Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Robbi Kumalo at Godfrey Daniels

Join me on Sunday, February 2nd, at 2 pm at Godfrey Daniels as I absorb the wonderfulness that is Robbi Kumalo.  She has a voice like honey.  No lie. And she gets the kids up and moving.  Alone, or with her family of musicians, Robbi is a spellbinding performer.

So, if you live in the Lehigh Valley, or Southeastern or East Central PA or western NJ, get your self over to Godfrey's on Sunday.   Admission is $4.50 for anyone 5 years old and older and free for the littles!  And all children get free books from Cops'n'Kids.  This concert is made possible by the Lehigh Valley Storytelling Guild and the Eastern PA Arts Alliance

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Squirrel Appreciation Day - KBWT

Children's Book Almanac is celebrating Squirrel Appreciation Day by spotlighting Scaredy Squirrel!
Here's a pic of Scaredy and a buddy taken from the Scaredy Squirrel Fan Page on Facebook!

If you don't already know Scaredy Squirrel, this warning poster will give you an idea of his priorities.
Here's Scaredy's website - just for some extremely careful fun.

90-second Newberys Revisited

It is THAT time again - time to enjoy the efforts of classes and kids - yay, verily, even adults - all over America to produce a 90 second video that captures the essence of a Newbery book.  Go to 90-Second Newbery Film Festival's Facebook page and click "Like" to get the latest on this competition.  Or scoot on over to James Kennedy's 90-Second Newbery Film Festival page.

Alas, the deadline for this year's entries was yesterday.  But here's a way to remember when those videos are due.  They are always due a week or two BEFORE the Newbery and Caldecott winners are announce.  And the Newbery and Caldecott winners are announced on the last Monday of January OR the First day of the ALA Mid-Winter Gathering.  This is my unofficial reckoning of when these awards are announced.  So, get those videos in by the second week of January and you should be on time.

You can make your own 90-second video.  If you start now, it will be in Top Shape by next January.  Check out the entire list of Award winners here.

Watch this delightful video developed by Chicago's Elephant and Worm Theater Company - Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH!

Monday, January 20, 2014


In The Interrupted Tale by Maryrose Wood, Penelope Lumley and her three raised-by-wolves charges, Beowulf, Alexander and Cassandra - or Cassawoo - travel to the Swanburne School for Poor Bright Females to attend the CAKE.  (That's the "Celebrate Alumnae Knowledge Exposition".)  In the meantime, Penelope continues to unravel the mysteries of her own background, the sinister Judge Quinzy's true identity, and Lord Ashton's odd behavior at the full moon.  And there is also the matter of a certain journal that may or may not tell of cannibals and shipwrecks concerning the Ashton progenitors.

Swanburne Academy is under fire and may undergo awful changes.  Penelope and her charges are distracted by the journal and Judge Quinzy.  The narrator produces many diverting, amusing and illuminating parenthetical remarks. 

I would like to learn the mysterious beginnings that Penelope and her three delightful students seem to share.  But, I am more pleased that this series will have to continue in order that those mysteries be revealed.  Carry on, Brave Swanburne Girl!  I like the cut of your jib.


 I will never, ever, EVER, EVER, eat feedlot beef again - ever.  Zombie Baseball Beatdown  by  National Book Award Finalist Paolo Bacigalupi is the story of three boys, their baseball team and the feedlots and meat packing plant that dominate their town.  This book is not for the weak of stomach - but, actually, I got through it.  I even, sort of, enjoyed reading it - except for the I-hate-zombies-more-than-anything part.

The story - a very very short synopsis:
Three best friends, Rabi, Miguel and Joe, discover frightening meat processing practices at a local plant after their baseball coach turns into a brain-sucking zombie.  All I can add to that is - I am glad the boys had their baseball bats with them.  Nuff said.

I'd suggest this read for readers in fifth grade and up and anyone who enjoys vampire/zombie/warlock/demon/sci-fi video games and comic books.  There is not enough detail in here to get most people upset but young readers who are easily frightened should read something else.  And stay away from the burgers.  I'm done.


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Storytelling Update

Story Cabaret was so much fun.  I got to see people I haven't seen in a long time!!  My presentation was well-received.  The other storyteller was delightful.  But the best part of Story Cabaret - as far as I am concerned - is when the audience gets up and shares stories.  There are so many great stories out there and so many natural storytellers.  Many, many thanks to Mary Wright for making Story Cabaret happen.

