my friend and librarian extraordinaire (and current Caldecott committee member!) Adrienne Furness, and I always like to add books to our Straight Talk About the Food Chain bibliography. (There’s no actual bibliography — just one in my head.) Rex Finds an Egg! Egg! Egg!—the debut picture book from Steven Weinberg, who is visiting 7-Imp today—would be a great addition to the list. The book will be on shelves in late February from Margaret K. McElderry Books. The story is of a very…
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    Finding Wonderland: The WritingYA Weblog

  • 5&Dime Friday: Looking for Goats!

    23 Jan 2015 | 4:22 am
    Publishing and the kidlitosphere tends to slow down around Thanksgiving, and it tends to take awhile to get back up to speed... it seems like we slowed down a little at the Wonderland treehouse as well. There will be a little more slowing from my neck of the woods, as Tech Boy has a little surgery next Friday and I'm going to be pretending that the sight of blood doesn't make me queasy. (It would be worse if I was doing the surgery, though, I guess.) I'll be reading then as I've been reading now -- but hopefully I won't be throwing as many books as I have been. You know how that goes... you…
  • Catching Up: Book Blurbs of Fall/Winter, Pt. 1

    Sarah Stevenson
    22 Jan 2015 | 12:07 pm
    I've gotten incredibly far behind on my reviewing, so it's that time again: time to cut to the chase and offer quick, no-nonsense book reviews before I completely forget everything about these stories. This past fall was a real bear as far as staying caught up on ANYTHING, so I read a lot of books (for relaxation/escape) but lacked either the time or energy for my reviewing to keep up with my reading. I tried to temper this by reading some adult books here and there, but I nevertheless got very behind, and some of these books date back to about mid-September in terms of when I added them to…

    21 Jan 2015 | 2:20 pm
    A year ago last week, my sister was the recipient of a renal transplant - that's a kidney, for those who don't do doctorspeak - and it was from a person who had passed away, someone older than she, and male. As grateful as she was for the help, there was an element of weird around the whole thing, for all of us. We humans have advanced scientifically enough so we can swap organs? If those organs could talk, the stories they could tell, about where they'd been before... we don't want them to talk, of course, but leave it to the creatively creepy Nicole Maggi to envision a parallel reality…
  • Cybils 2014: A (Spoiler-Free) Peek Behind the Scenes

    Sarah Stevenson
    19 Jan 2015 | 4:02 pm
    We are now well into the Round 2 judging period for the Cybils Awards, and this year I'm on the committee for Graphic Novels (both YA and Elementary/Middle Grade), which is always wonderfully fun for me. Without going into detail on the actual books themselves or my opinions (which are MUM for the time being), I did want to post a bit on the topic of how I try to evaluate the shortlisted finalists and what goes on behind the scenes when the judges deliberate. It's been interesting to me, because I was new to the whole book-award thing before getting involved with Cybils way back in 2006. I…
  • Toon Thursday Blast From the Past: Here's to Miracles

    Sarah Stevenson
    15 Jan 2015 | 5:09 pm
    I actually do have a new cartoon in the works, but it's currently...a sketch on a miscellaneous scrap of paper. I posted this toon in honor of the fact that my novel-in-progress is still slogging through the quagmire of many pieces of paper, both large and small, and here's me hoping for a miracle! This work is copyrighted material. All opinions are those of the writer, unless otherwise indicated. All book reviews are UNSOLICITED, and no money has exchanged hands, unless otherwise indicated. Please contact the weblog owner for further details.
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    A Chair, A Fireplace, & A Tea Cozy

  • Review: Home Cooking

    Liz B
    20 Jan 2015 | 1:00 am
    Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen (Vintage Contemporaries) by Laurie Colwin. Illustrations by Anna Shapiro. Personal copy: Vintage, 2010. Originally published in 1988.It's About: Part memoir, part cook book.The Good: I read Colwin's Happy All the Time around when it first came out -- and it's stuck with me all these years. Since I was only in early high school at the time I read it, I thought that Happy All the Time, and Laurie Colwin herself, was my book, my discovery. While I bought a new copy when Vintage did its 2010 reissues, I still haven't brought myself to read it: would it…
  • Review Round Up

    Liz B
    14 Jan 2015 | 1:00 am
    I'm behind in reviews, so I'm doing a few round ups of titles -- better a couple paragraphs than nothing!Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper. Little, Brown. 2014. Reviewed from ARC.Salt and Storm is set in an alternate 1860s, where witches and magic are real. Avery is the granddaughter of the witch of Prince Island, and should have been trained and raised to be the next witch. Except, her mother -- who refuses to have anything to do with magic or witchcraft -- drags Avery away from her grandmother and forbids her to see her. At sixteen, Avery is trying to escape her mother's control and claim…
  • Nonfiction Reviews

    Liz B
    7 Jan 2015 | 1:00 am
    Two of the finalists for the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award.The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin. Roaring Brook Press. 2014. Review copy from publisher.The Port Chicago 50 tells a story that I was not familiar with -- actually, many stories I was not familiar with. The Port Chicago 50 are fifty African American sailors accused of mutiny in the aftermath of the Port Chicago disaster. I don't want to go into the details of the disaster or the mutiny accusations or the aftermath -- read the book!The story of these fifty men is not just…
  • Review: Perfectly Good White Boy

    Liz B
    30 Dec 2014 | 1:00 am
    Perfectly Good White Boy by Carrie Mesrobian. Carolrhoda Lab. 2014. Review copy from publisher.The Plot: Sean's starting his senior year at school not quite sure about, well, anything. He and his mom had to move out of their home into a crappy rental, so "home" isn't really home. His amazing summer girlfriend has left for college, breaking up with him first.He has a few good things in his life. Like his friendship with his coworker, Neecie. And he's figured out how an average student with no hopes for any type of scholarship can get out of town: join the Marines. Which no one expects, in…
  • Review: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

    Liz B
    29 Dec 2014 | 1:00 am
    The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton. Candlewick Press. 2014. Reviewed from ARC. Morris Finalist.The Plot: To understand Ava Lavender and her wings, you have to understand her mother and her grandmother before her. So Ava tells the story of the three generations of women in her family, of their loves, and how they survived heart break and loss.And how Ava was born with wings, and how that shaped her life.The Good: Yes, Ava was born with wings -- The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is a beautifully written work of magical realism. Ava's being…
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    educating alice

  • This Year’s 90-Second Newbery Film Festival

    23 Jan 2015 | 12:55 pm
    If you are not familiar with the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival I encourage you to change that situation now. The brainchild of James Kennedy, the competition and festival has been going strong for several years now.  Among the many clever trailers created by children from all over the world and of all ages are: The reimagining 1953 Honor Book Charlotte’s Web as a horror movie. A must-see. These teenagers from the Schaumburg Public Library are on to something: after all,the book’s first line is “Where’s Papa going with that ax?”, the plot hinges around a spider using…
  • Thoughts on Newbery: El Deafo

    20 Jan 2015 | 6:02 am
    I don’t usually do single titles for this series, but am making an exception for Cece Bell’s El Deafo, a graphic novel that is getting some serious Newbery buzz. About this affecting and funny childhood memoir, I wrote elsewhere, “While Bell doesn’t shy away from issues dealing with her hearing loss, doing so with wit and a refreshing lack of self-pity, it is the search for a good friend that will resonate most with young readers.” I’ve definitely been part of the buzzing (say over at Heavy Medal where I put it as the first of my 3 votes for their…
  • SLJ’s Battle of the Kids’ Books 2015 Contenders

    20 Jan 2015 | 5:31 am
    Last week we announced the contenders for the 2015 BOB (AKA SLJ’s Battle of the Kids’ Books). You can seem them all here but I do encourage you to go to the actual post to see what others have to say about them and add in your own thoughts. For those unfamiliar with the BoB, it was the Tournament of Books that gave me the idea of doing similar bracket-style event with kid books. Happily, the folks at School Library Journal liked the idea and so here we are, beginning our 7th year. Of course, the Battle Commander (that is Roxanne Feldman, Jonathan Hunt, and myself) have been at…
  • In Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    19 Jan 2015 | 2:30 am
    Reposting this from last year: Born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1922, my father Lewis J. Edinger, who passed away in 2008, fled with his mother to America at the age of fourteen; his father chose to stay, hoping to ride things out, but was deported and killed. Years later, as a newly minted PhD, my father took whatever jobs he could find; one of those was in Montgomery, Alabama at the time of the bus boycott where, among other things, he met Martin Luther King, Jr.  Here are some excerpts from his memoir about that time in his life. I got my haircuts at Maxwell Air Force Base from a black…
  • Philip Pullman’s “The Collectors” now available at Audible US.

    12 Jan 2015 | 6:01 am
    I was a bit peeved a few weeks ago to learn that there was a new short story by Philip Pullman set in the world of The Golden Compass out from Audible in the UK.  Happily, it is available starting today in the US as well.  You can get a taste of it here.
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    Chicken Spaghetti

  • Norman's Best Books of 2014

    3 Jan 2015 | 5:46 pm
    It's a New Year's tradition to hand over the blog to my husband, Norman, for his annual list! Thanks, Susan, for once again letting me tell your readers about the books I’ve enjoyed this past year. My favorite fiction books were, in no particular order, Redeployment, by Phil Klay; Family Life, by Akhil Sharma;  Euphoria, by Lily King; All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr; and Dept. of Speculation, by Jenny Offill. My top nonfiction books were Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson, and Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, by Roz Chast. After winning the…
  • My Favorite Books of 2014

    1 Jan 2015 | 1:08 pm
    My New Year's resolution is always Read More Books, and usually I end it there. In 2014 I was able to do a lot of reading. Yay! Meanwhile, Norman is working on his great list. Stay tuned. In 2015 I am most looking forward to works by my friends Mary Norris and Emily Nunn. Mary's Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen (W.W. Norton) is due out in April, and Emily's book, The Comfort Food Diaries (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster), hits the shelves in September. I can't wait! If you have a book being published in 2015, please mention it in the comments. I…
  • Brown Girl Dreaming

    19 Dec 2014 | 12:13 pm
    I usually have a couple of books going at once, and I love it when they talk to each other. Virginia Woolf asks, in Hours in a Library, a series of questions about contemporary authors’ works, issues that make their work appeal to us as much as the classics. “...What do they see of the surrounding world, and what is the dream that fills the spaces of their active lives? They tell us all these things in their books.” It’s as if Woolf knew I was reading the memoir Brown Girl Dreaming (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House, 2014), a children’s title by Jacqueline Woodson. Her dream,…
  • The Best Children's Books of 2014: A List of Lists and Awards

