Monday, January 21, 2013

Dad's birthday

My Dad turns 90 in a couple of weeks.  That's 9 - 0.  10 x 9.  Lots of months, even more weeks, slews and slews of days and we won't even THINK about how many minutes he has lived.

We are throwing him a party on February 16th at 2 pm at his home parish's hall.  I can't wait.  It will be so much fun. 

Here's my Dad when he was a young man.
I wonder if he ever imagined what his life would hold.    He served as a medic, here in the States, married, had nine children, took in a couple of wonderful Cuban teens, built his own business, served as a deacon in the Church, saved someone's life when he was 84 or 85!  He helped everyone he met.  He is awesome, irascible, stubborn and incredibly kind.

Love you, Dad!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Kathy Long at Godfreys

The Children's Series at Godfrey Daniels started two weeks ago with Larry Sceurman telling magical stories, including an awesome re-telling of "The Five Chinese Brothers".  He used the Chinese linking rings with that story.  So much fun.

This Sunday, January 20th, the featured teller at Godfrey Daniels is Kathy Long!!!  The fun starts at 2 pm.  Kathy telling has a droll side.  She keeps you leaning forward as she winds through her stories.  Don't miss her wonderful performance.

Kathy has also written and illustrated a couple of books.  One features the Bethlehem Star that sits on South Mountain.  Kathy will sell and sign her books and CDs after the storytelling event. 

Join the fun at Godfrey Daniels on Sunday, January 20th at 2 pm.  Admission is $4.50.  Children under five attend free.  And Cops'n'Kids will be there handing out FREE books.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Out of Sync KBWT

This week is out of sync.  On Tuesday, I thought it was Monday -missed an appointment on Monday - sigh.

So today, I want to remind you about figment - a writing and reading website for teens. Which is the kind of thing I usually share on Tuesday.  Out of sync, like I said.

Here it is - - a website for young writers and a great place to learn about hot books for young adults - 15 and up! Some are fine for younger readers.  I just want you to know this is a site you can grow with.

Sign up for their weekly newsletter.  Today, I took a quiz to see if I have ESP. (I'm Possibly Psychic - which is better than clueless, I guess.)  But, you can write fanfic to win prizes; enter contests of all kinds; learn about awesome new books, films, music and TV shows - all of which require good writers. 

Check it out and have fun. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Interactive? Hmmm, imteresting

Interactive!  That is one of the most popular words in publishing for children.  Make the book "interactive" and it will sell.  Anyone who has gone to a baby shower lately knows that lift-the-flap books and pop-up books are all the rage.

My favorite interactive book is Press Here by Herve Tullet.  My son tells me that this book has his one year old daughter pressing everything in every other book she owns.  "Every book is a Press Here book." He tells me.

There are no moveable parts in Press Here but it is hugely interactive.  (BTW, the website is interactive as well.  Check it out.) What does that mean?

Any book that encourages a child to study its pages, do something with the pages, or even do something other than look and read is an interactive book.  Coloring books, Choose-your-own-adventure books, pop-up books, lift-the-flap books, puzzle books, activity books, craft books, cook books - all interactive.

The best of children's literature is "interactive" because the child becomes involved in what they are reading.  Even if the child is only turning pages, books that absorb a child's imagination, that move a child into the action, - those books are "interactive".

Most  of the current "interactive" books are designed for young children - up to about 8 or 9 years old.  (After that craft books, cook books, mysteries, adventures take over.)  Ask any librarian.  Look and Find books like Walter Wick and Jean Marzollo's I Spy  series, or the Where's Waldo series are some of the hardest used books in the library.

Here are the websites - usually interactive as well - of these books and series.

Press Here  Press a series of dots and watch what unfolds.  The website offers activities and printables to prolong the fun.

I Spy - Scholastic has online games, puzzles and more on the Official I Spy website.  As well as adverts for the books and video games.

Kidsbooks - Activity books, search and find books, non-fiction - these books are sold in discount stores, grocery stores and drugstores and they are colorful and a lot of fun.  Check out the Kids Page on their website for online fun.

