Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Twitterville #128

During last weekend and the first part of this past week, activity was high on Twitter as participants in conferences were sharing their learning.  Several new "best books" lists were released.  I sincerely hope everyone is enjoying the extra time with family and friends during the holidays.  Rest, relax and take time for reading.  Please look for the giveaways this week.

Have you ever thought of having a program in your school library for students not yet attending?  This article, Chew That Book: Why Babies Belong in Libraries|First Steps, offers some great advice.

It's always interesting to get the inside scoop from authors and illustrators about the path taken to bring their books to us.

Author and Illustrator Peter Brown On His Process from School Library Journal on Vimeo.

Thanks to School Library Journal for these tweets.

Author Michael Morpurgo, speaks at the opening of a new library urging the telling of stories for the sheer joy of it.  Michael Morpurgo: Bring back story time in every school
To the first person who can tell me the name of the new school library mentioned in this article, I will send a copy of Sports Illustrated Kids--Book of 500+ Sports facts kids want to know!  Please leave your answer in the comments below or send me a DM on Twitter. (This title has been won.)

Thanks to Tasha Saecker, librarian and blogger at Waking Brain Cells, for this tweet.

To me this is no surprise but to others it is,---Young adult readers 'prefer printed to ebooks'
To the first person who can tell me the percentage of young adults who prefer print over digital, I will send a copy of Flabbersmashed About You by Rachael Vail with illustrations by Yumi Heo.  Please leave your answer in the comments below or send me a DM on Twitter.

Thanks to author Barbara O'Connor (How to Steal a Dog) for this tweet.

Take a break, listen to episode #159 of Katie Davis' Brain Burps---Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast Visits Brain Burps About Books

Thanks to Julie Danielson, blogger at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast and author, for this tweet.

It still continues to be important to teach our students about digital citizenship skills.  You might want to keep this handy---A Visual Guide To Teaching Students Digital Citizenship Skills

Thanks to Donna Macdonald, teacher librarian and technology integrationist for this tweet.

This is a big weekend for independent booksellers and authors.

Lisa Von Drasek speaks about the graphic format.

Here is a book trailer for this week.

All the new lists released this week are a part of Mr. Schu's 2013 Best Books Lists
To the first person who can tell me the top title under the picture book section of The New York Times Notable Children's Books of 2013, I will send a copy of Bully by Laura Vaccaro Seeger.  Please send me a DM or leave the answer in the comments below. (This title has been won.)

This video might be useful for an author study of Gayle Forman.

Thanks to John Schumacher, teacher librarian, co-host of the monthly #SharpSchu Book Club, 2011 Library Journal Movers & Shakers, 2014 Newbery Medal Committee member, and blogger at Watch. Connect. Read. for these tweets.

Brothers Paul Reynolds and Peter H. Reynolds have created a beautiful animated poem as a tribute to teachers.  Everyone should see this video, Keepers of the Flame.  Please follow the embedded link.  I did not embed it in this post out of respect for their request.

Thanks to Peter H. Reynolds, author and illustrator, for this tweet.

We have all been missing the completion of the Newbery Challenge videos by John Schumacher and Colby Sharp.  Colby is working on placing them all in one spot on Pinterest---Newbery Challenge

Thanks to Colby Sharp, educator, co-host of the monthly #titletalk, co-host of the monthly #SharpSchu Book Club, co-founder of the Nerdy Book Club and blogger at sharpread for this tweet.

Each week, day after day, we connect with like-minded people on a variety of social networks.  The importance of these connections has never been better stated than in this post, On Broken Door Handles and Butter Knives.

Thanks for this post and tweet go to Christopher Lehman, educator, speaker, author and blogger at Christoper Lehman: Teach By Learning. Learn By Teaching.

Here's another amazing blog post about the power of connections with book nerds, Leaving your mark 

Thanks go to educator and blogger at Shaped Like A Blogg... ...Or A Garden Hose!, Adam Shaffer, for this post and tweet.

