Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Archive | Reading Ahead


Summer isn’t over yet …

There’s still more sum­mer read­ing time, whether relax­ing in your favorite lawn chair, next to a bur­bling creek, sit­ting in the mid­dle of your gar­den, or soak­ing in a wad­ing pool. When do I read? I always read before going to sleep. I read when I first get up in the morn­ing — it’s a great way to greet the day.… more

Joy-in-Words Day

Isn’t it about time for a hol­i­day? It’s been three weeks since the Fourth of July and we won’t cel­e­brate Labor Day for anoth­er five weeks. Well, I here­by declare July 25th Joy-in-Words Day. Help cel­e­brate! What’s your favorite word to say out loud? What word gives you joy as it rolls around in your brain, through your mouth, and off your tongue?… more

When author and illustrator meet, serendipity happens

On Sat­ur­day, July 10th, author Wendy Orr, from Aus­tralia, and illus­tra­tor Lau­ren Stringer, from the Unit­ed States, cel­e­brat­ed the release of their new book, The Princess and Her Pan­ther, togeth­er. Not only does this not often hap­pen, but it hap­pens even less across con­ti­nents. Wendy joined Lau­ren at the Red Bal­loon Book­shop in Saint Paul, Min­neso­ta, on Sat­ur­day morn­ing and then the two of them gave a pre­sen­ta­tion to the Ker­lan Friends and the pub­lic at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Min­neso­ta’s Chil­dren’s Lit­er­a­ture Research Col­lec­tion.… more

Coffee, coffee, coffee

I’ve been spend­ing a good amount of time in cof­fee shops late­ly, work­ing. It’s iron­ic for me to be grab­bing Wi-Fi juice in these ubiq­ui­tous icons of con­tem­po­rary soci­ety — I haven’t ever tast­ed cof­fee. The whirring and smells and steam and ded­i­cat­ed caf­feine hunters make it a chal­lenge for me, but I’ve always been com­fort­able with xeno­bi­ol­o­gy.… more

What is there to dooooooo?

It’s after the Fourth of July. The antic­i­pa­tion of parades, fire­works, and pic­nics is a dis­tant mem­o­ry. Now sum­mer­time thoughts turn to … bore­dom. There’s noth­ing to do! Wait a minute … Here’s an idea … or 130. In Toad Cot­tages & Shoot­ing Stars (Work­man Pub­lish­ing Co), author Sharon Love­joy offers sparks of imag­i­na­tion with eas­i­ly-under­stood, step-by-step instruc­tions.… more

Treat yourself to this book of poetry

I have fall­en in love … with a book of poet­ry. Can­dlewick Press has pub­lished a paper­back ver­sion of Clas­sic Poet­ry: an illus­trat­ed col­lec­tion, select­ed by Michael Rosen and illus­trat­ed by Paul Howard. Rosen was a Chil­dren’s Lau­re­ate of Britain, well-known as an author, poet, sto­ry­teller, and broad­cast­er. Paul Howard is a chil­dren’s book illus­tra­tor who con­fess­es in the fore­word to this vol­ume that he con­sid­ered him­self a “poe­t­us igno­ra­mus.”… more

Out of this world

We’ve been attend­ing a fam­i­ly wed­ding in anoth­er state, catch­ing up on the news that no one com­mits to e‑mail, see­ing faces, remem­ber­ing names, and learn­ing rela­tion­ships as an entire­ly new fam­i­ly comes along for the ride. What this real­ly means, of course, is that Steve and I are giv­en the oppor­tu­ni­ty all over again to explain what it is that we do to a lot of bewil­dered peo­ple.… more

Writer’s honor

I’m read­ing Heather Vogel Fred­er­ick­’s newest book, Pies & Prej­u­dice (Simon & Schus­ter), the fourth book in the Moth­er-Daugh­ter Book Club series. The girls are four­teen in this book. Their book club is read­ing Jane Austen’s Pride & Prej­u­dice this year and a num­ber of excit­ing plot devel­op­ments make this a page-turn­er. Near the end of the book, Emma, the girl who has aspi­ra­tions for becom­ing a writer, talks with her father, who has just had his first nov­el pub­lished.… more

More summer reading

A lit­tle bit of old, a lit­tle bit of new … these are series so that the read­ing expe­ri­ence can go on and on. Today’s selec­tions are pri­mar­i­ly fan­ta­sy with a lit­tle bit of sci­ence fic­tion around the edges. The Invis­i­ble Detec­tive series by Justin Richards. They’re very pop­u­lar in Eng­land. The Invis­i­ble Detec­tive can solve any crime, his face has nev­er been seen, and he’s real­ly four bright and curi­ous kids who call them­selves the Can­non­iers.… more

