Sunday, January 31, 2010

Reference Sunday: Testing the Ice: A True Story about Jackie Robinson by Sharon Robinson Illus Kadir Nelson

Yesterday I said I would talk about moon books because last night was the first full moon of the year. What I had forgotten was that I had talked about the Moon back in October so I am going to link to that post now and talk about one of America's most famous baseball players instead.

If you read yesterday's blog about a FDR picture book you will recall that I like books about historical figures that don't fit into the usual biography format. I realized that today is the birth anniversary of Jackie Robinson~the baseball player who broke the color barrier back in 1947 when he went to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers (my grandfather's favorite team). He was an extraordinary man who made contributions to the world on and off the diamond.

Testing the Ice: A True Story of Jackie Robinson by his daughter Sharon Robinson is a wonderful picture book that shows him as a loving father and family man. The illustrations by critically acclaimed illustrator Kadir Nelson are warm and inviting. This is a great book to introduce younger children to a very important life. An inspirational story to read even if you aren't a baseball fan.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Remember Me: Tomah Joseph's Gift to Franklin Roosevelt by Donald Soctomah and Jean Flahive illus Mary Beth Owens

I had a dilemma this morning. Do I write about our 32nd President FDR because it is his birthday or do I write about moon books because today the the first full moon of the year.

I am opting to write about FDR today and save moon books for tomorrow's Reference Sunday.

Today I am suggesting a book about Franklin Delano Roosevelt that is not the typical biography. I figure there are so many biographies out in the world already that it would be redundant to write about them. Instead I have chosen a book that I think would be of more interest to children. It is always interesting to kids to see famous or historical people in a different light. Sometimes we forget that our presidents were children once too.

Remember Me: Tomah Joseph's Gift to Franklin Roosevelt by Donald Soctomah & Jean Flahive is a picture book about FDR when he was a child. When Franklin was a boy he summered in Canada where he became friends with a local tribal chief. This is a story of how they were possibly friends. It is a good way to teach children about the influence of Native Peoples on the world. The soft illustrations by Mary Beth Owens captures the spirit of a wonderful time and place. While children should read real biographies of historical figures it is always good to give them an alternative view also.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Too Purpley! by Jean Reidy Illus Geneviève Leloup

Oh how I wish I had this book when my nieces were little. They both loved to wear pretty clothes and they both LOVED purple! My younger niece would change her clothes a dozen times a day and it wouldn't be unusual to find her wearing her tutu in public. Some girls never outgrow their love for purple---a friend in high school wore purple almost every day.

Too Purpley! by Jean Reidy is such a fun book to read aloud. I wish I had a story time in which to read it at. I think even little boys would get a kick out of it. Most of the time we think only girls are conscience of what they wear but in my family the boys love clothes. My nephew Alex doesn't like collars or anything around his neck. My nephew Joseph actually asked for a white suit to wear to a wedding~he wanted to stand out. My other two nephews have also been known to ask for clothes. This is a fun new book that everyone can relate to . It is a great book to read again & again. A must have!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Happy National Blueberry Pancake Day!

I love pancakes....unfortunately I have not perfected the making of them so I rarely have them. When I do make them my favorite thing to add is blueberries....I feel like blueberries make them healthy. If I had known that today was National Blueberry Pancake Day I would have made an effort to make them as I have blueberries in the fridge. In honor of this day here are few Pancake, Blueberry, and/or both books to enjoy!

Curious George Makes Pancakes by Margeret & H.A. Rey----our little friend Cuious George makes pancakes with blueberries in this classic book....

If You Give A Pig A Pancake by Laura Numeroff---every year during my vacation down the shore we go to Uncle Will's for breakfast....they make awesome pancakes. The kids used to love it when the wait staff would place the huge dressed up paper mache pigs at our was always lots of fun.

