Friday, February 27, 2009

Carnival of Children's Literature

Every month, different bloggers host a Carnival of Children's Literature -- links to many blogs with post about a theme.
Here is February's Valentine's Edition of the Blog Carnival of Children's Literature.



Monday, February 23, 2009

Nonfiction Monday -- Money Madness

Money Madness by David A. Adler, illustrated by Edward Miller. New York: Holiday House, 2009. 32 pages. Available now.

Yes, David A. Adler is a familiar name. He of the young biographies -- A Picture Book Of __________, the latest of that series is called A PICTURE BOOK OF DOLLEY AND JAMES MADISON. He who writes the Cam Jansen mysteries. In fact, author of over 100 books. Is now writing about math concepts -- fractions, polygons, and now -- money.

The Holiday House website says: "This beginning guide to economics will have readers thinking about the purpose, and not just the value, of money."

Indeed it does. Beginning with the concept of bartering and pointing out how difficult it would be to buy a house in exchange for loaves of bread (bartering doesn't work in that case), Adler examines different things that have been used for money through history. Exchanging little pieces of metal (each having a set value) works well. Paper representing the value of this metal works better. And these days, the best form of money is actually digital. A computer keeps track of what you spend.

Illustrated in picture book style.
Oh look -- there's information on the back cover about the famous men represented on the various denominations of American money, using a copy of the portrait on the money plus several sentences of information.
Did you know that Ben Franklin is on the 100 dollar bill?
Who is the other non-president whose face is on our money?
Hint -- you probably have one of those bills right now.

Other Nonfiction Monday posts are linked here at The Miss Rumphius Effect.
-wendie Old

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Publisher's Terms Defined

If you ever wondered about all the strange terms used in publishing, such as Cast-offs, Galleys, Proofs, Mechs, PPB, Arc, F&Gs, CMYK, and so on -- Editorial Anonymous is explaining them over at her blog this week. She calls her posts, Definitions for the Perplexed. Go check it out.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

This week -- booksale and more

It's Saturday - already?

Our library is in the middle of a massive weeding project. I've been coming home from work exhausted. Luckily this week was also our Friends of the Library Booksale. (of books we have weeded/ removed from the library, plus books people have donated.)

Have you ever come to a library booksale? Remember that Best Seller you loved, loved, loved but didn't buy because it was $32? So you read a library copy, instead? Well, if you go to a library booksale, you can buy that book for 50 cents. Recorded books? On sale for one dollar. (reduced price. They began the week at $3.00.)

On the home front -- the 9-year-old's soccer team finally won a game! She was the team goalie for two quarters and did an excellent job.

And me? I finally got some manuscripts in the mail, again. One proposal to two agents and a different story sent directly to two editors. With any luck, I'll get more in the mail, soon. During last fall, while I took that writing course from Vermont College, I didn't send anything out. I simply focused on writing, trying to make myself a better writer. It's going to take me a while to absorb all the things I've learned, but yes -- it was worth it.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Nonfiction Monday

hits on a holiday, again.
And again I forgot to bring a good book to review home with me.

Therefore this will be nonfiction Link day:

The links to many reviews of nonfiction books are today sponsored by the letter - J as in -- they're all over at jeanlittlelibrary blog.

Marc Aronson talks all day / everyday about nonfiction at Nonfiction Matters blog.

And a group of nonfiction writers blog over at I.N.K - Interesting Nonfiction for Kids.

Have fun exploring these nonfiction links.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

More Sesame Street Wonderfulness

Hmm, It's possible that "wonderfulness" may be a word copyrighted by Fuse #8. I am greatly influenced by her blog.

Anywho -- here's a link to more information about Sesame Street:
It's a CNN article about how the various Muppets got their characters.

Some of Jim Henson's puppets were based on real people
Some puppets were originally made from household items
Count von Count's character was changed for fear he would scare children
The voice of a New York cab driver inspired Oscar the Grouch's voice

I was reading The Longstockings Blog and Siobhan Vivian directed people to this article in her post about Character Development.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day

Last night the 9-year-old and I made Strawberry Sparkle cake for our Valentine's Day meal.
It's easy to do.
Just take a serrated knife and cut the top off an Angel Food Cake. (about 1 inch thick or less)
Put aside.
make Strawberry jello
partially thaw frozen sliced strawberries.
Instead of adding water or ice to the hot jello -- put the frozen sliced strawberries in the jello
While the other person is mixing the strawberry and jello mixture and waiting for it to soft-jell, you begin taking chunks out of the center of the angel food cake, leaving a 1-inch wall on the sides and bottom.
Throw all these angel food cake chunks into the jello, too.
Now pour the almost jelled jello into the cavity you have made.
Place the top of the angel food cake back on.

If you want to hide all this work -- lightly frost with cool whip or frosting. (watch out -- sweet frosting makes the jello center taste sour.)
Let sit in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
Serve in slices.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sesame Street Connection to Children's Literature

Here I am, reading Street Gang, the Complete History of Sesame Street by Michael Davis, (New York: Viking, 2008), when what to my wondering eyes appear on page 339 but a statement that "writer- animator Mo Willems proposed that "Elmo could exist within a computer generated universe...looking like a child's squiggly crayon drawing come to life.")