    30 Nov 2014 | 12:54 pm
    A roundup of the year-end "best of" lists and children's literature prizes. Most of the books on these lists were published in 2014; a few lists include titles from prior years, too. I will update this page regularly, so if you see something not mentioned here, give me a holler in the comments or on Twitter @Susan_Thomsen. Comments are open but moderated, due to spam woes. See also the lists for 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008.  ©Susan Thomsen, 2014. The blog Largehearted Boy maintains a huge list of all the online "best books" lists. The English…
  • Dept. of Still a Ways to Go

    24 Nov 2014 | 5:52 am
    [Gillian] Flynn: I would love it if I could do an event without a very well-meaning man telling me, "I don't normally read books by women." Do you get that? [Cheryl] Strayed: All the time. [...] From "Gone Girls, Found," Cara Buckley's interview with Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) and Cheryl Strayed (Wild), in the New York Times, Sunday, November 23, 2014.
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    Chasing Ray

  • The Secret Rooms

    22 Jan 2015 | 9:53 pm
    Courtesy my mother, (who always pays attention when you write notes in a catalog* with the words "I WANT THIS!!!!"), I received The Secret Rooms by Catherine Bailey for Christmas. This incredibly compelling book follows Bailey's search for truth while engaged in a relatively innocuous WWI research project at the Belvoir Estate in England. Stymied in her plans to find out about the war's devastation on the men in the nearby villages (many of whom lost their lives), she can not help but wonder why the estate's meticulous records should have such a deep hole during the war period. So Bailey digs…
  • Alan Cumming & the amazing "Not My Father's Son"

    20 Jan 2015 | 7:48 pm
    From Alan Cumming's incredible memoir which I can't stop thinking about*: Eventually of course we all escaped him. Tom and I entered adulthood and moved away: Tom at twenty-one to get married and I, two years later at seventeen, to go to drama school in Glasgow. And Mary Darling started her own independent life soon after. We all stitched together facades that we were all okay. Fine. Normal. Of course we weren't. You can't go through sustained cruelty and terror for a large swathe of your life and not talk about it and be okay. It bites you in the arse big time. Cumming was starring in an…
  • Yep, I read that decluttering book & it has sort of changed my life (at least a little)

    19 Jan 2015 | 6:57 pm
    I am not immune to the irony of reading a book about decluttering in order to figure out how to declutter my life. I get how silly it is to buy something that helps you get rid of things, but I couldn't help it when I saw Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. This book is such a beautiful object--no dust jacket, small size, lovely textured cover--that I wanted to own it anyway. Which should explain exactly why I need a decluttering book in the first place. Lots of folks have reviewed Kondo's book and her method. It's a gazillion seller, she's basically a rock star in Japan and…
  • A Snicker of Magic & Seven Stories Up

    16 Jan 2015 | 10:53 pm
    I have an 8-year old niece who has always been able to read above her reading level. The problem, of course, is the content found in books for older children and teens. So I'm always on the lookout for middle grade titles that are written in a more sophisticated style but still tell stories that are appropriate for a typical little girl. It's ridiculous how not easy this can be. I just burned through a couple of great books for her though and wanted to share them. In A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd, Felicity Pickle is used to traveling at a moment's whim with her mother and younger…
  • Hello 2015

    13 Jan 2015 | 9:06 pm
    Back home again after two weeks of sickness, death and funeral and I'm having trouble, as always after this sort of experience, easing back into regular life. I'm sure all of you have been through something similar can understand. I have 2015 resolutions but they sound rather banal I think: organize, create, be brave, be strong. And eat better, of course. I am reviewing YA SFF this year for Locus and continuing with aviation articles for Alaska Dispatch News. I broke into LARB last fall and have another review piece to finish and submit this month (on MG/YA nonfiction). I'd like to break in…
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    Books for Boys - Children's Adventure & Mystery Author Max Elliot Anderson

  • 2015 Update - Adventures & Mysteries for Young Readers

    9 Jan 2015 | 10:58 am
    How were the Christmas and New Year’s holidays for you? We had a great time at the Anderson House. With granddaughters who are 2 ½ and 3 years old. Christmas was especially fun this time.During the school year, I normally keep the 2 ½ year old, Olivia, at least 10 days per month since our daughter is a teacher. So I was provided with a substantial break while school was out. This open time was used to complete the first draft of a 61,000 word manuscript for middle grade readers. It’s a murder mystery, complete with courtroom drama, which will be somewhat of a departure from most of the…
  • Adventures & Mysteries for your kids' new Christmas e-readers

    24 Dec 2014 | 7:23 am
    Get ready to order e-Books for the e-Readers you're giving young readers this Christmas. I hope you add these mysteries and adventures. Book Trailers
  • Blog of the Year - Please Vote

    15 Dec 2014 | 11:15 am
    Please VOTE - My middle grade adventure & mystery book bolg is up for blog of the year at Book Fun Magazine. Look in the right margin and scroll down to my name and picture. Fun MagazineMagazine centered around Reading Groups, giveaways, stories and testimonies. Launches in September. This group is for suggestions and comments for the magazine…BOOKFUN.ORG
  • INTERVIEW by Prolific Author Bill Myers

    8 Dec 2014 | 7:00 am
    This interview originally appeared in Book Fun Magazine How long have you been blogging, MaxMy first post was in January of 2007. At that time I’d had a few action-adventures and mysteries published for young readers. Why did you begin blogging?Other writers talked about how we needed to have blogs in order to connect with our readers. And this was before social media had arrived. So, along with my website, I began blogging. Posting on my blog allowed me to put out timely information without having to wait for someone else to update my website. And it gave people an opportunity to…
  • 3 Dec 2014 | 6:53 am

    3 Dec 2014 | 6:53 am
    Please take a second and join my Facebook Fan Page for future updates and information on middle grade mystery & adventure books a Profile PicturePhotos or logos work bestAdd a Cover PhotoGive your Page personalityAdd Contact InfoHelp people find you easilyChange CoverUpdate Profile PictureMax Elliot AndersonAuthorLikedFollowingMessageMore options
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    Wands and Worlds

  • Don't overlook these books!

    5 Jan 2015 | 9:00 am
    I love the seven books my panel selected as the finalists for YA Speculative Fiction. I'm really proud of our shortlist as a representation of the best YA Spec Fic books of 2014. However, there are always the ones that got away, the ones that didn't quite make it. When seven people are deliberating, compromises have to be made, and sometimes, no matter how passionate you are about a book, you can't convince your fellow judges. Here are some of the 2014 Cybils nominees that I loved, but which didn't make the cut as finalists: Divided We Fall Trilogy: Book 1: Divided We Fall Trent ReedyThis is…
  • Cybils Awards 2014 Finalists!

    4 Jan 2015 | 7:21 pm
    The 2014 Cybils Awards finalists have been announced! The Cybils Awards, now in our 9th year, recognize the best children's and YA books of the year as defined by our primary criteria: kid appeal and literary merit. We are an adjudicated award, and our judges are all bloggers specializing in children's and YA literature. Our lists are a great resource for anyone looking for the best children's and YA books. Check out the full finalist announcement at this link..I serve as a judge in the YA Speculative Fiction category, where I'm also Category Chair. I'm excited to share our seven excellent…
  • Book Review: The Name of the Blade by Zoe Marriott

    4 Nov 2014 | 10:00 am
    The Name of the Bladeby Zoë MarriottMio Yamato has a secret sword hidden in the attic. Her grandfather, Ojiichan, showed it to her when she was nine years old, He told her that the sword would be hers when she turns 16, but he made her promise not to touch it before then. Ojiichan planned to teach her about the katana, but he never got a chance, because the next day he died from a massive stroke.All these years, Mio has avoided the sword as she promised her ojiichan, and kept it hidden away, even from the rest of her family. But when she needs a katana to complete her costume for a…
  • Cybils Nomination Suggestions!

    15 Oct 2014 | 9:07 pm
    Wednesday is the last day for Cybils Awards nominations, and there are still eligible books that haven't been nominated that maybe should be considered. If you're looking for something to nominate, here are some suggestions that might jog your memory. See this post for information on eligibility and how to nominate.Young Adult Speculative FictionChasing Powerby Sarah Beth DurstISBN 978-0802737557Published today (October 14), but still within the eligibility window.Amazon linkHas now been nominated.The Truth Against the Worldby Sarah Jamila StevensonISBN 978-0738740584Amazon…
  • Calling all bloggers!

    25 Aug 2014 | 9:59 am
    If you blog about children's and/or YA books, whether on your own blog or a group blog, the Cybils Awards need you! We're currently accepting applications for judges for the 2014 Cybils Awards season, which will run from October 1, 2014 through February 14, 2015. It's a lot of work and takes up a lot of time, but it's oh, so worth it for a chance to read and discuss books with other like-minded bloggers. I've learned so much from my fellow judges in the years that I've been a judge, and some of them have become dear friends.I am again the Category Chair for YA Speculative Fiction, as I have…
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    American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL)

  • Comparing Reviews of MOSQUITOLAND at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

    21 Jan 2015 | 11:47 am
    A lot of people use the reviews at Amazon to make decisions about books. I don't know how the specific content that is used at Amazon is selected, but it is worth noting that it is selectively used. No surprise there, really, because Amazon is a business, and so are the publishers.Case in point: David Arnold's Mosquitoland Amazon includes this from School Library Journal:Three sentences. They say "Debut author Arnold's book is filled with some incredible moments of insight. The protagonist is a hard-edged narrator with a distinct voice. There is a lot for teens to admire and even…
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. on Genocide of American Indians

    20 Jan 2015 | 7:09 am
    Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Why We Can't Wait includes "The Summer of Our Discontent" in which he wrote about moderates who, opposed to segregation, were friends of the Civil Rights Movement. But, King wrote, these moderates were less enthused about the breadth of the movement's call for equality to jobs, housing, education, and social mobility, which he called a Revolution.Rather than condemn them, he sought to understand their reluctance. He wrote:*They [the moderates] are evidence that the Revolution is now ripping into roots. For too long the depth of racism in American life as been…
  • Merriam-Webster's CHILDREN'S DICTIONARY

    14 Jan 2015 | 12:25 pm
    Due out this year (2015) is a new edition of Dorling Kindersley's Merriam-Webster Children's Dictionary. I reviewed a copy, available via Edelweiss, focusing on its Native content. Here's some of my notes/thoughts.It includes (if I counted right) 27 specific "group[s] of American Indian people" --- but nowhere did the editors use the word 'nation' or 'sovereign' or 'government' to describe these "group[s} of American Indian people."Let's look at the entry for Apache:1 a member of an American Indian people of the southwestern United States2 any of the languages of the Apache peopleThe editors…
  • Time Magazine's Almost All White 100 Best Children's Books of All Time

