Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Review of the Day: The Other Side of the Island

I was completely impressed with Allegra Goodman's newest book, The Other Side of the Island. Great writing, great characters, excellent plot...what more could a teen (or adult like me) ask for?!

Honor lives in a dystopian world, years in the future. Her parents move the family to Island 365, one of only a few habitable lands left after The Flood. An ethereal figure by the name of Earth Mother and her new Corporation, lead the governmental system on Island 365 and control the New Weather system, meaning they create their own sun, moon, sky patterns, etc. There are very specific rules families must follow and for the most part, everyone on the island follows them perfectly, making for a pretty happy society.

Unfortunately, once Honor's family gets settled in, she learns her parents are Unpredictable. They do not like to follow the rules and violate laws constantly. They won't pray to the Earth Mother and do not believe in her principals. Due to their indiscretions, Honor does not fit in with all the other children at school and feels she will do anything to change her outcast status. She begins to be the model Island 365 citizen and contemplates reporting her parents for not following rules. After an unspeakable tragedy falls on Honor, her only friend, Helix, lets her in on a secret he discovered and Honor begins a quest to make things right in her new world.

Most of us bloggers have a small place in our hearts for books on dystopian societies and believe me, with this one, you will not be disappointed in the least. It's fast paced, the characters are realistic and likable, and by the end you will be cheering Honor on wholeheartedly! A very impressive work!

If you're interested in learning more about The Other Side of the Island or to purchase the title, click the book cover above to link to Amazon.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Non-Fiction Monday: Unearthing Ancient Worlds

I know I've posted about this awesome series before (though I can't, for the life of me, find the actual post), but I've recently looked through the newest books in the series, out next month, and had to post about them again. They are THAT good!

The "Unearthing Ancient Worlds" series, published by Lerner, are some of the most interesting non-fiction books I've looked at in a very long time. The four I've reviewed for this post, Easter Island, Maccu Picchu, Angkor Wat, and Troy are all excellent for middle and high school aged students doing reports or just as browsing material on ancient cities and cultures. Seriously, I've read these for pleasure! The material is upbeat, not dry or boring, and the photographs... goodness, the photographs are just amazing. The actual text is only around 70 pages long, give or take, and there are lots of photos and small text boxes included, making for appropriate reading length, not overly long. There are also bibliographies, indexes, maps, and timelines in each book, making them perfect for a research project.

I recommend that all libraries have these on-hand and if you are a homeschooling parent of a middle or high school student, these are essential books. There is an entire series, as I've mentioned before and you can head to Amazon to purchase any of the ones I've mentioned here by clicking on the book titles. These really are amazing books!

Friday, September 26, 2008

A little happiness!

I haven't been in the greatest of moods lately, for obvious reasons, but I had a big smile on my face this morning when I discovered that Charlotte, over at Charlotte's Library, had given me an award!
I'm so glad that people actually read my blog and enjoy it enough to give it an award such as that, as I'm sure all of you that have already received this award feel. Now, I get to return the favor to some of my favorite bloggers! Here are the rules:

1) Add the logo of the award to your blog
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs (I nominated 2)
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs!

My choices are:

Abby from Abby (the) Librarian because she gives me great ideas to do in my own library.


Debi from Nothing of Importance because she gives me a dose of reality in a blog. I read so many book blogs that it's nice to just read about someone's every day life!

Thanks so much again!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Review of the Day: Hell Week

Hell Week, book two in Rosemary Clement-Moore's "Maggie Quinn: Girl vs. Evil series, is loads of fun. Maggie signs up for her school's sorority rush only to write an insider's view of sororities for the college paper. When she actually gets chosen to be in the most exclusive sorority on campus, she's not only surprised, but thrilled that her stories for the paper will be even juicier. As expected, the girls if Sigma Alpha Xi are not thrilled with all of their secrets being told to the entire college campus and their reactions open Maggie's eyes to the true evil that is really going on in the house.

I haven't read the previous novel in this series, Prom Dates from Hell, but I was still able to follow and enjoy Hell Week. Though certainly not a great piece of literature, I was amused and entertained as I read about Maggie's escapades and feel teen girls will really like the characters and writing style. The cover is eye-catching as well, nice, bright pink, and the girls almost look as if they belong on the cover of a graphic novel. It works!

