Sunday, October 28, 2012

Time of Wonder

Awarded the Caldecott Medal as "The most distinguished American picture book of 1958," Time of Wonder is the classic story of a never-to-be forgotten summer, here produced from reoriginated plates to capture all the beauty of Mr. McCloskey's original illustrations.
Among the islands of Maine you'll find all that children and about the sea, the shore, and quiet forests beyond, as well as the excitement of preparations for a hurricane and the wonder of exploring the trunks, upper limbs, and giant trees felled by the storm.
As The Horn Book wrote, " The author has succeeded in transferring his love for the Maine Islands to the printed page and as you listen to his words and look at his pictures you feel every day and every season is a 'time of wonder.' This is a [book] of great beauty."

A good story for a New England hurricane...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Middle School Madness... It Came From the Library!

We recently celebrated Teen Read week at the WFL with an "...It Came From the Library!" themed Middle School Madness event! Free pizza, Halloween candy and refreshments were enjoyed as zombie and monster themed games dominated the afternoon. Prizes were handed out for the best attempt to pin the body part on the zombie, the teens who knew the most monster trivia in our BINGO games, the team "most likely to survive a zombie apocalypse", and finally, to the team who made the best toilet paper mummy! Entries for that last game were too tough to judge so we called it a draw. Check out the photos below of those epic mummies and let us know who you think had the best creation!

Be sure to join us for our next Middle School Madness event on Friday, November 30th in the Quigley Youth Room at 3:30 where we'll be breaking out the board games! We'll be kicking it old school with card games and classic board games, including: Set, Simpsons Clue, Pictureka, and more! If you have a favorite game, feel free to bring it! And as always, free pizza and refreshments will be provided. See you there!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A frequent topic of conversation in the children's room at the WFL...

