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Reading My Library

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Best Book to Read

"Hooray! It's a trip to the library today.
We line up as we get off the bus.
We've been specially invited. Our class is excited!
The librarian is welcoming us."
If you and your little ones make frequent trips to the library, try to find a copy of The Best Book to Read, by Debbie Bertram and Susan Bloom. You'll particularly want to read this book if you know your librarians well and they know you. This book is all about how librarians love to help children explore their library and find books that will be of interest to them. It's an encouragement to read, read, read, read (and then perhaps read a little bit more!)

"Picture books, chapter books, books that pop up,
nonfiction, and fairy tales, too.
You may look by yourselves.
Take some books from the shelves.
Then check out the best book for you."

Here's another shot from our library (this one was taken by Jonathan):

Another question I put to our librarian during our recent visit was "Who Chooses Which Books to Order?" Haven't you always wondered who holds such power and prestige?! Apparently in our library, the librarians rotate sections that they are responsible for. Every two years they change sections so for one period of time an individual will be in charge of ordering non-fiction and then the next time they will be responsible for early readers. This allows each individual a chance to dabble in the collection. That's kind of fun, isn't it?

That's also another (good) reason why I would not make for a good librarian. I would want to be in charge of ordering ALL of the books ALL of the time. Every single last one! The power!!! Buuhhaa haa haa haa!! Cue the music:

Maybe I just need to keep on believing that tax payers will appoint me to this position. Then again, maybe I should redirect my focus elsewhere....

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Read Aloud Thursday

Read-Aloud Thursday at Hope Is the Word

It's time again for Read Aloud Thursday? Ready to play? Here are some of the books we've read this past week:

In the Fiddle is a Song, by Durga Bernhard is a "Lift-the-Flap Book of Hidden Potential." On the first page you see a page spread depicting a large acorn. Then you will see the words, "In the acorn..." Lift up the acorn and the sentence is completed as follows, ". . . is a tree waiting to grow tall." I originally thought that this book was going to end on a seriously overdone self esteem note but I was wrong. It was tastefully well done. "In you . . . is a story waiting to be told." (Side note: I don't mind stories on self esteem but I do think that they are a bit tastelessly overdone at times to the ruination of an actual storyline.) This one manages to maintain the message of hidden potential without causing one to roll their eyes. It's cute and it's fun. Both Bookworms 1 and 2 both enjoyed it, as did mommy so this one will receive the first SIX thumbs up award that we've given around here! How's THAT for a recommendation?

Duck Skates and Duck Dunks, both by Lynne Berry is apparently a series of books about, well, ducks. Our library had the above two books on the shelf so we brought them home. Every since I showed Bookworm1 a Youtube clip of Ernie singing about Rubbery Duckies, we've had a certain fixation with the little yellow creatures and so these books were thoroughly enjoyed.

In Duck Skates we meet the ducks in the winter - skating, of course! Duck Dunks involves a trip to the beach. Illustrated by Hiroe Nakata, these ducks are cute, cute, cute! Cute. One more time: cute. The books have a certain vintage feel about them, thanks to Nakata's efforts and I liked them very much.

To learn more about these books, you can check out Lynne Berry's website. Apparently there's a new title in the series coming out this year (2o10!) We'll look forward to it.

Lastly, we read The Colors of the Chameleon, by Alberto Benevelli. (I like saying that last name. Benevelli. It just sort of rolls off the tongue.)

This book provides a good story. All of the animals think that they are in possession of the greatest colors but, of course the chameleon declares he is the best colored of all because he can be all the colors! If you wanted to address the subject of differences between people, this is a good story to make use of. However, it's not blatantly obvious and so you can read this story "just for fun" also. There is a lot or arguing between the animals, banishment of some, trickery and deceit but in the end, they all learn to live with one another and get along. They all also agree that the chameleon does in fact own the best colors.

