Monday, June 30, 2008

NF Monday - Whales and Dolphins


Whales and Dolphins, by Judy Allen and Mike Bostock, Kingfisher, 2008
Part of the "I Wonder Why" series.

Each chapter of information is included on a two and a half page spread. Why two and a half?

Take, for example, the Chapter on Food.
At first glance it looks like a double-page spread -- with a bit of information about the food they eat on the left, a pod of dolphins circling fish in the middle, and the mouth of a Baleen whale on the right.

But wait -- that middle section has some questions on it.
Where are the answers? Flip the half page over and now the center of the double-page spread shows the pod of dolphins happily eating their fill of fish. And look -- the answers to the questions are now located where the questions were before you flipped.

Question? Do dolphins spit out the fish bones?
Flip --
Answer: No. They swallow the fish whole. Dolphins cannot chew.

Great for reports and just pleasure reading about Whales and Dolphins.

For more great NonFiction Monday blogs, click here and scroll down past the T-Rex.

Newbery/ Caldecott Banquet

I'll take just a minute to describe the Newbery/ Caldecott Banquet, then go to bed. More about Sunday's ALA adventures, later.

This time I lasted from 10 am to 4:30 pm at the Convention. Then, loaded with bags of books I swore I wasn't going to get this year, I stumbled back to the hotel and took a nap.

Woke up with all the rush of the rest of the family getting ready to go have dinner with the Disney Princesses. (came back to find them all asleep, so I'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out which ones they got to see there.)

Meanwhile I got ready for the banquet -- showing off my new dress to the family before they left. (The 8 year old was my fashion consultant when I bought it -- everyone approved.)

The people at our table were wonderful and we had great conversations.

The most amazing part of the evening were the speeches by the winners.
First the Caldecott -- Brian Selznick. (yes he is related to the great movie director of the same last name.)
I was hoping he'd show some of his artwork -- and wasn't disappointed. Suddenly the huge screens at either side of the room lit up with the beginning of his book -- The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Hugo sleeping. Hugo awakened by a telephone call. (1930s telephone) Next picture? A drawing of the head of the Caldecott committee on her phone. Still no words, but you know that it's "the call" telling about winning the medal. More pictures from the book -- Hugo joining the girl. But here's a change. They board a 1930's plane. Sitting on the plane -- reading Newbery and Caldecott books. (the books are the only thing in color.) Arrive at the Hilton hotel. A horseman rides by, the kids chase it and it evolves into the Caldecott medal. WOW!

Most memorable words -- It's the page turns that tell the story. A page is a door....

Laura Amy Schlitz was equally as amazing with her Newbery acceptance speech. (yes, I'm bringing the CD of their speeches home with me to share with my library staff.) She's short. She's a storyteller. Therefore, she rejected the idea of standing at the podium to read her speech. She stood to the side and, adopting the pose of a storyteller, proceeded to tell us stories -- all of which helped illustrate how she was overwhelmed when she heard she won the Newbery medal.

Most memorable words (there were many memorable ones):
-- story -- rescuing a child stuck on a roof by catching her as she slid off. The child hit her like a cannonball, much like the Newbery honor.
-- (having moles removed) Do you want to hear the real story or the interesting story? (the children remember the "interesting" story which is why she likes to teach history in story format, such as with her Newbery book.
-- (flying a kite) The string is the most important part. We (writer, editor, publisher, bookseller -- all committed to giving the best to children) we all dance together on one string.

I shared a cab to my hotel with Roland Smith and his wife. (one of my favorite writers whom I've known for many years online, but just met in person tonight) We discussed her giving the speech without notes and how she must have practiced and prepared, like the professional storyteller she is.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Saturday at ALA

Why do I do these when I'm so tired?

Woke, breakfast (banana/ oatmeal cookie -- my traditional travel breakfast), Saw my family off to American Girl Place and headed to the convention center. Hmm, contrary to Betsy Bird's Blog, it was bright and sunny when I walked there. She must have gone to the convention center waaaay earlier than me. (It was so bright that the next time I walked, I wore my new sun hat.)

Discovered the two meetings I intended to attend weren't at all as expected, so I went down to the Exhibit floor. Where I managed to snag an Unshelved cloth bag and some goodies from Penguin -- only available to the first 100 people.

Examined a good many major publishers offerings, plus some of the minor ones. Saw Groundhog Day on display with an empty holder beside it. The owner of the company was at the booth. He assured me the Halloween book had been there this morning. I guess someone snagged it. We had a nice talk.

