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Posts from August 2013

Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: August 30

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage.

Back to School

This is nice. 25 Ways to Make a Difference This School Year from @CoffeeandCrayon

Bouncing Back to School: Great Books for Easing First Day Jitters | @sljournal #kidlit

Book Lists

A Tuesday Ten Book List: Here Be Dragons | Views From the Tesseract #kidlit

New entry in So You Want to Read Middle Grade @greenbeanblog by @ChristophrHealy #kidlit

Some great graphic novels for young kids, recommended by @LainiTaylor #kidlit

Interesting new Stacked post: Microtrends in YA Fiction @catagator #yalit

Book List: Science Fiction Picture Books for Kids from @momandkiddo #kidlit


Cybils2013SmallNew #Cybils blog post: Deadline to apply coming soon! (Saturday). Don't miss your chance. Notification in mid-Sept.

#Cybils 2013: Looking for Volunteer Judges (especially for #BookApps) reports @MaryAnnScheuer #kidlit

On the #Cybils blog: Buttons, buttons, we've got the buttons! Show your support for @cybils #kidlit


Ideas for Celebrating International #Literacy Day on Sept. 8 from @bookchook #litrdup

The August Carnival of Children’s Literature is up at Flowering Minds by @darshanakhiani #kidlit #literacy

This is fun! Students Skyping With @MrsPStorytime about Her Reading Contest on YouTube #kidlit

Do you love little Golden books? Wendie's Wanderings reports on Exhibit at Smithsonian #kidlit

Growing Bookworms

Excellent post: Everyone Loves Reading – Just find the right book | I lliked "Books need to become their sanctuary" |

How to get children to read? Embrace the e-book, says @csmonitor via @PWKidsBookshelf #litrdup

Teaching boys to become strong learners. Ottawa Citizen article introduces new book #literacy via @readingtub

Reading together still important after children start school, expert says @TheAge via @librareanne #litrdup

Whose story is it? @NanMarino on the partnership between author + story sharer @NerdyBookClub


Userful stuff! 10 Golden Rules To Take Your Library’s Twitter Account to the Next Level via @sljournal

I don't agree with this. Librarian slams 9-year-old for reading too much | New York Daily News via @PWKidsBookshelf


The Formula That's Ruining Teen Movies. Is "the chosen one" trope overdone? @TheAtlantic via @PWKidsBookshelf

Pretty cool, How Entrepreneurship Is Creating New Opportunities For Women - Forbes via @cmirabile

Yes, Jeff Bezos should shut down the Washington Post’s printing presses, + here’s why — @matthewi @gigaom @cmirabile

On Books and Reading

Celebrating the Death of a Book (those books loved to death) |@NoVALibraryMom #kidlit

Philip Pullman on #kidlit 'Loosening the chains of the imagination' | @Guardian via @PWKidsBookshelf

If only .... A view of the world as @NerdyBookClub by @HGoldbergSloan

RT @catagator: Some thoughts about my Book Riot post on adults reading YA over at publishing perspectives . . .

Ridiculous Ways the Internet Explains Why Adults Read YA, and what @catagator thinks about it @bookriot

How do you organize your To Be Read books? @lizb wants to know

The New National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature: Who’s It Gonna Be? — @fuseeight has some thoughts #kidlit

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: August 23

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage.

Back to School

RT @WeGiveBooks: RT @jumpstartkids: Our top 5 tips to help both children & parents get ready for the first day of #kindergarten: #ECE

Book Lists

A Tuesday Ten: Across the Universe (#kidlit about space travel) | Views From the Tesseract

The newest entry in @greenbeanblog So You Want to Read Middle Grade series is by @anneursu #kidlit

TOP TEN DETECTIVE STORIES FOR KIDS by Karen Perry | @NerdyBookClub #kidlit

Book List: Third Grade Picture Book Read-Alouds @Susan_Thomsen #kidlit

RT @tashrow Rebecca Stead’s top 10 American children’s classics you may have missed | Children’s books #kidlit

RT @tashrow Must-have Board Books for Early Childhood Collections | School Library Journal #kidlit


CYBILS Poetry Panel: Is it Something for You? | @JoneMac53 #kidlit @cybils

The #Cybils and the 7-Year Itch @ AmoXcalli @ginaruiz @cybils #kidlit

Cybils2013SmallOn the #Cybils blog: Updated 2013 Logos. Feel free to download + use to show your support of @Cybils

You Can Be a Cybils Judge! @gregpincus #cybils #kidlit

#cybils and #kdilitcon | The Most Wonderful Time of the Year says Melissa @book_nut

RT @cybils: Call for Judges! Now accepting applications!: It's that time of year again! We're now officially...

Growing Bookworms

Reluctant or Resisting? On reaching readers by @rantryan @NerdyBookClub #literacy

Writing Contest for Elementary Students @PragmaticMom talks with @MrsPStorytime #kidlit

Why Children Are Creative Geniuses | @escapeadulthood


Educators, Parents Fight NYC Bid to Bypass State Mandate for School Librarians | @sljournal

For You To Borrow, Some #Libraries Have To Go Begging @NPRBooks via @Carunningmom

RT @SCCLFriends: California town takes to the streets to demand library, reports @USAToday #NorthsideLibrary via @shyone269

RT @MisterAndyWong: A library stands empty because of local politics. Find out how you can save it here: . #CA17 cc: @scclfriends

RT @tashrow From libraries to laundromats: Innovative community partnerships promote literacy #libraries #literacy


Simply wrong: RI highway mural by famous illustrator Macaulay defaced - The Providence Journal via @PWKidsBookshelf

Chock full edition of Fusenews: Frosted Sheriff is part of a complete balanced breakfast — @fuseeight

Twitter and Community by @heisereads @NerdyBookClub #reading

Programs and Research

FirstBook.jpgRT @KirbyLarson: Authors, bring new books to deserving communities through @FirstBook’s #AuthorsinAction with a personalized URL!

Egmont partners with UK hotel chain to let kids borrow books | @TheBookseller via @PWKidsBookshelf

Writing and Publishing

Congratulations to @chasingray on becoming a publisher. Introducing Shorefast Editions

This is very fun! 16 Fancy Literary Techniques Explained By @Disney via @BookChook

Children's space stories are ready to take off again | @guardianbooks via @PWKidsBookshelf

I'm tempted. Lizzie Skurnick Books Subscription Series is a very good idea says @chasingray #yalit

Another new source of literacy-related links is the Children's Literacy & Reading News Google+ group, created by Terry Doherty, and also moderated by Carol Rasco and me.

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

Growing Bookworms Newsletter: August 21

JRBPlogo-smallToday I will be sending out the new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on children's and young adult books and raising readers. There are 1733 subscribers. I send out the newsletter once every two to three weeks. 

Cybils2013SmallNewsletter Update: In this issue I have three book reviews (one picture book, one middle grade, one young adult). I also have a post highlighting some of my daughter's recent favorite picture books, a post about the seasonal launch of the Cybils awards, and three posts with links that I recently shared on Twitter. Not included in the newsletter, I shared a news release about the Amelia Elizabeth Walden book award winners

Regular readers may have noticed a decrease in the frequency of reviews on my blog. This is because I'm still dealing with a fairly significant health issue, and my computer time (not to mention the creative energy that I need to write reviews) is in short supply. I hope you'll bear with me, as I try to get back up to speed.

Reading Update: I've been reading mostly adult books lately, because I don't want to read children's and young adult books and then not have the ability to review them. I finished one middle grade novel and eight adult novels (one more of a short story). 

  • Terry PratchettThe Wee Free Men. Harper Collins. Middle Grade. Completed August 2, 2013. I read this because I've been hearing good things about it for years, and I do enjoy Pratchett's humor. I did like the main character. I have to admit, though, that the ending was a bit ... surreal for my taste.
  • Hugh HoweyWool Omnibus. Broad Reach Publishing. Adult Science Fiction. Completed August 3, 2013, on Kindle. I enjoyed this series (provided in one book) about a dystopian civilization in a huge, underground silo. I'm not quite motivated to read the author's other books, but this one held my interest.
  • Zoe SharpFirst Drop (Charlie Fox, Book 4). Murderati Ink. Adult Mystery. Completed August 5, 2013, on MP3. I'm enjoying this series, about a female bodyguard based out of the UK. She's been called "the female Reacher", and it's a reasonable comparison. I've read the first six novels in the series this summer.
  • Lee ChildHigh Heat (Jack Reacher novella). Delacorte Press. Adult Thriller. Completed August 7, 2013. This was a novella set during Jack Reacher's teen years, against a backdrop of a major blackout in New York City. It made me more eager for the new Reacher novel that's coming out this fall. 
  • Zoe SharpRoad Kill (Charlie Fox, Book 5). Murderati Ink. Adult Mystery. Completed August 10, 2013, on Kindle.
  • Zoe SharpSecond Shot (Charlie Fox, Book 6). Murderati Ink. Adult Mystery. Completed August 12, 2013, on Kindle.
  • Harlan CobenSix Years. Dutton. Adult Thriller. Completed August 13, 2013, on MP3. This standalone by the author of the Myron Bolitar series held my interest, and was well done on audio. I looked forward to listening to it. 
  • Shannon HaleAustenland. Bloomsbury. Adult Fiction. Completed August 15, 2013. I wanted to read this before the movie came out. While not my usual sort of thing, it made for a nice palate cleanser. 
  • Stephen WhiteDry Ice. Signet. Adult Mystery. Completed August 17, 2013. This 15th installment of the Alan Gregory series was deliciously creepy, and made me want to check out the other recent titles. I've read this series sporadically over the years. It's about a Boulder-based psychologist who ends up involved in various murder mysteries. 

