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What Are You Reading? (144) #IMWAYR – April 26, 2015

This week, I posted:

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday– Read my review for:

Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade by Melissa Sweet

Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet

Celebrate This Week– This week, I’m celebrating the Children’s Institute.

My reading this week mostly consisted of advanced copies of books from the Children’s Institute. I’ll have those reviews closer to their release dates.

The War that Saved My LifeThe War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don’t like historical fiction or gimmicky sounding books. For awhile I was against reading this but after a few good word-of-mouth reviews, I gave in. And, as is the case most of the time, I enjoyed it.

I didn’t think I really would continue it since the beginning was kind of harsh. The mom character was quite evil and I almost couldn’t bear it.

Then, in contrast, everything seemed to be going too well for Ada and James- for Ada, especially. Susan was a saint for putting up with their ungratefulness. A part of me could understand the kids’ behaviors but they came off as quite greedy and selfish to me.

Despite all that, I got sucked in. I’m not quite sure I sold it but I would recommend this book to people and I wouldn’t be lying when I say I liked it!

View all my reviews

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The Mouse and the Motorcycle (Ralph S. Mouse, #1)The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“Two creatures who shared a love for motorcycles naturally spoke the same language.”

With sound logic like this to explain how Ralph S. Mouse (a mouse) and Keith Gridley (a boy), Beverly Cleary crafts another memorable tale of friendship.

It’s funny how finding an aspirin is one of the main plot points. A part of me thinks that Keith probably got sick from interacting so much with a rodent.

This reads like a total throwback but in a good way.

View all my reviews

Expect a review for this book later this week:

Wangari Maathai: The Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees by Franck Prévot

Wangari Maathai: The Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees by Franck Prévot

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

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!

Have a great reading week!

 

Celebrate This Week- April 24, 2015

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 the Children’s Institute.

I had started writing something else for this but ended up emailing someone about it and I decided that was actually better so here it is!

“I’d been excited to go to Children’s Institute since I heard about it. I was particularly ecstatic when my boss told me I would be able to accompany her this year! Yet there was really nothing to compare it to once I got there. The Institute happened to take place during my birthday and everything about the whole experience was like the best experience ever.

I really love being a bookseller. Aside from writing down my own stories, there’s nothing that fulfills me more than being able to share other people’s stories. And, to be in the same place with other booksellers who are as passionate about getting the right books into the hands of the right readers- to learn from one another, to share each other’s experiences- was what was the most appealing thing to me.

Then, there were the incredible authors and illustrators who create such wonderful books that it makes my job so easy; there were the publishers and their representatives who expertly sold the hard work and dreams represented in book form of their clients; and, there was the theme of we need diverse books so no one feels excluded, to remind us that we were all in this together.

Stand out moments included getting to meet David Levithan and Jon Scieszka whose works have moved me to tears and laughter, respectively; the rousing featured talk on the U.S. Children’s Book Market reminding us (or reassuring us) that what we’re doing is not a dying profession, that children’s bookselling is very much alive- and thriving; the conversations here and there with other people and the secret thrill I would get when they tell me they know and like Green Bean Books since we’re like the little bookstore that could! My favorite session was Creating a Picture Book with Marla Frazee and Allyn Johnston. Theirs was a relationship I hadn’t encountered before in the book industry. I left the talk in awe and inspired.

Oh, and the books! There were so many books I can’t wait to read. It was a miracle I was able to bring them all with me on the way back to Portland.

It’s an exciting time to be a bookseller. There are going to be more things to do and learn so I would definitely want to attend Children’s Institute again!”

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My Audio/Video Pick of the Week is a scene from Anne of Green Gables starring Megan Follows and Jonathan Crombie, who recently passed away. This is one of the most memorable scenes in the book and film.

What are you celebrating this week?

 

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday #68

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Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's ParadeBalloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was familiar with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade but I didn’t know about the man behind it all. It was truly fascinating learning about how his hobbies led to this tradition still being celebrated today.It was cool think of those balloons as upside down marionettes- a new way to look at them for them. The illustrations are exquisite. Some may just want to get this book just to see them!

View all my reviews

 

What Are You Reading? (143) #IMWAYR – April 19, 2015

This week, I posted:

New Releases– Read my reviews for:

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday– Read my reviews for:

-Celebrate This Week- This week, I’m celebrating the Oregon Book Awards.