It's a cute story and well-told. We liked it for its complexity and also because we had never really focused on the chameleon before. It was a nice change of pace.

That's what we've got this week! What about you? I'm curious to find out....

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ludwig Bemelmans

You might not recognize the name at first, but certainly you'd recognize his most famous character - Madeline!

Who among you has not read Madeline!?

In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines,
lived twelve little girls in two straight lines
They left the house at half past nine . . .
The smallest one was Madeline.
Why, she even has her own website now! She's that famous.

What I didn't realize, until our last trip to the library, that Bemelmans was rather a prolific writer and wrote more than just the Madeline books. He also has a fascinating life history!

Born in Austria in 1898, Bemelmans emigrated to the United States in 1914. Clearly, he loved his new country because he, as many emigrants did at the time, enlisted in the United States Army and served during World War I. He became a U.S. Citizen in 1918 and lived here for the remainder of his life.

It depends on which website you look at as to whether or not you will get a complete and colorful history of Bemelmans' decision to come to America. I'm kind of compiling information which is collected from several sites. Wikipedia offers a quick and interesting history which says that Bemelmans had to choose whether or not to be institutionalized or to emigrate to the United States after having shot and seriously wounded a waiter at a hotel. Another website said his choice, after this alleged shooting, was reform school or to emigrate. At any rate, the question is whether he came to America because he truly loved the country or because he felt he had no choice. That sounds less valiant and patriotic than saying, "He came and he served in our country's army!" But still. He came and he served. You can't really downplay or discount that now, can you? I can't.

Bemelmans apparently never intended to become a writer. He rather enjoyed painting and illustrating - his own father being a painter. However, in the 1930's he met the children's book editor at Viking Press, May Massee, and he began to publish children's books. His first book was called Hansi and I was lucky to find a copy at our library! (I'm so glad that they hang on to old classics such as these with such rich history!)

Hansi is the story of a young boy who lives in Austria. He lives with his mother who is struggling to make a living. (This is strangely reminiscent of his own life. Bemelmans' father left his mother for the governess and his mother was left alone to raise the couple's son. She moved with him to Germany where she had family.) Hansi is invited to his uncle's house for Christmas and he goes off and has a wonderful time with his relatives. It's a nice holiday story. Long. I can certainly see why Madeline was more appealing but it's fun to read a famous author's first story, regardless.

Ludwig Bemelmans married a lady named Madeline Freund in 1935 and together they had a little girl named Barbara. Barbara became the model for the character Madeline and so once again we see Bemelman's life showing up in his work.

"We are writing for children, but not for idiots," he once stated.
Here is a list of all of Bemelman's books (which you can see for yourself is quite long!):

  • 1934: Hansi
  • 1936: The Golden Basket
  • 1937: My War with the United States
  • 1937: The Castle Number Nine
  • 1938: Life Class An autobiographical sketch.
  • 1938: Quito Express (travel book)
  • 1939: Madeline
  • 1939: Small Beer (based on his experience in Hollywood)
  • 1940: Fifi
  • 1941: At Your Service
  • 1941: Hotel Splendide
  • 1941: The Donkey Inside
  • 1942: Rosebud
  • 1942: I Love You, I Love You, I Love You
  • 1943: Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep
  • 1945: The Blue Danube
  • 1946: Hotel Bemelmans
  • 1947: A Tale of Two Glimps
  • 1947: Dirty Eddie
  • 1948: The Best of Times: An Account of Europe Revisited
  • 1949: The Eye of God
  • 1950: Sunshine: A Story about the City of New York
  • 1952: How to Travel Incognito
  • 1952: The Happy Place
  • 1953: Father, Dear Father
  • 1953: Madeline's Rescue
  • 1953: The Borrowed Christmas
  • 1954: The High World
  • 1955: Parsley
  • 1955: To the One I Love the Best
  • 1956: Madeline and the Bad Hat
  • 1957: The Woman of My Life
  • 1958: My Life in Art
  • 1959: Madeline and the Gypsies
  • 1960: Welcome Home!
  • 1960: Are You Hungry, Are You Cold
  • 1960: How to Travel To Europe All to Yourself
  • 1961: Italian Holiday
  • 1961: Madeline in London
  • 1962: Marina
  • 1962: On Board Noah's Ark
  • 1963: The Street Where the Heart Lies
  • 1954: La Bonne Table. Excepts and essays involving food and drink, edited by Donald and Eleanor Friede
  • 1966: The Elephant Cutlet
  • 1985: Tell Them It Was Wonderful: Selected Writings (compilation of various autobiographical stories, published posthumously)
(This list was snagged from Wikipedia.)

