Showing posts with label Cybils 2009. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cybils 2009. Show all posts

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bad to the Bone, by Lucy Nolan - winner of 2009 Cybils short chapter book

Do you have any animal loving new readers in your life? My children and their friends love their pets. I remember when I was young I used to tell all my secrets to my cat because he would never share them with anyone! The Down Girl and Sit series is a great choice for kids ready to read short chapter books. Best of all, this will make you laugh out loud.
Bad to the Bone
by Lucy Nolan
illustrated by Mike Reed
NY: Marshall Cavendish Children, 2008
ages 6 - 8
This is truly a story for the dogs, or should I say from the dogs? Down Girl explains about her days protecting her home from the evil cat next door, Here Kitty Kitty. She shares tales of training her master, along with the help of her neighbor Sit. You see, their masters are continually yelling, "Down Girl" or "Sit" to these two hopelessly clueless dogs.

I loved the humor in this short chapter book. It made me laugh out loud on several occasions. Nolan has created a distinctive humorous voice as you hear Down Girl telling her silly story. In one of my favorite chapters, Down Girl explains about her typical day when Rruff (her master, because she's always barking at him):
I don't know where Rruff goes every morning when he leaves the house. I just know that he is very lucky that I stay home. If I goofed off as much as he does, the squirrels would take over. Sit and I are not about to let that happen.

We want to make the neighborhood safe for everyone - even the man next door. He is not my favorite person. He grills hamburgers in his yard and never gives me any. But I don't hold that against him.
Well, not much.
You can just guess some of the escapades that Down Girl is going to get into with this hamburger-loving neighbor. Nolan also does a wonderful job of combining action, dialog and character development - all of which are important qualities for new readers to understand. The illustrations throughout help develop the humor and silly situations. I would love to ask a child what this story would sound like if the master told it. Or maybe Here Kitty Kitty.

Lucy Nolan shares on her website about her funny dogs Nutmeg and Becky. She writes,
Everybody always wants to know which of my two dogs inspired the character of Down Girl. The original answer was "Nutmeg" — the most rambunctious, and ridiculous, dog you could ever meet. Nutmeg was a red setter who spent a lot of time standing up on her hind legs or springing into the air for no apparent reason. I spent a lot of time yelling, "Down, girl!"

By the time I finished writing the first Down Girl and Sit book, Becky the English setter had come to live with us. Becky is the sweetest dog I've ever known, but she has the knack of getting into some very odd predicaments. Between the two of them, Down Girl's personality really started taking shape.

If you're interested, take a look at the Google preview of the book. See if the reading level and text matches your child's ability. Or if you're a dog-loving family, this would make a great read-aloud. The beginning of the first chapter starts off with Down Girl explaining about the everlasting feud between cats and dogs:

Bad to the Bone was chosen as the winner of the 2009 Cybils Award for Short Chapter Books. I served on the round 2 judging panel and found the discussions with other panel members fascinating. Cybils are awarded to books that have both the highest literary merit and excellent kid appeal. I am thrilled that Cybils is recognizing short chapter books - such an important step as children develop their confidence and fluency reading longer books.

If you like Bad to the Bone, definitely check out other books in the Down Girl and Sit series:
Smarter than Squirrels
On the Road
Home on the Range (coming in April 2010!)

The review copy was kindly provided by the publisher for the Cybils panel. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links, Great Kid Books will receive a small commission (at no cost to you!) which will be used to purchase more books for review. Thank you for your support.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The 2009 Cybils Winners - a great resource for parents

The Cybils Awards are a book award given by children’s and young adult book bloggers for books that have both excellent literary merit and great kid appeal. The winners of the 2009 Cybils Awards have just been announced, and it's well worth checking them out. They are a great resource for parents, a way to learn more about the best books published in 2009, and ones that will definitely appeal to kids! This year's winners are:

Cybils Awards for Children's and Middle Grade Books

Picture Book (Fiction)
All the World
by Liz Garton Scanlon; illustrated by Marla Frazee
Beach Lane Books
Nominated by: Cynthia Leitich Smith

Picture Book (Non-Fiction)
The Day-Glo Brothers
by Chris Barton; illustrated by Tony Persiani
Nominated by: Cynthia Leitich Smith

Easy Reader
Watch Me Throw the Ball! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)
by Mo Willems
Nominated by: Melissa

Early Chapter Book
Bad to the Bone (Down Girl and Sit)
by Lucy Nolan; illustrated by Mike Reed
Marshall Cavendish Childrens Books
Nominated by: Jennifer Wharton

Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors
by Joyce Sidman; illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Nominated by: Elizabeth Bird

Graphic Novel
The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook
by Eleanor Davis
Bloomsbury USA
Nominated by: Scope Notes

Middle Grade Fantasy and Science Fiction
Dreamdark: Silksinger (Faeries of Dreamdark)
by Laini Taylor
Putnam Juvenile
Nominated by: Melissa

Middle Grade Fiction
by Laurie Halse Anderson
Simon and Schuster
Nominated by: melissa

Cybils Awards For Young Adult Books

The Frog Scientist
Pamela S. Turner; illustrated by Andy CominsHoughton Mifflin Harcourt
Nominated by: Laurie Thompson

Graphic Novel
Gunnerkrigg Court: Orientation
by Tom Siddell
Archaia Press
Nominated by: Paradox

Fantasy and Science Fiction
by Kristin Cashore
Nominated by: Jenny Moss

Young Adult Fiction
Cracked Up to Be
by Courtney Summers
Nominated by: Robin Prehn

The Cybils blog is a great resource for parents - you can find more information about each of these books, and follow links to other finalists in each category. On the top right hand corner of the Cybils blog, there is a link to a printer-friendly flyer of all the 2009 finalists.

I had the honor and pleasure of serving on the committee for Easy Readers and Short Chapter Books. It was a wonderful experience which deepened my understanding and appreciation of books that are suited for early readers. I'll be sharing more on each of these books in the coming weeks.

All of the links above lead to Amazon. If you purchase a book on Amazon following these links, Great Kid Books receives a small commission (at no cost to you). This will be used to purchase more books to review. Thank you for your support!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Welcome to Poetry Friday!

Welcome to Poetry Friday, a weekly event hosted by the Kidlitosphere online community.  Below you'll find a wonderful treasure of resources to share great poety with children.  I also have a review of an inspirational poetic picture book, Our Children Can Soar.  My review of this books follows. 

I would like to encourage everyone to check out the 2009 Cybils Poetry Finalists.  The Cybils awards are given each year by the online kidlit blogging community.  They are given to books that have both excellent literary merit and outstanding kid appeal. They're a terrific bunch of books, well worth seeking out.  The finalists are:

African Acrostics: A Word in Edgeways
written by Avis Harley
with photographs by Deborah Noyes
Candlewick Press
Nominated by: Becky

The Bill Martin Jr Big Book of Poetry
by Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson
Simon & Schuster
Nominated by: Brie

The Monsterologist: A Memoir in Rhyme
by Bobbi Katz, illustrated by Adam McCauley
Sterling Publishing
Nominated by: Jennifer Donovan

Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors
by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
Houghton Mifflin
Nominated by: Elizabeth Bird

The Tree That Time Built: A Celebration of Nature, Science, and Imagination
by Mary Ann Hoberman and Linda Winston, illustrated by Barbara Fortin
Nominated by: Mary Ann Scheuer

As we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. this weekend, I would like to highlight the inspirational book Our Children Can Soar: A Celebration of Rosa, Barack, and the Pioneers of Change.  Thirteen leading African American artists collaborated to honor the achievements of African Americans, paying tribute to 10 individuals, including George Washington Carver, Ruby Bridges, and Jackie Robinson.  These individual's accomplishments are shown linked together, in a way part of a seamless continuum building on one another.  The illustrations are each in a different style, recognizing the unique work of each artist.  For more on what it meant to the artists, see Jules' interviews at Seven Impossible Things

Our Children Can Soar is certainly striking for its illustrations (striking is an understatement - amazing, is more like it), but the poetic text also lends to its power.  The simple patterned text is so effective because it repeats the central mantra that each of these figures did what they did so that their children could stand on their shoulders. 
Rosa sat so
Martin could march.
Martin marched so
Thurgood could rule
Thurgood ruled so
Barack could run.
Barack ran so
Our children can soar!
As Doret wrote at The Happy Nappy Bookseller, "It takes the reader through the cumulative story of the US Civil Rights Movement, expanding the popular slogan beyond these three heroes to include more key players in the struggle for equality. Spare prose and vivid imagery make this a truly moving and accessible picture book to be savored by readers of all ages."

You can find Our Children Can Soar at a local public library with WorldCat.  I would love feedback to see if this link helps you find this at a library near you.  It is also available in bookstores and Amazon.

We have many new reviews and poems to share today.  If you have a review, please leave a comment and link below or email me at greatkidbooks (at)  I will update these throughout the day.