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey ----classic story of a little girl who goes blueberry picking with her mother. A must have book!
There are so many other blueberry or pancakes books that it was hard to choose what to suggest. I picked these as a starting off point as they are classics! Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Over the Rainbow (Book & Audio CD) Music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by E.Y. Harburg Performed by Judy Collins, Paintings by Eric Puybaret

I am sitting here listening to Somewhere Over the Rainbow as sung by the Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, it is on of my favorite interpretations of the this song.

Last fall I eluded to a new book that was going to come out that was a new illustrated version of one of my favorite songs, from one of my favorite movies. It is finally here and available!

Over the Rainbow performed by Judy Collins with paintings by Eric Puybaret is a beautiful rendition of a beautiful song. I have always felt that songs make wonderful picture books. This book is no exception. The illustrations are so warm and have an ethereal quality to them.

I think this would be a great story time book and a great bedtime book...truly soothing. The bonus is the CD which has the iconic Judy Collins giving her terrific performance of this perfect song. A must have for all!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Flashback Tuesday: The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone

The Monster At the End of this Book starring Lovable, Furry Old Grover by Jon Stone is one of my all time favorite books of childhood. It was based on a children's TV character back before all kids shows had TV Tie-in books. I was one of the kids who was the right age for Sesame Street when it first started. Grover was always one of my favorite characters, along with Ernie. (I always say about myself that I love Ernie but have a Bert personality.) To me Grover and Ernie were the most fun and interesting. I remember getting this as a Little Golden Book and reading it over and over. I also used to love having my sister read this aloud to me....she was a bit of an actress so it was quite fun to hear her rendition.
Whenever I mention this book to people my age I always get a huge response. Truthfully I think more adults love this book than kids nowadays. I would definitely give this book to any child~even if they don't watch Sesame Street. It is a timeless and long lasting book. A must have for any child's be read again and again.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Freeze Frame: A Photographic History of the Winter Olympics by Sue Macy

On January 25th 1924 the first Winter Olympic Games were held in Chamonix, France. In a few weeks the 2010 Winter will start in Vancouver, Canada. I have always liked the Winter Olympics, which is ironic because I don't really like the cold. What I like is that there is a more intimate feeling with some of the sports...I remember years ago watching the Luge competition with my Mom. She thought it was amazing and fun.

Freeze Frame: A Photographic History of the Winter Olympics by Sue Macy with a foreword by Peggy Fleming is a great way to get excited about the games coming up. Since it is published by National Geographic the photos are truly amazing. The anecdotes are perfect to read without getting bogged down. It is great for any age but is meant for an older child.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Reference Sunday: The Encyclopedia of Immaturity by Editors of Klutz

My nephew Alex is visiting today on his way to a party for the Jets~he is a big Jets fan. I noticed he brought along a book he just got that is perfect for today.

The Encyclopedia of Immaturity by Klutz is a really fun type of reference book. It is supposed to be for ages 9-12 but there seem to be many adults who are getting a kick out of it.

While it has many silly things to do like "how to stick your finger through your head" or how to "give your dog a yawn" it also has interesting facts and fun activities to keep anyone occupied for a long time. This is a great book to give to anyone of any age.....sure to bring lots of smiles and laughs!
(you may wonder why I KNOW this is great for all ages~my sister Ann was telling me about it and she could hardly get her words out she was laughing so hard~like I said perfect for any age!)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

National Pie Day!

Today is National Pie Day~ I love when I can showcase books with a theme.....and who doesn't love "Pie"! Here are a few fun books to read while the pie is in the oven.....

Piggie Pie by Margie Palatini illus Howard Fine~one of my favorite all time books. Sadly most people think that just because there is a witch in the story it should only be read at Halloween. This is not the case with this funny book where it is just about Gritch the Witch looking for something good to eat....and how the pigs outsmart her....a very funny read!

The Blueberry Pie Elf by Jane Thayer illus Seymour Fleishman ~ originally published in 1961 this has been reissued by The Purple House Press. I really sweet story of an elf who schemes to get blueberry pie from the people who's house he inhabits. I love when old favorites come back to life!

