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Tag Archives | Authors & Illustrators

Mrs. Noodlekugel and Four Blind Mice

Mrs. Noodlekugel and Four Blind Mice

The woman who cuts my hair, Amy, had a par­tic­u­lar­ly hard sum­mer the year her boys had just learned to read. Their school asked that she keep them read­ing over the sum­mer, but there were only so many Mag­ic Tree­house books she want­ed them to read. What oth­er books would be suit­able? The min­utes flew by in the hair­cut­ting chair as I made sug­ges­tions and she lis­tened, appar­ent­ly hav­ing a prodi­gious mem­o­ry.… more
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All Different Now

All Different Now

Do you know how some­times your hands hov­er over a book, want­i­ng to open it, sens­ing that this will be an impor­tant book, and you hes­i­tate, want­i­ng to pro­long your inter­ac­tion? I did that, turn­ing All Dif­fer­ent Now this way and that, then exam­in­ing the title page, the jack­et flaps … and final­ly allow­ing myself to read the book.… more
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Planet Kindergarten

Planet Kindergarten

Books about get­ting ready for kinder­garten and the first day in that Strange New Land are plen­ti­ful, but I can’t recall one that has drawn me into the expe­ri­ence as ful­ly as Plan­et Kinder­garten does. Every aspect of this book, from word choice to sto­ry to the detailed and clever draw­ings, puts this book at the top of my sug­ges­tion list for chil­dren (and par­ents) enter­ing that phase of life.… more
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The Scraps Book

The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life

Some­times I want to walk right into the pages of a book, know every­thing the author knows, share their life­time of expe­ri­ences, and be able to emu­late their cre­ativ­i­ty. Scraps: Notes from a Col­or­ful Life makes me feel that way. I’ve even enjoyed the feel­ing and tex­ture of the paper because I want in! For you, your fam­i­ly mem­bers, and friends who like to col­lect, to cre­ate, to fid­dle with this and that as you make some­thing, this is the book to have.… more
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Return of Zita the Spacegirl

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl

Ben Hatke can’t con­ceive of, write, and draw these sto­ries fast enough for me — and a host of oth­er fans. Just released, this book fol­lows Zita the Space­girl (2010) and Leg­ends of Zita the Space­girl (2012). Doing the math, I know I won’t be read­ing the next install­ment until 2016. Whah­hh. I’ve read so many sto­ries “in my life and time,” pre­dict­ed the out­come of tele­vi­sion and movie plots with reg­u­lar­i­ty, that it’s a remark­able plea­sure when I don’t know what’s com­ing next.… more
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The Crossover

The Crossover
Kwame Alexan­der
Houghton Mif­flin Har­court From the moment I began read­ing this poet­ry col­lec­tion, I knew it was a dif­fer­ent type of book because the rhythms, the cadence, were infused with ener­gy and aware­ness. The Crossover is pri­mar­i­ly free verse, with a few hiphop, rhyth­mic poems that change up the action. The nar­ra­tor, Josh, or Filthy McNasty as his bas­ket­ball per­sona is proud to be called, is buoy­ant, obser­vant, filled with sports metaphors, and adept at word­play.… more
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A Time to Dance

A Time to Dance
Pad­ma Venka­tra­man
Nan­cy Paulsen Books / Pen­guin Put­nam Dis­claimer: I’m a fan of Pad­ma Venkatraman’s books. Each one has charmed me. I know I can always expect a read­ing expe­ri­ence unlike any I’ve had before. Her new book does not dis­ap­point. In A Time to Dance, teenaged Veda has already ded­i­cat­ed her life to dance, much to her mother’s frus­tra­tion.… more
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Gifted: Children’s Book-a-Day Almanac

Ani­ta Sil­vey writes, among oth­er things, books that help us find good books. And not only does she help us find more books that we or our chil­dren or our stu­dents will enjoy, but she tells us the sto­ry behind those books. Oh, what fun it is to know that Charles Dick­ens had to pub­lish A Christ­mas Car­ol him­self because his pub­lish­er did­n’t believe in it.… more
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Gifted: So, You Want to Be a Chef?

So, You Want to Be a Chef?
How to Get Start­ed in the World of Culi­nary Arts
Be What You Want series
J.M. Bedell
Beyond Words/Aladdin, Octo­ber 2013 Intro­duc­tion
If your child or teen is often caught watch­ing cook­ing shows, they’re not alone. In 2010, Melis­sa Kossler Dut­ton on ParentDish.com wrote, “Every month, 12 mil­lion chil­dren ages 2 to 17 watch the Food Net­work.”… more
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Gifted: The Matchbox Diary

When a young girl vis­its her great-grand­fa­ther for the first time, her imag­i­na­tion swirls with every­thing she sees in his antique shop. He asks her to pick out her favorite item and he will tell her a sto­ry about it. She choos­es a cig­ar box filled with match box­es. As it turns out, this is her great-grandfather’s diary, assem­bled from items, each stored in a match box, that remind him of a cer­tain part of his life … cre­at­ed when he could nei­ther read nor write.… more
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Gifted: Under the North Light

Under the North Light
The Life and Times of Maud and Miska Peter­sham
writ­ten by Lawrence Web­ster
fore­word by Philip C. Stead and Erin E. Stead
Wood­stock Arts, 2012
info@woodstockarts.com
ISBN 978−0−9679268−6−5 My hus­band, Steve, and I have worked togeth­er for the last 25 years. We have been mar­ried for 32 years, so it took us sev­en years to dis­cov­er that we would enjoy cre­at­ing and main­tain­ing a busi­ness, devel­op­ing it as our inter­ests and skills grew.… more
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Gifted: Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table

Farmer Will Allen and the Grow­ing Table
writ­ten by Jacque­line Brig­gs Mar­tin
illus­trat­ed by Eric-Shabazz Larkin
after­word by Will Allen
Read­ers to Eaters, 2013 Intro­duc­tion
My sec­ond pas­sion in life after books and read­ing is sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture and organ­ic farm­ing. There are a few good books for chil­dren on this top­ic, but I’m always delight­ed when a new, inspir­ing true sto­ry finds its way to my library.… more
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Gifted: Giving Thanks

Giv­ing Thanks:
Poems, Prayers, and Praise Songs for Thanks­giv­ing

edit­ed and with reflec­tions by Kather­ine Pater­son
illus­tra­tions by Pamela Dal­ton
Hand­print Books / Chron­i­cle Books, 2013
ISBN: 978−1−4521−1339−5 The sea­son when we focus on giv­ing thanks will quick­ly be here. If you are look­ing for a gift to take to your hosts, to give to your fam­i­ly, or to give to your­self, this book is ide­al.… more
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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 to the Mall of Amer­i­ca that week­end and all she want­ed was glit­ter eye shad­ow.… more
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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 not to touch any­thing, Arlo can’t help but find the oppo­site to be true.… more
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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 of stay­ing with the book as I open the pages of the sec­ond and third and fourth vol­umes in the series.… more
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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 young adult mys­tery author, Mar­sha Qua­ley.… more
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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, and con­vers­ing before the book heads into print pro­duc­tion?… more
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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 was a well-writ­ten account of a real-life boy in 1841 who sur­vived a calami­ty.… more
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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 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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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