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New Review Tuesday: The Hunger Games

9780439023481_lgYou may have read about The Hunger Games here. Or here or here or here. Reviewers throughout the blogosphere have been buzzing about this new release from Suzanne Collins, author of The Underland Chronicles, for months, with some saying it'll earn a for-sure nod from the Printz committee.

Well I'm here to tell you: the hype is for real. The Hunger Games is a seriously compelling look at a dystopian future in which teens fight to the death on reality television. Because of the subject matter, it's definitely for students in grades seven and up. But while there's blood and violence, there's also a big heart to the first installment of this planned trilogy.

Even though the main character, sixteen-year-old Katniss, is literally trying to survive in a world that wants her dead, she can't resist the impulse to love and be loved. And that impulse is what will keep readers turning pages into the wee hours of the morning. Once you begin the book, you simply have to find out what happens to Katniss and her friends and family.

The neat thing about The Hunger Games is that, on the subject of last week's post, it has both boy and girl appeal—lots of fast-paced adventure with a feisty heroine to boot.

Have you read The Hunger Games? What did you think?

Nonfiction Monday: Rosh Hashanah

Begin Rosh Hashanah with this K-2 fiction/nonfiction book pair.

Nonfictionmonday Facts First

Roshez Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (Rookie Read-About Holidays)
by David F. Marx

Reading level: K-2
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Children's Press

This simple easy reader introduces children to the celebration of the Jewish New Year, called Rosh Hashanah, which culminates on Yom Kippur.

Pair With

ChickensWhen the Chickens Went on Strike
by Erica Silverman (Author)
and Matthew Trueman (Illustrator)

Reading level: K-2
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Puffin

A boy in a Russian village learns that the chickens are planning to go on strike to protest a Rosh Hashanah holiday tradition.


Continue reading "Nonfiction Monday: Rosh Hashanah" »

Friday Kid Lit Round-Up

Vunce Hello fellow kit lit aficionados and welcome to the Friday Kid Lit Round-Up!  The leaves are changing, the temp is dropping and fall is in the air.  It puts me in the mood for a good book, or at least some good book news.

First up, Cathleen at Chronicle has provided this fun link for planning a Halloween book party.  Based on the new J. Otto Seibold title, Vunce Upon a Time,  this site features sticker sheets, 6 easy steps to turn into a vampire,  and a delicious recipe for Spiderweb Pumpkin Gingerbread Cupcakes.  Yum!

Across the Pond, the winners of Booktrust’s Early Years Awards have been announced. 
Says Viv Bird, Director of Booktrust:
"Booktrust is delighted with this year's entries and the wealth of books aimed at encouraging parents and children to discover a love of reading. It has been an extraordinary year for entries, particularly in the Best Emerging Illustrator category. The imagination, dedication and creativity of the winning authors and illustrators delighted the judges and will captivate and encourage young readers."

Is Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing one of your favorite Judy Blume books?  How about Blubber?  I still remember laughing as I read about Peter dealing with Fudge’s antics.  Check out Morgan’s author spotlight over on InkSplot 26.

In the mood to read about the adventures of a chicken?  What if the chicken was featured in Kate DiCamillo’s new picture book?  Check it out at Chicken Spaghetti.

Yesterday I reviewed Jane Yolen’s new Johnny Appleseed book but she’s been up to much more than the one title:
“I have told my family if I ever do this kind of tour again, just take me out and shoot me. Now, I need to qualify that. If I ever do a ten day tour in which I drive myself everywhere, haul my bags around on my own (full of books, computer etc.), and stay on friends' and relatives’ sofa beds instead of in hotels, remind me how much my back is killing me right now, how tired I am, and how few books I actually sold!”
Read more of Jane’s journal and send her an email. She welcomes questions from readers!

So another week of picture book goodness has come to a close.  Go have yourself a great weekend and we’ll see you back here for Non Fiction Monday.

