Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Books!

I've posted pictures of our bookshelves at home before, but I don't know if I mentioned that fully one-and-a-half shelves are dedicated to Christmas books.  Santa brings at least one holiday book a year, and between his gift-giving, and my own collection from childhood and teaching, we have quite a selection!  Here are a few of my favorites:

Auntie Claus and the Key to ChristmasAuntie ClausAuntie Claus, by Elise Primavera, and the sequel, Auntie Claus and the Key to Christmas.  Both are wonderfully refreshing stories of believing in the magic--and meaning--of Christmas.  The illustrations are so festive!

 Speaking of illustrations, Mary Engelbreit's version of The Night Before Christmas is a visual feast.  We also have E.T.A. Hoffman's Nutcracker, illustrated by Maurice Sendak.  Another classic from my childhood is Santa Mouse, Where Are You? , by Michael Brown and illustrated by Elfrieda deWitt.

The Night Before Christmas
Nutcracker. translated by Ralph Manheim. Pictures by Maurice SendakSanta Mouse, where are you?

Librarian's Night Before Christmas (The Night Before Christmas Series)A Pirate's Night Before ChristmasLast year, the book theme seemed to be alternative versions of The Night Before ChristmasA Pirate's Night Before Christmas, by Philip Yates and illustrated by Sebastia Serra, and from my family to me, Librarian's Night Before Christmas, by David Davis, illustrated by Jim Harris. 

I'll end this post with my two favorite "quiet" books for Christmas:  Margaret Wise Brown's On Christmas Eve, illustrated by Nancy Edwards Calder, and Bright Christmas:  An Angel Remembers by Andrew Clements, illustrated by Kate Kiesler (a special gift from a friend). Both stories are illustrated in the smoky, hushed tones of a winter's night--perfect for sending little ones, and not-so-little-ones, off to sleep on Christmas Eve.

Bright Christmas : An Angel RemembersOn Christmas Eve

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Book pairing on a sensitive topic

I have been a reading fiend this week, in a mad dash to complete an assignment for YA Lit.  One of our selections this week was Inexcusable, by Chris Lynch.  The book was very hard for me to read, as the narrator is a young man who just can't seem to accept responsibility for his misdeeds, which includes the rape of a long-time friend.  One of the rave reviews for the book came from Laurie Halse Anderson, who wrote Speak, another reading assignment from a previous discussion.  Since Speak is the story of a teen girl's recovery after being raped, I thought this would be an excellent pairing.  Both books are fairly quick reads; I could see using them in a two-week high school English unit focusing on different perspectives/ voices from the same type of event.
Speak: 10th Anniversary EditionFor our last discussion in YA Lit, we are looking for books similar to the ones Dr. Lesesne has assigned to us.  Hopefully, I'll come up with some more great pairings to post!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

My first book festival!

Yesterday, I attended my first book festival:  the Jan Paris Book Festival, sponsored by Sam Houston State University (the school I'm "attending" online to pursue my Master's Degree in Library Science).  The bookfest was held in San Antonio, and featured an illustrator--David Diaz--and two authors, Naomi Shihab Nye and Jeanne Birdsall--as keynote speakers.  I was blown away by their passion for their work, and their love for libraries and librarians as well.  One workshop I attended was presented by the Texas Scoundrels and Sweethearts, a group of Austin-based children's book authors.  I purchased a couple of their books just from hearing them talk about them!  Another workshop was all about running the library on a shoestring budget; we got a free felt puppet and lots of advice on fundraising/ costsavings. 

Since this blog is all about the books, here's what I bought, and what I've had to read lately for my YA Lit class that I've enjoyed:

Brains for Lunch and The Emerald Tablet were written by authors from the Texas Sweethearts group.  The first, I'm sharing at home and at school; the second is for my own son, who likes fantasy novels now and then.

Brains For Lunch: A Zombie Novel in Haiku?!The Emerald Tablet (Forgotten Worlds)

Smoky Night was illustrated by David Diaz, and won the Caldecott Award.  We got to watch him paint while he answered questions and talked about the illustrating process.  After hearing Naomi Shihab Nye speak, I just knew I had to read at least one of her Habibi is all mine!

Smoky NightHabibi

The Tequila WormThe Tequila Worm is a required read for my YA Lit class...but don't let the title fool you.  It is not about teenagers drinking tequila after the football game.  This book is about a young girl from the Valley who gets a scholarship to attend a private high school in Austin.  There are lots of beautiful vignettes of life in the barrio, and the customs and rituals that bind the families there together.  I really enjoyed this book.

I have to get back to reading--this week, I have to make the time!  Keep reading!