    8 Jan 2015 | 3:50 pm
    This morning, I posted a quick analysis of Time magazine's 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time. This is my quick analysis of the children's books they chose. Here's what Time says about how they compiled the list:To honor the best books for young adults and children, TIME compiled this survey in consultation with respected peers such as U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate Ken Nesbitt, children’s-book historian Leonard Marcus, the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, the Young Readers Center at the Library of Congress, the Every Child a Reader literacy foundation and 10…
  • Time Magazine's Almost All White list of 100 BEST YOUNG ADULT BOOKS OF ALL TIME

    8 Jan 2015 | 9:54 am
    Let's take a look at Time Magazine's list of 100 best young adult books of all time. Here's how they compiled that list (adding this info a couple of hours after I loaded this post):To honor the best books for young adults and children, TIME compiled this survey in consultation with respected peers such as U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate Ken Nesbitt, children’s-book historian Leonard Marcus, the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, the Young Readers Center at the Library of Congress, the Every Child a Reader literacy foundation and 10 independent…
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  • Poetry Friday: The Sea-Wash by Carl Sandburg

    23 Jan 2015 | 12:03 am
    The sea-wash never ends. The sea-wash repeats, repeats. Only old songs? Is that all the sea knows? Only the old strong songs? Is that all? The sea-wash repeats, repeats.- The Sea-Wash by Carl SandburgRelated posts at BildungsromanFog by Carl SandburgPigeon by Carl SandburgPotomac Town in February by Carl SandburgView all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman. View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading. Learn more about Poetry Friday.
  • Poetry Friday: The Sea-Weed by Elisabeth (Cabazza) Pullen

    16 Jan 2015 | 6:00 am
    The flying sea-bird mocked the floating dulse: "Poor wandering water-weed, where dost thou go, Astray upon the ocean's restless pulse?" It said: "I do not know. "At a cliff's foot I clung and was content, Swayed to and fro by warm and shallow waves; Along the coast the storm-wind raging went, And tore me from my caves. "I am the bitter herbage of that plain Where no flocks pasture, and no man shall have Homestead, nor any tenure there may gain But only for a grave. "A worthless weed, a drifting, broken weed, What can I do in all this boundless sea? No creature of the universe has need Or any…
  • Poetry Friday: Unwritten Poems by William Winter

    9 Jan 2015 | 6:01 am
    Fairy spirits of the breeze-Frailer nothing is than these.Fancies born we know not where-In the heart or in the air;Wandering echoes blown unsoughtFrom far crystal peaks of thought;Shadows, fading at the dawn,Ghosts of feeling dead and gone:Alas! Are all fair things that liveStill lovely and still fugitive?- Unwritten Poems by William WinterView all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.Learn more about Poetry Friday.
  • Poetry Friday: Entrance by Rainer Maria Rilke

    2 Jan 2015 | 6:01 am
    Whoever you are: step out of doors tonight,out of the room that lets you feel secure.Infinity is open to your sight.Whoever you are.With eyes that have forgotten how to seefrom viewing things already too well-known,lift up into the dark a huge, black treeand put it in the heavens: tall, alone.And you have made the world and all you see.It ripens like the words still in your mouth.And when at last you comprehend its truth,then close your eyes and gently set it free.- Entrance by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Dana GioiaRelated posts at Bildungsroman:Black Cat by Rainer Maria RilkeView all…
  • Best Books of December 2014

    1 Jan 2015 | 12:04 pm
    December 2014: 6 books and scripts readYes, you read that correctly. I only read 6 books this month, when I normally read that many in a week. I devoted a great many hours to writing this month. It was strange not to have a novel with me at all times, like I normally do, but I had to remove the temptation to read in order to really focus on what I'm writing. I have many words and many pages to show for it, so I think it is worth it. I read a few scripts, preparing for projects that will start in the new year. When I'm done writing the Major Thing, I plan to read Yes Please by Amy Poehler,…
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    Jen Robinson's Book Page

  • Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: January 23

    Jen Robinson
    23 Jan 2015 | 8:07 am
    Here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. This week we have, as usual, plenty of books lists, along with posts about the Cybils Awards, diversity, growing bookworms, reading-related events, literacy programs, reading, writing, publishing, schools, and libraries.  Awards and Book Lists  CCBlogC: Sparky! by Jenny Offill Wins 2015 Charlotte Zolotow Award for outstanding writing in a #PictureBook #kidlit The 2015 Sydney Taylor Book Awards have been announced. @HornBook has the scoop (plus reviews) #kidlit…
  • I Am Cow, Hear Me Moo!: Jill Esbaum & Gus Gordon

    Jen Robinson
    22 Jan 2015 | 8:37 am
    Book: I Am Cow, Hear Me Moo! Author: Jill Esbaum Illustrator: Gus Gordon Pages: 32 Age Range: 3-5 I Am Cow, Hear Me Moo! by Jill Esbaum and Gus Gordon is the story of a cow named Nadine who claims not to be afraid of anything, not even the dark, overgrown n woods. When Nadine's friends call her on her bluff ("just to prove it, let's go"), she discovers that she DOES like the woods. Well, during the day, at least. But when she ends up alone in the woods at night, the reader certainly sees that Nadine isn't so brave. When Nadine emerges unscathed, she neglects to tell anyone else…
  • Growing Bookworms Newsletter: January 21

    Jen Robinson
    21 Jan 2015 | 8:37 am
    Today I will be sending out a new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on children's and young adult books and raising readers. I currently send the newsletter out every two weeks. Newsletter Update: In this issue I have five book reviews (picture book through middle grade), a post about the latest Scholastic Kids and Family Reading Report, and two posts with literacy and reading…
  • Tiara Saurus Rex: Brianna Caplan Sayres & Mike Boldt

    Jen Robinson
    20 Jan 2015 | 9:22 am
    Book: Tiara Saurus Rex Author: Brianna Caplan Sayres Illustrator: Mike Boldt Pages: 32 Age Range: 5-7 Tiara Saurus Rex, by Brianna Caplan Sayres and Mike Boldt, is a dinosaur book for tiara-wearing, dress-up-loving girls (or a beauty pageant book for dinosaur-obsessed boys who have a yen for sparkle, I suppose). The Miss Dinosaur pageant is taking place. Dinosaurs of various types prance about, excited, in their fancy clothes. But one by one, the other dinosaurs disappear from view, to the refrain: "Beware ... Tina has to win." Tina Saurus Rex eventually wins the crown because "There are no…
  • New KidLitFaves series: Recent Children's and YA Books that my Friends Love!

    Jen Robinson
    19 Jan 2015 | 6:31 am
    I'm kicking off a new series here at Jen Robinson's Book Page. People come here (I hope) in the expectation that I will help them in their quest to grow bookworms. And one of the ways that I can help parents, teachers, and librarians in this quest is by pointing out great new children's and young adult titles. There are only so many titles that I can review myself, however (particularly without burnout). But every day I see reviews on my friends' blogs. So I've decided to try to keep an eye out for those reviews, by people I trust, in which it is clear that the reviewer really likes the book.
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    Writing and Ruminating

  • Gray Saturday

    24 Jan 2015 | 11:11 am
    Outside today, all is gray and damp. The Nor'easter that came by overnight brought us a lot of rain here in southern NJ, but no snow, though there's a chance we'll see a few flakes later this afternoon. In the front yard outside my writing room, there's a witch hazel bush that is full of buds already. How is it that the plants know to start preparing for spring while it's still winter, and the worst of winter weather is still to come? I don't know, but I sure admire them.Later today, I'll go get some craft supplies, as I find myself wanting to create tangible things of late. Not stories, as…
  • Snow day!

    21 Jan 2015 | 2:09 pm
    Well, not really. I mean, it didn't start until after nap time. But it is here, and sticking, so YAY! (We are only supposed to get 2-3" where I live.)Meanwhile, I find that I am indeed still in my pajamas. Hmm. *Shrugs and picks up A Midsummer Tights Dream by Louise Rennison*
  • Withering Tights by Louise Rennison

    19 Jan 2015 | 6:21 pm
    Once upon a time, I nearly injured myself laughing over the Georgia Nicolson series by Louise Rennison, beginning with Angus, Thongs & Full-Frontal Snogging and concluding with Are These My Basoomas I See Before Me?. I think I avoided actual injury and merely toned my abs, while avoiding wetting my pants in howls of laughter.Having just finished Withering Tights, the first story about Tallulah Casey, Georgia's younger cousin, who is off to Dother Hall in Yorkshire for theatrical summer camp. She's 14-1/2 and never been kissed, and is looking forward to being at summer camp without her younger…
  • The Cat's Pajamas by Kelly Ramsdell Fineman - a Poetry Friday post

    16 Jan 2015 | 2:53 pm
    YOU are invited to the launch party for my forthcoming chapbook with Maverick Duck Press. It will take place on Friday, March 13th, at 7 p.m. at The Daily Grind in Mount Holly, NJ. If their pricing holds (and I have no reason to believe otherwise), then copies ought to be available for $6, and will be available at the event and online through their website. The name of my chapbook is going to be THE UNIVERSE COMES KNOCKING, which is the title of one of the poems in the book as well. (I shared it here on my blog a while back.) The first poem inside the book is this one, which I wrote while…
  • As You Wish by Cary Elwes & Joe Layden

    15 Jan 2015 | 8:53 am
    I have been listening to As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride lately, and though I'm not yet done the audiobook, I have to take this opportunity to exhort one and all to go and get the audiobook to listen to for themselves. And by "one and all", I really mean "fans of The Princess Bride", although in my experience, that applies to most of my friends. The reason I chose to get this on audiobook, rather than as a book-book, is that the audio includes not only narration by Cary Elwes, but also bits here and there from others, including William Goldman, Rob…
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    The Miss Rumphius Effect

  • Poetry Friday - The House on the Hill

    23 Jan 2015 | 8:24 am
    I'm wrestling with writing a villanelle or two, so I've been reading some for inspiration. Sometimes I find this helpful, as it gets me thinking about the importance of those first and third lines. Other times I worry it will influence my writing too much.When I set out to write a villanelle I always begin with the final two lines, largely because I want them to make sense together and the poem to "work." Because this is the way I write a poem in this form, it's also where I start when I read them. (Don't worry though, I'm not one of those "read the last page of the book first" kind of girls.
  • Monday Poetry Stretch - Children's Book Inspiration

