Here are the links I shared on my Twitter and Pinterest accounts this week that you might find interesting:
13 Children’s Book Quotes That Are Still Relevant to Your Adult Life http://buff.ly/141RFAT
Bedtime stories fading as 2/3 of busy parents claim they read to their kids less than once a week http://buff.ly/1dLfwqq
Books About Starting School http://buff.ly/13QaJSC
Mitali’s Fire Escape: Children’s Books in Iran: A Chat with Ali Seidabadi http://buff.ly/14YG68w
Wonderful visualizations of choose-your-own-adventure books http://buff.ly/1431grj
Google calls book scanning “transformative” in latest push for fair use ruling — Tech News and Analysis http://buff.ly/1dLIXsm
How to get children to read? Embrace the e-book http://buff.ly/14I4ZVO
Chicago’s New Public/School Library Hybrid Opens Doors | School Library Journal http://buff.ly/12Lqzev
The future of libraries – The Next Web http://buff.ly/16Ck8v5
Facebook publishes first Transparency Report: exceeds Google with 11,000 US govt requests -Tech News and Analysis http://buff.ly/13WyeJI
10 Golden Rules To Take Your Library’s Twitter Account to the Next Level http://buff.ly/13WMBhh
Authors, Readers Band Together to Stop Goodreads “Bullying” http://buff.ly/16L3RUJ
Four lessons for news sites from National Public Radio’s redesign | IJNet http://buff.ly/192I3UM – Libraries should use these too!
New tech words added to the Oxford Dictionaries Online: BYOD, hackerspace, MOOC http://bit.ly/1a2IuTt as tech informs culture informs tech
Amnesty teen takeover: Rita Williams-Garcia on writing about FGM for teens | Children’s books http://buff.ly/13Jkpyb
@hollyblack chatting about vampires on the radio with Bill Newman at @whmp! http://whmp.com/podcasts/the-bill-newman-show-8-29-13/ …
Interview: David Levithan – Cool Hunting http://buff.ly/193hQp5
It’s “Twilight”: YA movies are totally over! http://buff.ly/14bKtNz
New Adult literature: Teen reading for grown-ups Metro.us http://buff.ly/14I4T0v
Once Upon a Northern Night by Jean E. Pendziwol, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
This glimmering book takes a lingering and loving look at a Canadian winter night. It starts just before the snow begins to fall, one flake then more. Then the ground is covered with a snowy blanket, a blanket just like the one you are sleeping under. The book goes on to talk about the beauty of the winter forest, snow that will dust your head and nose as you pass under the trees. Animals appear; the deer munch on the frozen apples, a great gray owl silently drifts by, rabbits scamper only going still when the fox walks past. The book continues to talk about the beauty of the snow once the sky clears, the patterns of frost on window panes. It ends with the dazzle of the snowy morning.
As a native of Wisconsin, this Canadian import speaks directly to my love of winter evenings, nights and days. This lullaby of a book opens each poetic stanza with “Once upon a northern night…” and then leads into another beautiful wonder that is present there. Northern readers will see their own love reflected here, others will start to understand the beauty and exquisite nature of winter. Pendziwol plays with imagery and truly finds the wonder in each moment she captures. It is pure beauty, glittery as snow but oh so much warmer.
Arsenault’s illustrations are done in nighttime sepia tones, the color drained away except for pops of frozen apples, owl eyes, fox orange and deep night sky blues. The snow itself makes up much of the images, dancing in the air, covering branches, capturing footprints. One can almost feel the coldness seep from the page. Then there is the final page with morning arriving that is suddenly color and ends the book just perfectly with its icy shimmer.
This picture book is perfect for a bedtime story curled up near the fire or under toasty warm blankets as the snow falls. It is a quiet and lovely book, one to treasure and share. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from library copy.
Jasper’s Story: Saving Moon Bears by Jill Robinson and Marc Bekoff, illustrated by Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen
Held captive for years by bear “farmers” who kept him in a too-small cage and harvested bile from his body, Jasper’s story is representative of many captive moon bears. Now Jasper has been rescued by Animals Asia, an animal welfare organization. He is taken to their Moon Bear Rescue Center where his medical needs are attended to and he is put into the sanctuary. There, Jasper walks on grass for the first time in his life. Caregivers work to teach Jasper how to find food on his own, hiding food in toys and places to dig. In time, Jasper’s life starts to change. He begins to play more, get stronger, and make friends. Jasper is one success story among many, a testament to what rescue can do to save animals that might have been considered too damaged to rescue.
Robinson and Bekoff write in a very engaging way in this nonfiction picture book. They invest time in telling the story of the abuse as well as painting a beautiful picture of moon bears in the wild: “Far away in the mist-covered mountains of China, the moon sends yellow arcs of light across the hills, softly painting the forests with a luminous glow.” They describe the way that wild animals sleep with a sense of freedom. The prose is beautiful, clearly painting the value of these animals and the importance of their rescue and rehabilitation.
The illustrations are equally evocative. The paintings have a wonderful sense of place, showing the workers at the sanctuary and the horror of the small cages with equal attention. I particularly like the way that the opening image relates to that at the end, showing that Jasper is once again more like the wild moon bears than the abused ones.