This week was filled with informative, interesting and fun tweets especially due to the National Council of Teachers of English conference in Boston.  Of course my furry friend, Xena, may have had her sneaky paws on my keyboard too.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Mathematical Cure

We all have those nights when sleep alludes us despite our heartfelt endeavors to drift off to dreamland.  When soaking in a hot bath, warm milk with a touch of honey, relaxing music or reading a favorite or current book does not entice the sandman to visit, there is only one thing left to do.  As a last resort counting sheep, as one by one a seemingly endless line leaps over a fence, may cure your insomnia.

We know from his two previous titles, Dog Loves Books (Alfred A. Knopf, 2010) and Dog Loves Drawing (Alfred A. Knopf, 2012), our small, white, perky canine pal is usually able to accomplish whatever his heart desires.  In his newest undertaking, Dog Loves Counting (Alfred A. Knopf), written and illustrated by Louise Yates, Dog knows the proper amount of rest is important.  For whatever reason, on this particular night, this bookworm extraordinaire can't fall asleep.

Dog loved books.  He loved reading
them late into the night and didn't like
to leave them for long.

Needing to sleep Dog tries counting sheep.  When this technique fails, he wonders if counting some other animal might be the solution.  Looking through the books surrounding him on his bed, he begins with a very special title.

What he sees first is one egg.  After cracking open, a dodo is standing next to Dog.  Now there are two.  They go off to discover another creature.

When the sloth waves, Dog notices his three claws.  This number game is going very well.  The three explore further to find a fourth.

A camel from the desert, a lizard under a log, and an insect snagged from the air have the growing group up to the number six.  Number nine is reached with help from a nighttime marauder, an arachnid, and a sleepy armored mammal.  A sandy shoreline yields their final friend, the number ten.  Dog is having so much fun, he is disappointed when they reach the camel's home; no animals are visible.

Not to be discouraged, Dog suggests they begin counting from the beginning.  To their surprise number one has disappeared.  Whether counting backward or counting by hundreds, Dog and company realize, like the grains of sand beneath their feet, numbering some things could go on forever.

Louise Yates' writing style in her storytelling is light, uplifting.  Her combination of narrative, thoughts and dialogue are utterly charming.  Though simple in structure, each sentence conveys intent, curiosity, the desire for companionship and to help Dog fall asleep.  Dog's compassion and kindness are reflected in each of the animals he meets. Here is a single example.

Inside was a baby dodo.
"Hello, little one," said Dog.
He looked around, but
the dodo was
all alone.
"I'll look after you," said Dog. "Together
we are two.  Number One, follow me---
we must find Number Three."

I don't know about you but the matching jacket and cover of this title make me smile...a big smile.  Even if you are not acquainted with Dog from reading the two previous books, this illustration, filled with happy animation in the body language and facial expressions, introduces characters you will be glad to meet.  To reinforce the title by having them carry the bright blue numbers is brilliant.

The same blue is used to color the opening and closing endpapers.  A lighter shade depicts a starry-patterned night.  The first set of endpapers shows connections between the stars forming numbers; the end set also shows connections but of the animals who participate in the story.  As I have noted before Yates uses every part of her books to tell her tale.

Louise Yates luminous watercolor illustrations may extend across two pages or even for most of a single page with loose flowing edges but for the most part white space serves to focus on the individual elements in each picture.  As the animals are presented to readers their number and name are written near them, like in a naturalist's sketchbook.  Yates enhances the text further with random acts of kindness and humor; Dog carries the sloth due to his slowness, the skink spits the fly back out of his mouth to count its legs, and the spider spins a web between the armadillo's ears.  Dog sitting on his bed, holding a flashlight with an open book laying on his legs, surrounded by piles of books, is one of my favorite illustrations.

You have to love the way Dog approaches everything in his life; how books are central to each and every adventure.  Dog Loves Counting written and illustrated by Louise Yates pursues Dog's yearning for sleep by bringing numbers and animals together in an enlightening escapade.  Wouldn't it be fun to find other animals and the numbers they might represent?

With each Dog book I love this little guy and his friends even more.  Where will he go?  What will he do next?  I can hardly wait.