Sweet Dream Pie by Audrey Wood ~ I love this book! It is such a great book to read at bedtime. I remember reading this to my niece Celia when she was little, she would go to the book drawer and dig through until she found it. A wonderful book to enjoy over & over again!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Who Loves the Little Lamb? by Lezlie Evans illus David McPhail

I always think there is never a new way to write another "I Love You" book for kids but again I am pleased that there is always another take on this theme.

The new book Who Loves the Little Lamb? by Lezlie Evans and illus by David McPhail is a really sweet little book for young children. The illustrations are by one of my favorite illustrators and are really soothing. The words are soothing too, because each "child" is asking reassurance from its mother and she gives it to them~even if they are naughty.

This would make a great new baby gift or even a first birthday gift~a nice bedtime read aloud too!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

National Hug Day!

Today is National Hug Day or National Hugging Day! I think this is a great idea, I always feel that sometimes we need a hug just to get through the day.
Here are some really warm and fuzzy books about "hugging"~

Hug by Jez Alborough --- really sweet story of a little monkey who wants a hug

Hug Time by Patrick McConnell ---- The first line says it all "There once was a kitten who was so filled with love he wanted to give the whole world a hug!"

Big Bear Hug by Nicholas Oldland--new book about a bear who wants to hug everyone and ends up saving his forest....really sweet!

So give someone a hug~it will make you feel good!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cupcake by Charise Mericle Harper

I came across this really cute picture book that is perfect for the younger kids we know.

Cupcake by Charise Mericle Harper is about a vanilla cupcake who is sad because he isn't as fancy as the other cupcakes around him. It takes a green candle's friendship to help him find the perfect way to jazz him up. The ending is a bit of a surprise which is alot of fun. This is a great read aloud book that would be fun to read at a birthday party or story time. The illustrations are priceless!
On a side note: My nephew Michael V. only liked vanilla cupcakes and cake~when he was little he cried because someone had written "happy birthday" with blue icing~he just liked his cake plain ~ so this little cupcake would have been his favorite...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Flashback Tuesday: Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata

For my Flashback Tuesday selection I thought I would recommend one of my favorite Newbery Award Winners of the past few years: Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata.

When I was still a children's book buyer I used to get lots of galleys from publishers. One day I picked up an intriguing book about two Japanese American girls living in Iowa during the 1950's. I was immediately captivated by these characters and their struggles. It did seem to be quite a mature book for children but that didn't bother me. I loved this book, it is the kind of story that stays with you for a long time.
Now back in 2005 Internet blogs were not as prolific as they are today. There was no Twitter or Facebook to chat about anything. I did know about the "mock" award panels but as I was a preschool book buyer I didn't really pay attention to what was talked about. Well "Awards" day was pretty intense in the office. We were constantly on the phone with publishers and insiders to find out the winners as soon as they were announced~again unlike today where there is live blogging and a live video feed. When we got the call most of my co-workers, including the young reader buyer were quite surprised but I remember my reaction ~ I shouted in joy. I had never been so happy that a book had won. I think I was the only one in the office who had read it....I remember thinking this is the first time I have read a winner before it won.
I think this is an important book for any young reader to read, yes it is sad, yes it has adult themes but kids are not stupid. I try never to underestimate children, I try never to talk down to them~they get more than we give them credit for.

Kira-Kira is a beautifully written book that should not be forgotten or overlooked. A must have in my opinion.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Martin Luther King Day: A Day of Service

I don't usually post twice in one day but I didn't want to bypass Martin Luther King Day. I thought instead of suggesting books about MLK I would highlight a couple of titles convey the spirit of the day. Today is considered a Day of Service. Here books that should help a child do something for their community around them. In light of the Haitian tragedy it is a good subject to discuss with your kids.

The Kids Guide to Service Projects by Barbara A. Lewis ---good for ages 9-12up that gives over 500 ideas on help the world.

The Berenstain Bears Lend a Helping Hand by Stan & Jan Berenstain ---good for younger kids to learn that the world does not revolve around them, that they should help others.
In this world it is good for kids to learn at an early age that helping others is its own reward. Martin Luther King Day is a great day to be reminded of that!