Incidentally, I abandoned the audio version of The Expats by Chris Pavone. It was just too disjointed, with brief scenes set in different time periods. I might have managed it in print form, but it just didn't work for me as a 30 minute a day audio. I'm currently listening to Suspect by Robert Crais, and reading It Happens in the Dark, A Mallory novel by Carol O'Connell. There are many other books on my TBR shelf...

Baby Bookworm has been enjoying A Birthday for Bear by Bonny Becker and Cute and Cuter by Michael Townsend. The latter is not at all my sort of thing, but she loves it. Last night she used the phrase "slinked outside", and said that she learned it from Lady Meow Meow. Anyone who doubts that books improve kids' vocabulary, take note. Surprisingly, she did not care for The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt & Oliver Jeffers. Guess she's not old enough yet. I thought that it was hilarious.

How about you? What have you and your kids been reading and enjoying? Thanks for reading the newsletter, and for growing bookworms. 

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.  You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook


The Cybils Are Coming!

Cybils2013SmallIt's that time of year again. The Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards, the Cybils, are starting up. The Cybils are an annual book award, organized and judged by bloggers. Finalists and winners are named in each of some dozen categories, ranging from picture books through young adult titles. This year, the categories have been updated slightly. Here is the complete list:

Book Apps
Easy Readers/Early Chapter Books
Fiction Picture Books
Graphic Novels
Elementary/Middle- Grade Nonfiction
Young Adult Nonfiction
Middle Grade Fiction
Young Adult Fiction
Elementary/Middle-Grade Speculative Fiction
Young Adult Speculative Fiction 

The main changes are to group middle grade nonfiction with picture books, instead of young adult books, and to rename "Fantasy and Science Fiction" into "Speculative Fiction" (a slightly more broad title). Also, middle grade speculative fiction will be a separate category from young adult, mainly because there are so many books nominated in each category. Charlotte Taylor is our new Elementary/Middle-Grade Speculative Fiction coordinator. 

We are seeking panelists in all of the above categories. You can find the call for judges here. You do need to have a children's or young adult book blog (or contribute to one regularly). The deadline to apply is August 31st, but please don't wait if you are interested. Many organizers begin filling slots early. 

I can speak from personal experience in saying that being a Cybils panelist is immensely rewarding. You get to work with others who share your love of children's and young adult literature. You get to help identify the cream of the crop in this year's titles. And you get the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping kids to find books that are well-written and kid-friendly. No small thing. It is a lot of work, particularly for Round 1 panelists (who winnow the list of nominated titles down to a 5-7 book shortlist). But if you have the time (and don't have any kind of conflict of interest), it's totally worthwhile. 

Like the Cybils (whether you want to be a panelist or not)? You can also download updated logos for 2013 (designed by Sarah Stevenson) and put them on your blog. Sarah is taking a break as blog editor this year, and is being replaced by our Middle Grade Fiction organizer, Karen Yingling

Stay tuned for more updates on the Cybils blog, including organizer profiles, category descriptions, and, starting October 1st, nominations. It's going to be fun!

The Year of Shadows: Claire Legrand

Book: The Year of Shadows
Author: Claire Legrand (@ClaireLegrand)
Pages: 416
Age Range: 8 and up 

There is a lot going on in Claire Legrand's upcoming middle grade fantasy, The Year of Shadows. There is family dysfunction, social ostracism, and bullying. There is also reluctant friendship, and a bit of social activism. And there are ghosts. Lots of ghosts. There are even tiny hints of time travel and dystopia, and a possible talking cat. But let's start at the beginning.

Olivia Stellatella's mother has left. Her distant father, whom she calls the Maestro, pours all of his energy into his work as the conductor for their unnamed city's orchestra. As the story begins, Olivia, her father, and her frail grandmother, Nonnie, move into the dilapidated concert hall to save money. Ashamed of her mother's abandonment, and of having to live in Emerson Hall and buy her clothes from a charity store, Olivia pushes just about everyone away. This includes the seemingly perfect Henry, who is in her class at school and volunteers as an usher at the hall. Things change, however, when Olivia and Henry witness several ghosts, as well as something even more scary. 

