Advertisement. Click on the ad for more information.
Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine
bk_walkthisworld.jpg

Gifted: Walk This World

Walk This World: a Celebration of Life in a Day Lotta Nieminen, a Finnish-born graphic designer and art director Big Picture Press, an imprint of Candlewick Press, November 2013 As you consider gifts for this holiday season, we suggest … (book #2 in our Gifted recommendations) … Visit 10 countries in one book! This stylish […]

Read more...

spike-animal-shelter.jpg

Gifted: Spike, Ugliest Dog in the Universe

Spike, Ugliest Dog in the Universe Debra Frasier, author and illustrator Beach Lane Books, October 2013 Ever since I saw my 10-year-old niece pose in front of the television, trying to imitate the supermodels at the end of the runway, my awareness of the beauty culture in this country has been acute. We took her […]

Read more...

bk_arlo_cover.jpg

Gifted: Arlo’s ARTrageous Adventure!

Arlo’s ARTrageous Adventures! written and illustrated by David LaRochelle Sterling Children’s Publishing, 2013 If you’re considering gifts for the holiday season … (book #1 in our series of Gifted recommendations) … No matter how uninteresting Arlo’s elderly relative insists on making their trip to the museum with her warnings to be serious and quiet and […]

Read more...

gr_toppsleague.jpg

Anatomy of a Series: Topps League Books

We’re in post-season, when a lot of fans start to look wild-eyed, wondering how they’ll hang on for three months until spring training starts in February. Here in Minnesota, it’s tough for sandlot baseball or Little League games to be played in the snow with an icy baseline. Young fans can keep up the momentum […]

Read more...

bk_betsytacytib.jpg

Discussing the Books We’ve Loved: Déjà Vu

As I ready this article for publication, I am sitting in the coffee shop where I first met Heather Vogel Frederick, now a much-admired author of some of my favorite books. I still enjoy getting caught up in a series, accepting the likeable and not-so-likeable characters as my new-found circle of friends, anticipating the treat […]

Read more...

bk_ice140.jpg

Alongside the Books We’ve Loved: Venom and the River

This week, join me as we continue to look at books that orbit the constellations of children’s series books much-loved by adults: Louisa May Alcott’s books, the Little House books, the Anne of Green Gables books, and Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy books. A brand new novel, Venom on the River, is now available from my favorite […]

Read more...

bk_darlingdahlias.jpg

Behind the Books We’ve Loved: A Wilder Rose

Growing up, I loved to read mysteries, biographies, but especially series books. I didn’t read Nancy Drew or Anne of Green Gables (not until I was an adult), but I followed most every other series character. I read Cherry Ames, Sue Barton, Trixie Belden, Beany Malone, Janet Lennon, but especially Louisa May Alcott’s books, the […]

Read more...

bk_campingtrip_180.jpg

Packing up the tent?

Summer Reading No. 2 Many of you are making plans to get out of Dodge when your kids are out of school for the summer. I imagine thousands of people making a list: tent, sleeping bags, mini-grill, rain ponchos, clothesline (from our camping experience, someplace to hang things up to dry is essential), cooler, GPS, […]

Read more...

8_truckstop_diner.jpg

Best Truck Stop Ever

Summer Reading No. 1 Travel season begins now. Resorts and roadside attractions and Dairy Queens are all spruced up. The OPEN signs are once again flipped to the side that matters. Will you be traveling the highways and backroads, looking for adventure? I’ve read a new picture book that made me look differently at something […]

Read more...

Vicki-19-reading-360.jpg

… who taught me to love books

I’ve just begun reading Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage. Many people have recommended it to me, aghast that I have not already eaten it up. I’ve gotten as far as the dedication: For my parents—Vivian Taylor Turnage and A.C. Turnage, Jr.—who taught me to love books. What a gift. How big-hearted and understanding of […]

Read more...

oldebook.jpg

No book to print book to e-book to …

Publishers Weekly reported today that Neil Gaiman addressed the fifth London Book Fair Digital Minds Conference by saying, “People ask me what my predictions are for publishing and how digital is changing things and I tell them my only real prediction is that is it’s all changing,” Gaiman said. “Amazon, Google and all of those […]

Read more...