Picture Book Thursday

Johnny Johnny Appleseed: The Legend and the Truth
Written by Jane Yolen
Illustrated by Jim Burke
Harper Collins
Age Range 6-9 years

Little The Little Yellow Leaf

Written and illustrated by Carin Berger
Harper Collins
Age Range 3-9 years

Ellen_2 Ellen’s Apple Tree

Written and illustrated by Catarina Kruusval
Age Range 3-8 years

Hey folks.  It’s Picture Book Thursday and the excitement of fall is in the air.  I asked one of my students today, “Why are you stomping?”  His reply?  “It’s a matter of fact Mr. B, I just get so excited when we go outside!”  So I thought I’d review a couple of books for you to get excited about.

Johnny Appleseed: The Legend and the Truth
In this latest addition to the world of Johnny Appleseed, Jane Yolen offers up a fun book with history and facts featured on every page.  I found the background facts to be especially fascinating.  For example, “Because Father Nathaniel was not given the acres of land promised all colonial soldiers, some historians believe he was dismissed for stealing army supplies.”  Jim Burke’s paintings complement the text, and often make use of quilt patterns in unexpected ways.

The Little Yellow Leaf
What a beautifully designed book!  It should be no surprise, as author Carin Berger is also an award-winning designer and illustrator.  She makes use of the notebook-themed end papers to allude to a falling leaf with dotted swirl.  As the seasons change, we quickly learn that the yellow leaf is not ready to leave the tree.  I won’t give away the ending, but I will say this book is a visual treat, complete with a gorgeous collage of the sun.  Bits of newsprint are mixed into the illustrations in a subtle and fun fashion, enhancing the overall design.

Ellen’s Apple Tree
This book has been out for a few years, but to my delight, was just translated and made available by FSG.  It’s a great addition to any apple unit and a fine stand alone read.  In it we find Ellen and Ollie enjoying their apple tree through the various seasons.  After a winter storm, they’re in for a shock when their tree comes down.  But all is not lost as they wait for the seasons to change so they can plant a new favorite tree.  It’s great to see the interactions of this family as they prepare for the tree, digging the hole, shopping at the nursery and finally enjoying the new tree.

So that’s your dose of fall excitement for the day.  Let me know what you think about these titles.  See you tomorrow for the Kid Lit Round-Up.

Using Carin Berger’s sun illustration from The Little Yellow Leaf, provide children with old magazines, scissors and glue.  Have them cut out scraps of yellow paper to create a class art project, a collage of the sun.  Try other colors for other artwork: reds for an apple, greens for a frog, blues for a raindrop. 

Video Wednesday: Harry Potter Read-a-thon

For those of you who missed the Harry Potter Cover-to Cover Day yesterday, we have some video to share. It was a really fun day. I actually got to read too and it was a huge thrill. I hope we do it again next year for The Chamber of Secrets!

New Review Tuesday: "Boy" Books

As a writer and editor for children and teachers, I'm captivated by the issue of boys and reading.

What boys like to read, why boys aren't reading, what books boys should be reading... it seems like everyone has an opinion when it comes to what Little Billy chooses from the library shelf.

I'm glad we're talking about the issue, as the numbers don't lie. But I do think it can be a bit simplistic to say "oh, this book is good for boys" or "boys don't like sentimental fiction." The guys in my life have some pretty varied tastes--one of my brothers devours adventure stories, for example, while the other prefers non-fiction about sports and business. And my fiancé reads tons of fiction--and not just the "dude genres," a.k.a. science fiction and fantasy.

That said, I've run across a couple of books recently that I think have big-time boy appeal (although I'm sure plenty of girls would enjoy them, too).

51sj6f7gvjl_ss500_ The first is The Big Splash, by Jack D. Ferraiolo. Ferraiolo is a first-time author and he's written a fantastically funny noir send-up, set in middle school. I laughed out loud at lines like "Mr. Carling was  a hard man to get a bead on," although you don't have to be versed in mafioso lingo in order to enjoy the story of Matt Stevens, seventh grade private eye. Studies have shown that humor is a big draw for many boys, so pull out this one next time you are looking for a good pick for your upper elementary and middle school readers.

31wkalqfjnl_sl500_aa180_ Continuing with the criminal theme, definitely check out Spyology, the latest in the Ologies series by Dugald Steer (all of which are excellent choices for reluctant readers, boys and girls alike, since they feature so many points of entry for kids who might be flipping pages). Like the other Ology books, Spyology contains a fictional narrative, written by a highly entertaining persona (this time a 1950s-era detective), along with tons of informational material and non-fiction text boxes. That description doesn't really do justice to Spyology, which offers codes to break, secret compartments to find, and 3D glasses to help solve clues. It's the kind of book I can imagine third- through fifth-graders fighting over who gets to read it next.

What are your thoughts on boys and reading? Any thoughts from the field?

Harry Potter Cover to Cover Day

CoverVisit the live Harry Potter webcast all day today! All-Day Read-a-Thon and Webcast to Celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone LIVE from Scholastic Headquarters in NYC. Watch All Day! From 8:00am until the last page is read.

Nonfiction Monday: Hispanic Heritage Month

Here is a pair of Hispanic Heritage Month titles for older readers.

Nonfictionmonday Facts First

by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand

Reading level: Grades 6-8
Hardcover: 64 pages
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

The life of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo is retold in biographical poems accompanied by her artwork.

Pair With

Manolito Manolito Four-Eyes
by Elvira Lindo (Author)
and Emilio Urberuaga (Illustrator)
Translated by Joanne Moriarty

Reading level: Grades 5+
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Manolito Four-Eyes wears his "Coke-bottle glasses" in Madrid, Spain; where this book series has inspired both TV and films. Enjoy this English translation - he is quite a character!


Continue reading "Nonfiction Monday: Hispanic Heritage Month" »

Friday Kid Lit Round-Up

Welcome to the Round-Up folks. Here goes…

The 2008 reading panels for the Children's and Young Adult Bloggers Literary awards AKA the CYBILS are formed and ready to roll. Our own Sonja Cole has been selected as a panelist for the Easy Readers category, and Nonfiction Monday's Anastasia Suen is a judge along with Els Kushner from Scholastic's Librarian Mom! A big congrats to them. We’ll have to check in with them in a few weeks to see how it’s going.

Debbie notes in her American Indians in Children’s Literature blog that some school districts are still using alphabet materials with, “I is for Indian.” If a similar program is being used in your school, check out her blog for tips on how to have it withdrawn.

Over on Mental Floss, you’ll find Five Stories About Dr. Seuss (Including His Role in Ending the Cold War. Among other interesting tidbits, check out how he wrote Green Eggs and Ham on a bet and why he was fired from his college’s humor magazine.  While you’re there, take the Dr. Seuss Quiz.

A few weeks ago I posted the link for Lookybook, a site that features picture books online. Another site you’ll enjoy is StorylineOnline. Created by the Screen Actors Guild Foundation, Storyline Online is, “an online streaming video program featuring SAG members reading children’s books aloud! Each book includes accompanying activities and lesson ideas.”

Have you heard of the BONE series of graphic novels? Mir at Kitchen Table Reviews is in the process of learning about them. According to her son they feature, “little squishy white dudes with big noses.” To read more on Mir’s foray into graphic novels, click here.

And another week winds to a close. Feel free to send us news of happenings in the kid lit field, and until then, have a great weekend. We’ll see you on Nonfiction Monday.

Picture Book Thursday: Dragons

Snoring Snoring Beauty
Written by Bruce Hale
Illustrated by Howard Fine
Harcourt, Inc.
Age Range 7-11 years


Hush, Little Dragon
Written by Boni Ashburn
Illustrated by Kelly Murphy
Abrams Books for Young Readers.
Age Range 4-8 years

Guess Guess What I Found in Dragon Wood
Written by Timothy Knapman
Illustrated by Gwen Millward
Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Age Range 3-8 years

Hey folks. Picture Book Thursday is here and it’s Dragonpalooza! Yes, it’s a veritable dragonfest, thanks to all those dragon-friendly publishers out there. You might consider them for a unit on dragons. (Jan Battey of Western Mass. introduced me to the idea and she taught it with gusto.) Purchase a couple of yards of green fabric for students to drape over their shoulders to become dragons. Convert your drama center into a castle or dragon cave and let your students fly into some imaginative play. Here we go with three dragon tales…

Snoring Beauty

You know you’re in for a treat when the title page pictures a frog, complete with cloak and cane. Writer Bruce Hale, author of the Chet Gecko series, loads this tale of a cursed princess with humor for both children and adults. Cursed to die at the hands, or wheels, of a pie wagon, Princess Drachmina Lofresca Malvolvio Margarine (Marge for short) is turned into a dragon with a severe snoring problem. Can the curse of cantankerous Beebo the fairy be broken? Illustrator Howard Fine goes to town on this title. The opening pages of the exuberant queen are reminiscent of King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub. Fine also successfully uses interesting viewpoints throughout the book, zooming into characters' faces, down on a bridge and up at a moonlit sky. Nicely done, Mr. Fine.

Hush, Little Dragon

Based on the Hush Little Baby lullaby, Hush, Little Dragon features a mother dragon feeding her young son. Of course, it’s a dragon’s diet consisting of knights, magicians, kings and other assorted royalty. While the baby dragon seems a bit squeamish about the food gathering process, Mama, complete with lady dragon eyelashes, keeps right on foraging. The illustrations are filled with rich reds, yellows and greens, and are reminiscent of some medieval artwork. Quite attractive.

Guess What I Found in Dragon Wood

Ok, I have to say this book cracked me up. “You’ll never guess what I found the other day. It’s called a Benjamin.” Yes, it’s told from the point of view of an adolescent dragon trying to take care of the strange creature that is a little boy. Feeding and housing Benjamin are entertaining enough, but the dragon’s take on soccer had me cracking up. The illustrations are chock full of quirky dragons in simple settings, with many pages sporting labeled features. The author and illustrator work quite well together and definitely have a hit on their hands.

So that’s it folks. I hope this gets your creative juices flowing. Pop back in tomorrow for the Kid Lit Round-Up. See you then.

Video Wednesday: Hispanic Heritage

Last June I was lucky enough to visit Ecuador and while I was there I shot a video booktalk for Bookwink, because, yeah, I never stop thinking about books and ways to get kids excited about reading. Aren't we all like that? Wouldn't we go to the ends of the earth to get kids hooked on reading?

So here it is, my booktalk of Lost Treasure of the Inca, the fascinating story about Pizarro and the Incans and a very large hidden treasure in the Andes Mountains.

New Review Tuesday: Dragons, Dragons, Everywhere

Are your students biting their nails for the release of Brisingr, Christopher Paolini’s third book in the Inheritance Cycle? (It comes out this weekend!)

Give them something else to chew on… like one of these other dragon tales:


Merlin’s Dragon, by T.A. Barron, follows the adventures of Basil, a young dragon determined to warn Merlin about a plot threatening Avalon. I’ve been a fan of Barron’s ever since I read Heartlight as a fourth grader—one of those flashlight-under-the-covers experiences—and this new story is without a doubt a page-turner. It’s a good choice for sixth graders and up.


Kenny and the Dragon is the latest from Tony DiTerlizzi, also known as co-author of The Spiderwick Chronicles. In it Kenny the Rabbit must convince his reluctant neighbors that the dragon roaming the countryside isn’t so bad after all. This one is a great pick for second through fifth graders, or other readers not quite ready for Paolini.


The Dragon in the Sock Drawer, by Kate Klimo, offers a more contemporary setting. Two ten-year-old cousins find a mysterious egg that hatches a baby dragon. Good thing they also stumble upon “foundadragon.org.” I loved Klimo’s sense of humor and think upper-elementary kids would get a kick out of it, too.

What’s your favorite dragon story? Are you planning on reading Brisingr?

Nonfiction Monday: Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month — celebrated September 15 to October 15 each year — begins today. Enjoy it with this K-2 fiction/nonfiction pair...

Nonfictionmonday Facts First

The_pot_that_juan_built_2The Pot That Juan Built
by Nancy Andrews-Goebel (Author)
and David Diaz (Illustrator)

Reading level: K-2
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Lee and Low Books

Using the cumulative "house that Jack built" pattern, this biography tells the story of the Mexican potter Juan Quezada. Sidebars and back matter with photographs of Juan at work round out this nonfiction classic.

Pair With

Rebozo What Can You Do With a Rebozo?
by Carmen Tafolla (Author)
and Amy Cordova (Illustrator)

Reading level: K-2
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Tricycle Press

What can you do with a robozo, a Mexican shawl? A young girl shows the many ways her family uses the shawl as her imagination soars.


Continue reading "Nonfiction Monday: Hispanic Heritage Month" »

Friday Kid Lit Round-Up

Ginerbread I am always amazed at how busy Jan Brett is; I just received a flyer for her new book, Gingerbread Friends, and decided to see what was new on her website. It’s packed with new features! I signed up for the 2008 Lunch on the Bus Contest, made my own Gingerbread Friend, and took a look at the new coloring bookmark. To read more about her work with the 2008 National Book Festival in Washington, DC, visit her homepage.

A few weeks ago I was visiting my Aunt in Sunapee, NH when she told me I had to go check out the bookstore down by the harbor. She works at the library, so I had to go. Tattered Pages (603-763-2539) turned out to be one of the best little bookstores I’ve been in. (Keep in mind that I’ve worked in one for years.) Located in Pete’s Shed, this shop has a lot to offer in the form of books, games, toys, and more. The fun thing about visiting is that the displays are done by theme, so if you’re looking for books and related toys and games focused on insects, community helpers or castles, everything is located in its own tidy thematic spot. I loved it.

Are you wondering what books your favorite celebs enjoyed as children? Jump on over to First Book and catch up with Stephen Colbert, Bow Wow and Marlee Matlin as they spill the beans on their literary memories. Neil Patrick Harris’ memories are downright touching.

There is definitely buzz out there about Scholastic's new series, The 39 Clues. Karen is offering all the juicy “tidbits” in one easy to find location on Inksplot 26. It’s worth a look.

Last week I reviewed Charlie Samuels' America: The Making of a Nation. Scott from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers turned me onto an election themed tie-in to the title, a project they’re working on with First Book to donate books to children in need. With a goal of 86,000 books, they’re up to 310. To help out, click on the link and vote for some of your favorites. It will take you a minute and you’ll have done your good deed for the day.

OK folks, thanks for tuning in. We’ll see you back here at the Kid Lit Kit bright and early on Monday and be sure to check back in on Picture Book Thursday, when I’ll unveil Dragonpalooza. Intriguing, huh?

Picture Book Thursday

Ten Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

Written by Mem Fox

Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

Harcourt Children’s Books

Age Range 3-8 years


Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat, Are You Waking Up?

Written by Bill Martin, Jr. & Michael Sampson 

Illustrated by Laura J. Bryant

Marshall Cavendish Children's Books

Age Range 3-9 years


Hey gang. Welcome to Picture Book Thursday. School is in full swing for most folks and I know many of you primary teachers are talking about colors. I have been too.

Me: Do you need a marker Johnny? It doesn’t look like you have started yet.

Johnny: No thanks. I’m a ninja mutant. We don’t color.

Me: Hmmm, some of my best friends are mutants and they love to color.

While the books I’m highlighting today don’t feature ninja mutants, they do showcase beautiful illustrations with soft colors and white backgrounds. The subtle colors actually impart a calm feeling, with the white aiding this effect. They’re also chock full of rhyming text, which is always hot with students.

So you’re probably wondering what books I’m referring to. First up is Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox. This title features smiling babies and toddlers from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. Mem Fox’s text is nicely paired with Helen Oxenbury’s illustrations. My students loved the rhymes, and kept repeating the line, “And both of these babies, as everyone knows, has ten little fingers and ten little toes.” They couldn’t help but giggle along with the babies.

Next up is Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat, Are You Waking Up? by Bill Martin, Jr. & Michael Sampson. This rhyming text follows the morning antics of a kitten as he dawdles from getting dressed to eating his breakfast.  While my students enjoyed hearing the rhymes in this book, they were intrigued by seeing a kitten in purple, and they fell in love with trying to find the mouse as he appeared throughout the book.  It was a definite hit with the kids.

So there you have it. Picture Book Thursday is drawing to a close but tune in tomorrow for the Kid Lit Round Up. And feel free to send me a comment; I’d love to hear about what you’re reading.

Oh, and for those of you wondering, my ninja mutant friend Johnny did a beautiful drawing.


For Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat, Are You Waking Up?, make a class list of things students do to prepare for their day when they wake up. Use the list as the basis for a class book, with children illustrating the items on the list complete with kitten and mouse.

For Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, create a bulletin board display with baby pictures of your students. Post a photocopied cover of the book so that parents will know what title inspired the display.

Video Wednesday: Rick Riordan and The 39 Clues

Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians books, launched a brand new series this week called The 39 Clues, and it's going to be amazing! I am really excited about it. I got to meet Rick Riordan in July and I asked him to read-aloud from the first book,  The Maze of Bones.

Rick also had some interesting things to say about motivating boys to read.Take a look at our full video interview.

On his Web site, Rick was kind enough to put a link to the video of his Today Show appearance in case you missed it Monday. He is such a pro; he doesn't even look nervous on live TV.

While he was in New York for the Today Show, Rick stopped by the Scholastic headquarters and gave a presentation to a packed house of Scholastic employees. Karen from the Scholastic Kids blog Ink Splot 26 blogs about Rick's special appearance.

New Review Tuesday: Cool New Series

What series did you devour as a kid? For me, it was Ann Martin’s The Baby-Sitter’s Club, Louis Sachar’s Wayside School books, and the Fear Street series by R.L. Stine.

Today’s kids have a huge number of series books to explore—and new ones are popping up all the time. But which series are worth kids’ time and energy, and your limited library budget?

Here are two that I’ve recently enjoyed:

39clues 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones, by Rick Riordan, hits shelves today and promises to grab kids’ attention with the many components Scholastic has developed alongside this first installment of a planned 10-book series. There are trading cards, online games, and even $100,000 in prizes. A movie version is rumored to be in the works, too. But all of these “extras” don’t detract from the quality of the story—each of the Clues books is penned by a favorite author, from Rick Riordan to Gordon Korman. These page-turners about the most powerful family in the world will appeal to upper-elementary and middle school boys and girls alike.

Maybelle On a completely different note, I adore the early reader series by Katie Speck, illustrated by Paul Ratz de Taygos, and starring Maybelle the cockroach. The first book was Maybelle in the Soup; the most recent is Maybelle Goes to Tea. If you’re looking for a laugh-out-loud recharge to your early reader collection, I highly recommend Maybelle’s zany adventures.

What series have caught your attention lately? Share in the comments!

Nonfiction Monday: September 11th

September 11th is this week. This fiction/nonfiction pair will help middle schoolers discuss our recent history.

Nonfictionmonday Facts First

September_11Understanding September 11th: Answering Questions about the Attacks on America
by Mitch Frank

Reading level: Grade 6-8
Hardcover: 136 pages
Publisher: Viking

Time magazine reporter Mitch Frank uses the question and answer format to explain the events that took place September 11, 2001 and gives students the background they need to understand why these events took place.

Pair With

Jackies_wild_seattle_2Jackie's Wild Seattle
by Will Hobbs

Reading level: Grade 6-8
Hardcover: 200 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins

Shannon and her brother Cody lived through September 11th. Now they are spending the summer with their Uncle Neal. When Uncle Neal is injured at the animal shelter, Shannon takes his place as an animal rescuer.


Continue reading "Nonfiction Monday: September 11th" »

Friday Kid Lit Round-Up

So have you been over to the Horn Book lately? They are offering the Children’s Literature Application Test (CLAT)to test your knowledge of child readers.
"Three fourth-grade girls are traveling on an uptown bus after school in heavy traffic at 3 mph. Girl One is reading Judy Blume’s Blubber. Girl Two is reading Mike Lupica’s Travel Team. Girl Three is listening to her iPod and staring out the window.
A. Girl One has certainly been bullied in school. True__ False__
B. Girl Two wishes she were a boy.  True__ False__
C. Girl Three hates books.   True__ False__
To score your answer and check out some more fun questions, check out the rest of the CLAT.

The issue of age banding continues to be a hot topic in the UK. There is currently a “proposal to put an age-guidance figure on books for children.” Philip Pullman recently addressed the issue at the Society of Authors' Conference at Robinson College, Cambridge.
"What I object to is something that looks like information, but isn’t; something that involves my book, and by implication me, in a piece of dishonesty; something, in short, that is a lie. There are many reasons to find fault with this scheme, but for myself, the strongest objection is a moral one. I don’t mind booksellers putting my books on a shelf marked 9-11; I don’t mind reviewers saying about a book of mine that it would be suitable for ages 10 and over. Everyone is entitled to an opinion."
You can read Mr. Pullman’s full speech here.

Over on BookKids, Megan highlights a number of new teen fantasy titles. "Graceling by Kristin Cashore is probably my favorite book releasing this Fall. In this mesmerizing and complex new fantasy, we meet Katsa, a girl ‘Graced’ with a powerful gift–the power to kill."
Read more of her review and check out her other picks in her post An Exceptional Month for Teen Fantasies!

And over at Kitchen Tables Reviews, Mir had this critique:
Pros:Practical, doable ideas. Empowering even for younger kids (ages 6 and up). Book is made with recycled paper.
Cons: All that green print makes me queasy. Pee talk. May make kids even bossier than usual.
Grab a seat at the Table, to find out what book she’s talking about.

Can you guess what special day is on its way and could be nicely celebrated with Jean Craighead George’s All Upon a Sidewalk? If you guessed International Rock-Flipping Day, you’re one up on me. Check out Chicken Spaghetti for the full scoop.

And last but not least, are you a fan of Lauren Child’s Charlie and Lola? CBeebies, the BBC website for kids, features What Makes Us Happy, Butterfly Gallery and Germ Counting. The Butterfly Gallery is great for symmetry and it is so worth playing the germ game just to see Charlie sing to his little sister at the end. Do yourself a favor and check out Charlie and Lola on CBeebies.

Picture Book Thursday: You're A Grand Old Flag

FlagYou’re a Grand Old Flag
Lyrics by George M. Cohan, Illustrated by Norman Rockwell
Age Range 4-12 years

America_4 America: The Making of a Nation
Written and illustrated by Charlie Samuels
Little, Brown and Company
Age Range 5-15 years

Hey folks. Picture Book Thursday is here and Labor Day has left me in a patriotic mood. I think it was all the flags I saw being hung downtown. While I’m not decked out in red, white and blue, I am sitting here with two titles that celebrate America.

You’re a Grand Old Flag,
as illustrated by Norman Rockwell, is a gorgeous book, pairing classic Rockwell illustrations with the lyrics to that afore-mentioned famous song. John Rockwell, Norman Rockwell’s grandson, provides a foreword complete with fun facts and blessing. I bet you didn’t know this famous artist had completed 321 covers for the Saturday Evening Post.

