Friday, January 30, 2009
"Mama works hard in the field. My hands are too little..."
An authentic and powerful account of slavery and how a handmade quilt helps a little girl leave home for freedom.With a poet's keen ear, Tonya Hegamin tells the account of a little girl whose mother is a secret agent on the Underground Railroad. Before sending her daughter north to freedom, the mother sews a quilt for her daughter, not only to guide her with its symbols of moss and the north star, but also to remind her always that the smiling girl in the center of the quilt is "most loved in all the world." Strikingly illustrated in unique textile collaging and expressive acrylic paintings.
"When Kate decided to play the guitar, she realized she would need new shoes..."
Twelve-year-olds Kate and Marylin, friends since preschool, draw further apart as Marylin becomes involved in student government and cheerleading, while Kate wants to play guitar and write songs, and both develop unlikely friendships with other girls and boys.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Let's think of something to do while we're waiting
While we're waiting for something new to do.
Let's try to think up a song while we're waiting
That's liberating and will be true to you.
Let's think of something to do while we're waiting
While we're waiting 'til something's through.
You know it's really all right;
In fact, it's downright quite bright
To think of something to do
That's specific for you.
Let's think of something to do while we're waiting.
Now while we listen and remember whatever all it brings back, let me say this: When I say "growing up" I don't mean a distant past, although some of it happened then, but an ongoing process that is rarely painless, always turbulent, and sometimes/often involves waiting. These last few years I've tried to embrace waiting without the "I can't wait for..." feeling. I learned a long time ago from a philosophy professor in college that to say "I can't wait" was to negate the present and more and more I sense that less and less of the present is still mine. All my time is so precious. So today I salute the moment -- remembering all my sisters and brothers who wait with me for the fun announcements of tomorrow morning...
Saturday, January 24, 2009
A boy searches for his newfound love among the city streets, to find that, unwarily, she's been caught in the arms of an evil street lord who means her harm. It is only through perseverance and undying love that the girl is returned to the safety of her one true love. Tonia Saxon of Children's Bookshelf interviewed Javaka Steptoe about this book project in Publishers Weekly, 1/8/2009.
A white-footed mouse is swept away in a flood and must carefully watch and wait until it is safe to make a home in its new surroundings. This book was first published in Orion Magazine, you can read it here.
Friday, January 23, 2009
When Crusher the snake is captured, her only thought is to escape but as time goes by and she befriends the other inmates of the "zoo," she realizes that freedom also means leaving companions behind.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Middle-schooler Greg Heffley nimbly sidesteps his father's attempts to change Greg's wimpy ways until his father threatens to send him to military school. ALL about the Wimpy Kid books here.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Morning, noon, and night, Budgie and Boo work in their gardens, have adventures, and solve problems for each other—from fixing a leaky roof to fixing breakfast—because that’s what best friends are for. Together they learn that even if they lose their way, friendship is all they need to get through the day.
"Bugie pulled weeds in the garden. Boo picked vegetables for supper.
After they ate a delicious stew,
Budgie and Boo decided to go for a walk..."
Bill Gates is many things: the richest person in the world; the ruthless businessman who co-founded Microsoft and led it to domination of the computer software industry; and now, the leading global philanthropist. When Gates was born in 1955, no one in the world owned a personal computer. A window had a pane of glass. A mouse was a rodent. As a teenager, Gates realized how computers were about to change the world, and made his fortune by riding that wave; modern teens look to him as their model of how technology can be turned into wealth. Marc Aronson's biography is a probing portrait of a man whose name is a household word.
Inside Nan: Don't read this post if you don't want to know what I'm reading and thinking about it...
Here's the publisher's blurb: Have children ever really had a literature of their own? In Sticks and Stones, Jack Zipes explores children's literature, from the grissly moralism of Slovenly Peter to the hugely successful Harry Potter books, and argues that despite common assumptions about children's books, our investment in children is paradoxically curtailing their freedom and creativity. Sticks and Stones is a forthright and engaging book by someone who cares deeply about what and how children read.