I love Olivia. The cover image (by Karl Kwasny) perfectly captures her defensive, truculent attitude. She is prickly, hopeless in school, and deeply furious with her father. But she also takes care of Nonnie, and eventually reveals a fierce loyalty to her few friends (not all of whom are human). Even though she hates living in the hall, she does what she can to make her bedroom (an empty storage room shared with Nonnie) homey. She is obsessed with drawing, and befriends a stray cat, whom she imagines (or not) communicates with her. As revealed throughout the book, she always does what is necessary, even when it's hard. Here's a snippet:

"I grabbed my umbrella from under my bed and tucked it into the sheets with me. If ghosts did come after me, it probably wouldn't do much good. But it made me feel better to have it, to hold it tight and pretend like it made me safer. 

Sometimes you have to lie to yourself like that. Sometimes that's how you get through things." (Chapter 5)

She has a delightfully wry sense of humor:

I crawled out of bed around lunchtime on Thanksgiving Day, feeling like ... well, I would say death, but that seems like the kind of thing I couldn't say, considering." (Chapter 26)

The relationship between Olivia and Henry is also very well done. He seems to "get" her right away, though it takes her quite some time to fully understand him. This is far from the insta-friendship that is common in middle grade fiction. They both have to work at it - they have mis-steps and roadblocks. But they ultimately come through for one another. I also liked that Legrand doesn't take the easy road in terms of Olivia's relationship with her father. 

The tone of The Year of Shadows is also well-represented by the cover. Despite a few moments of lightness (Olivia's interactions with the cat are hilarious), the overall feel of the book is dark, and a bit sad. Like this:

"I didn't think mothers could fall out of love with their children. That's what I wanted to say to him. But I couldn't speak. I felt hopeless." (Chapter 21)

There's a particularly vivid scene near the end of the book that might be a bit scary for the youngest readers. However, for the most part, the worst things that happen are removed from the reader in some way. This should keep the book accessible to younger readers. 

I found the plotting in The Year of Shadows to be a little slow-paced, particularly early in the book, though things picked up considerably towards the end. I think this was because Legrand packs so much personal drama in with the ghost story. It takes a while to lay all of that groundwork. And despite all of the fantasy elements, this is a character-driven story. 

I think that The Year of Shadows will work best for middle grade readers who enjoy meaty fantasy novels, but prefer them set in the real world. Olivia Stellatella is a memorable character, and one with a great name to boot. Because of the length of the book, and the school dynamics, I think it will work well for middle schoolers as well as for strong elementary school readers. 

The Year of Shadows is no frothy fantasy summer read. It's a bit sad, and a bit scary. But it has strong characters with realistic relationship, set against an intriguing ghostly backdrop. I think it will be a great back to school read.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (@SimonKids)
Publication Date: August 27, 2013
Source of Book: Advance review copy from the publisher

FTC Required Disclosure:

This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: August 15

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage.

Book Lists

List of books about dolls or dollhouses that come to life: Child’s Play | Views From the Tesseract #kidlit

Nostaliga! Old School Wednesdays: Middle Grade Blogger Roundtable of childhood favorites @booksmugglers #kidlit

The newest post in So You Want to Read Middle Grade is from @MsYingling, with great titles: #kidlit

Book list: 22 Picture Books for Rowdy Girls (and Boys) from @momandkiddo #kidlit

Stacked: The Summer Before it All: A Reading List of books set during summer before college (or change) #yalit

The Top Ten Laughing Books | @NerdyBookClub #kidlit

Mom Seeks Free-Range Children’s Book Suggestions, finds tons of great ideas in comments here: #kidlit

Cybils Award

Apply to be a #Cybils Panelist starting Thursday, or, Why 150 isn't a scary number of books from @charlotteslib

On the #Cybils blog: Cybils Categories for 2013 #kidlit #yalit

Get ready for the #Cybils urges this year's blog editor @MsYingling #kidlit

The #Cybils Elementary/Middle Grade Sci Fi and Fantasy winners of years past profiled @charlotteslib #kidlit

Growing Bookworms

Thoughts on Investing In our Children's and Students' Reading Lives by @ruth_ayres @NerdyBookClub #literacy

Reading Homework Tips for a Stress-Free School Year! from @growingbbb #literacy

How Books Can Teach Your Child to Care - Speakeasy @WSJ via @PWKidsBookshelf #literacy #kidlit

Back to school ideas for supporting a beginning reader from @bookblogmomma #literacy