I invite you to visit Louise Yates' website by following the link embedded in her name.  Dog Loves Counting is on the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2014 nominations list.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Treasures-Tradition #3

For the Thanksgiving post for the past two years, I've featured titles to commemorate and celebrate this holiday; Thanksgiving Treasures-Tradition and Thanksgiving Treasures-Tradition #2 highlight four favorites of mine.  It is important to not only set aside a single day for the giving of thanks but to appreciate and recognize small memorable and positive moments all year long.  They are there every single day if we only take the time to pause, listen and look.

In 1844 Lydia Maria Child published a poem, The New-England Boy's Song About Thanksgiving Day in a collection titled Flowers for Children, Volume 2.  Since that time it has achieved classic status as a seasonal song.  In 2011 author illustrator Matt Tavares illustrated the beloved verses with his rich, period paintings in Over the River and Through the Wood (Candlewick Press).

Over the river, and through the wood,
To grandfather's house we go;
The horse knows the way,
To carry the sleigh,
Through the white and drifted snow.

The opened matching jacket and cover feature a peaceful pastoral scene, from the edge of one flap to the other, of a family leaving their town to climb the hills to grandfather's house.  On the title pages Matt Tavares gives readers a panoramic, aerial view of the community, winding river and hills in the background, with the family tucked in the lower left-hand corner next to their sleigh getting ready for their trip.  For the first five lines of the poem he provides a close-up of the parents, their two children, and dog about to depart.

For every five lines of the poem Tavares' illustrations rendered in watercolor, gouache and pencil spread across two pages.  While the color of the sky, people bundled in winter clothing and fallen and falling snow, leave no doubt as to the chilly temperatures, there is warmth in every picture.  The colors used in the clothing, buildings and the sleigh coupled with the facial expressions on the people reflect the remembered joys of this day.

The joy of passing by a store window filled with toys, crossing an arched stone bridge, watching the people skating on the river below, climbing up one hill after another, passing through the gate around the barnyard, arriving at grandfather's home and enjoying a meal together, are all depicted in varying perspectives designed to make the reader feel like a participant rather than only an observer.  Attentive readers will notice Tavares has also chosen to add another story to the trip through his illustrations; a special canine connection.  Any one of these gorgeous pictures is worthy of framing but one of my favorites is of the family's arrival at the farm, the home and barn in the background, the dog running ahead, the boy leaning forward in the sleigh expectantly, as snow falls.  You can almost hear the bark of the dogs, called greetings, baaing of sheep and the slide of runners on the snow when you look at this illustration.

Over the River and Through the Wood written by Lydia Maria Child with illustrations by Matt Tavares is a lovely seasonal offering for readers of all ages.  There is a note about the author at the book's end.  Please follow the links embedded in Matt Tavares' name to access his website and blog. The videos below are to acquaint you with the true joy Matt Tavares feels for his work.

I have seen tweets repeatedly which mirror my own feelings about reading books once you have heard an author or illustrator speak; from that point forward when you read their work you hear them talking to you.  After listening to Katherine Paterson's speech at the American Library Association, Association for Library Service to Children, Newbery, Caldecott, Wilder Awards Banquet and conversing with her briefly in the reception line, I hear her gentle, knowing voice in my mind when I read her books.  Her most recent title, as an author and editor, Giving Thanks: Poems, Prayers And Praise Songs Of Thanksgiving (Handprint Books, an imprint of Chronicle Books) with illustrations by Pamela Dalton is the ideal platform for what I believe to be the soul of her body of work.

As way of introduction Katherine Paterson begins with a two page reflection on joy, gratitude and prayer.  She recounts all the blessings in her life from the good and bad times alike, as each has lessons from which we can learn. For each of the following sections in this book, she begins with a single page of her own words on the theme.

In Gather Around the Table Paterson voices her gratitude for having plenty of food to eat, recounting her own and another's story.  Within the eight pages we can read a traditional American mealtime prayer, an Islamic prayer, a Chinese proverb, a Native American grace, words of poet Ralph Waldo Emerson or a Pueblo blessing.  It is apparent that no matter the culture or custom, giving thanks for food to eat is universal for its nourishment, for sustaining our bodies.