If you're interested in purchasing Hell Week or just want to read more about it, follow the link by clicking on the book cover above. Thanks!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Non-Fiction Monday: First Dog!

First Dog Fala, written by Elizabeth Van Steenwky and illustrated by Michael G. Montgomery is a unique glance into the lives of one of America's most loved Presidents.

Fala was the little black dog of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who wormed her way into the hearts of everyone in the White House. Though the President was spending his days trying to fight a war and dealing with a debilitating illness, Fala was his constant companion, riding on his lap in his wheelchair and waiting outside the door of a conference room until he was finished with an important speech. When Fala passed away, the entire nation was in mourning, all having loved the President's sweet dog.

Not many books about the Presidents of our country are focused more on the pets, rather than the person. First Dog Fala would make a great source for a paper on President Roosevelt (for a younger individual obviously...don't use it for your thesis project)or just as a story to read to children, teaching them about FDR and animal love at the same time.

To purchase this book or to learn more, click on the book cover above. Thanks!

Non-Fiction Monday: Helping Your World

I, like many of you, work as hard as I can to do my part. I am a recycle queen, I always unplugged appliances that aren't being used, turn off lights, etc. 10 Things I Can Do to Help My World by Melanie Walsh is a great book to get your children involved in helping to save the planet.

Each page gives one way a child can go about conserving energy or helping the Earth in some manner. Most pages include a lift-the-flap or fold out, using bright colors and simple text to move the book along quickly. After each task, such as remembering to shut off the water and using both sides of a sheet of paper, a fact about just how this action will help the world is given. For example: "I remember to turn off the tap when I brush my teeth (Every time you do this, you save eighteen glasses of water)." Cool huh?

The book is printed on 100% recycled material and would make a great addition to home and library shelves. Get your kids involved! You can purchase it from Amazon or just learn more about it by clicking on the book cover above.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A final baby update and an announcement

As many of you already know, having subscribed to our email update list, our son Jacob passed away on Wednesday. We had finally been making plans to bring him home through a hospice program after being born 3 months early and then being diagnosed with an irreversible development lung abnormality, spending 4 long months in the hospital, but God had other plans for our boy and took him home in the early afternoon, Wednesday September 17th. His father and I are completely devastated, but are trying our hardest to remain positive and cheerful, as we feel that is how Jacob would have liked for us to be. We are having a Celebration of Life ceremony, not a funeral, up in New York this coming Saturday, where we will wear bright colors and will play Jacob's favorite songs. No sad music! Every day is hard and incredibly sad, all we ever wanted in this world was that little boy to be well, but we are relying on our faith and our family and friends to bring us through this dark time.

I will still be making posts daily, as I have lots of reviews saved up, but I may not be responsive to emails for the next week or so as we try to solidify service plans, as well as travel plans. I appreciate every comment and email in support of our little man and I will never have the words to thank you all for the kind words and prayers. You can see all of our Jacob pictures at www.snowshome.com/jacob. The photos start from the day after his birth in May and complete on his 4 Month Birthday the 14th of Sept.

White Sands, Red Menace

First of all, if you have not read Ellen Klages The Green Glass Sea, get out there and buy/borrow a copy immediately! It’s the book that precedes White Sands, Red Menace and I would say it’s pretty necessary to read that one first, not to mention it’s an absolutely brilliant book. That being said, if you’re on to book two as I am, Klages latest is just as great as her previous.

It’s 1946 and we pick back up with friends Dewey and Suze who are now living in Alamogordo, New Mexico, after the first Atomic bomb has recently been tested, a bomb that the girl’s parents each had a part in creating. Dewey has been living with Suze and her family since her father died and has become an intricate part of their family. While Suze’s dad works with rocket experiments at the missile range and her mom works on protests, Suze and Dewey work on the separate friendships they are forming in their new neighborhood and how those friendships fit in with their own special bond. Just as the girls are beginning to fit in at their new school and with their new friends, Dewey’s estranged mother shows up, wanting to take Dewey away.

