Monday, November 27, 2017

Update Your Holiday Repertoire

2017 Holiday Books 

Sharing books anytime of year is one of my most favorite things to do.  I am especially pleased when I can share quality holiday books.  My children and I had our favorites which we read year after year which is a great tradition but it also can become comfortable.  I always kept a watchful eye out for new books to mix in with the old standbys so as not to miss something great.  
Now that my kids are grown, I continue to seek out new and special holiday books to share with my friends, family and Library patrons.  Here are a few of my favorites published this year. 
Happy Reading! 


By Nicola Killen
An endearing tale about a little girl and her late night adventure with a lost reindeer.  The beautiful illustrations were the highlight of this heartwarming tale for me.  
By Martha Brockenbrough
A sentimental book about a child learning that Santa Claus is not real, but the spirit of Santa Claus is! A fun way to welcome children who are questioning to "Team Santa". 
Adapted by the Metropolitan Museum of Art

For families seeking a more traditional approach, this biblical telling of the Christmas Story is accompanied by medieval and Renaissance paintings from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  
Gorgeous from cover to cover! 

By M.E. Furman

A tasty look at Christmas traditions around the world.  Did you know that in Australia, because its summer, families leave Santa a cool glass of milk or BEER? 

By Bonnie Becker
Pickles, poems, presents... oh my! 
Curmudgeon Bear and the ever optimistic Mouse are back for another fun tale. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

These are a few of my favorite things!- My favorites of 2016 are abundant. There have been so many great books I've read and so many in my TBR pile I am excited about. I feel full of book love! Here I include a nice assortment, (historical fiction; spooky; graphic novel; survival; realistic fiction) a little something for everyone! Enjoy these few of my favorite middle grade reads of 2016 and you can look forward to many more posts with lots of gushing!
Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk- Betty Glengarry's arrival at a rural Pennsylvania school changes everything for Annabelle, age 12. Annabelle's biggest worry in her life to date has been the war(WWII) but Betty's presence has created a more immediate threat. Betty is a bully and not at all harmless, although its hard for adults to believe that this pretty little blonde girl is capable of violence. Instead, its easier to blame recent wrong doings on an odd WWI vet who roams the nearby Pennsylvania hills. Annabelle makes difficult choices with a child's eye making the story believable. I loved this book so much, I couldn't put it down, although sometimes I wanted to. It was gripping and emotionally complex and at points hard to bear. <3 Well done Lauren Wolk.
All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor- Perry Cook has lived at the Blue River Correctional facility all of his life (12 years) with his mother, Jessica, who is a resident there. All is well until someone refuses to look the other way and Perry is forced into foster care. A look at prison life, what it means to have an incarcerated parent and a lesson in finding the goodness in life. SO well done. I loved every page. I think kids will eat this one up too.
The Door by the Staircase by Katherine Marsh- Mary Hayes is adopted from a deplorable orphanage only to learn that her new guardian, Madame Z (a Baba Yaga) is planning to eat her. Clever Mary, though, has a plan. Filled with magic and spookiness, this one should have broad appeal.
Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier- Telgemeier hits another one out of the park. Cat and her family are forced to move to a dismal (and ghost ridden) town in Northern California due to her little sister's cystic fibrosis. Cat wrestles with feelings of resentment towards her sister while still feeling fiercely protective of her. A great exploration of culture, family, death and sibling bonds. Totally realistic characters that lots of readers will identify with. I LOVED it!
The Skeleton Tree by Iain Lawrence- A fast paced and exhilarating adventure/survival story that also explores some pretty weighty topics (i.e. grief). Two boys must learn to cooperate, despite their dislike for each other, when stranded in the Alaskan wild. Angry and sullen teen Frank and the younger (12) Chris, creative and patient must work together and forge a bond in order to survive. Kids who love Hatchet, Lost on a Mountain in Maine and My Side of the Mountain are going to eat this up. I could not put it down. Well written and solid.

Friday, August 22, 2014

I Didn't Pass Out When I Read This Book, Hooray!

 Tooth Traditions around the World by Ann Malaspina

 Who knew there were so many tooth traditions? Being one who is a little squeamish about anything to do with dental topics of any kind, I found myself surprisingly engaged and less and less squirmy as I read. 
It is a perfect book for kids of tooth-loosing age and may help ease some fears or create new and different traditions.  I plan to buy this one for my crazy tooth-loosing-jack-o-lantern-looking nieces.
Suggested for ages 5 -8. 


Helping Children Meet the Right Book

There is No Such Thing as a Reluctant Reader-  I prefer to think that kids who are labeled as such just have not met the right book yet.  I encounter many parents who are concerned that their child is not interested in reading. Through many conversations with kids and parents I have discovered a few reasons why. Some kids prefer to experience life directly rather than through reading about someone else’s experiences. Other kids find it hard to sit still long enough to read for any length of time. And think about the competition! For many kids, books seem like inadequate entertainment when compared with video games, the Internet, television and other extra curricular activities. Sometimes well meaning adults place persistent stress on the child to read constantly which can be counterproductive. We want our kids to be better readers so we make them read. They are struggling with reading so they do not want to read. Reading becomes a battleground and is not associated with pleasure but viewed as a chore. Whatever the reason, the fact remains; some kids prefer not to read. So what can we do about it?

