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Celebrate This Week- May 29, 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 Harvey Milk.

But, first of all, it may seem that I’ve been writing a lot about gay issues and I don’t mean to. I don’t want to come off as pushing my beliefs on others or that it’s all I talk about. At the same time, it’s such a huge part of my life and I’m learning so much and inspiring me to be OK with who I am. I don’t even know why I felt I need to write this pseudo-apology considering Readers are open-minded and understand the need for diversity.

Surprisingly enough, I didn’t even know anything about Harvey Milk until recently. It’s probably because history hasn’t ever been my strong suit. Yet history has a way of repeating itself if we don’t learn from past mistakes. It was during my LGBT Book Drive that his name would keep coming up.

During my trip to San Francisco, I visited a library that was renamed in his honor.
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I was even able to find a copy of his biography to donate to my Book Drive in one of the many bookstores I visited there.
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And, it was Harvey Milk Day last week- celebrated on his birthday, May 22nd. I was able to read a wonderful nonfiction picture book biography of his life.
The Harvey Milk StoryThe Harvey Milk Story by Kari Krakow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this picture book on Harvey Milk Day- May 22nd. This was a great introduction to an inspirational man who overcame his fear to be who he was to fight for equality not just for the LGBT community but for everyone.

View all my reviews

I also ended up watching two great films about him. One was Gus Van Sant’s 2008 film, Milk. Powerful and moving, this was an amazing production. The second was the Oscar-winning documentary The Times of Harvey Milk, which is an absolute must-watch. It’s such an important account of not just Harvey Milk, who fought for gay and civil rights, but everyone who stood by him and supported equality and fairness in the lives of everyone.

My Audio/Video Pick of the Week is this text-video excerpt of his “Hope” speech.

What are you celebrating this week?

 

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday #72

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I skipped last week since I was on vacation. The last three titles this week are new releases.

The Harvey Milk StoryThe Harvey Milk Story by Kari Krakow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this picture book on Harvey Milk Day- May 22nd. This was a great introduction to an inspirational man who overcame his fear to be who he was to fight for equality not just for the LGBT community but for everyone.

View all my reviews

Water Is Water: A Book About the Water CycleWater Is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle by Miranda Paul
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Even after all the nonfiction picture books I’ve read over the years, especially with this reading challenge, I’m still surprised when I find one that I think will also be great as a read aloud. This one- with its fluid (pun intended) and beautiful illustrations by Jason Chin- will be great for storytime and has plenty of learning moments about the different states of water and its cycle.

View all my reviews

Edible NumbersEdible Numbers by Jennifer Vogel Bass
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A follow up to last year’s Edible Colors, this one fell a bit short. I did like the two-page spread in the end where readers can count the different kinds of fruits and vegetables they see.

View all my reviews

Available in paperback:
RedwoodsRedwoods by Jason Chin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jason Chin has been recommended to me by a lot of our customers so I’ve been meaning to read his books and finally got around to it. And I am thrilled to have found such a great “new” writer/illustrator.

Gravity was my introduction to Jason Chin. His latest is also his shortest- and illustratively his weakest as well- but doesn’t diminish how enjoyable and informative it was.

Coral Reefs was a wonder of a book. I loved the fantasy element mixed in with all the fascinating facts!

Redwoods is another creative non-fiction type of picture book.

His storytelling style reminds me a bit of David Weisner’s.

I will definitely be recommending Jason Chin to others!

View all my reviews

 

New Releases: May 26, 2015

Ice Cream Summer by Peter Sís

Ice Cream Summer by Peter Sís


[**] A boy writes his grandpa all the fun he’s having over the summer. Mixed into the story is all the things he’s learning centering around ice cream like vocabulary, history, arithmetic, word problems, and even cartography.

Touch the Brightest Star by Christie Matheson

Touch the Brightest Star
by Christie Matheson


[***] Fans of Press Here will enjoy Christie Matheson’s second interactive book (after Tap the Magic Tree.) Readers will discover the magic of the night.

One Family by George Shannon, Illustrated by Blanca Gomez

One Family by George Shannon, Illustrated by Blanca Gomez


[***] I loved this one for its depiction of many kinds of family. I liked the diversity of the people depicted. I also enjoyed the concept of groups and sets and collections being counted as one. The endpapers have playful illustrations as well.
[We Need Diverse Books]

Available in paperback:
The Year of Billy MillerThe Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kevin Henkes’s The Year of Billy Miller just “shredded my heart.” Again, I’m astounded when grown-ups dismiss children’s books as light fare when we have something like this that perfectly captured the moments of everyday life in its simplicity and intricacy. Larger themes are touched upon in a story that is relatable, touching, and has an actual ending which some adult novels seem to not have.

View all my reviews

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post for more new releases!

 

What Are You Reading? (147) #IMWAYR – May 24, 2015

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!