Books in the Home: Reading Up

rowling harrypotterdeathlyhallows 198x300 Books in the Home: Reading Up

Like many writers, I had a reading childhood, but I’ve only recently understood how countercultural my mother was about my reading. My brother and sister and I are close in age, so when I was a child there were no big-kid books and little-kid books; no girl books and boy books. All the books belonged to all of us. They were shelved together in the living room, picture books through adult novels, fiction and nonfiction jumbled up in a wonderfully inviting way. My mother read to me extensively until I could read for myself, and then she not only stopped reading to me altogether but stopped supervising my reading. I was let loose to develop my own tastes and check out whatever caught my eye at the library.
When my children were young, I was happy to follow my mother’s lead and not keep books by gender or level or topic. Each of my four children had his or her favorites, and a few, very tattered, books were adored by everyone. When the kids were all younger than ten they moved fluidly among picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, and nonfiction of all kinds.
Harry Potter was the start of the trouble. My oldest discovered Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone when she was in fourth grade and her youngest sister was just learning to walk. The books quickly became favorites that we passed around and discussed at dinner. We invented yard Quidditch for birthday parties and knitted hats for the house-elf rebellion. By the time the long-awaited final book was announced seven years later, my youngest, Madelaine, was dying to get in on the game, and being read to was not good enough. She wanted to read the last book for herself. Furthermore, she decided to read all six of the previous books in her second-grade year before the last book came out in the summer. I was all for the project, excited to see her so motivated, proud that she was reading independently — and yet, there were problems I didn’t foresee.
A five-pound book doesn’t fit the standard second-grader backpack, and it’s a lot to carry when you only weigh forty pounds. Madelaine enjoyed each book and loved being up to speed on all the characters her siblings had been talking about her whole life. Still, it took her so long to read them, as a new reader, that much of the momentum of the stories were lost in the work of decoding, so she never found them as exciting as the older kids had. Because the characters were many years older than she was and often focused on things that didn’t interest her, she never made an emotional connection with them, either. But she was keeping up with the big kids, and that was all she wanted.
On the midnight of the final Harry Potter release, all six of us went to our neighborhood indie, Annie Bloom’s, for the party. The kids were eight, eleven, fourteen, and sixteen. We bought one book and six bookmarks. We made the usual bargain about not talking about what happens until everyone’s bookmark passed that chapter — a good incentive for not hogging the book. It was a magical week that July when we all shared our long-awaited Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows!
And yet I found my own enjoyment of the book lessened because Deathly Hallows was such a dark story—not inappropriately dark, but grim reading for a child who had just lost her first tooth. From my tree-house office that week I watched Madelaine as she read aloud to our chickens. Periodically, she would slam the book shut and say to them, in complete earnestness, “This is one of the awful parts. I’m not going to read it to you. You’re only four months old. Maybe later — when you are big enough to lay eggs.” And then she would go curl up with her big brother in the hammock and work her way through the “awful part.” She managed. We all did, and, as with all the other books, there was yard Quidditch to play and inside jokes to tell and lots of meaty topics to discuss. My youngest did not suffer nightmares, as I had feared. But I did find some unanticipated consequences to letting her read up.
Not surprisingly, it took Madelaine the entire school year to read the first six Harry Potter books, which meant she read no picture books in second grade. Many of the really great picture books are for school-aged children. Saint George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges, The Eleventh Hour by Graeme Base, and The Cats in Krasinski Square by Karen Hesse were favorites of my older children. She also missed out on Encyclopedia Brown and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and My Father’s Dragon. The first Clementine book by Sara Pennypacker came out that year, and I was longing to have someone just the right age with whom to share it. But it’s not so easy to go back to simpler books when you’ve spent a year filling up on richer fare. Madelaine’s reading improved tremendously in terms of both speed and comprehension, and of all the benefits of reading up, that’s by far the most immediately valuable. And yet I’m sorry to see that the classic characters from longer picture books and early chapter books are not part of the architecture of her imagination in the way they are for me and for her older siblings.
Now that my oldest two are in college and the younger girls are in middle- and high school, I’ve been rethinking my laissez-faire approach to reading up. For instance, my younger two often find YA books a little bit stale. John Green, whom they used to love when they were in grade school, seems a little silly to them now. And that’s a shame. It’s not that the books are lacking in any way. But as precocious readers, they took only a shallow spoonful of what was available in the text. If they were of a temperament to reread favorite books, they might have come to appreciate his work more fully in time. But they chose to move on, remembering the fun of their shared jokes from An Abundance of Katherines but not the substance they glossed over at the time.
There’s a lot of really great YA writing that my girls won’t touch because it seems too young. The writing is right on target for them developmentally, but because they’ve already read extensively in the genre, it simply doesn’t appeal to them in the way I’d hoped it would. In the last few years they have gravitated toward genres they didn’t read in grade school: steampunk, graphic novels, and fan fiction. Overall, though, they spend less time reading than their older siblings did.
Reading up is not as simple an issue as I’d once supposed. I’ve noticed a tendency among people in the book professions to scorn parents who advocate withholding older books from younger readers, painting them as rigid, conservative, and insensitive to the needs of the child. I thought so myself at the start, but now I have some sympathy for the longer view of trying to nurture a lifelong reader and not just a temporarily precocious one.
I’m happy to report that my younger girls do find YA books they like from time to time. They discovered Terry Pratchett at exactly the right moment and are avid fans. Fortunately, their older brother and sister remember the fun of shared reading enough to give The Wee Free Men a try, even though it’s “too young” for them. Now when everyone is home from college and they’re all making dinner together, they are full of inside jokes from the Discworld and have loud arguments in Nac Mac Feegle about whether the recipe calls for Special Sheep Liniment!
I have always thought that the social dimension of reading gets the short end of the stick in our current educational climate, one that puts so much emphasis on measurable results. In my opinion, the conversations that occur because of the book are far more valuable than anything on the page. So do I regret letting my younger two read YA books so early? No, not exactly; but I do recognize that they lost something in their childhood reading that I cannot now replace. It’s true that Madelaine, in a moment of rainy-day boredom, recently picked up Clementine and gave it a read, trumpeting the funny bits out loud as my kids often do. Those funny bits were still pretty funny, even from the lofty view of sixth grade. Clementine could have been a literary soul mate to my quirky and keenly observant girl. But that ship sailed years ago during her Harry Potter summer, and she and Clementine will be only passing acquaintances.
On the other hand, my kids feel a deep and lasting camaraderie over their shared reading, even as school and college and adult life pull them in different directions. They have grown apart in their talents and aspirations. They have their own circles of friends and will probably never all live in the same town again. And yet I do hope that the stories they loved together will be their common ground, just as Narnia and Earthsea and Middle-earth are the childhood homes my own siblings and I continue to share.
From the November/December 2012 Horn Book Magazine

The Doll People

Passed down from one generation to the next, the Doll family has lived in the same dollhouse, located in the same room of the Palmer family's house, for 100 years. While the world outside has changed, their own lives have notDwith two significant exceptions. First, Auntie Sarah Doll suddenly and mysteriously disappeared 45 years ago, when the Doll family belonged to Kate Palmer's grandmother. More recently, the modern, plastic Funcraft family has moved into Kate's little sister's room. Following the time-honored traditions of such well-loved works as Rumer Godden's The Doll's House, The Mennyms by Sylvia Waugh and Pam Conrad's and Richard Egielski's The Tub People, Martin and Godwin inventively spin out their own variation on the perennially popular theme of toys who secretly come to life. By focusing on Annabelle's and Tiffany Funcraft's risky mission to find Auntie Sarah, the authors provide plenty of action and suspense, yet it is their skillfully crafted details about the dolls' personalities and daily routines that prove most memorable. Selznick's pencil illustrations cleverly capture the spark of life inhabiting the dolls' seemingly inanimate bodies. The contemporary draftsmanship frees the art from nostalgia even while the layout which presents the illustrations as standalone compositions as well as imaginatively integrated borders and vignettes reinforces the old-fashioned mood of the doll theme. Doll lovers may well approach their imaginative play with renewed enthusiasm and a sense of wonder after reading this fun-filled adventure. Ages 7-10.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

t From Booklist

Gr. 5-8. It was exciting when the 100-year-old, dollhouse-dwelling Doll Family met the modern, "real pink plastic" Funcrafts in The Doll People (2000), a thoroughly charming exploration of the fantasy that dolls are secretly alive. In this action-packed sequel, things heat up even further after Annabelle Doll and her best friend Tiffany Funcraft dive into the human girl's backpack and get hauled off to school. They end up in the wrong kid's backpack and in the home of the meanest doll in the world! Will they bravely take on Mean Mimi, who is determined to expose the sacred secret of dollkind? And, how will they get home? Selznick's pencil drawings are winningly expressive, and the clever title-page progression, spelling out "The Meanest Doll in the World" in several pages, is not to be missed. There are inspiring moments of fortitude here as the dolls show readers how to live with integrity and without fear. Though the authors provide background info, readers will want to start with the first novel. Karin Snelson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

From School Library Journal

Grade 3–5—A mysterious package addressed to Grandma Palmer's grandfather arrives at the Palmer home while they are on vacation. Kate's doll, Annabelle, and her sister's doll, Tiffany Funcraft, deduce that the package contains the Doll family's missing baby. They open the package to find that Matilda is indeed Annabelle's lost sister. But how do they keep the family from sending her back? Since the package is not addressed to the Palmers, they might not open it, and the baby will be lost forever. Annabelle decides the only solution is to run away with her new sibling to save her from this fate. Annabelle, her brother Bobby, Tiffany, and her brother Bailey join the adventure and find themselves lost in the woods and then trapped in a toy store. The adventure takes a dangerous and mysterious turn when dolls begin to disappear from the store each night. The story opens with Selznick's 12-page illustrated, wordless prologue, and his art moves the story along throughout the book. This fun, magical entry in the series is just as engaging as the previous books.—Debra Banna, Sharon Public Library, MA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

A Halloween favorite from Susan Meddaugh!

From Publishers Weekly

In a highly original Halloween tale, Meddaugh ( Tree of Birds ; Too Many Monsters ) again evinces a gently humorous, delightfully skewed imagination. As Helen, in a witch costume, and her dog Martha, dressed as a cat ("Witches have cats, not dogs. Everybody knows that") set out for trick-or-treating, the woman ahead of them drops a piece of paper. Hurrying after her to return it--a coupon for a free broom--Helen and Martha hesitate when she disappears behind a door marked "Trespassers Will Be Sorry." Peeking inside, Helen announces, "It's just a supermarket!" and the pair ventures in. But this is no ordinary food store--its counters display such fare as"Apples with Worms," "Cran-Spider" drink and "Shake 'n Bake Snake." When the light finally dawns for Helen, readers, of course, will be way ahead of her--thanks not only to the book's title but to its hilarious, none-too-subtle illustrations. This knowledge only adds to the fun, however: the giggles begin early, and by the chaotic escape scene, develop into full-scale belly laughs. Definitely in the "treat" category. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

hello! hello! book trailer

Friday, October 19, 2012

What we're reading (and loving) right now...

Click to order from 
 From Cynthia Lord's website :


If the bathroom door is closed, knock! (especially if Catherine has a friend over).

Say thank you when someone gives you a present (even if you don't like it).

Don't stand in front of the TV when other people are watching it.

A boy takes off his shirt to swim, but not his shorts.

Some people think they know who you are, when really they don't.

No toys in the fishtank.
Available in audio from
Winner of:
Newbery Honor Medal
Schneider Family Book Award
Mitten Award (Michigan Library Association)
Great Lakes Great Books Award (Michigan)
Maine Student Book Award
Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award (Vermont)
Kentucky Bluegrass Award
Great Stone Face Award (New Hampshire)
Buckeye Children's Book Award (Ohio)

“A heartwarming first novel.” Booklist

New York Public Library's 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing

“Catherine is an appealing and believable character, acutely self-conscious and torn between her love for her brother and her resentment of his special needs. Middle-grade readers will recognize her longing for acceptance and be intrigued by this exploration of dealing with differences.” Kirkus Reviews

KidPost Book of the Week, Washington Post

"The appealing, credible narrator at the heart of Lord's debut novel will draw in readers, as she struggles to find order and balance in her life.... A rewarding story that may well inspire readers to think about others' points of view." Publishers Weekly

Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts (NCTE)

"This is a story that depicts the impact of a needy child on an entire family very realistically. One of the treats in this book is that David echoes words rather than generating his own and he frequently speaks in lines he remembers from Arnold Lobel's Frog & Toad." Children's Literature - Joan Kindig, Ph.D.

Book of the Week, Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC)

"Catherine is an endearing narrator who tells her story with both humor and heartbreak. . . this sensitive story is about being different, feeling different, and finding acceptance. A lovely, warm read, and a great discussion starter." School Library Journal

 Editors' Pick, HW Wilson Standard Catalog

"This is an absorbing tale about valuing people even when it's difficult, and it may encourage readers to consider the benefits and challenges of their own families and friends." Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Accelerated Reader (AR) Title

"This is not only a great read, with a nice rhythm and easy style, but it is an important book that siblings of kids with special needs need to read." Kid Lit: Books and More For Kids and Teens

ALA Notable Children's Book

"The first-person narrative is very engaging, and readers will identify with Catherine's struggles and cheer for her at the end. This is a great book to help students gain some understanding about autism, while also providing a good read. The author is the mother of an autistic child. Recommended." Library Media Connection

Read On Wisconsin, Middle-School Pick

"[A]n honest and frequently funny portrayal of what it's like to have a sibling with autism at an age when being accepted is so important." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Nominated for state Kids' Choice Awards in: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pacific Northwest (voting together: Alaska, Alberta CA, British Columbia CA, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington), Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

In 2000, I decided to write a middle-grade novel, and I followed the advice of "write what you know."  I have two children, one of whom has autism, and RULES explores that family dynamic.
David is based loosely upon my son when he was a young child.  Some incidents in the book came from real experience:  I was always rescuing toys from our fishtank and my son did love Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad books and used to repeat lines from those stories to communicate.  However, most of the events, details, and characters in RULES came from my imagination. 
Jason was inspired by a boy I saw one day and have never forgotten.  I was waiting for my son to finish an appointment, and a boy came into the waiting room.  He was in a wheelchair and used a communication book.  I glanced up and made assumptions that were blown apart seconds later, when he and his mother had the most amazing and witty conversation.  She spoke out loud; he communicated by touching his pictures. 
All those threads of experience began weaving themselves into a story.  The first line I ever wrote on the first blank page was:  “At our house, we have a rule,” and the story, the characters, the title, all sprang from that seed.
I took the story as far as I could, and after many polishing passes and feedback from my critique partners, I looked through the Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market to see who might be a good publishing match. 
I paused at Scholastic’s entry.  When I was growing up, my teacher would hand out Scholastic Book Clubs fliers, and my mother let me order 3 books each time.  I remember the excitement I felt: the coins rolling back and forth in the envelope as I walked up to hand it to the teacher, and those glassy-smooth covers and the crackling newness of the books when they came.  I still have some of the books I bought as a child through those book clubs, with my name written in big, loopy handwriting on the inside cover. 
But the line “1% of books by first-time authors” in the market book for Scholastic, was daunting.  My husband shrugged when I showed him and said, “Well, someone has to be that one percent, why not you?”
In November 2001, I got the phone call every writer dreams of receiving.  It was an editor at Scholastic saying she’d like to buy my book.  I was too excited to remember much about that call, but I think I said mostly intelligent things like, “Oh, um, wow! Yes, uh, OK.” 
Getting the call may sound like “The end,” but that was also a beginning, a corner-turning to a new hallway.  The revision process is a time of refining, of letting go and holding on, of re-imagining characters and events to bring them into sharper focus. 
It’s been a long road from that first “At our house, we have a rule” to this moment, but it’s also been a glorious discovery, a journey I am both humbled and amazed to have taken.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Babymouse for President!

A Cupcake in every locker! It's election season and if anyone knows what this country . . . er, what the student council needs, it's Babymouse. The only trouble is, everyone else is running for President, too—even Babymouse's locker! Will Felicia Furrypaws turn out the meangirl coalition? Does Babymouse have what it takes to become the voice of the people? Find out in Babymouse for President! Remember, a vote for Babymouse is a vote for cupcakes!


Babymouse for President! Santiago Campaign Ad

City Chickens by Christine Heppermann

Chickens in the yard, chickens in the shower. Chickens upstairs and downstairs, in the kitchen and under the couch. What are farm animals doing in the city?

In Minneapolis, if you follow the sounds of crowing, you will find an inner-city shelter for (you guessed it!) chickens. Many of the feathered guests at Chicken Run Rescue have been found wandering the city streets. Maybe they escaped from backyard chicken coops or from illegal cockfighting rings, or maybe they began their lives as fuzzy chicks in a classroom incubator. Whatever the reason, these incredibly smart, gentle, and friendly animals need help.

Over the years, Mary Britton Clouse and her husband, Bert, have given hundreds of homeless birds a safe place to rest until they can be adopted by caring families. Come along and meet Yeti, Henrietta, and other guests, and find out why lovable chickens are actually “the ones who need friends the most.”

Author Christine Heppermann

City Chickens

There are so many reasons to tell you about this new book City Chickens (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) by Christine Heppermann:

1. It's non-fiction (one of the main topics of this blog)--the story of a woman who lives in Minneapolis and runs a shelter for abandoned, lost-- or found-- chickens. And this story makes us glad that our wondrous world does contain at least one person who wants to give chickens a safe, comfortable home.

2. It's about chickens. I love chickens, real and invented.  Fictional chickens are the utility infielders of the children's book world. They show up in all sorts of situations (even in my Chicken Joy on Redbean Road --illustrated by the super Melissa Sweet; Houghton Mifflin, 2007).

3. Christine loves chickens, too. And she is a very talented writer, who writes essays and reviews for the Horn Book, and  has published a number of poems. I should also add she is a former student and a good friend. But I would tell you about this book if I had never met Christine because it is a wonderful non-fiction story, carefully researched, well-told, with striking photographs by Chris's husband, Eric Hinsdale.

I want Christine to tell you about the book. So I asked her some questions.

1.       JBM: What attracted you to this story?
CH: I’m always drawn to stories about people with uncommon passions or perceptions. Also to stories that show me something ordinary in an entirely new way. Most of us view chickens as commodities, valuable for what they give us—their meat and their eggs. But why shouldn’t we see them the way Mary and Bert at Chicken Run Rescue do—as living beings deserving of the same level of care and compassion that we give to dogs and cats? Truthfully, Jackie, your Snowflake Bentley stayed in my mind the whole time I was writing and researching City Chickens, because Wilson Bentley and Mary and Bert have a lot in common.  Bentley took an amorphous mass of white stuff and showed us the beauty of each individual flake. Mary and Bert want people to recognize the beauty and uniqueness of each individual bird.
2      JBM:  Why tell this as nonfiction instead of fiction?

CH: You know, the real-life characters are so compelling, I never once considered fictionalizing them. I love the challenge of taking actual people and events and trying to be true to them while at the same time constructing a narrative with all the literary qualities of fiction. At one point I worried because I didn’t have any child characters in the story, but then I found an actual child, Alison! (She and her family have adopted multiple birds from CRR.) And Alison had an actual rooster, Billiam, with more personality quirks than any character I could possibly have made up.
3       JBM: What was one of the really hard parts of writing this story?
CH: Choosing which chickens to feature. Because most every “guest” I met at Chicken Run Rescue had such a fascinating backstory.  Originally I started the book with Gody, a little black hen who, for a time, lived in a St. Paul, Minnesota elementary school science classroom. The teacher acquired Gody after a friend-of-a-friend, a woman in Minneapolis, heard a cat yowling in her driveway.  She went out to investigate and found Gody, panicked and shivering, hiding in a corner of her garage! But Gody had already come through Chicken Run Rescue and been adopted out to a family by the time I started my research, and there weren’t any good photos from her days in the classroom. Sadly, I had to deny her a starring role.
.          JBM: How does your interest in poetry show up in City Chickens?
CH:  Certainly I chose words carefully and paid attention to the rhythm of the language, just as I do when I’m writing a poem. But more than that, I believe Mary and Bert are doing exactly what the best poets do: they are allowing us to see something through fresh eyes. They are saying, look at these creatures you’ve always taken for granted, aren’t they extraordinary? 
Thanks, Christine.  I think this book will change the way we see chickens. It will be much harder to think of chickens as "egg factories" after reading about Chicken Run Rescue.  We will see more.  And isn't that one thing we are about--helping each other to see...more.

City Chickens - The Book: Chicken Run Rescue Video

City Chickens - The Book: Chicken Run Rescue Video: Here's a nice video introduction to Chicken Run Rescue.   Welcome to Chicken Run Rescue from threedog on Vimeo .

Our new favorite book!

Red Cat, Blue Cat and Cat Tale --- NY Times

Children's Books

Two or Three Cats

‘Cat Tale’ and ‘Red Cat Blue Cat’

From “Cat Tale”
One book features three cat friends. The other is about two cat rivals. One offers inspired nonsense. The other deals with a (relatively) realistic situation. But with eye-poppingly bright and friendly illustrations, winning stories and clever execution, these two new picture books stand apart from the rest of the cat pack.


Written and illustrated by Michael Hall
40 pp. Greenwillow Books. $16.99. (Picture book; ages 3 to 6)


Written and illustrated by Jenni Desmond
40 pp. Blue Apple Books. $16.99. (Picture book; ages 4 to 8)
From “Red Cat Blue Cat”
“Cat Tale” is a twisty, imaginative story, told in homonyms, about three cats — Lillian, Tilly and William J. — who, “from word to word” make their way in the world, whether they plane a board or board a train. Some of the wordplay may fly over the heads of younger children and even, possibly, confuse them. (“They shoo a truly naughty gnu” is not likely to be grasped by most 3-year-olds.) But then the cats themselves become confused:
Oh, dear.
The words are jumbled!
They’ve lost their way –
Lillian, Tilly and William J.
But it’s all O.K. because the vividly hued and boxy, collage-style digital illustrations, which recall Eric Carle and recent work by Marc Brown, will engross younger readers while older readers catch on to the double meanings. And children of all ages will appreciate the cats’ attempts to bear some hail and hail a whale. A step up in linguistic difficulty from “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom,” this latest from Hall (“Perfect Square,” “My Heart Is Like a Zoo”) nonetheless captures some of that classic’s tumble-bumble rhythm and “read it again” magic.
Feline foes and rivalries masking secret jealousies are not new subjects. Nonetheless, the warring yet endearing cats in Jenni Desmond’s “Red Cat Blue Cat” are welcome company. Their travails aren’t so different from our human ones. Red Cat, you see, “wished he were as smart as Blue Cat, and . . . Blue Cat wanted to be fast and bouncy like Red Cat.” And so, just like people, “they fought and they hissed and they wished, all day long.”
When Blue Cat decides to be more like Red Cat, he eats a crab, some cherries and rose petals, among other items. “Guess who was spying on him the whole time?” Desmond slyly asks. Red Cat, in turn, is inspired to try “blueberries, bluebells, a blue fish, blue pudding and certain cupcakes.” Thus begins an escalating conflict between the two cats as each tries to imitate, match and outdo the other.
Desmond’s captivating drawings combine intricate pen-and-ink and charcoal lines and childlike splotches of color to depict the best and worst in what will be highly recognizable cat behavior. The story, with its nod to “Little Blue and Little Yellow” and other tales of friendship and differences, hits all the familiar beats. But it does so with a generous dose of humor, adept storytelling and spot-on detail.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

2012 National Book Award nominations are in!


2012 NBA YPL  Finalists


William Alexander, Goblin Secrets (Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing)

Carrie Arcos, Out of Reach (Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing)
Patricia McCormick, Never Fall Down (Balzer+Bray, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers)
Eliot Schrefer, Endangered (Scholastic)
Steve Sheinkin, Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World's Most Dangerous Weapon
(Flash Point, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press)

Young People's Literature Judges:

Susan Cooper, Daniel Ehrenhaft, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Gary D. Schmidt, Marly Youmans

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Do you use a Nook to download ebooks from the library?

If you use a Nook to download your favorite kids and teens (or any other) ebooks from the library, it just got a whole lot easier!  Check out our catalog of downloadable ebooks and audiobooks at

OverDrive App Comes to NOOK®

October 2nd, 2012 Michael Lovett
Borrowing eBooks and audiobooks from the library just got a whole lot easier for users of the NOOK HD, NOOK HD+, NOOK Tablet™ and NOOK Color™. Last week, Barnes & Noble added the OverDrive Media Console app to the NOOK Apps™ storefront. This NOOK app enables users to wirelessly borrow eBooks and MP3 audiobooks from the library.

All NOOK devices—including  NOOK 1st Edition,NOOK Simple Touch and NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight—have always enabled users to read eBooks borrowed from libraries and schools, but the process required sideloading the files from a computer using Adobe Digital Editions and a USB cable. Now users of NOOK HD, NOOK HD+, NOOK Tablet and NOOK Color can borrow eBooks and audiobooks wirelessly using the OverDrive app.

Users can visit the NOOK Apps storefront to install the free OverDrive Media Console app. The app enables users to locate a library or school nearby, browse or search their eBook and MP3 audiobook collection and, after entering a valid library card or school ID,  check out and download the title for a lending period of one to three weeks (depending on the library or school’s policies). At the end of the lending period, the title simply expires.

The version of OMC available in the NOOK Apps storefront is OMC for Android v2.5, so any instructions found on library help pages related to OMC for Android will apply to the NOOK app. While the app is free, users will need a valid NOOK account in order to download the app.

Michael Lovett is Public Relations and Social Media Specialist at OverDrive.