Our greatest advantage … it’s free … and it’s disappearing

The pub­lic library is the most pow­er­ful and cost-effec­tive wealth-trans­fer mech­a­nism ever invent­ed. Instead of sim­ply ame­lio­rat­ing prob­lems, libraries cre­ate oppor­tu­ni­ty.” Now the librar­i­ans and library patrons in New York City are get­ting mad. Maybe that will inter­est the news media enough to pay atten­tion. The City of New York is about to cut the bud­get of the New York Pub­lic Library Sys­tem by $37 mil­lion.… more

Thinking about grief

The city of Min­neapo­lis is mourn­ing an increased num­ber of homi­cides this year, just when city offi­cials were feel­ing good about how low the homi­cide rate had fall­en. Those are num­bers. I can’t help but think about the peo­ple who mourn the loss of those lives. There will be a big hole in their hearts for a long, long time … if not for­ev­er.… more

Our bookmarks are in …

Mem­bers have writ­ten to tell us about the books they cur­rent­ly have book­marked … From Nan­cy Carl­son: I am read­ing The Hunger Games (Scholas­tic Press, 2008). Very good! From Sarah Lam­stein: I just fin­ished Jean­nine’s Atkins’ Bor­rowed Names (Holt, 2010), a bril­liant book of poet­ry about Lau­ra Ingalls Wilder, Madame C.J. Walk­er, Marie Curie, and their accom­plished daugh­ters.… more

Tales from a Finnish Tupa

Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished in 1936 by Albert Whit­man & Com­pa­ny, Tales from a Finnish Tupa has recent­ly been reis­sued by the Uni­ver­si­ty of Min­neso­ta Press. This col­lec­tion of Finnish tales includes sto­ries of mag­ic and humor (“Droll Tales”) as well as fables or pourquoi sto­ries. I can remem­ber read­ing the “Col­or Fairy” books when I was younger.… more

Shoe books

No, not the books by Noël Streat­field, but slice-of-life books that I think of as “walk­ing in some­one else’s shoes” books. They’re writ­ten in a con­vinc­ing, ready to assume the loafers or ten­nis shoes or flip-flops man­ner that allows me to become the main char­ac­ter from the front cov­er to the back cov­er … and savor my new under­stand­ing of, or my empa­thy for, some­one else’s life.… more

More summer reading

Future Self to Vic­ki: You’re going to read a nov­el about play­ing bridge … and you’re going to enjoy it. Vic­ki: Not going to hap­pen. My moth­er tried, on sev­er­al occa­sions, to raise some enthu­si­asm for bridge in my body and soul. I love to play cards, board games, guess­ing games, triv­ia games … not bridge.… more

Summer reading

Every good inten­tion of post­ing every week­day … and then a vicious flu attacks and all plans go astray. Flu trumps blog. Now I know. One good thing to come out of hav­ing a week-long flu: my to-be-read pile isn’t as high as it once was. In fact, it brought back mem­o­ries of a per­fect sum­mer day.… more

It’s All about Advertising

In eighth grade, my Eng­lish teacher, Ms. Ander­son, spent sev­er­al weeks teach­ing our class about per­sua­sive lan­guage by exam­in­ing adver­tis­ing. This accom­plished sev­er­al goals. We learned how to write per­sua­sive­ly. We learned the dif­fer­ent ways peo­ple or orga­ni­za­tions could per­suade us. We learned to apply crit­i­cal think­ing and a healthy dose of skep­ti­cism. Decades lat­er, this cur­ricu­lum is at the top of the list of “Things I Remem­ber Learn­ing in Eng­lish Class.”… more

Fairy Tales Can Come True

Once upon a time, an author wrote three books about a fourth-grad­er named Ida May who had friend­ship trou­bles. One friend moved away, leav­ing Ida May feel­ing unhap­py and untrust­ing. That sto­ry is told in My Last Best Friend. An intrigu­ing and adven­tur­ous girl moves to town and Ida May is excit­ed about My New Best Friend.… more

Where Lifelong Readers Begin

When my sec­ond grade teacher took our class­room to the school library, I thought I had dis­cov­ered the great­est place on earth. A room filled with books, more books than I had ever seen in one place. I remem­ber that room well. Sud­den­ly, mov­ing from my small home­town in Wis­con­sin to the over­whelm­ing big city of Min­neapo­lis did­n’t seem as ter­ri­ble.… more