These past two weeks (since I’ve been on vacation), I posted:

Reading Challenge: Beverly Cleary– Read my reviews for:

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday– Read my review for:

Draw What You See: The Life and Art of Benny Andrews by Kathleen Benson Haskins, Illustrated by Benny Andrews

Draw What You See: The Life and Art of Benny Andrews by Kathleen Benson Haskins, Illustrated by Benny Andrews

Celebrate This Week– Last week I celebrated Brian Selznick’s Arbuthnot Honor Lecture.

National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature: Part 4- Katherine Paterson. Read my review for:

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

-Celebrate This Week- This week I’m celebrating my recent trips to Las Vegas and San Francisco. Read part one and part two.

Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret by Bob Shea

Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret by Bob Shea


[***] Fans of Elephant and Piggie can do themselves a favor and pick this book up because they will love it!

Where Are My Books? by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Where Are My Books? by Debbie Ridpath Ohi


[**] A boy’s books are disappearing. And, the culprit is a rather surprising critter.

Abadeha: The Philippine Cinderella by Myrna J. De La Paz, Illustrated by Youshan Tang

Abadeha: The Philippine Cinderella by Myrna J. De La Paz, Illustrated by Youshan Tang


[***] I hadn’t even known about this book until I discovered it on a shelf in Daly City library where they serve a large Filipino demographic. It was interesting to see all the differences from the more familiar fairy tale. Instead of the fairy godmother, there’s the Spirit of the Forest. Instead of the Prince finding her shoe after a ball, he finds a ring in her magical garden (unbeknownst to him) and she must find him to save him. This makes me want to read other countries’ Cinderella stories!

Dory and the Real True FriendDory and the Real True Friend by Abby Hanlon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Imaginative Dory is back and so are all her friends. To her family’s dismay, all of them have been make-believe so her siblings are suspicious of her new-found BFF. The charm of the first book is here aplenty but the story I found a bit lacking. Still, a worthy follow-up that readers will enjoy.

View all my reviews
Publishes July 7th.

NogginNoggin by John Corey Whaley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A teenage boy’s head is removed from his cancer ridden body, cryogenically frozen for five years, and put on another teenage boy’s body (who had died of brain cancer). With a new lease on life, still-sixteen-year-old Travis Coates must navigate a world with his now-adult friends and continue to suffer through high school.

With all the topics to possibly be tackled, I was disappointed there was so much focus on him trying to get his then-girlfriend back. An enjoyable read nonetheless.

View all my reviews

Expect a review for this book during Wednesday’s Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge post:

The Harvey Milk Story by Kari Krakow

The Harvey Milk Story by Kari Krakow

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

Have a great reading week!

 

Celebrate This Week- May 22, 2015: Part 2

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 my recent trips to Las Vegas and San Francisco.

Read my Las Vegas recap here.

San Francisco

Bookstores & Libraries

It was only last October that I’d gone to San Francisco. My write up of my literary adventures there can be read here.

Even though I was only in San Francisco for a couple of days, I was able to cram in a lot of bookstore and library visits in such a short time!

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Books Inc.– On my way to my grandma’s house, I stopped by their Downtown location.

The next day, I had a half day to explore the Mission District. I hadn’t really been there before. Most likely because I was afraid of its reputation but it was actually nice. I loved the murals and I walked by Mission Dolores. (I can’t for the life of me say anything significant about the latter or any of the other California missions, but I remember we had to learn about them in elementary school.) (I also somehow managed to delete the pictures I took of Mission Dolores.)

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Mission Library– I wasn’t originally going to go here- and I didn’t even know it was near where I was- but I saw the beautiful building with famous writers’ names etched in its exteriors and knew I had to go in. This branch boasts a “large Latino Interest collection of books which highlight the history and culture of Latin America.” Apparently it was “the first branch in the San Francisco Public Library system.”


Dog Eared Books– This was probably the bookstore I was most excited to see. It’s a beautiful space. I loved the exterior art as well.


Aardvark Books– This used bookstore is a great place to browse and find a book that you weren’t planning to get. When I was walking around, there was a lady just playing with the store cat. And when I left the cat was eating the flowers on the counter. Lots of character.

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Books Inc.– I was technically in the Castro district some of my time there and this location featured lots of LGBT books.

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Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Memorial Branch Library– I ended up stopping by this branch. I loved that it was renamed to honor Harvey Milk. And apparently, the adjacent area was also renamed after another openly gay activist, Jose Sarria.


826 Valencia– A lot of people recommended I check out this non-profit co-founded by Dave Eggers. Mac Barnett and Jory John talked about it at their Children’s Institute presentation. 826 Valencia is “dedicated to supporting under-resourced students ages six to eighteen with their creative and expository writing skills and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.” Because they’re zoned as a retail space, they opened up a Pirate Supply Store as their storefront. I wished I had more time to ask about and look into their non-profit side but there was an event going on.