Caldecott 2010 Winner: The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney

I am so happy! Jerry Pinkney has won the 2010 Caldecott Medal for his book
The Lion & the Mouse~the ALA has finally gotten it right. I loved this book the first time I saw it. It was one of the first books I wrote about on this blog (see Sept 28th, 2009 entry). This book is an instant classic and should be on every child's shelf~I can't say that about every Caldecott book.....
Congratulations Mr Pinkney ~ You deserve it!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Reference Sunday: Haiti & Earthquakes

The tragedy this past week is all around us. There has been non-stop coverage and the news can be pretty brutal. As an adult I find that the images can be disturbing and heartbreaking. Most would agree that we should try to limit what our children see, but that is not always possible. I thought I would recommend some books that parents or other adults might use to explain this tragedy to their children. Some children might not even be aware of where Haiti is or why it is so poor. I thought it would be a good time to explain Earthquakes too.

Haiti by Bob Temple--meant for 9-12 year olds but good information can be gleaned for younger children.

Haiti: A Question & Answer Book by Preszler ---good general information about Haiti.

Selavi, That is Life: A Haitian Story of Hope by Youme Landowne---meant for ages 4-8~a beautiful picture book that will explain to children what Haiti is all about.

Witness to Disaster: Earthquakes by Judy Fradin -- good book for older kids that gives a good historical perspective of earthquakes. It also has lots of graphs and information of how & why earthquakes occur.

Earthquakes: Let's Read & Find Out Science by Franklyn M. Branley-- this is the perfect book to explain to younger children what earthquakes are. This is a great series.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Whole Nother Story by Dr. Cuthbert Soup illus Jeffrey Stewart Timmins

Here is a new book that is obviously a start of a series. Dr Cuthbert Soup is the author of A Whole Nother Story ~ a wickedly funny book about an inventor father and his kids who must outwit a multitude of bad guys. I am pretty sure Dr Soup is a pseudonym just like Lemony Snicket but who cares....his book is one of the best new reads out there. It is a clever idea that both kids and some adults will love. This is perfect for the reluctant reader who can't abide by stodgy books.
Unlike the Snicket books, A Whole Nother Story is more intrigue than horror~which is more along the lines of what I like to read.

Friday, January 15, 2010

My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by Christine King Farris

Today would have been Martin Luther King, Jr's 81st birthday. The actual holiday isn't until Monday but I thought it would be appropriate to write about him on his actual birthday.

My Brother Martin by Christine King Farris & illustrated by Chris Soentpiet is my favorite book about the famed civil rights leader. I really like it because it is so personal. It is about a sister remembering her brother and all he meant to her. It makes MLK very real and approachable for children. This beautifully illustrated book is a must have for any child.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Little Bunny Foo Foo:Told & Sung by the Good Fairy by Paul Brett Johnson

A very dear friends birthday is today. She started out as a co-worker and assistant to me when I worked in the bookstore. I thought I would recommend one of her favorite books. I always think of her when I see this title or when the song pops into my head. It is one of those tunes that can get stuck in your head for days....

Truth be told it was never one of my favorite stories~the funny part is that she knew this and would always sing the song around me.

Little Bunny Foo Foo: Told & Sung by the Good Fairy by Paul Brett Johnson is actually really cute and fun to read to kids and is one of the best versions out there. I think it would be a great book to have and to keep....So Happy Birthday Diane~this ones for you!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Money! Money! Money!

Today is my brother Michael's birthday. I thought in his honor I would suggest some good books for kids about money. Michael is the type of person who always has the finance channel on and is a big fan of Jim Cramer of Mad Money on CNBC. So this is for you Michael!

If you have been paying attention, I love this series. This particular title is great for older kids to really learn about money and how to be responsible with it.