Monday Morning Roundup

We’re a lit­tle behind time today. CLN has entered the world of cloud com­put­ing … Steve spent the week­end mov­ing all 25,000 pages, pho­tos, blogs, and pho­tos to the CLN Cloud. Does­n’t that sound rest­ful? For you, we hope it means the pages will load faster, videos will run more smooth­ly, and you’ll enjoy hang­ing out in the neigh­bor­hood.… more

On Your Bedside Table

Mem­bers have writ­ten to tell us about the books that are cur­rent­ly on their bed­side tables. I’m in the midst of five books, so it’s good to gath­er more titles. Who knows when I’ll run out of some­thing to read? (Is that the ground lev­el ques­tion of the booka­holic?) From Lau­ra Pur­die Salas: After Ever After, by Jor­dan Son­nen­blick, and loved it as much or maybe even more than Drums, Girls, and Dan­ger­ous Pie.… more

Punctuation Pastiche

In one part of my life, I am an edi­tor (no pulse quick­en­ing, please—not for chil­dren’s lit­er­a­ture). Punc­tu­a­tion makes me hap­py. I can­not read a book with­out notic­ing the punc­tu­a­tion: how it’s used, how it’s mis­used, and how I would have done it dif­fer­ent­ly. I have New York­er car­toons about punc­tu­a­tion hang­ing over my desk. They make me laugh out loud.… more

A Writing Tip

In Leonard Mar­cus’ inter­view with author Bev­er­ly Cleary, which you’ll find while read­ing one of this mon­th’s Chap­ter & Verse Book Club selec­tions, Fun­ny Busi­ness: Con­ver­sa­tions with Writ­ers of Com­e­dy, she pass­es along a won­der­ful tip for prompt­ing kids (and oth­ers) to write. Q: In the Ramona books, Beezus wor­ries about not hav­ing enough imag­i­na­tion.… more

Bank Street’s 2010 Choices

We eager­ly await the annu­al list of books cho­sen by the Bank Street Col­lege of Edu­ca­tion as books that work well with chil­dren from birth to age 14. Each year, the Chil­dren’s Book Com­mit­tee reviews over 6000 titles each year for accu­ra­cy and lit­er­ary qual­i­ty and con­sid­ers their emo­tion­al impact on chil­dren. It choos­es the best 600 books, both fic­tion and non­fic­tion, which it lists accord­ing to age and cat­e­go­ry.… more

Free Comic Book Day

Tomor­row. May 1st. At a com­ic book store near you. Zowee! Have you been made aware that May 1st is inter­na­tion­al Free Com­ic Book Day? Fly like a super­hero to this web­site for all of the details. You can enter your zip­code in the left­hand col­umn to get a list of par­tic­i­pat­ing stores near you. If you’re look­ing for kid-friend­ly comics, there’s a list­ing by zip­code at KidsComics.commore

2010 Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards

What a plea­sure it is each year to dis­cov­er which books the Jane Addams Peace Asso­ci­a­tion has cho­sen to hon­or. Since 1953, the Jane Addams Chil­dren’s Book Award annu­al­ly acknowl­edges books meet­ing stan­dards of lit­er­ary and artis­tic excel­lence, pub­lished in the U.S., with themes or top­ics that engage chil­dren in think­ing about peace, jus­tice, world com­mu­ni­ty, and/or equal­i­ty of the sex­es and all races.… more

Hitting a Home Run

It’s still April and I’m still feel­ing crazy about base­ball. The first Ron Koertge book I read was Shake­speare Bats Cleanup (pub­lished by Can­dlewick Press in 2006). He tried sev­er­al tricky writ­ing tasks in that book and I fin­ished it with a sense of admi­ra­tion for his skill as a writer. Koertge hit a triple. First, he wrote a verse nov­el that ful­ly engaged my curios­i­ty.… more

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 up in Queens, grad­u­at­ed from Stuyvesant High School, took lessons at the Art Stu­dents League of New York, and obtained his BFA from Pratt Insti­tute.… more

Monday Morning Roundup

Bar­bara O’Con­nor’s book How to Steal a Dog is a real chil­dren’s favorite. This book about a home­less girl’s plan to save her fam­i­ly by steal­ing a dog has, to date, been nom­i­nat­ed in twen­ty-one states for a chil­dren’s choice award. We’ve recent­ly learned that the book is a win­ner in three states, receiv­ing the William Allen White Chil­dren’s Book Award in Kansas, the Prairie Pasque Award in South Dako­ta, and the South Car­oli­na Chil­dren’s Book Award.… more

