Wednesday, April 30, 2008

April Meeting

The Aurora County All-Stars = 4 STARS

The Book Buddies Book Club met on Monday to have snacks and discuss The Aurora County All-Stars by Deborah Wiles. Overall, Aurora County was not one of the club's favorite books. A lot of the members found it confusing and hard to get through. One member didn't like the setting and most didn't understand the references in the book (For example, House adopts Mr. Norwood Boyd's dog, Eudora Welty, named after the famous southern writer). Everyone did like House as a character and felt he was a good guy but in general this one didn't go over well. I was surprised at the reaction because it is one of my favorite books but that's ok. We don't all have to like the same things! That's what makes it interesting.

After snacks, we made baseball picture frames for our craft project which were fun to do although a bit messy. Most of us were covered in red marker by the end!
Finally, members discussed other books they are currently reading and enjoying including The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Harry Potter, Babymouse, How I Saved My Father's Life (And Ruined Everything Else) and Babysitting Wars.

Have a great few weeks and I'll see you at the next (and last) meeting on May 19th!

Friday, April 25, 2008

The BIG reveal...

Ok, so I was going to wait until Monday but I decided I'd let you all know now what the next (and last) book is going to be for this school year. We actually have a little less time than usual before the next meeting because we had to schedule the May meeting a week early due to Memorial Day. So for those of you who want to get a head start.....the May book is going to be The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall. (Great title, huh?) I really love this book and I think it's such a great way for us to get ready for summer vacation by reading about four wonderful sisters on summer vacation...

Meet the Penderwicks, four different sisters with one special bond. There's responsible, practical Rosalind; stubborn, feisty Skye; dreamy, artistic Jane; and shy little sister Batty, who won't go anywhere without her butterfly wings.

When the girls and their doting father head off for their summer holiday, they are in for a surprise. Instead of the cozy, tumbledown cottage they expected, they find themselves on a beautfiul estate called Arundel. Soon the girls are busy discovering the summertime magic of Arundel's sprawling gardens, treasure-filled attic, tame rabbits, and the cook who makes the best gingerbread in Massachusetts. But the most wonderful discovery of all is Jeffrey Tifton, son of Arundel's owner, who quickly proves to be the perfect companion for their adventures.

The icy-hearted Mrs. Tifton is not as pleased with the Penderwicks as Jeffrey is, though, and warns the new friends to stay out of trouble. Which, of course, they will - won't they?

One thing's for sure: it will be a summer the Penderwicks will never forget.

Anyone interested in getting started over the weekend, feel free to come in and pick up a copy of the book! Otherwise I'll pass out copies on Monday at our meeting...

Book Club meeting Monday!

Hi everyone,
Just a reminder that the book club is meeting this Monday (the 28th) at 3:30pm to discuss The Aurora County All-Stars by Deborah Wiles. We'll talk about the book, have snacks and do a craft project.

I hope you all enjoyed it and I look forward to hearing from you on Monday!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

One more book!

I am very pleased to report that we have decided to continue the Book Buddies Book Club for one more month! I think I had mentioned to some of you that the April meeting would be our last for this school year (we'll start things up again in September) but I'm delighted to let you know that we will be wrapping things up in May instead! Our final meeting will be on Monday, May 19th at 3:30pm in the Children's Program Room. I've already selected a book, but you'll have to wait a few more weeks for the big reveal. But it's one I think you'll really like and one that will get us ready to go for summer.

So plan to come on May 19th for a great book discussion and an end-of-the-year party!

And just a reminder that our April meeting (where we'll discuss The Aurora County All-Stars) will be on Monday, April 28th at 3:30pm. See you then!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Deborah Wiles Interview

I just found another great interview with Deborah Wiles from the August 2007 BookPage.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Some April Vacation Recommendations...

Next week is April school vacation week (!) and I thought I'd post some reading recommendations to keep you busy...

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex - I've been hearing a lot of great things about this book so if you are interested in fantasy/sci fi/adventure stories, this one is for you:

Twelve-year-old Gratuity "Tip" Tucci is assigned to write five pages on "The True Meaning of Smekday" for the National Time Capsule contest, and she's not sure where to begin: when her mom started telling everyone about the messages aliens were sending through a mole on the back of her neck? Maybe on Christmas Eve, when huge, bizarre spaceships descended to Earth, and aliens - called the Boov - abducted her mother? Or when the Boov declared Earth a colony, renamed it "Smekland" (in honor of glorious Captain Smek), and forced all Americans to relocate to Florida via rocketpod? Gratuity's story is much, much bigger than the assignment. It involves her unlikely friendship with a renegade Boov mechanic name J.Lo, a futile journey south to find Gratuity's mother at the Happy Mouse Kingdom, a cross-county road trip in a hovercar called Slushious, and an outrageous plan to save Earth from yet another alien invasion.

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart - I love this book! This is one of my favorite books of last year, so full of adventure and great characters. And there's a sequel which will be out on May 1st! I'll be first in line for that...

After passing a series of mind-bending tests, four children are selected for a secret mission that requires them to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules.

Also, be sure to go online to The Curiousity Chronicle for more on The Mysterious Benedict Society...

Eleven by Patricia Reilly Giff - We just got this one in at the library so I haven't had a chance to read it yet but Patricia Reilly Giff is such a great author, I'm sure it's good. Also it's a mystery (which I love) and starts with this wonderful, creepy opener:

Eleven could be anything. It was only two lines, after all. It could be a month, a day, minutes. Maybe two trees in a bare winter field. A kid scribbling. A house number. It was Sam's birthday, April Eleven. That was a good thing, a great thing, so why was he afraid of eleven?

I know I'm intrigued...

Enjoy your April vacation! It's also National Library Week so come into the library, visit me and check out a good book!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Aurora County Books

If you are enjoying The Aurora County All-Stars, you will definitely want to check out Deborah Wiles' first two books set in Aurora County, Mississippi:

Woe is Ruby Lavender. She used to have a fun life, until her Yoo-Hoo-drinking, pink muumuu-wearing, best friend of a grandmother up and left for Hawaii to spend the summer with her new (smelly) grandbaby. Now Ruby is stuck in boring old Halleluia, Mississippi, reading to her chickens, sweeping floors at the general store (torture), and being tormented by the curly-haired, tip-tapping Melba Jane. In letter after letter, nine-year-old Ruby pours out her heart to her grandmother. But there is one thing Ruby cannot tell even her - the very same thing that makes Ruby take the long way home every single time and that makes her hate Melba Jane more than anyone.

Ten-Year-Old Comfort Snowberger knows a thing or two about death. Her family owns the town funeral home and she has attended 247 funerals. She can tell you which casseroles are worth tasting, whom to sit next to, and whom to avoid at all costs. Number one on that avoid list is Comfort's sniveling, whining, unpredictable counsin Peach, who ruins every family occasion. So when Great-great-aunt Florentine drops dead - just like that - Comfort expects a family gathering to remember. What she doesn't count on is: One, she has to watch over Peach after the funeral. And two, her best friend, Declaration, has suddenly turned downright mean. Now, even if it means missing the most important funeral of her life, all Comfort really wants to do is sit in her closet with her dog, Dismay, and hide. But life is full of surprises. And the biggest one of all is learning what it takes to handle them.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Poetry Online

Before I get to the online poetry sites I want to let you all know about, I first have to add two more poetry recommendations that I somehow left off the last post. How I managed to forget about Douglas Florian I will never know (the horror!) - he is one of my absolute favorite children's poets. With poetry collections like Beast Feast, In the Swim, Handsprings, Autumnblings, Insectlopedia and Summersaults (just to name a few) he is one of the best poets writing for kids today. His newest collection is Comets, Stars, The Moon and Mars and includes this brilliant tribute to former planet Pluto:

"Pluto was a planet.
But now it doesn't pass.
Pluto was a planet.
They say it's lacking mass.
Puto was a planet.
Pluto was admired.
Pluto was a planet.
Till one day it got fired."
- Douglas Florian, Comets, Stars, The Moon and Mars

