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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Tag Archives | Jane Yolen

Skinny Dip with Rick Chrustowski

praying mantisWhat animal are you most like?

Sometimes I am a Zen-like praying mantis, sitting and watching the world. And other times I am hopped up like a hummingbird zipping around trying to get a bunch of things done at once or, if I am at a party, trying to meet everyone in the room.

Which book of yours was the most difficult to write or illustrate?

My new book Bee Dance was the most difficult. It is only 250 words long, but it took me 9 years to write it! I should tell you that’s not the only thing I worked on during that time. I did the research about how honeybees communicate and wrote a manuscript. When I read it out loud I felt like it just wasn’t good enough. So I put it away and worked on other projects. A couple years later I pulled it out again and worked on it some more. But it still wasn’t good enough. I worked on other books and forgot about it. Then a few years after that, my good friend Susan Marie Swanson said “Hey, whatever happened to that bee book?”

bk_bee_dance_300pxI pulled it out of the drawer where I keep stories in progress and read it again. And you know what? It wasn’t that bad! I learned that if I just focused specifically on the bee dance that would be the way to go. I worked on it some more, and took it to my writers’ group. They helped me make it a little better still. Then I did several dummies to figure out how the illustrations should look. I showed it to my editor, Laura Godwin, and she loved it. My advice to writers out there: sometimes your work might take longer than you think it should. But, if you believe that it’s a good idea, don’t ever give up! I could have given up on Bee Dance so many times. I’m really glad I didn’t.

Which of your books would make a good movie and who would be the star?

bk_batHmmm. I actually think that the book I’m working on right now would make a cool movie. But I can’t tell you about that one yet….so let’s see, I’ll pick Big Brown Bat. Johnny Depp would make a great bat, I’m sure.

What’s your favorite line from a book?

“Then the owl pumped its great wings and lifted off the branch like a shadow without sound.” From Owl Moon, written by Jane Yolen.

What book do you tell everyone to read?

I really love the Amulet graphic novel series by Kazu Kibuishi. I would recommend it to anyone, even if you don’t like long-form comics.

Are you a night owl or an early bird?

If I am on a tight deadline I work late into the night. Otherwise I like to see the morning sun.

Were you most likely to visit the school office to deliver attendance/get supplies, visit the nurse, or meet with the principal?

None of the above. In my elementary school the library was very tiny and it was in the principal’s office! Who would want to pick out a book with the principal watching? I wonder if that’s why I was never a big reader as a kid. Now I love to read and I usually have 2 or 3 books going at once, but back then I liked playing outside or drawing pictures in my room more than anything else.

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Bookstorm™: Bulldozer’s Big Day

Bookstorm-Bulldozer-Visual_655

written by Candace Fleming  illustrated by Eric Rohmann  Atheneum, 2015

written by Candace Fleming 
illustrated by Eric Rohmann 
Atheneum, 2015

It’s Bulldozer’s big day—his birthday! But around the construction site, it seems like everyone is too busy to remember. Bulldozer wheels around asking his truck friends if they know what day it is, but they each only say it’s a work day. They go on scooping, sifting, stirring, filling, and lifting, and little Bulldozer grows more and more glum. But when the whistle blows at the end of the busy day, Bulldozer discovers a construction site surprise, especially for him!

An ideal book for a read-aloud to that child sitting by you or to a classroom full of children or to a storytime group gathered together, Bulldozer’s Big Day is fun to read because of all the onomatopoeia and the wonderful surprise ending.

In each Bookstorm™, we offer a bibliography of books that have close ties to the the featured book. For Bulldozer’s Big Day, you’ll find books for a variety of tastes and interests. The book will be comfortably read to ages 3 through 7. We’ve included picture books, nonfiction, videos, websites, and destinations that complement the book, all encouraging early literacy.

Building Projects. There have been many fine books published about designing and constructing houses, cities, and dreams. We share a few books to encourage and inspire your young dreamers.

Construction Equipment. Who can resist listening to and watching the large variety of vehicles used on a construction project? You’ll find both books and links to videos.