Don't Miss: The Complete Listing of All Public Children’s Literature Statues in the United States — @fuseeight


The Great Summer Library Challenge for Kids: Scavenger Hunt from @momandkiddo #literacy

Sun-Sentinel reports demand for Ebooks draining budgets at libraries in Broward, Palm Beach counties @PWKidsBookshelf

7 Reasons to Rediscover Your Public Library | @moneytalksnews via Alex Dohan #libraries #literacy

Programs and Research

Fun stuff. 'Books On Bikes' program Helps Seattle Librarians Pedal To The Masses @NPRBooks via @CHRasco

RT @Tales2Go: Listen up: Audiobooks Raise Reading Scores Introduce students to books above their reading level. #literacy #kidlit

Why the World Is Smarter Than US (why our school system lags others, book recap) @thedailybeast via @PWKidsBookshelf

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

Carnivores: Aaron Reynolds & Dan Santat

Book: Carnivores
Author: Aaron Reynolds
Illustrator: Dan Santat
Pages: 40
Age Range: 4-8

On my first quick glance at Carnivores, I thought: "Oh, a nonfiction picture book about animals ... not really my thing." But then I noticed that Aaron Reynolds was the author. Aaron Reynolds who wrote Cybils Fiction Picture Book Finalist and Caldecott Honor Book Creepy Carrots. So I took a closer look. And lo and behold, Carnivores is actually a hilarious riff about several poor, misunderstood carnivores, who are made to feel bad just for doing what they do. 

The lion, the great white shark, and the timber wolf find their feelings hurt by the reactions of the other animals. For example:

"...the timber wolf almost never eats little girls. That "Little Red Riding Hood" story is very misleading. The bunny rabbits always say,"Quit sneaking up on me!" But he's not sneaking. He's merely a very quiet walker. With vicious fangs. And scary eyes.

He can't help it."

Similarly, the shark is "simply a fast eater." The carnivores start having little get-togethers to share their feelings. They try becoming vegetarians. They try disguises. But nothing works. Eventually, however, they get some brilliant advice from a wise and short-lived owl. They learn to be themselves. 

Now, in other hands, a book that comes around to a simple "be yourself" message might come across as saccharine or didactic. Not so with Aaron Reynolds and Carnivores. Instead, Reynolds demonstrates a matter-of-fact, albeit dark, humor that is light years away from didactic. Like this:

"When the timber wolf gets the munchies, he doesn't think twice about grabbing a handful of bunnies.

They have really negative attitudes anyway."

Admittedly, and as in Creepy Carrots, this humor is not going to work for everyone. Those not amused by a lion eating a zebra, or a shark gobbling up, well, everyone in sight, might wish to pass on this one. This probably includes the youngest of readers. I think that Carnivores is probably more suited to five year olds and up than to younger children. It's also probably a bit more appealing to the average boy than to the average girl, though your mileage may vary. 

Personally, though, I thought that Carnivores was hilarious. Dark, yes. But with fun to be had on every page. 

Dan Santat's bold mixed media illustrations suit the text perfectly. The animals are shown with exaggerated features, and expressions ranging from hurt to smug to rapt to joyously evil. The pages in which the carnivores dress up in disguises are particularly humorous (picture a wolf in antelope's clothing). The handful of bunnies is pretty funny, too (though again, not for everyone). The shark, who runs around with a fishbowl around his head, reminds me a bit of the one in Chris Barton's Shark vs. Train (though Tom Lichtenheld has a different overall style). 

Carnivores would be a great gift for a five or six year old boy, or anyone with an irreverent sense of humor. Highly recommended!

Publisher:  Chronicle Books (@ChronicleKids
Publication Date: August 20, 2013
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

FTC Required Disclosure:

This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

Six Recent Baby Bookworm Favorites

This post is the fourth in a series (here are number onenumber two, and number three) in which I have been highlighting some of my daughter's favorite reads (even when they are not necessarily my favorites). She turned three in April. Here are six books that she has been especially enjoying over the past few weeks:

1. Peppa Pig and the Busy Day at School. Candlewick Press. Review copy. I must confess that Baby Bookworm's interest in this book stems from the fact that she watches the television show when she is at her friends' house. She literally jumped up in the air when I removed it from the package (I had requested a review copy from Candlewick, knowing that it would be a hit). But I have to say, it's pretty educational. 