    12 Jan 2015 | 9:50 am
    I was thinking about selecting words for a prompt today, but then decided it might be more fun if you could pick your own, within some parameters. So, here's the challenge. Head over to the New York Public Library and check out the titles on the list 100 Great Children's Books: 100 Years, or try the Cybils nominations for 2014. Pick a title with at least three words. Write the words in the title down the page and use these words as the first lines in your new poem. For example, if I chose IN THE NIGHT KITCHEN, my poem starter would look like this.InthenightkitchenAnd the starter for…
  • Poetry Friday - Jigsaw Puzzle

    8 Jan 2015 | 9:01 pm
    Did you know that January is National Puzzle Month? In honor of this month-long celebration I'm sharing a wonderful poem by Russell Hoban. You can find it in A New Treasury of Children's Poetry, selected by Joanna Cole (p. 210).Jigsaw Puzzleby Russell HobanMy beautiful picture of pirates and treasureis spoiled, and almost I don't want to startto put it together; I've lost all the pleasureI used to find in it: there's one missing part. I know there's one missing -- they lost it, the others,the last time they played with my puzzle -- and maybethere's more than one missing: along…
  • Thematic Book List - Water and the Water Cycle

    6 Jan 2015 | 9:01 pm
    Water is a miraculous substance. It is the only compound that commonly exists in all three phases (solid, liquid, gas) on Earth. The unique properties of water are a major factor in the ability of our planet to sustain life. Here's an annotated list of books on our most precious natural resource.Nonfiction Picture Books    A Cool Drink of Water (2002), written by Barbara Kerley - This gorgeous book from National Geographic highlights the importance of water in our daily lives while showing how people around the world use and conserve water.Did A Dinosaur Drink…
  • Monday Poetry Stretch - Shadorma

    4 Jan 2015 | 9:01 pm
    Welcome to 2015 and the first poetry stretch of the new year!The shadorma is a sestet (six lines) written in syllabic form. The syllable count is 3/5/3/3/7/5. Not much is known about the origin of this form, but you can learn more about it at Wikipedia.That's it! Easy-peasy, right? I hope you'll join me this week in writing a shadorma. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.
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        Poetry for Children

  • Poet to Poet: Jane Yolen and Lesléa Newman

    Sylvia Vardell
    23 Jan 2015 | 6:56 am
    I'm pleased to post another installment in my ongoing "Poet to Poet" series in which one poet interviews another poet about her/his new book. This time it's Jane Yolen and Lesléa Newman who have very generously volunteered to participate.  Lesléa has a powerful, heartbreakingly beautiful new book out just now, I Carry My Mother, a work for adults that has crossover appeal for teen readers too. Jane Yolen hardly needs an introduction, but I'm often surprised to find that people don't know about all the POETRY she has published. Her poetry for children…
  • BOOK LINKS: Diverse Verse

    Sylvia Vardell
    16 Jan 2015 | 8:16 am
    The January issue of BOOK LINKS features multicultural literature, as usual, and this time my column focuses on novels in verse with the clever title (thank you, Gillian) of “Diverse Verse.” Here’s a chunk of that piece which you’ll find in its entirety here. With roots in ancient epic poetry, the verse novel or novel in verse, continues to grow in popularity, particularly with tween and teen readers. A narrative unfolds poem by poem, frequently with multiple points of view, plenty of dialogue, and in colloquial language. The best verse novels are built on poems that are often…
  • Sneak Peek list of poetry for young people in 2015

    Sylvia Vardell
    9 Jan 2015 | 6:00 am
    It's time again to forecast the new poetry to be published for children and teens in 2015. I've scoured all my usual sources (notes, emails, newsletters, publisher previews, etc.) and this is the list (so far). I know there will be more and I hope you'll alert me to any books I've missed. (For example, there have to be a LOT more novels-in-verse coming. I have very few on my list thus far.) But I'll be adding to this list all year long and even have a link to this list posted in the sidebar of this blog, so you can refer to it any time. I hope to get copies of these (and look for more at the…
  • CYBILS Poetry Shortlist 2014

    Sylvia Vardell
    1 Jan 2015 | 9:30 am
    What a treat to end the calendar year with a dialogue about the best poetry published for young people! I was honored to serve as a Round I judge for the poetry category of the Cybils Award alongside Tricia Stohr-Hunt, Margaret Simon, Bridget R. Wilson, Kelly Ramsdell Fineman, and Nancy Bo Flood, led by our noble chair, Jone Rush MacCulloch. In case you’re not familiar with the Cybils, you’ll find more info here. “Cybils” stands for “Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards” and these were first awarded in 2006. Currently, there are 13 categories of…
  • Favorites of 2014

    Sylvia Vardell
    31 Dec 2014 | 8:50 pm
    As the year ends, I like to revisit the poetry for young people that has been published this year and celebrate my favorites. It's always great to see new poets emerge (like Kwame Alexander, Skila Brown, and Mariko Nagai) and other established authors take interesting risks (like the haiku novel in verse of Chris Crowe, Ashley Bryan's truly creative puppets plus poems, Jacqueline Woodson's moving memoir, and Pat Lewis's collaboration with George Ella Lyon). The novel in verse continues to be a powerful form (check out The Crossover, Caminar, Death Coming Up the Hill, Silver People, Rhyme…
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  • Winter Hiatus, Podcast Interview & Feral Pride Review

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    30 Dec 2014 | 6:32 am
    By Cynthia Leitich Smithfor CynsationsHappy (Almost) New Year, and many blessings to y'all in 2015!Cynsations will be on hiatus until sometime after the ALA Midwinter Conference in Chicago--hope to see many of you there.Thank you for your support and enthusiasm over the course of the year. Most appreciated!Check out Sarah Enni's podcast interview with me at First Draft. We had a terrific conversation, and it's an honor to invite y'all to listen in. Before I sign off, I want to share the review of Feral Pride (Candlewick, Feb. 2015) from Booklist. It reads in part:"Smith’s ability to mix the…
  • Cynsational News & Giveaways

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    29 Dec 2014 | 7:11 am
    Diverse Read RecommendationBy Cynthia Leitich Smithfor Cynsations2014 Diversity in YA Gift Guide from CBC Diversity. See also African-American Interest Young Reader Titles by Diane Patrick from Publishers Weekly.First Five Pages Workshop Featuring Literary Agent Tracey Adams from Adventures in YA Publishing. Peek: "...will open for entries at noon EST on Saturday, January 3, 2015. We'll take the first five Middle Grade, Young Adult, or New Adult entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements."Your Holiday Writing Schedule by Bill Ferris from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "Santa knows…
  • Guest Post: E. Kristin Anderson on Teens Need Verse

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    26 Dec 2014 | 6:26 am
    By E. Kristin Andersonfor Cynthia Leitich Smith's CynsationsYoung people love poetry.At least they love writing it. When I ask teens whether they read much poetry, though, the answer is usually no.I think I know why. Outside of my bona fide freaky obsession with Emily Dickinson from the age of six, this was pretty much my exposure to poetry outside of Shel Silverstein:That time I found a super old and moldy copy of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and read it cover to cover in 24 hours. (I’m totes still scared of the Jabberwocky.)Memorizing a Robert Frost poem in fourth…
  • "...And to All, a Good Night!"

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    24 Dec 2014 | 6:47 am
    By Cynthia Leitich Smithfor CynsationsZilker Holiday Tree -- Austin, Texas
  • Guest Post: Darlene Beck Jacobson on Wheels of Change

    Cynthia Leitich Smith
    23 Dec 2014 | 6:49 am
    Original White House Invitation Emily Received in Wheels of Change.By Darlene Beck Jacobsonfor Cynthia Leitich Smith's CynsationsThe idea for Wheels of Change (Creston, 2014) came about through the discovery of two things while researching my family tree.One was the fact that my paternal great-grandfather was a carriage maker in Washington D.C. in the late 1800s through the early 1900s.The second was an invitation my grandmother received to a reception hosted by then President Theodore Roosevelt. Further research at the National Archives confirmed that she attended the reception and met…
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    WordPress Tag: Children's Book

  • Author & Journalist, Ian Probert – Guest Blog

    19 Jan 2015 | 2:15 am
      For my first ever guest blog I’m featuring the very talented author Ian Probert. His latest book Johnny Nothing has drawn considerable praise and is available to purchase on Amazon and other outlets at the links below. In addition to being an internationally successful author, Ian Probert is also a highly respected journalist. Ian’s guest blog here is divided into two parts: In the first part we read of the time he met Muhammad Ali, and his astonishment when the The Greatest quite unexpectedly kissed his then girlfriend. In Part two he moves onto a feature on his latest book Johnny…
  • Illustrated Book

    19 Jan 2015 | 1:14 am
    Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. With Original Illustrations by M.C. Iglesias Thank you!
  • Great Christmas sales for Vedauwoo book, book reviewers hit me up

    18 Jan 2015 | 9:33 pm
    Well, awesome news about my Vedauwoo: Hidden Faces in Mysterious Places book! I have sold enough copies of my book to pay off a student loan! Yes, my Christmas sales were pretty amazing. My book is now available at these fine locations:, (search for Vedauwoo),, My book is also available in stores at Sierra Trading Post, Barnes and Noble Booksellers in Cheyenne, Wyoming, City Newsstand and Pipe Shop in Cheyenne, Wyoming, the Wyoming State Museum store, the University of Wyoming Bookstore in Laramie, Wyoming,…
  • Vernon father writes book to help kids get home when they're lost

    Neetu Garcha
    18 Jan 2015 | 3:17 pm
    Vernon father John Rogers searched for a children’s book about getting lost. When he was unable to find one, he decided to write one himself. The book called Where Am I took five years to make and now that it has finally been published, he is hoping parents will use it as a teaching tool for their children.  “I hope it will make a different and be a fun way for kids to play a game to be able to know where they are,” says Rogers.  He says the book encourages children to learn things such as how to read street signs, understand house numbers and steps to take if they get…
  • 4 Books Illustrated by Anne Mortimer

    sabina ayne
    18 Jan 2015 | 2:25 pm
    All of these books have three things in common: 1. they are picture books; 2. they are all about cats; and 3, they are illustrated by Anne Mortimer. I think she has become my new favorite artist! The Lighthouse Cat Sue Stainton, author Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2004 An old lighthouse sits on the coast with an old man as its keeper. He lives there by himself, walking up and down the light house many times a day keeping the candles lit in the lantern of the lighthouse. Once a week (if the sea is friendly) he gets a boat of supplies from the fishing village.
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    School Library Journal

