Thursday, January 31, 2013

Printed Books Giveaway Hop

The Printed Books Giveaway Hop is hosted by Kathy over at I am a Reader, Not a Writer.  This hop celebrates the printed book.  No e-books this time.

I will be giving away signed copies of the following Middle Grade Mystery/Adventure Pack:

The Fellowship for Alien Detection by Kevin Emerson (Walden Pond Press)

The Tell-Tale Start: The Misadventure of Edgar and Allen Poe by Gordon McAlpine (Penguin)

Girls' Best Friend: A Maggie Brooklyn Mystery by Leslie Margolis (Bloomsbury)

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Don't forget to check out the other blogs participating in this giveaway hop:

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - The YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction & the Robert F. Sibert Medal

On Monday, the world celebrated one of the most important days in Children's Literature with ALA's Youth Media Awards.  Congratulations to all of the winners of the YALSA's Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction and the Robert F. Sibert Medal Award.

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults 

Winner: Bomb: The Race to Build — and Steal — the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon written by Steve Sheinkin, published by Flash Point/Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

Honor: Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different written by Karen Blumenthal, published by Feiwel & Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

Honor: Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 written by Phillip Hoose, published by Farrar Straus Giroux, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

Honor: Titanic: Voices from the Disaster written by Deborah Hopkinson, published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic

Honor: We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March written by Cynthia Levinson, published by Peachtree Publishers

2013 Robert F. Sibert Medal for the most distinguished informational book for children 
published in 2012 

Winner: Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World's Most Dangerous Weapon written by Steve Sheinkin and published by Flash Point, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press.

The Sibert Medal Committee selected three Honor Books:

Honor: Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin written by Robert Byrd and published by Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group.

Honor: Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 written by Phillip M. Hoose and published by Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers.

Honor: Titanic: Voices from the Disaster written by Deborah Hopkinson, published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic 

Of course, I would have loved to see some more nonfiction picture books on this list, but given that two different Award Committees selected nearly all of the same books, these need to go on my list of books to read.

If you have a nonfiction picture book or nonfiction book post that you would like to link up, please include them below. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

ALA's Youth Media Awards - Schneider Family Book Award Winners

Part of me is terribly exhausted but the other part is running on adrenalin.  It was an amazing morning being a part of ALA's Youth Media Awards.  It started with pictures at 6:00 a.m. for the committees.

The 2013 Schneider Family Book Award Jury

After hanging around for awhile, we were able to go into the room where the announcements would be made.  Each committee has reserved seats. Look what was on our chairs:

Believe it or not, we were in the front row in front of the big screen.  However, it is pretty dark in there so my pictures are limited.

Me in front of the big screen
Here is a picture of room as people were coming in:

The Youth Media Award Announcements are made quickly and efficiently.  The Schneider Family Book Awards were announced early on.

Each year, the Schneider Family Book Award Jury selects three awards.  The Schneider Family Book Awards honor an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences. Usually, they are given in the following categories - Young Child, Middle Grade, and Young Adult.  And the winners of this year's Schneider Family Book Awards go to:

Young Child Award -
Back to Front and Upside Down by Claire Alexander (Eerdmans Books for Young Children)

Middle Grade Award -
A Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean (Katherine Tegen/Harper Collins)

Young Adult Award -
Somebody Please Tell Me Who I Am by Harry Mazer and Peter Lerangis (Simon & Schuster)

I am excited about the hard work of the jury and really feel that we selected some great books that fit what the award is all about. 

When the awards were over, I went down to the exhibit hall to see the books on display.  I was able to take some pictures with the books.  However, the highlight was when HarperCollins let me place the Schneider Family Book Award Sticker on A Dog Called Homeless.

I am with Sarah Shumway Liu (Editor for A Dog Called Homeless)
Ok, that's all for now.  I'll be posting more about this incredible experience, but now off for a nap.

It's Monday! What are you reading? From Picture Books to YA - 1/28/13

It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Sheila of Book Journey. Jen & Kellee from Teach Mentor Texts have adapted this to focus on Picture Books to Young Adult Books.

