Books for Younguns, Young Adults and the Young-at-Heart

Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday News Round-Up

News from the store:
--Monday, April 2, join us at MICDS's Danforth Chapel at 6:00 p.m. for a reading and signing by Mo Willems from his new book The Duckling Gets a Cookie!?.  This is a ticketed event with only a few seats left at the Left Bank Books--Central West End.  If you don't get a ticket, you can still join the signing line after the talk.

--Join us on Saturday, April 7, at 10:30 a.m. at Left Bank Books--Downtown for an Easter Egg Hunt and Storytime!  Miss Jonesey will lead the kids on a hunt through the store, guided by characters from your favorite books, while we provide coffee and breakfast for the adults.  Afterward, we'll have a special Easter-themed Storytime.


News from the publishing world:
--The shortlist was announced for the 2012 Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) Carnegie Medal for Children's Writing:
My Name Is Mina by David Almond
Small Change for Stuart by Lissa Evans
The Midnight Zoo by Sonya Hartnett, illustrated by Andrea Offermann
Everybody Jam by Ali Lewis
Trash by Andy Mulligan
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, inspired from an idea by Soibhan Dowd, illustrated by Jim Kay
My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
The shortlist for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for Children's Book Illustration:
Wolf Won't Bite by Emily Gravett
Puffin Peter by Petr Horacek
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, inspired by an idea from Soibhan Dowd, illustrated by Jim Kay
Slog's Dad by David Almond, illustrated by Dave McKean
Solomon Crocodile by Catherine Rayner
The Gift by Carol Anne Duffy, illustrated by Rob Ryan
There Are No Cats in This Book by Viviane Schwarz
Can We Save the Tiger? by Martin Jenkins, illustrated by Vicky White

--The BookExpo Editors Buzz Panel selections were announced, including:
Young Adult Editors Buzz
Crewel by Gennifer Albin
Skinny by Donna Cooner
Colin Fischer by Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz
What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang
Skylark by Meagan Spooner
Middle Grade Editors Buzz
Malcolm at Midnight by Brian Lies
The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann
Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin
Tales from Lovecraft Middle School #1: Professor Gargoyle by Charles Gilman
With Love from Paris: Mira's Sketchbook by Marissa Moss

--Winners were announced for the 2012 Northern California Independent Bookseller's Book of the Year Awards, including:
Children's Picture Book: The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man by Michael Chabon and Jake Parker
Middle Grade Readers: One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street by Joanne Rocklin
Teen Lit: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler, illustrated by Maira Kalman

--Finalists were announced for the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association's 2012 Christian Book Awards, including:
Children
Horse Dreams by Dandi Daley Mackall
Ronnie Wilson's Gift by Francis Chan, illustrated by Jim Madsen
The Story Bible edited by Edward A. Engelbrecht and Gail E. Pawlitz
My First Hands-On Bible by Group Publishing and Tyndale House Publishers
The Story for Children: A Storybook Bible by Max Lucado, Randy Frazee and Karen Davis Hill

--Harry Potter e-books are now available.

--A new teaser trailer was released for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn-Part 2, a film based on Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer.

--Finalists were announced for the Romance Writers of America's 2012 RITA and Golden Heart Awards, including:
2012 RITA Finalists for Young Adult Romance
Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Flawless by Lara Chapman
Hourglass by Myra McEntire
I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtler
Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep
Warped by Maurissa Guibord
2012 Golden Heart Finalists for Young Adult Romance
Angel Academy by Cecily White
Canvas Crossers by Natalie Vawter
Forget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn
The Matter of Souls by Stephanie Winkelhake
Pandora's Clock by Natalie Vawter
The Silent Sister by Megan Macijauskas (writing as M. Kassel)
The Suspicions of Cairo Jones by Mary Danielson
Wired by Romily Bernard

--The Hunger Games, the film based on the novel of the same name by Suzanne Collins, kept breaking box office records.

--Reading Is Fundamental got a redesign.

--Shortlists were announced for the 2012 Atlantic Book Awards, including:
Ann Conner Brimer Award for Children's Literature
Betsy Wickwire's Dirty Secret by Vicki Grant
Chasing Freedom by Gloria Ann Wesley
The Year Mrs. Montague Cried by Susan White
Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration
Thank You for My Bed by Doretta Groenendyk
A Day with You in Paradise by Lennie Grant, illustrated by Patsy MacKinnon
Monkeys in My Kitchen by Sydney Smith
The Bruneau Family Children's/Young Adult Literature Award
Jack and the Manger by Andy Jones
Edge of Time by Susan M. MacDonald
Dragon Seer's Gift by Janet McNaughton

News via Shelf Awareness.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Hunger Games

In the distant future, North America has been replaced by the nation of Panem.  The government is a cruel regime that continues to punish the outer districts for a long-ago rebellion by sending one boy and one girl from each to the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is the first book in the Hunger Games trilogy and the first pick for the Teen Reads reading group.

