Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Flashback Tuesday: E is for Empire by Ann Burg illus by Maureen Brookfield

Since I have been snowed in with my sister and her family for a few days I thought I would write about one of her earliest books.   I also thought it was appropriate because we are going to attempt to visit NYC today.....besides they need to bring me home.  

E Is For Empire: A New York Alphabet

E is for Empire by Ann Burg and illustrated by Maureen Brookefield is part of a series of books from Sleeping Bear Press.   I always loved this series of books even before my sister wrote hers because it is a way to bring history to children without being preachy and boring.   Each page has a poem about an event in NY history plus sidebars that go into more detail.   The poems are great to read on their own and  perfect for younger kids.   The sidebars are wonderful because of the detail so older kids can get more information.   I learned so much about New York just because of my sister's research.   The whole series is a must for kids libraries (of course I think E is for Empire is the best)......

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Reference Sunday: Celebrate Kwanzaa: With Candles, Community, and the Fruits of the Harvest by Carolyn B. Otto

Habari Gani----Happy First Day of Kwanzaa!

Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Kwanzaa: With Candles, Community, and the Fruits of the Harvest
Celebrate Kwanzaa: With Candles, Community, and the Fruits of the Harvest by Carolyn B. Otto is a great book to help celebrate this cultural holiday.   This is the week African Americans celebrate their community.   The photographs really enhance the Kwanzaa experience.   This a wonderful way to explain this celebration.   I loved the recipes and activities to share with family and friends.  

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Flashback Tuesday:My First Christmas by Tomie dePaola

My First Christmas

My First Christmas by Tomie dePaola is the perfect little Christmas book for a new baby. It was originally called "Baby's First Christmas" but I understand and can appreciate the change.    I know lots of new babies this year who are celebrating their first Christmas'.   It is just the right size for their tiny hands and the simple words makes this a great introduction to the Christmas holiday for babies and toddlers.   It is a classic book that will be read for many years to come.    A must have Christmas title!  

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Reference Sunday: Jesus by Demi

Jesus by Demi is a beautiful book to talk about on the Sunday before Christmas.  I have always loved Demi's work.  Her books are more than just books but works of art.   There are so many books to read to children about the birth of Christ but I think this one is for the whole family.   It has a sense of reverence about it that takes the Christmas story to another level.  It is not a typical Christmas book but one that should be read as it truly brings us back to "the reason for the season".  

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Flashback Tuesday: The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski illus by P.J. Lynch

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey with CD: Gift Edition

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski and illustrated by the wonderful P.J.Lynch is a very special book to me.   I remember reading it for the first time when I was putting it out for display.    It is the kind of perfect story that I love to read especially at Christmas time.   It is sad, poignant and joyful at the same time.   While I miss the original cover art I still love the illustrations.  
Whenever I look at the illustrations I get an ache in my heart because they are so beautiful.   This is truly a must have book that should be read every year at Christmas.   It crosses generations!  

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Reference Sunday: Cool Robots by Sean Kenny

My nephews have always been LEGO obsessed.   Every year they wanted the newest and biggest LEGO sets. They loved putting them together.   Even now that they are older I can still find them making things with the bin filled with a million LEGO pieces.  

Cool Robots
Cool Robots by Sean Kenny is the perfect book for any child who also has a tub or box filled with LEGO's.   This book gives kids more ideas and instructions to build really "Cool Robots".   Even if they don't have the particular part that comes with the instructions, this book inspires the "builder" to improvise.   This is a companion book to Cool Cars and Trucks that Mr Kenny published last year.  Both books are perfect for the LEGO lovers in your life.....

Friday, December 10, 2010

Emily by Michael Bedard illust by Barbara Cooney

Today is the 180th Anniversary of Emily Dickinson's Birth.  Since it is also my sister Ann's birthday and she has always loved her, Emily Dickinson has always been a part of my life. Not only are they both poets and share the same birthday but they even have the same middle name.  My sister used to sit on my bed and read Emily's poems to me.....I should say recite as she knows most of them by heart.  


Emily by Michael Bedard and illustrated by the iconic Barbara Cooney was a favorite book of mine the moment I laid eyes on it.   I had always been a fan of Barbara Cooney and this just sealed my appreciation of her.   The book is a beautiful way to introduce children to an American treasure.  I love that this book is told from a child's perspective because then children can relate.   This is a great gift not only for a child who likes poetry but to an adult who does as well.  

A long time ago I went on vacation with my sister Ann and her daughter Celia.  On our way home we stopped in Amherst, Ma.    I can still see my little niece running around Emily's garden....Ann was so thrilled to be there....it is a wonderful memory.  Happy Birthday to a wonderful sister and friend~

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Joyful Christmas: A Treasury of New and Classic Songs, Poems, and Stories for the Holiday collected & illustrated by James Ransome

A Joyful Christmas: A Treasury of New and Classic Songs, Poems, and Stories for the Holiday (Christy Ottaviano Books)
A Joyful Christmas: A Treasury of New and Classic Songs, Poems, and Stories for the Holiday that has been compiled and illustrated by James Ransome is one of the most beautiful compilations I have seen in a long time.   I love how Mr Ransome mixes the classic with the new. The new being new stories by such celebrated authors as: Pam Munoz Ryan, Joseph Bruchac, Katherine Paterson, Nancy Willard to name a few. I also love this book  because it includes the poem Christina Rossetti "What Can I Give Him" which was one of my mothers favorites.   I remember when I worked in the stores, eons ago, that I had one customer that constantly came in looking for his books because she loved his artwork.   She would love this book.    I too have always loved his artwork.   This makes a great gift for families as it has something for everyone.   I think it is also a great book to get for a baby's first Christmas as it can be cherished throughout their life.  