A great book on the importance of animal rehabilitation and rescue, this book will speak volumes to every child who picks it up and meets Jasper. Appropriate for ages 7-9.
Reviewed from library copy.
My Neighbor Is a Dog by Isabel Minhos Martins, illustrated by Madalena Matoso
Originally published in Portugal, this book is a charming import. It is the story of a young girl who gets a new neighbor who just happens to be a dog. The dog is very friendly and kind, but the girl’s parents are not impressed, thinking that he would quickly start acting like the dog he was. Soon after that, more new neighbors arrived, this time a pair of elephants. The girl’s parents complained about them too, but the girl thought they were very nice. Finally, a crocodile moved in. That proved to be too much for her parents and they moved away. But before they did, the little girl finds out that her parents are considered the odd ones in the neighborhood. The final clever twist at the end shows exactly why.
Martins writing is just as vibrant as the bold illustrations. She tells the story with wonderful little touches like the elephants helping with washing cars and the crocodile giving purses and shoes as Christmas gifts. All of these details add to the world that she cleverly building and that wonderful surprise twist at the end. Done in vibrant colors, the illustrations are created in hot pinks, deep blues and bright reds. It is a modern world, with the pop colors adding to that feel.
A look at acceptance and diversity through the eyes of a child, this book will speak to all children about preconceptions and tolerance. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from library copy.
Journey by Aaron Becker
This stunning wordless picture book tells the story of a young girl who is very lonely. Her parents are busy doing things and she has no one to play with. Then she discovers a red crayon on her bedroom floor and draws a door on her wall that she can open. She finds herself in a forest light with strings of lights, a river running by. Her red crayon is in her hand, so she draws a boat that she can use to travel down the river. Her incredible journey is just beginning and you will want to be along.
Done first in sepia tones with bursts of red, the book quickly changes to full color once the girl opens the magic door into another world. Happily, this is not a world that readers will have visited before. It is a dynamic mix of steampunk, fancy castles, and wondrous creatures.
Becker’s art is incredible intricate, inviting closer inspection. Just the castle alone had me gazing for some time to see it all. HIs art is also very beautiful. The depth of color is lovely, particularly the colors of the sky and the landscape.
Beautifully done, this book is a gorgeous testament to the power of creativity and the amazing places that great art can take us. Appropriate for ages 4-7.
You can see some of this incredible journey on the book trailer:
Reviewed from library copy.
Here is the first trailer for the upcoming movie of Divergent. It is short. Very short.
Oliver and His Alligator by Paul Schmid
Oliver sometimes isn’t as brave as he’d like to be, and that is especially true on the first day of school. So he headed to the swamp and picked up an alligator, “just in case things got rough.” When Oliver got to school a woman who was not his mother greeted him and asked his name. In his panic, Oliver couldn’t remember his name, but he could say “munch, munch!” and the alligator ate the lady. A similar thing happened when a little girl in the class asked Oliver what he loved. Oliver wanted to answer and even had a great reply, but he found that he could only say “munch, munch!” and the alligator ate the girl. As Oliver steadily had his alligator munch his classmates, the classroom got much quieter and lonelier. But what is a boy to do when everyone has been eaten?
Schmid tells this story with a wonderful matter-of-fact tone that leaves readers shocked at first but then delighting in this clever answer to the worries of the first day of school. I guarantee a wonderful stunned moment if you share this book aloud, and then a rush of nervous but genuine glee at it all.
The book is cleanly designed with very simple lines that allow the humor of the situation to really shine. The simplicity is beautiful and entirely modern thanks to Oliver’s oversized sweater and mop of hair.
Beautiful, clever and a joy to share aloud, this book is riotously funny and oh so true. A great addition to starting-school shelves. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Here is the official trailer for the upcoming Vampire Academy movie due out in February 2014:
Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff
Released August 27, 2013.
Enter a new heroine who is funny, adept and can kick your butt. Delilah Dirk comes crashing into the life of Selim, the Turkish Lieutenant and merrily takes over his world. Delilah has adventured all around the world and is now looking to steal some valuable ancient scrolls from a Sultan in Constantinople. With her flying boat, she saves Selim from certain death. Then it is on to more adventures, including evading pirates, jumping off a disintegrating aqueduct, and fighting everyone who is after her, and everyone is. Delilah loves the freedom and action of her life on the road, but Selim craves quiet times with friends. Readers on the other hand will love Delilah and Selim both as well as the humor and adventure that make this one rollicking read.
Cliff has created a wonderful heroine. She manages to be feminine and dashing at the same time. Her outfit is skirted and flowing but not confining. It reveals her beauty, but not her endowments. She is great fun and the role reversal of the man who is the reluctant adventurer and the woman who adores it turns stereotypes on their heads. The story both honors tradition with its setting in Turkey, but also adds a lot of new flavors like the flying boat. It makes for a book that is filled with surprises.
A great pick for graphic novel fans and those just discovering the genre. Delilah is a heroine who will take you on an amazing adventure. Let’s hope there are many more to come! Appropriate for ages 10-14.
Reviewed from copy received from First Second.