Thursday, April 30, 2015

May 1 Means NaPIBoWriWee Is Here!

Follow along for the next seven days as we attempt to write seven complete picture book drafts. 
Don't miss out. Find more info on Paula Yoo's website.
National Picture Book Writing Week

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Role of A Writer

"The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say." ~Ana├»s Nin*

Courtesy Museum of Applied Arts, Hungary

* Via the Quote Garden

Monday, April 20, 2015

Word Alchemy

"The true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.”
William H. Gass*

Courtesy Bergen Public Library

*from A Temple of Texts

Friday, April 17, 2015

PPBF: The ABC Mystery

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

The ABC Mystery, by Doug Cushman
The ABC Mystery
Written and illustrated by Doug Cushman
Harper Collins, 1993
Preschool - 2

Alphabet, Mystery

A is the Art that was stolen at night.
B is the Butler who sneaks out of sight.

An oldie but goodie, The ABC Mystery is an alphabet book which tells a story. Doug Cushman manages to rhyme the simple text for each letter AND build a story . . . not just any story, but a who-dunnit. A painting is stolen, and it is up to Detective Inspector McGroom and Dame Agatha to recover the missing art. A very simple, yet fun way to entertain young readers, while injecting a bit of challenging vocabulary.

What I Love:
Doug Cushman has a talent for writing what readers want. He is able to use all the letters of the alphabet to build toward a conclusion, not just filler. This book was a staple in our home and paved the way for other classics like Encyclopedia Brown. My son especially loved this story. I highly recommend it for the reluctant readers in your life.

From a writer's standpoint, I am intrigued by the way this book makes such a difficult task look simple. The author set tight constraints: alphabetical order, rhyme scheme, historical setting, and mystery components. But the finished product is a clever picture book. I'd love to see more mysteries for this early reading level, wouldn't you?

Courtesy Brittany's Blog
1. Begin reading a short story or picture book, then have students draw how they think the story will end. Try Red, A Crayon's Story, Violet and Victor Write the Best-Ever Worm Book, Milo's Hat Trick, Clever Jack Takes The Cake, Gingerbread for Liberty!, Oh, No!, or This Is Not My Hat. Readers can guess  on almost every page of Journey. This works well with some poetry books too, stopping just before the rhyme and asking listeners to supply the right word.
2. Plan a treasure hunt. Hide clues around the house, one leading to the next until the young sleuths find the missing item. For example, "The first clue is hidden where you find something to help you eat ice cream." In our house that would be either the drawer with the spoons or the crock with the scoops and utensils. My kids love when they have to search several places before finding the right one.
3. Need to spy on a suspect? Instructions  for a periscope from How Stuff Works.
4. Identify fingerprints like a detective and learn the science behind them.
5. How observant are you? Highlights for Children has interactive hidden picture puzzles available on their website!
6. Learn to make your own stuff disappear with this card trick from Mystery Net.
7. Doug Cushman, author and illustrator extraordinaire celebrate's his birthday MAY 4th, why not send him an email greeting.
8. And don't miss another of Doug's amazing solve-it-yourself books, The Mystery of King Karfu, which includes a secret code!

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for April 17, 2015, available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog. Head to the library today, to support National Libraries Week. Uncover the Unlimited Possibilities @ Your Library!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

National Teen Lit Day 2015

Celebrate Teen Literatue Day by participating in 

Operation Teen Book Drop is an annual event held on Teen Literature Day, a part of National Library Week. Participants leave great books in public places for teens to find and take home! Who can argue with free books?

Follow @BookishAmbition
to see the books we've left around town

Here's how to participate:

  1. Print out a bookmark on 
  2. Slip it betwen the covers of a good book. 
  3. Leave the book in a high traffic area or out-of-the-way place for an unsuspecting reader.
  4. Snap a photo and tweet @readergirlz
  5. Follow along #RocktheDrop

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

National Bookmobile Day 2015

A part of National Library Week
The closest I can get to a bookmobile is photos on Pinterest.
Hmm. Two roads diverged in a yellow wood . . .

First Bookmobile, Cincinnati, 1927,
Via Old TIme Cincy

Liquid books, free bookmobile, Via A Pretty Book

Bookmobile tricycle, Via Neatorama

Hospital bookmobile, circa 1928
Via Bookshelf

Have a magical bookmobile story or a photo of a quirky bookish vehicle? Please take the time to share it below!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

National Library Workers Day 2015

Tuesday is a day to celebrate our dedicated librarians. 

Celebrate at the ALA site

Courtesy Kate Kintzel Photography
Send them a handmade card with a library theme using a template from Did Someone Say Party.

Courtesy ZazzleFlair

Shop Phil Bradley's inspired librarian gifts on Zazzle.

Bake a batch of treats. Pamper the staff, or offer goodies for sale to benefit the library.