  • OH Department of Education Will Vote to Purge School Librarian Requirement

    22 Jan 2015 | 8:29 am
    Ohio educators and district leaders are divided over the recent proposal from the Ohio Department of Education (DOE) to eliminate the “5 of 8” rule. The 30-year-old rule states that at least five of eight of the following full-time education personnel positions must be filled for every 1,000 students in the district: librarian, art teacher, music teacher, physical-education teacher, counselor, nurse, social worker, and visiting teacher. The DOE expects to vote on the resolution to eliminate the rule in March or April, says District 10 (city of Lima) education board member Ron Rudduck.
  • Amazon Enters Textbook Publishing With Launch of KDP EDU and Kindle Textbook Creator

    Gary Price
    22 Jan 2015 | 7:50 am
    Last week signed Woody Allen to create a tv program for Prime, earlier this week the company announced a move into theatrical films, and today it’s textbooks. From today announced KDP EDU, a new segment of Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) designed to help educators and authors easily prepare, publish, and promote eTextbooks and other educational content for students to access on a broad range of devices, including Fire tablets, iPad, iPhone, Android smartphones and tablets, Mac, and PC. Educators and authors can use the public beta of Amazon’s new Kindle…
  • Bopping Through Biomes | Touch and Go

    Daryl Grabarek
    22 Jan 2015 | 7:22 am
    At Launch Kids, a full day devoted to children’s publishing at the Digital Book World Conference, Warren Buckleitner, editor and founder of Children’s Technology Review, noted that after a few years of app invention and originality, innovation had begun to level off. There are always exceptions, of course, and at one point Tinybop was mentioned. If you haven’t yet seen that developer’s Human Body, be sure to take a look. Plants, the second app in Tinybop’s “Explorers Library” is up for review today. What makes Tinybop’s informational apps so fascinating? It’s…
  • Digital Terms You Should Know | Pivot Points

    22 Jan 2015 | 6:45 am
    In October, I got to work with district leaders as part of the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools ( As we discussed common initiatives and challenges, five key themes emerged. In my last column, I examined strategic partnerships. Here I’ll look at digital content, curriculum, and management. In conversation, it became clear that school leaders frequently overlook existing digital resources in the library and fail to include teacher librarians at the table. Under the umbrella of “digital content, curriculum, and management,” there exist a dizzying…
  • IPad Games Blend with the Physical World | SLJ Reviews Osmo

    22 Jan 2015 | 5:30 am
    Imagine an app that flips traditional augmented reality games. Instead of having players look at a screen and virtually manipulate digital bits and pieces, Osmo looks at what you’re doing in real life and incorporates your activities into its games. What’s Osmo? Osmo ($79.99 on, $129.99 on Amazon), from Tangible Play, is part app and part iPad, with a little physical hackery thrown in. When you order one, you get an iPad stand and a mirror attachment for your tablet’s camera. The base fits third- and fourth-generation iPads, as well as the iPad 2, iPad Air, and iPad Mini.
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    A Fuse #8 Production

  • Morning Mailbag: Trinkets, Treasures, and Apples

    Elizabeth Bird
    23 Jan 2015 | 1:00 am
    We’re experiencing that time of the year when the mail comes fast and loose and continual. Every day it seems like there’s something interesting to see. So while it lasts, let’s have another round of Morning Mailbag where I highlight some of the more interesting items that have cropped up in my office this week. First up, Circles by Yusuke Yonezu (ISBN: 978-9888240678) which is a minedition book.  If you’ve seen Yonezu’s other board books you’ll know what to expect.  Good thick lines and bright colors.  This one has loads of cut outs as well.  Plus…
  • Fusenews: Don’t Let the Pigeon Shoot First

    Elizabeth Bird
    21 Jan 2015 | 1:00 am
    Hi-ho, folks. As the Newbery draws nigh thoughts of winners and legitimacy surface. Consider the case of Cece Bell’s El Deafo, a graphic novel that is also a great joy. Does it have a chance? Monica Edinger at educating alice makes a strong case in its favor. Another debate was held over at Heavy Medal on the same subject, which you can take as an alternate point of view. Cece lovers of the world unite! In other news, I wouldn’t call this next link workplace safe.  Not because it’s gross or inappropriate in any way.  More because it’s going to make you laugh out…
  • Review of the Day: Over the Hills and Far Away collected by Elizabeth Hammill

    Elizabeth Bird
    20 Jan 2015 | 1:00 am
    Over the Hills and Far Away: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes Collected by Elizabeth Hammill Illustrations by Various Candlewick Press $21.99 ISBN: 978-0-7636-7729-9 Ages : All On shelves March 10th Not all nursery rhyme collections are created equal. That is something you discover when you have small children. A parent, even a children’s librarian type parent, will inevitably come to a shocking realization sometime during their child’s early years that when you read a nursery rhyme, the kiddo really and truly seems to love it. Nursery rhymes, far from simply being “good for the child” in…
  • Graphic Novels for Kids: A Year in Review

    Elizabeth Bird
    19 Jan 2015 | 1:00 am
    I like comics.  I like ‘em a lot.  Always have, and as a librarian I’ve watched with interest the changing mores in my profession concerning their presence in a library setting.  Who has two thumbs and a copy of Seduction of the Innocent on her bedroom bookshelf?  This guy, that’s who! So with the turn of the new year it seemed like a good idea to check in with the folks at First Second, Macmillan’s graphic novel wing, to see what they thought of comics in 2014/15.  Speaking with me today are Gina Gagliano (Associate Marketing and Publicity Manager) and Mark…
  • Video Sunday: “Some tenderness to the tree, Will.”

    Elizabeth Bird
    18 Jan 2015 | 11:06 am
    Over Christmas break I got to go to an Alamo Drafthouse in Kalamazoo to see Into the Woods. The theater?  Remarkably fun! The show? Um . . . well there were some problems with it. Enjoyable, sure, but . . . some problems. Problems that I suspect would not be replicated in this fabulous pared down version currently being performed by the Fiasco Theater Thanks to Aunt Judy for the link. Okay. So let us say that you’re a celebrity. You have written a children’s book. For whatever reason, you thought the Israel/Palestinian conflict would provide just the right kind of fodder. Now you…
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    Michael Gerson: Most Recent Articles and Archives

  • The fight for the middle class

    Michael Gerson
    22 Jan 2015 | 4:56 pm
    When you strip away all the layers of cockiness, preachiness and delusion in President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address, you find more cockiness, preachiness and delusion underneath.This was most obvious in the brief and buried foreign policy section. Obama declared that “the shadow of crisis has passed” fewer than two weeks after hundreds were killed by al-Qaeda and Boko Haram. He praised his own “smarter kind of American leadership” after being caught flat-footed by the rise of the most powerful terrorist quasi-state in history. He talked of respecting “human dignity”…
  • Obama can’t wish away terrorism

    Michael Gerson
    19 Jan 2015 | 4:17 pm
    President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union address is remembered today mainly for this bit of rhetorical irony: “America must move off a permanent war footing.” It was the triumph of speechwriting over experience. Obama’s pledge came about three weeks after the fall of Fallujah to the Islamic State. By June, Mosul would be overrun. Global jihadism now has a cause — Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s sham caliphate — around which to rally. It controls unprecedented territory and resources. It has a stream of thousands of Western recruits cycling in and out of the Middle East. And it…
  • Michael Gerson: Design of the divine?

    Michael Gerson
    15 Jan 2015 | 4:12 pm
    The biographer Eric Metaxas recently made waves by arguing that modern science increasingly “makes the case for God.” Writing in the Wall Street Journal, he framed some rather weak arguments about planetary science, claiming that the parameters for the emergence of life are so precise and unlikely that they point to divine design. We don’t really know what physical processes drive the development and remarkable resilience of life — which somehow includes moss on Mount Everest and tube worms in deep-sea hydrothermal vents — but it strikes me as likely that science will eventually…
  • Michael Gerson: Washington’s parties can’t agree even on the meaning of an election

    Michael Gerson
    12 Jan 2015 | 5:17 pm
    As the 114th Congress begins in earnest, there are a number of things — such as tax and immigration reform and trade agreements — that politically minded adults would like to get done for the good of the country. A commitment to incrementalism and compromise can be found, with sufficient diligence, among individual lawmakers in both parties. Read full article >>
  • The appeal of homicidal wedge politics presents a global challenge

    Michael Gerson
    8 Jan 2015 | 4:40 pm
    Mock on, mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau;Mock on, mock on; ’tis all in vain!You throw the sand against the wind,And the wind blows it back again.Read full article >>
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  • Saturday Review of Books: January 24, 2015

    23 Jan 2015 | 4:17 pm
    “A third choir-avoidance technique was to read. A kid with his or her nose in a book is a kid who is not fighting, yelling, throwing, breaking things, bleeding, whining, or otherwise creating a Mom-size headache. Reading a book was almost like being invisible – a good thing for all concerned.” ~Pete Hautman, Libraries of Minnesota Welcome to the Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon. Here’s how it usually works. Find a book review on your blog posted sometime during the previous week. The review doesn’t have to be a formal sort of thing. You can link to your thoughts on…
  • Fierce Convictions by Karen Swallow Prior

    21 Jan 2015 | 4:07 am
    Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More—Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist by Karen Swallow Prior. I was captivated by “extraordinary life” of this woman of God, “best-selling poet, novelist, and playwright, friend of the famous, practical philanthropist, and moral conscience of a nation.” Hannah More may be a forgotten woman nowadays, but she was far from unknown in late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in England and even throughout Europe and America. She was a protege of the eminent Dr. Samuel Johnson, close friends with the famous actor…
  • North Korea in Books

    20 Jan 2015 | 4:41 am
    North Korea is notoriously the most closed society and country in the world. I couldn’t take a trip there even if I wanted to or had the money to go.However, reading these books about North Korea and North Korean defectors made me want to know more —and inspired me to pray for those who are trapped in Kim Jong Eun’s “socialist paradise.” Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West by Blaine Harden. The man is Shin Dong-hyuk. His story is just about as intense and harrowing as that of Louis Zamperini of Unbroken…
  • Lone Journey by Jeanette Eaton

    19 Jan 2015 | 6:26 am
    Lone Journey: The Life of Roger Williams by Jeanette Eaton. Illustrated by Woodi Ishmael. Four of Jeanette Eaton’s books received the Newbery Honor (runner-up), but her books, mostly biographies for young adults, never won the Newbery Medal. Lone Journey was published in 1944, and was a Newbery Honor book in 1945. I found the book quite fascinating in its portrait of a man who was ahead of his times in many ways. Roger Williams began life in an orthodox Church of England family, became a Puritan as a youth, and then moved on to become a separatist and a dissenter who certainly preached…
  • Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink

    17 Jan 2015 | 3:01 pm
    Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink. Warning: this book is deeply disturbing. After reading it, I became even more distrustful of doctors and of the medical profession than I was before I read the book. I also lost some confidence in the government and in the justice system (already low). I decided to buy a small generator as soon as possible if I can afford to since we live on the Gulf coast in hurricane country. I thought about end-of-life decisions and hospitals and who to depend on in an emergency. I was reminded of how thankful I am for my…
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    Ally Carter

  • About the signed books . . .

