Archive for April 2015

One Last Shout-out

April 30, 2015

Here’s one last shout-out for Poetry Month. I Saw Esau: The Schoolchild’s Pocket Book is a must read! This book of rhymes, riddles, and tongue twisters was edited by Iona and Peter Opie and illustrated by Maurice Sendak.

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In the introduction to the book, Iona Opie notes the rhymes “. . . were clearly not rhymes a grandmother might sing to a grandchild on her knee. They have more oomph and zoom; they pack a punch. . . .” And let me tell you, some of the rhymes do exactly that! The contents of this book have been divided into a variety of categories. There are rhymes that are familiar to us from childhood, and there are those that are not so. Today, some of these old rhymes might be considered irreverent or not politically correct. Nevertheless, these are rhymes that will tickle the fancy of young children. They will make them laugh or squeal at their absurd nature.

From the category of Graces comes this rhyme.

Bless the meat,

Damn the skin.

Open your mouth

And cram it in.

Notice it’s not your usual before-meal grace.

There are many more attention-grabbing rhymes throughout the book that will shock and entertain readers. The Opies have also included end notes that give additional information and origins of the various rhymes. Combined with the talent and clever renderings of the iconic Maurice Sendak, this book is a work of genius. It’s a classic – not only for children, but also for adults who have not lost their inner child. Make sure to put this on your list of favorite books.


Boston Marathon Inspires

April 23, 2015

The Boston Marathon, which took place on Patriot’s Day, is this country’s oldest running event. The day was raw and rainy – one of the coldest marathons in years. Police presence was undeniable. Security was tight. Streets were blocked off around the finish line, and there were checkpoints where spectators’ bags and backpacks were searched. Despite that, there was a vibe in the air – a Boston Strong vibe.

About 30,000 people ran the marathon on Monday with approximately a million people cheering them on.


Ring that cowbell!

There are so many words to describe my feelings as I watched the marathon.

I was amazed by the participants and their special reasons for running the marathon. Their dedication and determination still bowls me over.

I was inspired by those who have physical disabilities and chose to participate.  Maickel Melamed, a native of Venezuela, has a rare form of muscular dystrophy which makes it very difficult for him to walk. It took him a little over twenty hours, but with determination, Melamed achieved his goal of completing the Boston Marathon. Now there’s a champion!

I was proud to see our military men and women running in uniform and their heavy boots!

I was excited to watch as the women’s and men’s elite runners battled to be crowned the winners. Special cheers rang out for our elite American runners.

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I was emotional seeing the place where one of the bombs went off in 2013.


I was sympathetic as I watched runners make the long trek to the buses after they crossed the finish line. It was the agony of “de-feet,” legs, and the unusually cold weather.


Patriot’s Day and the Boston Marathon remind me of the strength, courage, hope of people. It’s truly a day to be a proud American.

If you’re interested in the history of the Boston Marathon, check out these books.

Boston Marathon-Centennial Race Edition by Tom Derderian

26 Miles to Boston: The Boston Marathon Experience from Hopkinton to Copley Square  by Michael Connelly

Huzzah for Libraries and Librarians!

April 16, 2015

It’s National Library Week and School Library Month. What would we do without our beloved libraries and librarians? Both are treasures not to be overlooked or underestimated.

Whether a library is …



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or in a school,

libraries open doors to new worlds.

They shake up your imagination. They offer a wealth of knowledge, and as this year’s theme says, there are “Unlimited Possibilities @ your library.” They’re places where miracles can happen. Make the library a happy, go-to place for you and your family. And if you If you have questions, seek guidance from a librarian. They’re all-knowing!

Below are some of my favorite fiction and nonfiction picture books that pay tribute to libraries and librarians.

Library Lion written by Michelle Knudsen and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes

Bats at the Library written and illustrated by Brian Lies

The Library written by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small

Miss Brooks Loves Books! (and I don’t) written by Barbara Bottner and illustrated by Michael Emberley

Stella Louella’s Runaway Book written and illustrated by Lisa Campbell Ernst

Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile written by Gloria Houston and illustrated by Susan Condie Lamb

A Library Book for Bear written by Bonny Becker and illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton

Wild About Books written by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Marc Brown

Book! Book! Book! written by Deborah Bruss and illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke

The Library Dragon written by Carmen Agra Deedy and illustrated by Michael P. White

Aunt Chip and the Great Triple Creek Dam Affair written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco

The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians written by Carla Morris and illustrated by Brad Sneed

Waiting for the Biblioburro written by Monica Brown and illustrated by John Parra

Library Lil written by Suzanne Williams and illustrated by Steven Kellogg

Please Bury Me in the Library written by J. Patrick Lewis and illustrated by Kyle M. Stone

That Book Woman written by Heather Henson and illustrated by David Small

Tomás and the Library Lady written by Pat Mora and illustrated by Raul Colón

Richard Wright and the Library Card written by William Miller and illustrated by Gregory Christie

“L” is for Library written by Sonya Terry and illustrated by Nicole Wong

Biblioburro:  A True Story from Colombia written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter

Miss Moore Thought Otherwise written by Jan Pinborough and illustrated by Debby Atwell

My Librarian Is a Camel written by Margriet Ruurs

The Librarian of Basra:  A True Story from Iraq written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter

Do you have any favorites to add?

For some inspiring quotes about libraries and librarians, click here.

Celebrating Poetry

April 9, 2015

A Pocketful of Poems written by Nikki Grimes and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe is a delightful book to share during Poetry Month.

Grimes introduces her readers to Tiana, a young girl, who offers to share her pocketful of words. In each spread, Grimes cleverly pairs free verse and haiku as Tiana embarks on a poetic journey through the seasons of the year in an urban setting. Javaka Steptoe’s ingenious illustrations feature collages, using a variety of objects and materials. His designs lend themselves to playful interaction with readers who can have fun identifying items in the collages. This award-winning team has created a lively book that will give you a pocketful of smiles. Make sure to check this one out!

International Children’s Book Day

April 2, 2015

Today is International Children’s Book Day. It’s a day to promote children’s books and the love of reading. It’s no coincidence that Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday is also today. He’s the fabulous Danish author of numerous fairy tale titles. Do you remember The Ugly Duckling, The Princess and the Pea, The Nightingale, The Little Mermaid, and The Little Fir? These are just a few of the classic stories written by Andersen. All of them are treasures.

If you want to learn more about International Children’s Book Day (ICBD), click here.

And if you want to read some outstanding international children’s books chosen by a committee made up of members from the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY), click here. It’s an amazing list.  

On this International Children’s Book Day, share a book with a child. As Garrison Keillor, an American writer and broadcaster, once said, “A book is a gift you can open again and again.”

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