Charles Ghigna shares an original poem, "A Poem Is A Metaphor" on his Father Goose blog.

Bookie Woogie reviewed The Cuckoo's Haiku, and the Z-Kids were inspired to write some great bird haiku of their own.

Greg has a new poem about "firsts" to share on Gotta Book inspired by the poetry stretch at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

Susan Taylor Brown has a poem, "First Kiss", also inspired by the poetry stretch at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

Carol shares a a Martin Luther King poem called "Standing Tall" by Jamie McKenzie.

Laura Salas shares a poem by Mary Oliver called "The Swan."

Playing by the Book shares a review of All Join In, a collection of poetry and illustrations by Quentin Blake.

Mandy reviews a professional book, Playing with Poems, at Enjoy and Embrace Learning.

At Random Noodling Diane Mayr remembers those who have died in Haiti with Dylan Thomas's "And Death Shall Have No Dominion."

Kurious Kitty has a poem, "Pebble," from The Poetry of Our World: An International Anthology of Contemporary Poetry.

At Write Time, Linda shares a poem by Lyn Lifshin called "The Other Fathers".

Deo Writer shares an original poem about trembling firsts, also inspired by Tricia's poetry stretch.

Sara at Read Write Believe has an entry is about keeping a commonplace book, which enables "wits with short memories" to keep poetry and other important things close.

Karen Edmisten shares a poem by Jane Kenyon, "Briefly It Enters, Briefly Speaks".

Jone at Check It Out: Life in a K5 Library School Setting celebrates William Stafford's birthday with one of her favorite poems: "The Trouble with Reading".

Irene Latham celebratres her 500th post with "To a Skylark" by Percy Bysshe Shelley found on page 500 of the book she'd want with heron a deserted island: The Top 500 Poems, edited by William Harmon. Hearty congratulations for 500 posts!

ShelfElf reminds us that hope matters so much, especially this week, sharing the poem "“Hope” is the thing with feathers" by Emily Dickinson.

Jeannine Atkins writes about how Margarita Engle blends poetry and verse with her novels-in-verse.

Brian Jung, aka Mr. Chompchomp, shares one of his favorite poems for January, "These" by William Carlos Williams, found on PoemHunter.  As he writes, it seems especially fitting right now as we face "desolate, dark weeks / when nature in its barrenness / equals the stupidity of man"

Martha Calderaro also shares a poem that helps her reflect about the tragic earthquake in Haiti.  She shares Marilyn Singer’s poem “Wells” from her collection How to Cross a Pond: Poems about Water

Welcome to Kathy B at Forwords Books - this is her first Poetry Friday.  She is recommending several books for for Tu B'Shevat, the Jewish birthday of the trees, including a Cybils finalist: The Tree That Time Built.

At Becky's Book Reviews, Becky is sharing a speech from Julius Cesear by William Shakespeare from Manga Shakespeare's edition of Julius Caesar.

At Wild Rose Reader, Elaine Magliaro shares "Mouse: An Original Acrostic Poem".  Over at Blue Rose Girls, Elaine also also shares "Winter Dusk," by Walter de la Mare.

At Bildungsroman, Little Willow has posted an Emily Dickinson poem: "The pedigree of honey."

Tiel Aisha Ansari shares an original poem this week about Haiti.

Over at The Miss Rumphius Effect, Tricia shares a poem by Stephen Edgar that she hasn't been able to get out of her mind: "Nocturnal"

Lisa in Little Rock shares a Joyce Sidman poem, "Spelling Bomb" from This is Just to Say; Poems of Apology and Forgiveness.

At Here in the Bonny Glen, Melissa Wiley has a post about Rilke, with an excerpt of “The First Elegy,” from The Duino Elegies.

At Writing and Ruminating, Kelly Fineman has written a post about Marmion by Sir Walter Scott.

At Semicolon, Sherry has a poem called "Christ in the Universe" by Alice Meynell.

Kelly Polark has a limerick and a word game to share.

Miss Erin is sharing an original poem called "i see invisible magicians."

Doraine Bennett has posted a poem from Emily Dickinson today,

At A Year of Reading, Mary Lee has sent a poem about making mistakes by Fleur Adcock.

That's all, folks. Thanks so much for sharing great poetry.