This book is filled with all sorts of amazing relationships and tons of history. I currently live at the Air Force base in Alamogordo, where the novel takes place, making it an even cooler read for me. Klages puts a lot of background about the town into the pages of the story, while flawlessly drawing the reader into the lives of her characters. She writes unlike anyone else I’ve read and these two books she’s created have become some of my absolute favorites. Dewey and Suze feel like real, normal girls, living in a crazy, confusing time. Girls and boys alike can learn a lot from this novel and it and it’s predecessor are high on my list of recommendations.

White Sands, Red Menace will be available in early October.

Another winner...

I'm very sorry to have to announce that my original winner of Saturdays with Stella has not yet contacted me with her mailing info, so I have to pick a new winner. The new winner is:

Vader's Mom!!

Email me with your mailing info ASAP and I'll get the book out to you. Congrats!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Picture Book Saturday!!

Madam President by Lane Smith is the perfect, subtle way to get your kids involved in the election. With an adorable little girl dreaming of what it would be like to be the President, children can feel comfortable asking questions about what our new President will do during his day. Does he really have to kiss babies? Can he really get rid of all tuna casserole?? I really enjoyed the fun and upbeat nature of Smith's book and the illustrations complemented the fun nature of the story perfectly. A great choice for home shelves and libraries...display it prominently!

Inside the Slidy Diner, written by Laurel Snyder and illustrated by Jaime Zollars is a gross book (but I mean that in the sweetest of ways)! A young girl gives her friend a tour of the Slidy Diner where cockroaches run rampant, the chocolate milk is not really "chocolate," and pig's head is a menu choice. The pictures are dark and grainy, fitting the mood of a yucky book brilliantly and though I found myself queasy when I was done reading, kids are going to absolutely love this one. Keep your eyes peeled for this one (hahahaha), it's being published in October.

I LOVE this next title. Not technically a picture book, Trucks go Pop! by Bob Stakke is an amazing pop-up that will instantly become a hit with your kids and I wanted to include it this week because of how much I think you all will enjoy it. The pages are filled with huge pop-ups of different types of trucks: garbage trucks, fire trucks, bulldozers, and snowplows. The colors are bright and bold, the text simple and straightforward. This is a perfect book to give as a gift, whether that be a holiday gift, birthday present, or a "just-because!"

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Road of Lost Innocence Blog Tour

Born in Cambodia and orphaned at an early age, Somaly Mam, a Buddhist sex trade survivor, grew up never knowing her real name or birthday.

As a teenager, Somaly Mam was sold into prostitution and spent years in the brothels of Cambodia where she witnessed and experienced the full-blown horrors of the human sex trade – rape, torture, and nearly unfathomable abuse. After her eventual escape, she could not forget the young girls (some as young as 5) left behind in the brothels, and so she returned to serve them. Her new book, "The Road of Lost Innocence," is her newest means of advocacy. It tells her personal story, ultimately inviting people of conscious, such as our Christian community, to become involved (or to continue involvement) in this war against an epic evil, a modern battle for "the least of these." Truly, not only is this book worth reading, it's worth sharing.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Winners of Masterpiece

YAY for winners! Here are the five winners of the signed copies of Masterpiece:


Boni Ashburn




Please email within the next few days with your mailing info so I can get these out to you ASAP! Congrats!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Don't forget the giveaways!

The giveaway for 5 signed copies of Masterpiece by Elise Broach ends tonight at midnight! Get your entries in! Click here.

There will be another HUGE giveaway announced on Thursday....

The winner of my Saturdays with Stella giveaway still has not contacted me with their address. If I don't hear from you by Thursday night, I'll have to pick another winner....

Review of the Day: My Father's Son

What at thrill ride this book was! My Father's Son, written by Terri Fields, can be described as nothing but a great page turner, leaving the reader constantly eager to learn what happens next.

When Kevin sees his father's face on the news, being the main suspect in a gruesome murder case, he is absolutely shocked, devastated and convinced his father is innocent. Kevin's believes his dad would never lie to him and could never hurt someone in a small manner, let alone kill them! Determined to prove his dad's innocence, Kevin sets out to solve a mystery on his own, facing incredible obstacles at every turn, including his mom, the police, and his so-called friends at school.

