Wednesday, August 31, 2011
We were pleased to see a fan letter for a book from one of our favorite series by Virginia Schomp, LETTERS FROM THE BATTLEFRONT, published by Marshall Cavendish Benchmark:
Dear Ms. Virginia Schomp,
I am a student at (school name withheld). I am writing to you about your book LETTERS FROM THE BATTLEFRONT: WORLD WAR II. To begin with, I have some of questions for you. The first one is what was it like for you writing this book? Was it interesting, fun, exciting, or all of the above? Second, did you interview any of the historians? Third, do you know anyone who was a soldier or nurse in WWII? Fourth, did you have any relatives who fought in the war? I did, my grandfather fought in WWII. Last but not least, what was it like reading all of those letters?
Before I go any further, I'd like to tell you a little about myself. I am 12 years old and in seventh grade. I live in (city and state withheld). I want to be a teacher when I grow up.
I thought your book was amazing! I learned more from this book than I do in my History class! When I was reading the book I became very interested and wanted to learn more, not only about the war, but also about the book. The letters were so cool. My favorite part was about the women and how they supported the war. Speaking of that, what is your favorite part of the book? I loved how you put the information, letters, etc. in order. Then in between you put down other important facts about the people in the war and those who were helping with the war effort.
I can't wait to read the other books you wrote on LETTERS FROM THE BATTLEFRONT. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my letter.
And then there's this thank you note:
My name is (withheld) and I am a 6th grade student in Ms. (name withheld) class. I LOVE to write. I write poems, stories and plays. Here is a Poem:
Inspiration is a great thing,
it helps you understand,
Maybe how to write,
or play in a band.
I had more, but there is not enough room.
Have you ever wrote a story about a girl who got discouraged to write, then found out she was good at it?
That happened to me! I write tons of stories. I almost gave up.
BUT YOU INSPIRED ME TO KEEP GOING!
(name withheld -- but one that might one day be famous)
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
The audio version of Joanne Rocklin's One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street receives a starred review in School Library Journal
We just learned that Listening Library's audio recording of Joanne Rocklin's ONE DAY AND ONE AMAZING MORNING ON ORANGE STREET, which is read by Lisa Barney, received a starred review in School Library Journal.
"It all starts with a bright orange construction cone, inexplicably placed in front of the curb at 306 Orange Street," the review begins. "Strange and magical things and ideas ensue on this empty lot, the site of a single surviving tree from a formerly huge orange grove. This glorious tree with its deliciously sweet, yet tart oranges is at the center of the drama, and almost metaphysically keeps the history of the people and pageantry of time through the ages on Orange Street. It is as if the empty lot is a stage, and all the residents of Orange Street are the actors. Alli; her mute toddler brother, Edgar (a cancer survivor); Manny, the gentle nanny; Leandra, the bold; Robert, erstwhile magician; and anxious Bunny all meet under the majestic tree to argue, plan, and dream. Meanwhile, an aging neighbor lady slips into increasingly disturbing dementia. All bear witness to the secrets and history of the community. The fate of the tree, as well as their friendships, rest in their hands, and stories about each neighbor are revealed in surprising ways. Along the way, we find that words can hurt, heal, and make magic. Lisa Baney’s voice has a mysterious, dark timbre that lends a warm and rich interpretation to Joanne Rocklin’s novel (Amulet Books, 2011). The bits and pieces of individual stories are skillfully woven together. The love of words encompasses the story, from the use of the Oxford English Dictionary to the importance of the characters really listening to each other to the unexpected joy of advice given in rap style. The rich language is the star of this exquisitely written and beautifully performed selection."
Monday, August 29, 2011
Joanne Rocklin recently received the following email from a public librarian in Florida:
We loved your book. It was perfect for our book club, which meets once per week, because there are so many topics to discuss, and also so many opportunities for activities and snacks! It was also very easy to divide into 4 weeks, with Morning first, then Afternoon, followed by Evening and Night combined, and lastly Morning, Again. Some of the things we did were making juggling balls with balloons filled with rice, making potpourri sachets, learning and performing magic tricks, and making journals. We ate red velvet cupcakes, orange sherbet, brownies, and, of course, ambrosia!
Thank you so much for the books - the kids were ecstatic to get to keep them and were very excited that they were autographed by you!
We would love to hear what other kinds of activities teachers, librarians, parents, and book clubs are doing to celebrate the books they are reading!
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Nancy Elizabeth Wallace’s “Why I wrote READY, SET, 100th DAY!” – her new book coming out in September 2011
For those of you who follow the Balkin Buddies blog, you’ll know that we usually post news every few days and sometimes every day. Lately, we’ve slowed down quite a bit because we’ve been busy relocating from New York City to the Tampa Bay area. We’re still not quite set up completely, so we might be a little slow for the next couple of weeks. However, we didn’t want to miss the opportunity of telling you about Nancy Elizabeth Wallace’s new book, READY, SET, 100th DAY! It becomes available from Marshall Cavendish September 1, 2011, and we recently asked Nancy what inspired her to write it. Here’s what she has to say:
Why did I write… READY, SET, 100th DAY!
I remember being in second and third grade and having a really hard time with math, especially multiplication and division. I just didn’t “get it.” I now know that I am a visual thinker. If I can see something or draw it or handle it or do it, it really helps me to understand it.
When my friend Brian, one of the wonderful people at my publishing house, suggested writing a 100th day book, like Minna, I wanted to think of “a really different idea,” so I thought, how about sets and skip counting! It was fun deciding what objects to use for the sets that could also be used in different and creative ways.
I hope that READY, SET, 100th DAY! will be fun and help children with math…. As a visual thinker, it would have helped me!
Friday, August 5, 2011
This is the first email K.M. Grant ever got from a fan, and it was in 2006:
Hi KM Grant. My name is (name withheld) and I just finished your first book, BLOOD RED HORSE. I loved it! I finished it in 2 days. I cant help but say I feel in love with Hosanna and hated it when Kamil took her. I can not wait to get the second one and am know asking for a horse for Christmas! Well, I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed BLOOD RED HORSE. You are a very good writer.
And one of K.M. Grant's favorite quotes from a letter from 2005:
We had a whacking great time with you, love from P4.
and another child wrote:
'I hope you go very far ...'
Thanks for sharing these, Katie. We'll look forward to seeing more.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
"This accessible, amply illustrated title offers an informative introduction to canine-rescue endeavors," the Booklist review begins. "After recounting his own moving story of adopting a rescue dog, Bial provides a history of human-dog relationships, from game hunters to pet companions to service animals. Bial also explores rescue organizations, such as the ASPCA, addressing who staffs and supports them and the challenges they face. The material is quite sobering. Bial frankly discusses the abuse many dogs experience—including puppy mills, dogfighting, neglect, or abandonment—as well as euthanasia. However, Bial’s unabashed advocacy for all animals shines throughout, and he intersperses the more troubling passages with examples of inspiring dog rescues, shelters, and workers and offers practical suggestions to help end animal cruelty. Sections about evaluating websites and what to expect during the shelter-adoption process will further raise awareness and assist youth in better understanding the importance of humane treatment and responsible pet ownership. Historical and contemporary photos; extensive book lists (one for children, another for older readers); websites; and a detailed index complete this well-presented resource on a high-interest topic."
We asked Ray to tell us a little bit about his own experiences rescuing animals, and this is what he told us:
"Linda [his wife] and I have four rescued dogs (Lucky, Zander, Suzie, and Boone) and a petite and demure Siamese cat named Isabel who considers herself an "honorary dog. She loves to hang out with the dogs, especially when treats are being handed out. I adopted her on my second day of photographing for this book. So, at least I managed to photograph one whole day at our local shelter without adopting another family member.
"The dogs all managed to get their photographs included in the book, especially Suzie who was rescued from a dumpster. She managed to get six photographs of herself in the book. You can take a peak at her and read her story on Amazon."
As the review in Infodad says, "Hopefully Rescuing Rover will save many dogs’ lives – our longtime companions deserve no less."
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
April Henry’s GIRL, STOLEN is nominated for the NH Isinglass Teen Read Award and is among St. Louis’s Battle of the Books
April Henry's GIRL, STOLEN has been nominated for New Hampshire's 2012 Isinglass Teen Read Award.
This award began in 2001 as a collaboration between a NH public library and a NH middle school in response to students’ request for a book award geared towards teens. Each year students in 7th and 8th grades are invited to nominate a favorite title they read that was published in the last three years. Voting is done annually in April.
This award began in 2001 in Barrington, NH, through a partnership between a public librarian and a school librarian. They decided to create a local list for seventh and eighth graders to vote on, with input from both students and librarians. In 2003, the list went statewide with support from the CHILIS (Children’s Librarians of New Hampshire) section of the New Hampshire Library Association. Student recommendations are now collected from all over the state. A group of librarians reads all the recommendations, and chooses the final list of 20 titles. Students are invited to attend the selection meetings to give their opinions and are asked for written reviews. Winning authors are typically invited to come to New Hampshire to accept their award and speak to students.
GIRL, STOLEN is also going to be one of the books in the St. Louis Battle of the Books. This is a city-wide competition held each year at Pattonville Heights Middle School for students in sixth to eighth grades. Around 30 schools compete each year. Students compete to be on the team representing their school, and then the teams complete with each other. The competition involves answering trivia questions about the 20 books on the reading list compiled by the sponsor, Pattonville Heights. Each year, the team from the school who answers the most questions wins.
Congratulations, April, on the New Hampshire nomination and the St. Louis battle!
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Raymond Bial’s new book, RESCUING ROVER: SAVING AMERICA’S DOGS (Houghton Mifflin) was reviewed in the July 2011 issue of SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL. In part, the review read: “Bial introduces man’s best friend and informs readers about the poor treatment that many of them receive from puppy mills, backyard breeders, pet stores, and some owners. He tells of his own experiences adopting pets and shares heartrending and touching stories. Full-color photos appear on every page; many scream to readers to avoid places that hurt animals and go straight to animal shelters…. Packed with information about the history of dogs and animal welfare organizations….”
This title, which is available now, offers a seven-step adoption process and a bibliography for adults as well as young readers.