While the pages featuring the lyrics sport a band of stars along the edge of the page, the illustrations themselves are set off by simple white borders set on a background of cloth. This simple layout and design add to the patriotic theme, complementing the illustrations, rather than detracting from them. In the back of the book, a section entitled "Illustration Credits" gives more information on the artwork.

Now I’ve had the opportunity to visit the Rockwell Museum and would be remiss if I didn’t include the link to the Teachers’ Resources page. You can check out the Educator’s Resource Packet (PDF) or download A New Viewpoint: Rockwell Lesson Plans for Secondary Students (PDF).

And onto our next book…

Continue reading "Picture Book Thursday: You're A Grand Old Flag" »

Video Wednesday: Movie Trailers

Inkheart (in theaters Jan. 23, 2009)

Readers know that the book is always better than the movie, but I have to say I have seen some movie trailers recently that really made me think, "That book sounds awesome!" Try adding some of these movie trailers into your next booktalk and see if it doesn't get kids excited about reading the book.

The Tale of Despereaux (in theaters Dec. 19, 2008)
Twilight (in theaters Nov. 21, 2008)
The City of Ember
(in theaters Oct. 10, 2008)
Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (DVD available Dec. 2, 2008)
Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (on DVD)
Horton Hears a Who (DVD available Dec. 9, 2008)
Nim's Island (on DVD)
Kit Kittredge: An American Girl (on DVD)
(on DVD)
The Golden Compass (on DVD)

New Review Tuesday: The Candidates Face Off

Are you sick of the mudslinging in this election cycle?

Then you might want to take a look at the picture books that have been released about each candidate, which offer decidedly more optimistic views of John McCain and Barack Obama than what you hear in television commercials.

61eu2jeveml_ss500__2I attended a reading of Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope, at which Nikki Grimes revealed that she wrote the book in three weeks! Yowsers. Pretty impressive, considering that her strong poetic voice lends a great deal to Obama’s story, here seen through the eyes of a young boy growing up in the Bronx.

As one might expect from the title, Grimes occasionally dips into the overly sentimental, but her text (along with Bryan Collier’s powerful illustrations) provides a solid introduction to the would-be pres for kids in grades K through 3.

51oxjan6ool_ss400__2Unfortunately, I have not had the chance to hear Meghan McCain read My Dad, John McCain, so no insider secrets there. But it’s also suitable for the primary classroom, detailing Senator McCain’s service and devotion to his country, as well as to his family. Ms. McCain falls into some of the same traps as Grimes and Collier, sometimes veering towards the mushy gushy, but perhaps both books lend the opportunity to talk about the author’s perspective and aim in writing the story.

Wistful Hilary voters: Don’t miss Kathleen Krull’s Hillary Rodham Clinton: Dreams Taking Flight.

There are tons of fantastic election books being published this fall, too. Have you encountered any good ones?

Nonfiction Monday: Ramadan

Tomorrow is the first day of Ramadan. Read the stories of two children celebrating this month-long Muslim celebration...

Nonfictionmonday Facts First


Celebrating Ramadan
Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith (Author) and Lawrence Migdale (Photographer)

Reading level: Ages 7-10
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Holiday House

Ibraheem is in the fourth grade. Every year he fasts with his family during the month-long observance of the Muslim celebration known as Ramadan. Detailed explanations and color photographs show an Islamic family's journey through the month of Ramadan. (The last day of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr, takes place on September 30th this year.)

Pair With


The White Nights of Ramadan
by Maha Addasi (Author) and Ned Gannon (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Boyds Mills Press

The author, who grew up in Kuwait, shares the story of Noor as she prepares for the festival of Girgian, a holiday in the middle of Ramadan when children dress up and go door to door for candy.


Continue reading "Nonfiction Monday: Ramadan" »

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Kid Lit Kit are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.