Hello, Orlando!

ALA HaikuWe’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, booksignings adand 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!

 

Planting Seeds of Greatness

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. 51PQMyrVm8L._SX449_BO1,204,203,200_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 51NOov1-BJL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_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!

 

Welcome to Boston and #alamw16

ALA Jan 2016 20x2 banner

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 The_Boy_Who_Drew_Catsof 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’ve got audiobooks and audiobook programming information from Oasis, AudioFile Magazine, and the Audio Publishers Association’s literacy initiative, Sound Learning APA.

EMMA_SC_FRONT_Fin1We’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?

A special book to share this Christmas

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 3.06.00 PMOne 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.

Have you ever looked at our Book Activities?

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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.

Supplies

Writing equipment with which readers are accustomed to working

Activity

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.

Supplies

  • Drawing paper or bristol board, depending on group’s expertise
  • Pencils and, where appropriate, inking pens

Activity

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.

Hello, AASL!

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 6.00.17 AMEllen 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

 

The Games You Can Play with Letters and Words

Enchanted Lion has published two extraordinarily engaging picture book stories that open up the magic of sorting letters into words.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 1.23.09 PMIn Take Away the A, Michael Escoffier’s text and Kris Di Giacomo’s gleeful cartoon animals and gentle monsters show us what magic the removal of a letter from any of a number of commonplace words does to alter meaning. Removing “Y” from “yours,” for example, makes it “ours.” Arranged alphabetically by the letter removed, each page spread has a simple sentence naming the letter to be removed from what word to create what new word. Often, the letter removed is internal to the word, rather than initiating it, making this a wonderful alphabet book for kids who think they are too old for alphabet books.

The author and illustrator team’s follow up alphabet book, Where’s the Baboon?, takes the game to a new level. Here, the book unfolds as a complete story and each page spread offers a question that can be answered by examining the illustration or seeingScreen Shot 2015-10-23 at 1.34.00 PM what new word is highlighted within the telling attribute ascribed to him or her. Again, it’s a passle of rambunctious animals  who are gambling through the pages: The correct response to “Who is hiding behind the castle?” appears within that final word of the question, printed so that the “c,” “a” and “t” are highlighted. (The illustration, on the other hand, presents a scene where all but the cat’s tail is obscured.) This one isn’t an alphabet book in the sense of touching on all 26 letters. Instead, it’s a book where playing with letters and words sheds both light and humor on how flexible the alphabet is.

We’re putting together some activities to help expand these delightful books even further, while helping young readers discover more ways to see the alphabet than as a string of letters. Watch for its arrival in a day or two on our Activities pages.

Take Away the A has already won lots of critical attention. We’re sure Where’s the Baboon? will as well. And we know both are hits with kids who are surprised by how much can happen to words on a page!

A little elephant learns to manage his trunk

If you think tripping over your feet is awkward, imagine tripping over that wonderful combination of nose-straw-gripper that sits in the middle of an elephant’s face!  That’s exactly what keeps happening to poor Little Vinayak–until he gets some great advice from a grown up elephant who once had the same problem.

Little Vinayak - ActivitiesPublisher Karadi Tales continues to serve up wonderfully resonant picture books for preschoolers, and this one is just right as we head toward that back-to-school night where families meet their young children’s teachers and ask for advice on how to cope with some expected, but unhappy, developmental mishaps.

Karadi Tales has also produced our Activities guide in a pretty handout, so you can make a sheaf of these for Little Vinayak - Activities2distribution to those looking for some reassurance to share with their kids about learning to organize one’s movements.

Welcome to Karadi Tales

We’re seeing picture books from a new-to-us publisher and we are very excited with them! Karadi Tales is based in India and their publications include both traditional and newly imagined stories that are readily accessible to an international audience. All have softly colored and highly engaging illustrations. They’re great read-alouds for both groups and as lapsit options. Some are printed on heavy textured stock that will itself engage kids with tactile and kinesthetic needs.

Among the first of these books for which we’ve developed suggested engagement activities is  one with a cumulative tale about a smarty rat who tries to keep parlaying his current possession into something larger and grander.

Take a look at The Last Bargain and also at the Activities we’ve prepared to support your sharing this book with little ones.

The Last Bargain - Activities The Last Bargain 2 - Activities The Last Bargain 3 - Activities