2. I'm Bored, by Michael Ian Black & Debbie Ridpath Ohi. Simon & Schuster. Library copy. The first time she read this book, Baby Bookworm pronounced it "boring." I am fairly sure, however, that this a mark of her developing sense of humor. Because we have read it many times since then. She also delights in acting this book out. She is the little girl, of course, and I am the grumpy potato. As for me, I think that this one is well done (particularly Ohi's illustrations) and entertaining, though it skates a tiny bit close to message-y for my personal taste. (Kids should never be bored. Here are all the great things kids can do.) 

3. Back to Bed, Ed by Sebastien Braun. Peachtree. Review copy. This is a book that I received for potential review three years ago, and didn't end up reviewing. I liked it enough to keep it, though. And recently, after my daughter had woken up my husband every night for about three months in a row, I pulled it out from the bookshelf. It's been a hit with both father and daughter (though I can't say that it's actually worked, in terms of discouraging my daughter from getting out of bed in the middle of the night). 

4. Amelia Bedelia (50th Anniversary Edition) by Peggy Parish & Fritz Siebel. Greenwillow Books. Review copy (reviewed here). To me, this story of a literal-minded maid from 50 years ago holds up beautifully. I'm still a bit surprised that my modern-day three-year old enjoys it. She can't possibly be understanding all of the jokes ("put out the lights", "change the towels"), and she's never even had lemon meringue pie. But for whatever reason, she asks for this book every night. This may possibly have something to do with her newly developed obsession with words that rhyme. 

5. Chamelia by Ethan Long. Little, Brown. Review copy. Chamelia is another title that I passed on reviewing a couple of years ago (finding it a bit message-y), but liked enough to keep around. It's about a little chameleon who prefers standing out over blending in, and how she learns to compromise to fit in better. For whatever reason (perhaps the colorful, quirky illustrations, or perhaps the fact that Chamelia rhymes with Amelia Bedelia), Baby Bookworm adores Chamelia. Her father reads it to her every night, and I've actually just ordered her a copy of the sequel, Chamelia and the New Kid in Class.  

6. 20 Big Trucks in the Middle of the Street by Mark Lee & Kurt Cyrus. Candlewick. Review copy (review here).  20 Big Trucks in the Middle of the Street is a combination of counting book and truck book. But I think that Baby Bookworm likes it for the story, and the facts that a) a boy on a bike comes up with the idea that solves a 20 truck traffic jam and b) there is ice cream at the end. We do use it for practicing counting. 

Apart from the above six titles, Baby Bookworm remains obsessed with Mercer Mayer's Little Critter books as well as any and all books about the Berenstain Bears. We have quite a few books from each series, and she brings home more whenever she goes to the library. Despite being relatively text dense books for her age group, she listens to every word. Asked what we should buy for two friends who have a birthday party coming up, she replied without hesitation "Little Critter and Berenstain Bears books." So there you have it! Kid approved. On Trevor Cairney's recommendation, I just purchased her the Little Critter Collection #1 for the iPad (10 of the books read aloud, with some interactive elements). 

What books have your children been reading and enjoying lately. What do you do when your taste and your child's taste are not aligned? 

FTC Required Disclosure:

This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. 

Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: August 8

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the literacy and reading-related links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage.

Book Lists

Classic Survival Books for Kids from 1000 Acre Woods #kidlit

New entry in So You Want to Read Middle Grade by @opinionsbyanna @greenbeanblog #kidlit

Kidswide_wide-d88ef52514cf1fe5bd3eb9509d0897d569eb3ea7-s40Amazing list! The Ultimate Backseat Bookshelf: 100 Must-Reads For Kids 9-14 from @NPRBooks via @100scopenotes

Newest entry in Stacked Get Genrefied series: Graphic Novels #yalit @catagator

Novel/Graphic Novel Hybrids: A Reading List from @catagator at Stacked #yalit

Top Ten Middle Grade Read Alouds That Will Have Kids Rolling on the Floor Laughing by @cppotter @NerdyBookClub

bookshelves of doom: @DianneSalerni 's Seven Favorite Gothic Novels. #yalit @bkshelvesofdoom

The Cybils Awards

Cybils2012A big welcome to our newest #cybils organizer! @charlotteslib will be managing MG SFF for the @cybils this year

Early thoughts from @MsYingling (MG fiction organizer) on what it takes to be a #cybils panelist @cybils #kidlit

On the @Cybils blog: Heads Up! The Cybils are Coming! #kidlit #yalit @MsYingling

Growing Bookworms

Useful list for parents: 12 Great Interactive Story Apps for kids, reviewed by @TrevorHCairney #literacy

Lit-a-paloozaDon't miss @readingtub #Literacy Lalapalooza 10 - Keep Summer Fun Alive. Lots of fun ideas #litrdup

I love the idea of "reading the library", shelf by shelf, in this @NerdyBookClub post by Michael Carton  #literacy

Back to school ideas: easing first day worries for kindergarteners from @bookblogmomma #kidlit

Back to school ideas for supporting a beginning reader from @bookblogmomma #literacy


Hilarious post from @FuseEight on Picture Book Occupational Hazards: Zookeepers #kidlit

Libraries and Bookstores

Kid's Republic: Is this the Coolest Kids Bookstore in the World? asks @bookriot via @PWKidsBookshelf

Biblio File: Thoughts on #yalit ARCs and Relationship Building in libraries by @kidsilkhaze

Biblio File: Exclusive Editions = Bad News for Libraries by @kidsilkhaze via @catagator


Create with Cardboard - A Global Challenge for kids, reported by@bookchook #play

Book Chook Favourites - Games to Encourage Thinking #play #literacy @bookchook

Read Aloud Seize the Summer Campaign

Message_20Inspiring post at @BooksBabiesBows on "There is no substitute for books in the life of a child". @ReadAloud_org

RT @ReadAloud_org one of the best predictors of a student’s success is the # of words a child knows when entering school

RT @ReadAloud_org Seize the Summer and Read Aloud 15 MINUTES. Every child. Every parent. Every day.

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

The Caged Graves: Dianne K. Salerni

Book: The Caged Graves
Author: Dianne K. Salerni (@DianneSalerni)
Pages: 336
Age Range: 12 and up

The Caged Graves is a historical novel set mainly in 1867 in the small town of Catawissa, Pennsylvania. It features several mysteries, all set against a backdrop of a small town recovering from the Civil War. 

17-year-old Verity Boone is moving back to Catawissa after being raised by her aunt in Worcester, Massachusetts (the big city, compared to Catawissa). Verity is returning to marry Nate, to whom she has become engaged via mail, though they've never met (well, not since Verity was 2 years old). She is also reacquainting herself with the father she barely knows. Verity is shocked to discover, however, that her mother and aunt are buried outside the local churchyard, in graves surrounded by metal cages. Verity's quest to understand the reason for this treatment of the graves stirs up secrets that the people around her wish would stay buried. And Verity soon finds her life and her engagement both in jeopardy. 

The historical details are quite tightly woven, without ever feeling like too much. I was especially interested to learn about the practice of people paying substitutes to go to war for them during the Civil War.

The tone of The Caged Graves is dark and suspenseful. The reader constantly feels danger looming, and sees secrets peering out of thickets. 

As for the plot, well, I was pretty sure of the identify of the primary "bad guy" long before Verity figured it out (in fact, long before Verity even suspected that there was anything amiss at all). But I still read the last third of the book with breathless interest, concerned for Verity's fate. And I was unsure for quite a while regarding how her romantic dilemma would turn out. 

The Caged Graves is nuanced historical fiction, with a Gothic-tinged murder mystery for added suspense. The characters are strong (particularly Verity, but I also liked Nate, and Verity's father's housekeeper). Salerni doesn't shrink from confronting racial (and other) differences and discriminations, but keeps a relatively soft touch, maintaining focus on plot and character. Fans of historical novels (particularly those set in the Civil War era), as well as fans of dark, twisty mysteries, will not want to miss this one. Recommended!

Publisher: Clarion Books (@hmhkids)
Publication Date: May 14, 2013
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

FTC Required Disclosure:

This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

News Release: 2013 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award Winner Announced

The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN) of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) is pleased and proud to announce the winner of the 2013 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award for Young Adult Fiction.  Established in 2008 to honor the wishes of young adult author Amelia Elizabeth Walden, the award allows for the sum of $5,000 to be presented annually to the author of a young adult title selected by the ALAN Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award Committee as demonstrating a positive approach to life, widespread teen appeal, and literary merit.  

The 2013 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award Winner is:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Dutton Books)

The 2013 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award finalists are:

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Simon & Schuster)

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King (Little Brown and Company)

Endangered by Eliot Schrefer (Scholastic)

All Walden Award titles will be identified by an award sticker—gold for the winner and silver for the four finalists. The winning title and finalists will be honored on Monday, November 25th at the 2013 ALAN Workshop in Boston, Massachusetts, and will be invited to participate in a panel discussion.

The 2013 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award Committee would like to thank: the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award Foundation, the ALAN Executive Council, the ALAN Board of Directors, NCTE, and the thirty publishers who submitted titles for consideration.