Please note: if you click on the Amazon links for the Cybils finalists, the Amazon Associate links will contribute a small percentage toward the Cybils organization.  If you click on a link on my review, a small percentage will go toward Great Kid Books.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

African Acrostics - a wonderfully creative book of poems (ages 6 - 10)

Hooray for the Cybils! I just discovered a wonderful book of poems that I had not seen before, from the Cybils 2009 Finalists for Poetry! African Acrostics is a wonderfully creative book that families, children and teachers will all love.  Children will be drawn in by the engaging photographs of African animals, but the poetry truly hooks listeners as they enjoy its rhythm and rhyme and try to puzzle out what hidden words are included in each poem.
African Acrostics: A Word in Edgeways
by Avis Harley
Photographs by Deborah Noyes
MA: Candlewick Press, 2009
ages 6 - 10

Each of these 18 inventive acrostic poems features a different African animals. Acrostic poems spell out a word using the initial letters of each line, but Harley's poems go far beyond this simple form. While some poems spell out the animal's name, others spell out more subtle descriptions. The rhino's poem spells out "beauty in the beast," while the giraffe's calls them "cloud friends." Some poems also spell out a different word using the last letter of each line (a double acrostic); there is even a quintuple acrostic with five hidden words arranged vertically.

Finding the hidden word is a fun game, but here it brings surprises and insights into the poet's imagery and descriptions. Harley's poems are deftly written; the patterns within each poem do not make the poem stiff or awkward. The rhythm and rhyme make them perfect for reading aloud.  Here is a poem about the bat-eared fox that fascinated my 3rd grader:
Wild Whispers

Bat-eared fox and wind
In the stalks are
Given to conversation.

Ears such
As these can
Read any breeze, even
Sound out punctuation!

(c) Avis Harley
Each poem is accompanied by a full-page color photograph that shows the featured animal, often echoing the poem's mood.  Deborah Noyes, the photographer, is a former zookeeper. She also wrote and illustrated One Kingdom: Our Lives with Animals. At the end of the book, Harley provides more information about different types of acrostics that you'll want to see if you can try yourself! The following page has short paragraphs of information about each animal.

This book brings a new appreciation for poems that use words "in edgeways."

Avis Harley has written several books of poetry.  I'm especially interested in The Monarch's Progress.  For an insightful, fun interview with Avis Harley, see The Miss Rumphius Effect.  For other fantastic poetry finds, go to today's The Miss Rumphius Effect for all the listings.  Tricia has informed me that January is National Puzzle Month - so this book of acrostic poems fits in perfectly!

The review copy came from my local public library. Find a copy at your local library using WorldCat. Or purchase a copy at your local bookstore or on Amazon. If you make a purchase on Amazon through these links, a small percentage will go to Great Kid Books.  Thank you for your support.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Cybils 2009 finalists: fantastic Early Readers and Short Chapter Books

The Cybils 2009 finalists have been announced, and it's a great collection of books.  Cybils strives to recognize books of the highest literary merit and greatest "kid appeal." Books may be nominated by anyone, and are judged by two different panels of bloggers.

This year, I am particularly pleased that Cybils broadened their category for Early Readers to also include a subset of for Short Chapter Books.  If you are looking for books for your kindergartner, 1st, 2nd or 3rd grader, come check out these books!

2009 Easy Reader Finalists

Dinosaur Hunt (Max Spaniel)
by David Catrow
Orchard Books
Nominated by: Becky

Good Dog, Aggie
by Lori Ries
Nominated by: EM

Mr. Putter & Tabby Spill the Beans
by Cynthia Rylant
Nominated by: Tara Lazar

Shampoodle (Step into Reading)
by Joan Holub
Random House Children's Books
Nominated by: Barbara Eppenger

Watch Me Throw the Ball! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)
by Mo Willems
Nominated by: Melissa

2009 Short Chapter Book Finalists

Alice's Shooting Star
by Tim Kennemore
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

Bad to the Bone (Down Girl and Sit)
by Lucy Nolan
Marshall Cavendish Childrens Books
Nominated by: Jennifer Wharton

How Oliver Olson Changed the World
by Claudia Mills
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Nominated by: Elizabeth Bird

Mercy Watson: Something Wonky This Way Comes
by Kate DiCamillo
Candlewick Press
Nominated by: Alyson

Roscoe Riley Rules #7: Never Race a Runaway Pumpkin
by Katherine Applegate
Nominated by: Terry Doherty

I am thrilled to be participating in Cybils this year as a 2nd round judge for this category - it's an honor.  The 2nd round panel will discuss these books.  Winners will be announced Februrary 14, 2010, Valentine's Day.