A few shared hours with her son David watching a cicada, opens the chapter A Celebration of Life.  This is my favorite of the four.  Her descriptions, choice of words, transport you to those marvelous moments.  Poems penned from authors around the world are found here as are prayers from a variety of cultures.  Some are familiar, others are new, but all bring a sense of peace to the reader; twelve pages of beauty.

A thoughtful musing on the poor in spirit begins the writings titled The Spirit Within.  I think of all those contained in these six pages my favorite might be by Helen Keller.

The best and most beautiful things in
the world cannot be seen or even touched.
They must be felt with the heart.

Then too, it's hard not to be moved by the words, the song, written by John Newton,

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound...

Katherine Paterson closes the book with thoughts on all the many places she has lived and visited around the world and the importance of understanding.  It addresses our misplaced beliefs.  The selections in the Circle of Community are about noticing the similarities we share.  They are about the importance of each individual.

The exquisite, intricate cut-paper illustrations by Pamela Dalton done in the early American tradition are nearly beyond description. A note at the back briefly describes the technique.

The paper was then antiqued in a coffee solution, ironed, and illuminated with watercolor.

The rustic red seen on the jacket and cover is deepened to provide a background for the opening and closing endpapers.  On the endpapers the cut-paper artwork creates a wide frame for tiny oval watercolor paintings which also appear throughout the book.

Different colored backgrounds are used for each area of the book; a golden tan, deep earthy green, a steely blue and the rustic red of the jacket and cover.  These hues supply the left-hand side of each page with a wide margin for highlighting the illustrations.  Other cut-paper pictures are placed within the pages, shades of cream on cream.  The painstaking hours of work for each is easily apparent, causing you to pause on each page wondering.  My favorite is the last page in the A Celebration of Life chapter.  Green, yellow and gray-brown cut-paper birch tree branches frame a square containing an E. E. Cummings verse with a black-capped chickadee sitting on a branch.

Giving Thanks: Poems, Prayers, And Praise Songs Of Thanksgiving edited and with reflections by Katherine Paterson with illustrations by Pamela Dalton is as breathtaking as their first collaboration, Brother Sun, Sister Moon. I highly recommend it for your personal and classroom collections due to the diversity of choices within the pages.  It makes you stop, take note and be grateful.  It can be the basis of a variety of discussions and writing prompts with your students.

Please take time to visit the author's and illustrator's websites by following the links embedded in their names.  I could not resist sharing this video of Katherine Paterson and her husband John talking about the importance of picture books.


I am extremely grateful for these authors and illustrators not only on this Thanksgiving day but every day.  They have brought immeasurable joy to all their readers.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

On Deck---Haiku Deck On The Web

I was beyond excited when this tweet entered my feed.  Haiku Deck is a free presentation application with over 35 million images for use and six free themes.  Based upon the Terms this should be used by those over 18 years old.  I hurried over to the Haiku Deck website.  You can sign up at three separate places; click on the tab at the top of the page or another link mid-page and at the bottom.

Selecting either of those will open up another window.  You are asked to submit a request for an invitation. You enter in your name and email address to be added to a list.

Initially I received an email letting me know my request had not been forgotten but their engineers were making sure everything worked with reliability.  At that time I could reply if I wanted to experiment.  I decided to wait.  Last Thursday another email arrived telling me my invitation was ready.  I choose the link supplied in the message.  

I discovered I could register with my email and a password or log in through Facebook or Twitter.  After selecting Create my account you can immediately choose Get Started at the next window or wait for the help page to open.  I decided to try each of the elements displayed on the next screen shown in the second image.

After adding words (top left-hand corner) I moved to picking a background.  (Please note you can alter your text simply by clicking on the line you wish to change.) You can choose to use an image by searching the site or uploading one from nine possible sources (see second image below), one of three chart types (not quite ready for web use yet) or go with one of nine solid colors.  

Background chosen you move to the layout of your slides in the deck.  There are fourteen styles. The final icon on the left-hand tool bar allows you to add notes to each slide.

