Favorite Quotes

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents."
— Emilie Buchwald

“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”
-- Dr. Seuss, "I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!"

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

More Newbery 2011 Reads

Heart of a Samuri
by Margi Preus
Newbery Honor 2011

Had this novel not won a Newbery Honor, I have to admit I probably would not have read it.  And I would have been missing out on a great novel.  From my first glance at the cover, I thought this was just not my type of reading.  However, a few chapters in and I was hooked.  The story starts in 1841 when a young boy named Manjiro becomes shipwrecked with four others.  I then thought that the story would be one of survival on the island where they were trapped.  But was happily surprised when they quickly were rescued by some barbarians, who turn out to be from America.  We follow the journey of Manjiro from young boy into adulthood.  He spends time on several whaling boats, makes some difficult life changing decisions, and learns what is really important to him.  The reader is wrapped up in his life and we wonder if he will ever make it back to his home in Japan and if he does what will happen to him when he arrives.  This novel is full of action, suspense, character development, and the bonds of friendship.  The book is divided into 5 different parts (The Unknown, The Barabarians, The New World, Returning, and Home).  The end of the novel contains an epilogue where the reader learns what happens to Manjiro in the rest of his life.  There is also a historical note from the author explaining how the story was based on a real person and which facts were true in the story.  We can also read about the Japanese calendar method and the environmental concerns about whaling.  There is also a glossary included which explains many Japanese words, terms, and places; along with Whaling terms, parts of a ship, and Sailor's lingo.  Also included is a bibliography and suggested reading list.

Topics this book could be included in:  Samurai, Sailing, Whaling, Japan, California Gold Rush

Related readings:


Dark Emperors and Other Poems of the Night
by Joyce Sidman, Illustrated by Rick Allen
Newbery Honor 2011

I have to say I was surprised and delighted that this book won a Newbery Honor this year.  As it is part poetry and part nonfiction, it doesn't fit the Newbery mold.  This book is all about creatures that are awake at nighttime, or who are nocturnal.  Each two page spread, includes a poem and an informational paragraph about the creature.  We learn about raccoons, snails, primrose moths, owls, spiders, porcupettes, crickets, mushrooms, bats and even trees hard at work during the night hours.  I loved the illustration style of linoleum block painting.  The book information gives more details as to how the illustrations were created.  There is also a useful table of contents and a glossary of great vocabulary words included.

Links:  The author's website 
           A great reader's guide from the author
          The illustrator's website

and be sure to check out the book trailor below:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bedtime Storytime Books 2010

I just noticed a theme in my basket of books from the library:  Sleepy Time

The following books would be great additions to any storytime about bedtime, night time, or sleeping:

Tuck Me In! by Dean Hacohen and Sherry Scharschmidt

This is a great bedtime story!  The fun and colorful illustrations show friendly baby animals ready for bed.  The reader helps tuck in the baby animals by turning the pages which are designed like blankets.  This is a unique lift the flap story that all are sure to enjoy!  The end of the story tucks in the reader.  This book is also great for introducing and practicing animal names.

Sleepy, Oh So Sleepy by Denise Fleming

Another great bedtime story!  The well known author/illustrator Denise Fleming shows various baby animals getting sleepy.  We see her signature pulp painting illustrations.  The book information states that pulp painting is " a papermaking technique using colored cotton fiber poured through hand cut stencils."  My favorite part of the story is the end where we see the tiny sleepy human baby and the baby has a sock monkey doll, this was my favorite doll as a young child.
Be sure to check out Denise Fleming's website and her blog!

No by Claudia Rueda

This is the story of a young bear who does not want to go to sleep as his mother wishes.  His mother warns that the winter will be long, cold, windy, with little food.  He assures her that he will be fine and stays awake.  When a winter storm comes and almost buries the young bear, he calls for his mother and joins her in her den to keep her company, as winter is long and she might be lonely.  I enjoyed the illustrations in this story, especially when the snow gets so high the reader can hardly see the young bear.

Sleepover at Gramma's House by Barbara Joose, Illustrated by Jan Jutte

This is the story of a young elephant preparing for a sleepover at Gramma's House.  She packs her bag, says goodbye to her pet fish, her parents, and the baby. She travels through a busy town to Gramma's house. She and Gramma have lots of fun together.  After a fun filled day with Gramma, the young elephant gets ready for bed.  The young elephant tells Gramma  bedtime stories.  Then they fall asleep inside a hug.

