Monday, September 29, 2008

Be a Rebel! Read a banned book!

Read a book from the list of books objected to by people I find objectionable (can I ban them?) during banned books week, September 29 to October 6.
Several variety of lists are available at the ALA website but I suggest buying a book - yes, I always think libraries are swell places to get books, but here is a link to purchasing children's books that have been banned - in this case I think we should show the authors some love for refusing to be limited by narrow minds.
And I enclose this illustration and quote- the borders are the redesign of A Wrinkle in Time (proudly on the banned books list along with The Bible, Alice in Wonderland, and other books guaranteed to ruin minds). I love her for starting that great book with that great line - she had wonderful humor in that brilliant mind of hers.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

View out of a library window in Warren, Vermont

Library visits

Nearly every summer we have gone up to Vermont for a few days and every time we take a ride over to Warren, a small but appealing artsy town with an even smaller (but appealing) library that overlooks a beautiful graveyard with very old headstones. The library is moving from this, the present location, to a larger building in town, and I will miss the above view out the windows - a clear invitation for stories to start their weave if I ever saw one.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Running Bear Books, good, huh?

Driving in Vermont this summer and a black bear runs across the wooded road into the thick greenery.
We were thrilled beyond words.
Of course, in the weeks to come I had worked out my winning the lottery plan which is to move to Vermont and open a bookstore called Running Bear Books.
But until I win the lottery, I will be content to watch children cuddle up to our big library bear who sits in our reading area, deeply contented as they read "smasher trucks" books to themselves (making up the words, of course, as they can't read yet - but you don't have to read to enjoy a good truck book). And I will enjoy bear books such as the charming Old Bear by the insanely talented Kevin Henkes. When the bear dreams of napping in a giant pink crocus, I was so very happy, and remembered the bear running and I wondered if he will sleep this winter with dreams of flowers and blueberries and icy winter nights studded with stars. I hope he will.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

One mo' time

I would be remiss if I didn't include a quote for the challenge from one of my favorite books. Tom, beloved brother of the narrator, Frances, has died and there is his funeral: " And it was cold, I remember that, the low November sunlight glittering on the wet headstones. There was the sound of traffic from the road, the rumble of the presses in the nearby Creda factory.
It was Harry who saw him first. He grabbed my sleeve but said nothing. I looked... and there was Tom. He had his hands in his pockets, his jacket collar up. His hair was as uncombed, as wild as ever. And he was leaning against a tree."
Not an easy book, perhaps, but a rewarding one.
The image of the jacket borrowed from the following website worth noting - love reading 4 kids, a UK site, very interesting. Here's their info about Allan Ahlberg:
England has always had so many fantastic children's book authors and illustrators. I have fantasies of going there and filling up giant steamer trunks full of children's books someday (possibly why the husband hasn't seemed so eager to make the trip). Fortunately so many of their books cross the pond and get published here as well. (I was thrilled beyond reason when Ginger Bear by Mini Grey, which was pub'd in the UK as Biscuit Bear, came to our USA bookshelves).

Saturday, September 20, 2008

In memory of Rontu

For the last of the quote challenge, I give you the opening to Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell.

"I remember the day the Aleut ship came to our island. At first it seemed like a small shell afloat on the sea. Then it grew larger and was a gull with folded wings. At last in the rising sun it became what it really was - a red ship with two red sails." interesting background information on both the author (who did not start writing books for children until in his sixties) and how he came to write this book.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Pirate Quote

"Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates."
-Mark Twain
in my advil/vicodin dentalwork haze, I nearly forgot it is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Last year, I donned Pirate duds and bling and asked all the kids "Arrrrrrrrrrr ya readin'?" in my best pirate voice. This year I am home moaning "Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr..." But hey, it's still Pirate, right?
(And as the most fabulous Captain Jack Sparrow asks: "Why is the rum always gone?")

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The ultimate revenge?

" Once on a dark winter's day, when the yellow fog hung so thick and heavy in the streets of London that the lamps were lighted and the shop windows blazed with gas as they do at night, an odd-looking little girl sat in a cab with her father and was driven rather slowly through the big thoroughfares."
So begins the story of A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett - and the preferred version for me illustrated (as pictured) by Ethel Franklin Betts. I took this book out of the library as a child so often that the librarian finally refused to let me take it out any longer telling me I had to choose another book. So was the ultimate revenge finding a wonderful copy of this in a used book store for five bucks years ago or becoming a children's librarian myself? (This is where my older children would roll their eyes and just say that is too geeky to be a revenge of any sort!).
Thanks to the listed blog below for the photo - only one that came up googled and my camera is not yet sympathetic to the new computer or I'd take a photo myself.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What Became of Susan?

So starts Chapter One of Time at the Top by Edward Ormondroyd, a recommended book by my boss (as she just purchased the 4oth year anniversary edition for the children's room) - and I am enchanted to note it starts off with a Susan - we Susans are so often overlooked in literature. So for my ongoing week of quotes put forth by The Hidden Side of the Leaf blog at, I offer these opening lines:

"One Wednesday in March, late in the afternoon, Susan Shaw vanished from the Ward Street apartment house in which she lived with her father.
The last person to see her was Mrs. Clutchett, a lady of uncertain age but reliable habits, who was employed as a cleaning woman by various residents of the building, and also by Mr. Shaw as a cook."

I just adore the "uncertain age but reliable habits" line.

Monday, September 15, 2008

...and he grew up to be a librarian

"Edmund was a boy. The people who did not like him said that he was the most tiresome boy that ever lived, but his grandmother and his other friends said that he had an inquiring mind. And his granny often added that he was the best of boys. But she was very kind and very old."

from Kind Little Edmund or the Caves and the Cockatrice by E. Nesbit in her The Complete Book of Dragons for the quote a day challenge (my theme: children's books grabbed at random)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Rainy weather reviews

The Dangerous Alphabet is obviously not for the regular ABC youngster set. I see this more as a poetry book with some delicious macabre rhymes: "E's for the evil that lures and entices; F is for fear and its many devices;". Teachers looking for a Halloween writing activity might want to consider picking this one up and having their students spin an unusual alphabet. Extra credit if they notice something is a bit off kilter in the alphabet line up. Likewise, the equally amusing Creature Carnival is a poetry collection built around the title's concept - another fun Halloweeny project could be inspired (write your own Monster Mansion or the like) and the inspired art is again by the talented Gris Grimly.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Shining review of the moment

The irrepressible blue squid is back
and this time he's packing a paintbrush.
Clever and perfectly on note, this book
is a charmer.
I am a big fan of writer/illustrator
Kevin Sherry who seems to be
channeling Picasso as a toddler
when he creates his squidlicious books.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

from "Boats" by Alberto Blanco

Un poema es un barco de papel
hecho con tus propias palabras:
toda tu vida cabe en el hueco
que dejan suis pliegues,
e sus colores.

A poem is a paper boat
made of your own words:
everything in your life fits
in the spaces formed by its folds
and its colors.

From the fantastic book: The Tree Is Older Than You Are, poems from Mexico selected by (the wonderful) Naomi Shihab Nye. Hopefully this book finds its way onto every library shelf.