Moving to the top from left to right, you can go to the page listing all your decks (personal gallery), send feedback to the site administrators, and every time you share a deck you get one free invite which, when given to someone else, will speed up the process for them to use the application.  When you click on the question mark the help slide becomes an overlay on your current project, jogging your memory as to the features.  The arrow icon allows you to view your presentation.  

Selecting Share opens a window asking you to give the slide deck a title, choose a privacy setting (public, private, restricted), include a description and pick a category.  When you click Publish a new window opens.  It gives you the opportunity to preview the deck or share it via three social networks or email, embed it or export it as a Powerpoint.  You can also Unpublish, Edit Settings or Cancel. Not only do they offer an HTML code but a WordPress code and Haiku Deck URL link. 

Going back to your personal gallery page you can access Featured Decks, Popular Decks, the Haiku Deck Blog, Reviews of this application and Our Story which gives a background of the development of Haiku Deck.  Here is a link I discovered when exploring the site which offers tutorials on the use of Haiku Deck.  

Also at your gallery page when you mouse over any of your decks you have more choices.  You are able to edit, delete or play your deck.  With a mouse click you can share it via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn or email. 

Haiku Deck on the web is simple to use with smart-looking results.  I can understand why the iPad app has been so popular.  Thanks to the Haiku Deck team for making it accessible online.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Back From The Edge

Now our lawns and gardens are covered in snow it's easy to see who shares the surrounding fields and woods with us.  Deer paths cross in a straight diagonal from one tree-sheltered field to another.  Rabbits zigzag and loop about with no clear pattern except to merry-go-round bushes, nibbling on green shoots still visible.

I can't imagine seeing snow untouched by the prints of these creatures of forest and field.  Much like me seeing these images in the snow, people living in Puerto Rico for centuries would catch glimpses of the bright blue flight feathers of the Puerto Rican parrots that inhabited the island long before people arrived.  Parrots Over Puerto Rico (Lee & Low Books, Inc., September 15, 2013) by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore with collages by Susan L. Roth tells the tale of these magnificent birds who nearly faded from existence.

Above the treetops of Puerto Rico flies a flock of parrots as green as their island home. 

Beginning with a time on the island prior to human habitation, we learn of the parrots call,

Iguaca! Iguaca!

and the other present flora and fauna.  Between 5000 BCE and 800 BCE people arrived from South and Central America, planting their crops, hunting the parrots for food and capturing them as pets.  The parrots numbered in the hundreds of thousands on Puerto Rico and the nearby smaller islands. It must have been a thing of beauty to see them in such great numbers.

Tropical storms destroyed the parrots nesting trees but others could be found.  In 1493 the Spanish arrived creating even more buildings and clearing land for planting.  As the parrots searched for mates each year, the dynamics of the people on the island were changing; Africans were brought to Puerto Rico as slaves and there were more arrivals of people from Spain.  The people sought to establish families, too.

As the human history unfolded so too did that of the Puerto Rican parrots; when their enemies, the red-tailed hawks attacked, other countries tried to take Puerto Rico from the Spanish.  Parallels follow through the years.  Non-native animals and insects invaded the parrots' nesting sites, the United States invaded the island making it officially a territory in 1917.

Page turn by page turn as the human population flourished, the parrot population diminished.  By the early 1950s there were only two hundred parrots counted.  By 1967 the Puerto Ricans finally noticed the parrots' absence; only twenty-four birds remained in El Yunque.

Since that time determined, dedicated, heroic efforts of the United States working hand-in-hand with Puerto Rico through a special project, Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Program, have endeavored to assist all parrots, those in the wild and captivity.  Placement of artificial nests, creation of sanctuaries, aviaries, and special training sessions have helped little by little.  The results, not without their share of setbacks, are nothing short of miraculous.

The thorough and meticulous research of Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore is unmistakable from the first page.  Their technique of presenting information, a paragraph about the parrots followed by a paragraph about the island and its human inhabitants, creates a type of comparative tension.  In this way readers are able to clearly see how the later affected the former.  Choosing to provide this material in chronological order further enhances the emotional involvement of the reader.  We can't turn the pages fast enough to discover the fate of these resplendent birds.