    Ally Carter
    23 Jan 2015 | 12:28 pm
    Hello, everyone! We are starting to get reports that a lot of you who pre-ordered “signed” books from Target have, in fact, received books that weren’t signed. I’m sincerely sorry. I know the Target page (at least the page I always linked to) specifically said signed books, and I feel just awful. I honestly do not know what happened, but my publisher, Scholastic, is aware of the situation, and they are working with Target to resolve things. In the meantime, you can try returning your book to the store to see if they have signed copies there. (The signed copies were, in…
  • Ask me a question on Tumblr

    Ally Carter
    22 Jan 2015 | 12:33 pm
    Hi everyone! I’m taking and answering questions about Embassy Row and ALL FALL DOWN over at my Tumblr. Come check it out! Ally The post Ask me a question on Tumblr appeared first on Ally Carter.
  • All Fall Down is HERE!

    Ally Carter
    20 Jan 2015 | 9:34 am
    Hi Everyone! Today is the day!!! All Fall Down is now available!! And what is better than getting Ally’s new book? Getting a signed copy and meeting Ally of course!!!! Here are you chances to see Ally in person starting with TONIGHT!!! Here is the updated tour schedule so far: January 20 Tulsa, Oklahoma 7:00 pm Barnes & Noble Woodland Plaza 8620 E 71st Street   January 27 Oconomowoc, WI (btwn Milwakee & Madison) 6:30 pm Books & Company 1039 Summit Ave **Joint event with Elizabeth Eulberg, author of Lonely Hearts Club & We Can Work It Out   January 28 Glendale,…
  • Magnificent Monday

    19 Jan 2015 | 6:16 am
    Hi All! I can’t believe there is only 1 Day until All Fall Down is released!!!!! So Exciting!!!! Luckily it is a holiday today and my 4 year old will be home to distract me and help the time pass! What are you all up to today? How excited is everyone to read All Fall Down? I can’t wait until we can all dish on the blog about Grace and all the other new characters in The Embassy Row series!! xoxo, Shellie The post Magnificent Monday appeared first on Ally Carter.
  • All Fall Down Week!

    Ally Carter
    18 Jan 2015 | 12:58 pm
    Hello, everyone! Ally here, taking a break from . . . I don’t know. Rocking back and forth, eating my hair, stress-baking, and checking my online sales ranking every five minutes. So, you know, the usual pre-release things! As you probably all know, ALL FALL DOWN is in stores officially on Tuesday, January 20th (in the US and Canada. International release dates may vary.) Of course, I’m also super busy on the second draft of book 2 (which will hopefully be in stores in about a year). But the most exciting thing is . . . Oh. Wait. I can’t tell you the most exciting thing. IT…
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    Justine Larbalestier

  • On Sexism and Awards

    12 Jan 2015 | 12:23 pm
    If you’re a man and you write a realist YA novel you’re more likely to win an award for it than a woman is. Big claim I know. Here’s some evidence about the awards side of the equation, an examination of most of the big awards in the Young Adult genre since 2000, compiled by Lady Business.1 They looked at not only US awards but the big Australian, Canadian and New Zealand awards too. Here’s where I’m going by my own experience, i.e., yes, it’s anecdotal evidence. I believe the majority of authors published by mainstream YA publishers are women. Despite…
  • Last Day of 2014

    30 Dec 2014 | 4:22 pm
    The year is practically over so here I am again with my annual recap of the year that was as well as a squiz at what’s gunna happen in 2015.1 Books Out in 2014 This was my first year with a new solo novel since 2009. Five years in between solo novels!2 I was nervous but it seems to have gone quite well. Razorhurst was published in July by Allen and Unwin in Australia and New Zealand. The reviews have been blush-making. Including being named a book of the week by the Sydney Morning Herald, of the month from Readings Books and making Readings’ top ten YA books of the year and top 50…
  • So-called Writing Facts

    30 Nov 2014 | 7:32 pm
    Here are two “facts” about writing I’ve been hearing lately that I must beat until their stuffing falls out and their non-factness is apparent to all.1 1. On average published authors write 2-3 novels before publication. Um, what? How was such a statistic arrived at? Where does it come from? Why is everyone repeating it? Oh, who cares. It’s irrelevant. It does not matter how many novels other authors wrote before they were published. It has no effect on you. I wrote two novels before I was published. Scott sold the first one he finished. I know of authors who wrote…
  • Accompanying Scott on his tour of the USA

    5 Oct 2014 | 6:31 pm
    I’ve not been blogging much because I’m accompanying Scott on his Afterworlds tour. So far we’ve been to Raleigh, Lexington, Louisville, Philadelphia, Washington DC, St Louis, Chicago and Milwaukee. And there’s much more to come. Check out the rest of the tour here. I’d be delighted to sign anything you want signed but mostly I’m just happy to say hi and chat. We’ve had many adventures so far including staying in what I swear was a haunted hotel. Uncannily cold temperatures? Check. Eerie cold winds that came rushing out of the elevators/lifts? Check.
  • The Habit of Getting Ideas and Turning Them into Story

    17 Sep 2014 | 1:26 pm
    I no longer dread the question “Where do you get your ideas?” That’s because I finally figured out the answer. Don’t get me wrong I’ve answered it a million times over my more than ten year career as a writer. I’ve nattered on about brain monkeys, ends of rainbows, stealing ideas from Maureen Johnson, ideas not being that important, blah blah blah. The actual answer does not involve light bulbs or muses or brain monkeys or Maureen Johnson. Well, not directly. My true answer involves lots of work. I apologise for the lack of glamour. Here’s what I…
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  • We hear you, Gloria

    24 Jan 2015 | 9:23 pm
    This week I found a rather lovely video by Debi Gliori on her blog, Fiddle and Pins. I clicked on it, expecting a few minutes of something, but what I got was 25 minutes of Debi-history. She begins with her birth, which Debi draws with surprising accuracy (I assume she really remembers this being born stuff), and then she continues to draw her childhood and school years. There are drawings of her pet dragon (I just knew that’s what Debi would have had) and the nuns at school, and her own first baby. It’s all very Debi, and just as she was grateful for the library which supplied…
  • Hi!

    23 Jan 2015 | 9:25 pm
    What to say when you meet someone for the first time? When they are an author, for instance. The best thing is obviously to say ‘I loved your book’ and if you are not feeling too senile, it’s always possible to mention the title. If you can remember it. At worst I say, ‘I loved your book about the girl who swam the Channel.’ With a bit of luck they will then mention both the title and perhaps the girl’s name, which you had also forgotten, even though you loved the book. Most of the time, however, I seem to wander up to authors to tell them I haven’t…
  • A Guide to Sisters

    22 Jan 2015 | 8:56 pm
    Quite frankly, I expected A Guide to Sisters to be a bit cute and a bit ordinary, the way so many picturebooks for little girls are. Cute is fine, but sometimes you want more. And you know what? Paula Metcalf has written a very amusing and unusual book, which is nicely – but not too cutely – illustrated by Suzanne Barton. There is a guide to tickling, which includes the tickliest body parts of your little sister (did I mention this guide is for the older sister?), as well as showing the reader how to be comfortable while having a good grip on that little sister as you tickle.
  • RED in Falkirk

    21 Jan 2015 | 7:48 pm
    Yesterday the Bookwitchy feet touched Falkirk soil for the first time since that fateful day in 1973. She (I mean I) saw red even on the train (a woman wearing a lovely red coat, but who wasn’t actually going where I was going). My mind was on red things, as there was a sort of dress code for attending the RED Book Award in Falkirk, and I’d dug out the few red garments I own. Ever since I knew we’d be moving to Scotland, I’d been thinking how much I wanted to attend the RED Book Award, and then it happened so fast I barely knew what I was doing (I had to ditch…
  • The Door That Led To Where

    20 Jan 2015 | 8:12 pm
    Whenever there is a new Sally Gardner book out, I just know it’s the best she has written. Same this time, with The Door That Led To Where, which features time travel, and is set in the part of London where Sally grew up. Thanks to the time travelling, she also manages to fit in almost-Dickensian London, which is something she knows a lot about. Both these factors explain why the novel works so beautifully, on so many levels. It begins with, if not bullying at home, then some serious discord between poor AJ and his single mum. He has achieved exactly one GCSE (but at least he got an…
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    Confessions of a Bibliovore

  • Reading Roundup: 2014

    1 Jan 2015 | 9:58 am
    By the NumbersTeen: 127Tween: 36Children: 27SourcesReview Copies: 78Purchased: 7Library: 81StandoutsTeen: The Drowned Cities (chosen in January)"Wrenching, harrowing, violent, and for me, totally unputdownable. Even though it was a terrible world, I kept wanting to crawl back into it and find out whether Mahlia and the others were going to save their lives or their souls." (Link goes to my review, which finally went up last week.)Tween: The Swift Boys and Me by Kody Keplinger (chosen in April)"One tumultuous summer changes all the things eleven-year-old Nola has always taken for granted. Some…
  • They're Here, They're Here!

