Posted tagged ‘Chapter Books’

It’s National Best Friends Day!

June 8, 2017

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A friend is someone who is always there for you. That friend supports you, laughs with you, cries with you, gets mad at you, keeps your secrets, and always accepts you the way you are. Whether you’re near or far, today is the day to reach out and let your friends know how much they mean to you.

“The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.” ~Elizabeth Foley

There have been numerous books written about friendship. Below you’ll find some of my favorites. Celebrate friendship by sharing one of these books with someone you love.

For the Younger Set:

frances

Best Friends for Frances written by Russell Hoban and illustrated by Lillian Hoban, HarperCollins

George

George and Martha: The Complete Stories of Two Best Friends written and illustrated by James Marshall, Houghton Mifflin

frog and

Frog and Toad Are Friends written and illustrated by Arnold Lobel, HarperCollins

cork

Cork & Fuzz written by Dori Chaconas and illustrated by Lisa McCue, Viking Books for Young Readers

otis

Otis and the Tornado written and illustrated by Loren Long, Philomel Books

rabbit

My Friend Rabbit written and illustrated by Eric Rohmann, Roaring Book Press

piggie

Elephant and Piggie: My Friend is Sad written and illustrated by Mo Willems, Disney-Hyperion

yoon

Be a Friend written and illustrated by Salina Yoon, Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children’s Books

frints

Best Frints in the Whole Universe written and illustrated by Antoinette Portis, Roaring Brook Press

Middle-Grade Favorites:

ivan

The One and Only Ivan written by Katherine Applegate and illustrated by Patricia Castelao, HarperTorch

holes

Holes written by Louis Sachar, Yearling Books

anne

Anne of Green Gables written by L. M. Montgomery, Puffin Books

dresses

The Hundred Dresses written by Eleanor Estes and illustrated by Louis Slobodkin, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

web

Charlotte’s Web written by E. B. White and illustrated by Garth Williams, HarperTrophy

winnie

Winnie-the-Pooh written by A. A. Milne and illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard, E. P. Dutton

Happy Best Friends Day to the best of the best — my best friends!

minions

 

Summer Reading

June 23, 2016

Summer reading. Share the adventure!

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Check out these websites for some great summer reading choices for kids.

Summer Reading Guide 2016 Ages 0-12

Science is for Girls:  25 Books About Female Scientists  

The New York Times® Bestsellers:  Children’s Picture Books 

ALSC Summer Reading Lists

Summer Reading Lists for Kids Ages 6-14

100 Best Books Every Boy (and Girl) Should Read 

 

 

 

 

Another Great Chapter Book from Kate DiCamillo

November 19, 2015

I recently picked up Kate DiCamillo’s chapter book, Francine Poulet Meets the Ghost Raccoon, from our local library. It’s Volume Two in Tales from Deckawoo Drive. Familiar characters from the first book in the series, Leroy Ninker Saddles Up, can be found in the second book. Both books, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen, will appeal to young readers who are looking for something more than books in the I Can Read category.

francine

 

In Francine Poulet Meets the Ghost Raccoon, Francine comes from a long line of animal control officers. She has won trophies and holds records for the most animals controlled. Her father referred to her as the genuine article and solid like a refrigerator. Francine loves her job and does it well. Nothing frightens her. When Mrs. Bissinger calls for help to round up a ghostly-looking raccoon on her roof, Francine is on the job. But when the raccoon with its sharp teeth, high-pitched screaming, and odd looks charges at Francine, she panics. Fear seizes Francine, and she loses her perfect balance. A tumble from the roof lands Francine in the hospital with aches, pains, broken bones, and a severe case of fright. Francine loses her self-confidence and resigns from her animal control job. It’s not until a young boy, Frank, convinces Francine that she must face the raccoon to end her fears and go back to being the great animal control officer she really is. Frank cheers Francine on as she attempts to capture the wild raccoon. She remembers what her father said about being the genuine article and summons all of her courage to catch the raccoon. Success! Francine wins her struggle over panic and fear and finds a kindred spirit in Frank.

In this book, readers learn that adults have fears, too. What I particularly like is that Frank, the young boy, understands Francine’s problem and convinces her to do what she must do. This is a funny and heart-warming book that I recommend.

Summer Reading

July 2, 2015

I’m beginning to compile a list of books for summer reading. They’re a combination of fiction/nonfiction from picture books to young adult. Then I’ll be off to the library.

Listen Slowly by Thanhha Lai

Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Fake Mustache by Tom Angleberger

Completely Clementine by Sara Pennypacker

The Magician of Auschwitz by Kathy Kacer

Separate Is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh

In Her Hands: The Story of Sculptor Augusta Savage by Alan Schroeder

A Dance Like Starlight by Kristy Dempsey

I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

What do you think? Any other suggestions?

Wishing you all a wonderful 4th of July weekend. Celebrate America!

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“Where liberty dwells, there is my country.”

~ Benjamin Franklin

Something to Cluck About

March 19, 2015

Today is National Poultry Day. Do you know what that means? It’s time to quack, gobble, honk, and cluck because today ducks, turkeys, geese, and chickens are king. Make that Chicken a la King for me. Besides being a healthy alternative to other meat choices, those little peeps can be pretty darn cute.

Chicken is my poultry of choice. In no particular pecking order, I’ve listed some of my favorite picture, chapter, and middle-grade books starring chickens, of course.

Interrupting Chicken written and illustrated by David Ezra Stein

The Plot Chickens written by Mary Jane and illustrated by Herm Auch

The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County written by Janice N. Harrington and illustrated by Shelley Jackson

Chicken Dance written by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Dan Santat

Bawk & Roll written by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Dan Santat

Tough Chicks written by Cece Meng and illustrated by Melissa Suber

Just Plain Fancy written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco

Hen Hears Gossip written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Joung Un Kim

Chicken in the Family written by Mary Amato and illustrated by Delphine Durand

The Chicken Squad:  The First Misadventure written by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Kevin Cornell

The Hoboken Chicken Emergency written by Daniel Pinkwater and illustrated by Tony Auth

The Great Chicken Debacle written by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Take some time to gobble down some tasty poultry and give one of these books a try, too.

Newbery Hopefuls

January 29, 2015

Crunch time is here. Next Monday, February second, the long-awaited Newbery and Caldecott Awards will be announced by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association. I love this time of year. My anticipation is high as I await the results.

I have to admit that although I’m familiar with many of the titles that are contenders for the 2015 Newbery Award, I haven’t read as many as I would have liked. You may have noticed the January fifteenth post, addresses Caldecott hopefuls. Those are the books I’ve concentrated on in the past few months because picture books are my great love.

Below is my list of intriguing  books. Anyone of these could receive the 2015 Newbery Medal or a Newbery Honor Medal. Do you have a favorite?

Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff

Boys of Blur by N. D. Wilson

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Caminar by Skila Brown

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Curiosity by Gary Blackwood

Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming

Fly Away by Patricia MacLachlan

The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage

GreenGlass House by Kate Milford, illustrated by Jaime Zollars

Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord

The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza by Jack Gantos

The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

Nightingale’s Nest by Nikki Loftin

Nest by Esther Ehrlich

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights Steve Sheinkin

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

Revolution by Deborah Wiles

The Riverman by Aaron Starmer

Saving Lucas Briggs by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague

The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye

Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald

Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere by Julie T. Lamana

West of the Moon by Margi Preus

Zane and the Hurricane: A Story of Katrina by Rodman Philbrick

Do you have any other suggestions?

Reading: A Cure for the Annoying Things in Life

November 6, 2014

Our Midwest little house on the prairie stands proudly sporting a For Sale sign that has become a permanent fixture in our lawn. Our New England little house in the big woods waits for us to become its permanent residents. Last week we hauled another load of things to make our periodical visits to our new home more comfortable.

Building a house while living halfway across the country had its ups and downs. Before we closed, we did the walk through. Surprise! Surprise! We discovered a list of things the builder and his contractors had missed.

How did cork flooring end up in the laundry room when we ordered tile? And you would think that if you can’t change a light bulb in a bathroom fixture because it’s too close to the ceiling, the fixture should be installed the other way around. And what about the obvious gouges in the hardwood floor and the thermostat that has a mind of its own? All of these things are annoying, but they can be corrected. There was one major thing that put me over the edge. I call it the washing machine incident.

Before attempting to do any laundry in our new fancy-dancy washer, I carefully read the instruction booklet. I followed the directions. I stood by to make sure the washer was working the way it should. When I felt comfortable, I left the room. BIG MISTAKE! Within minutes of my leaving, the washer began to empty water from the machine to get ready for the rinse cycle. The water from the washer went into the hose, down the drain, and came right back up into the laundry room. Soapy water covered the floor and spilled into the mudroom. It was making its way to the hardwood floor in the hallway when my husband’s urgent call for HELP brought dirty clothes, towels, blankets, and anything else we could get our hands on to sop up the water.

What caused this mishap? The pipe the rinse water drains into was capped off just beneath the floor of the laundry room. The plumber failed to connect it to the septic system. HELLO! WHAT WAS HE THINKING? Words I don’t normally use spewed from my mouth that day!

We are back in the Midwest. We stare at the For Sale sign in our front yard and continue to wait for someone to buy our house. It’s very discouraging! To drown my sorrows, I decided to immerse myself in one of my favorite pastimes – reading children’s books. At the library, I picked up a combination of fiction and non-fiction picture books, a poetry book, and a few chapter books.

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Come to me, my lovelies, and fill my head and heart with all things good!

Quirky and Unique

January 23, 2014

Kate DiCamillo is an immensely talented author. The Newbery Medal and a Newbery Honor Book are among many of the awards she has received. DiCamillo seems to have the innate ability to know exactly how to create a work that will suck readers into her story and keep them there until the very last page. No wonder she was chosen to be the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature!

I just finished reading Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures, a chapter book, written by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by K.G. Campbell. This book has received a lot of buzz. Could there be another award on the horizon for Kate?

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The characters in Flora & Ulysses jump off the pages with their quirky uniqueness. There’s Flora, a cynic, Ulysses, a superhero squirrel, Flora’s mom who’s immersed in writing romance novels, Flora’s dad who is a bit odd, Mrs. Tickham, the next door neighbor, and her great-nephew, William Spiver, who says he’s suffering from temporary blindness. As the story unfolds, DiCamillo cleverly weaves plot and characters together to keep readers emotionally involved and longing for more. Comic book elements add to enjoyment of this skillfully written book that garnered starred reviews and became a New York Times best-seller!

The ALA Youth Media Awards will be announced on Monday, January 27. Will Kate DiCamillo do it again?

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

February 7, 2013

Pat Zietlow Miller, author of the forthcoming picture book, Sophie’s Squash, asked me to take part in the Next Big Thing Blog Hop.

What is the Next Big Thing? Participating writers answer a standard set of questions about what they are currently writing or have written. They then tag other writers to do the same. It keeps the Next Big Thing Blog Hop hop, hop, hopping along!

I’ve been writing for quite a while. I’ve had articles and stories published in children’s and educational magazines, and I’ve had two early readers published. I’ve also had the unfortunate experience of having a two-book contract cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. Writing is hard work. It takes time, passion, patience, creativity, a little bit of luck, and a hefty sense of humor (for those rejections).

So what’s my NEXT BIG THING? I’m hoping it’s the piece I’m currently revising.

What is the working title of your next book?

Up Your Nose, Noah Zielinski!

Where did the idea come from for the book?

My husband has always said my nose smells things most noses don’t. So I put my nose to the grindstone and my brain to the task at hand and came up with an idea for a book where the main character’s nose plays an important part.

What genre does your book fall under?

Chapter Book Humor

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I’m clueless here. Casting call! I’m looking for two fresh young actors for the main characters who are naturals when it comes to acting and humor. Of course, the actor playing Noah must have a good looking sniffer on his face.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Noah Zielinski is on a mission to convince his mom to let him get a potbellied pig, but his plans go awry and a freak accident involving his nose creates chaos in his quest for his pet.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

My agent is Stephen Fraser from The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. I’m in the process of doing a revision for him. When I’m finished, I hope he thinks Noah Zielinski reeks of success!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Sometimes it’s easier for me to think of an idea than it is to actually get it down on paper. After much procrastination, it took me eight months to complete the first draft.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Dare I compare my writing to these authors whose works I admire? There are similarities in my book and That Crazy Eddie and the Science Project of Doom written by Judy Cox and Mason Dixon Pet Disasters written by Claudia Mills. Each of these stories has two boys as best friends, some crazy ideas, and humor. I can only wish to be as prolific as these two wonderful authors.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I had the opportunity to meet face-to-face with my agent at a conference we both attended. He suggested I try writing a chapter book. I came up with a few ideas, and after a short session of brainstorming, Noah was born.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Noah has an older sister who he considers a diva. The two of them are constantly at odds, trying to one-up each other with their zingers. Beneath all their squabbling, there is genuine admiration between the two.

Writer you’ve tagged for the NEXT BIG THING Blog Hop.

April Jones Prince, my friend and talented author, has graciously agreed to hop aboard and do the NEXT BIG THING. Look for her blog post next week. April Jones Prince: Blog

Bunny Patrol

July 26, 2011

Do you think this bunny is cute? Many of you will say yes. I say it’s all in the eye of the beholder. In my beholding eye, this bunny is NOT CUTE! He and his relatives are home-grown garden terrorists and have taken over our yard. They’re devouring our garden and chomping on bushes, burrowing deep down into their roots to build nests. The bunny hop has become a national pastime in our yard!

My husband and I have declared an all out war on those hoppy little things. Put your furry fists up, you little critters. We’re in it to win it! We’ve set out cages and traps and sprayed some gag me with a spoon animal repellent to end the bunny party. I’ve even resorted to hanging a bunny muff from my youth in the yard as a warning.

This could happen to you!

There’s not a minute to lose. Turn your head and those critters are on a destructive path. It’s time to go. I’m on bunny patrol.

For those of you who have a warm fuzzy place in your hearts for bunnies, this book is for you. Emmaline and the Bunny by Katherine Hannigan (Greenwillow Books, 2009)


Waking up on the Wrong Side of 50

Navigating the second half of my life

Leslie Leibhardt Goodman

Children's Writer

VIVIAN KIRKFIELD - Writer for Children

Picture Books Help Kids Soar

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