Advertisement. Click on the ad for more information.
Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine
Nonfictionary Lester Laminack Writing Road Trip | Take the Next Turn | Lisa Bullard Laura Purdie Salas Writing Road Trip | The Limo's on the Way | Lisa Bullard With My Hands Writing Road Trip | Backseat Drivers | Lisa Bullard Working with an Editor Big Green Pocketbook The Magic Misfits Kari Pearson Laughing Matters Skinny Dip with Lisa Bullard Capers and Cons The Secret Kingdom


Summer isn’t over yet, the next part …

For older readers, grades four through seven, there are great series choices. How many books do a series make? I’m thinking three or more—I have no idea if there’s an official classification. In July, I heard three excellent speakers on children’s literature, Anita Silvey, Judy Freeman, and Barbara Swanson Sanders. They couldn’t get their book […]



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 […]



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 […]



Our bookmarks are in … books recommended July 2010

Author Heather Bouwman is reading The Book of Everything by Guus Kuijer, published in the US by Arthur Levine. “This book is one of the weirdest and best I’ve ever read. Post-WWII Netherlands, quirky characters, and a protagonist you want to root for forever.  I’d love to know what you think of it if you […]



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, […]



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 […]



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 […]



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 […]



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 […]



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 […]



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 […]



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 […]



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 […]



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 […]



Shoe books

No, not the books by Noel 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 […]



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 […]



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 […]



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, […]



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 […]



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 […]



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 […]



The Nature of Humor

I’ve been pondering the many questions I have about the nature of humor as the Chapter & Verse Book Clubs prepare to discuss next week the book Funny Business: Conversations with Writers of Comedy, compiled and edited by Leonard S. Marcus (Candlewick Press). Wherever we go, teachers and librarians—and parents—ask for more funny and light-hearted […]



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 […]



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. […]



Monday Morning Roundup

A CLN welcome to author Cynthia Cotten, our newest member. Cyndy lives in Virginia. Her books include Rain Play (illus by Javaka Steptoe, Holt), Abbie in Stitches (illus by Beth Peck, FS&G), and Snow Ponies (illus by Jason Cockcroft, Holt). I’m looking forward to the Ramona and Beezus movie due to release on July 23rd. […]



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. […]



Everything We Know

Synchronicity. We mark its occurrence by saying the word out loud, not fully grasping its power but understanding that we are honoring a confluence in our lives. There are three contributors to my confluence: Anita Silvey, Wendell Minor, and Katherine House. Last fall, Anita Silvey‘s book Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a […]



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 […]



Monday Morning Round-Up

From Wendell Minor comes this news (applause, please),  “It′s official: the original art from Look to the Stars will be included in the permanent collection of The New Britain Museum of American Art, and the original art from Abraham Lincoln Comes Home will be included in the permanent collection of The Norman Rockwell Museum. Watch […]



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. […]



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 […]



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. […]



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 […]



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 […]



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 […]



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 […]



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 […]



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 […]



Award winners, award criteria

Summer isn’t over yet, the next part … Reading Ahead 1 For older readers, grades four through seven, there are great series choices. How many books do a series make? I’m thinking three or more—I have no idea if there’s an official classification. In July, I heard three excellent speakers on children’s literature, Anita Silvey, […]



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 […]



Rambling Around

Oh, how I love the Vintage Kids’ Books My Kid Loves blog. A feast for the eyes, I enjoy the richness of these illustrations and the memories they stir. Not of my own childhood. I had curiously few books, primarily those that could be purchased at a grocery store or dime store. These are books […]



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 […]



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 […]



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 […]