Newbery 2011

Winner:  Moon Over Manifest
by Clare Vanderpool

One of the Honors:  Turtle in Paradise
by Jennifer L. Holm

Turtle in Paradise:  This was the first of the Newbery Honor books that I received from my local library.  This was a quick and entertaining read.  I would have loved this book when I was in middle school.  It tells the story of Turtle who spends the summer getting to know her mother's side of the family as she has come to stay with them while her mother works.  She has many adventures with her new found cousins and solves many mysteries along the way.  The ending was very interesting and fitting for the storyline.
     Links:  Author's Website
                A Great Review at: Welcome to my Tweendom

 Moon Over Manifest:  I had not heard of this book until it won the Newbery Award.  This was the author's first novel.  Imagine winning the coveted Newbery with your first novel!  I enjoyed this story which follows Abilene on her journey into her father's past.  She too has many adventures with her new found friends and solves several mysteries along the way.  I just loved how this one ended.  I found this book similar to the above mentioned novel, but they both were great reads.  I had to finish this one in one setting as I just had to know how it ended. It is very deserving of the Newbery Medal this year!
      Links:  Author's Website
                 A More Thorough Review at SemiColon

Other Newbery honors:  I plan to read the rest of the Newbery honors and will post about them soon.

Book Review: 14 Cows for America

14 Cows for America
By Carmen Agra Deedy
Illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez
In Collaboration with Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah
Peachtree Publishers, Atlanta

Summary:  This story reveals a true event that occurred after the events of September 11th.  I was unaware of this event until reading this story.  We learn of a Kenyan man living in America at the time of September 11th.  He returns to Kenya and tells the tale of the events that occurred in America on September 11th.  His village takes the events to heart and donates 14 cows to America in a touching ceremony.  The story shows hope, friendship, and selflessness.

I found the illustrations in this book to be extraordinary.  The book information states that the "illustrations are created in pastel, colored pencil, and airbrush on 100% rag archival watercolor paper".

The end of the book contains a note from Kimeli Naiyomah, the man featured in the story.  We see a photo of him with two Massai elders.  He tells the story of growing up in Kenya, having a strong bond with the cows he helped to care for, and the life lessons he learned there.  He then explains what brought him to America and how he returned to Kenya to tell his village about the events that took place in America on September 11th.  We then learn the story of the how the 14 cows became a gift for America.  There is also an image of a flag that commemorates this event which is now on display at the US Embassy in Kenya.

This story has its own website:  14 Cows for America
From there you can learn more about the story, and even visit the book's very own Facebook, Twitter, or Blog.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Newbery Award 2010

Well I finally got around to reading this past year's Newbery winning title, the day before the next Newbery is announced.  I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.  Instead of reviewing this novel (that most of you have probably already read), I am including some links to information about the novel.

The Wikipedia Summary

The Author's Website

School Library Journal's Interview with the Author

A Horn Book article about the author

After reading this novel, you may want to read or re-read the following title:

And as a side note, it reminded me of one of my favorite television series:

Nonfiction Monday: Dinosaur Mountain: Digging Into the Jurassic Age

Dinosaur Mountain: Digging Into The Jurassic Age
By Deborah Kogan Ray
Frances Foster Books, Farrar Straus Giroux, New York

Summary:  Dinosaur lovers are sure to enjoy this informational/biography book.  This book tells the story of the Bone Wars, the life and studies of Earl Douglass, and what it is like to be a paleontologist.  The artwork is a combination of illustrations and drawings from Douglass's field journal.  We learn facts about specific dinosaurs, tools used in fossil excavation, and about the Dinosaur National Monument.

Tips for use:  This book could be used as part of a dinosaur program for school aged students.  Some of the following activities and materials could be used:
San Diego Natural History Museum

Everything Fossils

National Fossil Day


To read the rest of this week's post check out this week's host: Tales from the Rushmore Kid

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Quick Book Review: I'm the Best

I'm the Best
by Lucy Cousins
Candlewick Press

Summary:  Taking a break from her popular Maisy character books, Cousins shares this very colorful story with childlike drawings and printing about Dog who thinks he is the best at everything.  This saddens his friends, who show Dog what they are the best at.  Dog realizes that everyone has different things that they are the best at, or does he?

Tips for use:  This story would make a fun addition to a storytime.  You could make a felt dog, ladybug, donkey, mole and goose to help tell the story.  Older preschoolers would appreciate the character lesson included.

Quick Book Review: Waiting Out the Storm

Waiting Out the Storm
by Joann Early Macken
Illustrated by Susan Gaber
Candlewick Press

Summary:  This story is told in verse like dialogue between a mother and daughter.  They are discussing the sights and sounds of a thunderstorm.  The mother reassures the daughter that the storm is not scary and they are cozy inside together.  We also see how several animals wait out the storm.

Themes this book would fit into:  Spring, Weather, Thunderstorms

Other resources about thunderstorms: