Thursday, July 3, 2014

Paddington Bear Movie Trailer

Based on the beloved children's book by Michael Bond. Arrives in theaters this Christmas.

This Christmas, a small bear will make a big splash. From the beloved novels by Michael Bond and producer David Heyman (HARRY POTTER), PADDINGTON tells the story of the comic misadventures of a young Peruvian bear who travels to the city in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone, he begins to realize that city life is not all he had imagined - until he meets the kindly Brown family who read the label around his neck that says "Please look after this bear. Thank you," and offer him a temporary haven. It looks as though his luck has changed until this rarest of bears catches the eye of a museum taxidermist.

Director: Paul King
Written by: Paul King
Screenplay by: Henry Paul King
Cast: Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi and Nicole Kidman

Official Movie Website | Facebook | Twitter

Check out the movie trailer, here...

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - The ALA 2014 Edition

Normally on the first Wednesday of the month, I do a post about new nonfiction releases.  However, this week, I am pre-empting my normal post to share about the Common Core IRL: In Real Libraries presentation that I was a part of at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Las Vegas this past weekend.

In preparing for the presentation, I had the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues in different places around the country.  This was a phenomenal learning opportunity. 

On Sunday, June 29th, in the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, we shared the information and our experiences working with students with our audience.  There were some great questions at the end of the session, and we are hoping to create future Common Core IRL: In Real Library posts in ways that will respond to questions.

If you are interested in checking out the presentation slides, the slideshare of our presentation is below.  Please share this with friends and colleagues who may be interested. 

Mary Ann Scheuer posted a portion of the introduction on her blog post, here.

Thank you to these amazing professionals, who I am thrilled to also count as my friends.

Mary Ann Scheuer, School Librarian, Emerson Elementary School (California) -

Louise Capizzo, Youth Service Librarian, Scarborough Public Library (Maine) -

Cathy Potter, School Librarian, Falmouth Elementary School (Maine) -

A special thanks to the following publishers for donating books for a special giveaway at the end of our presentation.

Boyds Mills Press



Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

National Geographic Kids

Don't forget to link up your nonfiction reviews below:

Friday, June 27, 2014

ALA Annual Conference

The American Library Association's Annual Conference is in Las Vegas this year. I have arrived, and unpacked, and already gotten a bit lost. However, I am eager to see friends, talk about books, and more. I may not be blogging much over the next few days, but I will be tweeting (#alaac14).  And if you are here for the conference, stop by room S228 at the Convention Center on Sunday (June 29th) morning for the session I am doing with Mary Ann Scheuer, Cathy Potter, and Louise Cappizo. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Top Five Picks for the First Half of 2014

Thank you everyone for all of the great posts each week for the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2014.

In the past, I have tried to review all of the picture books I have read during the first half of the year and select my favorite 10 at the end of June. This year, I decided to select my top five nonfiction picture books and then do another post for my top five fiction picture books. Out of the the 50+ nonfiction picture books published in 2014 that I have currently read, here are my favorites in no particular order.

Grandfather Gandhi by Arun Gandhi, Bethany Hegedus; Illustrated by Evan Turk (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, March 2014) - A glimpse into the life of Gandhi by his grandson Arun.  Readers learn about peace along with Arun.

A Baby Elephant in the Wild by Caitlin O'Connell; Photographs by Timothy Rodwell (HMH Books for Young Readers, March 2014) - By the team that brought us The Elephant Scientist comes a story about the birth and life of a baby elephant.  Informative and very accessible for younger readers.

Handle With Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey by Loree Griffin Burns; Photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz (Millbrook Press, January 2014) - I was fascinated about the story of a butterfly farm in Costa Rica and the photographs brought it to vivid life.

Water Can Be... by Laura Purdie Salas; Illustrated by Violeta Dabija (Millbrook Press, April 2014) - This follow up to A Leaf Can Be... is just as beautifully illustrated.  The simple phrases bring new vision to something as meaningful as water.

