Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Chris Van Allsburg's Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Chris Van Allsburg! Today Chris Van Allsburg turns 64-years-old!

For those of you who don't know, Chris Van Allsburg is the author and illustrator of many famous children's books: Jumanji, Zathura,  The Polar Express, The Garden of Abdul Gasazi, Two Bad Ants, and The Sweetest Fig.

He also has a pretty sweet website with a story writing contest: http://www.chrisvanallsburg.com

Check out one of his books today and celebrate his marvelous work!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My List: 15 Books For Your Perfect Young Adult (And Classic Children's) Summer Reading List

This morning Mashable posted an article called "23 Books For Your Perfect Young Adult Summer Reading List" and it got me excited! Some of them I've already read but some of them I haven't even heard of! Today I'm going to try #15 on the list: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson.

I decided, in the spirit of recommended summer reads, I'd create my own list of 15 Books For Your Perfect Young Adult (And Classic Children's) Summer Reading List:
1. Wak Two Moons by Sharon Creech: "An engaging story of love and loss, told with humor and suspense. Thirteen-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle's mother leaves home suddenly on a spiritual quest, vowing to return, but can't keep her promise..." (School Library Journal)

2. Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse: "...Set during the time of the Great Depression and written in free verse, Karen Hesse's spare but powerful work captures every nuance of Billie Jo's emotions, from heartwrenching sadness at the death of her mother and newborn brother to the challenge of rebuilding a relationship with her embittered father..." (School Library Journal)

3. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead: "...Stead's novel is as much about character as story. Miranda's voice rings true with its faltering attempts at maturity and observation. The story builds slowly, emerging naturally from a sturdy premise. As Miranda reminisces, the time sequencing is somewhat challenging, but in an intriguing way. The setting is consistently strong. The stores and even the streets–in Miranda's neighborhood act as physical entities and impact the plot in tangible ways. This unusual, thought-provoking mystery will appeal to several types of readers." (School Library Journal)

4. Every Little Thing In the World by Nina de Gramont:"Friends Sydney and Natalia, both 16, are sent to a wilderness camp to canoe the waters of northern Canada for six weeks. They have secrets: Sydney is pregnant, and Natalia has just found out that her older sister, Margit, is actually her biological mother..." (School Library Journal)

5. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green: "...Once again Green offers a well-developed cast of characters capable of both reflective thought and hilarious dialogue. With his trademark humor, lovable parents, and exploration of big-time challenges, The Fault in Our Stars is an achingly beautiful story about life and loss." (School Library Journal)

6. Paper Towns by John Green: "...Green's prose is astounding—from hilarious, hyperintellectual trash talk and shtick, to complex philosophizing, to devastating observation and truths. He nails it—exactly how a thing feels, looks, affects—page after page. The mystery of Margo—her disappearance and her personhood—is fascinating, cleverly constructed, and profoundly moving...."  (School Library Journal)

7. Stolen by Lucy Christopher: "While 16-year-old Gemma is en route to Vietnam from England with her parents, she is drugged and kidnapped from the Bangkok airport. She regains full consciousness in a rustic house deep in the Australian Outback with a 25-year-old man who is going to 'keep her forever'..." (School Library Journal)

8. If I Stay by Gayle Forman: "Forman creates a cast of captivating characters and pulls readers into a compelling story that will cause them to laugh, cry, and question the boundaries of family and love..." (School Library Journal)

9. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson: "This whirlwind adventure begins as Ginny, 17, reads a letter from her free-spirited, unpredictable Aunt Peg, who has recently passed away. She is given several destinations, four rules, and the instruction to open one envelope upon her arrival at each place. Thus begins a rapid tour of Europe as the teen struggles to accomplish the tasks established by her aunt..." (School Library Journal)

10. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson: "When her older sister dies from an arrhythmia, 17-year-old Lennie finds that people are awkward around her, including her best friend. While dealing with her conflicted feelings toward her sister's boyfriend, her anguish over Bailey's unexpected death, and her sudden curiosity about sex, Lennie must also cope with her unresolved feelings about her mother, who left when Lennie was an infant..." (School Library Journal)

11. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares: "Best friends Lena, Tibby, Bridget, and Carmen are preparing to spend their first summer apart since they were born. Before leaving to visit her father, Carmen buys a pair of second-hand jeans on a whim, and when the others discover that the pants fit all of them, they create the sisterhood of the traveling pants. Each teen gets them for a few weeks before sending them on, and thus they travel from Washington, DC, to Greece to Baja California to South Carolina, linking the friends even as they are apart. The summer and the pants come to represent more than any of them can ever anticipate in this four-part coming-of-age story...." (School Library Journal)

12. Hoot by Carl Hiaasen: "...Roy Eberhardt has just moved with his family to Coconut Cove. He immediately becomes the target of a particularly dense bully who tries to strangle him on the school bus. Roy seems more concerned, however, with discovering the identity of a running, barefoot boy he spots through the window of the bus. Meanwhile, plans to build a pancake house on a vacant lot are derailed when someone vandalizes the construction site. The two story lines come together when Roy discovers that the runaway boy is disrupting the construction to save a group of burrowing owls. Roy must help his new friend, nicknamed Mullet Fingers, as well as fend off the bully and adapt to life in Florida..." (School Library Journal)

13. The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd: "Ted and Kat lose their cousin Salim at the London Eye sightseeing attraction, 'the largest observation wheel ever built.' Given a free ticket by a stranger, Salim enters the ride, but he never emerges. Guilty about their part in the bungled outing, the siblings trace scraps of information that illuminate the boy's disappearance..." (School Library Journal)

14. Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko: "...Family dilemmas are at the center of the story, but history and setting--including plenty of references to the prison's most infamous inmate, mob boss Al Capone--play an important part, too. The Flanagan family is believable in the way each member deals with Natalie and her difficulties, and Moose makes a sympathetic main character. The story, told with humor and skill, will fascinate readers with an interest in what it was like for the children of prison guards and other workers to actually grow up on Alcatraz Island." (School Library Journal)

15. Love, Ruby Lavender by Deborah Wiles: "A lively, humorous story featuring Miss Eula Garnet and her granddaughter Ruby as they share adventures and day-to-day miseries. The feisty duo shakes up their Mississippi town, Halleluia, 'Population: 400 Good Friendly Folks And A Few Old Soreheads,' when they liberate three soon-to-be-euthanized chickens from an egg ranch in a daring, daylight raid..." (School Library Journal)

There you have it! Whether you use Mashable's list, my list, or both lists, you should have plenty of light-but-not-too-light and richly-set books to choose from this summer. Happy reading!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Maurice Sendak

Maurice Sendak would have been 85-years-old today and Google's made note! There is a video of the adorable memorial here:

Check out one of Maurice Sendak's books today!

Friday, June 7, 2013

National Doughnut Day

Hooray! It's National Doughnut Day!

It started almost 100 years ago with a group of female volunteers ("lassies") who worked with the Salvation Army, giving out doughnuts to World War I veterans. Over time it morphed into a global celebration and, nationally, doughnut shops are spending today giving away free, delicious doughnuts!

Click here to see what doughnut stores are giving out free doughnuts in your area!

According to this article Lamar's Donuts, a chain based in Kansas City, Missouri has provided us with the following fun, doughnut facts:

* More than 10 billion donuts are made every year in JUST the United States.

* The hole in the donut’s center appeared in the first half of the 19th Century and allows the donut to cook more evenly.

* The Guinness World record for doughnut eating is held by John Haight, who consumed 29 donuts in just over 6 minutes. Woah!

Click here to read all of the doughnut facts!
Copyright 2009 Laura Druda