Bemelmans lost a battle to pancreatic cancer in 1962. He died in New York. Since he was a Corporal in the United States Army, he is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Today you can find some of Bemelmans' works hanging in the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the MuseƩ National d'Art of Paris. Here are a few pieces for you to see:

Most of us will probably not have the opportunity to go to Paris or New York to see his work, but we can enjoy it in book form. Madeline is everywhere and it would appear that everywhere she is, so is Bemelmans. She is said to have his free spirit and so he lives on in his little girl and we're entertained time and time again by this man's remarkable imagination and ability to tell us a good story.

For a short history of Bemelmans and Madeline, visit the Madeline website.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Children's Book Librarian Offers Encouragement

I think Children's Book Librarians are pretty darn special. They have great patience. And usually great imagination! I can't verify the imaginative side of one of our favorite children's librarians, Miss Dana, but I suspect.

Miss Dana (can you hear my southern influences coming out?) kindly gave us some of her valuable time last Saturday to talk a little about the library, the publishing industry and about reading to children.

I walked away with a lot of food for thought and figured I'd just highlight some points that were important to me and would be of some encouragement to you as well. Ok, maybe it was more encouraging just to me but consider this -

When Bookworm1 was born, I read to him right away. From Day 1 we had a book in our hands and we cuddled and snuggled with books. I so looked forward to doing the same thing with Bookworm2 when he arrived. But it has been very clear that Bookworm2 was not read to when he was born or for any of the months following. He hasn't seemed to know what to do with books. He's rather a mover and shaker type! Definitely a kinesthetic learner - without a doubt! While we've been learning each other, we've also been learning what books are. Some days are better than others. I MIGHT have read four books total to Bookworm2 since he became a part of our physical family. Mostly, he just tosses books around and plays while Bookworm1 and I read aloud. I figure at the very least - Bookworm2 is listening.

I was telling Miss Dana about this situation and asking for her thoughts and advice on the matter and she spoke some encouraging words to me on the topic. She said that librarians consider children to be learning to read a book when they are holding it and flipping through it. If a child is given the opportunity to explore books, they can absolutely turn into readers of them. She said that they consider it a success when a young one will learn to hold a book and flip through the pages. No matter how fast they might be flipping, if they are learning the idea that you open a book and turn pages, then they are in the process of learning how to read.

Baby steps, essentially.

1. Hand the baby a book.

2. Show baby how to turn pages.

3. Don't worry about reading the actual story.

4. Let baby have book and discover it.

Check! Ok. Bookworm2 can do that and I just need to learn to relax. And make sure he has board books (he's a fast flipper of pages)!

Thankfully we have board books in abundance and there are plenty of opportunities for Bookworm2 to play with them. I'll keep making them available to him and snatch any opportunity he gives me to tell him the stories inside.

It should come as no surprise that I'm a lover of books and it is my heart's desire that my children learn to love to read as well. I had become a little discouraged about Bookworm2's lack of interest and so it thrilled my heart to hear that our local librarians saw progress in what my little guy is doing with books. Sometimes it takes an outside source to tell you that everything is alright and you're doing great! So chalk it up for our local librarian offering book suggestions AND encouragement to parents!

A few items of note that kind of dovetailed off of this conversation:

1. I asked how librarians deal with the idea library books being ripped and mishandled in use. Of course, I'm thinking of Bookworm2's handling (I typically don't let him have library books because he's kinda rough with them! Instead I offer him books from our own home library which belong exclusively to us and therefore I don't worry so much about him tearing into them.) and wanting to make sure that my children are respectful of books in general. Miss Dana said that the librarians at our library do not put any restrictions on children reading books. They are not particularly fond of the idea of children being punished away from books, which kind of makes sense. For example, they wouldn't be excited about a parent saying, "You ripped this library book therefore you are not allowed to check out anymore books!" Instead, they encourage careful guidance on the part of parents as they are reading books with their children. They would prefer to see children who are handling books in a rough manner be scooped up by the adult and read TO - to learn by example how we should treat books. Guidance. Patience. Care. Good things for both parent/adult and child to be learning when it comes to books!

2. Our library has a hearty selection of board books for parents of young children to check out. These books are not checked out in the regular manner. Get this - you can take as many as you like on the "honor system." When we have made use of this resource, I've walked away with 10 board books and they merely count how many I'm taking and shoo me out the door! It's seriously up to the library patron to return them (which, of course, is expected!!!) There's no due date. And if you lose one or it gets destroyed, well, I guess you have nothing to worry about necessarily! It's a very freeing program to encourage parents to read to their young from a very early age. Miss Dana said that the library goes through $2-4,000 of board books a year. Isn't that amazing? Does your library do that or is that something that is exclusive to ours? I think that is very impressive and generous.

Before Bookworm2, I honestly never gave a thought to having to "teach" someone how to read a book. It was just something that we did. Now I put a great deal more thought and effort into finding books that I think will appeal to him in some way. It's a whole new world for me and I'm learning a lot. In the meantime, I'm grateful for librarians and friends who encourage us to keep reading - even when it looks like there is no interest. I have to remember to count it all joy just to see him holding a book! And I do. I really do!

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Strange and Unusual

Some books just require an explanation. When I finish reading some books I wonder how on earth they ever made it to the point where they would be published. Of course, most of the time I think this after I've read books for adults but still. There are some awfully strange picture books out there and one of them, in my opinion, is Emily and the Ostriches, by Dan Bernstein.

Emily loves to dance but her mother gets tired of her constant movement and activity. One cold winter day, Emily is trapped inside the house and is itching to get out and dance. Her mother finally agrees to let her daughter dance 'to the corner' and back and then strangely allows her daughter to get all dolled up in her ballerina costume and go out to dance in the snow. But stranger still, Emily disappears. She just simply danced away somewhere.

But where? Ahh, that's a good question and I'm so glad you asked.

Emily danced herself into Ostrichville (populatio: 300.) I kid you not. And there she dances and becomes part of the tribe or whatever until Hubert G. Starling, choreographer for the Big Apple Ballet, pokes his head into Ostrichville. Apparently he gets his dance inspiration from the ostriches. He was making a regular visit to Ostrichville and finds Emily, invites her back into the human world, and she performes with the Big Apple Ballet where her family finds her. From that point on, Emily lives and dances in two worlds: both human and ostrich.

The illustrations by Gary Aagarrd are beautiful. Aagarrd is obviously quite talented as you can see here:

But Emily and the Ostriches? I personally might have thought twice. This story is just strange and inexplicable. I can't stop asking myself, "WHY? Whywhywhywhywhy?"


I'm asking myself the same question when it comes to Granite Baby, by Lynne Bertrand, although admittedly it's slightly less strange than Emily and the Ostriches.

It opens as follows:

"Back in the time when folks discovered granite deep under the north woods of New Hampshire, five burly sisters opened a stone quarry up on Umbagog Lake."
These five burly sisters are exactly that. Giants among women. Giant burly women who love to chisel things out of granite - including a tiny, real life baby that they name 'Lil Fella'. From there things actually become a little less strange. Lil Fella cries a whole, heaping lot. In fact, he cries so much and so loudly that the entire country can hear him (all the way to the west coast!) and are annoyed by him. These five burly sisters apparently have no mothering skills and it takes them a long, long time to figure out that Lil Fella is crying because he is hungry. Things improve once they figure this out. But before they do - there's a lot of carving granite and screaming baby involved.

This book reads like it was wanting to become a great American folk tale but, uh, well, I don't think this one is going to make it. If it did, I'd eat my hat. I consider this a fairly safe bet!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Read Aloud Thursday

Read-Aloud Thursday at Hope Is the Word

First off we must start with both of our favorite book from this past library haul. This was actually a book I had seen before (in an aquarium book store) and had almost picked up. Now I rather regret that I didn't and might need to rectify the situation. Over in the Ocean in a Coral Reef, by Marianne Berkes is read with the same rhythm as "Over in the Meadow", of course. Except in this book we're talking about animals who live in a coral reef and it even has an octopus! AWESOME, awesome book. The rhymes work very well together and almost even more outstanding (to mommy) is the way this book is brought to life!

Illustrated by Jeanette Canyon, the pictures in the book were shaped completely from polymer clay. At the end of the story there is a page from the author and the illustrator, each offering their young reader "tips" as to how they can create and illustrate stories. The tips and information that Canyon gives in explanation as to how she created the artwork in this book was fascinating to me.

We absolutely loved this book. No doubt about it! If you can find a copy - DO! It's amazing.

If you like the above book, then you'll also be inclined towards Over in the Arctic, also by Marianne Berkes (with illustrations by Jill Dubin). For snowy white owl, wolverine and seal pup lovers, this book will be a real treat. (There is also a beluga whale in it so it goes without saying that we liked it also. But I'll say it anyway, of course, of course!)

I was delighted to find a copy of God Bless America, words and music by Irving Berlin and illustrations by Lynn Munsinger.

We discovered at Christmas time that we absolutely love books that we can sing our way through so we were quite the fan of this version of God Bless America. This book takes you through the first verse of the song and the illustrations are of a bear family which are touring the United States. They are watching a parade go by with some of America's finest heroes (fireman and police officers), then they appear before the Lincoln Memorial and finally wave good-bye from their "home sweet home." This was a GREAT book by which I could introduce this song to my son. It was perfect for his age level and a true delight.

At the back of the book was some information I did not realize. Irving Berlin established the "God Bless America Fund" to benefit American youth once he started making money off of this particular song. Most of the earnings that have come from this song's royalities have gone to two organizations in particular: The Girl Scouts of America and the Boy Scouts of America. I think that's pretty cool. As for this particular book, should you decide to purchase it, a portion of the funds will go to the God Bless America Fund. Apparently it also comes with a CD of Barbara Streisand singing the song. Our library copy didn't happen to have the CD with the book. Some of you may take that for a loss, and others not! At any rate, we liked this one quite a bit!

So what have you been reading with your kiddos lately? Care to join in on Read Aloud Thursday and share?Hope you will!

On a final note - we've also been spending some time with Oceans: The Ultimate Guide to Marine Life. I reviewed Oceans over at Reading to Know and I also have TWO copies to give away! If you'd like to enter the contest - CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Visiting Our Library

Early on in this Reading My Library challenge, a few of you asked if I could share pictures from our library to give you a better idea of what I'm trying to accomplish when I say I'm "reading through the children's picture book section."

This past weekend our local library kindly allowed us to come in a little earlier and take a few snapshots before opening. Here are a few of the pictures we grabbed showing the children's picture book section. There are also some pics of my kiddos, Bookworms 1 & 2 enjoying some books while we were there!

This is the "pirate cat" if you were wondering. Or, at least, that's what we call him! He is esteemed and admired and there is a strong desire to touch and hug him (which we have to take care for) whenever we go:

Guess what Bookworm1 found right away!?

At our library they have a separate room available for story time. The room is brightly painted with a jungle mural and that is what my boys are sitting on front in the picture below. This room is Bookworm1's favorite. Of course, he has kind of grown up in it, my having taken him to the infant reading time! With two kids at different ages and stages for development, I've discovered its a little bit more difficult to make it to those story times, but we go when we get the opportunity.

I was also able to talk to one of the children's librarians for a bit while we were there and I plan to share some of my conversation with her next week. She gave me a lot of food for thought and I'm still processing some of the information so stay tuned!

In the meantime, you'll notice that there is a button my sidebar here for my local library. If you want to explore the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library, you can just click on the button and follow the link!

I am so excited to be able to share more about where I'm going and what I'm doing. Thanks for following along on this journey!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bad Hair Day?

In How Emily Blair God Her Fabulous Hair, by Susan Garrison, we meet young Emily who likes playing with hair. She particularly enjoys playing with her friend, Pamela Pain's, hair. Pamela's hair is beautifully curly. It can be styled in so many gorgeous ways! Pamela seemed to have no trouble looking like a princess or a mysterious movie star with her gorgeous golden curls.

Emily, on the other hand, has the straightest hair known to woman! She can't get a curl out of it to save her life! Frustration sets in, disgruntlement, and envy of Pamela's locks (does this sound a bit familiar to any of you gals out there, or are you perfectly content with your hair?!) Finally, Pamela tells her friend and hairstylist that she would like to try something new with Emily's hair.

It turns out, of course, that straight hair is best for braiding! Pamela's hair doesn't braid very well and so Emily is delighted to discover that her hair is uniquely beautiful in its own right.

My hair can't seem to decide if it wants to be curly or straight and so I sympathize with both of these young girls and particularly with Emily, who fusses and frets because her hair NEVER does what she wants it to!

I didn't even bother reading this one to Bookworm1. I'm not so sure that man at any age can really understand this dilemma we girls have taming our hair! Instead, I enjoyed this one alone and snickered to myself. And, having just been referred to a new hair stylist, wondered when I should give them a call.

Library School anyone? Sure sounds fun!

Recently it dawned on me that I actually have a blogging friend who was a former librarian and thought to myself that she would be a good person to ask some library-ish questions of.

Enter: Amy at Hope is in the Word. If you haven't yet visited Hope is in the Word, I'd encourage you to do so. Amy is very much into children's picture books (considering that she has few kids of her own to share them with!) She also hosts Read Aloud Thursday which I like to participate in (and hope you will consider it, if you aren't already.)

Amy was one of the inspirations for the Reading My Library challenge in the first place! I had rather fallen out of the habit of going to the library and her Read Aloud Thursday posts nudged me back in.

Anyway, I just had a few questions for Amy and she kindly obliged me by answering them. Here they are, as follows:

1. What drew you to the idea of becoming a librarian?

I've always loved reading, and after I had taught public high school for a few years, I knew that I really didn't want to keep doing that forever. I also wanted to further my education. When I was considering my graduate school options, very few graduate degrees in the field of education appealed to me except becoming a school media specialist, so that's what I did. I had worked as a public library aide for five years while I was in undergraduate school, so it was something I was already familiar and comfortable with. I worked in a small library that grew a good bit while I worked there, so I learned how to do everything from cataloging books to weeding shelves.

2. How long did it take you to complete the educational requirements to become one?

It took me about two years to complete my degree and my state certification as a school media specialist. This included doing a semester-long school internship.

3. What was, as you call it "library school" (is that really what it is called?) like? (Tell us about your favorite teacher.)

