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Tag Archives | Candace Fleming

Bookstorm™: Giant Squid

Giant Squid Bookstorm

Giant SquidGiant Squid pro­vides an excel­lent oppor­tu­ni­ty to teach about one of the most myth­i­cal, unknown, and yet real crea­tures on earth, the Giant Squid. The incred­i­ble illus­tra­tions by Eric Rohmann help the read­er’s per­cep­tion of how large this deep sea crea­ture is and how mys­te­ri­ous. Found so deep with­in the sea, there is very lit­tle light. How did Eric Rohmann cre­ate the sense of this water dark­ness and the release of ink, a defense mech­a­nism? How did Can­dace Flem­ing write with spare text and yet tell us so many fas­ci­nat­ing details about the Giant Squid?

Our Book­storm will take you into fur­ther explo­ration, study­ing bio­lu­mi­nes­cence, oth­er deep sea crea­tures, ocean ecol­o­gy, oceanog­ra­phers, and more.

There are excel­lent resources in the back mat­ter of the book as well. We trust you will find inspi­ra­tion and resources aplen­ty with­in the Book­storm to accom­pa­ny your study of Giant Squid. 

Downloadable

You’ll find more infor­ma­tion about Can­dace Flem­ing on her web­site. And read about illus­tra­tor Eric Rohmann on his web­site.

There’s a Teach­ing Guide avail­able for Giant Squid, writ­ten by nat­u­ral­ist Lee Ann Land­strom.

BOOKSTORM TOPICS

  • Bio­lu­mi­nes­cence
  • Deep Sea Crea­tures
  • Fic­tion
  • Giant Squid, in par­tic­u­lar
  • Oceans
  • Rel­a­tive Size
  • Sci­en­tif­ic Explo­ration

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

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Word Search: Presenting Buffalo Bill

Presenting Buffalo BillWhen Can­dace Flem­ing chose William “Buf­fa­lo Bill” Cody as a sub­ject for her lat­est biog­ra­phy, she was intrigued by his sto­ry­telling, exag­ger­a­tion, propen­si­ty for mar­ket­ing, and the truth of his life’s adven­tures and accom­plish­ment. After read­ing her book, we’re intrigued by the man, not the leg­end, who would most like­ly be using Twit­ter and Insta­gram to pro­mote his Wild West shows today. If you love puz­zles and games, we hope you have a good time solv­ing this Word Search. 

Sim­ply use your mouse or touch pad to draw a line over your found words and the pro­gram will mark them off for you. Words can be found for­wards, back­wards, hor­i­zon­tal­ly, ver­ti­cal­ly, and diag­o­nal­ly. As you find a word, it will be high­light­ed on the board and it will dis­ap­pear from the word list.

Have fun!

Hid­den Words

Puz­zle by mypuzzle.org
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Candace Fleming Tames the Wild West

credit: Michael Lionstar

cred­it: Michael Lion­star

Our thanks to author Can­dace Flem­ing for sit­ting still long enough to answer in-depth ques­tions about her con­cep­tion for, research into, and writ­ing deci­sions for Pre­sent­ing Buf­fa­lo Bill: the Man Who Invent­ed the Wild West, our Book­storm™ this month. Flem­ing’s answers will inform edu­ca­tors, pro­vid­ing direct quotes from an oft-pub­lished biog­ra­ph­er of beloved books that will be use­ful for teach­ing writ­ing and research skills in the class­room. 

When did you first sus­pect that you’d like to write about William Cody?

Buffalo Bill Cody 1875

William “Buf­fa­lo Bill” Cody, ©1875

My first inkling occurred the morn­ing I opened my email to find a mes­sage from edi­tor Neal Porter. The sub­ject-head­ing read: “Yo, Can­dy, want to do a book?” Neal had just returned from a trip to Cody, Wyoming, where he’d bumped into Buf­fa­lo Bill. Neal was not only intrigued by Bill, but he also real­ized that it had been decades since an in-depth biog­ra­phy of the show­man had been writ­ten for young read­ers. But who should write it? He thought of me. Even though Neal and I had nev­er worked togeth­er before, we’d been mak­ing eyes at each oth­er for years. He hoped this project would final­ly bring us togeth­er. But I wasn’t so sure. Buf­fa­lo Bill Cody? In my mind, he was just anoth­er dusty fron­tiers­man. A myth. A trope. Still, I decid­ed to give him a shot (no pun intend­ed) and ordered up his auto­bi­og­ra­phy through inter-library loan. As I opened the book’s cov­er, I remem­ber giv­ing a lit­tle yawn. My expec­ta­tions were low. And then … I fell into his life sto­ry. What a self-aggran­diz­ing, exag­ger­at­ing, exas­per­at­ing, endear­ing, amus­ing, ques­tion-pro­vok­ing sto­ry­teller! The man who wrote that book mys­ti­fied me. Who was Buf­fa­lo Bill? Was he a hero or was he a char­la­tan? Was he an hon­est man or a liar? Was he a real fron­tiers­man or was he a show­man? I found myself sud­den­ly brim­ming with ques­tions. And I was eager to dis­cov­er the answers. ©

At what point did you know that you’d present his life in terms of truth and maybe-not-so-true?