Here's Zipes... "To attract children and adults as consumers of literature, the very nature of the book - its design and contents-began to change. Gradually books began to be produced basically to sell and resell themselves and to make readers into consumers of brand names...(p. 6)...Children's books are formulaic and banal, distinguishable from another only by their brand labels. Yet book publishers argue that as long as these books get children to read, this is a good in itself...(p.7)
More Zipes: "I do not mean to slight the reviewers of children's books in local newspapers or in the popular press, but I have rarely read a negative review of a children's book or a book for young adults. It appears that everything and anything is good for children's minds and eyes. Good is rarely defined, though the reviewer may appear to have a firm grasp on what is appropriate literature ..."
I am reading this book and thinking about my field from Zipes' perspectives. So far I think he has strong opinions and arguments for them. And yes, the examples I posted are extreme but...What do you think? Lurk or go ahead and say it...
When a collection of Incan artifacts goes missing, the Blue Djinn of Babylon dispatches the twins and Uncle Nimrod to recover them. Along the way, though, John and Philippa encounter their friend Dybbuk, who was drained of his djinn powers but is determined to get them back. In a fury, he's headed to an ancient Incan Empire where he believes he can regain his strength. Dybbuk will stop at nothing . . . even if it means destroying the rain forest, opening a cursed portal, and disturbing the enchanted kingdom of the Incas that has slept for thousands of years.. Find out more about P.B.Kerr here.
Here's the synopsis and starred review from Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. "This rewarding biography of Charles Darwin investigates his marriage to his cousin Emma Wedgwood. Heiligman (the Holidays Around the World series) has good reason for this unusual approach: as deeply as they loved each other, Emma believed in God, and Charles believed in reason. Embracing the paradoxes in her subjects' personalities, the author unfolds a sympathetic and illuminating account, bolstered by quotations from their personal writings as well as significant research into the historical context. We meet Charles as he weighs the pros and cons of wedded life—but then seeks his father's advice (Darwin père urges him to conceal his religious doubts); Emma becomes a more fervent believer after the death of her favorite (and more religious) sister. Heiligman writes for motivated readers, and her style can be discursive (mention of a letter can introduce a few sentences on the British postal system). Her book allows readers not only to understand Darwin's ideas, but to appreciate how Emma's responses tempered them." Bold emphasis is mine. I worked my way through these pages stopping often to search out other resources. The discursive style noted by Elsevier is present throughout the book. Jonathan Weiner notes in the Foreward "The story of Darwin has never been told this way before..." There are many books to inform the curious student about Darwin, the styles and format rich and varied. Here are just a few.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Anokaberry Presents the 2009 Anokaberries: Our Selections for the Best Books of 2008 for Middle-Grade Readers, Ages 8 to 14
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
-by Cynthia Rylant
this new year...
the sky will still be there
the stars will still shine
the birds will fly over us
church bells will chime
cows will have calves
kittens will sleep
flowers will bloom
(a promise they keep)
we shall have peaches
we shall have pie
we shall have ice cream
three scoops high!
homes will be cozy
homes will be warm
we'll curl up together
when rain makes a storm
and in this new year
love will be strong
growing and growing
all the days long
there will be goodness
there will be grace
there will be light
in every dark place
the sky will still be there
the stars will still shine
birds will fly over us...
church bells will chime.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Friday, January 2, 2009
I entered 796 books into the Anokaberry account at LibraryThing in 2008. You are welcome to look at that collection - at LibraryThing click on the Search tab and enter "Anokaberry", click on "see library". I gave 5 stars to 65 books, 41/2 stars to 16 more and 4 stars to an additional 35. I gave more than 60 books less than two stars. Some have no stars from me because I didn't read them. Some have no stars because I thought they were awful. I wrote personal reviews on a few, those can be found on LibraryThing as well. Anokaberry published three short list plus the vote list. Short List #1 on May 31, Short List #2 on August 13 and Short List # 3 on November 9. I put up the vote list the first week of December. I will post the results of the vote (the Anokaberries!) - from the votes and emails soon. I made a lot of mistakes this first year, enough to seriously consider not doing this another year. I posted almost 800 times. The "mock Newbery" aspect of this blog is still central but I think of it more as an online booktalk of books published in the current year for young people. I focus on books of interest for 8-14 year-olds. I have often wished for more of a voice here -- that may be part of the way Anokaberry becomes Annotated.