Sunday, September 25, 2016

Gearing Up For Inktober

Hit your local art supply store to stock up for this year's Inktober challenge.

I try to buy a new pen or colored ink or an unfamiliar paper to start the challenge. It loosens me up and lets me play.

I'd have loved to grab the exclusive collector box available from ArtSnacks. Have you seen it? Along with premium supplies, the kit includes an inky octopus print by Jake Parker. Just the inspiration one needs, don't you think?

Shop ArtSnacks for the Inktober box or monthly subscriptions.

Exclusive Inktober print by Jake Parker, Courtesy ArtSnacks

What are your great ideas to prep for Inktober?

Friday, September 23, 2016

PPBF: Race Car Count

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

Race Car Count, by Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Michael Slack

Race Car Count

Written by Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Illustrated by Michael Slack

Christy Ottaviano, Henry Holt 2015
Ages 2-7, 150 words

Concept,  Counting

Red light, yellow light, green light, GO!

Race car 1 honks, look at me!
He zooms in front with the turn of a key.

A simple rhyming counting book featuring a variety of anthropomorphic race cars speeding for the prize.

What I Love:
Cars with eyes and rhyming text normally would have doomed this picture book before I even opened the cover, but Race Car Count is so well done. Kai Dotlich's rhyme and meter are a joy to read aloud. The rhyme actually carries the story forward. The illustrator made the cars interesting and imbued them with personality instead of drawing saccharine stereotypes. The color palette and composition add vitality to the book. I wish I had this book for my kids when they were little. They would have asked for it repeatedly, and I would have enjoyed every reread.


Today's Parent offers how to make a DIY race car costume.

 1. Julie Hedlund has posted a fascinating interview with today's author, Rebecca Kai Dotlich.

2. Illustrator Michael Slack has designed a free downloadable activity kit for young readers on his website.

3. Great Kids Pirthday Parties has collected a variety of car-shaped snacks, from hotdogs to apple slices. Why not provide the fixings and let the kids decorate their cars with as much diversity as the racers in the book?

4. Homemade Preschool offers a free worksheet for counting race cars and you can find a race car  dot-to-dot on BigActivities.

5. Check out these and more Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Reviewed by Joanne

Reviewed by Tracy

Reviewed by Penny
Reviewed by Joanna

Reviewed by Julie

Reviewed by Erik

Have you reviewed a Perfect Picture Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for Friday, September 23, 2016 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Be Cool

Got a library card? Get one today!

Oops! I forgot. It's library card sign-up month.

Sign up for a card, so you can dive into the stacks at your local library.
  • Support your library.
  • Support your community.
  • Support your dreams.

The path to your dreams begins at your local library.

Monday, September 19, 2016

MMGM: Ghosts

Today's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday pick

Raina Telgemeier's latest graphic novel, Ghosts

Written by Raina Telgemeier
Graphix, 2016
Ages 8-12, Lexile 300
256 pages, 51000 words

Terminal illness, Dia de los Muertos, Relationships, New kid

Here's a peek at the first page of Ghosts,
by Raina Telgemeier

Thoughts: Watch out for some slight spoilers!

I love Raina Telgemeier's art. That is undisputed. Her characters are adorable and lively. Her comic panels read well. Her storytelling style is simply fun.

As for Raina's past graphic novels, they have a definite charm. I was never as big a fan of Smile as my middle school-aged daughter, but I appreciated the depth and honesty in the book and though Drama was full of three dimensional characters, I thought the story a bit lacking.

Now Ghosts has arrived. In general, I avoid ghost stories. Sorry, they're just not my thing. Enter the school book fair and a prime opportunity to check it out.

So checking it out turned to sitting on the floor reading it outright.

Ghosts captured my imagination immediately. The mc is a real girl with real emotions. Though she clashes with her parents, she isn't so rebellious that the mom in me cringes. Her sister bugs her, but the family ties are stronger than her teen hormones. Most stirringly of all, she is conflicted about her little sister's illness. The mc has to protect her sister, be responsible and grown-up, yet she longs to think about her own needs and being protected herself.

Ghosts tackles plenty of themes. Struggles with moving to a new place, fitting in, boy/girl relationships, and caring for younger siblings. On top of that, the little sister's illness is terminal. Now mix in the California culture and generation conflicts sewn together by the theme of seeing ghosts and celebrating Dia de los Muertos. The holiday provides a perfect setting for discussing grief and loss. I was a Happy Hollisters kid, but I can see this book sliding right onto that bookshelf. It's positive and idyllic despite the heavy themes. It presents a more realistic world for young readers, but with the same optimistic vibe. I hope you'll love it as much as I do.

Bonus: Raina's ghosts and skeletons are SO CUTE!

 1. Don't believe me? You can read the review in the NY Times.

2. Still not convinced? You can watch the trailer for Ghosts from YouTube or meet the author/illustrator in person. Dates, times, tickets for her tour are here.

3. You might also like some other graphic novels like the ones below.

Reviewed by Booksylvania
Reviewed by Books4Learning

Reviewed by Jasmine
Reviewed by Suzanne

Reviewed by Alyson
Reviewed by Alyson

4. And the winner is . . . Emily Martha Sorensen!
Congratulations on winning last week's book giveaway! Send me your mailing information and which prize you've chosen. I'll get that out to you this week. Thanks to all who spread the word.

Check out all the recommended titles for September 19, 2016 Marvelous Middle Grade Monday available on Shannon's blog.

If you want to join MMGM, blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday. You can post a straight review or contests, author interviews, etc. Then email Shannon Messenger at

Put "MMGM" or "Marvelous Middle Grade Monday" in the subject line, include the title of the book you're featuring, and a link to your blog. Email your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.

For additional details, see Shannon's website.

Have you reviewed a Marvelous Middle Grade book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Last Chance Book Giveaway

Last chance to win a copy of either Calling on Dragons, by Patricia C. Wrede or The Fairy Tale Life of Hans Christian Andersen, by Eva Moore, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman.

Calling on Dragons
Fairy Tale Life of
 Hans Christian Andersen

Tweet about the giveaway using #MGLit or comment on the contest post.

And stay tuned for tomorrow's middle grade book review of Raina Telgemeier's newest release, Ghosts.

Ghosts,by Raina Telgemeier
Join all the MMGM participants

Friday, September 16, 2016

PPBF: I'm Here

Love books?
Tweet about the giveaway: include #MGLit and a link.
More tweets= more chances to win!
Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a choice of fairy tale books from my Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post. Comment or tweet about the post to be entered in the drawing which ends September 19th.

Here's the link.

On to today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

I'm Here, by Peter H. Reynolds
I'm Here
Written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

Atheneum Books For Young Readers, 2011
Ages 4-8

Autism, Friendship, Fitting In

Can you hear it? Voices. Splashes upon splashes of sound.

I hear it all like one big noise. A big drum. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom.

They are there.

I am here.

A boy sits by himself on the playground, but when he constructs a paper airplane and stays true to himself, he finds a friend. Through simple pictures and dialogue, the book expresses the isolation some kids experience because of their autism.

What I Love:
By the second page, I could see my autistic friend's personality shining from the mc, though I had no idea this book was inspired by a real boy on the spectrum. In perfect Peter Reynolds style, I'm Here explores and explains what it's like for some kids with autism. A beautifully illustrated tale of friendship.


1. The above short film was commissioned by the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center in 2007. It's not as effective as the book, but worth seeing.
2. Educate yourself on the SAARC website, or get involved in their F.R.I.E.N.D. program to learn strategies for interacting with children on the Autism spectrum and as importantly, teaching our children how to strengthen their friendships with kids with ASD.
3. Explore Fablevision's website. The animation company, brainchild of Peter H. Reynolds, produces fabulous educational and entertainment software and short subject cartoons.
4. Visit Teaching Community to learn 22 tips for supporting autistic students in the classroom.
5. Visit Autism Speaks for 10 things parents of kids on the spectrum wish you knew.
6. Choose one of a dozen paper airplane styles from Fun Paper Airplanes, from beginner to advanced with instructions and downloadable templates.
7.  Blue Skies Ahead has invented a simple, fun paper airplane flight school.
8. Creative Youth Ideas uses paper airplane games to help kids build their relationship with God as well as with others.
9. Check out these and more Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Reviewed by Sn Taylor
Reviewed by Patricia


Reviewed by Erik 
Reviewed by Joanne

Have you reviewed a Perfect Picture Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for Friday, September 16, 2016 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.