Money Madness by David A. Adler
This is a great book to explain money to a younger audience. David A. Adler is such a wonderful author who really gets how to talk to kids about anything.
These are just two books that I like and would recommend, but there are so many more. It is never too early to teach our children the value of a dollar~
My brother Michael also taught me that if you have money you should be generous and help others when you can....he is the most generous guy I know!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Flashback Tuesday: Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel illus Blair Lent

I really wanted to write about a book I have always loved to read aloud. I was reminded of Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel while I was doing my duck research. This is a classic book based on an old folktale. It was always a favorite to read at story time!

I never knew that there was a bit of controversy about the book. Some people feel that it is not politically correct. I always found, though, that when you read the book to kids they don't notice any issues. They just hear the story of two boys and a really really long name. It is a great book to read in a group setting because it can become quite rowdy with all the children reciting the name. This is just a great fun book that stirs the imagination and a classic to add to a child's bookshelf.....

Monday, January 11, 2010

Books About Ducks!

A friend of mine is a teacher who is reading about "ducks" with her kids. I thought I would recommend some of my favorite duck books~it is amazing how ducks seem to captivate the world! I know kids like ducks because I used to take my nieces & nephews to what we called the "duck pond" around the corner from my house. They loved to feed them bread and see the little ducklings in the water. Sadly the pond is empty now so this was a great reminder of having fun with my "kids"!


Duck by Randy Cecil ~sweet story about a carousel duck who wants to fly~love the retro illus!

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey~classic story

Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack ~ classic story, I love to read this book aloud!

Duck & Goose by Tad Hill ~ sweetest little duck I have ever seen!

Duck in the Truck by Jez Alborough~another fun read aloud!

Tickle the Duck by Ethan Long~ such a funny book!

Ducks Don't Get Wet by Augusta Goldin ~ good non-fiction book about ducks!

So these are just a few good books about ducks~this is a very prolific subject as all kids love them.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Reference Sunday: Spies of Mississippi: The True Story of the Spy Network that Tried to Destroy the Civil Rights Movement by Rick Bowers

I don't usually write about books that haven't come out yet but I thought I would make an exception. Spies of Mississippi is coming out on January 12, so it is close enough. This is a great book for any child today. I know a few 10 year olds who would love to know that spying goes on in the real world and not just on TV. This is a great way to teach history without being boring. I love the fact that the Mr Bowers uses real first hand accounts to get his point across. Sadly I don't think kids today realize that it is only recently that everyone in this country has a right to vote and be heard. When Barack Obama became President so many young people didn't get the historical significance of that event.
I think this is a wonderful book to explain how ordinary people can help change the world...a must have!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Smile! by Leigh Hodgkinson

I found the most adorable book that is perfect for today. Smile! by Leigh Hodgkinson is the sweetest story about a little girl named Sunny who has lost her smile. It makes me smile just to think about it. This is a great read aloud & story time book. It would be the perfect book to read to a child who has the grumpies....I know a few kids like that. The illustrations are priceless and fit the story and characters so well. This is the kind of book that can be read again and again! It has a contagious feel to it and should be a must on a child's bookshelf!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Happy 75th Birthday Elvis Presley!

Wow I can't believe that Elvis would have been 75 years old today. I wonder what he would have been like?

I thought I would suggest some books that might be fun for kids to introduce them to the Icon who was Elvis Presley....

Who Was Elvis Presley by Geoff Edgers & John O'Brien great bio for older kids to read and younger kids to be read to!

Shake, Rattle & Roll: The Founders of Rock & Roll by Holly George- Warren wonderful history of Rock & Roll and includes the origins of Elvis!

Happy Birthday Elvis!!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Books About Snow!

It seems like the whole country is in the deep freeze. So many areas are getting socked by snow and freezing temperatures. My cousin in Wisconsin is on the brink of being snowed in yet again. I thought I would suggest some great books about snow to read while the kids cannot go out and play. Some are story book and some are fact books....a little bit of everything.


