Inspiration From The Distant Past

Inspiration From The Distant Past
Found note in an old book... warms the cockles of my bookish heart...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pseudo Celebrity

Ahem. Hello. It's me. I know. I haven't been around lately. I won't go into a looooong boring story about where I have been, BUT I will apologize. I apologize.
I am soooooooo SORRY!

Is that a tear I see? It's ok. I am here. Shh. I am here.

Let's move on, shall we? Stop looking back? Look to the future? A future filled with blog posts about books and book cases and book nooks. Yes. That is what we will do. Look to the future bookish posts. That's why you are my favorite reader. You are always so positive.

Awhile back, my kids' school hosted Celebrity Readers. The idea was to get exemplary people from the community and have them read to a few classes. They would explain why they loved reading, how it made them successful, and whatever else they thought may inspire young people and their spongy little brains. Our future, if you will.

So. Being the world famous blogger that I am, I volunteered. Actually, it was more like, "If you need readers to fill in, I'd be happy to come in. Just FYI: I'm NOT a celebrity. And I am not particularly exemplary. I will, however, sign autographs."

did, of course, mention that I love to read and, in fact, participate in a witty, fresh, and unique book blog. The organizer was im.pressed. Actually, she did like it. I sent her a link and I was IN, baby!

I got to read for both of my kids' classes. It was fairly easy to find a book for my first grader. But how do you choose a picture book for fifth graders? I asked the school librarian. No help. The books she had chosen, to me, were boring (Yes, I said it. Books a librarian chose were boring. I know that's sacrilege). So, I went online in search of books for fifth graders. It was still difficult, since I had to read reviews and reviews and make trips to our library to find something funny but not too babyish, not too adult, AND that could be read within 15 minutes.

"Wait a minute," you are saying. "Too adult? How could that be?" Excellent question. I am glad you asked. Well, many picture books that I found are, for example, studied in college classes. They use to them analyze attitudes and cultures and child psychology, et cetera, et cetera. And so it seems the author wrote them more for adults than children. Anywho.

Here are the books I chose for my kids.

Scapegoat by Dean Hale, illustrated by Michael Slack.

For my first grader, I chose Scapegoat.

This is the cutest story. It is about a goat named Oat and how she gets blamed for everything bad that happens.

As you can see in the title, the -oat is used throughout. Very helpful for teaching those vowel combinations.
The illustrations were bright and funny. The words had a nice rhythm.

Bottom line: the kids loved the story and asked me to read it twice! Even the teacher was laughing.

The Secret Knowledge of Grown-Ups
by David Wisniewski 
For my fifth grader, I found The Secret Knowledge of Grown-Ups.

Ok. This story was hilarious. It finally reveals the real reasons behind all of our rules. Why do we tell kids to eat their vegetables and drink their milk and not to pick their noses?

Life as we know it could end otherwise.

Check out this book for all the details. But I warn you, there are those that would like to keep this a secret, so be very careful!

Bottom line: at first the kids were fidgety. But a few paragraphs in and I had their full attention. They were giggling and "ewwwing", and crept closer to see the pictures. The teacher even stopped her work a few times to listen and laugh.

I am really proud of schools these days. They are really stressing reading, and getting the community involved in these projects is a great idea. I just wish more parents and neighbors would take half an hour occasionally and get involved.

What about you? Do you have a recommendations for next year? Have you participated in a project like this? If there is nothing like this in your local schools, maybe you could take the initiative. Everyone loves being read to, and it's a lot of fun for the reader as well!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Bargain Book Bonanza (29): Kindle Mysteries

Welcome to Bargain Book Bonanza!

DeLynne is hosting this week!

We all love a bargain, and books don't come any more basement-priced than free.  Here are three Kindle mysteries I picked up for nothing, nada, niente.  Remember, folks, if you don't have a Kindle you can read these books using your laptop or apps on other devices.

Archie's Been Framed manages to be farcical yet hard-boiled in the best James Bond tradition.  Amazing gadgetry, gastronomy, a bon-vivant lifestyle and murder are a wonderful combination.  I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Julius and his electronic side kick.  Knight Rider eat your  heart out, Archie is Julius' friend, assistant, secretary and nagger.  This is a series I'd actually pay to read.

The Noon God is a quick read from Donna Carrick, and I do recommend it.  The characters and investigation are a bit shallow, but that's understandable for the length of the book.  Carrick sucked me in and I was shocked when she revealed the murderer.  I'd really like to know if other readers were able to pick who-done-it better than me, and plan to read it again to see which clues I missed the first time through. 

It's as much a family saga as a mystery, with tragic characters struggling to overcome damage done by relatives (usually parents).  Not a cheerful book, but thought-provoking nonetheless. 

Dark Horse is great.  I've fallen for Jim Knighthorse even if he is narcissistic and talks to a bum who thinks he's God.   Actually, those traits endear him to me, and I was hooked by his story.  

Jim tries to prove his client, a high-achieving black high school student, didn't kill his white girlfriend.  The plot is tight and quick, and this book has everything a good mystery should.  Jim has a troubled past he's trying to resolve, and this is probably the grittiest of the three books reviewed here.  There are some moral dilemmas to ponder, too.   

Three good reads for free.  Actually my grandfather used to say nothing is free, and he would have pointed out that even a $0.00 Kindle book requires internet connection, a reading device, etc.  But this is as free as it gets, readers!


BBB is a book haul linky party for bargain loving bookworms!

Want to join the party? Just visit the Bargain Book Bonanza page for the particulars.

If you have a bargain book post, please link up and share. We love to brag on bargains!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Books in my mother's house

My mother loves books in the kitchen...

...on a cake stand... the couch...

...near the back door...

...and  under a lamp....

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Storytime Gift-away Giveaway: Llama Llama Hardback Picture Book Set Of Three ($50 value)

Welcome to the first official Storytime Gift-away Giveaway!

USA entrants only please.

Children's books are the berries! 

And as parents and educators, we know that reading aloud to babies and young children can instill an early love of reading and appreciation of books.  Even more importantly, it gives little ones a strong foundation for building cognitive, language and pre-literacy skills.

It is any surprise that we feel books make the best children's gifts for any occasion?  

The joy and value of a book is endless-- it truly is a gift that keeps on giving.  

So we are utterly over the moon and beyond thrilled to share our love of children's books by offering this stupendously spectacular gift to the lucky winner of the Storytime Gift-away Giveaway:

Three hardbook picture books from the Llama Llama series by Anna Dewdney!

A fifty dollar value!

The titles:
llama llama red pajama
llama llama misses mama
llama llama holiday drama

Are you familiar with the llama llama books? 

 Oh my, they are as cute as can be: absolutely delightful rhymes and illustrations! 

And the stories are spot on in showing situations that bring a three to five year old to the end of his/her tether.

llama llama is such a typical toddler and llama mama is such a good mama.

I love these books!  My little one and I have paperback editions of llama llama red pajama (about bedtime drama) and llama llama mad at mama (about shopping drama-- not included in this giveaway) and it is really funny how we both relate to the stories. 

These books never get tiresome to read aloud-- at least not to me. 

This set would make an ideal gift for any child or split it up and give one each to three children. Or gift them to an early childhood teacher.

But before you can hear the oohs and ahs of delight from gifting, you gotta win it! 

Enter to win with this nifty Rafflecopter form!
(Rafflecopter is so cool but this is my first time setting up a giveaway with it so fingers crossed that it works)

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