Note: the links above will take you to Amazon.  If you make a purchase through Amazon, you will be supporting the Cybils organization in its work to manage these awards.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Birthday for Bear, by Bonny Becker (ages 4 - 7)

Happy birthday to my little bear.  In honor of my oldest daughter's birthday, I would like to take a quick look at a new early chapter book, A Birthday for Bear.  In the classic tradition of Frog and Toad, Bear and Mouse are two friends who are opposites in many ways.  In the first Bear and Mouse story, A Visitor for Bear, Bear is sure that he does not want a visitor.  But Mouse perseveres and convinces Bear that he does want a visitor, and even more, a friend.  Now it is Bear's birthday, and what's a friend to do?
A Birthday for Bear
by Bonny Becker
illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton
MA: Candlewick Press, 2009
Bear doesn't like parties or balloons; Bear HATES birthdays. But all Mouse wants to do is help his friend celebrate his birthday.  First, Mouse shows up waving a party invitation, but Bear can tell that Mouse wrote the card.  Then Mouse comes as a balloon deliveryman, but Bear throws him out again.  In a similar rendition that we saw in A Visitor for Bear, Mouse keeps finding ways to get back into Bear’s house and Bear keeps finding ways to kick him out.  But then you realize that no one had ever given Bear a birthday present before.  In the end, Bear accepts Mouse's friendship and gift, in a warm resolution..

This picture book is set up as an early reader.  It works perfectly as a read-aloud, introducing young children (late preschool or kindergarten) to short chapter books, but I would hesitate recommending it to a 1st or 2nd grader reading trying to read independently.  Young children are obsessed with birthdays, laugh at Bear's grumpy manners, and are satisfied with the resolution.  But the vocabulary would be a challenge for most new readers; some examples are: innocently, shameful trickery, announced, and appalling behavior.  While this vocabulary did not interrupt young listeners' comprehension of the story, it would interrupt a new reader's ability to decode or understand the words fluently.

A Birthday for Bear is nominated for a Cybils Award in the Short Chapter Book category.  My kindergartner definitely enjoyed listening to it as a short chapter book.  Has anyone else read it with children?  Cybils awards recognize both quality of literature and appeal to children.

Find A Birthday for Bear at your local public library on WorldCat or a bookstore near you.  The review copy came from Amazon.  If you purchase it through Amazon on the link below, a small commission will go to Great Kid Books, which will be used to buy more books to review.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice

Most American school children know the story of Rosa Parks.  But few know that before Rosa Parks started her protest, there was a brave young teen who challenged the segregation laws in Montgomery, Alabama.  Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice was just nominated for the National Book Award, and it's a book well worth seeking out.
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice
by Phillip Hoose.
NY: Melanie Kroupa Books, 2009.
ages 10 and up
On March 2, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, fifteen year old Claudette Colvin refused to give her seat to a white woman on a segregated bus.  Claudette was an impassioned teenager who had just learned about her constitutional rights in her history class.  Her friends knew how angry she was at segregation and how unfairly the police treated her, but Claudette quickly found herself avoided or teased by her classmates.  Although Claudette received some help from local civil rights leaders, they decided that she was not suitable to be the public face of a mass protest.  She was young, from a poor family, and had a temper at times.

As Claudette reeled from the lack of support from her friends and the community, she ran into personal trouble and ended up pregnant.  She was sent to Birmingham to have her child, but returned to Montgomery to be part of the protests and live at home.  Claudette was still willing to be part of the protests, and a year later she became a key plaintiff in the landmark case that struck down the segregation laws of Montgomery and swept away the legal underpinnings of the Jim Crow South.

This is an amazing story - I read it in one sitting, it was so engrossing.  Young adults will be drawn into reading about how a teenager wasn't given the respect she deserved by the adults leading the NAACP movement. Claudette showed tremendous courage and determination speaking up against the injustices of segregation, and yet she wasn't even invited to participate in the ceremony to end the Montgomery Bus Boycott. 

This is a great nonfiction book for middle school and high school students.  Phillip Hoose brings the history alive.  He presents clear, descriptive background information, fascinating primary sources from newspapers, pamphlets and flyers, and many first-person accounts from interviews with Claudette and others.  Hoose clearly conveys all the risks of opposing segregation, along with the courage it took to face those risks. This is a compelling read for students who might think they know it all about this period of history.

I'm so glad to see this nominated for the National Book Award, in their Young People's Literature category. There are other great books nominated - see here for more information.  The awards will be presented November 18th.  For more great nonfiction books, check out the weekly Nonfiction Monday.  Today it's hosted by Lori Calabrese.

I purchased this review copy as part of my mock-Newbery book club.  Stop by your local bookstore to find a copy, or find it at your local library.

