Tuesday, November 26, 2013

5 Ways to Celebrate the Season With Children's Books

Rather than just give you a list of my favorite holiday books, I thought I would scour Libraryland & Children's Book World to find you some fun ways to incorporate children's books into your holiday. Ready? Grab some cocoa if you need to...

1. I came across this post at Delightful Children's Books blog and screamed, "yes"! This is truly awesome! A Bookish Advent Calendar. Why didn't I think of that? The best part it, you can use books you already own, or add a few titles you find at the Library!

Now to be fair, I do have a similar ritual. Before holidays, I ransack my kids bookshelves at home to find those hidden book fair paperbacks and other titles that lend themselves to the particular holiday. Then I leave them in a pile to make sure we get to them. My house is just crazy enough that it's unlikely we could do 24 straight nights, but the intent is there. Don't sweat it. If you miss a night, double up the next evening. Many of my favorite titles are included in this list too!

2. Onto gift-giving. Did you know the Connecticut Library Consortium puts out the annual
"Best Books for Children: A List for Holiday Giving"
Compiled by CLC member librarians, often including Ms Patty and myself. It should be out soon and I will update this link with it.  Librarians from all around the State contribute and come up with great titles. So here's how to give them - courtesy of The First Hundred blog by Rebecca.  

3. A classic gift-giving idea that you can't go wrong with is a framed illustration from a vintage children's book. Check out all the library book sales you see advertised and find your gift for super cheap! And if that requires too much effort, just check out Etsy where you can find some really adorable vintage illustrations ready to frame.

4. Pop-up books. Since they have that 'special' quality to them, they are perfect for holiday giving. My younger daughter has always adored them, so I always buy her one for her birthday and/or Christmas. Here are some of her faves:

You can't go wrong with Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart, but there are a ton of them out there. These don't even include all the ones about Christmas and winter. Here's what I'm thinking of giving her this year, but don't tell.

5. Decorating. I had to share this great idea for a tree, courtesy of my kids' art teacher. Each year their school PTO donates a tree decorated by the kids to the Wadsworth Atheneum's Festival of Trees. This year, we did a Dr. Seuss inspired tree that came out adorable! I don't have a photo yet, but check out this example at apopofpretty.com
or look for ideas on Pinterest

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Sad Goodbye

On Monday we learned that Barbara Park, best-selling author of the Junie B. Jones books, passed away from ovarian cancer. I was truly saddened to hear for a variety reasons - she was too young, ovarian cancer is just awful, and what would become of that smart-mouthed kid that I have known for years? But mostly because she brought laughter to my house many times when I would read her books to my daughters.
Both my girls loved the Junie B. books. I know some parents weren't fond of the sassy, trouble-maker who didn't always use correct grammar.  In fact, while her books sold some 55 million copies in North America alone, they were often banned in homes and sometimes schools.

But none of that mattered to my daughters and I when we would snuggle up in bed and literally ROFL (roll on floor laughing) at Junie B.'s antics. My girls were in kindergarten or first grade when they went through their Junie B. phase, and while they tried to read some of the text, they often got tired easily and I would take over. We amassed a collection of Junie B. paperbacks that spanned from Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus to Junie B. Jones, First Grader: Aloha-ha-ha.  One of the best thing about Junie B. was that maybe your child wouldn't be fresh to her teacher or call her friend a stupid-head or do something not-so-nice to her baby brother, but Junie B. could. And did. And maybe that was enough so you didn't have to.
Anyway, I read this quote from the Reuters article about her death, and it really captured my families love for what she created and what it meant to us.

The author once said some people measure the value of a children's book in terms of morals lessons it tries to impose or role models it depicts, but she did not agree.
"Personally, I happen to think that a book is of extraordinary value if it gives the reader nothing more than a smile or two. In fact, I happen to think that's huge," she said.

I leave you with my tribute to Barbara. A picture of my younger daughter from a theater production of Junie B. Jones: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells. See, I told you we really loved Junie B.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

2 Great CT Children's Book Events!

 I just had to share info about these 2 great events that are happening in CT beginning the weekend of Nov 9th!

This one you may know about as it happens every year, but it's always a good time (even if you just go to see the book characters or get signed books!) Some authors I'd like to see include Nick Bruel (Bad Kitty), Diane DeGroat (Gilbert & friends), and Jarrett Krosoczka (Lunch Lady). Just a note - be sure to stop at the UConn Dairy Bar while in Storrs.

22nd Annual CT Children's Book Fair

 Saturday & Sunday
November 9-10, 2013
10:00 am until 5:00 pm / Univ. of CT campus

 The second event kicks off Nov 9 at the New Britain Museum of American Art. having grown up not too far from there, this museum holds a special place in my heart. My kids often take some of their great art classes too. I am thrilled that they are having an exhibit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are! (I've already booked a trip for my Girl Scout troop!)

 Maurice Sendak

Nov. 9, 2013–Feb. 9, 2014 

Maurice Sendak will be comprised of 65 works, culled to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Sendak’s beloved Where the Wild Things Are.
Also in the gallery will be a film, documentaries, a reading table for children and families, and an interactive art-making area.