Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween messages

If you wonder why I linked to the flu website this week -- it's because the nine-year-old has the flu. She says she's better. She's soooo much better that of course she can go trick or treating tonight -- right? Wrong dear.

Now I have two girls in the house mad at me.
the nine-year-old -- for not letting her go trick or treating.
and the black persian cat -- for not letting her go outside on Halloween night. (bad things happen to black cats tonight. I've lost one black cat already on Halloween, and I don't want to lose another.)

So, to complete your Halloween entertainment, I invite you to click on over to A Fuse #8 Production for her annual Halloween fest. Ah, she has a second Halloween post for you to click on as well.-wendieOOOOOOOOOO

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

If you think you have the flu

If you want to know more about this season's H1N1 flu, check out the CDC web pages. (CDC = Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Nonfiction Monday -- Halloween

It's only 5 more days until Halloween!
Everyone have their costume picked out?
Have your children tried theirs on umteen times already? Mine has. The 9-year-old is going GOTH this year and the 7-year-old is going to wear the 9-year-old's old Cinderella costume -- provided her adopted dad picks it up tomorrow.

I thought I'd list some of my favorite Halloween books today. I say 'some' because, unfortunately, most of them are checked out of the library, so I'm sure I'll miss a lot of them.

Naturally, first on my list is The Halloween Book of Facts and Fun, written by me, with child-friendly, not-scary illustrations by Paige Billin-Frye.

Everything you ever thought you'd want to know about the holiday is in there, plus jokes and party plans.

Next up -- Haunting on a Halloween, Frightful Activities for Kids by Linda White, illustrated by Fran Lee. Utah: Gibbs Smith, 2002.

Designs for pumpkins.
Face Painting ideas.
Halloween food ideas that kids can prepare.
All highlighted by cartoon like illlustrations.

Halloween Treats, Recipes and Crafts for the Whole Family, by Donata Maggipinto. Illustrated by photographs. Chronicle Books, 1998.
Each double page spread has a full page photograph on one side and instructions for the craft and food pictured on the other. yummy.

All New Crafts for Halloween by Kathy Ross. Illustrated by Sharon Lane Holm. Millbrook Press, 2003.

Everyone knows that, if you want crafts that are child-tested and safe, ones that adults can easily prepare for large groups, you turn to Kathy Ross's books. Her books have inspired crafts for many of my library programs.

Nonfiction Monday is being hosted by scientist and blogger, Roberta Gibson, over at Wrapped In Foil. Click on the link and enjoy all the different selections.

There are tons more great Halloween books out there. What are your favorites? -wendie old

Sunday, October 25, 2009

RWA information (very late)

Okay, I know I promised to post some of the information that I learned at the Romance Writers of American's National conference last summer, but life got busy. However, just today one of my favorite blogs, Brooklyn Arden, written by editor, Cheryl Klein mentioned how much she admired Jennifer Cruise.

Jennifer Cruise? Oh my.
She gave the best workshop of the whole RWA conference -- two hours on plotting. AND she said that her plot sketches would be on her blog. Did I remember to post this information in my own blog? I did not. Soooo, here it is. Just click on her name (at the beginning of this paragraph) -- lots of great writing information to be found on her blog and on her website.
-wendie O

Friday, October 23, 2009

Life in Libraries

I used to always read a blog called "The Tiny Little Librarian." (or something like that.) It was full of comments about the crazy and real things that happen in libraries. Then she stopped blogging.

Well, a librarian at my own library system is putting similar things on her blog: Library Looney. Click there to see some of the weird and crazy things that happen in Maryland libraries. Have the same things happened in mine? yes indeedy.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Two things to celebrate

Yesterday was an important day for us.

-- Two years ago we adopted our granddaughter. To celebrate, we took her out to Baskins Robbins for Ice cream and for some reason, she had a stomach ache last night.
It couldn't have been the sundae, could it?
Bananas. A scoop of pumpkin ice cream. A scoop of cookies and cream ice cream. Strawberry topping with whipped cream on top. No cherry. She doesn't like cherries. I have to say that it looked like more than my stomach could hold.

-- Three years ago, my husband stopped smoking!
He had tried before, but had gone back to smoking. This time it's for keeps. He hasn't smoked for three years. Not that he hasn't wanted to -- every so often stress gets him down and he really, really wants a cigarette. But he resisted and now it's been three years.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Nonfiction Monday -- Building a Bridge

Building a Bridge by JoAnn Early Macken. A Pebble Plus/ Construction Zone book from Capstone Press, 2009.

An easy reading book showing how a suspension bridge was built. Okay, there are a couple of words that are not easy, but children can ask an adult what 'suspension' is, and then will love saying the word over and over.

Huge photographs of every stage of the construction bleed to the edges and sometimes even onto part of the left hand, double spread. The few large-type sentences are divided into four or five word phrases on the left hand of the double page spread. An artist has even labeled particular parts of the photographs, to point out special features such as the location of the "tower crane."