    1 Jan 2015 | 8:36 am
    Check out the 2014 Cybils finalists! What do you think?
  • Reading Roundup: December 2014

    31 Dec 2014 | 5:34 pm
    By the Numbers Teen: 11Tween: 0Children: 0And Cybils reading is done!SourcesLibrary: 6Review Copies: 5StandoutsTeen: Salvage by Alexandra DuncanThis sci-fi coming-of-age story takes Ava from a safe, ordered existence within a patriarchal polygamous spaceship to a scary, uncertain life on her own, in futuristic India. I can't even explain how much I fell in love with Ava and her world. Because I Want to Awards: Better Than Expected: Divided We Fall by Trent ReedyThis was a very difficult reading experience, partly because the main character’s outlook was so different than mine, and also…
  • Cybils Wrap-Up and Statistics

    30 Dec 2014 | 1:00 pm
    Well, round 1 is done. We've picked a shortlist, we've sent in our blurbs, and now all the round 1 panelists wait to hear the announcement, simultaneously grinning over our secret knowledge and anxious to hear from the other categories.With all that, I thought I'd type up a few thoughts and numbers. Because I like numbers. Books nominated in YASF - 205Books I read before the nomination period - 21Books I finished during the nomination period - 34Books I didn’t finish during the nomination period - 41Books I didn’t read but am keeping on my TBR list - 43See, this is why we have more than…
  • Book Review: The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi

    27 Dec 2014 | 8:27 pm
    Book: The Drowned CitiesAuthor: Paolo BacigalupiPublished: 2012Source: Local LibraryIn the future, America has been knocked from leader of the free world to a war-torn wasteland, torn to shreds by guerrilla civil war and abandoned even by the Chinese peacekeepers. In this world, four different people struggle to survive. Mahlia and Mouse have already lived through the worst and are keeping their heads down in a backwoods village. Tool is a genetically modified man-beast, created to serve warlords and wage war. He’s decided to strike out on his own, serving no master. Ocho is a guerrilla…
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    ReadPlus Review Blog

  • The third chimpanzee for young people: On the evolution and future of the human animal by Jared Diamond

    23 Jan 2015 | 6:23 am
    Oneworld Publications, 2014. ISBN 9781780746043 Recommended (Age: 14+) As his title suggests, Jared Diamond sees human beings as the product of evolution, and of its guiding principle natural selection. To this Pulitzer Prize-winning Professor of Geography, evolution raises more questions than it answers. His hypotheses provide some challenging insights into human behaviour. Having traced the ascent of humankind, Diamond turns his attention to its impact on the planet. After considering climate change, the extinction of species and the loss of Indigenous peoples, he concludes that the…
  • Hush by Karen Robards

    23 Jan 2015 | 6:20 am
    Hodder, 2014. ISBN 9781444797862 (Age: Adult) Romantic suspense. Thriller. Riley Cowan discovers her ex-husband's body hanging from a staircase. It looks like a suicide but Riley is convinced that Jeff would not have killed himself. He had been on the trail of people who were trying to find out where his father had hidden the millions that he had ripped off investors and Riley believes that someone has murdered him. Snatching his phone, she leaves the building, knowing that she and her in-laws could be the next victim of an unscrupulous gangster out to retrieve the money. Her path crosses…
  • The Icicle Illuminarium by N. J. Gemmell

    23 Jan 2015 | 6:17 am
    Random House Australia Children's, 2014. ISBN 9780857985675 (Age: 9-12) Continuing the story of the off-the-wall crazy but courageous Caddy kids, Kick, Bert, Scruff and Pin, The Icicle Illuminarium takes up the story after Dad has returned safely but beset with illness from his war stint in the jungles. And joy of joys, their faithful dingo dog Bucket is back as well! But when Dad is sent away to recuperate, the children are devastated - until a clue from their favourite butler leads them to hope that perhaps their mother is also still alive. Following a string of clues, the intrepid bush…
  • Banjo: The man who wrote Waltzing Matilda by Paul Terry

    23 Jan 2015 | 6:14 am
    Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743317976 (Age: Upper primary - Secondary) Marking 150 years since the birth of one of Australia's iconic writers in 1864, Paul Terry has written the biography on A.B. (Banjo) Paterson. As we focus on his time in our history as we commemorate World War 1 (Paterson was a war correspondent for the Boer War and served as a remount officer in WWI despite already being 50 at its outbreak) Terry not only examines Paterson's life but also the people and the circumstances that influenced him. It is these encounters which formed the backbone of his writing, producing…
  • House of robots by James Patterson

    23 Jan 2015 | 6:11 am
    Random House Australia, 2014. ISBN 9780099568278 (Age: 10-12) There is no doubt that James Patterson must rank as one of the most highly successful authors of our times. His adult novels have always attracted huge readership and now he is simply tearing away with his books for children. I've now been lucky enough to review several and just love this new one, first in a series which upper/middle school kids will thoroughly enjoy. Young Sammy Hayes-Rodriguez is one of those kids who is considered 'different' and always seems to be on the losing side of everything. He has a rather unusual family…
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    There's a Botticelli Angel Inside, Snapping Beans:

  • Jacqueline Woodson's Brown Girl Dreaming

    15 Jan 2015 | 5:01 pm
    Jacqueline Woodson's memoir Brown Girl Dreaming is wonderful. Wonderful. Go read it.
  • Fat politics: You can't talk about just yourself.

    17 Nov 2014 | 5:30 pm
    One step in integrating fat politics into your life is refraining from imposing fatphobia on others, which means (among other things) refraining from urging weight loss on anyone. Much urging of weight loss hides behind the guise of concern for health when really it’s an insidious mix of aesthetic, moral, and cultural discomfort at fat people existing—and especially at fat people existing without trying to lose weight. Refraining from saying or hinting that fat people in general or a certain fat person should strive to be less fat—that’s big. Once folks are on board with fatpol, they…
  • A bit about Linda Vigen Phillipps' Crazy

    17 Nov 2014 | 5:06 pm
    Crazy by Linda Vigen Phillips has some interesting things about the treatment of mental illness in the 1960s. I have reservations about the ending regarding treatment of mental illness and would like to discuss the ending if any of you have read it.Meanwhile, Crazy holds a stellar example of how white America uses the notion of Indian-ness as something for itself. There are no Indian people in the book. There are three mentions of a mountain range near the white protagonist's house. Here's the first one (slashes indicate a line break; the prose is free verse):“my favorite mountains, / the…
  • Wearing your heart on your… whole torso

    1 Aug 2014 | 10:41 pm
    Via my dear friend Jess, here is a way you can wear an entire book on your shirt. An actual entire book.
  • I wrote a personal disability article.

    13 Jun 2014 | 2:06 pm
    It's posted at xojane, if you're curious.
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    I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I read?

  • Twisted - Gender Non-Conformity and Medieval Virtual Reality Collide

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    23 Jan 2015 | 3:05 am
    Twisted by J.S. FrankleChivalry isn't dead. It just wears a skirt.Highschoolers Charlie Matthews, adopted brother of Martin Anderson, and Sharon Collins win a contest to play an interactive medieval game as the avatars of their favorite characters. Their mission: fight off the monsters, storm the castle, and capture the evil king.But things go terribly wrong. Charlie is dismayed to discover he is Angella of Avernon, the lead female character in the game. Fortunately, she's the most powerful avatar around, but he also finds out that he, Martin, and Sharon have been infected with a virus that…
  • I Am Jazz - A Picture Book About A Transgender Child That I Wish Had Been Read To Me When I Was A Little Kid

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    21 Jan 2015 | 3:03 am
    I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel & Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholasFrom the time she was two years old, Jazz knew that she had a girl's brain in a boy's body. She loved pink and dressing up as a mermaid and didn't feel like herself in boy's clothing. This confused her family, until they took her to a doctor who diagnosed Jazz as transgender and explained that she was born this way. I really liked this child-focused and very appropriate-for-the-age title from Dial Books For Young Readers!As we read it, my child asked why the book didn't include Jazz's original, boy name.
  • Geena Rocero's TED Talk: Why I Must Come Out

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    19 Jan 2015 | 3:00 am
    Fashion model Geena Rocero explains about her journey, and how the first time she saw a professional shot photo of herself in a bikini was only the beginning of a journey that led to her coming out in this TED talk. It's quite powerful and beautiful...
  • Degranon - Sci Fi Adventure with Gay Teens who are Twins and People Of Color

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    16 Jan 2015 | 3:05 am
    Degranon: A Science Fiction Adventure By Duane SimolkeOn the planet Valchondria, no illness exists, gay marriage is legal, and everyone is a person of color. However, a group called “the Maintainers” carefully monitors everyone’s speech, actions, and weight; the Maintainers also force so-called “colorsighted” people to hide their ability to see in color.The brilliant scientist Taldra loves her twin gay sons and thinks of them as the hope for Valchondria’s future, but one of them becomes entangled in the cult of Degranon, and the other becomes stranded on the other side of a…
  • New Gender 101 Video! Episode 37: Sylvia Rivera

    Lee Wind, M.Ed.
    14 Jan 2015 | 3:03 am
    Lucy (a.k.a. Benji) tells us about Sylvia Rivera, a legend and role model in the Transgender community.You can find out more about Sylvia and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project by visiting their website here.Just a note: Saying someone is a 'role model' isn't saying that they are a 'perfect person.' While I wish Sylvia hadn't had to be a sex worker during her life (I wish no one would have to be), and I would never want to say that that part of her life should be held up for others to emulate, by being her authentic self, standing up and fighting for herself and other people who were also…
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    Literacy, families and learning

  • Starting School: Is there a perfect age?

    Trevor Cairney
    23 Jan 2015 | 1:48 am
    One of my daughter's on her 1st dayI last wrote about this topic in January 2014 when one of my grandchildren was starting school for the first time. In Australia most of our schools are returning next week and many children will start school for the first time.  I can't remember my first day at school, but I can still remember the mix of emotions that my wife and I experienced when we sent our two daughters off for their first day of formal schooling (this was some time ago). The starting age in Australia varies from state to state. In NSW any child may commence school if they turn five…
  • The Book is Not Dead! 6 reasons why the paper book is still loved

    Trevor Cairney
    14 Jan 2015 | 3:42 pm
    An article in the latest edition of the Financial Times has shared some startling data about book sales in the last year. While the hype for the last three years has been that paper book sales will continue to dive at the expense of eBooks, and that book stores and traditional publishers face extinction, these views might well have been premature. Indeed, they might even be wrong!Here are some of the highlights of the article:1. Publishers and book chains in the US, UK and Australia have all celebrated some of their strongest sales figures for some time with rises of up to 5% in December.2.
  • Introducing Writing Workshops for Children

    Trevor Cairney
    4 Jan 2015 | 9:50 pm
    There are many good reasons to implement daily writing workshops in classrooms. Probably most important amongst these is that they offer the opportunity for children to experience writing as process not just as product. That is, to understand that writing is something that has to be worked on if it is to communicate with and engage readers. Young writers need to experience writing as craft, something that requires hard work, revision, research, planning, careful use of language and a sense of purpose and audience. But Katie Wood Ray reminds us in this short video that there is something even…
  • 20 Great Travel or Holiday Games

    Trevor Cairney
    22 Dec 2014 | 7:41 pm
    In Australia it is summer and so school is out for 6 weeks across the nation and many families will be heading for the beaches and waterways to enjoy Christmas in a particularly Aussie way. For some this will involve hours of travel as relatives are visited and exquisite coastal locations sought out. This is always a recipe for children getting bored and frustrated with one another - "...are we there yet!". This post is a repeat of some earlier posts, but I hope that it will be useful reminder of some great games that will keep children happily content for hours. I've done posts on…
  • Great Educational Toys for Children: Ideas & Guidelines

