Sunday, July 18, 2010

Favorite storybooks of the moment

When preparing for a Fairy Tales storytime awhile back a coworker introduced me to The End by David LaRochelle and Richard Egielski. I love it so much I'm going to use it agian in our GIANT TIME program in a few weeks! The story begins with "And they lived happily ever after. They lived happily ever after because ..." and it tells the story of the soggy knight falling in love with the clever princess backwards. I love it - I absolutely love it. At the end when everything comes together, kids as young as 3 were getting it as the their eyes lit up and they realized what happened to the lemons! So wonderful! And it is a perfect tie in for multiple early literacy points - Narrative Skills (most stories are told moving forward in time! Lets read one that moves BACKWARDS!), Print Motivation (books can be arranged so many ways! How do you feel about books that read like this?), Print Awareness (what was different about how that book was set up?). The storytime I read this in was huge - 87 kids! But I can't wait to use this in a more intimate setting - one of our age specific storytimes, a 3s or a 4,5,K where I can more easily start up a discussion about the book. I want to see if the kids can then tell the story back to me forward! Kaylee can, but one-on-one storytimes are different.

I pulled A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C Stead and Erin E Stead off the new books cart somewhat on a whim and I'm so glad I did. The book is a story about a zookeeper who befriends all the animals and when he wakes up sick one day his animal friends take the bus to see him. It's beautiful and adorable and somewhat perfect. Kaylee is definitely not reading yet, but on our way home from the library (husband had dropped her off just as I got off of work) Kaylee started acting a bit like a 3 year old (every once in awhile she remembers that 3 year olds are traditionally obnoxious) so I handed her the top book in the pile and she was enchanted the entire drive. She recounted the entire story to me as we drove ("look! He's playing checkers with his friend the elephant! Look, he's chasing after the turtle! ... Oh, he's in bed and he looks sad. Is he sick? ... His friends are sad. Why isn't he playing with his friends, Mommy? Look! The penguin is bringing him a balloon! He's playing checkers with his friend again!" etc.), and I can't tell you how much it warmed my heart that the pictures in this book are so beautiful and expressive that the Kins could get everything out of the book without me having ever read it to her before.

Friday, July 02, 2010

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

Ok, so I've got things that need cleaned and other things that need organized and I have the cutest baby ever trying to crawl up into my lap (seriously - CUTEST BABY EVER. What, you don't believe me? Let me grab my phone and take a picture to prove it.

CUTEST BABY EVER! Pippa, meet the blog. Blog, meet Pippa. She's much bigger now.)

Anyway - I have very little time before my mother comes over with the elder daughter who she stole last night for a hotel sleepover, but I am trying to get in the habit of writing about books again! Which is to say, this one will be short, but this time I really am trying to be back!

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

Delphine and her sisters are sent by their father and Big Ma to spend the summer in California with their mother who they haven't seen since Fern the littlest "still needed her milk." Their mother wants little to do with them, shes so focused on her poetry, and sends them to the Black Panther's summer camp to keep them out of her hair.

This book is historical fiction, set in Oakland in the summer if 1968, and the time and place shine through, but this book is especially beautiful because of the characters. Everyone has a rich and complex history that makes you never want to put this book down. Fern, the youngest, is my favorite. She starts as a shy baby-doll carrying girl who can't stand up for herself and how she ends up? Amazing. And the language! I especially remember Delphine thinking about how her mother prays over her printing press.

There's the door! Gotta go. Seriously - Don't trust this super short and not good enough review. Read this book. It'll take you 2 lunch hours.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Random Links

When is a whitewashed cover not a whitewashed cover? When a publisher gives itself a reason to pretend that it isn't whitewashed. This article infuriated me, especially the quote, "When Cindy Pon was first trying to find a home for Silver Phoenix, she was told by an editor that 'Asian fantasy doesn't sell.' I'm sure people will look at the sales figures of Silver Phoenix and draw that same conclusion." WHATEVER. Kids LOVE being able to see themselves as the hero to a story and Asian kids read fantasy just as much as anybody else. I wish I had more in my RA head. (Do you know any more? PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE leave them in the comments. My patrons are obsessed and I need more ideas!) (found via Notemily.)

My friend Nerdgasms linked to this interesting article about the possibilities that ebooks bring in terms of multimedia in ways that couldn't be done before.

I agree that the possibilities for the future of books are endless, but don't discount the old fashioned print version of the book as being incabable of multimedia! There are multimedia books out there. From the basic such as Stephanie Meyer posting track lists of what she thinks of as the soundtrack to her books. There are multiple poetry anthologies for kids that come with CDs of the authors (or other if the author isn’t available) reading the poems aloud. When I was a teen librarian I remember a mystery book with clues in the books as well as on webpages referenced in the book that really existed on the web. The Septimus Heap hardcover books all come with a CD-ROM that I haven’t checked out but I know kids get disappointed if the only book on shelf is the one with the missing CD-ROM.

Heck, Eric Carle. The Very Lonely Firefly. At the end, all the fireflies light up! The Very Quiet Cricket! When you turn the last page after (spoiler alert) the cricket learns to chirp, THE BOOK CHIRPS AT YOU!

So yes, I'm excited for what's coming, but I love what's here.