The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra by Chris Raschka (Candlewick Press, May 2014) - Both the illustrations and text work together beautifully in this picture book biography of the jazz musician, Sun Ra. Raschka does an amazing job capturing the spirit and life of this unique musician.

What are your favorite nonfiction picture books published in 2014?

Don't forget to link up your nonfiction reviews...

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Celebrate This Week - June 21, 2014

This year, I am trying to increase my awareness of the many good things that happen, which are frequently overlooked by me.  To help me, I am joining Ruth Ayres' Celebrate This Week.

Is it only me, but do others find it hard to write a Celebrate This Week post on Friday nights, or do you schedule your posts?  Since I like to think of it as a reflection of my week, I want to wait till Friday to write it up.  However, Friday nights tend to be busy and Saturday mornings tend to be filled with errands. I would love to hear how everyone does their posts? 

So, here it is.

Here's what I am thankful for this week...

1.  Friends willing to share their expertise. - On Friday, I spent nearly 6 hours with my friend Marianne Wallace.  She is a biologist turned author/illustrator.  I am working on creating a training for teachers on using nonfiction books as mentor texts for writing.  During our time together, we poured over a few dozen nonfiction picture books discussing the styles of writing and how we would classify these books and more.  Though I still have to put together the trainings, I feel like I have a much greater awareness of what I need to focus on and what gaps I have with the broader category of children's nonfiction.

After I left Marianne, I picked up my friend Alethea (@frootjoos) and we grabbed some dinner and she spent at least 5 hours with me as I learned how to use a new blog platform. She is so patient when I get stuck and struggle to figure out how to do certain things.   I am also thankful for how much she knows when it comes to web-development and that she is willing to share that knowledge with me.

Though both of these projects will be on-going, I am thankful for how much I was able to learn yesterday that will be helpful as I continue work on them.

2.  Katherine Applegate is the most amazing author. - On Wednesday, Katherine was in town for some other meetings and came to Once Upon a Time in Montrose.  She met with a small group prior to the event in the store and talked about her writing, and winning the Newbery Medal.  We had so much fun with her and she is simply charming.

3.  Lost and Found Books and a clean trunk. - If any of you have ever had an itinerant position, you will understand what I am talking about.  I work with several schools and before I know it more bags and boxes of stuff end up in my car from different projects, training, and work related things. I seem to never get around with cleaning and organizing it.  This week, when I misplaced a stack of books, I thought it was time to clean out the trunk in hopes of finding them.  The 13 year old and I emptied the whole trunk and reorganized it. Some stuff ended up in the trash, and other stuff (like the 30 books that were in there) were pulled out and are waiting to be shelved in the house. Good news - not only do I have a clean and organized trunk but I found the missing books.

4.  The Sixteen Year Old is officially a driver. - I can't take credit for teaching him how to drive.  His mom gets all the kudos and awards for being the patient person while he practiced driving.  However, as a good auntie/god-mom, I am rejoicing on his behalf.

Hope everyone is enjoying the first day of summer and finding ways to celebrate all the little things around them.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Author Event: Getting it Published with Catherine Linka and Mollie Traver

On June 12th, 2014, I had the privilege of attending an author/editor event for Catherine Linka, author of A Girl Called Fearless, and her former editor, Mollie Traver.

The event was held at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore down in Redondo Beach. Catherine and Mollie set out to explain the long and somewhat arduous process of publishing a book.

Before the two dove into publishing, though, Catherine read an excerpt from A Girl Called Fearless, her debut novel.

Publishers Weekly described the novel: "Set in an alternative present day US, this debut features a teen who must decide whether to submit to forced marriage or run for freedom".

As a work of speculative fiction, the book focuses on the life of a young women living ten years after a hormone in beef triggered ovarian cancer in women across the country, killing millions of women. In the wake of this catastrophe, women's rights have been severely limited and society has become exceedingly patriarchal.