Buffalo Bill Cody by José Maria Mora

Buf­fa­lo Bill Cody by José Maria Mora

I knew right away that I would have to address the ambi­gu­i­ties in Will’s sto­ry. In fact, it was one of the rea­sons I was drawn to the project. I love the gray areas in his­to­ry. I’m not just talk­ing about gaps in the his­tor­i­cal records. You know, those places where we don’t know for sure what hap­pened. I’m talk­ing about those places where we don’t know what to make of the his­tor­i­cal truth. For exam­ple, Ben­jamin Franklin owned slaves. How do we fit that with with our image of the jovial, wit­ty inven­tor and states­man? What are we to make of that? Or, take Amelia Earhart. Many of the most often-repeat­ed sto­ries about her aren’t true. Amelia made them up out of whole cloth. She lied. How does that jibe with our image of the dar­ing, but doomed avi­a­tor? What are we to make of that?

Too often, espe­cial­ly in non­fic­tion for young read­ers, we avoid the gray areas. We don’t include these truths because we’re wor­ried what kids will make of them. But I believe these areas are espe­cial­ly impor­tant for young read­ers … and most espe­cial­ly for mid­dle school and teen read­ers. These are read­ers who are strug­gling to dis­cov­er who they are and what they can be; they’re strug­gling to fig­ure out their place in the world.

What’s right?

What’s fair?

What’s moral?

The last thing they need is anoth­er san­i­tized, pedestal-inhab­it­ing, nev­er-do-wrong per­son from his­to­ry.

Buffalo Bill Cody Wild West ShowAnd so I decid­ed to include both Will’s ver­sions of events, as well as accounts that con­flict with his. I inten­tion­al­ly incor­po­rat­ed oppos­ing view­points from both his­tor­i­cal fig­ures and mod­ern-day his­to­ri­ans. And I pur­pose­ly refrained from draw­ing any con­clu­sions from the his­tor­i­cal evi­dence. Instead, I chose to just lay it before my read­ers. Why? Because I want them to wres­tle with the ambi­gu­i­ties. I want them to come to their own con­clu­sions. I want them to see that sto­ries — espe­cial­ly true sto­ries from his­to­ry — are not black and white. They’re gray.

Who was right?

Who was wrong?

I don’t think it’s my job to tell them. I’m not sure I could tell them.

Rather, I choose to tell all sides of the Wild West sto­ry — Will’s side, the Native per­form­ers’ side — with what I hope was equal clar­i­ty and com­pas­sion. What choic­es do each make under pres­sure? Why? No one is all good. No one is all bad.

You see, it’s in the gray area between those oppos­ing val­ues that I hope read­ers will ask them­selves: What would I do in this sit­u­a­tion?

By includ­ing history’s ambi­gu­i­ties, I am “kick­ing it to the read­er,” as my friend Tonya Bold­en likes to say.

And this, I believe, is the pur­pose of non­fic­tion in the 21st cen­tu­ry — to encour­age thought, not sim­ply to pro­vide facts for reports.

When you begin your research, how do you lay out a strat­e­gy for that research?

I con­fess I nev­er have much of a strat­e­gy plan when I begin research­ing. Instead, the process is pret­ty organ­ic. I start with archival sources. What’s already been writ­ten and col­lect­ed? I focus on pri­ma­ry sources: let­ters, diaries, mem­oirs, inter­views. This is where defin­ing, inti­mate details are found. As I read, I keep an open mind. I’m curi­ous and nosy and I ask lots of ques­tions. I actu­al­ly write those ques­tions down on yel­low ledger pads. And let me tell you, I end up with lots of ques­tions. I won’t find the answers to all of them. I may not even try to find the answers to all of them. But in this way, I remind myself that I’m explor­ing, mak­ing dis­cov­er­ies. In truth, I have no spe­cif­ic idea of what I’m look­ing for or what I’ll find. I let the research lead me. And, slow­ly, I begin to under­stand what it is I want to say with this par­tic­u­lar piece of his­to­ry.

In those ini­tial stages, do you use the library? The inter­net? Oth­er sources?

In the first throes of research, I’ll use the Inter­net to dis­cov­er the col­lec­tions and archives that hold my subject’s papers. I’ll search for auto­bi­ogra­phies and oth­er first­hand accounts of the person’s life. I’ll note the names of schol­ars or his­to­ri­ans whose names pop up in asso­ci­a­tion with my sub­ject. That’s the very first step.

Buffalo Bill Center of the West

Did you vis­it the McCrack­en Research Library or the Buf­fa­lo Bill Cen­ter of the West?

The McCrack­en Research Library is part of the Buf­fa­lo Bill Cen­ter of the West. In fact, the library is just down the stairs from their muse­um. Yes, I vis­it­ed both. And I spent a week in the library, culling through years of scrap­books kept by Will, and Annie Oak­ley and oth­ers, read­ing mem­oirs and let­ters and diaries.

Would you rec­om­mend that your read­ers vis­it those loca­tions?

I would def­i­nite­ly rec­om­mend the muse­um to my read­ers. So much of the detri­tus of Will’s life is on dis­play: his buf­fa­lo skin coat, his favorite rifle that he named Lucre­tia Bor­gia, the famous stage­coach from the Wild West. They even have his child­hood home moved in its entire­ty from Iowa to Cody! The place real­ly brings Will and his times alive.

Buffalo Bill's personal saddle

Buf­fa­lo Bil­l’s per­son­al sad­dle

What do you find to be most help­ful about vis­it­ing a muse­um where arti­facts are on dis­play?