I am calling this the ALA Midwinter '13 edition of What Are You Reading? Here's what I found at ALA this past weekend:

Exclamation Mark! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal; Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld (Scholastic, March 2013) - Simple yet amazing!!!

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt; Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers (Penguin, July 2013) - Fantastic story by Daywalt and the illustrations by the talented Jeffers just bring this one more meaning.  A must read!

This Is the Rope: A Story From the Great Migration by Jacqueline Woodson; Illustrated by James Ransome (Penguin, August 2013)

Like Bug Juice on a Burger by Julie Sternberg; Illustrated by Matthew Cordell (Amulet, April 2013) - Look, the sequel for Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie is coming.  Yay! 

Will & Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge (Amulet, April 2013) - I loved Gulledge's first book Page by Paige and I am excited to see that she has a new one that will be out this spring.  The illustrations are so filled with meaning. 

There is so much more to share but I do hope this gets you excited about what is coming out this spring.

So, what are you reading?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

ALA's Youth Media Awards - Anticipation is Growing

On Monday, January 28, 2013, at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, thousands of librarians, publisher types, book people, and some educators will gather together to hear the announcement of the American Library Association (ALA) Youth Media Awards There are twenty different children’s book awards that will be announced.  Though the most well known of these awards are the Newbery and Caldecott Medals, additional categories that represent a greater age range and increased diversity have also been added over the years.

During the hour-long announcements, the room will be filled with anticipation, excitement, and great energy.  There will be wild clapping as well loved favorites from 2012 are announced as winners.  However, there will also be stunned silence when heavily favored books are passed over for a lesser-known title.  And once the awards are announced, there will be a mad scramble by bookstores and libraries to stock the winning books on their shelves. 

In 2011, I sat in the auditorium listening to the silence as a relatively unknown title, Moon Over Manifest by debut author Claire Vanderpool claimed the prestigious Newbery Medal.  Last night, I had the honor of chatting with Vanderpool and Newbery Honor author, Kirby Larson (Hattie Big Sky).  Sometimes life is a bit surreal, and it will only become more so, when I enter the auditorium for the Youth Media Awards as one of the Book Award Committee members.  I have had the honor of serving on the 2013 Schneider Family Book Award Jury.  This past Friday, our committee carefully reviewed the books we had read and selected three titles to take home the Schneider Family Book Award (for a book with a positive portrayal of an individual with a disability).  As I write this, I am about to leave to join committee members in calling the award winners to let them know they have won.  And on Monday morning, I will have a seat near the other Award Committee members as all of the announcements are made.

My experience on this committee has given me new appreciation for those who select the Newbery and Caldecott Award Medal winning books.  I have learned that the average reader reads only a small portion of books that the committee reads and understandably wants their favorite book to win.  However, I have also learned that the committee may have found in their stacks a gem of a book that deserved to win even if it was unknown.  My “what were you thinking” questions will be replaced with an understanding that the committee took seriously the task before them by respecting the criteria of the award, and selecting what they felt was the best fit for the medal.  I look forward to sharing with students and teachers the winners from the 2013 ALA Youth Media Awards.        

The Youth Media Awards will be live-streamed ( for those who are unable to be present in person.  You can catch it on Twitter by following @alayma or the hashtag #alayma.  For those partial to Facebook, check out the Youth Media Awards Facebook page - 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle

Chronicle Books is one of those publishers that I count on to produce fun, creative books.  Sometimes those books are oversized.  Sometimes they have flaps, or pieces to open up or unfold.  I call these books "surprises on the inside".   The latest of these books:

Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle

From the publisher: In this innovative wordless picture book with interactive flaps, Flora and her graceful flamingo friend explore the trials and joys of friendship through an elaborate synchronized dance. With a twist, a turn, and even a flop, these unlikely friends learn at last how to dance together in perfect harmony. Full of humor and heart, this stunning performance (and splashy ending!) will have readers clapping for more! 

Molly Idle began her career as an artist working for DreamWorks Feature Animation, and from there she leapt into the world of children’s books. She lives in Tempe, Arizona.