4books.jpg

Cooking up a bookstorm

One of my favorite genres of reading is cookbooks. It all began when I was ten, the Christmas of 1963. My mother gave me Betty Crocker’s Cook Book for Boys and Girls, originally published in 1957 by Golden Books, illustrated by Gloria Kamen, and written by, well, Betty Crocker, of course! A lot of cooking […]

Read more...

creepybear.jpg

Chapter & Verse picks the winners … or not

In CLN’s Chapter & Verse, with six of our bookstores reporting, we had no clear winners for our mock Caldecott, Newbery, and Printz Awards. Steve and I have visited many of these locations, talking with the book club members. Each book club has its own character. The members bring different life experiences, different reading preferences, […]

Read more...

Boy Reading

Doing it Yourself

In the ten years that CLN has existed, one of our greatest challenges has been self-published books. Do we include them or don’t we? The rules of publishing are changing in seismic ways. We’re watching the shifting trends. CLN believes in presenting books that can fit the credo “the right book at the right time […]

Read more...

thechild.jpg

When Thunder Comes

Just in time for the Martin Luther King remembrance on Monday, J. Patrick Lewis has a challenging new poetry book, When Thunder Comes: Poems for Civil Rights Leaders. The title captured my attention and held me: Mr. Lewis is including me as a civil rights leader. Each of us. All of us. By including his readers, […]

Read more...

cover-bill-the-boy-wonder-medium.jpg

A matter of character

I enjoy so many types of books, marveling that a writer or comic artist or architect or journalist or cook or explorer thought long and studied hard and wrote and revised and gave countless hours to the creation of their book. After all, how do you count the hours a book’s author spends dreaming, observing, […]

Read more...

No-Crystal-Stair-cover.jpg

A stellar book of fiction or nonfiction?

Nonfiction is getting a rocket lift-off into the consciousness of educators … and publishers … throughout the United States. Why? The Common Core State Standards require that nonfiction text is included in the classroom. I, of course, am cheering over this. I haven’t put the list of books I’ve read on a scale, nonfiction on […]

Read more...

hvf_120px_72dpi.jpg

Fan Fervor for 70-Year-Old Books

Yesterday we attended the Betsy-Tacy Convention presentations at the Children’s Literature Research Collections at the University of Minnesota, a/k/a the Kerlan Collection. There was SRO in a room that was set up for about 150 people (best guess). Kathleen Baxter was the host of the soirée, enthusiastically welcoming everyone to this meaningful setting for the […]

Read more...

book_by_book.jpg

Peace

Peace is elusive. It is a goal of some people at some time in some parts of the world. As John Lennon wrote: “Imagine no possessions / I wonder if you can / No need for greed or hunger / A brotherhood of man / Imagine all the people sharing all the world …” Is […]

Read more...

Schmidt.jpg

An Artful Storyteller

In person, Gary D. Schmidt is a storyteller. Sometimes that’s an internal aspect of an author and it doesn’t extend to conversation or presentations. Gary shared a story at Spotlight on Books that came from his growing-up neighborhood on Long Island, NY. He engaged his listeners by giving them the responsibility for preserving the story, […]

Read more...

whenIwasyourage.jpg

When I Was Your Age

When I was a small child, I spent a lot of time around adults. Having no brothers or sisters, no cousins living nearby, and spending summers and vacations with my grandparents, I went where they visited. Many of those people were their age. So I heard this phrase often: “When I was your age …” […]

Read more...

bk_showme.jpg

Show, Don’t Tell

I am frequently reminded in our Chapter & Verse meetings that people read a book, look at the illustrations, but may not consider the illustrations. Study them. Wonder about them. Unless an illustrator sits at your elbow as you turn the page of a picture book or illustrated book, explaining the motivation and technique behind […]

Read more...

DSC00389.jpg

A Busy Day

We’ve been getting ready for weeks and finally the CLN Books for Breakfast is tomorrow. Steve and I are still printing handouts, stuffing folders, creating the Powerpoint, and it’s only three hours until we need to walk out the door. It’s unbelievable to me how many people’s efforts go into this three-hour event. We host […]

Read more...

