Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Tag Archives | Jane Yolen

Skinny Dip with Rick Chrustowski

praying mantisWhat ani­mal are you most like?

Some­times I am a Zen-like pray­ing man­tis, sit­ting and watch­ing the world. And oth­er times I am hopped up like a hum­ming­bird zip­ping around try­ing to get a bunch of things done at once or, if I am at a par­ty, try­ing to meet every­one in the room.

Which book of yours was the most dif­fi­cult to write or illus­trate?

My new book Bee Dance was the most dif­fi­cult. It is only 250 words long, but it took me 9 years to write it! I should tell you that’s not the only thing I worked on dur­ing that time. I did the research about how hon­ey­bees com­mu­ni­cate and wrote a man­u­script. When I read it out loud I felt like it just wasn’t good enough. So I put it away and worked on oth­er projects. A cou­ple years lat­er I pulled it out again and worked on it some more. But it still wasn’t good enough. I worked on oth­er books and for­got about it. Then a few years after that, my good friend Susan Marie Swan­son said “Hey, what­ev­er hap­pened to that bee book?”

bk_bee_dance_300pxI pulled it out of the draw­er where I keep sto­ries in progress and read it again. And you know what? It wasn’t that bad! I learned that if I just focused specif­i­cal­ly on the bee dance that would be the way to go. I worked on it some more, and took it to my writ­ers’ group. They helped me make it a lit­tle bet­ter still. Then I did sev­er­al dum­mies to fig­ure out how the illus­tra­tions should look. I showed it to my edi­tor, Lau­ra God­win, and she loved it. My advice to writ­ers out there: some­times your work might take longer than you think it should. But, if you believe that it’s a good idea, don’t ever give up! I could have giv­en up on Bee Dance so many times. I’m real­ly glad I didn’t.

Which of your books would make a good movie and who would be the star?

bk_batHmmm. I actu­al­ly think that the book I’m work­ing on right now would make a cool movie. But I can’t tell you about that one yet….so let’s see, I’ll pick Big Brown Bat. John­ny Depp would make a great bat, I’m sure.

What’s your favorite line from a book?

Then the owl pumped its great wings and lift­ed off the branch like a shad­ow with­out sound.” From Owl Moon, writ­ten by Jane Yolen.

What book do you tell every­one to read?

I real­ly love the Amulet graph­ic nov­el series by Kazu Kibuishi. I would rec­om­mend it to any­one, even if you don’t like long-form comics.

Are you a night owl or an ear­ly bird?

If I am on a tight dead­line I work late into the night. Oth­er­wise I like to see the morn­ing sun.

Were you most like­ly to vis­it the school office to deliv­er attendance/get sup­plies, vis­it the nurse, or meet with the prin­ci­pal?

None of the above. In my ele­men­tary school the library was very tiny and it was in the principal’s office! Who would want to pick out a book with the prin­ci­pal watch­ing? I won­der if that’s why I was nev­er a big read­er as a kid. Now I love to read and I usu­al­ly have 2 or 3 books going at once, but back then I liked play­ing out­side or draw­ing pic­tures in my room more than any­thing else.

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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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The Shadow Hero Companion Booktalks

A 12-pack to get you start­ed on the Book­storm™ Books …

bk_100_5Minute5‑Minute Mar­vel Sto­ries, by Dis­ney Book Group, Mar­vel Press, 2012. Ages 3 and up.

  • Per­fect read-aloud length for younger fans
  • Nice intro­duc­tion for new­com­ers to Spi­der­man, Iron­man, the Hulk, the Avengers, the X‑Men, Cap­tain Amer­i­ca
  • Oth­er than a few swing­ing fists, lit­tle vio­lence

bk_100_BoysSteelBoys of Steel: the Cre­ators of Super­man, by Marc Tyler Noble­man, illus­trat­ed by Ross Mac­don­ald, Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Read­ers, 2008. Ages 8 and up.