Give Them Freedom of Choice- Whether it is a cereal box, a comic, a magazine or a novel…it is all reading. Let them read their favorite series books too. It might not be great literature, but their predictable themes and familiar characters will instill confidence and help your child prepare for more substantial reading down the road. 

Play to Their Passion- Whether its trucks, horses or Sponge Bob your child has had a fascination with something and likely there is a book about it. Find it. If they are interested in it, they will read it or at least make the connection that there is something worthwhile and interesting inside of a book. 

Give Audio a Go- No, it is not cheating. Your child may not be reading the words, but an audio book is a great way to expose students to books that would otherwise be beyond their reading ability. It will also challenge their vocabulary and comprehension skills as well as model wonderful reading aloud. Try pairing a print book with an audio book so your child can follow along as they listen. 

Make a Connection-I believe that kids who do not read simply have not met the right book yet. When you understand the message of the story, use imagination while reading and think critically about the content, then you have made a connection with the book. Making these connections are what makes us love them and what makes us love to read. Once you read a book and have this type of experience, you are naturally going to crave more. When you crave more, you read more, when you read more you become more skilled at the practice. Unfortunately there is no one magic book which is going to hook every kid; however, we can help our kids find the right one. Respect your child’s likes and dislikes and be supportive of their choices. As your child samples new reading material they will become more discriminating in their own reading choice and development.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Librarian Gone Wild!

Roaring my terrible ROAR!
"In November's
gusty gale
I will flop
my flippy tail
and spout hot soup
I'll be a whale!
Spouting once
Spouting twice
Spouting checken soup
with rice. "
From Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak

A life long Maurice Sendak lover and recently inspired by the FANTASTIC exhibit at Portland Public Library I couldn't resist being a WILD THING for our annual Halloween event at my Library. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Traveling to ALA (and enjoying more of Chicago than humanly possible in 4 days) didn't leave too much time for reading.  So forgive my sparse contribution this week!

I will admit I was skeptical about this one (no offense Jeff Probst).  Happily, my skepticism was completely unfounded.  This is a fantastic summer read for middle grade readers! 
4 kids in a newly formed blended family set off on a sailing adventure while their parents honeymoon. The trip was originally designed to help the kids get to know each other and bond as a family.  It accomplishes its mission, but not in the way it was expected.  The kids end up stranded (surprise!) on an island in the south pacific.  No adults, no guidance just the kids and their limited supplies. Kids will LOVE this fast and tense read! I also suggest you have the second in the series on-hand because once this one is finished, they won't want to wait. 

There is much buzz about Blue Balliett's latest and I promise you, the rumors are true.  I loved everything about this one.  Another fabulous middle grade read! 

While fantasy is not my favorite genre, I really enjoyed this one (even if it was a little on the long side at 464 pages).  While not perfect, readers will be invested enough in Jemma's fate to overlook imperfections in the plot.  Some darker moments were edge-of-your-seat exciting and a wee bit scary.
I look forward to seeing more from Kit Grindstaff!
Suggested for hardcore fantasy fans grades 6 and up. 

Check out the book trailer here.

Until next time, happy reading!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Fast & Fun Reads (picture book edition)

I always feel like I should have more time for family reading in the summer.  Somehow, with all the sunshiny temptations, we always seem to have less.  Constant interruptions can make it difficult to squeeze in that valuable together reading time.  Why not gather up some quick reads to sneak into those (rare) moments of downtime?  Here are some fast & fun reads which are guaranteed to make the whole family smile! 

Bark, George!


When prompted by his mother to "Bark, George." George makes many interesting sounds but none of them are what one expects a dog to say. This book proves, once and for all, that picture books are to be enjoyed by readers of ALL ages.  Delightful in every way! 

A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea

There was a day when I used to think that a pig parade sounded like a rather awesome and inspired idea.  That was before I read this gem of a book by Michael Ian Black, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes.  Pigs, it turns out, are actually quite uncooperative when it comes to parades. Who knew? 
Totally fun! 

*If you love this, which you will, you must check out Chicken Cheeks also by Michael Ian Black*

Chicken Cheeks

Because really, who doesn't love a story about butts? 

I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean

A perfect picture book to use for a quick and fun read or to generate a conversation about the food chain. 
The giant squid is almost as charming as the big, bold and beautiful illustrations that leap off from the double spread pages.  You can't help but adore her as she proclaims over and over  that she is the BIGGEST thing in the ocean.  Her positive attitude goes undaunted even after the cruel realization that she is in fact NOT the biggest thing in the ocean. 
A FANTASTIC read aloud!

Bright Ideas!                                                 

Check out the latest installment by Philippe Courdray.  Benjamin Bear and his companion have many interesting problems to solve in this series of one page comic strips.  Just right kid humor interspersed with more thoughtful stories make this a fun (and quick) blend.  The illustrations are top-notch! Sure to please readers from kindergarten to adulthood.
I understand this is not technically a picture book, but I couldn't do a post about fun books without including this one because it is SO SUPER FUN it deserved a spot amid the rest.