My second I-can't-believe-I-left-this-off-the-first-list recommendation is Hailstones and Halibut Bones: Adventures in Color by Mary O'Neill. First published in 1961(!) this collection of poems about color was probably my first introduction to poetry as a child. I will never forget reading these poems as a kid and being amazed at the beauty of the poems and the imagery she created. My favorite poem is "purple" because naturally, purple is my favorite color. Honestly, how can you resist this?:

"Time is purple
Just before night
When most people
Turn on the light -
But if you don't it's
A beautiful sight.
Asters are purple,
There's purple ink.
Purple's more popular
Than you think...
It's sort of a great
Grandmother to pink."
- Mary O'Neill, "What is Purple?" from Hailstones and Halibut Bones: Adventures in Color

There's more to the purple poem, but I just thought I'd give you a taste. Now come in to the library and get the book!

Now on to the online...
First we have a nice assortment of fun poetry sites linked up to the library's Fun & Games webpage (which you get to from the Kids' Page). I especially like the Giggle Poetry site so be sure to have a look there.
Second I wanted to alert you to Joyce Sidman's "For Poets and Writers" webpage because she's got some really great advice for budding writers. If you aren't familiar with Joyce Sidman, she is an amazing poet, author of Song of the Water Boatman (a Caldecott Honor book) and the new This is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness among many others.

As I find more online poetry sites that I think you should know about, I'll post them here. In the meantime, go forth and write! Everybody is welcome to submit their original poetry for publication on the Book Buddies blog! Also feel free to let me know what other poetry books you are reading and enjoying!

April is National Poetry Month!

"If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer...
If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!"
- Shel Silverstein, "Invitation" from Where the Sidewalk Ends

April is National Poetry Month which ties in very nicely with our April book club selection, The Aurora County All-Stars, a book all about baseball and poetry. (I wish I could take credit and say that of course, I planned it all this way, but it really was just a lucky coincidence that I chose Aurora County now). Anyway, I thought I'd start off this lenghty post with Shel Silverstein's wonderful poem "Invitation" from one of the best poetry books ever (in my opinion) Where the Sidewalk Ends. Sidewalk was first published in 1974 but is as wonderful today as it was then with great poems like "Boa Constrictor" and my personal favorite "Sick" which is about a girl who complains that she is very ill and can't go to school until she finds out it's actually Saturday. So great!

Aurora County is centered around Walt Whitman's poetry, specifically his book Leaves of Grass. These are the lines that have such a profound effect on the main character, House Jackson:

"After the dazzle of day is gone,
Only the dark, dark night shows to my eyes the stars.
After the clangor of organ majestic, or chorus, or perfect band,
Silent, athwart my soul, moves the symphony true."
- Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Very thought provoking and very important to the plot and House's personal journey. We will have much to discuss at the book club meeting on the 28th!

I also wanted to take a moment to recommend some poetry books for you to enjoy this month. There are so, so many wonderful poetry books that it is almost ridiculous to try and highlight only a few as "the ones worth checking out." So instead I will recommend just a few of my favorites:

A Maze Me: Poems for Girls by Naomi Shihab Nye - I really love Naomi Shihab Nye. She has a lot of books out and this is a great one to start with if you haven't read her work before.

"Life is a tangle of
twisting paths.
Some short.
Some long.
There are dead ends.
And there are choices.
And wrong turns,
and detours,
and yield signs,
and instruction booklets,
and star maps,
and happiness,
and loneliness.
And friends.
And sisters.
And love.
And poetry.

Life is a maze.
You are a maze.
And amazing.

Poems in Black and White by Kate Miller - This 2007 book is new to our collection and wonderful in its exploration of black and white in both the poems and illustrations. It really makes you think about the things around you in new ways.

In Aunt Giraffe's Green Garden by Jack Prelutsky - It would be impossible for me to put together any sort of poetry list without including at least one Jack Prelutsky; he is after all the Poetry Foundation's first ever Children's Poet Laureate. Aunt Giraffe was published in 2007 and is full of nonsense verse which begs to be read aloud. Mr. Prelutsky also has two new poetry books out in 2008 that you'll definitely want to check out: Pizza, Pigs and Poetry: How to Write a Poem and My Dog May be a Genius: Poems.

For more poetry books, come in to the library and see our display in the Children's Department above the children's reference collection. Also I've created a list of great poetry books in our collection which you can find here.