Although the library isn't paying for this ALA trip, I still feel obgligated to attend a good many meetings. But I made a few wrong choices today. For example -- I got all excited about one that said it was about Wordless books. But it turned out to be about adult Graphic novels presented by a professor who teaches the history of comic books. I skipped out of that and caught the end of the Reader's Theatre presentation. Spent the next hour trying to see how it could be used in a public library. School librarians in the audience loved it. Much debate about how to guide or model the procedure. Interesting.

Then I caught the bus to the Disney Grand Californian. We bloggers were invited to party with the Feiwel and Friends publishers in a suite there overlooking part of Disneyland. (the California Adventure part) Very nice people. As our time came to a close, the room filled up with important librarians and some of the Feiwel and Friends authors. We bloggers moved our party to an Italian resturant and talked until 9 pm.

What about the family members who visited the American Girl Store. They called me several times on the cell phone discussing which doll to buy. The older grandchild settled on Elizabeth, Felicity's friend. And the younger grandchild (who is dog crazy and whose family raises dogs) now has the dog, Coconut clutched in her sleepy fingers. Both girls are presently wearing the PJs that match those of the American Girl, Julie. Yes, they are pinkaholicks, so of course they wanted the pink PJs for themselves.

They then went over to the movie theatre to watch the world premier of Kit, An American Girl movie. Not only did they enjoy the movie, but they were given Kit t-shirts for themselves AND their doll plus other doll clothes.

It's only 11 pm here, but I think I'll sign off now. For video adventures of happenings at this ALA go to Betsy Bird's Blog. She's determined to videoblog the whole thing. I'm sure she videotaped the Feiwel and Friends party. Betsy wore a red dotted sundress to the event. If you see another red dress in her video, that's me.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Friday evening -- Booklist Odyssey Award

I can see that the official Blogger date/ time still is on Maryland time -- but I'm in California now -- so yesterday's message actually was done Thursday and this one is Fridays -- no matter what day Blogger thinks it is.

The girls began the day swimming in their Aunt's swimming pool. Then we packed the car and chugged up to Los Angeles area -- Anaheim, home of the original Disneyland. Their plan -- woosh off to Disneyland. My plan? Lunch. Unpack. Organize the room. (Kids Suite. Yeah! Master bed for my daughter and her husband. Bunk beds for the two grandchildren. And a separate room for grandma -- me!) All at a comparatively low ALA rate.

This evening I attended the traditional Booklist sponsored event. This event often has sponsored discussions by authors and illustrators. But this year it featured a brand new ALA award -- The Odyssey Award for sound recording of a printed book.

The Odyssey Award is given to the best audiobook produced for children and young adults available in English in the United States. The committee listened to 400 autiobooks -- over 2,000 hours of listening.

The Odyssey Award is named after the blind poet Homer's epic poem, The Odyssey, which researchers agree was originally told and retold in the oral tradition. The Odyssey Award allows us to return to the ancient roots of storytelling, while living in our modern world.

(Just in case you are wondering how I got so eloquent -- those are the words printed on the back of the sampler CD given to all who attended the award ceremony.)

The featured speaker and one of the originators of the award was Bruce Coville, author of over 90 books, who also is a professional storyteller and who runs his own audiobook recording company -- Full Cast Audio. And all around nice guy.

We heard parts from all of the honor recordings, plus one from the winner -- Jazz -- poetry written by Walter Dean Myers, illustrated by his son, Christopher Myers and the audiobook was published by Live Oak media. Jazz also won the Coretta Scott King Award.

Special events at the award ceremony included a recording of Jim Dale accepting the honor award for best narrator. We ended with a live speech from with winner of the best narrator of the year. (when I think of the exact title they one, I'll insert it.)

Hmm. The Disneyland folk have not gotten back, yet. I hope that means that they're having a great time.

Friday, June 27, 2008

On the way to ALA

They said it couldn't be done. But I did it.
What? you say.
Taking two grandchildren, who don't live together, on a flight across the country to visit an Aunt and Uncle that one of them had never seen.

But we survived.
The Older one carefully helped the Younger one (the non-flyer) every step of the way. They didn't fight over the window seat. (probably because it was often two kids in the window seat -- no matter who officially was supposed to be there.)

It's now 9 am California time -- midnight Maryland time -- and are they zonked out in bed? NO. They're over at the swimming pool. I'm the one ready to zonk out.

Good night all.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Nonfiction Monday -- Flip, Float, Fly, Seeds on the Move

Flip, Float, Fly, Seeds on the Move by JoAnn Early Macken, Illustrated by Pam Paparone, Holiday House, 2008

"Take a breath and blow on a fuzzy dandelion. Whee!"
Who of us hasn't done this?