The first thing you notice about the matching jacket and cover is the colors and texture. The vibrant hues of green and blue with small touches of red, black and creamy white rendered with collages of paper and fabric by the hand of Susan L. Roth are simply stunning.  The next noteworthy detail is the tiny Puerto Rican parrot on the back holding the ISBN in his claws.  There is no other text on the jacket and cover, no title, no author or illustrator names except for along the spine.  By now you might be wondering about the placement of the parrots on the front cover with respect to the spine and book edges.

Upon opening the cover it's clear this book will read differently than most.  Both the opening and closing endpapers display a flock of small parrots in flight.  The opening endpapers are the dedication page; the closing endpapers contain all the publication information.  The surprise is this is exhibited vertically as is the entire book.

A true marvel of design and layout each two page spread heightens the text, found at the page bottom, with an intricate portrayal of the island, the parrots and their interactions with those responsible for their near extinction and friends who are still trying to save them.  These works of art reveal new details at every viewing.  It is nearly impossible to select a favorite but I believe the two pages showing the large number of parrots against the turquoise sky with the island and water beneath them before the arrival of humans shows the grace of these creatures the way they truly are; it provides a goal and glimmers of hope.

Four starred reviews, Booklist, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal, certainly place Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore in the center of several circles of discussion for possible awards.  As the best of nonfiction picture books do, they give readers the story in a distinct, easy to understand, narrative format with dazzling illustrations.  Without books such as this how are we to discover these important subjects?  If you have not finalized your Mock Caldecott yet, I urge you to consider this title.  It's outstanding in every respect.

Six pages at the book's end contain more factual and pictorial items of interest as well as a bibliographic list of sources.  To acquire more information about the authors and illustrator please follow the links embedded in their names.  This link takes you to a recent post at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast where Julie Danielson includes several pages (my favorite) for your viewing enjoyment.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Christmas "Cat" astrophe

Day by day the holidays are approaching.  Plans are being made for cookie baking and meal making.  Thoughts are drifting to gift giving, light stringing, tree decorating and hanging of the greens.

Households are full of festive fun with much to be done.  When you are Fuddles, one of the most coddled cats in creation, it stands to reason you believe all is being done for you and you alone.  Readers who were introduced to this chunky feline in Fuddles (Aladdin, May, 2011) will be delighted with his return in A Very Fuddles Christmas (Aladdin) written and illustrated by Frans Vischer.

Fuddles was a fat, pampered cat.
His family spoiled him endlessly.

When the napping Fuddles is awakened by a tantalizing smell, he naturally follows it to the source.  Greeted by the sight of a table laid with food fit for a king, Fuddles can hardly wait to pounce with pleasure.

"No, Fuddles! That's not for you!"

What!? Not for him?  How can this be true?  No matter...he scurries into the living room to discover wrapped presents, gingerbread treats and lights waiting to be put in place.  Every gesture he makes, every exploratory move, elicits negative exclamations.

When Fuddles beholds the beauty of the decorated tree, he is overwhelmed with desire, a desire to scale that magnificent model of glowing greenery.  Timberrrr....  Uh, oh... In a furry hurry, Fuddles heads out of the room straight to the out-of-doors.

Dumbfounded by all the whiteness, he wonders what happened to the grass, flowers  and leaves.  The temperature is much too chilly for Fuddles' taste.  To his frustration the door is closed and no amount of yowling can get his family's attention.

In an attempt to locate the back door (perhaps it is open) Fuddles meanders around the yard getting colder and hungrier.  When a couple of troublesome squirrels shake a pile of snow on him, that's the last straw.  Hot on their tails, Fuddles goes up...up...and up...right into more trouble.  You can be sure this is one Christmas Fuddles will always remember.

Using his family's cat as inspiration, Frans Vischer writes a narrative as someone who knows how the feline mind works; cat attitude, fears and feats are portrayed in comedic truth.  Fuddles may be pampered, but when he's on the move there's plenty of action.  Descriptive phrases, individual words, paint precise pictures as Fuddles' latest escapade is told.  Here is an example.

Like a pioneer frontiersman, Fuddles bravely faced the elements...
through the bitter cold and biting wind...

