Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursday?? Where did the week go?

The weeds have overtaken my garden.  The rabbits are eating my peas.  Daily, I fight creeping clutter and still, while I sleep, chaos slinks ever nearer.  AAAAAAHHHH!!!!

Gene and Bill - over at Unshelved - have a GREAT contest for libraries.  Check it out.  Send your funny or amazing or creepy library stories to the publisher and your library could win 4 iPads for circulation.  (Among the staff is what I'm thinking but....)

Storytelling Thursday:
The Lehigh Valley Storytelling Guild rocked the tent on Monday at Mayfair.  Totally.  From Larry Sceurman with his diddley-bow, through Mary Wright, Chaz Kiernan, Tina Fowler, Robin Reichert and moi-meme, we were awesome - if I do say so myself.  Several of us also graced the Kids Stage.  Many thanks to the awesome sound people and stage managers at the Kids Stage and the Esplanade Stage.

Check the Storytelling Page for What's Up Next!

Storytelling Website:
Dianne de Las Casas has a delightfully appealing website with games, advice, books and fun!  Dianna tells in the Louisiana area and writes colorful picture books as well.  Check out her blog to find out what she is up to now.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Oh drat

Sorry about my non-blogging.  I had a very busy Memorial Day Weekend that required bunches of prep work.  I hope to do a real post this evening. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thursday - Storytellers

Jay O'Callahan!  Jay O'Callahan?  JAY O'CALLAHAN!  The name rolls off the tongue.  It's that "O" that sets the name apart.  But Jay O'Callahan is one of America's Premier Storytellers.

Jay tells all original stories;  children's stories that bounce with life and whimsy, personal stories that capture a neighborhood in a bygone era, historical stories that immortalize journeys, adventures, struggles.

Watch Jay as he tells his tribute to space explorers in "Forged in the Stars".

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

21 Balloons

Thanks to Betsy Bird's A Fuse #8 Production, I can share this video of The Twentu One Balloons by William Pene DuBois.  He's ANOTHER of my favorite authors and he made the 100 Top Fiction books list that Betsy put together.

KBWT - for grown-ups

I know that Betsy Bird's A Fuse #8 Production has been featured here before - or at the very least mentioned.  Right now, she is intent on counting down the 100 Top Picture Books and the 100 Best Fiction for children, based on her most recent survey of school and children's librarians. 

This huge undertaking makes great reading, since Betsy not only gives her personal take on each book but a quote from one of the librarians who responded to this survey. 

Every day, Betsy will post 10 or so books from one of these lists until she gets all the way to #1.  Right now, she has reached #61 on the Best Children's Fiction list.  Some of my all time favorites have already been mentioned.   And some books I never read, too.  I like that.  I am always on the prowl for good kids' books, no matter when they were written.

Answer the Phone!

Sometimes, when the phone rings, I have NO desire to answer it.  Really.  HOWEVER, today, I answered the phone and because I was home, I got three storytelling gigs at Mayfair this weekend.  Sometimes, being home and picking up the phone is a profitable thing to do.  So, come out and hear me tell stories, and mess around on the accordion, and teach kids songs at Mayfair in Allentown.  I will be at the Kids Stage Friday evening at 6:15 pm; Saturday from 12 noon to 12:30 pm and Sunday from 6:15 to 7 pm.  On Monday, I will tell stories at the Esplanade Stage from 1:30 to 2 pm.  That gig was already planned.  So, here's my advice.  Answer the PHONE!  It might be Opportunity!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Music on a Rainy Monday

My sister teaches music in elementary schools in California.  I am in awe of how she inspires young children to perform.  Yesterday, she shared Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir with me.   I am ashamed to say, I did not even know who Eric Whitacre was before she mentioned him.  The idea behind the Virtual Choir came when a student sent a YouTube of herself singing one of Eric's compositions to the composer.  He wondered what would happen if he challenged singers from around the globe to send him YouTubes of themselves singing their individual parts of one of his compositions - in the same key and tempo, of course.  The results are amazing - wonderful - moving. Watch one of the results below.

Next life, I'm doing music.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sulky Sunday

 There is a breeze making the trees sigh and whisper.  And someone is mowing the lawn in the next block.  The sun is shining and all is right with the world.  Today is May as May should be, gentle, sweet, shining.

And I don't want to do anything.  No.  Nothing.  Not blog.  Accordion?  No way.   Write?  Nah.  Clean, maybe?  You MUST be kidding.  OK, how about digging up that flowerbed?  You know, the one I plan to plant tomatoes in?  GET OUT OF HERE!!!! 

I don't want to call a friend, visit family members.  To indicate how very far-reaching this sense of Spring-induced ennui has become, I. Don't. Even. Want. To. READ... gasp.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Whatever Wednesday - Jean Craighead George -RIP

 Jean Craighead George has passed away at the age of 92 - God BLESS you, Ms. George.  May your paradise be ever Green and lush with wildlife.  My absolute favorite Jean Craighead George book, well, it's a tie between The Talking Earth and The Missing Gator of Gumbo Limbo.

What is YOUR favorite book by Ms. George?

Another one down.  Maurice Sendak.  Jean Craighead George.  Diana Wynne Jones.  Russell Hoban. Eva Ibbotson. Sid Fleischman.  In the past two years, the children's book world has seen the passing of many iconic authors. 