And when You grew up, did you scold your own children for doing this? After all, the fun of blowing a cloud of dandelion seeds has concenquences -- it helps scatter the seeds so that more dandelions can grow, far enough from the mother plant so they don't crowd each other.

That's the theme of this book. How plants make sure their seeds scatter to new places. Large double page illustrations show how each type of seed manages to find new homes. From maple tree helicopters and exploding seedpods, to the hooks on the Burdock seeds that attach themselves to clothing and fur.

Available now. -wendieO

Friday, June 20, 2008

Hoppie Bird Day 2 Me (and the blog)

Wow, I've been blogging for a year.
I just checked the date of my first blog (because I knew I had blogged about my birthday, but wasn't sure if I had begun before then, and yup, that was my first entry.)

How about that?

Remember last year when I complained that no one would sing the Beatles' song to me?
"Will you still need me
... feed me
When I'm 64?"

Believe it or not, several library staff members did sing that song to me THIS year. (even tho I'm actually 65, now.)

Here I am world -- an official Senior Citizen, with all the privileges therein. (Aches and pains/ graying hair -- although I blame that on my children)
What am I doing?
Am I comfortably retired and enjoying life with grandchildren?

I'm gainfully employed and have a second job writing books for children.
I'm planning a flight to Califunny, taking the grandchildren to Disneyland. (actually, their Aunt Jen and Uncle Michael will do the Disneyland part while I attend ALA meetings and blog about them.)

I get home for a few days in July and immediately take off for Vermont to take a 16 credit, 6-month course about Picture Books. Me-- retire? I have no time to retire.
I've got to get ready for my birthday dinner at my favorite steak place.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Short Nonfiction

You may have noticed that most all of the nonfiction books I review for Nonfiction Monday are easy reading, almost picture book type nonfiction. I plan to continue doing this -- unless, of course, some super-duper larger/ longer book bops me on the head and says, "me! me! review me!"

-wendieO, who has (almost) survived the first week of the Summer Reading Program at my library.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Nonfiction Monday- Looking Closely along the Shore

Looking Closely
Along the Shore,
Frank Serafini,
Kids Can Press, 2008

Look very closely.
What do you see?
A flower?
A fossil?
What could it be?

Each two-page spread has similar questions on the left, with a four-inch circle showing something on black background on the right. No, it's not a hole cut out like the Tana Hoban books. It's printed on the page. This should mean that this book will stand up to wear better than the Hoban books do. Those books keep getting torn around the holes -- as if kids and parents are putting their fingers in the holes to turn the pages.

What's the answer to the riddle?
Turn the page and you see a page and a half picturing a Sand Dollar. The remaining half page contains a short description of it.

And so it goes throughout the book.

Good for curious kids who like to learn more about what can be found along the coastline shore. Available now.

For more Nonfiction Monday blogs, click here.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Today is Friday the 13th

Oh my.
Friday the 13 has always been an up and down day for me. Not that I believe it's an unlucky number, but...

Lucky =
I have 13 books published.

Unlucky =
When I arrived at work today, I found myself the only librarian there. The other librarian scheduled to work had sick children.

Lucky =
We keep a list of people who are willing to substitute/ to fill in when we have vacations or sickness.

Unlucky =
I called every one on the list and every one of them had a reason they could not come in and work today.

Lucky =
One of the substitutes reconsidered. Even though she lives almost a hour away, she said she could make it to my library by 1:00. Fine! Wonderful! I could manage to wait for my lunch break until then.
(She also was a great help while the Summer Reading Program Assistant and I rushed around doing the final touches getting ready for the training of the teen volunteers on Saturday and the beginning of Summer Reading on Monday.)

But the most LUCKY thing of all?
A bit of background information. Another blog, called Buried in the Slush Pile, is written by an editor of a small press in Texas. A week ago she held a contest -- send her a pitch for a book. The winning pitches would be invited to submit to her publishing company.

She said she'd notify us by e-mail on Thursday. I checked my mail on Thursday, but nothing. Checked her blog and discovered she had to put off notifying us until Friday. This morning I checked my e-mail and just about jumped out of my computer chair. Not only had I been asked to submit my manuscript -- but she said:
"You are my grand prize winner."

!!! I ran down the hall, rapped on the bathroom door and shouted the news to my husband. (who promptly cut himself shaving.) Just a little bit excited (and flattered by her comments in the e-mail) was I.