Taking a single look at the matching front and back, jacket and cover, you can feel the corners of your mouth curve upward into a big grin.  Tangled in a string of lights, wreath about his neck or popping out of an open Christmas box with the tree topper firmly attached to his head, Fuddles clearly is up to another adventure, a holiday adventure.  Paw prints travel across the verso to the second, primary title page showcasing a contented, smiling Fuddles sitting next to a plate of cookies.

Illustrations created digitally by Frans Vischer, in full color, depict Fuddles in all his feline glory.  With adept ease, Vischer transitions from a full page visual to small vignettes to two page spreads with a layout designed to hold the reader's attention page by page.  The body language and facial expressions on Fuddles are completely giggle inducing; just thinking about his overly plump stomach makes me grin.  I burst out laughing at the first page, Fuddles lying on his purple settee, red pillow under his head, quilt covering his body, cucumber slices over his eyes, assorted desserts on the table next to him, all by a roaring fire in the fireplace.  My favorite illustration is a series of six looks and body positions when Fuddles is clearly in a precarious spot.  I could look at it over and over.

Whether you are a lover of cats, Christmas or both, A Very Fuddles Christmas written and illustrated by Frans Vischer is a title you will want to add to your shelves.  This book delivers the best gift of all, laughter.  Please stop by the links embedded above to access the Fuddles website, Frans Vischer's website and blog, and my review of Fuddles.  By following this link to the publisher's website you can get a glimpse of a couple of interior pages.  UPDATE:  Here is a link to Carter Higgins's blog, Design of the Picture Book, where she highlights this title and interviews Frans Vischer.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Twitterville Talk #127

From the Library of Congress, 2013 National Book Festival, comes a list of 52 books, one for each state gathered together by The Center for the Book and its Affiliate State Centers.

Here author Temple Grandin speaks about the value of libraries.

Lucky for us there are some wonderful book trailers this week.

To honor the late Charlotte Zolotow, make a stop at the site for the book award in her name, The Charlotte Zolotow Award.
To the first person who can tell me the name of the 2012 award winner on this list, I will send a copy of Hanukkah in Alaska by Barbara Brown with illustrations by Stacey Schuett.  Please leave your answer in the comments below or send me a DM on Twitter.

Never fear!  If you missed the #SharpSchu Book Club this week the archive is here.

It's been updated---2013 Best Books Lists

Thanks to John Schumacher, teacher librarian, co-host of the monthly #SharpSchu Book Club, 2011 Library Journal Movers & Shakers, 2014 Newbery Medal Committee member, and blogger at Watch. Connect. Read. for these tweets.

The National Science Teachers Association has released their Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12: 2014 (Books published in 2013)

Thanks to author Melissa Stewart (No Monkeys, No Chocolate) for this tweet.

In case you missed the most recent, November 17, 2013, National Council of Teachers of English Twitter chat, the archives are here.

Thanks to educator and blogger at A Foodie Bibliophile In Wanderlust, Beth Shaum, for this tweet.

With the release of Catching Fire in movie theaters this week, this parody made an appearance.

This is a nice introductory post to Google Doc Story Builder.

This Twitter party was watched with anticipation by many.  These are the results.
SLJ Best Books 2013 Nonfiction
To the first person who can tell me the first title on this list, I will send a copy of The Greatest Dinosaur Ever by Brenda Z. Guiberson with illustrations by Gennady Spirin.  Please leave your answer in the comments below or send me a DM on Twitter. (This title has been won.)

SLJ Best Books 2013 Adult Books 4 Teens

SLJ Best Books 2013 Picture Books

SLJ Best Books 2013 Fiction

Thanks to School Library Journal for these tweets.

For those who are contemplating setting up a Mock Caldecott unit for this year or for a future year, this site, inspired by John Schumacher, was designed.  Click on each of the book covers for more information and voting.  It's a good design.

Thanks to educator and blogger at JoeWoodOnline, Joe Wood for this tweet and website.