Those arti­facts — left­overs of a person’s life, if you will — are so human. Some­times we for­get that a per­son from his­to­ry was real flesh and blood. But then we’ll see that person’s well-worn car­pet slip­pers, or read a love let­ter he wrote to his wife, and we’re remind­ed of that person’s human­i­ty. Despite his place in his­to­ry, he still suf­fered from both love and sore feet, just like all of us do.

How do you go about find­ing an expert to con­sult with about your book?

 Dur­ing research, cer­tain names start­ing appear­ing again and again. I will not only note these names, I’ll do a quick Google to check on qual­i­fi­ca­tions, as well as how up-to-date their schol­ar­ship is. For exam­ple, a name that’s cit­ed again and again in Cody research is Don Rus­sell. But Rus­sell wrote his sem­i­nal work almost forty years ago. Cer­tain­ly, his work is valu­able, but it’s no longer the most recent schol­ar­ship. Young read­ers deserve the lat­est dis­cov­er­ies and newest inter­pre­ta­tions. His­to­ry is, after all, an ongo­ing process, one in which new facts are dis­cov­ered, and old facts are recon­sid­ered. So I turned to Dr. Louis S. War­ren, a high­ly respect­ed schol­ar of the West­ern US his­to­ry at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Davis, as well as author of the crit­i­cal­ly acclaimed Buf­fa­lo Bill’s Amer­i­ca. He very gen­er­ous­ly offered to read the man­u­script, mak­ing sev­er­al sug­ges­tions for changes, as well as point­ing me in the direc­tion of the lat­est Cody schol­ar­ship. He also sug­gest­ed I con­tact Dr. Jef­fery Means, an asso­ciate pro­fes­sor of Native Amer­i­can His­to­ry at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wyoming and an enrolled Mem­ber of the Oglala Sioux Tribe for his unique per­spec­tive on my book, par­tic­u­lar­ly in regards to Great Plains Indi­an cul­ture.

Do you research the pho­tos you’ll include in the book at the same time as you research the his­tor­i­cal and bio­graph­i­cal ele­ments? Or is that a sep­a­rate process at a sep­a­rate time?

I do my own pho­to research. While research­ing, I keep an eye open for things that might make for inter­est­ing visu­als. I keep a list, and in most cas­es, a copy of those images. But I nev­er know what I’m going to use until I start writ­ing. The text real­ly does deter­mine what pho­tographs end up in the book. Because of this, I always end up search­ing for pho­tos late in the project.

Buffalo Bill's Wild West show poster

How did you write the dra­mat­ic scenes from the Wild West Show? They’re filled with ten­sion, vivid descrip­tions, and a movie-like qual­i­ty. Were these actu­al scenes in the Show? And were you present to see them per­formed? It sure seems like it.

Presenting Buffalo BillIt was impor­tant to open each chap­ter of the book with a scene from the Wild West. Not only was I try­ing to show the par­al­lels between Will’s per­son­al expe­ri­ences and the acts that even­tu­al­ly sprang from them, but also I want­ed read­ers to have a clear under­stand­ing of what the show entailed. The best way to do this, I decid­ed, was to write those scenes in a way that would make read­ers feel as if they were actu­al­ly sit­ting in the stands. I want­ed them to feel the ten­sion, the excite­ment, the dra­ma of the per­for­mance. I want­ed them to expe­ri­ence (at least in a small way) the awe that show goers felt when they watched those re-enact­ments of buf­fa­lo hunts and Pony Express rid­ers. After all, this is vital to the book’s theme — that the Wild West cre­at­ed our col­lec­tive mem­o­ry of the Amer­i­can West; that we still tend to think in tropes, and those tropes come direct­ly from Buf­fa­lo Bill Cody. So, I wrote those scenes in great detail, almost in slow motion. Not a sin­gle descrip­tion is made up. Every­thing comes from the his­tor­i­cal record, includ­ing thoughts and com­ments from the peo­ple in the bleach­ers. I mere­ly used present tense to make the action feel more imme­di­ate. But the action real­ly and tru­ly hap­pened just as I’ve pre­sent­ed it.

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Vinegar Pie

Vinegar Pie

As Martha Stew­art explains, “This dessert gets its apple-pie-like fla­vor from cider vine­gar, a tech­nique used in cov­ered wag­on days, when fresh pro­duce was scarce.” The cooks in Buf­fa­lo Bil­l’s day would have been famil­iar with this recipe. Don’t miss read­ing more about those days in Pre­sent­ing Buf­fa­lo Bill by Can­dace Flem­ing.
Prep Time35 mins
Total Time3 hrs 25 mins
Serv­ings: 8
Author: Martha Stew­art

Ingredients

  • 2 table­spoons all-pur­pose flour plus more for sur­face
  • 2 table­spoons unsalt­ed but­ter
  • 12 cup light-brown sug­ar
  • 12 tea­spoon ground cin­na­mon
  • 12 tea­spoon ground gin­ger
  • 16 tea­spoon fresh­ly grat­ed nut­meg
  • 14 tea­spoon salt
  • 2 table­spoons cider vine­gar
  • 1 cup plus 1 tea­spoon water divid­ed
  • 3 large eggs divid­ed
  • 1 table­spoon turbina­do sug­ar or sand­ing sug­ar
  • Vanil­la ice cream for serv­ing