Borderlands Books– This used and new bookstore specializes in Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Mystery. The adjacent coffee has received as many praises than the store! I liked that there was a writer’s group meeting at the cafe.

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Alley Cat Books– I only realized later on that Dog Eared Books and Alley Cat Books were part of the same company- when I saw the same selected remaindered titles on sale. I liked the gallery in the back where they apparently have workshops and other events.


Adobe Books– Half bookshop, half arts cooperative, Adobe Books somehow managed to make a tiny space work.


John Daly Library– There’s a large Filipino population in Daly City, located just south of San Francisco. I love when a library reflects the community they serve. They had a shelf dedicated to Tagalog books and I even read some translated to English. They did have a kids books in Tagalog that I was tempted to read but I didn’t think I would have had enough time!

Family

I had decided to add on San Francisco to my vacation so I can spend some time with my family. I was super excited to meet my new niece. And, of course, I gave her books!

I’m grateful that everywhere I go, there are people who care about me. Hopefully I somehow show how much I appreciate it.

My Audio/Video Pick of the Week is Dustin Lance Black testifying for Harvey Milk Day a few years ago.

What are you celebrating this week?

 

Celebrate This Week- May 22, 2015: Part 1

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 my recent trips to Las Vegas and San Francisco.

Las Vegas

Mariah Carey #1 to Infinity

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I usually go to Las Vegas once a year to see my family but this trip was going to be extra special because I was going to see Mariah Carey in concert. And it almost didn’t happen. One hour before the Wednesday show was supposed to start, staff told us that it was cancelled because Mariah Carey had bronchitis!

I was surprisingly cool about it. Maybe because I had already see her four other times before. My family and friends were particularly sweet/funny/comforting when they found out since they knew how much I was looking forward to seeing her again. After all, I’ve only seen her four other times before.

After a lot of back and forth the next few days, I decided to try my luck and buy another ticket for her Sunday show, hoping she’d be well enough to perform. And I’m glad I did because it was quite a show!

Who else can create a show based entirely on their #1 hits? There were some lip-synching moments but when she sang live, it was heavenly. I loved hearing the songs she hadn’t sung in awhile and admit I got a tad teary eyed a couple of times. And I was so close to the stage! It was a great night!

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Bookstores and Libraries

I’m always thrilled when I get to visit bookstores I hadn’t been to before so I was giddy with excitement to have gone to two in Las Vegas! The first was The Writer’s Block– a literary place that sells and print books and holds workshops located in the revitalized downtown. They even have an artificial bird adoption agency and a real-live pet rabbit one can play with!

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(On the way there, my friend and I even stumbled upon a Little Free Library in an interesting “classroom and meeting space venue” called the Learning Village.)

The second new bookstore I visited was the unassuming Books or Books located in a strip mall. I was impressed enough with their children’s section that I talked to the staff who was friendly. I couldn’t resist buying some books for the young ones in my family!

Also, my best friend agreed to take me on my annual library hop for a special out-of-state edition. We hit up the three Henderson district libraries. They used to have more locations (including one in a mall) but the recession and a failed ballot initiative to raise funding forced them to close a couple and reduce hours. So, it was great to see the libraries that we visited were being used! And there was Friends of the Library sale going on that day!

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Family & Friends

With family and friends, we did touristy things like walk the Strip, watch Excalibur’s Tournament of Kings, and play Bingo, just to name a few. And, we ate! I’m still stuffed from all the eating I’ve done!

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I’m always “overwhelmed with gratitude” after spending time with the people I love. I really hit the jackpot with my Vegas trip!

Edited: Since this post is rather long, I’ve decided to split it into two. Read about my San Francisco trip here. My Audio/Video Pick of the Week will be there as well!

What are you celebrating this week?

 

National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature: Part 4

“The National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature raises national awareness of the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education and the development and betterment of the lives of young people.”
-from the website

National_Ambassador_for_Young_People's_Literature_-_logo

I didn’t know there was even this position until a year or so ago. I think it’s great. I wanted to know more about the authors selected as Ambassadors and their respective platforms so I created a Reading Challenge to read at least one of their books.

I’ve talked about Jon Scieszka, Kate DiCamillo and Walter Dean Myers before. Last but not least is Katherine Paterson!

Her career and legacy is a pretty impressive one even from what little I’ve read. The theme for her tenure was “Read for Your Life.”

I decided to read one of her two Newbery winning books to complete my reading challenge!

Bridge to TerabithiaBridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I knew this was going to be a tearjerker but I had forgotten how so. I thought I was going to be prepared for it but no. It got to me.

Two outcasts form an unlikely friendship. Jess likes to run and wants to be the fastest kid in fifth grade. Leslie is the new girl whose hair is too short and her clothes too different to fit in. She ends up showing him a secret place called Terabithia where they are king and queen.

But real life finds a way in to their imaginary kingdom and nothing will ever be the same again.

View all my reviews

 
 
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