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Tag Archives | Picture Books

Hannukah Bear

Hanukkah Bear

We cel­e­brate Christ­mas at our house, but we live in a com­mu­ni­ty in which many cel­e­brate Hanukkah. As we light our Advent can­dles and string our Christ­mas lights, our Jew­ish friends and neigh­bors light the can­dles on their Hanukkah meno­rah and fry deli­cious pota­to latkes. Dear friends invite us to join them for one of the Hanukkah nights each year and we are blessed to have the fla­vors of fried pota­toes, jel­ly donuts, sour cream, and apple­sauce min­gle with our cin­na­mon, car­damom, Christ­mas gin­ger­bread fla­vors.… more
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Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree

Oh, wasn’t it grand to have a tree— Exact­ly like Mr. Wil­low­by? My first­born received Mr. Willowby’s Christ­mas Tree (by Robert Bar­ry) from his best friend for Christ­mas 2001. I know this because their names are scrawled inside the front cov­er with the date. I prob­a­bly could’ve nar­rowed it down to the right year, though. He was four, she was three.… more
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Quiltmaker's Gift

The Quest for the Perfect Thanksgiving Book

Each Novem­ber I begin the search anew. I know what I’m look­ing for, and I real­ly don’t think it’s too much to ask of a pic­ture book: It must delve into the themes of gen­eros­i­ty, abun­dance, grat­i­tude. It should be beau­ti­ful. Com­pelling in its beau­ty, in fact. Ide­al­ly, I’d like it to cel­e­brate our bet­ter angels, but also not fail to acknowl­edge the prick­li­er parts of our nature.… more
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Too Many Pumpkins

Too Many Pumpkins

I have a thing for pump­kins — their orange­ness, their round­ness.… I’m not sure what it is, exact­ly. They’re sort of a har­bin­ger of autumn, my favorite sea­son, so maybe that’s it. Real­ly, I just find them sat­is­fy­ing some­how. Giv­en my love of the orange autum­nal globes, it’s a lit­tle odd, per­haps, that my favorite pump­kin book is about a woman who hates pump­kins.… more
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Just Like A Baby

I’m miss­ing a dear friend who died very sud­den­ly this past spring. Liz was old enough to be my moth­er and my kids’ grand­moth­er. She loved to give gifts and had an almost mag­i­cal way of doing so. Her taste in books for kids was exquis­ite and she always found the most per­fect, most unique books for us — books I’d some­how nev­er seen before.… more
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On Flower Girls

A year ago this week­end, I had the hon­or of offi­ci­at­ing at the wed­ding of dear friends. They’d planned a grand cel­e­bra­tion — organ and trum­pet, dra­mat­ic read­ings, fantab­u­lous atten­dants, fam­i­ly and friends, and not one but two flower girls. In my expe­ri­ence, flower girls and ring bear­ers increase the “chance ele­ment” in a wed­ding cer­e­mo­ny.… more
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Kuplink, Kaplank, Kuplunk!

We missed straw­ber­ry pick­ing, and there­fore jam mak­ing, this year. We were in the moun­tains, a dandy excuse to be sure, but now we’re in a bit of a pick­le (no can­ning pun intend­ed). We have a strong home­made jam habit at our house, and last year’s boun­ty is dwin­dling. We’re try­ing to fig­ure out how to get jam of some vari­ety in the freez­er in the next few weeks.… more
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We Need Longer Picture Books, Too!

I’ve just read yet anoth­er arti­cle about the new length of pic­ture books. Some say pub­lish­ers won’t even con­sid­er pub­lish­ing a pic­ture book over five hun­dred words any­more. Oth­ers say they should be under three hun­dred words. Why? Inevitably, the short­er atten­tion spans of chil­dren are cit­ed some­where in the rea­son­ing. Rub­bish, I say! As a fre­quent sto­ry­time read­er in var­i­ous venues, I can tell you that chil­dren will sit (even the ones you think won’t) for quite a long time for a good sto­ry well read.… more
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Gravity

Gravity

What is grav­i­ty? I have a notion (after many years of school) that it keeps my feet touch­ing the ground. When I jump into the air, I am defy­ing grav­i­ty. What is Grav­i­ty? A book. Writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Jason Chin, who pre­vi­ous­ly gift­ed us with Red­woods and Coral Island and Gala­pa­gos. He has a way of tak­ing a BIG con­cept and explain­ing it so that it sticks in my brain.… more
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I Am Cow, Hear Me MOO!

I Am Cow, Hear Me MOO!