The 2013 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award Committee considered nearly 350 young adult titles throughout the process.  The committee was comprised of eleven members representing the university, K-12 school, and library communities.  They are:

  • Lois Buckman, Committee Chair, Librarian, Caney Creek High School, Conroe, TX
  • Ricki Ginsberg, Past Committee Chair, Doctoral Student, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
  • Carolyn Angus, Director, George G. Stone Center for Children’s Books, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA
  • Jonatha Basye, Teacher/Librarian, Bryan Elementary, Hampton, VA
  • Paul Hankins, English Language & Composition, Silver Creek High School, Sellersburg, IN
  • Suzanne Metcalfe, Librarian, Dimond High School, Anchorage, Alaska
  • Mark Letcher, Assistant Professor English Education, Purdue University Calumet Hammond, IN
  • Kellee Moye, Classroom Teacher, Hunter’s Creek Middle School, Orlando, FL
  • Mindi Rench, Classroom Teacher, Northbrook Junior High School, Northbrook, IL
  • Lois Stover, Professor, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, St Mary’s City, MD
  • Diane Tuccillo, Teen Services Librarian, Poudre River Public Library District, Fort Collins, CO

For more information on the award, please visit ALAN Online: The Official Site of the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents

Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: August 2

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter recently @JensBookPage (actually over the past two weeks).

Book Lists and Awards

Newest post in So You Want to Read Middle Grade from Naomi Kinsman @greenbeanblog #kidlit

Book list: Teen Girl Sleuths to Read While You're Waiting for Veronica Mars movie from @catagator @bookriot

RT @CarrieGelson: Shared some new wordless favourites on my blog. Love the potential wordless books hold.

A list for me! Beth Revis' Top Ten Modern YA Science Fiction novels @bkshelvesofdoom #yalit

Quite a useful book list: 21 Picture Books with Diverse Characters from @momandkiddo #kidlit

Top 10 books for new kindergarteners from @darshanakhiani #kidlit

The 2013 Eisner Awards. Congratulations to team Babymouse @jenniholm + @mattholm via @tashrow #kidlit

Book List: Outer Space Picture Books for preschoolers from @bookblogmomma #kidlit

Growing Bookworms

Your kids are watching you watch TV | Sound It Out by Joanne Meier | @ReadingRockets

Some excellent points from Jules at 7-Imp in response to a mom who admits finding read aloud drudgery

Who Should Teach our Kids to Read? How and why parents should inspire love of reading @essentialkids via @librareanne

Great stuff! How to excite boys about school and learning? from @TrevorHCairney #literacy

Delightful! 12 Signs You're Raising a Reader from @momandkiddo #kidlit #literacy


The July Carnival of Children's Literature is now available at proseandkahn #kidlit

Quite a resource from @bkshelvesofdoom | MASTER LIST: Book Recommendation Engines.


Such fun! @lochwouters describes Library Camp-out with reading tents

An ode to libraries from @utalaniz @NerdyBookClub

On Books, Reading, and Writing

A post sure to evoke the sympathy of readers everywhere: A Life Without Reading by @frankisibberson @NerdyBookClub

Must-read thoughts on writing "Big Stories" on topics that matter from Tanita Davis

Well worth reading from @catagator at Stacked: Fat is not a disability: It's a book deal breaker #yalit

Fear of the 'other' - How books can help develop understanding by @TrevorHCairney #kidlit #literacy

Nice summary of some plagiarism issues at Original Content: Scraping--A Huge Black Eye For Self-publishing?

How do you feel about spoilers in your reading and viewing? @lizb has some thoughts, and some questions

Law firm admits leaking Rowling's Galbraith identity. I personally wish they had waited til there were more books out

Programs and Research

Great #literacy news: @RIFWEB and Macy's Give Away 10 Million Books via @PWKidsBookshelf #BeBookSmart

Boy would I have loved the Thalia Book Club Camp when I was a kid. Great summary by @medinger #kidlit

RT @PublisherLunch: #plnws Psychology Study Says Bookstore Shoppers (In Belgium) Browsed and Bought More When Air Was Chocolate-Scented

Summer Reading

RT @tashrow Seven ways to inspire your kids’ summer reading | Fox News #reading

Let’s avoid the “summer slide” (cont.) — Summer reading tips #8-13 from @aliposner #literacy

RT @ReadAloud_org: Grow your child's knowledge this summer. #readaloud

The Summer Reading Flowchart: Young Adult Books! [Infographic] | via @randomlyreading #yalit

Teaching and Preparation for School

Thoughts from @frankisibberson on That First Read Aloud of the School Year.... #kidlit #literacy

8 Ways to Ease Kindergarten Anxiety from @CoffeeandCrayon

Why teachers should read more children's books | @Guardian via @100scopenotes #literacy

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.