This books is available online at Amazon. If you make a purchase by clicking through to Amazon, Great Kid Books receives a small percentage, which will be used to buy more books to review.  Below, I've included another fantastic book by Phillip Hoose, We Were There, Too, and the new nonfiction we're reading for our mock-Newbery: Marching For Freedom.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Tree that Time Built - a wonderful new collection of poetry (ages 8 - 14)

I grew up loving the hilarious poems of Shel Silverstein, but I found understanding poetry in high school a challenging transition.  Poems can pack so much in so few words, they can be difficult for children to wrestle with.  I would encourage parents to share a sprinkling of poetry with their children as they grow older.  Just keep reading a few poems every now and then; don't talk lots about them.  A wonderful new collection of poetry, The Tree That Time Built, is a perfect collection for your home.
The Tree That Time Built:
A Celebration of Nature, Science, and Imagination

edited by Mary Ann Hoberman and Linda Winston
ages 8 - 14
Poetry and science both ask us to think about the world around us, to pause and reflect on nature's patterns and rhythms, the plants and animals we see and learn about.  More than that, poetry and science prompt us to ask questions, to explore and to wonder.  This poetry collection helps children think more closely about our natural world, what we see today and the world that was here long before we were.  This collection is organized into chapters about the sea, dinosaurs, trees, reptiles, insects, and more.

I was particularly impressed by the range of poems in this collection, and how they will appeal to children of a wide age range.  Some poems are simple and direct, while others are complex in their vocabulary and images.  A poem can stretch your mind to make you think about nature's design. The footnotes are a particularly helpful feature in this book, providing a great launch into conversations with children about science and poetry.  Here is a lovely poem that makes me think about which came first, the flower or the bee?
by Mary Ann Hoberman

The fickle bee believes it's he
Who profits from the flower;
But as he drinks, the flower thinks
She has him in her power.

Her nectar is the reason
That she blooms, the bee is sure;
But flower knows her nectar
Is there merely for allure.

And as he leaves, the bee believes
He'll sample someone new;
But flower knows that where he goes,
Her pollen's going, too.

(c) Mary Ann Hoberman

Mary Ann Hoberman is the current Children's Poet Laureate for the United States.  She is the author of over 40 books of poetry and fiction for children.  She writes, "As I see it, my mission is to spread the delight of children's poetry and poetry in general, to be a sort of Pied Piper for children's poetry. While continuing to write and recite my own poems, I will also be presenting the work of other wonderful children's poets in talks and readings and videos."

Another lovely thing about this book is that it includes a CD audiobook of many of the poems.  Contemporary poets read their works aloud as well as works by famous poets from past times.

The review copy (an advance reader copy) was kindly provided by Sourcebooks, the publisher.  Mary Ann Hoberman will be visiting many local schools bookstores on her tour to promote the book.  She will be in Berkeley, at the wonderful Mrs. Dalloway's on Wednesday, November 4th. Stop by your local bookstore to find a copy, or find it at your local library.

This books is available online at Amazon. If you make a purchase by clicking through to Amazon, Great Kid Books receives a small percentage, which will be used to buy more books to review.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Cybil Awards - a great resource to check out

I often keep my eye out for awards to clue me into books or movies I want to see.  You've probably heard of the Newbery Medal, the Caldecott Medal, and the Coretta Scott King Award. These awards recognize the best books in a year and are awarded by the American Library Association.  But I'd also like to draw your attention to a special award The CYBILS, the Children's and Young Adults Blogger's Literary Award.

The Cybils reward children's and young adult authors/ illustrators whose books combine the highest literary merit and 'kid appeal.' They also foster a sense of community among bloggers who write about children's and YA literature. One thing I particularly like is how the Cybils covers a wider range of children's books than the other awards.  This year, there is a new award for Short Chapter Books.  These are so important for new readers, and they don't receive much attention.

Nominations for the Cybils are open today! Anyone can nominate any book published in English from October 16, 2008 to October 15, 2009. You  may only nominate one book for each category. Nominations are open from October 1st to October 15. They've got a great form to use: Nomination Form 2009.

When all the nominations are collected, there are panelists in each category who read the books and narrow them down to a shortlist. On January 1st, the finalists are announced and a second group of judges will pick the winners, which are announced on Valentine's Day.

I'm very excited to be part of the judging panel for Easy Readers and Short Chapter Books this year.  It's a an exciting opportunity for me.  I'll be posting about many of the books nominated in this category in the upcoming months.