    Trevor Cairney
    11 Dec 2014 | 11:59 pm
    This is my fifth annual post on choosing great toys for kids. That is, toys that teach, challenge, stimulate and encourage creativity and learning.I've outlined before some basic principles for choosing toys which stress that children don't need expensive toys to learn. We know that play in and of itself, stimulates learning, problem solving, language development, creativity and so on (see for example my post 'The importance of simple play' here). In short, many activities require few or no bought materials.As well, even a single purpose toy that brings great pleasure, but doesn't teach a…
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    The Book Chook

  • A List of Useful Clipart for Education

    22 Jan 2015 | 10:00 am
    A List of Useful Clipart for Educationby Susan Stephenson, Most people with an interest in education need a couple of good sources of clipart. Whether to add to posters advertising a community function, enrich an activity destined for students, or help kids illustrate a communication destined for school, we love to find quality clipart. When it’s also free, and clearly labelled okay for educational use, we’re over the moon! After being asked by several teachers where I find the clipart I use for The Book Chook, or the free PDFs I make and offer at my website, I…
  • Children's Book Review, That Car

    20 Jan 2015 | 10:00 am
    Children's Book Review by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comHere’s a charming children’s picture book I grabbed as soon as I noticed the author. Cate Kennedy is one of my favourite Australian writers for adults, and I was keen to see her first book for children. I wasn’t disappointed! That Car was written by Cate Kennedy, illustrated by Carla Zapel, and published by Allen and Unwin, 2014. RRP: $Au24.99. From the publisher: We found the old car in the shed the very first day we moved to the farm. Dad put it under the peppercorn tree. 'You kids might as well play in it for the time…
  • Let’s Celebrate International Book Giving Day 2015!

    18 Jan 2015 | 10:00 am
    Let’s Celebrate International Book Giving Day 2015!by Susan Stephenson, Can you feel the excitement building? It’s almost that time of year again: International Book Giving Day! This is a day dedicated to getting new, used, and borrowed books into the hands of as many children as possible. It takes place on Valentine’s Day, 14 February. What I love about this celebration of books and reading is that it’s so easy to adapt it to fit your family’s life. The idea is to put the focus on giving books, perhaps instead of (or as well as) the more traditional candy.
  • Ten Read-Aloud Lessons from Preschoolers

    15 Jan 2015 | 10:00 am
    Ten Read-Aloud Lessons from Preschoolersby Susan Stephenson, Recently, I’ve been reading aloud once a week to a group of two- to four-year-olds at my local library. Because I’ve spent many years teaching Kindergarten and older students in “Big School”, I was pretty confident I knew all about sharing books with young children. Not so! Here are some of the things I’ve learned, and others I’ve re-learned from this delightful group. Are these lessons you’ve already learned, or might some of them be new to you too? 1.There’s no point in being a book snob. A…
  • Children’s Book Reviews, Legends of Zita the Spacegirl and Return of Zita the Spacegirl

    13 Jan 2015 | 10:00 am
    Children's Book Reviews by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.comKids love superheroes, don’t they? Here’s a young superhero who’s won my heart. In fact, I want to be just like her when I grow up! Zita is a Spacegirl, and a character created by Ben Hatke. Today I plan to tell you a little about two of Ben’s graphic novels: Legends of Zita the Spacegirl (Vol 2) and The Return of Zita the Spacegirl (Vol 3). They were published by First Second, rapidly becoming my go-to US publisher of graphic novels. (The first in the series is Zita the Spacegirl, if your kids would like to read the…
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    Reading Rumpus

  • Little Bird by Germano Zullo with illustrations by Albertine: A very special little book

    Cheryl Vanatti
    18 Jan 2015 | 2:38 pm
    I usually write about children's books on Reading Rumpus. Sometimes I drop a few teaching ideas, but mostly this is simply a place to chronicle children's literature that I find interesting for one reason or another. I read a lot more books, A LOT more, than I ever could write about here. Every once in awhile, I get my hands on a book that is so profound it transcends the stigma of being labelled a "children's" book (boy, is that a post for another soap box sort of day). Those books become our classics. They are this:  and this:and all of those shiny medal ones we cherish. But…
  • A Plethora of Picture Books!

    Cheryl Vanatti
    12 Jan 2015 | 6:53 pm
    Tap, tap, tap.... Is this thing on? Apologies for the lack of attention to Reading Rumpus, but work and school have this bibliophile overwhelmed. There have been so many wonderful picture books pass across my desk; I feel that I must mention them here. Unfortunately, I have not read them well enough to write a review with lesson ideas as I typically like to do on Reading Rumpus. Some are a few years old now, but better late than never!Tracking Tyrannosaurs: Meet T. rex's fascinating family, from tiny terrors to feathered giantsGenre: NonfictionAge: 8-12Pages:…
  • Remembering a great one: Maurice Sendak

    Cheryl Vanatti
    10 Jun 2014 | 6:20 am
    Today is the anniversary of Maurice Sendak's birth. Because it SO AMAZINGLY COOL click over to the Google Doodle from June 10, 2013 and watch it again!CLICK HERE-------------------- That's all folks! -------------------- © 2007-2014 Cheryl Vanatti for
  • Here Comes Destructo-Saurus by Aaron Reynolds with illustrations by Jeremy Tankard

    Cheryl Vanatti
    22 May 2014 | 4:30 am
    Author Reynolds has been featured on Reading Rumpus three times before (here, here, and here) for his Joey Fly Private Eye books. They are intended for an older reader, but have the same snarky, intelligent humor as Here Comes Destructosaurus!Publisher's Synopsis: "Watch the unstoppable destructive force of a raging temper tantrum! Tremble at the enormous mess and disrespectful roaring! Despair as no amount of scolding can stem the heedless fury! Someone is heading for a time-out, Mister! Anyone who has witnessed (or been) a toddler in the throes of a full-blown fit will delight in this…
  • Planet Kindergarten by Sue Ganz-Schmitt with illustrations by Shane Prigmore

    Cheryl Vanatti
    20 May 2014 | 3:30 am
    I had originally planned to include Planet Kindergarten as part of an earlier picture book compilation post, but when I got halfway through it, I got all excited about a teaching idea for this book.Here's what the publisher had to say, first: "This clever picture book will prepare young explorers to boldly go where they have never gone before: Planet Kindergarten. Suit up for a daring adventure as our hero navigates the unknown reaches and alien inhabitants of this strange new world. Hilarious and confidence-boosting, this exciting story will have new kindergarteners ready for…
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    Gail Carson Levine

  • Setting Wake Up

    20 Jan 2015 | 9:00 pm
    On August 15, 2014, carpelibris wrote, Anyone have the opposite problem: livening up a story that takes place on a single, rather ordinary location?Let’s break this into two pieces, the ordinariness and the unmoving-ness of the setting and start with the first.Pick the most boring, most blah place in your life that you can go to right now. Your assignment, as soon as I tell you to, is to take yourself there.Right now I’m in my most boring space, a Metro North train rattling toward New York City, where I often write the blog. I’m not talking about my fellow passengers, who often aren’t…
  • Vive la difference!

    7 Jan 2015 | 5:23 am
    I’m putting two related questions and accompanying comments together in this post. On August 2, 2014, F wrote, I've found that over the course of all my stories, my characters seem to repeat a lot of the same kind of traits. Whilst I do sometimes feel like they're independent and distinguishable and have their own voices, I feel like their personalities boil down to be very similar, not to mention that these personalities seem to have, at their core, an enlarged aspect of my own (I guess I rely on writing what I can identify with).Although my characters aren't carbon copies of me (thank…
  • Hooray for Quests!

    24 Dec 2014 | 8:13 am
    First off, the big news: Writer to Writer is OUT--RELEASED--PUBLISHED!!! It came out yesterday. Some of you are in it–no last names, of course. Thanks to you all for making this blog a great, helpful, safe place for writers, and for making this book possible.Second off: Ho! Ho! Ho! Happy holidays, and best wishes for great writing in 2015!This question came into the website late in July from  Writer At Heart: What are you supposed to do when all of your stories seem to repeat? Like, I've had this GREAT idea for a girl going on quest, but all of my other stories seem to copy this idea.
  • Thoughtses!

    10 Dec 2014 | 6:47 am
    First off, very exciting! Here’s a link to the beginning of the audio version of Writer to Writer: At the end, it moves on to another excerpt from a different book. Of course, you can keep going or stop. Hope you enjoy!On July 26, 2014, Angie wrote, I have a question that pertains both to dialogue and relationship development. I have two taciturn characters who have to spend quite a bit of time together, and are untrusting of each other for a while. The result is that they are both…
  • Smile Induction

    26 Nov 2014 | 8:50 am
    My best wishes to all of you who are bravely writing away on you NaNoWriMo projects. Hope it’s going along swimmingly!For any of you in my neck of the woods, I’m going to be part of a kids’ book author panel and then a signing on the evening of Monday, December 8th, from 6:00 to 7:30 at Fox Lane Middle School, 632 South Bedford Road, which is in Bedford, New York. If you can come, I’d love to meet you!Also, at the suggestion of Lydia S. last week on the blog, we’ve added a new feature right to the right of these words: FOLLOW BY EMAIL, which will let you know about blog updates, if…
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  • Ursula K. Leguin

    29 Dec 2014 | 6:54 pm
    Love these remarks about publishing by Ursula K. LeGuin! She talks about how publishers should hang onto integrity and resist commercial pressures. She talks about how sci-fi and fantasy were once not considered suitable literature (now, dystopia is practically the rule!) She also scathingly criticized Amazon. A publishing executive called “the most ferocious speech ever given at the National Book Awards.” Besides books for children, she has written poetry and criticism. She’s a natural rebel, being from Berkeley, CA! More info at NPR. Here is her own site.  
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    22 Dec 2014 | 2:47 pm
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    22 Dec 2014 | 2:38 pm
  • Meet My Character Blog Tour: Annabelle

    13 Nov 2014 | 10:43 pm
    Thanks to Donna Miskend, an illustrious author and illustrator, for inviting me to join this blog tour.   My character is named Annabelle, and she’s a goat who’s a perfectionist, sort of like Martha Stewart. As you can imagine, this doesn’t always make her popular in the barnyard, where the pigs want to cool off in the mud, the sheep want to let their wool grow out, and the chickens like to have free range. Here she is, styling Sheep.       Next blog tour stop … Michigan wordsmith LuAnn Kern! She’s the author of The Night the Tooth Fairy…
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