Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bon Appétit!

Happy 100th birthday, Julia Child. Changing the way we cook, the way we eat and the way we think about food, Julia Child made a difference in our lives. Despite not cooking until she was 32 years old, Julia found her passion when she was in her beloved France. She learned to cook and began to write with her new friends. She overcame obstacles- her age, her size, her gender, rejection letters and the little red pen of her editor. Julia taught us to think about what we eat. To shop for the best at our local markets. To use what was in season. To enjoy eating. Oh! And use real butter- lots of it!

So for today, in honor of Julia, skip the fast food. Shop for local fresh food. Make dinner an event. Go out to eat at a French restaurant. Be brave and make her famous bouef bourguignon. (You won’t find a better recipe and the video from ABC is wonderful.) Watch a video episode of her live television show. Go to the Smithsonian and see her marvelous kitchen. Wear pearls. And laugh. Laugh at your troubles. Laugh at yourself.

If there is a child in your life, share a wonderful picture book. Bon Appétit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child by Jessie Hartland tells the life story of Julia. From her childhood as a prankster to her spy missions in WWII to the famous American chef, Hartland shares the real Julia with us. Complete with recipes and sprinkled with French words and phrases, the life of Julia and the obstacles she overcame will encourage every child. Read about Hartland's inspiration behind the story. (Doesn't everyone want to know where stories come from?) No matter how tall you are, what your family wants you to be or what your interests are, Julia teaches even the children to admit your mistakes, learn from them, laugh at them and enjoy being who you are. Bon appétit!

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Rock is Lively

Using beautiful watercolor illustrations (they aren’t photographs?!), Sylvia Long illustrates Dianna Hutts Aston’s text in the award-winning creative style of An Egg is Quiet, A Seed is Sleepy and A Butterfly is Patient. Young readers will delight in the facts that are revealed as we learn about how rocks are created and how we use them. A Rock is Lively is just the thing to add a much needed boost to your "rock books." Are there ever enough?

For middle school students, you may want to check out Rocks and the People Who Love Them by Nel Yomtov. Published by Capstone’s Graphic Library, this nonfiction book uses graphic novel format to both inform and entertain. In addition to supporting earth science curriculum, teachers can use the back matter as they teach students how to research- and connecting to the common core curriculum.
Enslow’s Weird But True Science series includes a rock title for our primary nonfiction readers. In Weird But True Rocks by Carmen Bredeson, we learn that pumice floats and flint sparks. Complete with “Words to Know”, pronunciation guides and a two page spread on each rock, this title will educate your readers on their reading level.

If you're looking for support material, there are free lesson plans at Discovery Education for middle grades. The Geological Society of America is also a resource of lesson plans and other resources for grades, K-12. And don't forget about the US Geological Survey site. From maps to multimedia, there are plenty of resources for your teaching of earth science.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sigh of Relief for Picture Books

It’s the last day of my first week as the new Director of Library Outreach for Junior Library Guild. I’ve spent the week moving into my office space, meeting with key staff to learn more about the company and processed what I’ve heard so that I can apply it to my new job. It would appear it will take more time to learn what I need to know and to determine what my job is really all about.

Thankfully, today the new books came from the warehouse to the marketing area for us to see. I know what to do with new books. READ!! I took the picture book on top (and a few more if you want to know the truth) and settled into my office.
Spike the Mixed-up Monster by Susan Hood and Melissa Sweet is a charming bilingual story about a monster who is really not so scary. In fact, his growl is more like a smile. When a real scary Gila monster arrives at the pond, Spike saves the day. How? You’ll have to read that story for yourself. (January 2013, JLG release date)
Besides that fact that the story is charming and the illustrations are brilliant, there are also three pages of facts about the animals in the back matter. Complete with photographs, we learn about the main characters in the story. For example, Spike is an axolotl, a Mexican salamander. These amazing animals can only be found naturally in two places in the world- Lake Chalco and Lake Xochimilco. Gila monsters hunt with their tongues. Mexican voles have teeth that never stop growing so they have to gnaw to keep their teeth from getting too long. They also eat their body weight in food every 24 hours.

See how much you can learn from a picture book? Where’s my next one? Oh yes, A Rock is Lively… Stay tuned. I’ll be right back.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

SummerTeen: A Celebration of Young Adult Literature

It’s not too late to register for a once in a lifetime opportunity. SLJ is hosting SummerTeen: A Celebration of Young Adult Books on Thursday, August 9. Twenty one young adult authors will discuss their upcoming books- just in time for your fall book orders. Featuring keynote speaker, Caroline Cooney, this day long celebration of literacy has a huge bonus. It’s online! You can participate from home in your pajamas or at the beach in your bathing suit. (Well, maybe not the beach if you live in Columbus, Ohio.)

Beginning at 10:30 EST and ending at 5:30 EST, watch book trailers, listen to panels, visit the virtual exhibit floor and even chat with authors in the virtual lounge. This event is a must for those of us who work with young adults- school library, public library and even parents of YAs. For that matter you may want to invite your teens together for a day long lounge-about and let them participate too.

Even better, now that I am officially in my new job as Director of Library Outreach for Junior Library Guild, I can offer you a great registration discount. Simply clickon this link and enter this code, SMRTNJLG, on checkout to claim your 50% off discount. See you online!