Birthday Parties. This is the other large theme in Bulldozer’s Big Day and we suggest books such as Xander’s Panda Party that offer other approaches to talking about birthdays.

Dirt, Soil, Earth. STEM discussions can be a part of early literacy, too. Get ready to dish the dirt! 

Loneliness. Much like Bulldozer, children (and adults) can feel let down, ignored, left out … and books are a good way to start the discussion about resiliency and coping with these feelings.

Surprises. If you work with children, or have children of your own, you know how tricky surprises and expectations can be. We’ve included books such as Waiting by Kevin Henkes and Handa’s Surprise by Eileen Browne.

Friendship. An ever-popular theme in children’s books, we’ve selected a few of the very best, including A Sick Day for Amos McGee, by the Steads.

Let us know how you are making use of this Bookstorm™. Share your ideas and any other books you’d add to this Bookstorm™.

Downloadables

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The Shadow Hero Companion Booktalks

A 12-pack to get you started on the Bookstorm™ Books …

bk_100_5Minute5-Minute Marvel Stories, by Disney Book Group, Marvel Press, 2012. Ages 3 and up.

  • Perfect read-aloud length for younger fans
  • Nice introduction for newcomers to Spiderman, Ironman, the Hulk, the Avengers, the X-Men, Captain America
  • Other than a few swinging fists, little violence

bk_100_BoysSteelBoys of Steel: the Creators of Superman, by Marc Tyler Nobleman, illustrated by Ross Macdonald, Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2008. Ages 8 and up.

  • How two high school outsiders created the most famous super hero
  • Picture book format but text and illustrations will appeal to independent readers
  • Back matter includes the story of the writer and artist’s super struggle to be acknowledged and compensated fully for their creation

bk_100_BrothersBrothers, by Yin, illustrations by Chris Soentpiet, Philomel, 2006. Ages 8 and up.

  • The story of Ming, a Chinese immigrant who arrives in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the 1800s
  • A friendships story develops when Ming defies an older brother’s orders and ventures past the Chinatown border
  • Beautiful, detailed wide-spread water color illustrations on every page 

bk_100_CompleteGuideComplete Guide to Figure Drawing for Comics and Graphic Novels, by Dan Cooney, Barron’s Educational Series, 2012. Ages 10 and up.

  • Every page has multiple tips and examples with very readable text and clear illustrations.
  • Emphasizes classic comic book action poses and character
  • Back matter includes advice on submitting portfolios and a glossary 

bk_100_DragonwingsDragonwings, by Laurence Yep, HarperCollins, 1977.

  • In the early 20th Century, a young boy travels from China to America to meet a father he doesn’t know.
  • Part of the Golden Mountain series consisting of 10 books
  • Newbery Honor book 

     


bk_100_FoiledFoiled by Jane Yolen, illustrations by Mike Cavallaro, First Second, 2011. Ages 8 and up.

  • Aliera’s ordinary life changes when she meets a new guy, acquires a new sword (she’s into fencing) and one day heads to Grand Central Station
  • Manga-style illustrations alternate between two-tone (ordinary world) and full color (the fantastic), occasionally merging
  • Details of fencing skills and equipment provide unusual background and good character development

bk_100_MarvelWayHow to Draw Comics the Marvel Way, by Stan Lee and John Buscema, Touchstone, 1984. Ages 8 and up.

  • Author Stan Lee is the creator of many comics legends, Buscema is the illustrator of many current comics
  • Many examples begin with stick figures and develop step by step—perfect for novice and experienced illustrator
  • Includes glossary

bk_100_LittleWhiteLittle White Duck: a Childhood in China, by Na Liu and Andres Vera Martinez, illustrations by Andrés Vera Martínez. Graphic Universe, 2012. Ages 8 and up.

  • Graphic memoir about Na Liu’s childhood in 1970s China; wife/husband collaboration
  • Divided into 8 short stories
  • Includes glossary of Chinese words and at-a-glance timeline of Chinese history

bk_100_PowerlessPowerless, by Matthew Cody, Knopf, 2009. Ages 8 and up.