Larry Sceurman's show at Godfrey Daniels this afternoon was very well-attended.  Lots of kids, lots of parents and grandparents and even some unattended adults.  Godfrey Daniels is such a cozy place to hang around afterwards, too.  Many thanks to Ingrid Bohn and Barbara Sceurman for helping behind the counter.  Larry, you rock.

SLJ's Battle of the Books announced.

It's official.  The books have been chosen and I have ONLY read THREE of them.  I have a lot of reading to do.  A blessing and a curse.

Click here to see what to read before March 13th when the competition begins.

Oh what the heck!  Here's the list

THE ANIMAL BOOK by Steve Jenkins
A CORNER OF WHITE by Jaclyn Moriarty
DOLL BONES by Holly Black
ELEANOR AND PARK by Rainbow Rowell
FAR FAR AWAY by Tom McNeal
FLORA & ULYSSES by Kate DiCamillo
HOKEY POKEY by Jerry Spinelli
MARCH BOOK ONE by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
MIDWINTERBLOOD by Marcus Sedgwick
P.S. BE ELEVEN by Rita Williams-Garcia
ROSE UNDER FIRE by Elizabeth Wein
THE THING ABOUT LUCK by Cynthia Kadohata
Well, whoop-de-doo.  I read FOUR of them.  Time to get serious.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Reboots and Second Chances

Do-Overs.  That's what we need, chances to do things right this time.  If you want to hear stories about Second Chances, Reboots and Do-Overs, come out to Touchstone Theatre, 321 E. 4th Street, Bethlehem, PA 18015, on Friday night, Jan. 17th at 8 pm, for a Story Cabaret,  Admission is $10 but the tellers are awesome.
A promise of things to come.

Psst.  Over here.  You may not have noticed but a new year started 2 weeks ago.  You know what that means.  You have a whole year in which to do all the things you promised to do last year.  Right?  Like, um, get organized.  Put your finances in order.  I am not even going to mention the, how should I put it? - size thing at all.

Maybe you were going to keep your house looking like a model home last year.  Maybe you were going to finally invent that gadget for corralling the kids' toys.  That book?  You will get it written this year.  Or that business plan - this is YOUR year, buckos and buckettes.

Right?  It will all get done.  You have been given another brand new year.  It's like freshly fallen snow, completely unsullied by any bird's twig-like footprints or boot tracks.  The new year lies in front of you like a white field, just waiting for you to break a trail.  Yeah.

I could tell you stories about all the second chances I had and lost.  And I will tell some of those stories on Friday night.  Join me.  I may even bring the accordion.  If enough of you show up, I promise not to play it...

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New from Tony Abbott

Ah, The Secrets of Droon! Around about the time that Harry Potter swept up most middle grade and older readers, Tony Abbott produced a series of fantasy books for upper elementary readers.  At a higher reading level than The Magic Tree House, Secrets of Droon was an exciting, fun bridge to more challenging fantasy.  And it gave young readers a magic world of their own.

Abbot has written many more adventures, exciting AND funny. 

Now Tony Abbott introduces The Copernicus Legacy.  This looks like it will give Percy Jackson a run for his money.  Click on the link above for a chance to win a trip to NYC to meet Tony Abbott.  In the meantime, hightail it to a bookstore or library and pick up The Forbidden Stone.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Baby Bear

Watch this sweet book trailer for Kadir Nelson's new book, Baby Bear.
The book is on sale today, Jan. 7, 2014.  Check your favorite bookstore - like this one.  

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!!

It's 2014.  And we didn't even need to do anything to make this happen.

No looking back this year.  2013 - well, it's over, isn't it?  Here are the things I am looking forward to in 2014.

Great Storytelling!!  Children's Winter Series  at Godfrey Daniels starts on Sunday, Jan. 5th.  I am antsy for that to start, already.

Great writing!  I know.  Except for a short-lived (1 and 1/2 years) column in a weekly paper, I have never published anything.  This is the year.  I know it.

Great family!  My Mom is healthy.  My siblings are all well.  My son and daughter-in-law are thriving. My granddaughter is growing, growing, growing.  My Hub is still supporting me and loving me.  And I love him.

Great reading!  Rachel sent me a pirate book suggestion; I have it on my Nook right now.  It's time to start reading because book review sessions are just a few months away.

Youth telling!!  We have a contest planned - the Pennsylvania Youth Storytelling Showcase - in April.  We need young tellers.  Give me a shout out if you are interested.

And the best of everything, everywhere - for me and mine and especially, my friends, for you and yours.