Snow by Cynthia Rylant --award winning author

Snow by PD Eastman -- classic

Snow by Uri Shulevitz --award winner

Dream Snow by Eric Carle---classic author

The Story of Snow by Mark Cassino --non-fiction

White Snow, Bright Snow by Alvin Tresselt--classic

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats -- classic

Katy & the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton--classic

Snow is Falling by Franklyn Branley -- non-fiction
In recent weeks I had recommended some other books about winter and snow that would be great to pick up too....
All of these books would be great to get just in time for the weekend~keep warm everyone!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Joy of Spooking bk 1: Fiendish Deeds by P. J. Bracegirdle

When I a kid my favorite books were mysteries...I was a huge Nancy Drew & Hardy Boy fan. I still love a good suspense story. I was not into horror as much as I was into Gothic suspense. The Joy of Spooking: Fiendish Deeds is a book I would have loved to have growing up. It has mystery, suspense and enough scariness without the gross factor. The writing is excellent and doesn't dumb it down for kids.

I would recommend this book to any child, boy or girl, who loves a good spooky story. The quality makes it perfect for a gift. It is hard to get some kids to read, I think this book would do alot in the ways of advancing that cause....
I can't wait for the second book to come out~

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Flashback Tuesday: The Kings Equal by Katherine Paterson

Katherine Paterson has been named the new National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, 2010-2011. She is the perfect choice as her books span childhood. Katherine Paterson has written many popular and famous titles. These include her Newbery Award winning books Bridge to Terabithia & Jacob I Have Loved. I have always been a fan of The Great Gilly Hopkins~I love spunky kids.

The book I am highlighting today is one of her older titles. It was originally a very long picture book illustrated by Vladimir Vagin, it then became a chapter book. I loved The Kings Equal as soon as I read it. It is a fractured fairy tale of the wondrous sort. It even has a good lesson~but don't tell the kids that. The characters are interesting and fun. It is a great book to add to any child's collection as it is timeless.

I think Ms Paterson will make a great Ambassador as she understands what it takes to get children to read. I wish her the best and am very proud of her accomplishment!

Monday, January 4, 2010

I Got Two Dogs ( Book & Cd) by John Lithgow Illus Robert Neubecker

On Saturday I went for an excursion to NYC with my family to walk around Rockefeller Center & Times Square and see the Christmas sights. It was very cold, but we had lots of fun and laughed alot. When we got home we were greeted by the funniest scene. My brother's dog, Little Bear (a Yorkie poo), was practically doing back flips he was so excited to see us. His reaction reminded me of one of John Lithgow's most recent children's books, I Got Two Dogs which came out at the end of 2008.

I love John Lithgow! The fact that he is one celebrity author who really writes great children's books is a plus. He does not write the books out of ego but uses them in performances for kids. I Got Two Dogs is a fun book that really gets the children involved when reading it to them, the illustrations match the words/lyrics perfectly. This is a great book for kids and adults to enjoy together!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Reference Sunday: Honest Pretzels by Mollie Katzen

I know it isn't cold everywhere but right now it is very cold where I am sitting. I thought what better activity to do with kids on a cold day than cooking. It will keep all the kids occupied and warm.

Honest Pretzels: and 64 Other Amazing Recipes for Cooks ages 8 & Up by Mollie Katzen has just come out in paperback. It has great recipes for both kids and adults. It has recipes for foods like Best Hot Chocolate & Creamy Corn Soup which would be great on a cold day like today. Although if you live in a warm climate than you can make Icy Strawberry Slush or Frozen Fruit Pops. Either way it is great book to get kids interested in cooking or for the child who already wants to learn. My nephew Joseph is big on helping in the kitchen....this is perfect for kids like him!

Mollie Katzen also has other cooking books for kids like Pretend Soup & Salad People....which are meant ages preschool & up!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year's 2010

Nice start to the New Year~my sister's( Ann Burg) book All the Broken Pieces has been named a finalist for the 2010 Cybils! These are awards given out by children's & YA book bloggers.
All the Broken Pieces is a finalist in the Middle Grade Category. This is very exciting news ~ I am so proud of her. Congratulations Ann! Also, kudos to my fellow literary bloggers for all the hard work that leads to this wonderful award.