Construction sites are fascinating to all ages. I know I want to stop and watch things being built, just like I did at age 4 or 5. If I have to use the excuse of "showing it to my grandchildren," why not? I know the grandchildren will be just as fascinated. Books like this take you to construction sites from the comfort of your own home.

Adults reading the book, or having the child read to them, might wonder just where this bridge was built. I did. I kept looking at the city in the background of the pictures, trying to guess the location. The book never says.

Glossary and Index
Read more (easy reading bridge books, not older, more detailed books)
Plus -- Internet Sites as guided by something called FactHound. Hmm. Click on that word in the last sentence and explore it yourself. Evidently you need to type in this books's number = 9781429622578 = to reach safe internet sites related to this book.

Nonfiction Monday is being held at Lori Calabrese Writes today. Click on the name to find more NF Monday reviews.

KidLitCon09 -- Making connections

Just a short post here to let you know that you can click here to find the twitter stream from the KidLitCon09 conference this past weekend. Greg Pincus (otherwise known as Gregory K. initiated a Twitter stream from the conference itself and posted it on one of his blogs, The Happy Accident.

It includes tweets from the talk a representative of the FTC gave. She said that the FTC would NOT fine bloggers if they don't reveal where they got the books they review. (Under Section 5 of FTC act, which prohibits deceptive and unfair advertising practices.) Endorsement was the part we had been worried about. (Endorsement is an advertising message that reflects the views/opinions of someone other than advertiser.) The FTC representative said that her government department usually would go after the suppliers, instead. She seemed quite surprised that we online book reviewers had been so worried about the act. It's aimed at product advertisers who give products to a third party so that that party would spread the word about the product, not book reviewers.

The FTC representative sees a definite distinction between independent reviewers and people part of marketing program.

(added later) I'm sure that lots of the people who attended will be blogging all week about their conference experience. Someone just left a comment here that you can find more information about the FTC talk on Michelle's blog, Galleysmith.

Since several attendees joined the Conference Tweet stream, as well as non-attendees bemoaning the fact that they weren't there, the whole Tweet stream shows lots of different viewpoints of the conference streaming at the same time.

Greg gave a WOW presentation about the various parts of online Social Media. And why we should be involved in it. He invited all of us who had brought laptops to rush up to our rooms and have them before us while he talked, in order to see the powerpoint presentation he had created. (There was no powerpoint projector and screen set up in the room.) Zoom! Enough laptops appeared all over the room that everyone had no problems seeing them.

Sunday Morning, at breakfast, he taught several Tweeter newbees (including me) about Tweeting. His mantra is that Twitter is Making Connections. I'm not sure I'll ever be comfortable with it, but at least now I know more about it.

Greg posts from three blogs as well as Twitter:


Monday, October 12, 2009

Nonfiction Monday -- Capstone books

At present there is a strange law says that bloggers who review books (not print reviewers, just bloggers) must acknowledge when they get books for free, and must also reveal any other connections they have with the publisher, writer, etc.

So, here's my confession.
I discovered several boxes of books from Capstone Publishers on my back porch one day. Were they individual books I had requested to see for reviewing? Nope. They were various easy-reading series the publisher thought I might like to examine for potential reviewing. Some are pre-pub and some are just published, which means that my library system doesn't have them on our shelves, yet.

Libraries are closed today and I realized that I needed a nonfiction book to review for Nonfiction Monday, so I emptied the boxes and piled the books into various piles.

Suddenly I realized that I had a handful of books by writers I know. I know that they do quality work and have high standards for research. I realized that I didn't have to wait for reviews of these books, I trust these writers.

So, here goes.
First up -- Laura Purdie Salas. I've known Laura for 15 years or more, ever since I wrote articles about the Moody Blues rock band for her husband's fan magazine -- Higher & Higher. She has written lebenty-hundred books, both poetry and prose.

A Is for Arrr! A Pirate Alphabet by Laura Purdie Salas.
Mankato, MN: Capstone Press, 2010.

Other books in this series include:
P is for Pom Pom! A cheerleading Alphabet,
Y Is for Yowl! A scary Alphabet,
Z Is for Zoom! A Race Car Alphabet

Even though the whole series has a copyright date of 2010, I do hope Capstone manages to get Y is for Yowl! into stores in time for Halloween. If not this year, then the next?

Alphabet books may look easy, but they're actually quite difficult. Don't even think of doing an alphabet book until you are sure it passes the 'Q' and the 'X' test. (the hardest letters to find representative words for)
How did Laura do?
Pirates have Quartermasters (yup) an a big fat X marks the spot. (So far so good.) The scary alphabet includes Q is for Quicksand, but falls down a little with X is for eXplode. It's considered cheating, but acceptable if the x is in the first syllable of the word -- and the beginning sound is X.