  • Daniel is the new kid in a town—and the only one his age without a superpower
  • A Sherlock Holmes fan, Daniel decides to unearth the mystery behind the superpowers his new friends have—and why they disappear at age 13
  • First in series of three

bk_SharkKing_extendedShark King by R. Kikuo Johnson, TOON Books, 2013. Ages 4 to 8. Asian Pacific ALA’s Literary Award.

  • Child-friendly version of a Hawaiian myth
  • Clean layout—no sensory overload from text or illustrations
  • Includes discussion material for teachers and parents

     


bk_100ABCSuperHero ABC, written and illustrated by Bob McLeod, HarperCollins, 2008. Ages 3 and up.

  • An alphabet book, not a primer on superheroes, with comic-like illustrations
  • Humorous original heroes and heroines, such as Bubbleman and Firefly
  • Good prompt for individual or group superhero writing or drawing project

bk_Zita100Zita the Spacegirl, by Ben Hatke, First Second, 2011. Ages 8 and up.

  • Graphic novel with a Wizard of Oz storyline: young girl is transported to a strange world
  • Though Zita is trying to save an abducted friend, and though the planet is about to be destroyed, the text and art are more about fun than fear
  • How many weird creatures can you find?

 

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Quirky Book Lists: Go Fly a Kite!

by The Bookologist

Curious George coverCurious George Flies a Kite

H.A. Rey
HMH Books for Young Readers, 1977 (reissue of 1958 edition)
Ages 5-8

First George is curious about some bunnies, then about fishing, and then about his friend Billy’s kite. All’s well that ends well. Ages 5-8.

 


cover imageDays with Frog and Toad

Arnold Lobel
1979 HarperCollins
Ages 4-8

Five stories with the two famous friends, including “The Kite,” in which Frog’s optimism and Toad’s efforts prevail over the predictions of some nay-saying robins. 

 

 


cover imageThe Emperor and the Kite

Jane Yolen and Ed Young (illustrator)
Philomel, 1988 (reissue)
Ages 4-8

Princess Ojeow Seow is the youngest of the Emperor’s children, and no one in the family thinks she’s very special. But when the emperor is imprisoned in a tower, the princess’s kite-building skills prove everyone wrong. 1968 Caldecott Honor book. 


coverimageKite Day

Will Hillenbrand
Holiday House, 2012
Ages 3-7

Bear and Mole decide it’s the perfect day to fly a kite, but first they have to build one. 


cover imageThe Kite Fighters

Linda Sue Park
Clarion, 2000
Ages 9 and up.

A story about three friends in 15th Century Korea: a boy who builds beautiful kites; his younger brother, who is an expert kite flyer and kite fighter; and a boy who is the king of Korea. 

 

 


cover imageKite Flying

Grace Lin
Knopf, 2002
Ages 4-8

Everyone has a job to do when a family builds a dragon kite. Includes cultural and historical notes on kites and kite flying. 


cover imageKites for Everyone: How to Make Them and Fly Them

Margaret Greger
Dover Publications, 2006
Ages 8 and up
Easy-to-follow, illustrated instructions for creating and flying more than fifty kites. Includes history and science of kites. 

 

 


bk_KiteTwoNationsThe Kite That Bridged Two Nations: Homan Walsh and the First Niagara Suspension Bridge

Alexis O’Neill, Terry Widener (illustrator)
Calkins Creek, 2013
Ages 8-11

True story of 16 year-old Homan Walsh, who loved to fly kites and especially loved to fly kites over the magnificent Niagara Falls that separates New York from Ontario. 


cover imageStuck

Oliver Jeffers
Philomel, 2011
Ages 3-7

Floyd’s kite is stuck in a tree! What can he throw that will knock it free? What can he throw that won’t get stuck? 

 

 


 

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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 …” […]

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Aliens and Nature

My thanks to Katherine House, who sent word that illustrator John Schoenherr passed away on April 8th at the age of 74. I have admired his work in two fields for many years—I am saddened by the loss of this prodigious and pioneering talent. Born in 1935, Mr. Schoenherr (he was known as Jack) grew […]

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