There has been a lot writ­ten about the brav­ery of cows (no, there hasn’t). Some of it has star­tled us with the sheer audac­i­ty of amaz­ing feats of der­ring-do of which cows are capa­ble (News at 10!). Young chil­dren every­where are pin­ning up cow posters on their bed­room walls, hop­ing to one day be as brave as their cow heroes.… 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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Fevered Reading

Let me be very clear. I do not ever want my kids to be sick. We’ve had run-o-the-mill child­hood sick­ness and we’ve had seri­ous sick­ness — I don’t like either kind. I would wish only good health, hap­pi­ness, sun­shine, and lol­lipops for my chil­dren and the chil­dren of the world. And we are for­tu­nate and grate­ful to have excel­lent health care and, gen­er­al­ly, very good health.… more
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Touching the Reading Spot

About a year ago, I found myself at week­ly appoint­ments with a speech ther­a­pist who spe­cial­izes in func­tion­al breath­ing dif­fi­cul­ties. I was deal­ing with some breath­ing and voice issues and my aller­gy and asth­ma doc­tor thought I might ben­e­fit from “relearn­ing to breathe.” The process was fas­ci­nat­ing — we worked on pos­ture, word lists, tongue place­ment, swal­low­ing, dif­fer­ent kinds of breaths, etc.… more
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The Privilege & Responsibility of Reading in Bed

The indomitable Gertrude Mueller Nel­son gave our fam­i­ly the rit­u­al of Birth­day Priv­i­leges & Respon­si­bil­i­ties. Each birth­day our kids receive a scroll of paper fes­tooned with rib­bons. Inside, in the fan­ci­est (and hard­est to read) script our print­er can man­age, we have cer­e­mo­ni­al lan­guage award­ing the birth­day child his/her next year’s Priv­i­lege & Respon­si­bil­i­ty. We start­ed this on their respec­tive third birth­days, at which time they each received the priv­i­lege of using mark­ers in addi­tion to crayons…and the respon­si­bil­i­ty of wash­ing off any mark­er that acci­dent­ly found itself on the craft-table.… more
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The Miss Rumphius Challenge

Hen­ry was a reg­u­lar. He was in after­noon kinder­garten and he and his nan­ny had the morn­ings free to come to the sto­ry­time I did at the indie book­stores near his home. He was old­er than most of the oth­er kids — a very wise and eru­dite six years. His eyes were black and lumi­nous, his curls dark and unruly, and his brow fur­rowed when he thought deeply, which was the only way he thought.… more
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Seussical the Musical!

Dar­ling Daugh­ter has dis­cov­ered the stage. She is in her first musi­cal this spring and is hav­ing a ball. Nine­ty-four mid­dle school­ers (with help from some won­der­ful teach­ers and staff, of course) are valiant­ly putting on Seussi­cal. I say valiant­ly because it is a big project. It’s real­ly a mini-opera — very few lines are not sung.… 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: 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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Packing up the tent?

Summer Reading No. 2 Many of you are mak­ing plans to get out of Dodge when your kids are out of school for the sum­mer. I imag­ine thou­sands of peo­ple mak­ing a list: tent, sleep­ing bags, mini-grill, rain pon­chos, clothes­line (from our camp­ing expe­ri­ence, some­place to hang things up to dry is essen­tial), cool­er, GPS, and back­up maps.… more
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Best Truck Stop Ever

Summer Reading No. 1 Trav­el sea­son begins now. Resorts and road­side attrac­tions and Dairy Queens are all spruced up. The OPEN signs are once again flipped to the side that mat­ters. Will you be trav­el­ing the high­ways and back­roads, look­ing for adven­ture? I’ve read a new pic­ture book that made me look dif­fer­ent­ly at some­thing trav­el­ers take for grant­ed: truck stops.… 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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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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Show, Don’t Tell

I am fre­quent­ly remind­ed in our Chap­ter & Verse meet­ings that peo­ple read a book, look at the illus­tra­tions, but may not con­sid­er the illus­tra­tions. Study them. Won­der about them. Unless an illus­tra­tor sits at your elbow as you turn the page of a pic­ture book or illus­trat­ed book, explain­ing the moti­va­tion and tech­nique behind each illus­tra­tion, the read­er can nev­er real­ly know what was occu­py­ing the illustrator’s mind while cre­at­ing the book.… more
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Musings of a lifelong reader, part two

Why do we have books with­out illus­tra­tions? Only in the last few years has the con­cept of a “visu­al learn­er” become famil­iar to me. By all def­i­n­i­tions, and ped­a­gog­i­cal con­tro­ver­sy aside, this describes the way I absorb knowl­edge. I was­n’t aware of a name or the­o­ry when I was learn­ing to read, or active­ly engaged in school, but I always under­stand bet­ter if I can see a dia­gram or a map or a pho­to or an illus­tra­tion.… more
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All is not lost

I read a lot of books writ­ten for young peo­ple. Late­ly, as we pre­pare for mock New­bery and Calde­cott dis­cus­sions, it has been one or two each day. One nov­el and one pic­ture book seems to be the pace. Our choic­es will be announced on the CLN site on Novem­ber 1st, so those of you involved with Chap­ter & Verse book clubs can get your read­ing done before our dis­cus­sions on Decem­ber 16th.… 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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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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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
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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
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