The official name for my particular school is the School of Library Information Studies (SLIS), but I just called it "library school." Come to think of it, I don't know if this is something I did or if it's something we all did. ;-)

I LOVED library school! It was a good time in our lives since we had the freedom for me to pursue this. The school I attended is about three hours from my home, and most of my classes were held on the weekends since most of the students in the classes were full time teachers, etc. Steady Eddie, my husband, and I would leave early Friday afternoon and I would attend school that night, we would spend the night in a hotel, and I would attend school all day on Saturday. Steady Eddie became very familiar with the college town and he got a lot of reading done, too. :-) I definitely would never have done it without his support! Not every class I took was on that university's campus, though--I had several distance learning classes that took place on two other college campuses (including one inside a private college's BEAUTIFUL library!) and at the satellite branch of my university. We got to do a lot of traveling and become familiar with several different schools.

Since I was in school media (as opposed to public libraries, academic libraries, corporate/law/medical, etc.), I was able to take several children's and YA literature classes, and those were obviously my favorites. In fact, I would take them again today just for fun! Hands down my favorite teacher was Dr. Joan Atkinson, who has since retired from that university. I understand that Dr. Atkinson is well-known in children's and YA literature circles, and her knowledge of and love for those genres really shines through. In addition to all of that, she is a phenomenal teacher, and just an all-around kind person. I want to be like her when I grow up! :-)

4. What was your favorite part about the job?

My favorite part of being a school media specialist (I was an elementary librarian for 2 years before Lulu, my daughter, was born) was definitely sharing the books with the students. It was very gratifying to share a new story with them and see their faces light up, or to recommend a book to a student and have that student return it and tell me that he or she really enjoyed it. Of course, in my state there are a lot of other things that a school media specialist is responsible for, but simply sharing the books was the best part.

5. I've noticed on your site that you first and foremost promote the idea of one using their library. As a book blogger, I've had the impression that the best way to support the book industry is to purchase the books for one's self. How should we reconcile the idea of supporting the book industry and the local library (putting aside arguments of personal budgets, of course)?

That's a real tough one for me and I'm wondering if I just don't get 'how it all works' or something. I'm very curious for the perspective on a librarian (past or present!) on that particular question. You know, this is something I've honestly never thought about. My own blog just blossomed into a book blog--to begin with I didn't have a "niche." My blog truly is a reflection of what we do in our home, so I focus on library books because that's mainly what we read on a day-to-day basis. We do purchase a fair number of books, but there's no way we could keep up with our reading appetites on our budget (or likely anyone else's, for that matter). Since I worked in a public library, I was aware of all the resources public libraries have that are often untapped. I still like to think that I'm supporting authors and the book industry simply by keeping their books in circulation.


Thanks, Amy for your time!

Again, if you haven't checked out Hope is in the Word or participated in Read Aloud Thursday, follow the links to learn more!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Well, that was nice...

Well, obviously I was very quiet this week. Thanks for your patience with me! The thing that I like about this challenge is that I know it's not going to be wrapped up quickly and I'm giving myself the permission to go at the pace which my family life allows. This past week it was better not to try to cram in a library visit so we didn't make it there.

That said, I went to the library this past weekend and not only did I walk away with a new stack of fun books to talk about, but I have a few other things to share also.

Stay tuned! I'm excited about what's coming up!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Links of Note

In light of recent world events (i.e., the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile), during the entire month of March Sylvan Dell would like to offer their Panda's Earthquake Escape for free in eBook form. This book will be available on their website. You can view the book by CLICKING HERE.

Sylvan Dell, if you haven't caught on, is one of my favorite children's book publishers and this particular title offers parents and teachers a great way to approach the topic of these earthquakes with younger children.

Check out Pandas' Earthquake Escape.


Booking Mama hosts a weekly carnival called the Kid Konnection wherein you can link up your personal children's book reviews that you have written over the course of the past week. For more information, visit Booking Mama's site.

This is a great opportunity to focus on children's literature and I've learned about some new titles by participating in this carnival.

Thanks, Booking Mama!


