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What Are You Reading? (117) #IMWAYR – October 19, 2014

Thanks to Book Journey for starting this whole thing!

Thanks to Book Journey for starting this whole thing!

Thanks also to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for their focus on Children’s Literature of this meme!

Thanks also to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for their focus on Children’s Literature of this meme!

Please like The Chronicles Of A Children's Book Writer Facebook page!

Please like The Chronicles Of A Children’s Book Writer Facebook page!

If you’re on Twitter, don’t forget to use the hashtag #IMWAYR when sharing your link!

This week, I posted:

-New Releases: October 14, 2014- Read my reviews for:

-Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday- Read my reviews for:

The Iridescence of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse by Patricia MacLachlan, Illustrated by Hadley Hooper [***]

The Iridescence of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse by Patricia MacLachlan, Illustrated by Hadley Hooper [***]

-Celebrate This Week- This week, I’m celebrating being a reading machine!
Read my reviews for:

Evil LibrarianEvil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fun! Fun! Fun!

Any book that mentions the American Library Association and in which a musical takes center stage is a good book to me!

Demons are prowling everywhere in Cynthia’s school and it’s up to her and the boy of her dreams to rescue everyone before it’s too late. With the fresh and witty dialogue and ridiculously over-the-top situations, I can’t wait for the next book.

(I’m assuming there’s at least one more book based on the ending.)

View all my reviews

The Jacket by Kirstin Hall, Illustrated by Dasha Tolstikova [**]

The Jacket by Kirstin Hall, Illustrated by Dasha Tolstikova [**]


Sweet story about the perfect book and what happens when an overly excited dog gets its dirty little paws into it. I love the activity included in the book to make your own dustjacket or book cover!

Once Upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers [***]

Once Upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers [***]


A very winning and charming picture book that will most likely be my #1 pick for the holidays. I just loved everything about it. It’s not at all like your typical alphabet book. There are all kinds of references and callbacks to other short stories in the books and even his other works. A must read!

Zero by Kathryn Otoshi [**]

Zero by Kathryn Otoshi [**]


I wasn’t going to read Zero because I didn’t like One. But I enjoyed this one. Kids will enjoy this story and message of self-worth.

Expect reviews for these books during Wednesday’s Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge post:

Rating Scale
*= It was OK
**= Liked it
***= Recommended
****= Highly Recommended
*****= Favorite

I’m reading lots of middle grade novels for the CYBILS awards.

Have a great reading week!

 

Celebrate This Week- October 18, 2014

Thanks to Ruth Ayers of Discover. Play. Build. for creating this meme!

Thanks to Ruth Ayers of Discover. Play. Build. for creating this meme!

This week I’m celebrating being a reading machine!


We’ve had copies of these board books in the store for awhile now and I’ve only just read them. They are adorable and introduces young kids to counting and colors in a fun delightful way! And, guess what, now it’s much easier to sell them!

Me & Dog by Gene Weingarten [**]

Me & Dog by Gene Weingarten [**]


I had been avoiding this picture book because I thought it was going to be a depressing book about an animal dying. But a customer said she’d heard the author being interviewed recently about it and I was intrigued. This story about a boy and his dog tackles the issue of atheism. While I don’t necessarily believe in that, I’m glad there’s a book like this for those who do.

This Orq. (He Cave Boy.) by David Elliott, Illustrated by Lori Nichols [**]

This Orq. (He Cave Boy.) by David Elliott, Illustrated by Lori Nichols [**]


I may like books with parenthetical titles. I was surprised to enjoy this picture book more than I thought I would. A cute story about a boy (another one!) wanting a pet and the mother who wouldn’t let him. The page that lots of parents tend to object to is the one with poop. It makes it a hard sell despite it being really good!

Under the EggUnder the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I can’t believe I had passed up on reading this when it first came out. It was being compared to From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler for goodness sake! That should have been a no-brainer!

In this clever middle reader mystery, Theo finds a mysterious painting left behind by her recently deceased grandfather. It has her questioning not only the authenticity of the painting but also the character of a person she greatly admired.

I loved all the things I learned while reading it. There was a conspiracy-novel feel to Under the Egg but fortunately it wasn’t like that at all. Still an exciting read!

View all my reviews

More book reviews coming up tomorrow!

What are you celebrating this week?

 

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday #41

The Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge is hosted by Alyson over at Kid Lit Frenzy.

The Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge is hosted by Alyson over at Kid Lit Frenzy.

With Books and Bricks: How Booker T. Washington Built a School by Suzanne Buckingham Slade, Illustrated by Nicole Tadgell [***]

With Books and Bricks: How Booker T. Washington Built a School by Suzanne Buckingham Slade, Illustrated by Nicole Tadgell [***]

An inspiring account of Booker T. Washington’s quest to ensure a proper education was available for everyone. I loved that he never gave up despite numerous setbacks and insurmountable obstacles. Truly, knowledge is power and that gave him strength.

Little Humans by Brandon Stanton [***]

Little Humans by Brandon Stanton [***]

I’d seen some posts about Brandon Stanton’s blog “Humans of New York” on my Facebook page. I was curious as to how it would translate for a much younger audience. I love the message. Fans of the Global Babies series will want to grab a copy of this!

Creature Features: Twenty-Five Animals Explain Why They Look the Way They Do by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page [***]

Creature Features: Twenty-Five Animals Explain Why They Look the Way They Do by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page [***]


Each of the animals in this picture book is asked about one of their most identifiable physical characteristic in a fun one-question interview format. Information about their size in comparison with one another, what they eat and where they live are located in the back!

The Iridescence of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse by Patricia MacLachlan, Illustrated by Hadley Hooper [***]

The Iridescence of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse by Patricia MacLachlan, Illustrated by Hadley Hooper [***]


Another impressive nonfiction picture book! The way the words flowed just made it a delight to read- and that title! The illustrations are stunning, as well. Factual with a touch of whimsy.

 

New Releases: October 14, 2014

Before After by Matthias Arégui and Anne-Margot Ramstein [**]

Before After by Matthias Arégui and Anne-Margot Ramstein [**]


A beautiful wordless picture book that explores the evolution of things and also managing to infuse some humor along the way!

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Jon Klassen [***]

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Jon Klassen [***]


One of the most anticipated picture books this year was definitely worth the wait. An enjoyable story paired with wonderful illustrations. Readers of all ages will enjoy the two boys’ quest for something spectacular. And everyone will be talking about that ending!

Up & Down by Britta Teckentrup [**]

Up & Down by Britta Teckentrup [**]


Opposites are taught in a fun lift-the-flap story about one penguin’s adventure to be with his friend.

In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek, Illustrated by Christine Roussey [***]

In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek, Illustrated by Christine Roussey [***]


I’m probably just a sap but I adored this picture book- from the die-cut hearts whimsically decorated to represent a different emotion to the lyrical flow of words. Sweet!

And, tomorrow included in my Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge post, my review of…

The Iridescence of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse by Patricia MacLachlan, Illustrated by Hadley Hooper [***]

The Iridescence of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse by Patricia MacLachlan, Illustrated by Hadley Hooper [***]

 

What Are You Reading? (116) #IMWAYR – October 12, 2014

Thanks to Book Journey for starting this whole thing!

Thanks to Book Journey for starting this whole thing!

Thanks also to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for their focus on Children’s Literature of this meme!

Thanks also to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for their focus on Children’s Literature of this meme!

Please like The Chronicles Of A Children's Book Writer Facebook page!

Please like The Chronicles Of A Children’s Book Writer Facebook page!

If you’re on Twitter, don’t forget to use the hashtag #IMWAYR when sharing your link!

This week, I posted:

-Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday- Read my reviews for:

-Celebrate This Week- This week, I’m celebrating:

Frank! by Connah Brecon [**]- A charming story about a well-intentioned bear that gets him in trouble for always being late to school. A dance-off plays a part in the story so it's worth reading just for that!

Frank! by Connah Brecon [**]- A charming story about a well-intentioned bear that gets him in trouble for always being late to school. A dance-off plays a part in the story so it’s worth reading just for that!

The Meaning of MaggieThe Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow!

I’d been wanting to read this book since I love books with fun footnotes but I put it off until now.

Eleven-year-old Magnolia Jane Mayfield(a.k.a Maggie)is sure she’s going to be President of the United States so she starts writing her memoir. And she has lots to write about with all the changes happening in her family that requires all of them to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

I love her unique view of life and of how the world works. I loved her go-getter attitude, her unwavering sense of right and wrong, and her inability to resist sweets.

A refreshing coming-of-age story that defines who a person is in terms of their family.