If you have a reluctant teen reader, this book needs to be placed in their hands. I turned pages practically faster than I read, wanting to know what happened next as fast as humanly possible! The writing is basic and easy to read quickly, all the more reason for reluctant readers to enjoy this title, plus the characters feel realistic and the ending is simply perfect. I love when endings aren't quite tidy! My single critique is on the cover...a bit boring in my opinion, but still, My Father's Son is a definite recommendation.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Non-Fiction Monday: Our White House

I really think this book is perfect for our current societal status, being in the midst of an election year and all...not to mention brilliant! Love it!

Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out, created by 108 reneowned authors and illustrators, takes such a new and unique look at past presidents and White House inhabitants that I really think kids will have a blast reading this. Essays and perspectives on White House living are taken from past children and pets of presidents, slave accounts, an imagined conversation between John and Abigail Adams, ans so much more. Authors include Steven Kellogg, Jane Yolen, Jean Craighead George, Walter Dean Myers, and Susan Cooper. There are so many more wonderful contributors, as well as some great illustrations, seriously, this is a must-have.

Schools, libraries, and home shelves need this book! Our White House is a fun read, filled with historical fiction, essays, and actual accounts of those having lived in the White House. I will rave about it for years to come and very much encourage all of you to purchase it. Love it!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Giveaway winner

The winner of my Saturdays with Stella giveaway is.....


Congrats! Send me your mailing address via email and I'll get the book out to you ASAP. Everyone else, thanks so much for entering and keep checking back. I have tons of books to give away in the coming weeks, including 5 signed copies of Masterpiece, which I'm giving away now. Head over to this post for details and to enter!

Picture Book Saturday!!

I've got a variety of books for you this weekend, hope you find something you enjoy! Don't forget to enter my contest for a signed copy of Elise Broach's Masterpiece. See the post below for details.

Titanicat, written by Marty Crisp and illustrated by Robert Papp is based on the true story of the ship cat living aboard the famous Titanic. In the story, a boy joins the crew of the Titanic and soon begins taking care of a cat and her kittens as part of his duties. When the cat begins behaving in a suspicious manner, leading the boy to believe the ship may not be safe, he has to make a decision whether to remain on the ship to complete the journey to America, or disembark.

The background story in this picture book is quite amazing and accompanied with some absolutely beautiful illustrations. They almost appear to be oil paintings, which is unique and a pleasure to look at. Titanicat is great book to teach some history, while reading children an enjoyable story of one cool cat.

In Baby Dragon, written by Amy Ehrlich and illustrated by Will Hillenbrand, a young dragon is told by his mother to wait by a red fern until she returns from his grandma's house. She promises to be back by morning, but once she is gone, Baby Dragon begins to wonder if she really will come back. Lots of temptations cross the dragon's path, trying to lead him away from the red fern, but ultimately leading to a very sweet happy ending.

The illustrations are fantastic and the story is cute. This would make a nice bedtime book, or as a lesson in teaching your children to listen to their mothers!

Finally, Who Made This Cake? written by Chihiro Nakagawa and illustrated by Junji Koyose is a book that had me quite puzzled when I was done reading it. At first, I didn't really think I liked it at all, but once I thought about it, I realized what a unique concept it really was, completely changing my mind and allowing me to fervently recommend it.

The story reads almost like a recipe for a cake, yet is filled with trucks and construction workers. The workers are miniature people, as are the machines, but the cake they are building ends up being a regular sized cake for a normal sized boy. Kinda cool huh? We get to see how different construction vehicles operate and how a cake is made, all in the same book.

I think Who Made This Cake? will appeal to a variety of readers, children and parents alike. Give it a chance, it may not seem quite as neat the first time through, but think about the concept a bit and I think you'll change your mind.

Friday, September 12, 2008

HUGE Giveaway!!! Wahoo!!

I just wrote a rave review of Elise Broach's newest book, Masterpiece, and now, the publisher and author have been so kind as to give me 5 SIGNED copies to give to you all. Yep, you heard that right, 5 SIGNED copies. Leave a comment on this post by Tuesday night at midnight and you'll be entered once...link back to this contest and you get an extra entry!!