Zoe at Playing By the Book wrote up a perfectly awesome post on Putting Images to Sound which she linked up to Read Aloud Thursday yesterday. If you missed it, go take a peek! It's awesome! (But then, most of her ideas are.)


Lastly, if you are curious about librarians, you might be interested in checking out a copy of This Book is Overdue which I reviewed over at 5 Minutes for Books. We also have a copy to giveaway if you are interested.

Lastly, you've asked to see pictures of my local library? Stay tuned. I'm looking forward to making the introduction!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Read Aloud Thursday

Read-Aloud Thursday at Hope Is the WordThis week we've been reading books from around our house, as well as quite a few review copies that have been landing in our mailbox. We haven't made it back to the library for another load, due to colds and, well, life. Hope to do that in the next day or so. In the meantime, we thought we'd share books from our own bookshelf that are pulled down for frequent reads.

Oh. And I'm not going to talk about any that involve sea creatures, just to give you all a break from the topic! ;) It'll also be interesting for me to see what we read that is a break from our usual subject matter!

Kind of in honor of Read Across America (but not really, if the truth were told), we read Dr. Seuss' ABC's. I tried mixing up the words and substituting other items to represent the alphabet letters just for fun. (For example, the letter which starts off Bookworm1's (real) name I tried to personalize.) He was more interested in the silly words. This book has rhythm! We like it.

I've already reviewed Fool Moon Rising (click on the title to see the link) but this is one we pulled back out again here this past week. The moon in this book is such a character, and seeing that we've been enjoying a full moon the last night or so, made this book fun to re-read.

I still love the illustrations in this book and it makes me smile every time I open the front cover! I'm sure we'll spend many years and cozy reads with this one!

Ok, seriously, I started writing this post thinking it would be easy to create a list of books that we read which do NOT involve sea creatures. This is turning out to be the most impossible post I might have ever written! Every single book that is spread all over our house, features octopuses, whales, sea otters, or dolphins. We DID read The Friendly Book which was gifted to Bookworm1 on his first birthday, but one of the reasons he loves it so much is because there is a page with underwater animals.

"Fish. I like fish."

Apparently this is our lives right now but hopefully this provides a little bit of variety. (Well, the moon was done at any rate!)

Back to The Friendly Book - if you haven't seen it before, it is written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Garth Williams of Little House fame which makes it the truest of classics, right? It really is quite an awesome book and even before our ocean days, it was well-received and very much enjoyed.

Ok, whew! I think I'd better call it quits for today, folks. The challenge is too much! So what are you up to? I'm off to find out!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


AHHH! I thought these two books were so cute! Bookworm1 admittedly lost interest, but I read both of them in perfect, rapturous delight!

In Home Before Dark and Teddy's Snowy Day, both by Ian Beck, we meet Teddy, who is apt to get lost. He belongs to Lily and she does try to take very good care of him. However, he falls into various mishaps, such as falling off of window sills and out of strollers, and is forgotten, only occasionally, by his little girl. He ends up taking day long adventures in all kinds of weather but always finds his way home to Lily at night. Just in time to be tucked into bed! Whew!

These books deal excellent with the concept of seasons. As it might be gathered, in Teddy's Snowy Day, it is winter time and Teddy has a glorious time playing in the snow. However, when night falls he's ready for Lily and her very warm bed. Helped out by a jolly old soul, Teddy takes a sleigh ride home and finishes the day right where he belongs!

In Home Before Dark teddy has quite a time of things in the autumn wind and rain. He wants to get home so badly but runs into all sorts of delays and is a very miserable bear indeed. However, once again, he is returned properly.

These books would also make good bedtime stories. Ian Beck has created a very lovable bear. One could argue that the world doesn't really need any additional bears but I think we can make an itty bitty exception for Teddy. He's adorable. He knows how to have fun. He knows where to find love - with his little girl.

Two thumbs up from mommy on these!