Where's Waldo  There are two websites that claim to be the official website for Where's Waldo? and .  Check them both out.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Hokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli

Ahhhhhh!!!  Wow!  Whoooaaa!  Sigh.  (Grabs a tissue)  Oh my!

Hokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli is a fantasy that ties up all the best things in a boy's childhood - bikes, cartoons, battles with girls, best buddies, Little Kids, Big Kids with some of the worst things in anyone's childhood - being bullied, getting hurt, fear, - all in the land of Hokey Pokey.

The care that adults give is relegated to the Hokey Pokey man and Snuggle Stop and safe havens for Tantrums and a "Don't" sign.  In Hokey Pokey all there are, are kids - who play and ride and have wonderful adventures.

Jack is our hero.  His wild mustang bike, Scramjet, is stolen while he sleeps.  By a girl.  No, by THE girl.  And he calls his Amigos to help him reclaim it.  But even before that happens, even before he wakes up, something is different.

This is an ode to what we remember of childhoods in our happiest dreams.  Racing down hills with the wind in our hair, jumping in puddles, laughing and screeching and twirling in abandon.   And it is an ode to that day when our childhoods begin to change.

And when the book is done, adult readers will go  "Ahhhh!  Wow! Whoooaaa!  Sigh."  The more sentimental of us will grab a tissue.  Read Hokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli.

P.S.  Kids will like it, too.  Because even when kids are happiest, they yearn to be bigger.  And the adventures Jack and Dusty and LaJo have are awesome.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Children's Storytelling Series

The Lehigh Valley Storytelling Guild and Godfrey Daniels offer the 2013 Children's Series!  It all begins on Sunday, January 6th at 2 pm at Godfrey's, of course.  Larry Sceurman shares wonderful tales and tricks for children of all ages.  Cost is $4.50.  Children under five are free and every child receives a FREE BOOK from Cops 'n' Kids.  So join us.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

So, This is the New Year...

I hope you had fun.  (Apologies to JL.)  This is the time when we make grand promises for the New Year, such as:
I WILL lose weight.  (We forget about the "Gain it Back" part.)
I will review a book every single day and two on holidays. (hahahahahaha)
I will get organized... OR
I will learn to "let go". There are so many ways to interpret THAT resolution.

So, here are my resolutions.
I will quit groups that don't work for me.
I will pare down my FB friends to people I actually know and with whom I share fond memories.
I will read.
I will write.
I will review books.
I will make things.

I recently read Renegade Magic by Stephanie Burgis, the follow-up to Kat, Incorrigible.  I so adored Kat, Incorrigible.  It was one of my top five books of 2011.  And Renegade Magic does not disappoint. 

The trouble begins at Kat's oldest sister's wedding.  An enraged woman demands that the wedding be stopped because her son was enchanted!!!  Oh, no!  But her son is not getting married to Elissa.  He is merely standing up for the groom.  He is very much in love with Kat's middle sister, Angeline.  To whom he IS engaged.  But he can't be any more unless he wants to forfeit all his money until the ripe old age of 30.  And soooooo.....

Kat's stepmama has a plan to find a suitable fiance for her magically endowed step-daughter.  She will take the family to Bath where all the most eligible bachelors hang out.

Throw in the wild and magical qualities of the waters at Bath, and Kat's sudden loss of Magical Power due to the evil machinations of some of the Guardians in charge of said power.  (Read the first book.  This part IS a little confusing without the background.  But persevere.  All will out.)  Oh, and Kat's hapless brother Charles who has never met a bet he wouldn't take.  And Papa's penchant for staying out of the picture and never seeming to notice.  AND Angeline's headstrong character.

 Yep, add it all together and you have a Regency Fantasy Quasi-Romance for middle schoolers that will get them all ready - and even eager - for Jane Austen.  Kat is awesome.  I can't wait for Book 3!

BUT!  We can all read the first three chapters of Book 3 on Stephanie Burgis' website.  And Burgis has posted a FREE Kat short story.  Check it out. 

2013 is looking brighter every minute!