I created an album of Authors I’ve Met on the Facebook page!

Peace is an Offering by Annette LeBox, Illustrated by Stephanie Graegin

Peace is an Offering by Annette LeBox, Illustrated by Stephanie Graegin


[***]This wonderful poem invites readers to let kindness into their lives and out to the world around them. It’ll be a great companion to All the World by Liz Scanlon.


[***][**] Readers will travel to France and Israel in these picture books that also deals with opposites. At the end of each book is a glossary of the places that was visited or alluded to. Their tour guides (mouse and gecko, respectively) are hidden in each page for another level of fun.

Bunny Roo, I Love You by Melissa Marr, Illustrated by Teagan White

Bunny Roo, I Love You by Melissa Marr, Illustrated by Teagan White


[***] Adorably sweet with perfectly complimentary illustrations.

Wild Ideas: Let Nature Inspire Your Thinking by Elin Kelsey, Illustrated by Soyeon Kim

Wild Ideas: Let Nature Inspire Your Thinking by Elin Kelsey, Illustrated by Soyeon Kim


[**] Wild Ideas has the beautiful dioramas and scientific research that You Are Stardust also had but I felt this book would have been better if the science of each page/concept was explained as a caption.

From Rain to RainbowsFrom Rain to Rainbows by Chronicle Books
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is another little book that celebrates life’s good and bad moments and how sometimes things can be both. Mostly illustrations.

View all my reviews

Pluto: A Wonder StoryPluto: A Wonder Story by R.J. Palacio
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another great installment set in the Wonder world but definitely doesn’t add or take away from the original novel. It’s someone else’s story and he has his own things to deal with.

View all my reviews

The True Meaning of SmekdayThe True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I didn’t know what to expect with this book. My interest was piqued when I saw there was a sequel and a movie.

I decided to read this as an audiobook, which had its share of of pro’s and con’s. Pro: It was a great production. The reader, Bahni Turpin, did an amazing job with all the aliens’ voices. Con: You miss out on the illustrations in the book. There are a few sections told in comic strip form.

I didn’t expect to get so immersed in it. This is great for even emergent (reluctant?) readers because it’s an adventure story about an alien invasion. It’s also a fun friendship story with lots of action and heart thrown into the mix.

View all my reviews

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Bad Babysitter (Babymouse, #19)Bad Babysitter by Jennifer L. Holm
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Babymouse is back in this nineteenth (!) installment of the series. This time, she tackles babysitting as she does with everything else in her life- lots of gusto. We’re treated to more of her imaginings from the predictable Mary Poppins reference to hilarious horror movie spoof to a Winnie-the-Pooh scene. I thought it was clever that she would be reading Comics Squad: Recess!

Side note: Otto seems to be a popular owl name!

View all my reviews

Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of ImaginationVery Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an inspiring little book for graduation from J.K. Rowling’s Harvard Commencement Speech she gave in 2008. Her words have been paired with great illustrations by Joel Holland.

View all my reviews

Ramona Quimby, Age 8Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was absolutely delighted with Ramona Quimby, Age 8. It’s rare to be able to perfectly capture the thoughts of a child as Beverly Cleary did with this book. There are wonders and experience for sure but there are worries and fears as well that seem like all there ever is in their world in their young lives. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that.

I wasn’t really sold with Ramona at first but the more I understood her, the more I liked her. I finished reading the book caring for the characters and want to read more of their lives.

Of all the Ramona books, I chose this one because it introduced the Drop Everything And Read concept which has become a national literary celebration falling on Beverly Cleary’s Birthday!

View all my reviews

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

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!

I’m at Pasadena for the American Booksellers Association’s Children’s Institute for the next couple of days!

hearts

Have a great reading week!

 

Celebrate This Week- April 17, 2015

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 the Oregon Book Awards put on by Literary Arts.

This was my first time attending the ceremony. And, what a wonderful and inspiring evening it was!

They had a free verse slam poet start the show- and he would come back later to do another poem.

Mitchell S. Jackson, whose book The Residue Years was Multnomah County Library’s Everybody Reads selection this year, was the emcee and he was great. He shared some “Do’s and Don’t’s” of the writing profession and, at one point, stepped out from behind the podium to let the audience see his outfit which would have some of the winners doing the same.