Instructions

  • Roll out 1 disk of dough into a 12-inch round on a light­ly floured sur­face. Fit into a 9‑inch pie plate, and trim edge of dough to rim. Roll out remain­ing disk of dough to a 12-inch round. Trans­fer to a parch­ment-lined bak­ing sheet, and refrig­er­ate, along with dough in pie plate, until firm, about 1 hour.
  • Pre­heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt but­ter in a bowl set over a saucepan of sim­mer­ing water; remove from heat. Whisk in brown sug­ar, flour, spices, salt, vine­gar, and 1 cup water. Light­ly beat 2 eggs, and whisk into mix­ture. Return bowl to pan of sim­mer­ing water, and cook, stir­ring often, until mix­ture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 10 to 12 min­utes. Remove from heat, and let cool to room tem­per­a­ture, about 20 min­utes, stir­ring occa­sion­al­ly.
  • Pour fill­ing into crust, and place top crust over fill­ing. Trim excess, leav­ing a 1/2‑inch over­hang. Fold under bot­tom crust. Press to seal, and crimp as desired. Beat remain­ing egg with remain­ing tea­spoon water; brush top of pie with egg wash, and sprin­kle with turbina­do sug­ar. Use a sharp knife to slash 6 vents radi­at­ing out from cen­ter of pie. Bake pie until gold­en and sur­face has puffed, about 45 min­utes. Let cool on a wire rack 45 min­utes. Serve slight­ly warm with ice cream.

Notes

Adapt­ed from http://www.marthastewart.com/939300/pioneer-vinegar-pie
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Skinny Dip with Candace Fleming

bk_stuartWhat’s the first book you remem­ber read­ing?

The first book I remem­ber read­ing on my own is E.B. White’s Stu­art Lit­tle.  I was sev­en years old and it was the Sat­ur­day before Christ­mas – the day of St. John Lutheran’s annu­al hol­i­day par­ty. I loved that par­ty! The potluck. The car­ols. The vis­it from San­ta Claus (real­ly Pas­tor Franken­feld in a red suit). 

My father had spent the morn­ing dec­o­rat­ing the church’s com­mu­ni­ty room. 

My moth­er had spent the after­noon bak­ing sug­ar cook­ies. 

And I had spent the entire day ask­ing how much longer until we went. 

No one noticed the snow com­ing down until my Uncle Howard stopped by. “Six inch­es and more com­ing,” he report­ed. “We’ll be snowed in by din­ner­time.”

He was right. The par­ty was can­celled. My par­ents were left with six-dozen cook­ies and one very whiny sec­ond grad­er. I stomped. I pout­ed. I flung myself on the sofa and howled. The last thing I deserved was a present. But that’s exact­ly what I got. My moth­er went to her stash of gifts meant for Christ­mas morn­ing and returned with Stu­art Lit­tle. She also gave me a plate of warm cook­ies.

ph_Skinny_FlemingCookiesI took both to the bay win­dow in our liv­ing room. Set­tled in the win­dow seat, I turned to the first page. And fell into the sto­ry. I was delight­ed, enchant­ed, com­plete­ly swept into the sto­ry. I got all the way to the part where Stu­art sails across the pond in Cen­tral Park before the real world returned. I blinked. It had got­ten so dark I could no longer see the words on the page. I blinked again. And when had I eat­en those cook­ies?

written by Candace Fleming  illustrated by Eric Rohmann  Atheneum, 2015

This was the first time I expe­ri­enced the trans­port­ing pow­er of a good book. I’d trav­eled to New York City with­out ever leav­ing Indi­ana. Amaz­ing! It made me hunger for more of these “trav­els.” I quick­ly became an adven­tur­er through books, vis­it­ing places I could nev­er trav­el to on my bike, or in my parent’s Chevy. And when­ev­er pos­si­ble I bring along some cook­ies.

Describe your favorite pair of paja­mas you’ve ever had.

My favorite pair of paja­mas? That’s easy. It’s the pair I’m wear­ing right now, the ones made of blue flan­nel and pat­terned with black Scot­ty dogs sport­ing red hair bows. I like them because they’re big and roomy have been worn to thread­bare silk­i­ness and because the right sleeve is stained with blue ink from the Bic pen I use to write all my first drafts. They’re work­ing jam­mies, the best kind.

bk_FamilyRomanovWhat is your proud­est career moment?

The first time I saw my book at the pub­lic library. That was my proud­est career moment.  After all, I’ve long known that libraries are sacred spaces, the repos­i­to­ries of all good things in life (pic­ture books, sto­ry hour, librar­i­ans). So when I found my book on the shelf, I was over­whelmed. Me! Includ­ed in this place! I looked on in won­der. I couldn’t get over it. I still can’t. Want to know a secret? I con­tin­ue to look myself up when­ev­er I find myself in a library I haven’t vis­it­ed before. I still get that elec­tric thrill. I still look on in won­der.

What tele­vi­sion show can’t you turn off?

ph_claire-underwoodI sim­ply can’t turn off House of Cards. I binge-watch every new sea­son, spend­ing hours on the sofa, pop­corn and cat in lap. Oh, that Clare Under­wood is a manip­u­la­tive piece of work. Looove her! I’m drool­ing for the next sea­son.

In what Olympic sport would you like to win a gold medal?

Ice danc­ing.  Does that seem like a typ­i­cal female response? Who cares! As a per­son who has two left feet, I adore the notion of glid­ing grace­ful­ly across the ice in the arms of my part­ner, while per­form­ing twiz­zles and dance spins. I also think the cos­tumes are pret­ty spiffy. Sigh. A girl can dream. 