So, how to cheer myself up?  Weeelllll, I just finished Ripper by Stefan Petrucha

Creepy, scary, suspenseful!  The orphan, Carver Young, is "adopted" by a lame  Pinkerton agent just as a series of gruesome murders hits New York City.  The year is 1895 and the memory of Saucy Jack is fresh in everyone's minds. Carver is caught up in the race to find the killer.  The story is gripping and full of twists and period details.  I am a sucker for good period details.  And I love authors who take the time to let their readers know what is accurate in the book and what is not.  Petrucha's notes at the end of the book make the books so much better.  The book is not for the squeamish, although the descriptions of the murder victims are sketchy.  Still.  Blood and all that.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

KBWT - Look What I Found

At the last StoryFUSION meeting, storytellers and college profs talked about how to involve disciplines other than language, arts, humanities in storytelling, particularly math and science.  As Bill Harley explained in his recent TED Talk (see yesterday's post) , humans, most humans, learn best through stories.  So when I found Open Wide, Look Inside, a blog that shows how children's books relate to math and science, I had to share it with you.

If you do a little exploring, you will be led to The Miss Rumphius Effect, another blog by the same blogger with super thematic lists for different subjects and grade levels.   Remember Miss Rumphius?  She made the world more beautiful, one handful of seeds at a time.

Make the world more beautiful.  Share a book today!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Stories are how we make sense...

 I got an email with this TED talk by Bill Harley, Grammy Award winning storyteller and song-writer, impressive, expressive Bill Harley.

He explains why we all tune in when someone starts to tell a story.  But I'd prefer if you listen to Bill tell it.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

War on WAR!

I'd like to propose that we declare a War on War!  I propose that this is really the only War anyone needs to declare.  Once we stop Warring, we can move on to promoting Peace!  Peace for EVERYONE on the entire planet.  So join me in my War on War - of every kind.  End  Wars on Christmas, Women, Marriage, I Haz Cheezburgers, Texting, Small Children Who Pick Their Noses, Immigration, Proper Grammar, Afghanistan, The West Bank, Wall Street, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hindus, Hawaiian Shirts.  Stop it, NOW!!  Stop with all the unnecessary carnage and verbiage - ESPECIALLY the verbiage - although actually carnage is worse so I am being a tad tongue-in-cheek here. 

I declare a War on all Wars.  Peace is the only way.
This book is a great story about ending war.

This is Storytelling Thursday.  A lot of storytellers share stories that promote understanding and peace.  And a lot of organizations document true stories of people helping one another.  Here are some of those tellers and organizations:

Peace Tales - with Sarah Malone.  Sarah shares stories that encourage peaceful solutions and she works with organizations that promote independence for all.  Check out her links and stories.

Stories of Peace and Justice - from the peace and Justice Support Network of the Mennonite Church USA - lets people tell their own stories of non-violent interaction and neighborliness.  Very cool. is a colorful site offering stories and resources for promoting peaceful thinking among children. 

I have to include the American Friends Service Committee site, even though it is an organization site and not a place to find "stories" packaged as such.  But Friends promote peace everyday, across the globe, across every human barrier.  Go Friends!

Local tellers whose work promotes peace and understanding include Mary Wright, Larry Sceurman, Eva Grayzel and Robin Reichert.  We all do, really.  Check out the Lehigh Valley Storytelling Guild's site to find out who we are.

Robin, in particular, has started on a journey of spiritual awakening.  Her website doesn't do her justice. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

KBWT -a potpourri

When looking for Kids' Books Websites, I usually visit a few search engines and put in terms like children's books, kids' books, reviews of kids books, etc.

Today I did something brilliant.  I borrowed links from my favorite KBWs.  Let others do the work, say I - at least, some of the time.

Enlarge your world by visiting Paper Tigers, a site that features books and authors from Southeast Asia and the Pacific Rim.  Find authors, illustrators, outreach projects, interviews and book reviews on this colorful site.

Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast - This blog is for us bigger people who love all things Kids-Books related.  Some reviews, some interviews, a bunch of awesome links, and some fun.  Check it out.

The Book-A-Day Almanac is excellent!  Every day, Anita Silvey, the blog's author does a lovely job of reviewing one children's book.  Silvey also posts little notes about things that happen each day as well.  This site is fun for readers of all ages.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

I'm Ba-a-a-ack

Well, Cold Cereal  by Adam Rex was a roller coaster of a tongue-in-cheek fantasy/sci-fi/conspiracy novel that better be the beginning of a series because:
1.  The Mom is stuck in Antarctica doing heaven knows what!
2.  The bad guys didn't really get stopped.
3.  There is something about the sudden re-appearance of the Dad.  I'm just saying.  That guy has some 'splainin' to do.
4.  And what about all those gryphons and unicorns and what all, huh? 
5.  So how does the King Arthur connection pan out?
6.  And where is Mr. Wilson?  Talk about 'splainin'!
So, expect a continuation soon.  OR expect to be frustrated for the rest of your lives. 

Adam Rex, Sir,
   You wouldn't really leave us dangling at the edge of this cliff, wondering just exactly what Goodco has cooking down there at the bottom of the world.  Would you?  No.  I didn't think so.  Please let us know - as soon as you can - within reason, of course - like maybe next month? - what is going on with Emily and Erno and Scott and the pooka and the leprechaun and....  Please.

Thank you,

PS  No pressure - honest - We'll just wait patiently, flipping through the pages looking for clues and chewing our nails to the quick.  But, really, it's ok.  Ow!  My fingertip is bleeding.