Here's the Official Book Trailer - once you finish watching, go look for this at your local independent bookstore.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - A Splash Of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin

Author: Jen Bryant
Illustrator: Melissa Sweet
Publisher: Knopf/Random House (January 8, 2013)
Source: Personal Copy
Read Aloud Level:  2nd to 4th grade
Independent Reading Level: 3rd to 5th grade
Art * Biographical * Nonfiction

Description from GoodReads:
As a child in the late 1800s, Horace Pippin loved to draw: He loved the feel of the charcoal as it slid across the floor. He loved looking at something in the room and making it come alive again in front of him. He drew pictures for his sisters, his classmates, his co-workers. Even during W.W.I, Horace filled his notebooks with drawings from the trenches . . . until he was shot. Upon his return home, Horace couldn't lift his right arm, and couldn't make any art. Slowly, with lots of practice, he regained use of his arm, until once again, he was able to paint--and paint, and paint! Soon, people—including the famous painter N. C. Wyeth—started noticing Horace's art, and before long, his paintings were displayed in galleries and museums across the country.

Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet team up once again to share this inspiring story of a self-taught painter from humble beginnings who despite many obstacles, was ultimately able to do what he loved, and be recognized for who he was: an artist.

My thoughts on the book:
The second picture book biography from the team of Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet looks at the life and art of Horace Pippin.  The book begins with Pippin's birth and childhood in West Chester, Pennsylvania at the end of the 19th century.  From the time he was a child until an injury in World War I, Pippin drew for people.  Often using charcoal and scraps of paper.  It took years for Pippin to regain his ability to draw after his injury.  He developed a new technique to accommodate his injured arm and began to work with paints and other materials. With the support of the painter, N.C. Wyeth, Pippin's work began to be viewed by people in an exhibition.  The world became aware of Pippin as an artist at this point.

Bryant's storytelling is supplemented by quotes from Pippin and those who knew of him and his work.  As I read the words Bryant had written, I sensed her appreciation and admiration for Pippin.  Readers will feel the partnership and the journey undertaken by author and illustrator.  Both Bryant and Sweet confirm this in their endnotes.  Sweet utilizes watercolor, gouache, and collage in her illustrations which bring both depth and texture to each illustration.

The picture above of Pippin drawing as a young child and the one below of the art supplies he won in a contest are two of my favorite pictures in the book. 

The end of the book contains a Historical Note on Horace Pipping, notes from the Author and Illustrator, Quotation Sources, and further Resources.  I am excited to introduce Horace Pippin to students and thankful to be able to do it with this particular book. I look forward to seeing this picture book biography in classrooms and school libraries.  

Look for A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin at a local independent bookstore or community library near you.

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

Monday, January 21, 2013

It's Monday! What are you reading? From Picture Books to YA - 1/21/13

It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Sheila of Book Journey. Jen & Kellee from Teach Mentor Texts have adapted this to focus on Picture Books to Young Adult Books.

Here is what stood out from the past week...

America the Beautiful: Presidential Quotations and National Symbols, Illustrated by 10 American Artists by Katherine Lee Bates; Illustrated by Bryan Collier, Jon J. Muth, and more - This book combines the text of America the Beautiful, with quotes from presidents, and illustrations by 10 American Artists.  Beautifully done. Great for Presidents' Day.

The Hammer and The Anvil: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the End of Slavery in America by Dwight John Zimmerman; Illustrated by Wayne Vansant - A graphic novel about the friendship of Lincoln and Douglass and how they came together to end slavery. Pair up with Russell Freedman's Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

Odd Duck by Cecil Castelucci; Illustrated by Sara Varon (Release May 14, 2013) - I read this as a galley from Netgalley.  Castelucci and Varon make a great time.  Put this graphic novel on your "TRB" list.

My guilty pleasure this week was discovering Comixology which is a comic book app for iPad.  I am having fun exploring what is on there and what free comics I can download.  The number of children's comics are limited but for fans of Marvel and DC Comics check it out.

So, what are you reading?