Did I Expect Angels

Newcomer Kathryn Maughan has created a grippingly emotional novel that will grab the reader from the first page. Did I Expect Angels? tells the story of Jennifer, a young, widowed mother, struggling to get through each day. She is still so wrought with grief, though 18 months has passed since her husband’s death, that she feels incapable to continuing to take care of herself and her daughter. Jennifer is on the brink of suicide, no longer sure of how to live, when she runs into Henry, an unlikely friend.

Henry has a story to tell and decides that Jennifer’s anguish on the night they meet is the sign he’s been waiting for. Both Henry and Jennifer simultaneously tell their stories of love and eventual tragedy, while forging a friendship they never thought possible. Each character’s story has its own twists and turns, resulting in quite the page turner.

I loved each character, though found my own special connection in Henry. He just seemed to have this ability to turn Jennifer’s life around through his own love story, even with the obvious sense of foreboding tragedy. I could just tell, if he was a person rather than a character, he would be such a kind, gentle soul. A man we could all use in our lives as a confidant.

I have two small, teeny complaints about the book, though overall I really did enjoy reading it. First, the cover creeped me out a little bit. I’m not sure if you can see it very well in the small picture, but the angels face is scribbled out with a pen or marker of some sort. I’m probably just overly sensitive (ha…story of my life), but it was a tad creepy. Secondly, Henry’s portion of the story was distinguished from Jennifer’s by being written completely in italic letters. It was somewhat difficult to read that type of print continuously, which was distracting to the story. I think it could have been done a bit better by simply alternating chapters or simply titling portions as Henry’s or Jennifer’s. Again, very small complaints, but it’s only fair to mention them!

Since I really don't read and review all that many adult novels, I'm glad the latest one I picked up was enjoyable! A great first novel from Maughan.

Friday Fill-ins

1. I enjoy eating at new restaurants. We've done that a lot lately, being in Abq, and it's been one enjoyable part of our time here.

2. God's will is something I wonder about often lately.

3. In your heart, you knew that our little boy was a miracle, no matter what the ultimate outcome.

4. Take sugar, add a little spice and you end up with Amanda!

5. Life has gifted me with a wonderful husband, a beautiful son, and a crazy dog.

6. Going up the mountain to Cloudcroft is an instant vacation.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to staying with Jacob in the family room, tomorrow my plans include giving my boy a bath and Sunday, I want to throw a 4 month birthday party!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A great board book series

Marthe Jocelyn has created a fabulous board book series that I cannot believe I haven’t discovered before now. Focusing on the seasons and how we dress for the weather, the books are educational and fun.

Titled, Ready for Spring, Ready for Summer, Ready for Winter, and Ready for Autumn, toddlers will be able to learn about the seasons and the appropriate clothing for each. Different textures and patterns are introduced through Jocelyn’s illustrations, as well as incorporating new vocabulary words. Always a plus!

Once your children are at the age where they start to dress themselves, these books would be perfect for storytime. I’ve already recommended them to several friends with toddlers, knowing that they are perfect for encouraging children to learn about different clothing types, word associations, and seasons.

Don't forget my Saturdays with Stella giveaway....see the post below!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Saturdays with Stella...and a Giveaway!!

If you read one adult non-fiction book this year, make it Saturdays with Stella: How My Dog Taught Me to Sit, Stay, and Come When God Calls by Allison Pittman. Seriously. This is has to be in my top 5 books read this year, easily and I need for you all to head to your library or bookstore and pick this one up. You'll laugh hysterically on almost every page and if you are anything like me, you'll find a personal message pertaining to your relationship with God by the end of each chapter.

Stella is a special dog that just ended up in Pittman's life, completely by accident, but she certainly made herself at home. When Pittman and Stella begin attending obedience school to learn the basics in good doggy etiquette, Pittman found herself learning how to obey her own Master at the same time-God. We get to see how both Stella and the author learn to sit, drop it, come, leave it, etc., each submitting to their own masters.

I'm going through a bit of a rough time in my family life right now and this book was exactly what I needed to read. I was able to laugh out loud at Stella's slight mistakes (or major mistakes as we see in the form of a raided trashcan), but I was also able to see that I need to continue to obey God, that He really does have a plan for me and my family. So many passages connected straight to my heart...for instance:

"My Master tells me, 'Come to me...I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls' (Matthew 11:28). What could possibly be more wonderful than that? Yet too often my heart is tied up in knots of apprehension and anxiety. Yes, I know the peace of coming alongside Jesus and casting my cares upon Him, but all too often such surrender comes in the final move of a spiritual wrestling match."

That was one of the more serious passages, but it struck me. Many of the other parts that hit me were funny, but I was still able to connect to how I feel right now in my life. Honestly, this book is amazing, I can't wait to give it to all my family and friends this Christmas...and to YOU now!!

To enter to win a copy of Saturdays with Stella, leave a comment on this post by Friday night at midnight, telling me about a special pet of yours. Stella was obviously a very special pet to the author, my Shae is the best dog in the world to me....I want to know about your special animal, past or present. If you link to this contest on your blog, you get 5 extra entries. Wahoo!!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Non-Fiction Monday: Alphabet learning books

Sleeping Bear Press has this great series of books that I have come to really love, each highlighting the learning of numbers and letters for children of a variety of ages. We have most at our library, all of which get checked out often, but there are several new ones that I have really enjoyed, Number 1 Teacher: A School Counting Book by Steven L. Layne and Deborah Dover Layne (illustrated by Doris Ettlinger), B is for Big Ben: An England Alphabet, written by Pamela Duncan Edwards (illustrated by Melanie Rose), A is for Abraham: A Jewish Family Alphabet, written by Richard Michelson (illustrated by Ron Mazellan), and H is for Honor: A Military Family Alphabet, written by Devin Scillian (illustrated by Victor Juhasz) are just a few of the wonderfully put together books in this huge series.

Each book has beautifully done illustrations, and includes a brief portion of rhyming text for the younger readers and sidebars of more intense, informative text for the older readers. For example, in Number 1 Teacher, for the number 60 we are given the following rhyme:

“60 shows us a popular treat with
sixty-four colors the set is complete

For bringing a picture or project to life

there’s nothing like crayons to do the job right.”

The sidebar includes information on how crayons are made and what their uses are.Very cool!

H is for Honor is definitely a must-have for my family, being that my husband is a member of the United States Air Force and has been deployed. The book describes different aspects of the military branches, as well as how families work with having a member in the military.

I love the series and can understand why the books are so well loved. Each is filled with educational material, but has enough rhyme and simple portions, that younger children can use them for enjoyment, while the older kids could use them for homework and reports.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Masterpiece....is a Masterpiece!!!

Elise Broach has done it again! She completely wowed me with Shakespeare's Secret and now, her newest title, Masterpiece, has left even more of an impression. Anyone with an imagination will love this book and those without much of an imagination need to read this to gain one! I loved it and know she will have huge success with this story.

Marvin is a beetle. He and his family live under the kitchen sink in the home of James Pompaday, a quiet and mature 11 year old boy, looking for his place in the world. When James receives a pen and ink set for his birthday from his dad, he isn't quite sure what to do with it, but Marvin surprises him by creating an amazingly intricate miniature drawing, eventually leading to the pair forging a strange, yet close friendship. After James receives credit for Marvin's artwork, the beetle and the boy are swept up in a mystery and art heist that grows more exciting with every page.

The friendship between James and Marvin, though quite farfetched, is written in a really beautiful manner. The story that grows as their friendship does is one filled with suspense and thrills, as well as fabulous illustrations, done by Kelly Murphy. Broach manages to slip an in-depth history lesson right under the reader's nose, a talent that many authors do not possess. I really enjoyed Masterpiece and can see it having just as much success as Shakespeare's Secret, a title that is rarely on our shelves at the library. I'm looking forward to see what else Elise Broach can come up with!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Picture Book Saturday!!

Though the story line was pretty decent too, the illustrations in Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley are what really made this book. Written and illustrated by Aaron Blabey, we meet two friends that are incredibly different, but are able to make their friendship work through their differences. The illustrations are beautifully done in warm tones and with whimsical faces for the characters. A very cute book!

