Saturday, May 30, 2009

Yesterday, at Book Expo in NYC, I met Greg Mortensen (Three Cups of Tea), Mo Willems (Don't let the Pigeon Ride the Bus and The Elephant and Piggy series), Ally Carter (The Gallagher Girls series) and Amy Krouse Rosenthal, author of Duck! Rabbit!, and the genius behind the YouTube sensation The Beckoning of Lovely. Watch it please. Then go to Amy's blog Who Is Amy to see what is happening with the Beckoning of Lovely Project.

I love Book Expo (sigh).

I also got an Advance Reader's Copy of Book 2 in The Hunger Games trilogy, Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. I want to read it AND I DON'T want to read it. It's so weird. I know that once I start I will not be able to put it down and THEN I will want to know what happens next. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT??? I get to know, 3 full months before the general public, what happens to Katniss and Gale and Peetah and Prim and Haymitch and ... and then, I will have to wait LONGER than everyone else to find out what happens THEN. I will succumb soon to the call of a breath-taking, suspenseful, gripping post-apocalyptic tale, I'm sure. How soon is anybody's guess. What odds will you give me?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

So much has happened in the past two weeks! My brother, Daniel, was home for a short visit from Japan, with his wife, Kana, and their son, Hugo. The visit was too short.

Then there was Children's Book Week, which will end tomorrow. So the library had a wonderful drop-in program to celebrate the week and the One Book, Every Young Child selection of this year, If You Were a Penguin.

AND, there was the Parkland Festival of the Arts that began on Thursday and finished up today. I hope that went well. I wouldn't know BECAUSE I am in Richmond, VA, as I type this. We attended the wedding of our best friends' youngest son.

The excitement will not end here because I have more traveling in the near future.

I finally finished Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and I want to read parts of it again. I was so involved in this book that I was actually shivering during some of the scenes in the Arena. Collins imagines a future so unfair, and so debauched that it is truly terrifying. No wonder Hunger Games won The Battle of the (Kids') Books this year.

I also read Saxby Smart, Private Detective - the Curse of the Ancient Mask and other case files by Simon Cheshire. Saxby is Britain's answer to Encyclopedia Brown. He's a bit younger and his cases require more work to solve. The reader is invited to guess what Saxby has deduced from several clues. Then he reveals all. I got most of the deductions right!! I could be a ten-year-old private eye, if I wasn't already more than 5 times that age. Sigh.

Right now I am reading the Klise sisters new book, Dying to Meet You : 43 Cemetery Road. A combination of letter, and newspaper clippings, Kate Klise's story and M. Sarah Klise's illustrations tell the tale of an abandoned 11-year-old boy, a ghost, a grumpy writer and a very old house and they tell it very well.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Okay, I lied. My next post was a poem. But I'm ready to share book reviews and book review sites again.

I am surprised and distressed that I have not written about Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas. This is one of the books I found on "Read It First". I'm SURE I wrote about this already. But where?

Okay, so Hennie is 86 years old and her daughter, Mae, wants Hennie to leave Middle Swan, a gold mining town in Colorado. The year is 1936. As winter approaches, a new couple moves into town and the young wife stops by Hennie's fence where her late husband hung a sign, as a joke, that reads "Prayers for Sale." This meeting leads to friendship and stories, lots of wonderful stories.

I loved the way the book was structured. Dallas drops hints about the events of the last few chapters in a way that piques interest but doesn't intrude on the story at hand. When all the puzzle pieces fall in place, there is a sense of release and relief.

So here's the short version. Gold mining town, the Depression, Old Woman, Young Woman, friends, love, friendship, lots of local color and some hard choices.

Here's a new book review site I found on one of my other book review sites, Twenty by Jenny.
Jenny has been a book editor, and a teacher and a mother. She reviews books and book related toys that she considers the best for different age groups. Her reviews link to an online bookstore in case you just have to have the book.

My best experience with was when I won a Christmas gift basket during their Christmas book giveaway. (Now, I KNOW there is a Santa Claus.) The site is text heavy with links to dozens and dozens of book reviews, some of the Best Seller/Hot Author variety, some more unusual. The people behind BookReporter also fuel the book review sites Teenreads and Kidsreads. I subscribe to those two newsletters so I don't visit the sites that often but the sites offer some great features, such as a link to reviews of Great Books for Boys.

So, I have kept my promise to share some more book review websites, though a post late. My work here is done.

She waddled beside me.
Pushed her bag up
on her shoulder
as I did.
Her head forward,
her coat flapped open.
As I closed my collar,
she did, too.

Did she realize,
I wondered,
she could be seen as
foolish, unkempt
and frumpy?

I arrived then,
and turned
to open the door.
And she stared me
in the face,
in the glass.