Celebrating Earth Day

How did you cel­e­brate? How about your class­room? Your library? Your fam­i­ly? We went to Joyce Sid­man’s pub­li­ca­tion par­ty for Ubiq­ui­tous: Cel­e­brat­ing Nature’s Sur­vivors (Houghton Mif­flin), illus­trat­ed with linoleum block prints by Becky Prange, who lives in Ely, Min­neso­ta, and was trained as a sci­en­tif­ic illus­tra­tor. When Joyce explained how Becky cre­at­ed the amaz­ing time­line on the end­pa­pers of the book … well, there has to be a fair amount of genius in both the author and illus­tra­tor of this book.… more

Baseball Crazy

Yup. I admit it. I am base­ball crazy. I have been since my mom took me to games at Met­ro­pol­i­tan Sta­di­um in Bloom­ing­ton, Min­neso­ta, to see the new­ly arrived Min­neso­ta Twins. And this year the Twins have out­door base­ball for the first time since 1982. It’s no won­der “base­ball aware­ness” is height­ened at this time of year.… more

Jordan Sonnenblick

Some­times it’s about being behind in my read­ing. I’m final­ly get­ting to the lev­el in my read­ing pile occu­pied by Jor­dan Son­nen­blick­’s Drums, Girls, & Dan­ger­ous Pie. In truth, I’ve moved the book down a few times, not feel­ing strong enough to read a book about leukemia. I’m sure you understand—there are cer­tain times when cry­ing over a book will derail a day.… more

Best Read-Aloud Picture Books

Read­ing out loud is a low-cost, high-pay­back activ­i­ty. It ben­e­fits both the read­er and the lis­ten­er. Life­long bonds are often formed between peo­ple who engage in this activ­i­ty. Make read­ing out loud a can’t-miss half hour in your home, class­room, day­care, place of wor­ship, library, or work­place. The results may sur­prise you. “Best Read Aloud Pic­ture Books, is a new online bib­li­og­ra­phy avail­able from the Cur­ricu­lum Mate­ri­als Cen­ter at Liv­ingston Lord Library, Min­neso­ta State Uni­ver­si­ty Moorhead. … more

Libraries are Essential

This is Nation­al Library Week. It’s a great time to reflect on how much libraries mean to each and every one of us. Pub­lic libraries are the only place where every­one in the U.S. can access infor­ma­tion for free … with help from a knowl­edge­able librar­i­an. School libraries offer a safe and won­drous refuge for many of us.… more

Controlled vocabulary

These two words always make me shud­der. I know there are sound ped­a­gog­i­cal rea­sons for this con­cept, but it arous­es images of fences and cat­tle prods and all mat­ter of uncom­fort­able con­straints. Vocab­u­lary is the last thing we should con­trol. One of my ear­li­est mem­o­ries is walk­ing around the house repeat­ing a word over and over (sor­ry, Mom) because I loved the way it sound­ed.… more

Humorist, screenwriter, biographer, magician, novelist

I’ve just fin­ished read­ing Sid Fleis­chman’s new biog­ra­phy, Sir Char­lie, Chap­lin: the Fun­ni­est Man in the World. It’s due to be pub­lished in June by Green­wil­low Books. I nev­er had the hon­or of meet­ing Mr. Fleis­chman, but through his books, par­tic­u­lar­ly his biogra­phies, I have a sense of the man. His inter­ests were wide, his obser­va­tions keen, his humor at once gen­tle and broad, his sense of the world embraced won­ders that attract­ed read­ers like a mag­net.… more

Monday morning roundup

Hey, Joyce Sid­man, your new book, Ubiq­ui­tous, has done the Most Unusu­al … five starred reviews! In 2009, only 13 books received five starred reviews (if you’re curi­ous, check out the See­ing Stars 2009 doc­u­ment, stored on Radar, the CLN mem­bers’ home page). Book­list, The Horn Book, Kirkus Reviews, Pub­lish­ers Week­ly, and School Library Jour­nal all think so high­ly of this book, illus­trat­ed by Beck­ie Prange and pub­lished by Houghton Mif­flin Har­court, that they’ve giv­en Ubiq­ui­tous the cov­et­ed star.… more
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