This week the podcast guest is Let's Get Busy with graphic novelist Matt Phelan

Thanks for the podcasts and tweet go to elementary library media specialist, co-founder of #levelupbc, 2013 Library Journal Movers & Shakers Tech Leader and blogger at The Busy Librarian, Matthew C. Winner.

Get out your pencil and paper, 10 to Note: Winter Preview 2014

Thanks to teacher librarian, 2014 Caldecott Medal Committee member and blogger at 100 Scope Notes, Travis Jonker for this tweet.

I hope you've still got that pencil and paper handy, Librarian Preview: Chronicle Books (Spring 2014)

Thanks to Elizabeth Bird, New York Public Library's Youth Materials Collections Specialist, author and blogger at A Fuse #8 Production for this tweet.

Matthew Myers makes a video to show how he created the illustrations for Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett.

Thanks to illustrator Matthew Myers for this tweet.

The Children's Book Review has chosen Best Kids Picture Books of 2013.

Thanks to The Publishing Guru for this tweet.

With all the best books lists popping up, awards being won and the American Library Association Media Awards coming in January, author Kate Messner again posted a poem she wrote this week as a reminder that every book is important to the right reader.  This is a must read.

Thanks to Kate Messner (Wake Up Missing) for this tweet and post.

It was thrilling to see the premier book trailer this week hosted at A Fuse #8 Production for the new book, Ice Dogs.  Don't miss it.

Thanks to author Terry Lynn Johnson for this tweet.

In the time before the holidays begin this Shannon Miller is sharing My Teacher Librarian Gave To Me: 20 Days of Awesome Library & Technology Tools and Resources
To the first person who can tell me the day 3 featured application, I will send a copy of Fossil by Bill Thomson.  Please send me a DM on Twitter leave your answer in the comments  below. (This title has been won.)

There's a New Peter H. Reynolds Poster! Creativity, Courage, Collaboration

Be sure to explore 3 Presentation Tools Teachers Are Now Using

Thanks for sharing this resource and tweets go to Shannon Miller, teacher librarian and blogger at Van Meter Library Voice. 

Yes, someone has discovered how to find Waldo every single time.  Here's Waldo: Impress your friends and humiliate your children using Slate's foolproof strategy for finding the missing man.

Thanks to Teresa Rolfe Kravtin, SE Publisher Rep and blogger at A Rep Reading for this tweet.

There's a new Shel Silverstein website.  Check it out!

Thanks to educator @kbport for this tweet.

Tuck this away for an author illustrator study---Mini Interviews-Matthew Cordell

Thanks to author illustrator Molly Idle (Flora and the Flamingo) for this tweet.

He's been scary readers for years, now listen to Random Questions With: R. L. Stine

Thanks to author R. L. Stine for this tweet.

The current chair of the American Association of School Librarians Best Websites for Teaching and Learning tweeted out about a new Integration Ideas LiveBinders

You can now search through all the Best Websites for Teaching & Learning by name, category or year.

Thanks to Heather Moorefield, Education Librarian at Virginia Tech for these tweets.

For those not able to attend the National Council of Teachers of English conference Professor Teri Lesesne has posted the SlideShare from her presentation, Nurturing Reading.

Thanks to Jennifer Ansbach, educator, for this tweet.

Here is another wonderful reference post made available to those not attending the National Council of Teachers of English conference---Nerdy Book Club Presentation: Connecting With Authors

Thanks to Colby Sharp, educator, co-host of the monthly #titletalk, co-host of the monthly #SharpSchu Book Club, co-founder of the Nerdy Book Club and blogger at sharpread for this tweet.

There is lots of information here for another presentation at NCTE---Nerdy Book Club Session at NTCE

Thanks to the Nerdy Book Club for this tweet.

I can't remember if I've listed this previously or not.  It came through my feed this week.  I might be good to send this home with your next classroom newsletter---Awesome Visual On The Importance Of Reading Aloud To Kids

Thanks for this tweet goes to teacher librarian and blogger at Welcome to my Tweendom, Stacy Dillon.

The children's literature community lost two prominent figures this week, Barbara Park and Charlotte Zolotow.  This is only a small portion of the tweets expressing sadness and honor for their contributions.