Courtesy FotoBaeckerei
Courtesy Lucy on Catholic Icing
Courtesy Southern Weddings
Photography by Jonathan Canlas

Have a great idea to show your appreciation during National Library Week? Why not share it below?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Borrowed Beauty

"The library lets you borrow the beauty and keep the knowledge."
~Author Unknown*

Art nouveau bookplate,
Courtesy Davidson Galleries

Sunday, April 12, 2015

National Library Week 2015

Unlimited Possibilities @ your Library

Unlimited Possibilities during National Library Week 2015

The American Library Association has designated April 12-April 18

  • Check your local library for special events this week.
  • Renew your library card and take a trip to a new branch in your area. They're as different as snowflakes!
  • Volunteer to read at story time.
  • Donate a book in someone's honor.
  • Read the digital magazine subscriptions available at many libraries.
  • Watch a DVD from their collection.
  • Learn a new language through the library's Mango service.
  • Join a club for knitters, writers, mystery lovers, or Lego builders at a library near you.
  • Discover the possibilities behind the doors of the library in your neighborhood!

The doors of the New York Public Library
Courtesy International Revolving Door Company

Join the fun at
What are you doing to celebrate? Let us know in the comments below!

Friday, April 10, 2015

PPBF: Violet and Victor Write the Best-Ever Bookworm Book

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

The Best-Ever Bookworm Book,
by Alice Kuipers and
Bethanie Deeney Morguia
Violet and Victor Write the Best-Ever Bookworm Book
Written by Alice Kuipers
Illustrated by Bethanie Deeney Morguia
Little Brown Kids, 2014
ages 4-9

siblings, creativity, writing

"I'm Violet Small and I'm six minutes older than my twin brother. I love writing and I'm a great speller. I want to write the best-ever book in the whole entire world."

Violet wants to write a story, but she needs the help of her twin brother, Victor. Victor would rather tend to his bucket of worms. Violet finally convinces her twin to make some suggestions. Unfortunately, ever time Victor tells part of the story, Violet hates the idea, changes it complete.y, and goes off on a writing tangent. In the end, they produce a book they both can love and share.

What I Love:
I loved the brother and sister characters with their individual personalities and voices. I am not always fond of narration from two perspectives, but Alice Kuipers did an amazing job in this book. I think it will be fun to reread and that it will spark readers' interest in writing their own stories, making art, and following their passions. And as always, I am pleased to find a picture book with siblings who can get along despite their differences. The eclectic collage art lends to the creative spirit of the book. I think this book will inspire readers to use their own unique creativity, whether in writing stories, making pictures, or digging in the dirt!

Courtesy Ashley Hackshaw
1. Make a bookworm bookmark like this one from Family Crafts.
2. Decorate your own writing journal like these from LilBlueBoo.
3. Here are a year's worth of story prompts for young writers on Hub Pages. Have students take turns writing a section of a story, alternating between scenes.
4. Cultivate a worm farm. Then donate the improved soil to a community garden or other non-profit.
5. Check out these and other Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Reviewed by Julie
Reviewed by Laura Anne
Reviewed by Barbara

Reviewed by Joanna
Reviewed by Joanne
Reviewed by Wendy
Reviewed by Laura

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 April 8, 2015 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Friday, April 3, 2015

PPBF: Tap Tap Boom Boom

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

by Elizabeth Bluemle
and G. Brain Karas

Tap Tap Boom Boom
Written by Elizabeth Bluemle
Illustrated by G. Brian Karas
Candlewick, 2014
Preschool-2nd grade, 263 words

Poetry, city life, humanity

Tap TAP, dark clouds.
Tap TAP, damp air.
Tap TAP, cold drops
of raindot hair.

Street carts appear: "Umbrellas here!"
Tap TAP Tap TAP BOOM BOOM Crackle-Boom

A rainstorm pelts the people of the city. They congregate in the subway tunnel for shelter. Based on a real event, the author records her observations and sensations in poetic style, showing that people of every race, creed, and walk of life can come together in a time of crisis.

What I Love:
I love how the author turns an ordinary rainstorm into a rhythmic picture book. The message she shares about the kindness she witnessed, a woman giving away her umbrella to a stranger, a man buying pizza for the crowd, people singing together to pass the time and calm the fears. These observations make this a book to treasure.
I wish I could share every line of this outstanding picture book poem! I can't believe I haven't heard of it before. The rhymes are so much fun, like

Feet wetter? / You'd better / go down / underground . . .

This is one of those books to read aloud over and over. My kids would've memorized and recited it in the car or during a thunderstorm.
The design of the book, the use of display fonts, and the collage-y illustrations make the reader want to notice all the details just like the author did during the real event.

Milk carton city craft
Courtesy Maria Victrix
1. Read more poetry during National Poetry Month!
2. Write your own poetic impressions of a storm, rain, snow, or hail. Here are some photos to inspire you further, via Tewee on Pinterest.
3. Make a cardboard city or other crafts, gathered by Laine Van.
4. Bake and decorate simple umbrella cookies from Land O Lakes. And don't forget to share them with friends, neighbors, maybe even strangers, like the characters in the book.
5. Check out these and more Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Reviewed by Wendy
Reviewed by Joanna

Reviewed by Rhythm
Reviewed by Joanne

Reviewed by Susanna
Reviewed by Vivian

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 April 3, 2015 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

National Poetry Month, April 2015

Numeroff, Hopkins, Stevenson, McCord, and Rossetti

I thought you might enjoy some of my favorite kids' books about poetry to start off National Poetry Month.

Pictured above are:
Sometimes I Wonder if Poodles Like Noodles, by Laura Numeroff and Tim Bowers
Side By Side, Poems to Read Together, collected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Hilary Knight
Candy Corn, by James Stevenson
All Day Long, by David McCord
Sing-Song and Other Poems for Children, by Christina Rossetti