Reading Ahead

A Streak of Gold in the Reading Pile

There are times when the reading pile provides a streak of can’t-put-the-book-down reading. It gets me all whipped up about reading, writing, authors, illustrators … and I respect all the players in this equation, the creators as well as the readers who get to play in the words. I’ve just recently been on such a […]

Read more...

dreamstime_250052-225x300.jpg

This is a wonderful book but …

I hear this all the time from our book club members. “This is a wonderful book but I could never get kids to read it.” Why? That’s my immediate and fierce reaction. Why? Some of the books we’ve discussed in Chapter & Verse are Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt, The Green Glass Sea […]

Read more...

bk_dairy.jpg

Farm livin’ is the life for me

If you recognize that quote,* you might have a somewhat warped idea of what living on a farm is all about. It’s the first day of the Minnesota State Fair, which lasts for 12 days, and began 147 years ago as an homage to farming and all the ways we depend on The Land. In […]

Read more...

bk_navajo.jpg

Written in code

Having just finished a terrific new book called J.R.R. Tolkien, by Alexandra and John Wallner (Holiday House), I was reminded about codes. I spent a good number of hours during my junior high days fashioning notes in Elvish and leaving them in my friends’ lockers. The runic writing fascinated me and, of course, the idea […]

Read more...

bk_mocking50.jpg

Monkey see, monkey do

As early as I can remember, my mother clipped recipes from magazines and newspapers, finding ever-more-elaborate methods of filing them. Recipe boxes, giant clips, and plastic bags are stuffed to the gills with recipes in her house. I’ve had fun in recent months digging through those treasures. Food styles change! I feel like a History […]

Read more...

ourstories.jpg

Sparking the flint

Children aren’t the only kids who get bored during the summer. Teens are looking for something to do in more subtle ways. If they’ve got the writing bug … or if they don’t have it yet … you might tempt them with one or more of these books. You’ll find something for every taste, with […]

Read more...

bk_adven.jpg

No need to be bored!

Although I remember my puffy pink diary with the curious brass clasp, I don’t recall writing in it much. Age nine, I may have experimented with writing on the first page. Something like, “Today was my birthday. I had a party. Nothing else happened.” If only I’d had books about writing stories … I loved […]

Read more...

libraries.jpg

Free, Playful, and Courageous

Call me crazy, but my family knows very well that traveling to a new city means visiting one site in particular: the library. It’s best if we have time to go inside. I like to see the walls, the signage, the special rooms. I look to see how the books are arranged, not only Dewey […]

Read more...

bk_look.jpg

Approaching the last day of kindergarten …

Kindergarten. It’s not peculiar to the USA, but the States took up the movement toward early childhood education after Friedrich Froebel introduced the concept in Bad Blankenburg, Germany, on June 28, 1840. “Children are like tiny flowers; they are varied and need care, but each is beautiful alone and glorious when seen in the community […]

Read more...

walden.jpg

Thoreau at Walden

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” I’m re-reading Henry David Thoreau’s Walden; or Life in the Woods. I do this once each year in February, when it’s dark and snowy and cold here in Minnesota. […]

Read more...

bk_dosome.jpg

A Book is a Book is a Book

I always looked forward to packages under the tree that were a certain rectangular shape and thickness, heavy and not resilient … I knew they were books. But which book? I enjoyed receiving fiction and biographies and books about foreign places and history, so in that moment before carefully removing the tape and turning back […]

Read more...

bk_indestruct.jpg

Holiday reading

My favorite gift of all time was the paperback boxed set of The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien that my mother gave me when I was fifteen. I still vividly remember lying on my bed at my grandparents reading the first few chapters late on Christmas Eve. There was an overhead light in […]

Read more...

venndia.jpg

Musings of a lifelong reader, part three

When I was in college, working on a project for one of my library science classes, I wrote a proposal for educational reform. Thirty years ago (gulp) it seemed to me that school didn’t work very well … at least not for me. I was certain I couldn’t be the only person to feel this […]

Read more...

bk_blockhead.jpg

Musings of a lifelong reader, part two

Why do we have books without illustrations? Only in the last few years has the concept of a “visual learner” become familiar to me. By all definitions, and pedagogical controversy aside, this describes the way I absorb knowledge. I wasn’t aware of a name or theory when I was learning to read, or actively engaged […]

Read more...

lhjournal.jpg

Musings of a lifelong reader, part one

In a community of readers, the dialogue will occasionally drift to “do you remember learning to read?” Do you? I don’t. I have an early memory of sitting on the floor in the bedroom at my grandmother’s house turning the pages of The Poky Little Puppy. I remember the illustrations. I don’t remember the words. […]

Read more...

bk_jazz.jpg

It’s not just one or the other

Music has played a key role in my lifelong learning. Introduced to the classics by our elementary school music program, the entire school was bussed once each year to hear the Minnesota Orchestra at a young people’s concert. I fell in love with Mr. Tweedy, the timpani player. He added drama to the music. My […]

Read more...

ph_coat.jpg

All is not lost

I read a lot of books written for young people. Lately, as we prepare for mock Newbery and Caldecott discussions, it has been one or two each day. One novel and one picture book seems to be the pace. Our choices will be announced on the CLN site on November 1st, so those of you […]

Read more...

dearjames.jpg

Aiming at Good

I wish I were half as smart as my unconscious mind. When I’m working on a tricky design or trying to intuit a way to visually represent a person or writing a column, I’ve learned that it’s best if I don’t force myself to sit down and do it. Of course, that’s not always possible. […]

Read more...

bk_every_140.jpg

A gentle nudge

Sometimes we get so caught up in discussing the literary merits of a book that we forget who the intended readers are. Sometimes we enjoy playing the game of who will win the awards so much that we forget there are all kinds of readers who are touched by books in many ways … and […]

Read more...

tinytyrant.jpg

A Tyrant to Treasure

Reading my way in delight through the First : Second graphic novels has been a treat. I love a good mystery, adventure, thriller, romance, rib-tickler … and I’ve found all this and more in graphic novel form with this imprint. First up, the rib-tickler. That would come in the form of pint-sized, imperious monarch, Ethelbert […]

Read more...

davis.jpg

Creative every day

The question authors are asked most often is, “Where do you get your ideas?” And many authors would answer that getting ideas is not a problem. As a graphic designer, I get ideas when my eyes are open and when my eyes are shut. I see color, type, focal points, negative space, texture, shadow, line […]

Read more...

bk_ship_100.jpg

A reading path from Japan to America

My exploration began when a young man, aged 7, recommended that I read Shipwrecked! the True Adventures of a Japanese Boy (Rhoda Blumberg, HarperCollins, 2001). The title sprang immediately to his mind when I asked him what he’d read lately that was good. Finding a copy, I opened it and began reading, realizing that this […]

Read more...

righttoliteracy.jpg

Declaration for the Right to Literacy

A document has been circulating around the country since it was drafted in 2009. Called the Declaration for the Right to Literacy, it currently has 30,000 signatures, but more support is needed to make a bigger impact when the document is presented to President Obama next month. You have an opportunity to show your support […]

Read more...

bk_crabc_100.jpg

Life on the farm

It’s that time of year. Farmers’ markets are bursting with color, smells, and daydreams of splendid meals. People are putting food by … knowing that berries and cucumbers and tomatoes and corn will be hard to find in the winter months. A lot of people are putting in a big effort to make sure we […]

Read more...

bk_wintr_100.jpg

How lucky we are

I’m in the midst of reading Lea Wait‘s books for children (she also writes mysteries for adults). I’ve finished Finest Kind, I’m in the midst of Wintering Well, I’m eagerly looking forward to Seaward Born, and I’m on the waiting list for Stopping to Home. The two books I’ve read so far are plumb full […]

Read more...

mind_closed.jpg

What’s got my dander up?

I can’t decide whether I’m angry or sad. When Steve and I travel around the country, we stop in at bookstores and public libraries and schools, observing the state of children’s books in those environments. We talk with booksellers, librarians, and teachers. Some people are aware of our connection to children’s books … some are […]

Read more...