Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

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Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

By Dusti Bowling

(Sterling Children’s Books, 2017)

 

I won a copy of Dusti Bowling’s chapter book Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus from Literary Rambles.

What first attracted me to this book was the title. I could just imagine what type of events a cactus would stoically attend, though I knew the book was not about those fascinating plants.

What attracted me next were the characters and the setting. Having grown up in Arizona, I looked forward to reading a book set in the starkly dry and hot desert. The book has a captivating cast of diverse characters. I loved reading of friends Aven (born without arms) and Conner (spits at people when he eats) and how they manage their disabilities. The strength and courage of Aven compelled me to cheer for her and will inspire others who struggle with any type of disability. Family issues, a mystery discovered in an old out building, and facing ones’ own fears come together in a nicely written page-turner.

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus is a great read for any young (or old) person. Compassion, understanding, and acceptance of diversity will develop as readers live alongside Aven and Conner. I found that Bowlings’ book gave me the viewpoint of someone living with challenges and how they faced daily life and difficult situations. Readers will see that they can do anything if they put their mind to it!

Well done and great read!

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Reading for Pleasure

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How many of you read for pleasure? (“Me, me!” she shouts while waving her hand crazily in the air.)

A paper book? An e-reader story? A tale that lets you escape to a new land, new people, new problems? (Yes, please!)

Oh, the books we can read! Too many books, not enough time, right?

Consider this poem I wrote for a course:

This pleasure,

While reading,

Gives me a poetic mind.

Gobbled, devoured,

Digested words and tale.

Spit out to be

Read again.

Again.

And again.

Dissected, applied to life,

Reassembled with

New understanding.

Reading for pleasure;

A necessity as is

Air, water, food.

I pick up again

The feast of words

To consume the story

Each book tells.

 

Tell me, tell me please!

What book are you reading right now? What’s your favorite book? What chores have you neglected to read just. one. more. page? (…dishes, laundry, vacuuming, dusting)

I’d love to hear the tale of the words that let you escape.


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Terrific Tongues! Picture Book Review

Vivian Kirkfield recently shared a great post about this wonderful book, Terrific Tongues! Written by Maria Gianferrari and illustrated by Jia Liu, Terrific Tongues! is sure to engage, amuse, and educate young readers.

I mean, really, what child do you know who doesn’t love playing with or sticking out his or her tongue? I can’t wait get my hands on this one. Thanks, Vivian, Maria, and Jia! Congratulations!

Click here to visit Vivian Kirkfield’s blog and read more about Terrific Tongues!


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Frankenbunny – Picture Book & KID KANDY

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Frankenbunny

Written by Jill Esbaum

Illustrated by Alice Brereton

(Sterling Children’s Books, 2017)

 

Sibling rivalry, picking on the youngest, evil plans, plans thwarted, scary premise – Jill Esbaum delivers them all in Frankenbunny. Wonderful characters, setting, and interactions. The illustrations perfectly add to and tell the story.

I won a copy of Frankenbunny from Jill Esbaum and Picture Book Builders. I couldn’t be more excited!

The power of suggestion. It really packs a punch, doesn’t it? When big brothers tell Spencer about Frankenbunny, he doesn’t believe them. At first. But after many conversations, Spencer becomes convinced that monsters are real.

Or are they?

You will have to read Frankenbunny to find out the truth of the matter.

KID KANDY

Make Your Own Frankenbunny

Supplies: paper scraps, scissors, glue sticks, markers, construction paper

1. On construction paper, draw the scariest Frankenbunny you can!

2. Add clothes, hair, eyes, nose, mouth, fingertips – everything – by cutting up paper scraps and gluing them on.

3. Finish up with markers.

Show off your Frankenbunny! I bet it scares everyone!

P.S. I’d love to see your Frankenbunny! Ask a parent to help you post a picture of your artwork in the comments. Wow! I can’t wait!

 


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Storystorm 2018 Day 5: Corey Rosen Schwartz Begs, Borrows & Steals (from herself, of course)

Corey speaks like a true recycler, digging out past files, lists, notebooks, and manuscripts…and then hunts out the perfect idea for a new picture book project from old materials. Corey also suggests that we writers keep our eyes and ears open when we read other books, sing songs, watch TV, and repeat those nursery rhymes. One never knows when inspiration will strike!

Thanks, Corey, for the great tips! Thanks, Tara, for putting together Storystorm 2018!

via STORYSTORM 2018 Day 5: Corey Rosen Schwartz Begs, Borrows & Steals


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Storystorm 2018 is Here! For You, Writers

Today begins the first day of Storystorm! January is a month for new beginnings. That includes brainstorming ideas and making lists for future writing projects: picture books, chapter books, poems, early readers, blog posts…

Let’s do this, my friends. Follow the link below to read the post of the day. Be sure to sign up and comment to be entered to win writerly prizes. 🙂

Ready, set, go! First idea. Check.

via STORYSTORM 2018 Day 1: Urania Smith Loses Herself


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TRAINS DON’T SLEEP ~ Picture Book & KID KANDY

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TRAINS DON’T SLEEP

By Andria Rosenbaum

Illustrated by Deirdre Gill

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017

 

I won a beautiful autographed copy of TRAINS DON’T SLEEP from KIDLIT411.com. After our family success last November with my birthday trip to The Polar Express train ride (it was my birthday, after all – I love books and Christmas!), I knew this train book was sure to please my train-loving grands! I was right.

TRAINS DON’T SLEEP tells the tale of many different working trains. Trains don’t rest, but chug and pull to carry people, goods, and animals. The story begins while families sleep and trains wake the day with their bustling work. As the day goes on, the trains continue their work in all sorts of environments like big cities, plains, mountains, and forests. Tucked into bed, families go back to sleep while the trains keep racing towards the next brand new day. This picture book makes a great bedtime read-together.