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Books about Boxes

Box­es have many sto­ries to share, sto­ries to inspire, and sto­ries to help us learn and be cre­ative. Here are a few of the sto­ries that box­es have to tell. You might well expect to find books about cre­ative play and card­board box­es, but there are books for a range of young read­ers here and box­es comes in many shapes and col­ors.

(If you would like to pur­chase any of the books below that are in print, click­ing on the book cov­er will take you to Bookshop.org, which shares its book sales with local, inde­pen­dent book­sellers. Bookol­o­gy earns a small com­mis­sion from the sale of each book, there­by sup­port­ing the work we do.)

 

365 Pen­guins

writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Jean-Luc Fro­men­tal
Hol­i­day House, 2012

A fam­i­ly find a pen­guin mys­te­ri­ous­ly deliv­ered in a box to their door every day of the year. At first the pen­guins are cute, but with every pass­ing day they pile up and they cause the fam­i­ly sig­nif­i­cant prob­lems. Who on earth is send­ing these crit­ters? This book holds math con­cepts and envi­ron­men­tal con­cerns with­in its sto­ry, which is quite fun. Ages 4 to 8.

Beryl's Box

 

Beryl’s Box

writ­ten by Lisa Tay­lor
Barron’s Juve­niles, 1993

When Pene­lope and Beryl must play togeth­er at Penelope’s house, Beryl isn’t inter­est­ed in Penelope’s plen­ti­ful toys. She wants to play in a card­board box, imag­in­ing all sorts of adven­tures. Pene­lope is intrigued and soon the girls become friends. Ages 3 to 6.

Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom

 

Box: Hen­ry Brown Mails Him­self to Free­dom

writ­ten by Car­ole Boston Weath­er­ford
illus­trat­ed by Michele Wood
Can­dlewick Press, 2020

Hen­ry Brown wrote that long before he came to be known as Box, he “entered the world a slave.” He was put to work as a child and passed down from one gen­er­a­tion to the next — as prop­er­ty. When he was an adult, his wife and chil­dren were sold away from him out of spite. Hen­ry Brown watched as his fam­i­ly left bound in chains, head­ed to the deep­er South. What more could be tak­en from him? But then hope — and help — came in the form of the Under­ground Rail­road. Escape!

A Box Story  

Box Sto­ry

writ­ten by Ken­neth Kit Lamug
illus­trat­ed by Rab­ble Boy
Rab­ble­Box, 2011

The author and illus­tra­tor uses pen­cil draw­ings to con­vey all the ways in which a box is not just a box. Ages 3 to 7.

A Box Can Be Many Things  

A Box Can Be Many Things

writ­ten by Dana Meachen Rau
Chil­dren’s Press, 1997

An ear­ly read­er about a box that’s being thrown away and the two kids who res­cue it for their own adven­tures, slow­ly cut­ting the box up for the sup­plies they need, until there isn’t much left of the box. Ages 3 to 6

Boxes for Katje  

Box­es for Kat­je

writ­ten by Can­dace Flem­ing
illus­trat­ed by Sta­cy Dressen-McQueen
Far­rar, Straus & Giroux, 2003

A heart­warm­ing sto­ry about a com­mu­ni­ty in Indi­ana which, upon hear­ing about Holland’s strug­gles to find enough food, cloth­ing, and prac­ti­cal items after World War II, sends box­es of sup­plies to Olst, Hol­land. Ages 5 to 10.

Cardboard  

Card­board

writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Doug Ten­Napel
GRAPHIX, 2012

In this graph­ic nov­el, Cam’s dad is feel­ing depressed and there isn’t a lot of mon­ey to buy Cam some­thing for his birth­day. He gives him a card­board box and togeth­er they work to cre­ate a man from the box. It mag­i­cal­ly comes to life and all is well until the neigh­bor­hood bul­ly strives to turn the card­board man to his evil pur­pos­es. Ages 10 and up.

Cardboard Box Book  

Card­board Box Book

writ­ten and cre­at­ed by Roger Prid­dy and Sarah Pow­ell
illus­trat­ed by Bar­bi Sido
Prid­dy Books, 2012

If you’re in need of ideas and tips for mak­ing your own card­board cre­ations, or even if you are full of ideas, you’ll be inspired by this book that helps you fig­ure out how to make some amaz­ing but sim­ple card­board con­trap­tions. All you need is sim­ple house­hold art sup­plies like a pen­cil and glue and scis­sors. And maybe a lit­tle paint. Ages 5 and up (with adult super­vi­sion).

Cardboard Creatures  

Card­board Crea­tures: Con­tem­po­rary Card­board Craft Projects for the Home, Cel­e­bra­tions & Gifts

writ­ten and cre­at­ed by Claude Jean­tet
David & Charles, 2014

What else can you do with card­board? Sculp­tures, of course. There are clever ani­mals to make here, designed by an archi­tect who has her own shop in Paris where she sells her intrigu­ing card­board art. You and your chil­dren can make these things, too! Ages 5 and up (with adult super­vi­sion)..

Christina Katerina and the Box  

Christi­na Kate­ri­na and the Box

writ­ten by Patri­cia Lee Gauch
illus­trat­ed by Doris Burns
Boyds Mills Press, 2012

When Christi­na Katerina’s fam­i­ly buys a new refrig­er­a­tor, her moth­er is excit­ed about the refrig­er­a­tor but Christi­na Kate­ri­na is excit­ed about the box. She can do all kinds of things with a box, includ­ing a cas­tle and a play­house. Ages 3 to 7.