Born to Read, written by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Marc Brown should probably be my motto book. Kids who enjoy books will love the rhymes about a boy whose life revolves around books and how successful he is at so many things, thanks to his love of reading. This is an awesome read aloud, as the rhymes are perfectly timed and the illustrations are very cute.

Written and illustrated by John Farrell, Dear Child is a lovely portrayal of how parents feel about their child. In flowing rhyme text, the reader is able to see how much having a child means to parents and how wonderful their life becomes. The entire world changes with the birth of a child and watching them grow is always a loving experience. Children will be able to see the smiles on the faces in the illustrations and learn from the text just how important they are to their parents. A very simple book, Dear Child is perfect for one-on-one time. After reading, explain to your child how they changed your world for the better!

BBAW: a nomination for moi??!!

Book Bloggers Appreciation Week is coming up and I've just been informed that I was nominated for an award in the Best Kidlit Blog category! I'm completely honored and super excited that someone (or several someones) thought to nominate this blog...a couple years ago I never even thought anyone would read this blog, let alone nominate it for an award. Many thanks to all of you! Now head on over and vote for your favorite blogs!

Voting is open until September 12th.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Poetry Friday: An Eco-Diary!!!

The Eco-Diary of Kiran Singer by Sue Ann Alderson and Millie Ballance is perfect for a Poetry Friday selection. Each page contains a different entry in Kiran's eco-diary (in poetry format), all based around the bog she and her grandmother take care of and advocate for. Bogs are often viewed as smelly, gross places filled with swampy water and bugs, but the authors, through Kiran's eyes, make bogs beautiful places, worth fighting for in today's world.

This selection is short and sweet, perfect for introducing reluctant middle grade readers to both poetry and environmentalism in a subtle format. The cover is pretty cool too, having been made to look like an actual diary cover. Overall, a very enjoyable book, quite educational in terms of bogs and their purpose/beauty, and quiet in it's message.

Giveaway winner

The winner of The Diamond of Darkhold is....Robin_titan! Just send me your mailing address and I'll get it out in the mail ASAP. Thanks to everyone who played, there are LOTS more giveaways to come!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Postponment....but a giveaway as well....

Well sometimes life happens right? Those of you that are on my update list probably have a pretty good idea why my new blog design has not yet been completed and if you want to be added to that list (updates on Jacob), just let me know. My computer savvy hubby hasn't had a chance to finish the new web design, so for now, I'm just going to give away one teaser book until I have time to get back into the blogosphere with a whole new look. Enter to win an ARC of Jeanne DuPrau's newest edition to the Ember series, The Diamond of Darkhold. You KNOW you want this one! Enter by tomorrow night by leaving a comment on this post. Link to this giveaway and you get 2 extra entries!

More giveaways and a new blog design to come...keep checking back and please, be patient with me!

Jane Yolen board books

All librarians love Jane Yolen right? I've read her for years, but never really got into the board books until recently...boy was I missing out! I just got the chance to review her Hippo series of board books, which I think are perfect for babies and toddlers with the hippos counting, learning colors, and presenting different emotions to the reader. The kids get to learn some things while looking at the adorable illustrations by Vlasta van Kampens, plus they can chew on the books without destroying them. Always a plus with a teether in the house!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Non-Fiction Monday: Sisters & Brothers

Sisters & Brothers, written by Steve Jenkins and illustrated by Robin Page is perfect for teaching your kids about different animals, many of them very unique, and introducing them to some great family relationships and illustrations at the same time.

Each page describes facts about a different animal, ranging from African elephants to New Mexico whiptail lizards, naked mole rats to giant anteaters. The illustrations are beautiful and colorful and accompany the facts in a fun, non-repetitive manner. I love that the facts weren’t dry or written in a technical way, they flowed nicely and were informative (and fun).

Kids will love this book and adults will easily be able to use it for education and easy lessons. Sisters & Brothers would make a great addition to library or home shelves.

Deena's BIG Giveaway....

Deena over at A Peek of My Bookshelf is hosting a humongous giveaway. 30 Books in 30 Days!! She's an awesome blogger and her giveaways are always great...good for reading pleasure and often pretty great on an inspirational level too. Click on the picture below to head over to her page and start entering!