Book Bits is Back! (2/5/16)

It’s high time we revived Book Bits: a random collection of interesting book-related links and information found around the web. Enjoy! Beatrix Potter has a new book coming out! Now you can ask the advice of a “book concierge” like you might a hotel concierge. Rumor has it that a new Little House movie is in […]

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Reading Aloud to Teens, Part One

The last time I talked to my daughter on the phone, she said, “Guess what Adriel is doing now.” That’s my nine-year-old granddaughter, and of course I always want to know what she’s doing now. Since they live 800 miles away, I don’t get to see them very much, but it so happened that the […]

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5 Fun Fairy Tale Reads for February

Love is in the air! Or is it? Despite the myriad of hearts, chocolates, and flowers festooning every available merchandising spot, not everyone wants to read a love story this time of year. But what about a romance? Merriam-Webster defines “romance” as: “a prose narrative treating imaginary characters involved in events remote in time or place and […]

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Five Family Read Alouds

Long winter nights and the occasional snow day make for excellent read-aloud weather.  Here are five favorites that can be enjoyed by the whole family.  (Or, if you’d rather listen, several of these titles have been made into excellent audiobooks.) Wolf Story by William McCleery.  NYR Children’s Collection, reprint, 2012.  88 pages.   A man […]

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*Retro Reads: North to Freedom by Anne Holm

North to Freedom (I Am David) by Anne Holm.  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1963 (first edition), 256 pages. Reading Level: 10-12 Appropriate for: ages 12-up Bottom Line:  After escaping from the soviet prison camp that comprised his whole world, a 12-year-old boy must come to terms with who he is in relation to the world. The […]

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Five Favorite Snow Stories

Snowbound? Wishing you were? Here are some titles to enjoy with a cup of hot chocolate. Supertruck by Stephen Savage. Roaring Brook, 2015. 32 pages. A humble garbage truck has a secret identity which saves the day and all the snowbound city trucks in this Caldecott honor winning title. If you have a child who […]

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The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

In most science fiction, technological advances are not shown to advance humanity.   However, it would be tough to find a more negative view of a future world than The 5th Wave, which chronicles an alien attack on our weak and vulnerable planet.  Depressing as it is, the story raises some vital questions about humanity, […]

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One Reader’s 10 Most Memorable Books of 2015

As a professional reviewer, book award committee member, teacher, and bibliophile, I read a lot of books in a given year. A. Lot. I recorded 170 titles in Goodreads for 2015, but that barely scratches the surface (as my local librarians can attest). Those were the titles that I liked enough to review, were getting […]

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The 2016 ALA Youth Media Awards–What happened??

As we were saying last Saturday . . . you just can’t predict what the Newbery committee is going to do. Trends have been toward diversity, disability, and difficulty; books that show children in adverse, even desperate circumstances often get Newbery nods. (That’s why I was so sure The Thing about Jellyfish would be on […]

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Caldecott Buzz and Possible Picks

Book award committees have such a delightfully difficult task. The ALA Caldecott awards will be announced, among others, on Monday, January 11, and there is always much discussion in the book world leading up to the event. This year there seem to be a lot of books that are nice but don’t contain much of […]

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Prognosticating the Newberys

On Monday, the American Library Association will announce the winners of their annual Youth Media Awards.  The oldest and most prominent of these is the John Newbery medal, given “to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.”* I’m not sure why the ALA words it this way, since the award […]

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