November around our office is, well–we’re not in the office much because it’s conference season! November is our time of year to bounce from place to place, meeting and greeting and sharing great kids’ books with teachers, librarians, and others who are meeting to make their association connections for the year.
One of our first stops this year is the 2017 National Association for the Education of Young Children and Pajama Press has just sent over early reading copies of three picture books just right for preschoolers and their adult helpers.
Jane Whittingham’s picture book story about Wild One, illustrated by Noel Tuazon, offers a delightfully inspiring romp through active verbs: our little Wild One hangs from the monkey bars like a bat, bounds like a puppy through the grass, and much more. Her many and wholehearted activities make this a great read for anyone heading off to play at the park–or just resting at home, tired from all the action.
Rainy day? A perfect time for baking Baby Cakes with picture book author Theo Heras and illustrator Renné Benoit! Words appear in huge type here, making this a fine choice for kids interested in connected letter recognition to support early reading efforts. Brother, sister, mom, and kitten have their work cut out to get the cake batter made. All turns out well, of course, and a tea party can follow. Good directions for both cake and baking with little ones are included, too.
Sanne Dufft‘s The Night Lion provides a terrific going-to-bed picture book about a brave knight of a boy who needs some assistance when his imagination plays mean tricks on him at night. What could be better company for a brave knight in this situation than a lion?!
From morning to night, sunny and rainy days alike, come by our booth to meet these three beautiful books and lots lots more! At NAEYC, you’ll find us at Booth 720.
September 15 marks the birthday of renowned author Agatha Christie. To celebrate this esteemed writer, who penned 82 mystery novels, we have a hunch that you’re in the mood for some mysteries as well! From the classic whodunit to riddles of a stranger nature, mysteries offer great ways to spark curiosity in readers of all ages, encouraging them to find out what could happen next and if they can guess correctly. So, grab a magnifying glass and a handy notebook as we take a look at some of our favorite mysterious titles.
Will You Help Doug Find His Dog?
An interactive picture book title from Barefoot Books, Will You Help Doug Find His Dog? keeps readers guessing the answer to the very last page. Doug has lost his canine companion at the dog park and needs help finding him. After describing his four-legged friend to readers, Doug asks his audience to whistle, clap, and tickle their way through a group of dogs until the missing pup is found. Written by Jane Caston, and illustrated by Carmen Saldaña, this story encourages a playful response and will have little ones wanting to read it again.
There’s a Walrus in My Bed!
A young boy who is spending his first night in a big boy bed has a large problem in this picture book from Andersen Press, written and illustrated by Ciara Flood. Flynn keeps coming downstairs when he’s supposed to be asleep, claiming that the walrus needs food, blankets, or a glass of milk. In this case, the mystery is for the readers themselves to solve. Is the walrus just an excuse Flynn created, as his parents suspect, or could there really be a giant walrus in Flynn’s bed?
Detective Gordon: A Case in Any Case
Ulf Nilsson and Gitte Spee’s beloved series follows Gordon, a toad detective, and his enterprising assistant, Buffy the mouse, as they take on curious cases. In the latest illustrated chapter book installment, published by Gecko Press, Buffy seeks out Gordon’s help to solve the mystery of strange noises coming from outside the police station each night. Once this mystery is solved, they can get back to what they love best, which includes drinking tea and stamping important papers.
The Artie Conan Doyle Mysteries: The Gravediggers’ Club
Robert J. Harris’ middle grade series harkens back to a different monumental mystery writer. The Artie Conan Doyle Mysteries from Floris Books imagines that the Sherlock Holmes stories were based on adventures that their author, Arthur Conan Doyle, had when he was a boy growing up in Edinburgh, Scotland. In the first installment, Artie and his best friend Ham follow the clues of a ghostly lady in grey and the pawprints of a gigantic hound to discover the secrets of the spooky Gravediggers’ Club.
The Theory of Hummingbirds
Alba has her eyes set on running in the sixth-grade cross-country race as soon as the final cast comes off her “directionally challenged” foot. She’s counting on support from her best friend, Levi, but he is consumed by his latest science obsession—wormholes. Is Levi just dreaming, or does the librarian really have a wormhole in her office? Written by Michelle Kadarusman and published by Pajama Press, this middle grade novel is about friendship, big challenges, and even bigger questions.
One season can change your life, a concept that twelve-year-old Eliot is learning daily as he spends his summer in a place he absolutely detests—Point Aconi, Nova Scotia. As Eliot learns how to perform the mundane tasks well-known to other residents of the small fishing town, he begins to realize that there is more to this seaside village than meets the eye. Why is Mary-Beth always reluctant to go home? How does Miss Gifford always know when trouble is brewing? What’s hidden in the pages of Great-great-grandfather Steen’s diary? Eliot wonders if he’ll find the answers to these prodding questions before the summer’s up. Written by critically-acclaimed author and artist Frank Viva, this work of graphic fiction is about broadening perspectives is published by Toon Books.
When Marion and her mother inherit an old family house, complete with its own private beach, they see it as a wonderful opportunity for a new life. This graphic novel from Lion Forge, written by Mathieu Reynès with art from Valérie Vernay, follows Marion’s exploration of her new town as she begins to uncover unanswered questions and local legends haunting the surrounding area. What secrets are hidden away in the nearby lighthouse, and why does she feel an eerie tie to the lighthouse watchman? As time passes, Marion begins to wonder if this idyllic place isn’t nearly as peaceful as it first appeared.
Five suburban children must fight to keep their world from tearing apart after they discover the body of the world’s most powerful superhero, Plutona, laying discarded in the woods near their school. As they wrestle with how to handle this weighty secret, their personal lives spin dangerously out of control. The real question—who killed Plutona?—lurks in the back of everyone’s mind, but the group of five might not be alive to uncover the whole story if they can’t solve their own problems soon. This dark coming-of-age tale from Image Comics is written by Emi Lenox and Jeff Lemire, with striking art by Emi Lenox and Jordie Bellaire.
How are you celebrating National Grandparents Day, this Sunday, September 10? Grandparents can be amazing! As the caretakers of decades of wisdom, trusted perspectives, and tested values, they share great human riches with their families. Grandparents can be the keepers of communities. Daily, they nurture younger generations to encourage authentic and thoughtful people. Grandparents sometimes create communities under their own roofs, too, opening their homes and hearts to relatives who need a place to stay, whether it be for a short or extended amount of time. Grandparents can also be nurturing, adventurous, inspiring, and make lovable books to share across generations, and we want to celebrate them today.
Here are some books from our publishers for you and your little ones to enjoy for Grandparents Day.
I Love You, Grandma
This lyrical board book from Tiger Tales Books, with illustrations by Rory Tyger, pays tribute to the tender relationship that youngsters have with their grandmothers. Simple text on each page combines with soft illustrations to compose a beautiful poem about the undying love a grandmother has for her grandchild.
Melena’s Jubilee: The Story of a Fresh StartThe morning after a particularly bad day, Melena awakes with a new song in her heart. At breakfast, she shares the song with Gramma, and Gramma, in turn, shares some songs of her own. A story about forgiveness and second chances, Melena’s Jubilee is written by Zetta Elliot, illustrated by Aaron Boyd, and published by Tilbury House.
Ossiri and the Bala Mengro
After her parents explain that they can’t afford to buy Ossiri a musical instrument, the determined Traveler girl decides to create her own musical contraption. She calls it the Tattin Django, and despite the cacophony that emanates from its rustic body, Ossiri’s grandparents encourage her to keep practicing and playing what she feels is in her heart. Published by Child’s Play, this picture book is written by Richard O’Neill and Katharine Quarmby, with illustrations by Hannah Tolson.
How Nivi Got Her Names
Written by Laura Deal and illustrated by Charlene Chua, this story from Inhabit Media introduces traditional Inuit naming and Inuit custom adoption. Nivi’s mom tells her stories of the people for whom she is named, including the grandmother of one of her moms, the grandpa of her anaana (her other mom), and the grandmother of her puukuluk, or birth mother.
Waiting for Sophie
Liam relies on the creativity and carpentry skills of his grandma in this illustrated chapter book from Pajama Press, written by Sarah Ellis and illustrated by Carmen Mok. While Liam impatiently waits for his baby sister to grow into a playmate, Nana-Downstairs teaches him the basics of building and helps him to create a very special machine.
Where Is Grandma?
This story of one boy’s odyssey through the hospital is written and illustrated by Peter Schossow and published by Gecko Press. While his nanny is distracted taking a phone call, Henry sets off on his own in search of his grandmother. He interacts with all kinds of people and overhears all sorts of conversations on his journey, but he won’t let anything stop him until finds his grandma.
Top-Secret Grandad and Me: Death by Tumble Dryer
Middle grade readers looking for a befuddling mystery and a good laugh can delight in a new series by the ever humorous David MacPhail and published by Floris Books. Eleven-year-old Jay Patel is off to solve the hilarious (no, really!) and wacky murders with the help of his (top-secret) ghost sidekick—who is none other than Jay’s grandad, Sanjeev!
Take a moment today to encourage children to spend time with their grandparents. Reading would be a great activity for them to do together. Make sure to snap a photo and post it on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Feel free to tag us (@pubspotlight) and make sure you use #grandparentsday to show off your favorite intergenerational moments with books!
We’re looking forward to seeing all our library friends later this week at the American Library Association’s Annual Conference, in Orlando. Here’s an overview of what we’ll have to share with you, and an invitation to visit us at Booth 2239, where you know that, no matter who you are, we have smiles and good wishes to share with you.
The exhibits open on Friday, at 5:30. come join the festivities during this ribbon cutting reception! Our booth will be fully staffed all exhibit hours, which are are 9-5 on Saturday and Sunday, and 9-2 on Monday. Ellen, Jackson, and Claire Myrick, Along with Mary Burkey and Sharon Grover,will be on hand, with Francisca tweeting from various corners of the conference and booth events.
Oh, and booth events! We have in-booth signings scheduled throughout the weekend, and staff will be participating in other exhibit happenings as well, including the Paizo
program in the Gaming Parlor, Saturday at 10:30, and a program focusing on diversity at 3 that afternoon.
Oh, and the books! We’ll be showing and talking about new titles from AMMO, Two Little Birds, Scotland’s Floris from Steiner, Flying Start, and Free Spirit Press; from Gannon& Wyatt, New Zealand’s Gecko Press, and Karadi Tales, Canada’s Pajama Press, Dutch publisher Lemniscaat; from No Starch Press, Phaidon, Tilbury House, and Tiger Tales. Then there are the audio publishers: L. A. Theatre Works, Live Oak Media, and Brilliance Audio, along with the Sound Learning literacy program from the Audio Publishers Association. Amazon imprints Thomas & Mercer, Lake Union, and Montlake Romance Authors, all for adults, and Two Lions, for kids, will also be at our fingertips–and could be at yours.
Follow us on Twitter @pubspotlight throughout the conference. Our first tip as you pack is to be sure to bring rain gear as showers and thunderstorms are predicted, right now, for every day of the conference.
And bring a smile and a hello! We know Orlando needs both right now and we always enjoy them ourselves and bet you do, too!
by Veronica Crisler, Myrick Marketing and Media Intern
Planting Seeds of Greatness, a month-long global campaign, encourages people to start thinking about the world around them and to use their talents to help build a better future for others. It’s a gentle push to help one another enact change on a global scale.
Sometimes promoting greatness in the lives of children happens through the simple act of handing them an outstanding book to read. Pajama Press, actively advocating social justice through their children’s books, brings to the table two heartwarming stories to plant seeds of greatness in the minds of young readers worldwide.
In a Cloud of Dust, written by Alma Fullerton and illustrated by Brian Deines, tells the story of Anna, a young girl growing up in Tanzania who is dedicated in her studies. Each day, Anna and her classmates are pressed to find enough time to complete their school day before having to walk miles home before the sun sets. When a man from the bicycle library visits the school yard, each child has the opportunity to rent a bike, except Anna, who is the very last in line. Though she has the longest distance to walk home, Anna remains cheerful and passes her knowledge of bicycles on to her friends.
This vividly portrayed and gracefully scripted story empowers children to become more aware of the circumstances of people around them, encouraging them to share knowledge and time without expecting anything in return. Anna’s story shows how one idea can help change a multitude of lives.
Be sure to take a look at our activity page here to expand on this book in programs and classes. Also, check out some of the organizations that donate and distribute bicycles in developing countries like Tanzania.
Elephant Journey, written by Rob Laidlaw and illustrated by Brian Deines, is the touching story of three captive elephants living in the Toronto Zoo. When it’s clear that their health is suffering from the foreign living arrangements and climate, people across Canada and the US begin protesting the mistreatment of these quiet creatures. After two years of petitioning for the elephants to be transferred to the PAWS sanctuary, the City Council is able to make the correct arrangements.
A long, treacherous journey awaits the three gentle giants before their arrival in California. With the help and determination of kind and sensitive people, they safely make it to their new home: a vast sanctuary filled with lush foliage, warm weather, and plenty of space to roam.
Author Rob Laidlaw is the founder of Zoocheck, a wildlife protection charity that promotes and protects the interest and well-being of wild animals. Check out more books by Rob and Pajama Press promoting animal protection and care.
Everybody has seeds of greatness inside. When was the last time you shared a book encouraging those seeds to grow and flourish? We’d love to know!
We’re traveling to Boston today and looking forward to seeing all of you attending the American Library Association’s 2016 Midwinter meeting there! You’ll find us at Booth 1917 in the Exhibits…and why would you want to find us? Because:
We’re bringing cool new picture books, comics, and books for older youth from a variety of quality publishers, including Pajama Press (Canada), Leminscaat (Netherlands), Gecko (New Zealand), Floris Books (Scotland), Karadi Tales (India), Udon Entertainment (Canada/Hong Kong), and, from the United States, Diamond, Tilbury House, Gannon & Wyatt, Namelos, No Starch, and Two Lions.
We’re hosting signings by Rebecca Emberley, Bill Thomson, Licia Morelli and Jennifer E. Morris, and Susan Schwake.
We have a librarian staff who know books, audiobooks, and kids.
Plus, we are a lot of fun and generous, too…hmm, prizes anyone?
One of our wonderful publishers has a holiday book we hope you’ll find time to share next weekend. And to make that easier for you, Jessica has designed some activities to go along with reading and looking at the wonderful illustrations in Tom’s Christmas Fish, from Floris Books.
Set in Prague, this is a story combining both the sweetness of the season with the very real bittersweet need to recreate holiday rituals when we lose family members. This is a book to read again and again, and although it’s a Christmas story, neither the season nor the specific cultural system is necessary to appreciate how Tom and his grandfather celebrate together what they once they celebrated with others.
Here’s a sample….
What the book’s about
The legends relating creation and prehistory that are passed between Inuit generations are collected into a picture book in both English and Inuktitut, displaying the images of a highly regarded First People’s illustrator.
Two Activities for ages 7 up, by Francisca Goldsmith
Activity 1: Origin Stories
Readers select one of the brief stories in the collection and retell it two ways.
Writing equipment with which readers are accustomed to working
After reading the collection and having the opportunity to revisit legends that struck particular chords with each reader, each youth composes two reflective narratives.
The first narrative is a an original retelling of a legend from the reader’s own culture that treats the same theme as the one selected from the book, such as the characters who might be creating the sounds of nature or giant animals that are mistaken for places.
After sharing these narratives, each reader returns to the original legend in the book and, using her own cultural narrative of the same theme, weaves an original story using details from both cultures into a longer short story.
Note: For groups in which speakers and readers of languages besides English are participating, encourage work in multiple languages.
Activity 2: Storyboarding the Tale
Readers select one of the legends and, using the illustration as a guide, create a multi-paneled interpretation.
- Drawing paper or bristol board, depending on group’s expertise
- Pencils and, where appropriate, inking pens
Each reader selects a legend to use as the foundation for his project.
Storyboard the sequence of events as they are told in the text, using the accompanying book illustration as a guide to attributes not described by the text, such as clothing and shapes of the landscape and the characters.
Stories, combining text and images that reveal more content about mood, activity, and consequences, can range from four to ten or more panels depending on the degree of experience and engagement with cartooning work of the group members.
Note: For storyboarding support templates, see Comics Pages from Printable Paper (printablepaper.net/category/comics).
A note about using picture books with older readers
This book is an excellent example of how rich the experience of encountering a picture book can be for older readers. This is an authoritative look into an indigenous culture, recounted and depicted by members of it rather than by outsiders. Because the content is fairly slim, we have the basic concepts and rhythms and the opportunity to expand and build out from these seeds.
To have the text presented in the language and the lettering of its origin is also important and invites discussion of how translation and interpretation can be highly complex. Consider using this book, and these exercises, in teacher training as well as with youth.
Ellen and Mary are in Columbus, Ohio, this weekend, at the annual conference of the American Association of School Librarians. The conference, as AASL ones are, is packed with rich options for continuing development and opportunities for that ever helpful networking need we have to inspire improvements we can make in school libraries, and kids’ lives, locally.
The Publisher Spotlight booth (which is number 441) in the exhibits hall has books from a variety of our publishers, including Gecko, Pajama Press, Karadi Tales, Diamond, No Starch, Udon, Enchanted Lion Books, and Travels with Gannon and Wyatt. We’re also showing more from Workman, Eerdmans, DK, Holiday House, TOON Books, Arte Publico, and Norton. We’ve got a big prize basket for a raffle and a couple of author signings scheduled, too.
In addition to all these good things, we can talk with you about a couple new services and initiatives related to multi-modal literacy. Mary Burkey is on hand to discuss Sound Learning, the Audio Publishers Association’s literacy project. And we have EPIC! in the booth so we can show you how this new e-reouce for books and audiobooks for kids works.
Have a good conference, tweet often, and we’ll retweet you! #aasl15 @pubspotlight