Harry's Box  

Har­ry’s Box

writ­ten by Angela McAl­lis­ter
illus­trat­ed by Jen­ny Jones
Blooms­bury, 2005

When Har­ry and his mom come back from the gro­cery store, he grabs the box the gro­ceries came in and sets off for adven­ture with his dog, trav­el­ing the high seas, hid­ing from bears, and every­thing he can think of before he falls asleep to dream of more! Ages 3 to 7.

Henry's Freedom Box  

Hen­ry’s Free­dom Box: a True Sto­ry of the Under­ground Rail­road

writ­ten by Ellen Levine
illus­trat­ed by Kadir Nel­son
Scholas­tic Press, 2007

This is the true sto­ry of Hen­ry Brown, a boy born into slav­ery who is forcibly sep­a­rat­ed from his moth­er to work in his owner’s fac­to­ry. As a man, his wife and three chil­dren are sold away from his life. He makes plans with oth­er abo­li­tion­ists and mails him­self in a box to free­dom in Philadel­phia. Ages 5 and up.

Meeow and the Big Box  

Mee­ow and the Big Box

writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Sebastien Braun
Box­er Books, 2009

For the preschool set, this book about a cat who cre­ates a fire truck from a box is filled with bright col­ors and tex­tures, and just enough text to read aloud. There are sev­er­al more Mee­ow books. Ages 2 to 4.

My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes  

My Cat Likes to Hide in Box­es

writ­ten by Eve Sut­ton
illus­trat­ed by Lyn­ley Dodd
Parent’s Mag­a­zine Press, 1974; Puf­fin, 2010

A rhyming text for begin­ning read­ers which also makes a good read-aloud, this dynam­ic duo tells the sto­ry of an ordi­nary cat who likes to hide in box­es while cats around the world do astound­ing things. Ages 3 to 7

Not a Box  

Not a Box

writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Antoinette Por­tis
Harper­Collins, 2006

Nar­rat­ed by a rab­bit, this sto­ry of the many pos­si­bil­i­ties of a box (It’s NOT A BOX! Oops, sor­ry.) are drawn with a sim­ple line that inspires any­thing but sim­ple ideas. New York Times Best Illus­trat­ed Book. Ages 3 and up.

Roxaboxen  

Rox­abox­en

writ­ten by Alice McLer­ran
illus­trat­ed by Bar­bara Cooney
Lothrop, Lee & Shep­ard, 1991

A rhyming text for begin­ning read­ers which also makes a good read-Based on a true sto­ry from the author’s child­hood, the kids in Yuma, Ari­zona use found objects, but par­tic­u­lar­ly box­es, to cre­ate a city where they spend end­less hours play­ing and mak­ing up sto­ries and cre­at­ing mem­o­ries that will last a life­time. The book has inspired chil­dren around the world. There’s a park in Yuma to com­mem­o­rate the site of the orig­i­nal Rox­abox­en. Ages 4 to 7.

Secret Box  

Secret Box

writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Bar­bara Lehman
Houghton Mif­flin, 2011

There are secret mes­sages hid­den in secret box­es to be dis­cov­ered in secret places … a word­less book pro­vides beau­ti­ful­ly craft­ed images with intri­cate details that pro­vide much to think and won­der about, ulti­mate­ly encour­ag­ing the read­er to cre­ate the sto­ry. There’s time trav­el, mag­ic, and puz­zles with­in this book. Good for ages 4 and up.

The Secret Box  

Secret Box

writ­ten by Whitak­er Ring­wald
Kather­ine Tegen Books/HarperCollins, 2014

When Jax Mal­one receives a gift in a box for her 12th birth­day, she and her friend Ethan soon dis­cov­er it’s not a gift but a cry for help from an unknown great-aunt. Set­ting off to solve the mys­tery of the box and pro­vide the request­ed help, the kids are soon on a wild, crazy, and dan­ger­ous road trip … a fast-paced tale and the begin­ning of a series of books. (The author’s name is a pseu­do­nym, by the way, a mys­tery in itself.) Ages 8 to 12.

Sitting in My Box  

Sit­ting in My Box

writ­ten by Dan Lil­le­gard
iilus­trat­ed by Jon Agee
Two Lions, 2010

From the safe­ty of a card­board box, a lit­tle boy reads a book about Wild Ani­mals and — behold! — they come to vis­it him. How many ani­mals can fit in the box? It’s a cumu­la­tive sto­ry and the word­ing makes it a good choice for a read-aloud. Ages 2 to 5.

Tibet Through the Red Box  

Tibet Through the Red Box

writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Peter Sís
Green­wil­low, 1999

When the author was lit­tle, his father kept things inside a red box that his chil­dren were not allowed to touch. When the author is grown, he receives a let­ter from his father, telling him the red box is now his. The red, lac­quered box holds secrets about his fathere’s expe­ri­ences in the 1950s when he was draft­ed into the Czecho­slo­va­kian army and sent to Chi­na to teach film­mak­ing. At the time, Czechoslo­vokia is a secre­tive coun­try behind the Iron Cur­tain. The father is soon lost in Tibet for two years, where his adven­tures must be kept secret but are shared with his son. The book’s illus­tra­tions are inspired by Tibetan art. Calde­cott Hon­or Book, Boston Globe Horn Book Award. Ages 7 and up.