Oh- My- Heavens.
One of the stars of children's literature worked on THE Major television program for kids -- and was responsible for the look of one of the most famous segments in Sesame Street of all time!

Here I was, trudging through this book (itching to rewrite some of the more awkward sentences in it -- that editors leave in adult books but would never forgive in children's books), wondering why the Sesame Street that my grandkids watch is so different from the show my first batch of kids watched -- and here I find out that Mo is one of the people responsible for the new look. (He's not responsible for the reasons they had to find a new look -- Barney is. Go read it for yourself and see.)

For those of you who are living in worlds not related to children's literature, Mo Willems keeps winning awards for a variety of his children's books. This month another of his Elephant and Piggy books garnered him his second Theodor Seuss Geisel Beginning Reader Award. (He already has an ALA Caldecott honor award for his Knuffle Bunny : a cautionary tale.)

The other reason I picked up the book is that I'm always interested in reading about Kevin Clash -- the guy who brings Elmo to life.

Many years ago I worked as a librarian in the area of Maryland where Kevin grew up. I remember this boy who would bring his puppets to the library to give puppet shows. (scheduled for a half hour, it was difficult to convince him to stop after an hour had passed) I keep reading books about Sesame Street and about Kevin to see if he ever mentions performing at our library, but nope. One book about him mentioned his performing at the Baltimore City libraries, but no mention of his local Turner Station library or the nearby North Point one in the county that surrounds the city. (a different library system entirely)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Nonfiction Monday -- Baby Animals

Baby Animals of the Grasslands by Carmen Bredeson, Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, Inc., 2009. Part of the Nature's Baby Animals series. (which supports the national Science Education Standards for K-4 science)
Available Now

Hmmmm. Interesting that it says "for K-4 science." Actually, I would suggest that it was aimed at Kindergarten and First graders because each doublepage spread contains a beautiful photograph or two of the animal, plus 4 or 5 sentences about it. Then on to the next animal. Those few sentences do a good job summarizing each animal. The photographs not only show the baby animal, but also places it within its family group.

Extremely useful for a K or 1st grade classroom collection -- if your budget allows. If not, then plan to borrow the library's copies for a few weeks. Your public librarian can track down extra copies from other branches for you.

There are others in this series -- all by Carmen Bredeson:
Baby Animals of the Desert
Baby Animals of the Frozen Tundra
Baby Animals of the Ocean
Baby Animals of the Tropical Rain Forest
Baby Animals of the Woodland Forest

For more Nonfiction Monday book reviews, click here.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


If you want a link to a new site that recommends good books to spark a kid's love of reading, you might want to check out James Patterson's new site.

It turns out that this New York Times best-selling author discovered that his own son had become a reluctant reader. So he came up with the idea of creating a website featuring wonderful books kids actualy enjoy reading. And he hired Children's Literature consultant Judy Freeman (author of Books Kids Will Sit Still For) to post 20 reviews a month. Anyone who has heard her talk about books catches her enthusasiam for them -- and her written reviews reflect this, too.

The site is being run by an impressive Board whose members include book editors, publishing executives, and other people connected to the bookselling world, plus Judy Freeman, herself.

Here's an article in Publishing Weekly about this website.

Is Patterson's son still reluctant to read?
No. He's happily devouring books, again.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Groundhog Day

The Groundhog Day Book of Facts and Fun by Wendie Old, Albert Whitman 2004, ISBN 0-8075-3066-2

I usually don't review my own books for Nonfiction Monday, but today I couldn't resist pulling some nice nonfiction facts from it.

Legend has it that -- If the groundhog sees his shadow today, there will be 6 more weeks of winter. Amazingly enough, there is actually a scientific explanation of this. (you can find it yourself on page 25.)

A sunny day in February usually means that a cold front with High pressure has arrived. Cold and dry. brrrr. It certainly feels like winter is here to stay for at least 6 more weeks.

But a warm front, caused by a Low pressure system, brings more moisture in the air causing a cloudy, overcast day -- therefore no shadow. Plus, with the day being warmer, it feels like spring is coming.

The German people who settled in Pennsylvania had a tradition of watching for hibernating animals (bears/ hedgehogs) to come out to check the weather on February 2nd, the halfway point between the shortest day of the year in December (the beginning of winter) and the Equinox in March (the beginning of Spring). Since there were many groundhogs in the area they settled, they adopted it as the American animal to look for on February 2nd.

Did the groundhog in YOUR part of the country see his shadow today? Click here to check Punxsutawney Phil's prediction.
Click here to find more Nonfiction Monday reviews.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

SCBWI Conference in NYC

If you are like me, too busy to be able to attend the SCBWI conference which took place this weekend in New York City, then perhaps you'll enjoy reading this blog. It reads almost like twitter entries, giving summaries of what is happening in each session as they happen, except that the entries are a bit longer than twitter.

If you begin with the latest entries, it's like attending the conference backwards. I suggest you keep clicking on "older Posts" until you find the beginning of the conference and read forward from there.