The illustrations are mostly full page photographs. Many of them are close-ups of the alphabetical object being used, with plain backgrounds that make the object POP. The words don't intrude and don't overlap the photograph. (which would make it difficult to read) Instead they have their own, set-aside, area of the page. In the pirate book the background for the words looks like old parchment. Like an old map. The scary book has white lettering on a black tombstone shape. All aimed to assist the new reader to decipher the words. And the words? First and second grade level. Each letter and photograph are matched with two or three sentences describing them.
(I love the sleeping pirate at the end. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Definitely a photo of a re-enactor caught in the act of taking a nap. Other illustrations in the same book are paintings or even look like scenes from a pirate movie.

Includes: Fun Facts
Index and Glossary
Read More -- book and Internet sites
And a note to parents and librarians.
Some books of this series include a craft.

The note says that these are designed to be read aloud to a pre-reader or read independently by an early reader.
More Nonfiction Monday sites are located here.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Very Hungry Caterpillar Day

Since today was -- Read The Very Hungry Caterpillar story to as many kids as you can DAY -- several of our public library branches did readings every half hour, using books, flannel board presentations, the pop-up version, etc. Unfortunately, I was only in my branch a few hours today, so I set up a Very Hungry Caterpillar craft, instead.

Why is today - Read The Very Hungry Caterpillar day?
Two reasons.
1. Because this year is the 40th Anniversary of the first publication of the Very Hungry Caterpillar book.
2. Because today, October 8, 2009, children across the globe read (and were read to) Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar to break a world record for the largest shared reading experience:
To discover more about this event, and to see if they made their goal click here for the Jumpstart: Read for the Record campaign.

Did you participate?

(added later)
The librarian coordinating the Read for the Record in our county library system received this letter:
Dear (librarian's name)
Thank you for reading as part of Jumpstart’s Read for the Record, presented in partnership with the Pearson Foundation! I’m so happy that you shared Eric Carle’s classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, with a child in your life on October 8!

Together we read to more than ONE MILLION children, breaking the world record once again - but numbers are still coming in!
We will have the final number later this month.
.... (text eliminated)
Thank you again for reading with us and helping us raise awareness for America’s early literacy crisis! This has been an important Campaign for Jumpstart and for children everywhere. I'm thrilled that you were a part of it.
James Cleveland

Monday, October 5, 2009

Nonfiction Monday --I like Weird Animals

Weird Birds by Carmen Bredeson. Berkeley Heights, New Jersey: Enslow Publishers, Inc., 2010. Available now. or soon. Depends if you believe the coyyright date in the book (2010) or the publication date on (2009)

How Weird!
Well, that's just one more weird thing about this series called "I Like Weird Animals!"

Do you have an early elementary classroom full of curious kids? All eager to learn amazing (and weird) facts about nature around them? And about strange animals they never knew existed? This is the book for you.

What's inside?
-A full-page photograph of the animal on the right with four or five intriguing, descriptive sentences on the left.
-Nine animals/ birds/ sea creatures/ etc. per book.
-Vocabulary words to know.
-Table of Contents and an index.
-A list of (3) books where you can find more information.
-Several websites
-She dedicated the book to her weird siblings
-The books support the National Science Education Standards for K–4 life science.

These are not books for reports on animals. They're books to spark an interest and a need to read and find out more.

I have to confess that I have a connection to Enslow Publishers. They published seven biographies of mine. I stop by their booth every time I attend ALA, just to talk. One day I happened to mention to Mark Enslow that I had enjoyed another series of theirs and he thought there might be more Enslow series I would enjoy. A few weeks later the Lovely Lisa in Marketing sent two of the I Like Weird Animals! series to my library mailbox.

Then I took a good look at the author's name. (People never notice the author of nonfiction books. Comeon now, think about it. You don't remember them, do you?)
Ah Ha! I know that author. So I wrote her and quizzed her about the books.

I asked if she took the photographs herself?
In her research she found many strange and wonderful creatures. The Enslow people looked for photographs of them. Some of the ones she wanted to write about had to be dropped because no photograph could be found.

Who do you think will enjoy reading these books?
"I wrote them primarily for second grade boys. That's why the word poop appears pretty often."

What was your vision for this series?
"The whole object was to find things that would make kids laugh and want to read more."

Other books in the I Like Weird Animals! series include:
Bomb-Factory Beetles and Other Weird Insects
Fainting Goats and Other Weird Mammals
Flying Geckos and Other Weird Reptiles
Hair-Shooting Tarantulas and Other Weird Spiders
Leafy Sea Dragons and Other Weird Sea Creatures

Descriptions of these books can be found on the Enslow Publishers' website.

For more weird and interesting children's books, hop on over here to see all of the Nonfiction Monday reviews.
-wendie old

Friday, October 2, 2009

What do agents do?

Ever wonder what an agent does? Click on over to Nathan Bransford's blog and find out -- he has a post the covers most of what they do. And they do all this before they get one red cent from the author.