View all my reviews

Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads by Bob Shea, Illustrated by Lane Smith [**]- I didn't know what to expect with this picture book but it was quite delightful. It might not be an all around hit with everyone but I enjoyed how different it was. A dinosaur-loving seven-year-old becomes the sheriff of a crime-infested town!

Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads by Bob Shea, Illustrated by Lane Smith [**]- I didn’t know what to expect with this picture book but it was quite delightful. It might not be an all around hit with everyone but I enjoyed how different it was. A dinosaur-loving seven-year-old becomes the sheriff of a crime-infested town!

Hug Me by Simona Ciraolo [**]- Everyone needs a hug- and that's all Felipe wants and doesn't get. After a disastrous encounter with a balloon, he sets off on his own in search of a friend- and a hug!

Hug Me by Simona Ciraolo [**]- Everyone needs a hug- and that’s all Felipe wants and doesn’t get. After a disastrous encounter with a balloon, he sets off on his own in search of a friend- and a hug!

Sebastian and the Balloon by Philip C. Stead [**]- Beautiful old-fashioned illustrations but a bit boring.

Sebastian and the Balloon by Philip C. Stead [**]- Beautiful old-fashioned illustrations but a bit boring.

Margret & H.A. Rey's Curious George Goes to a Bookstore by J.M.B., Illustrated by M.O'K.Y [*]- To be fair, I never liked Curious George. But I love bookstores, so I gave this a try. I did try and credit the current author and illustrator but only found their initials.

Margret & H.A. Rey’s Curious George Goes to a Bookstore by J.M.B., Illustrated by M.O’K.Y [*]- To be fair, I never liked Curious George. But I love bookstores, so I gave this a try. I did try and credit the current author and illustrator but only found their initials.

A Perfectly Messed-Up Story by Patrick McDonnell [**]- Kids will enjoy this funny meta picture book. I'm feeling all gimmicked out though! At least, the main character learned a lesson.

A Perfectly Messed-Up Story by Patrick McDonnell [**]- Kids will enjoy this funny meta picture book. I’m feeling all gimmicked out though! At least, the main character learned a lesson.

The Storm Whale by Benji Davies [**]- The cover and the illustrations caught my eye. A sweet story about a boy and his father and a beached whale. I will definitely keep this in mind for Father's Day.

The Storm Whale by Benji Davies [**]- The cover and the illustrations caught my eye. A sweet story about a boy and his father and a beached whale. I will definitely keep this in mind for Father’s Day.

What There Is Before There Is Anything There: A Scary Story by . Liniers, Translated by Elisa Amado [**]- People will most likely buy this for the illustrations. They are wonderful. There's a dark humor that some people may enjoy but I don't think kids will.

What There Is Before There Is Anything There: A Scary Story by . Liniers, Translated by Elisa Amado [**]- People will most likely buy this for the illustrations. They are wonderful. There’s a dark humor that some people may enjoy but I don’t think kids will.

Hope Is a Ferris WheelHope Is a Ferris Wheel by Robin Herrera
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Let me get to the part I didn’t like first. Star seemed younger than her ten years. I’m sure there are kids who would react the same way she did, considering all the confusing and life-altering events happening to her, but she came off as acting and thinking younger. Maybe I’ve just been fortunate enough to interact with mature kids in my life.

Other than that, I enjoyed Hope is a Ferris Wheel. Star Mackie is having a hard time fitting in at school- being teased for living in a trailer park and having blue hair that looks like a mullet, just to name a few. Her family life isn’t going swimmingly either- with separated parents and a moody older sister, whom she adores but seems to be shrugging her off.

A solution to her problems comes from the most unexpected source- Emily Dickinson’s poetry!

A nice story about trying to find one’s place in a world.

View all my reviews

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour BookstoreMr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Reasons why I wanted to read the book:

1. It’s about a bookstore.
2. The cover glows in the dark.
3. It takes place in San Francisco where I grew up.

This was an enjoyable read full of fascinating characters and interesting situations.

View all my reviews

Expect reviews for these books during Wednesday’s Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge post:

Rating Scale
*= It was OK
**= Liked it
***= Recommended
****= Highly Recommended
*****= Favorite

I’m reading as many of the following as I can… and then some more…

lu2

Have a great reading week!

 

Celebrate This Week- October 11, 2014

Thanks to Ruth Ayers of Discover. Play. Build. for creating this meme!

Thanks to Ruth Ayers of Discover. Play. Build. for creating this meme!