So, Friday the 13th was again, an up and down day.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Nonfiction Monday = Bugs for Lunch

Bugs for Lunch by Margery Facklam, illustrated by Sylvia Long, Charlesbridge - 1999.

Goodness, 1999 and still going strong? I guess it's because we librarians keep celebrating Bugs during our Summer Reading Program, like we are doing this year. We're going to Catch the Reading Bug.

And this is a good book to entice the new readers to explore the J nonfiction collection. I took it to the schools this past week and got the expected "Yuck" from the title and "ooo's" and "ahhhh's" once they saw the birds, spiders, toads and other beasts eating beautifully illustrated bugs. (congrats to the illustrator)

Each two page spread contains one stanza of verse about the animals and their dinner. (see sample above from the Charlesbridge webpage.) Just wait while the listening children relax and enjoy the book, then hit them with the last stanza -- Children eating Bugs! "Yuck" again. Additional information about the bug-eating animals (and plants) on the last pages.

Comes in paperback, hardback, Follettbound, and also comes in straight Spanish or Spanish/ English.

For more Nonfiction Monday blogs, click here.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Reading and writing blogs

Are you a weekday or a weekend blog reader and/ or blog writer?

A friend took a poll of bloggers and discovered that they usually blog during the week because they're busy with family during the weekend. (or away from their computer for some other reason.)

As for me -- I'm busy during the week (working as a full-time librarian going crazy setting up the Summer Reading Program.)
I come home too pooped to ponder on a blog. Therefore, I often blog during the weekend when I have more energy.

What's your blogging reading or writing habit?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Things to ponder

(It's hot (95 degrees) and I this is the first day I put the air-conditioning on. I also have an 8-year old in the house, waiting until it's time to go to her gymnastic tournament. So far she has painted several pictures, been on the computer, watched TV and part of a DVD, and has eaten yogurt.) (note from later -- she won two third place medals, two fourth place medals and a fifth place ribbon!)

I was just wondering:

Why are children so cheerful in the morning?
We can hardly drag ourselves from bed, but the 8-year old is there -- pulling on our arms, making sure we get up. She wants to go to the before-school-care early. That way she can do crafts until bus time. Wake up. Wake up.

Why can't children understand about air conditioning?
I spent several hours this morning cleaning the air conditioners, closing windows and doors, cleaning fans. Finally all was ready and I turned the air conditioners on.
No sooner than I had done so, than the 8-year old opened doors and windows -- she had been practicing gymnastics in the living room and was "hot" and wanted a cool breeze.
Then she went upstairs into her room and closed the door.
By the time I discovered her bedroom door closed, her room was 20 degrees hotter than the hallway.
Opened bedroom doors.
Close windows and the doors to the sunporch.

Why don't children go to sleep at night?
I actually had a teacher call to scold me about one of my children not getting enough sleep at night. Was I keeping her up too late? Sorry lady, I get the kids to bed. They're the ones who refuse to actually GO TO SLEEP. And the 8-year old? yup. She reads at night. By the light of the lamp post. By the light of a half-working flashlight that I thought I had thrown away long ago. By the light of a thing she got from McDonalds -- looks like a compact but has a light in it instead of face powder.
Should I object that she's reading?
(Mostly I scold her for staying up late and ignore the reading part -- I'm usually in favor of reading.)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Busy day/ busy week to come

Busy, busy, busy.
Today I gave a storytime and told several Pre-K classes about the Summer Reading Program. Tomorrow the whole school. Wednesday, another school. Thursday, I need to plan all the programs for September, October, November because I have just Thursday and Friday to get them into the database. In addition I'll begin the set-up for Summer Reading -- just two weeks until it begins.

No, there's no pressure/ stress when you're a children's librarian.
All those fun programs we enjoy doing, need to be planned four months ahead.
December. Do you realize I just finalized the date of the Santa Brunch? Yup. And I have to set up all the preparation for it now -- because it gets advertised in the Fall program guide.

Today, I also gave two other librarians an overview of what they need to know about doing Summer Reading Program visits to schools, because these other two have never done them.

Stress --
I arrived back at work between Pre-K visits to get the message that my fabulous College age Summer Reading Program assistant was in an accident and now can't work! Yikes. Can we do this summer without her? (no) Can we get a replacement quickly? (maybe)

Went off to the next Pre-K visit. When I came back -- there was my Summer Reading Assistant. She'd heard that I was panicking (who me?) and came to assure me that she'd be able to report to work on the end of the week -- she just can't work for a few days. Whew! Stress relieved.

And that was my Monday. How was yours?