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  • Raising Star Readers

We Are Grateful

You Hold Me Up

We have to confess to book envy—that is encountering a picture book and wishing that we had written it. The book’s approach is so arresting, the heart of the book so big, the images so rich. Such books not only make us wish we’d done them, they change what we want to do and what [...]

Fairy Tales, Part 1

Puss in Boots

The universal appeal of fairy tales is documented by the similarities of stories across countries, cultures and centuries. The “Cinderella” story alone is over 1000 years old with over 1000 varients. What makes an individual picture book version of a fairy tale unique? The illustrations. Jane Yolen (2004) states, “Many of the picture-book retellings of [...]

Constance Van Hoven and Her Reading Team
November 2020

The Stuff of Stars

Despite the coronavirus pandemic and a way-too-long physical separation from her Reading Team, Connie Van Hoven has continued to find creative ways for them to enjoy books together. Here, Connie describes some of the tactics she’s using—including technology and canine love—to assist her in Raising Star Readers: My Reading Team is going to the dogs! [...]

Nomad Press

Nomad Press

For teachers, parents and anyone looking for “school-at-home” nonfiction books, Nomad Press is an excellent resource for activity-based nonfiction books. With Nomad’s informational series, students not only “read about” important topics of our times but also investigate, “ask about” and “do about” these topics. First I tried out several of their books. I found excellent [...]

Together from Afar

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean." (Ryunosuke Satoro) Tis the season to be… It is hard to sometimes understand how difficult the holiday season will be this year. Although this is difficult, technology has made it possible for us all to connect and participate in holiday fun. For my article this [...]

Wild Girl

Wild Girl

WOW!*!&! I want to carry a backpack with me wherever I go, handing out a copy of this book to every person I see. I loved every daredevil, detailed, astonishing minute of reading this book. I believe you will, too. Mind, I grew up at a time where I heard two phrases constantly: "Sit still" [...]

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Reading my books, you could be excused for thinking I’m a foodie. I’m not—I just like to eat! And so do my characters, apparently. Food and recipes play a role in many of my stories, including all three Pumpkin Falls mysteries.

Today Was a GOOD Day!

Lynne Jonell

Today was a GOOD day! Here's what I did ...

Poetry Teatime

On Halloween morning, Pooh Bear came for a visit on our porch. There was coffee for her parents and hot chocolate with whipped cream and sprinkles for her, as well as a round of pastries for all. A lovely morning, however distanced and masked we had to remain.

Deb Andries and Her Reading Team
November 2020

Dancing Hands

Raising Star Readers is delighted to drop in again on Deb Andries and her Reading Team as they celebrate diverse new offerings from Deb’s local library. Here’s how Deb describes the books that are helping to bring her joy: Reading remains a joy. Reading remains a treasured moment and a teachable moment. Reading is shared. [...]

Candice Ransom

Candice Ransom

One green thing I wish everyone would do: Give up plastic bags. It’s hard, I know, to remember to carry a bag into a store. I wish we could give up other forms of plastic, like the blister packs encasing everything from Barbie dolls to Bic pens. Back in the days of five and ten [...]

The Kindness Factor

Each Kindness

As we write this article, we are in the middle of a world-wide pandemic and a consequential election season. Both events ask us to address big, core questions: What kind of people do we want to be? How do we resolve our conflicts?

Jane Langton Gave Me Geese

Candice Ransom

In Wildness is the preservation of the World. ~ Henry David Thoreau  It’s rare a children’s book changes you when you’re an adult. I don’t mean fleeting Harry Potter/Team Edward crossover fandom, but genuine change (as with Watership Down). I was nearly 30 when Jane Langton’s book The Fledgling was published in 1980. At that [...]


Lynne Jonell

What else can I do when a book comes knocking, but answer the door and get on with it?

The Book Rescuer

The Book Rescuer

I have had The Book Rescuer on my desk for several months. I immediately knew I wanted to write about it because I feel such a strong attraction to this story (a true story) but I had a hard time putting into words how deeply I am moved by the actions of this book hero. [...]

Gennifer Choldenko

Gennifer Choldenko

I’m so pleased to have Gennifer Choldenko grant Bookology an interview about all the questions I’ve bottled up since reading Orphan Eleven, her newest novel. Each one of her novels is a page-turner from first to last, often introducing history we didn’t know but can’t wait to learn more about. Those are my favorite sorts [...]

Grandparents, Part 2

Leave Me Alone

Fictional Caldecott grandparents reveal interesting and surprising personalities. While the stories are imaginary, some of the characters are inspired by admired grandparents and mentors.

Javaka Steptoe

Radiant Child

Though our focus this month is on Javaka Steptoe, we want to begin this column with another book by his father, John Steptoe, Daddy is a Monster…Sometimes. This book is narrated by two children, Bweela and Javaka, who begin, “We are Bweela and Javaka and we have a daddy. He’s a nice daddy and all, [...]

Caren Stelson

Caren Stelson

The book I wish everyone would read: I love Make Way for Ducklings written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey, and I wish every parent and child would read this ageless picture book together. Why do I love Make Way for Ducklings? Let me start with the fact that my family is from Boston and Make Way for Ducklings takes place [...]

Curiouser and Curiouser with John Owens

One Summer Up North

Once in a while a debut book comes across my desk and I'm too curious to put it into a to-be-read pile. I glance at the cover throughout the day until I can't resist opening the book. What is it about? Am I going to like it? Then I keep turning the pages, marveling over [...]


Yasmin the Zookeeper

Once I finished reading Yasmin the Zookeeper, I was charmed. I wanted to find out more about this young Pakistani American girl who is curious about everything.

Bookstorm™: Orphan Eleven

Orphan Eleven

Four orphans have escaped from the Home for Friendless Children. One is Lucy, who used to talk and sing. No one knows why she doesn’t speak anymore; silence is her protection. The orphans find work and new friends at a traveling circus. Lucy loves caring for the elephants, but she must be able to speak [...]

Picture Books Minus the Age Stereotypes and Ageism

Nature's Friend

Modern day children’s books riddled with negative stereotypes of age? Sadly yes, they are all too easy to find.

Science + History = Whole Picture”

Author Candice Ransom

On my “final” draft of Bones in the White House: Thomas Jefferson’s Mammoth, I drew a line of little mastodons trooping across the bottom of the manuscript pages. Each animal bore a date that matched a sidebar fact or referenced the main text. I thought this was a clever way to remind readers of the [...]

How the Heather Looks: a Joyous Journey
to the British Sources of Children’s Books

If any good has come from the quarantine of 2020, it’s made me a heavy library user—my personal library, that is, since the public libraries are closed. I found this book in a dresser drawer. (When I redid my office, I didn’t want the clutter of bookcases, instead opting for vintage dressers and armoires—lovely to [...]

Picture Book Salute to Blue

Rare & Blue

Blue is beloved for the awesome beauty of its various shades on display in the natural world, and for the feelings of calmness, security, loyalty, and friendliness, it evokes. So, without further ado: a collection of ten lovely and compelling books, plus one, that celebrate blue.