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

John's Secret Dreams: The John Lennon Story by Doreen Rappaport illus by Bryan Collier

In some ways it seems like it happened just yesterday (no pun intended) but it has been 30 years since John Lennon died.    Like so many I can remember where and how I heard the news.  It was a bit of a shock, I was mostly a Beatles fan because of older siblings and have only in my adult years come to truly appreciate  John Lennon for the musical genius that he was.

John's Secret Dreams: The John Lennon Story
John's Secret Dreams: The John Lennon Story by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Bryan Collier is a wonderful way to introduce John and his talent to a younger audience.   The mix of lyrical words and striking illustrations are a perfect way to tell the story of an extraordinary life.   I have always been a fan of Bryan Collier's illustrations and this book is one of the reason's why.  This is a must have for a child who loves music    or for any child who has a free spirit inside of them.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Flashback Tuesday: Santa's Favorite Story by Hisako Aoki illus by Ivan Gantschev

Yesterday was the Feast of St Nicholas a day that was always celebrated in my house as a child.  My Mom always made a special dessert and we got a little gift.   My sister  also celebrates only she puts coins in her kids shoes....as is the tradition.  

Santa's Favorite Story: Santa Tells the Story of the First Christmas

Santa's Favorite Story by Hisako Aoki and illustrated beautifully by Ivan Gantschev has always been one of the best Santa stories to be told at this time of year.   I was first drawn to the illustrations which were nothing like I had ever seen before.   They are unique in a warm and sweet way.   When I first read the story I loved how even Santa knows that there is more to Christmas than getting presents.  It is the perfect way to remind children what this magical season is all about.   A must have Christmas Tradition!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Reference Sunday: Travels of the Zephyr:An Interactive Journey Around the World by Caroline Mac Killian

Travels of the Zephyr: An Interactive Journey Around the World
Travels of the Zephyr by Caroline Mac Killian  is technically a fiction book but it is the kind of fiction based on fact.   It is an interactive book that tells the story of a fictional explorer who is the "uncle" of the author.   Even though the story and character  is not real the places he visits are.   This is a great travelogue for kids.  It has great information about different parts of the world and their traditions, languages, beliefs, foods and rituals.   It is interactive in that it has maps that unfold, letters, sketches and drawings and much more.   This is for the child who loves adventure.   They will have fun reading the book and at the same time, dare I say, learn something in the process.  I would have loved a book like this when I was a kid.....

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Christmas Giant by Steve Light

The Christmas Giant
The Christmas Giant by Steve Light is a beautiful new Christmas story.   The cover immediately drew me in to look at at.   It is a sweet story of a giant and an elf who create the wrapping paper for Santa's workshop.   There is nothing like finding a new book that has a twist I have never seen before---wrapping paper maker---genius!  I also love the spare text that uses the mostly illustrations to tell the story.  We feel for the Giant and the elf when they are sad that their work is done for the year.   This is a wonderful new Christmas picture that should be read every year.   It gives the feeling of a classic with a wonderful freshness that is timeless.  A must have new book for a child's bookshelf.  

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Up and Down by Oliver Jeffers

Up and Down

Lost and Found
Up and Down by Oliver Jeffers has been one of my most exciting discoveries of late.   I am so happy to have found a new author/illustrator to love.   This is a wonderful sequel to another sweet story Lost and Found.  I love the illustrations and the simpleness of both stories.   It is because of books like these that I wish I were still a buyer.   I would have loved to have discovered Mr Jeffers before anyone else.   His illustrations are the kind that give me that ache in my heart when I look at them.   He is very talented and inspiring.   He knows how to bring story and art together in a truly magical way.   These are great books to read to children as both the adult and child will get something out them.   A definite must have for any child's library!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy Hanukkah!

Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah.   Last year I recommended some great books but I thought I would suggest some more titles today....(if there is interest in last years titles use the search key to find Hanukkah books).
The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes (Albert Whitman Prairie Books)

The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes by Linda Glaser and illustrated by Nancy Cole is a sweet Hanukkah story about a family wanting to share the holiday with a neighbor.  A wonderful story of love and sharing.

Hanukkah Moon

Hanukkah Moon by Deborah DeCosta and illustrated by Gosia Mosz is great because it is about Latin American Hanukkah traditions~ or at least the combining of the two.  A perfect way to show a different perspective on this celebrations.

Eight Winter Nights: A Family Hanukkah Book

Eight Winter Nights: A Family Hanukkah Book by Laura Krauss Melmed and illustrated by Elisabeth Schlossberg is a new book that is more a book of rhymes to be read each night.  A nice addition to a holiday celebration.

I wish all a very Happy Hanukkah!