What to Do with a Box  

What To Do With a Box

writ­ten by Jane Yolen
illus­trat­ed by Chris She­ban
Cre­ative Edi­tions, 2016

What can’t you do with a box? If you give a child a box, who can tell what will hap­pen next? It may become a library or a boat. It could set the scene for a fairy tale or a wild expe­di­tion. The most won­der­ful thing is its seem­ing­ly end­less capac­i­ty for mag­i­cal adven­ture. Read this out loud to your favorite kids and watch the ideas light up their eyes. Ages 4 to 7.

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Interview: Candace Fleming

credit: Michael Lionstar

cred­it: Michael Lion­star

Bulldozer’s Big Day is a per­fect read-aloud, with won­der­ful sound and action oppor­tu­ni­ties on most pages. Did those moments affect your deci­sion about what verbs to use?

How love­ly you think it’s a per­fect read aloud. I worked hard at the story’s read­abil­i­ty. Not only did I strive for a pace and cadence, but I want­ed the sto­ry to sound as active as the plot’s set­ting with lots of bump­ing and clang­ing and vroom­ing. Addi­tion­al­ly, I thought long and hard about those work­ing verbs. You know, the shift­ing, mix­ing, chop­ping each truck does. They had to have a dou­ble-mean­ing, apply­ing to both con­struc­tion trucks and bak­ing. And they had to be in groups of three, because… well… three just sounds good, doesn’t it?

While most read­ers and lis­ten­ers will think the “Big Day” is a birth­day, you nev­er use that term. Why?

It was redun­dant.  Read­ers can see that the big trucks made a cake for Bulldozer’s sixth birth­day. They don’t need me to tell them. Inter­est­ing­ly, every time I read the sto­ry aloud to kinder­garten­ers they spon­ta­neous­ly burst into the “Hap­py Birth­day” song. I’m not sure I’d get that response if I’d had the trucks shout the words. It’s one more way for them to find their way into the text – and I did it acci­den­tal­ly.

written by Candace Fleming  illustrated by Eric Rohmann  Atheneum, 2015

writ­ten by Can­dace Flem­ing 
illus­trat­ed by Eric Rohmann 
Atheneum, 2015

There is a per­fect turn-around late in the sto­ry, when we go from “mash­ing, mash­ing, mash­ing” to a qui­eter moment, then the sus­pense­ful “lift­ing, lift­ing, lift­ing.” This sug­gests to me that you are not only skilled at dra­mat­ic nar­ra­tive, but a vet­er­an class­room read­er as you qui­et the stu­dents down from that high-ener­gy mash­ing to get ready for a res­o­lu­tion.  Do you remem­ber your first author vis­it to a class­room? What have you learned over the years about read­ing your books aloud?

I do remem­ber my first author vis­it. I was ter­ri­fied. But the kids and teach­ers were so love­ly, I was imme­di­ate­ly put at ease. And this strange thing hap­pened. I turned into an actor. Seri­ous­ly. Stand­ing in front of that library full of first graders, I sud­den­ly dis­cov­ered a tal­ent for talk­ing in voic­es and act­ing like dif­fer­ent ani­mals. Me?! I became a sto­ry­teller. That’s what I know from years of read­ing my books – and oth­ers’ – aloud. You have to be dra­mat­ic. You have to be sus­pense­ful. You have to lick your chops if you’re read­ing about a hun­gry tiger, or wig­gle your bot­tom if you’re read­ing about a puff-tailed rab­bit. Kids love it. In truth, so do I.

Were you ever dis­ap­point­ed on a child­hood birth­day?

You mean that year I didn’t get a pony?

Do you enjoy birth­day cel­e­bra­tions now?

Absolute­ly! I’m espe­cial­ly enam­ored of the cake. And don’t you dare ask me how old I’ll be on my next one.

 

 

 

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Interview: Eric Rohmann

Bull­doz­er’s Big Day
writ­ten by Can­dace Flem­ing
illus­trat­ed by Eric Rohmann
Atheneum, 2015

inter­view by Vic­ki Palmquist

What’s the illus­tra­tion tool you turn to more than any oth­er?

Graphite pen­cil. Sim­ple, effi­cient, erasable, feels good in the hand, makes a love­ly line with infi­nite pos­si­bil­i­ties for line vari­a­tion. Did I men­tion that it’s erasable? Always for­giv­ing!

What illus­tra­tion tech­nique haven’t you tried that keeps call­ing out to you?

Relief print­mak­ing. The tech­nique gives you so much — the qual­i­ty of the mark, the lay­er­ing of col­or look dif­fer­ent than any­thing I can make with any oth­er tech­nique.

What do you do when you’ve run out of inspi­ra­tion? What gets you going again?

Mak­ing some­thing. Look­ing at some­thing oth­ers have made. It’s a big world out there and there is plen­ty to see.

ph_EricRohmann-studio

Eric’s stu­dio

Who is your favorite illus­tra­tor who is no longer with us? And it could be more than one per­son.

William Stieg…and  Helen Sewell, Wan­da Gag, Mau­rice Sendak, Crock­ett John­son, Robert McCloskey, Vir­ginia Lee Bur­ton, James Marshall…just to name a few.

Did win­ning the Calde­cott (medal and hon­ors) change how you think about your work?

Yes. It made me more atten­tive, more ded­i­cat­ed, more aware of my audi­ence. It also took off the pres­sure of ever think­ing about such things again!

How and where do you and Can­dy talk over a new project?

bk_OhNoEvery­where and any­where. Bulldozer’s Big Day was begun on a car ride from Indi­anapo­lis to Chica­go. Giant Squid at an ALA hotel room. Oh, No! in Bor­neo while walk­ing in the jun­gle.