This week I’m celebrating a bunch of random things.

During my San Francisco vacation, I visited lots of bookstores, but my most favorite is the one I get to come home to- Green Bean Books! I work with wonderful people. I enjoy interacting with our regular customers- some of whom are published authors and illustrators.

lu1

Of course, there are books! I’m also celebrating the CYBILS Awards for allowing me to participate as a First Round Judge in the Middle Grade Fiction category. Already, I’m reading more great books I’ve been putting off.

lu2

Nominations are going on through October 15th so there’s still time to advocate for your favorite books!

I’m so glad I work at a great bookstore to help me have access to books. Then, there’s the equally great Multnomah County Library that also helps! While I was at Central’s Collins Gallery, I got to see The William Stafford Calligraphy Project exhibit. As if his words weren’t beautiful enough, it was wonderful to see them represented in various fonts, styles, and ways.

lu3

To support such a great institution is why I am a board member of our local Friends of the Library! We are gearing up for our Fall Used Book Sale- Oregon’s largest one!

Speaking of libraries, I discovered another Little Free Library in my neighborhood!

lu4

To bring this rather mishmash of a post together, I’m also celebrating that not only through this blog do I get to talk about all the things I love but also while celebrating at The Children’s Book Bank. On this blog’s Facebook page, I posted: “Another great night cleaning donated books to give to kids from low-income households. There was even an impromptu read aloud of one of the volunteer’s favorite books to read to her kids- Sandra Boynton’s “Moo, Baa, La La La!” Of course, there were also great conversations about books read that we loved and hated!”

What are you celebrating this week?

 

San Francisco Visit Recap, Part 2

While in San Francisco, I visited some libraries and bookstores there and near the city, which I’ll share here.

My first stop was the San Francisco Main Public Library.

sfpl

My only memory of this place before was that it smelled like urine. But, I hadn’t really explored it until now. It’s a beautiful building with amazing art pieces. And it does still smell like pee but you can’t spell “public” without that.

A view of the top

A view of the top

I was glad to see that their Friends of the Library had a special bookstore there- Readers Bookstore at the Main.

sfpl1

One of their current exhibits was Berta and Elmer Hader: A Lifetime of Art based on the recently published book of the same name. It was only two glass cases but still a fascinating glimpse into their lives and their work. (You can read my review of another of their exhibit here.)

sfpl2

I also saw a copy of The Complete Collection of Pictures and Songs by Randolph Caldecott in their George M. Fox Collection of Early Children’s Books.

sfpl3

Another exhibit, Candi Farlice- Musings from an Artist’s Life, featured interesting ways to tell stories, including an apron containing pockets full of hair from various family members throughout the years.

sfpl4

San Francisco’s One City One Book pick this year was Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin. They had an exhibit using the book as a way to show people how life was like in the 1970s. (You can read my review of the book here.)

sfpl5

sfpl6

It was cool to see a StoryCorps StoryBooth there. I’ve been fascinated with various storytelling media.

sfpl7

Other bookstores and libraries I visited:

Chronicle Books- 165 4th St

Chronicle Books- 165 4th St

Thidwick Books

Thidwick Books


Green Apple Books
was definitely a destination for me. At first, I had forgotten the Annex was a separate building and was wondering what all the buzz was all about and where the other rooms were. Luckily, I walked the few more steps to the main store.

Books Inc. (Burlingame)- This tiny store was full of people buying books which made me happy!

Books Inc. (Burlingame)- This tiny store was full of people buying books which made me happy!

The Beat Museum- I grew up in the North Beach neighborhood. I remember going to a hole-in-wall used bookstore, where I'm sure this museum now stands. They do sell books here, including a bath tub full!

The Beat Museum- I grew up in the North Beach neighborhood. I remember going to a hole-in-wall used bookstore, where I’m sure this museum now stands. They do sell books here, including a bath tub full!


City Lights
was another bookstore in my Must-Visit list. I remember entering this place as a child by myself and feeling so out-of-place that I hurried out!

I hadn’t heard of Alexander Book Company before but fell in love with it!

Fairfield Cordelia Library

Fairfield Cordelia Library

Fairfield Cordelia Library- Friends of the Fairfield/Suisun City Libraries

Fairfield Cordelia Library- Friends of the Fairfield/Suisun City Libraries

Located at the Oakland Airport

Located at the Oakland Airport

San Francisco is such a rich literary scene!

 
 
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