  • How two high school out­siders cre­at­ed the most famous super hero
  • Pic­ture book for­mat but text and illus­tra­tions will appeal to inde­pen­dent read­ers
  • Back mat­ter includes the sto­ry of the writer and artist’s super strug­gle to be acknowl­edged and com­pen­sat­ed ful­ly for their cre­ation

bk_100_BrothersBroth­ers, by Yin, illus­tra­tions by Chris Soent­pi­et, Philomel, 2006. Ages 8 and up.

  • The sto­ry of Ming, a Chi­nese immi­grant who arrives in San Fran­cis­co’s Chi­na­town in the 1800s
  • A friend­ships sto­ry devel­ops when Ming defies an old­er brother’s orders and ven­tures past the Chi­na­town bor­der
  • Beau­ti­ful, detailed wide-spread water col­or illus­tra­tions on every page 

bk_100_CompleteGuideCom­plete Guide to Fig­ure Draw­ing for Comics and Graph­ic Nov­els, by Dan Cooney, Barron’s Edu­ca­tion­al Series, 2012. Ages 10 and up.

  • Every page has mul­ti­ple tips and exam­ples with very read­able text and clear illus­tra­tions.
  • Empha­sizes clas­sic com­ic book action pos­es and char­ac­ter
  • Back mat­ter includes advice on sub­mit­ting port­fo­lios and a glos­sary 

bk_100_DragonwingsDrag­onwings, by Lau­rence Yep, Harper­Collins, 1977.

  • In the ear­ly 20th Cen­tu­ry, a young boy trav­els from Chi­na to Amer­i­ca to meet a father he doesn’t know.
  • Part of the Gold­en Moun­tain series con­sist­ing of 10 books
  • New­bery Hon­or book 

     


bk_100_FoiledFoiled by Jane Yolen, illus­tra­tions by Mike Cav­al­laro, First Sec­ond, 2011. Ages 8 and up.

  • Aliera’s ordi­nary life changes when she meets a new guy, acquires a new sword (she’s into fenc­ing) and one day heads to Grand Cen­tral Sta­tion
  • Man­ga-style illus­tra­tions alter­nate between two-tone (ordi­nary world) and full col­or (the fan­tas­tic), occa­sion­al­ly merg­ing
  • Details of fenc­ing skills and equip­ment pro­vide unusu­al back­ground and good char­ac­ter devel­op­ment

bk_100_MarvelWayHow to Draw Comics the Mar­vel Way, by Stan Lee and John Busce­ma, Touch­stone, 1984. Ages 8 and up.

  • Author Stan Lee is the cre­ator of many comics leg­ends, Busce­ma is the illus­tra­tor of many cur­rent comics
  • Many exam­ples begin with stick fig­ures and devel­op step by step—perfect for novice and expe­ri­enced illus­tra­tor
  • Includes glos­sary

bk_100_LittleWhiteLit­tle White Duck: a Child­hood in Chi­na, by Na Liu and Andres Vera Mar­tinez, illus­tra­tions by Andrés Vera Martínez. Graph­ic Uni­verse, 2012. Ages 8 and up.

  • Graph­ic mem­oir about Na Liu’s child­hood in 1970s Chi­na; wife/husband col­lab­o­ra­tion
  • Divid­ed into 8 short sto­ries
  • Includes glos­sary of Chi­nese words and at-a-glance time­line of Chi­nese his­to­ry

bk_100_PowerlessPow­er­less, by Matthew Cody, Knopf, 2009. Ages 8 and up.

  • Daniel is the new kid in a town—and the only one his age with­out a super­pow­er
  • A Sher­lock Holmes fan, Daniel decides to unearth the mys­tery behind the super­pow­ers his new friends have—and why they dis­ap­pear at age 13
  • First in series of three

bk_SharkKing_extendedShark King by R. Kikuo John­son, TOON Books, 2013. Ages 4 to 8. Asian Pacif­ic ALA’s Lit­er­ary Award.

  • Child-friend­ly ver­sion of a Hawai­ian myth
  • Clean layout—no sen­so­ry over­load from text or illus­tra­tions
  • Includes dis­cus­sion mate­r­i­al for teach­ers and par­ents

     


bk_100ABCSuper­Hero ABC, writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Bob McLeod, Harper­Collins, 2008. Ages 3 and up.

  • An alpha­bet book, not a primer on super­heroes, with com­ic-like illus­tra­tions
  • Humor­ous orig­i­nal heroes and hero­ines, such as Bub­ble­man and Fire­fly
  • Good prompt for indi­vid­ual or group super­hero writ­ing or draw­ing project

bk_Zita100Zita the Space­girl, by Ben Hatke, First Sec­ond, 2011. Ages 8 and up.

  • Graph­ic nov­el with a Wiz­ard of Oz sto­ry­line: young girl is trans­port­ed to a strange world
  • Though Zita is try­ing to save an abduct­ed friend, and though the plan­et is about to be destroyed, the text and art are more about fun than fear
  • How many weird crea­tures can you find?

 

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Quirky Book Lists: Go Fly a Kite!

by The Bookol­o­gist

Curious George coverCuri­ous George Flies a Kite

H.A. Rey
HMH Books for Young Read­ers, 1977 (reis­sue of 1958 edi­tion)
Ages 5–8

First George is curi­ous about some bun­nies, then about fish­ing, and then about his friend Billy’s kite. All’s well that ends well. Ages 5–8.

 


cover imageDays with Frog and Toad

Arnold Lobel
1979 Harper­Collins
Ages 4–8

Five sto­ries with the two famous friends, includ­ing “The Kite,” in which Frog’s opti­mism and Toad’s efforts pre­vail over the pre­dic­tions of some nay-say­ing robins. 

 

 


cover imageThe Emper­or and the Kite

Jane Yolen and Ed Young (illus­tra­tor)
Philomel, 1988 (reis­sue)
Ages 4–8

Princess Oje­ow Seow is the youngest of the Emperor’s chil­dren, and no one in the fam­i­ly thinks she’s very spe­cial. But when the emper­or is impris­oned in a tow­er, the princess’s kite-build­ing skills prove every­one wrong. 1968 Calde­cott Hon­or book. 


coverimageKite Day

Will Hil­len­brand
Hol­i­day House, 2012
Ages 3–7

Bear and Mole decide it’s the per­fect day to fly a kite, but first they have to build one. 


cover imageThe Kite Fight­ers

Lin­da Sue Park
Clar­i­on, 2000
Ages 9 and up.

A sto­ry about three friends in 15th Cen­tu­ry Korea: a boy who builds beau­ti­ful kites; his younger broth­er, who is an expert kite fly­er and kite fight­er; and a boy who is the king of Korea. 

 

 


cover imageKite Fly­ing

Grace Lin
Knopf, 2002
Ages 4–8

Every­one has a job to do when a fam­i­ly builds a drag­on kite. Includes cul­tur­al and his­tor­i­cal notes on kites and kite fly­ing. 


cover imageKites for Every­one: How to Make Them and Fly Them

Mar­garet Greger
Dover Pub­li­ca­tions, 2006
Ages 8 and up
Easy-to-fol­low, illus­trat­ed instruc­tions for cre­at­ing and fly­ing more than fifty kites. Includes his­to­ry and sci­ence of kites. 

 

 


bk_KiteTwoNationsThe Kite That Bridged Two Nations: Homan Walsh and the First Nia­gara Sus­pen­sion Bridge

Alex­is O’Neill, Ter­ry Widen­er (illus­tra­tor)
Calkins Creek, 2013
Ages 8–11

True sto­ry of 16 year-old Homan Walsh, who loved to fly kites and espe­cial­ly loved to fly kites over the mag­nif­i­cent Nia­gara Falls that sep­a­rates New York from Ontario. 


cover imageStuck

Oliv­er Jef­fers
Philomel, 2011
Ages 3–7

Floyd’s kite is stuck in a tree! What can he throw that will knock it free? What can he throw that won’t get stuck? 

 

 


 

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When I Was Your Age

When I was a small child, I spent a lot of time around adults. Hav­ing no broth­ers or sis­ters, no cousins liv­ing near­by, and spend­ing sum­mers and vaca­tions with my grand­par­ents, I went where they vis­it­ed. Many of those peo­ple were their age. So I heard this phrase often: “When I was your age …” […]

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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 […]

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