If you could sit down with four oth­er book artists, liv­ing or dead, and have din­ner and a con­ver­sa­tion, who would they be?

This is not fair! Just four? Hmmm… William Stieg, Beat­rix Pot­ter, M.T. Ander­son, Mau­rice Sendak. 

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Slideshow: Block Print Illustration

Eric Rohmann’s won­der­ful illus­tra­tions for Bulldozer’s Big Day were made using block prints, also called relief prints.  This tech­nique has long been used to illus­trate children’s books, espe­cial­ly ear­ly ABC books such as the The Lad­der to Learn­ing by Miss Lovechild, pub­lished in 1852 by the New York firm R.H. Pease.

Ladder

The Bookol­o­gist has put togeth­er a slide show of some of our more recent print-illus­trat­ed books. Many of these are Calde­cott medal or hon­or books. You can find an inter­est­ing dis­cus­sion of Calde­cott books illus­trat­ed with print­mak­ing tech­niques here.

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From the Editor

by Mar­sha Qua­ley

written by Candace Fleming  illustrated by Eric Rohmann  Atheneum, 2015

Atheneum, 2015

Wel­come! It’s the first Tues­day of the month and time to launch a new month of Bookol­o­gy. Our Octo­ber Book­storm™ has as its cen­ter­piece the won­der­ful pic­ture book Bulldozer’s Big Day, the first time we’ve focused on a pic­ture book for young read­ers.

Bulldozer’s Big Day was writ­ten by Sib­ert hon­or author Can­dace Flem­ing and illus­trat­ed by Calde­cott Medal­ist Eric Rohmann. We will fea­ture inter­views with both, begin­ning today with our con­ver­sa­tion with Eric Rohmann.

Rohmann’s block print art for Bull­doz­er trig­gered a dis­cus­sion between var­i­ous bookol­o­gists about oth­er print-illus­trat­ed children’s books, and put togeth­er a slide show of some of the stand-outs of the last cou­ple of decades. Have your own favorite? Let us know.

Our reg­u­lar colum­nists will be writ­ing through the month about their lat­est book or writ­ing dis­cov­er­ies; today: Read­ing Ahead author Vic­ki Palmquist on Isabelle Day Refus­es to Die of a Bro­ken Heart, a new mid­dle grade nov­el by Jane St. Antho­ny and many oth­er books that deal with “Laugh­ter and Grief.”

Don’t for­get to check out our two lat­est Authors Emer­i­tus posts about Vir­ginia Lee Bur­ton and Lynd Ward, who both used block print tech­niques in their illus­tra­tion work.  

bk_WillAllen

Eric Shabazz Larkin, illus.
Read­ers to Eaters, 2013

Octo­ber is a month of change in the north­ern hemi­sphere, so why not change a world record? Two orga­ni­za­tions are look­ing to claim the world record of most chil­dren-read-to-in-a-day.

On Octo­ber 19, 2015, Points of Light, a Hous­ton-based non­prof­it, will attempt to estab­lish a new world record by ral­ly­ing vol­un­teers to read to over 300,000 chil­dren in 24 hours. The cam­paign book for this attempt is Farmer Will Allen and the Grow­ing Table, writ­ten by Bookol­o­gy colum­nist Jack­ie Brig­gs Mar­tin!

The cur­rent world record is held by the non­prof­it Jump­start, which in asso­ci­a­tion with Can­dlewick Press, has for ten years run a glob­al cam­paign, Read for the Record® that gen­er­ates pub­lic sup­port for high-qual­i­ty ear­ly learn­ing by mobi­liz­ing mil­lions of chil­dren and adults to take part

Noah Z. Jones, illus. Candlewick, 2005

Noah Z. Jones, illus.

Can­dlewick, 2005

in the world’s largest shared read­ing expe­ri­ence. This year’s attempt is sched­uled for Octo­ber 22; the cam­paign book is Not Nor­man: A Gold­fish Sto­ry, by Kel­ly Ben­nett.

And, final­ly, it is a truth uni­ver­sal­ly acknowl­edged that any Octo­ber issue of a mag­a­zine must include some­thing relat­ed to Hal­loween.  We’ve got that cov­ered with this month’s Two for the Show col­umn: “What Scares You?,” in which Phyl­lis Root and Jack­ie Brig­gs Mar­tin dis­cuss the role of fear in books for young read­ers and spot­light a few books that deliv­er on a scary promise. Look for their con­ver­sa­tion Octo­ber 14.

As always, thank you for tak­ing the time to vis­it Bookol­o­gy.

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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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Chapter & Verse picks the winners … or not

In CLN’s Chap­ter & Verse, with six of our book­stores report­ing, we had no clear win­ners for our mock Calde­cott, New­bery, and Printz Awards. Steve and I have vis­it­ed many of these loca­tions, talk­ing with the book club mem­bers. Each book club has its own char­ac­ter. The mem­bers bring dif­fer­ent life expe­ri­ences, dif­fer­ent read­ing pref­er­ences, and dif­fer­ent pro­fes­sion­al lives to Chap­ter & Verse.… more
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Peace

Peace is elu­sive. It is a goal of some peo­ple at some time in some parts of the world. As John Lennon wrote: “Imag­ine no pos­ses­sions / I won­der if you can / No need for greed or hunger / A broth­er­hood of man / Imag­ine all the peo­ple shar­ing all the world …” Is peace pos­si­ble?… 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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