Frequently passing the mic back and forth, Catherine and Mollie sought to explain the different steps between the author writing his/her work and the book being released. The two explained getting a book agent, shopping the book around (sending the book to different publishing companies), and the process of working on "spec" (if no publishing company is willing to take the book, an editor can ask an author to work with them to edit the book in the hopes that an edited version will have more luck with publishers).

One of the more interesting aspects of the process of publishing A Girl Called Fearless was all of the changes that had to be made after the book was put out on the publishing market. Unfortunately, the original manuscript wasn't considered due to its similarity to the multitude of YA dystopians in the market at the time, thus necessitating some modifications. While the original manuscript was set in the far future, the setting was altered to the present in order to distinguish the book from futuristic dystopian books. Additionally, the original manuscript employed a virus to kill off millions of women, but the viral outbreak was substituted by a large number of cancer cases because viruses are frequently used to kill of populations in many dystopian books.

As a reader, I am very appreciative of the immense effort that went into A Girl Called Fearless, as it would not exist in its captivating and brilliant final form without all that work poured into it. The event was wonderful, and it was fascinating to hear about the complexities of publishing.

A full review of A Girl Called Fearless may be expected in the upcoming weeks.

Note: Photo credit goes to Nutschell Windsor, who graciously allowed us to use her photos of the event.

Thank you, Carolyn for sharing about your visit to Mysterious Galaxy.  I would like to welcome Carolyn to Kid Lit Frenzy.  She will be doing some regular posting.  Carolyn, in her words, is an AP student, voracious reader, competitive archer, nerd, and foodie. In the event that she is unable to become a companion of the Doctor or Sherlock’s blogger, she hopes to pursue a career as an editor in the future. You can find her on twitter at @YAlitfrenzy.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - The Pilot and the Little Prince

by Peter Sís
Farrar, Straus, & Giroux (May 27, 2014)
Nonfiction * Biographical * Aviation 

Description from GoodReads:
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was born in France in 1900, when airplanes were just being invented. Antoine dreamed of flying and grew up to be a pilot—and that was when his adventures began. He found a job delivering mail by plane, which had never been done before. He and his fellow pilots traveled to faraway places and discovered new ways of getting from one place to the next. Antoine flew over mountains and deserts. He battled winds and storms. He tried to break aviation records, and sometimes he even crashed. From his plane, Antoine looked down on the earth and was inspired to write about his life and his pilot-hero friends in memoirs and in fiction. Peter Sís’s remarkable biography celebrates the author of The Little Prince, one of the most beloved books in the world.

Image from The Pilot and the Little Prince

Reviews: Kirkus | Publisher's Weekly | Hornbook |

Links to interesting pages: NPR Interview of Peter Sís |  

About the Author: Peter Sís is the internationally renowned author and/or illustrator of many books for children. He is the recipient of the 2012 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration and has also been awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. He has lived in and around New York City since 1984.

Where to find Peter Sís: website | facebook

My thoughts on the book:
A couple of weeks ago, I picked up The Pilot and the Little Prince.  I have been a fan of Peter Sís for awhile and when I saw that this was coming out I knew I had to have it.  Finally, I had a chance to sit down and spend some time pouring over this beautifully illustrated book.  And when I say pouring over this book, I do mean spend time with it.  This is not a book that you read once.  Though the narrative story text is fairly simple, there is much more to process.

Image from The Pilot and the Little Prince

The story is laid out in multiple ways - readers can simply begin with the straight narrative text that tells the life of Antoine de Saint-Exupery.  Additionally, the illustrations provide readers with another level of visual literacy that can and should be read.  Finally, there are illustrations with scripted text, which provides another layer.  Though I do have to say that the small font was a bit difficult for me to read with ease. If I were to ask for one addition to the book, it would be for back matter (author's note, additional reading, links, or other things) to be included at the end of the book.

Overall, this is a beautiful picture book biography for children in Kindergarten to Third grade.  It would make a lovely addition to a classroom or school library. 

Don't forget to link up your nonfiction reviews: