Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Here’s one more great review of James Ransome's new book, WHEN GRANDMAMA SINGS:
From School Library Journal:
“Gr-2-4 – Set in the segregated South of the 1950s, Mitchell’s poignant story features eight-year old Belle and her loving, stalwart African-American family. When Grandmama, who can’t read but whose singing voice captures the hearts of all who hear her, joins a jazz band for a tour of the South, Belle pleased to go along. Thrilled to expand her world beyond Pecan Flats, MS, she experiences firsthand the difficulties her people face: hotels marked “White Only,” diners that refuse them service, police who search their cars and luggage for no reason. Through it all, Grandmama sings to growing crowds, believing in the power of music to bring people together. When, at the story’s end, a recording contract beckons her “up north,” Grandmama tells Belle to believe in herself and “sing her own song.” Ransome’s full-page images, rich in color and feeling, portray the landscape of the South and the individual emotions of the characters with equal aplomb. Places in the past, the message is still relevant for children today.” (Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA)
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
James Ransome's new book, WHEN GRANDMAMA SINGS, available in January, has been getting some great reviews. Here are a couple:
From Kirkus Reviews:
"Belle joins her beloved grandmother, a jazz singer, on a summer tour of Southern towns and sees that segregation is everywhere—not just at home in Mississippi.
"Holding tight to her uncle’s lucky rabbit’s foot, Belle watches as Grandmama and the musicians face the ugliness of Jim Crow in diners and theaters and on the road. In Alabama, the police dump their belongings on the roadside, a state’s welcome. She also listens as her grandmother shares her dreams for an integrated society and thrills to her resounding performance on stage in Atlanta, one that leads to an offer to make recordings for a company up North. It’s a moment that inspires Belle to dream, because “the promise of her song helped me believe in myself.” As in Uncle Jed’s Barbershop (1993), for which Ransome won a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor, Mitchell has crafted another compelling story of an African-American family both strong and determined despite the all-powerful clamp of racism. Ransome uses watercolors in warm tones of yellows and browns to reveal nuances of expression and the warmth of family and community.
"A gentle story that shows the everyday realities of segregation through the observant eye of a child. (Picture book. 5-9)"
From Publishers Weekly:
"Mitchell and Ransome, the team behind Coretta Scott King Honor–winner Uncle Jed’s Barbershop, reunite for another story set in the early 20th century, in which intimate family relationships are set against a backdrop of racial segregation. Eight-year-old narrator Belle lives with her parents and Grandmama in the fictional town of Pecan Flats, Miss. Grandmama’s singing voice has earned her local fame, and when a man offers to “book her and a band on a small singing tour of the South,” she agrees, bringing Belle along for the ride. Written in the past tense, Belle’s narration has an elegiac quality, but while the band encounters plenty of discrimination on the road, triumphs outweigh setbacks (and Grandmama doesn’t come to any serious harm). Ransome’s lovely, naturalistic watercolors draw out a wealth of emotions from the characters, particularly Grandmama, whose expressions range from weariness to passion while she’s singing, and determination, such as when she slams money on the counter of a restaurant that won’t serve them. It’s a stirring reminder that it’s never too late to chase one’s dreams, no matter the obstacles. Ages 5–9. (Jan.)"
Monday, December 26, 2011
|Autographing in Lion in the Sun shop|
Yona Zeldis McDonough’s THE CATS IN THE DOLL SHOP is included in Marjorie Ingall's holiday round-up.
To celebrate, we thought we’d share how the book begins. It goes:
“It all starts with the letters. Not that letters, all by themselves, are such an odd thing. Papa and Mama run Breittlemann’s Doll Shop, where they make dolls and they get letters all the time: from Mr. Greenfield, the buyer at the big, fancy toy store uptown called F.A.O. Schwarz, and from buyers at other stores too. There are letters from suppliers of the different materials they use: velvet and cotton, wool and felt. Sometimes they get letters from people who have bought one of the dolls and want to know if there are any new models available.
“But the letters I am talking about are different. They come all the way from Russia, where Mama and Papa were born, and they arrive in fragile envelopes that tear when they are opened. My sisters and I can’t read what is in the letters because they are written in Yiddish, which is the language Mama’s family spoke back in what she calls the “old country.” Sophie, my big sister, can understand Yiddish when she hears it spoken, but even she—a regular smarty-pants, all A’s and gold stars at school—cannot understand the words crowded onto the, thin, pearl gray sheets of paper.
“First the letters come only once in a while. Then we begin to notice that they are coming every week, sometimes even twice a week. Mama rips the envelopes in her haste to open them—did I mention they are fragile? —and all the features on her face seem to draw together, as if pulled tight by a thread—as she reads. Sometimes she looks worried long after she had finished reading the letters. Tonight is one of those times.”
Friday, December 23, 2011
This year's Booklist Editors' Choices features Eloise Greenfield, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, and Diane Stanley
We just saw this year's Booklist Editors' Choices and the following titles are included in it:
THE GREAT MIGRATION, by Eloise Greenfield and illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist is a Booklist Editors' Choice in the Non-Fiction for Middle Readers category.
THE SILVER BOWL, by Diane Stanley is a Booklist Editors' Choicein the Fiction for Middle Readers.
Please join us in congratulating Ms. Greenfield, Ms. Gilchrist, and Ms. Stanley!
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Best known for his non-fiction books, author and photo-illustrator, Raymond Bial's new book is a novel inspired by a true story and actual events. Runner-up in a national novel competition nearly 30 years ago, it is now available for the first time!
In this captivating novel for adults and teens, a spunky and determined fifth-grade girl moves into a quiet little town in southern Indiana in the 1950s, where the people aren't accustomed to change. CHIGGER follows her struggles as she raises "quite a ruckus at school." Impoverished and always hungry, she nonetheless refuses help and won't be pitied. Fiercely independent, she is a fighter, battling for respect and a safe place for herself and her mother. Everyone who has ever rooted for the underdog will love this sweet story of an unforgettable girl who, because she and her mother "don't have no other choice," has to take on the world.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
We just learned that THE GARDENER, by S.A. Bodeen (published by Square Fish, an imprint of Macmillan) is a 2012-13 Truman Award Nominee. Sponsored by MASL (Missouri Assoc. of School Librarians), this award is selected by students in grades six through eight. The Truman Readers Award encourages students in the early teen years to express their unique voice through exploring new literary genres, communicating with their peers about young adult literature, and honoring authors writing for young teens.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
What's new at the zoo in Naples, FL? Gerald & Loretta Hausman autographing THE PARROT DETECTIVE on 12/28/11 @ 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Four Southwest Florida children's book authors will be on hand for an animal-themed book autographing at the Naples Zoo on Wednesday, December 28, 2011 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. Among them will be Gerald & Loretta Hausman, autographing THE PARROT DETECTIVE, the first book in their "Pine Island" mysteries. THE PARROT DETECTIVE is for anyone who likes who likes animals, reptiles, people, parrots, lizards, turtles, funny stories about boys who grow up with odd family members, and wants to know about life in Florida. The narrator is Miccosukee and he lives on this crazy little barrier island called Pine Island. Going from humor to melodrama to melancholy, this book features memorable characters and a distinct setting.
Other authors who will be autographing at the zoo: Lisa Fleming (CAT & CROW) and Frank Remkiewicz (FROGGY). A cat and crow that become best friends, a giraffe and turtle who pal around, and a parrot who thinks he's a detective are all pretty cool and waiting just for you at the Naples Zoo! Have a great time.
Monday, December 19, 2011
…the sun is shining and it’s a little warm outside, and you’re driving along a road with a big expanse of grass on either side, and suddenly your husband goes, “Are those horses up there?” You squint your eyes and take a look and, yes, seven horses , all in a row, are trotting toward you on the grass. And suddenly you go, “Oh my God, that’s Santa Claus riding the middle horse,” and then a few seconds later, “And those are elves on all the rest.” And you’d be on the floor of the car, you’re laughing so hard, but you can’t actually take your eyes off Santa and his elves. And then you get inspired to write a song, and it goes something like this:
Horse bells ring, are you listening
On the grass, sun is glistening
A Florida sight
Oh, what a sight
Driving in a Florida winterland.
Gone away are the reindeer
Far away is the sleigh, dear
We'll sing a sun song as we go along
Driving in a Florida winterland.
In the meadow we can't build a snowman
'Cause Santa and his elves are riding 'round
Rudolf lost his horse; he can't be found, dear
But we can find the elves outside of town.
Later on, we'll consider
As we sit down to our dinner
The holiday cheer
We encountered here
Driving in a Florida winterland.
Happy Holidays from a transplanted New Yorker!
Friday, December 16, 2011
MIRROR MIRROR, by Marilyn Singer, published by Dutton, is on this year’s ALSC Great Early Elementary Reads list in the Reading On My Own category.
ALSC (Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association) just released their 2011-2012 School Age Programs and Services Committee's title recommendations for children who are just learning to read and beginning to read on their own. The books included were published between 2009 and 2011. MIRROR MIRROR richly deserves its place on this list.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Judy Young recently shared with us her 2011-2012 book awards and nominations, and we, in turn, decided to share them with you. Here they are:
A PET FOR MISS WRIGHT (published by Sleeping Bear Press)
2011 Parents' Choice Approved Book Award Winner
2012 Louisiana Reading Association Child Choice Award List
A BOOK FOR BLACK-EYED SUSAN (published by Sleeping Bear Press)
2011 Gold Winner of the National Parenting Publication Award (NAPPA)
2011 Society of School Librarians International Honor Award
2011 Chicago Parents Magazine Best Book
THE HIDDEN BESTIARY OF MARVELOUS, MYSTERIOUS, AND (MAYBE EVEN) MAGICAL CREATURES (published by Sleeping Bear Press)
2012 LA Young Readers Choice Award Nominee
THE LUCKY STAR (published by Gale Cengage Learning)
2011 MO Show Me Award Nominee
MINNOW AND ROSE (published by Sleeping Bear Press)
2012 NY Charlotte Award Suggested Reading List
2012 MO Show Me Readers Award Nominee
2011 PA Keystone to Reading Book Award Nominee
2011 AL Camillia Book Award Nominee
2011 DE Diamonds Book Award Nominee
2010 Storytelling World Award