What I loved about this rhyming story is the train vocabulary! Readers will enjoy the rhythm of the words and hear language specific to trains. Fluid gorgeous illustrations perfectly compliment the tale of trains. A picture glossary identifies different trains and train-related fixtures.

If you know a train lover, share TRAINS DON’T SLEEP and see how quickly it becomes a favorite.

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KID KANDY

Here are some fun train activities you can do with your family.

*Visit a train museum.

*Play with train toys and cover the floor with tracks and make-believe adventures.

*Stand in a line. Show each person how to hold a hand on the shoulder of the person in front of him or her. Use the other arm, hand, and feet to shuffle and move like a train. Make sure to chug-chug-choo-choo!

*Dig out the markers, crayons, and paper. Draw train tracks, engines, and rail cars. Add your favorite scenery.

*Flatten play dough and use toy trains to make train tracks across the dough.

*Take a ride on a train!

 


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Behind the Scene with FAMOUSLY PHOEBE, a Storystorm Success Story (plus a giveaway!)

Source: Behind the Scene with FAMOUSLY PHOEBE, a Storystorm Success Story (plus a giveaway!)

I love how the author gives lessons she learned along her road to publication! Congratulations, FAMOUSLY PHOEBE!


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You Nest Here With Me ~ Picture Book & KID KANDY

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by Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

 

You Nest Here With Me

Written by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple

Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

(Boyds Mills Press, An Imprint of Highlights; 2015)

 

I recently was given a copy of You Nest Here With Me. Thanks, Heidi Stemple!

That free gift, however, did not influence the fact that I had already fallen in love with the lyrical story and gorgeous illustrations of this picture book, having borrowed it from the library.

I see You Nest Here With Me as a good night story told by a mother to her daughter. The mother shares the nesting habits of many fascinating and captivating birds. Eggs, nests, habitats, birds, nestlings (is that a real word?) – and a human mama and her little girl. This is a perfect, calming, getting-ready-for-bed book.

While this picture book does not read like a science text, readers will still learn amazing bird facts. Readers can learn even more when they take the time to peruse the final pages where the authors share interesting information about each type of bird.

Readers will love You Nest Here With Me. I love You Nest Here With Me. Birds of a feather flock together. Tweet tweet!

KID KANDY

Look for Nests & Build a Nest

  1. Go on a nest hunting walk with your family. Spy high and peek low to find nests. Trees, shrubs, empty containers, bird houses, grasses…birds are very creative when they build a nest. How many nests can you find?
  2. Pull out some blankets and wrap them around yourself to build a nest. Grab some books, curl up in your snug nest, and read away!

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Library Culture

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I spend time at the library. MUCH time.

Because I love books. The smell, the feel, the sight, and the anticipation of opening the pages and jumping into an adventure pull me in. Every. Single. Time.

So I live, I mean visit my library. Actually, I patronize nearly all of my libraries, the ones in the Yakima Valley. Plus I have connections with other libraries not in my area, which is perfect when I need resources or just want to snoop and see what is out there.

Really you can’t lose when you visit the library. Free books! Free help, internet, bathrooms, AC (or heating), gathering place, information, friends…The library is community.

In my much library time, I’ve noticed several different groups frequenting the hallowed halls of bookdom.

Story Time. If I pull up and the lot is full, I know it’s story time. Stories, songs, games, crafts, and fun times for the kiddos be going on. During the summer, libraries gain a larger audience in the form of kids and adults on break. Reading incentive programs keep readers involved and active with the printed word.

Computer Users. In the olden days, there were no computers. Period. But patrons can now log on to banks of computers to research, read, and check email. Library users can even log in with personal computers and use the internet free of charge (at least at our libraries). Electronic resources are available for check out and the card catalog can be searched from the comfort of home. While the term card catalog is out of date, library resources are still present and much easier to access. One of my favorite library features is the ability to reserve books from home and pick them up when they arrive at the nearest library.

Homeschoolers. The homeschool population is growing. I see homeschool families return to the library on a regular basis. Wonderful resources and reading materials are ready for the picking, so why not?

Book Clubs. What better place is there to have a book club than the library? Our library sometimes hosts a community read with a local author. Most times, the author does a guest visit where readers can meet and greet. Special programs are provided for different age groups, complete with authors, books, and activities.

Study Groups. High school and college students are often working collaboratively around large tables at the library. The library design has planned for this activity by including both small and large tables and seating areas which are perfect for meeting and working.

Retirees. These folks have it going on! Unlimited books to read, books on CD to listen to, computers to use, help on hand if necessary, and interactions with others make the library the place to be.

The Homeless. The library is free and climate-controlled, provides restrooms and drinking fountains, and offers multiple forms of entertainment and resources. While I’ve noticed several incidents of improper behavior, most of the homeless patrons seem to enjoy library benefits without causing any trouble.

Teachers. Yes, teachers, the library is an invaluable resource! During my teaching years, I made weekly trips to check out and return books. Lots of books. I became quite good at gleaning themed picture books (both fiction and nonfiction) for my students. In fact, there was one librarian who watched my shelf and request list so she could make her own book list.

Writers. I fit into several of the above groups, but the writing group is the closest fit. I regularly research different topics and locations around the world. I research picture books and check out stacks of them for my studies. I even haul my computer to the library and set up camp on one of the bigger tables when I need to work on deadlines. Love my library!

Readers. Of course. Why else? Book addicts. Adventurers. Researchers. Learners.

As the plant in the above photo illustrates layers of leaves, stacked and connected by a network of roots, libraries also connect information to people, layers of knowledge spread through the network of libraries – full of words.

I have found the most valuable thing in my wallet is my library card. ~ Laura Bush