I loved that they read an excerpt from the winner’s work to announce them. In my book, though, everyone nominated was a winner. A couple of my favorite winners were Big Little Man‘s Alex Tizon who had everyone laughing with his Game of Thrones inspired speech and Readers Choice Willy Vlautin (The Fall) who seemed genuinely friendly as usual.

But the absolute standouts were the Legacy award winners from Jann Tankersley who started the Beverly Cleary Children’s Choice Award (BCCCA) to poet and writer Ralph Salisbury who having a bit of a difficulty getting to the stage due to his walker quipped, “Sometimes my entrances are more dramatic than anything I have to say.”

And the highlight of all highlights started with Lidia Yuknavitch’s introduction to Tom Spanbauer which got most everyone on their feet giving the literary legend a standing ovation. I hope that the Oregon Book Awards will be broadcasted or transcribed because while I can’t remember what exactly he said, I remember being moved by his words. And,he ended his speech with a marriage proposal to his long time partner!

What I loved about the awards was that it was such a celebration of local literary talents. Everyone seemed to be supportive and encouraging of one another. It made me want to be part of their community.

Bravo to Literary Arts for an amazing night!

My Audio/Video Pick of the Week is J.K. Rowling’s Harvard Commencement Speech which was recently published as book. I’ll review the book soon. Enjoy the video!

What are you celebrating this week?

 

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday #67

nfpb2015

Ben Franklin's Big Splash: The Mostly True Story of His First InventionBen Franklin’s Big Splash: The Mostly True Story of His First Invention by Barb Rosenstock
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a fun picture book about Benjamin Franklin as a young boy doing one of the things he loved to do to pass the time and help him think things through- swimming. What’s super impressive was the timeline included listing some of his achievements and contributions. What a truly great man to aspire to!

View all my reviews

Look Where We Live!: A First Book of Community BuildingLook Where We Live!: A First Book of Community Building by Scot Ritchie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This picture book introduces young readers to what a community is and what one can do to be part of theirs. Lots of illustrations and a story revolving around a street fair trying to raise money for the library will hopefully whet kids’ appetites to read more about this and take action.

View all my reviews

 

New Releases: April 14, 2015

Tommy Can't Stop! by Tim Federle, Illustrated by Mark Fearing

Tommy Can’t Stop! by Tim Federle, Illustrated by Mark Fearing


[***] I read this fun picture book last year and I am glad that it’s actually out now so I can recommend it to people. It’s by two people whose works I like- the Nate books by Tim Federle and Earthling! by Mark Fearing, who, by the way, has been super nice whenever he stops by the store. Full of energy- both the text and illustrations,- this would make for a great read aloud!


[***] Star Wars gets the felt treatment from Cozy Classics following the same format of 12 words for each book accompanying a dozen different scenes that sort of have the story arcs of the movies.

By Mouse and Frog by Deborah Freedman

By Mouse and Frog by Deborah Freedman


[***] Mouse is planning to write a story until Frog hijacks the story. A cute friendship story about working together and the writing process.

The Skunk by Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Patrick McDonnell

The Skunk by Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Patrick McDonnell


[***] Absurd and delightful at the same time, the story follows a man being followed by a skunk. Mac Barnett hits another homerun with this picture book illustrated by Patrick McDonnell.

Outstanding in the Rain by Frank Viva

Outstanding in the Rain by Frank Viva


[**] I always look forward to Frank Viva because his illustrations are always impressive. While that remains the case here, the story is kind of lacking- the execution doesn’t quite work well. Using holes in the pages of the book, he explores oronyms. Reminds me of Wordles by Amy Krouse Rosenthal which I also wasn’t that particularly fond of even though I love wordplays.

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Bad Babysitter (Babymouse, #19)Bad Babysitter by Jennifer L. Holm
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Babymouse is back in this nineteenth (!) installment of the series. This time, she tackles babysitting as she does with everything else in her life- lots of gusto. We’re treated to more of her imaginings from the predictable Mary Poppins reference to hilarious horror movie spoof to a Winnie-the-Pooh scene. I thought it was clever that she would be reading Comics Squad: Recess!

Side note: Otto seems to be a popular owl name!

View all my reviews

 
 
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