On the surface, this is a mash-up of many standard dystopian tropes.  Where the story distinguishes itself is in the narration from Katniss, a tribute from one of the poorest districts who volunteers to replace her sister in the Games.  Her discovery of both what it will take to win the Games--both physical and psychological--and how she feels about the roles she must play deliver us a flawed but compelling narrator.  The world-building is first-rate, the action exciting, and the love triangle has proven to elicit strong opinions on either side, but none of them are what puts this series ahead of the pack.  It has connected with people because people have connected with Katniss.

The Hunger Games is published by Scholastic Press and retails for $8.99 (paperback).  I bought my copy with my very own money.  You can get yours at Left Bank Books today!

Join us on Wednesday, March 28th, at 7:30 p.m. for the first meeting of Teen Reads, a new reading group for ages 12 to 18, at Left Bank Books--Central West End!  We'll be discussing The Hunger Games, followed by an optional $5 screening of the new film!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Piggy Bunny

Liam is a pig, but he's always felt like a bunny.  His parents tell him he should be happy as a pig; after all, he's so good at it.  But with a little help from his grandparents and the internet, maybe Liam can become a bunny after all...

Piggy Bunny by Rachel Vail and illustrated by Jeremy Tankard is my Easter pick.

This is a heartwarming story about the importance of being yourself, whomever that turns out to be.  It's told with gentle humor and colorfully cartoonish illustrations.  These are some of the cutest storybook pigs in recent memory.  The moral of acceptance is great for any kids as regards embracing your passions and desires, but it might be of extra help in introducing kids to the concept of transgender, since it addresses being born one way, but feeling differently inside.

Piggy Bunny is published by Fiewel & Friends and retails for $14.99 (hardcover).  I read my copy by picking it up from the shelves for a few minutes.  You can get yours at Left Bank Books today!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Book Journey, with a children's version at Teach Mentor Texts.

This week I started by finishing Scorpions by Walter Dean Myers.  Then I moved on to Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson.  I've always been fascinated by the Titanic, and the 100th anniversary of its sinking in April has provided plenty of new books on the subject, of which I intend to get through as many as possible.  Next came Second Helpings, the second Jessica Darling novel by Megan McCafferty.  I'm addicted to this series since reading Sloppy Firsts for the Forever Young Adult book club.  Then I started My Brother Sam Is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier as part of my Newbery-reading quest.

In the world of orders, I got through some more upcoming picture books from Random House:
Bon Appetit!: The Delicious Life of Julia Child by Jessie Hartland
I Like Old Clothes by Mary Ann Hoberman, illustrated by Patrice Barton
I, Galileo by Bonnie Christensen
Mario Makes a Move by Jill McElmurry
Ollie and Moon: Fuhgeddaboudit! by Diane Kredensor
A Song for My Sister by Lesley Simpson, illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss
Ballet Stars by Joan Holub, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
Pretty Penny Comes Up Short by Devon Kinch

This coming week, I will finish My Brother Sam Is Dead and move on to Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson for the Current Affairs reading group April meeting.  (I know I said the same thing last week, but logistics prevented me from actually getting the book.)

What are you reading?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday News Round-Up

News from the store:
--Join us next Wednesday, March 28th, at 7:30 p.m. at the Central West End store for the inaugural meeting of the Teen Reads reading group.  We will be discussing The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and attending an optional $5 9:00 screening of the film at the Moolah.

News from the publishing world:
--Book Expo America announced that the children's book and author breakfast will include John Green, Lois Lowry and Kadir Nelson, with Chris Colfer as master of ceremonies.  Walter Dean Myers will be chairing the children's art auction sponsored by ABC Children's Group.

--Sterling Publishing president Marcus Leaver has departed the company, leaving Theresea Thompson, executive vice president and Barnes and Noble, to oversee operations as part of a mass exodus from Sterling.

--Maria Teresa Andruetto from Argentina has won the 2012 Hans Christian Andersen Author Award while Peter Sis from the Czech Republic (but living in the U.S.) takes home the illustrator award.

--OverDrive has suspended library pre-sales of the Harry Potter e-books.

--A teaser trailer was released for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn--Part 2, the film based on Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer.

--Nominees were announced for the Lambda Literary Awards, including the LGBT Children's/Young Adult category:
Gemini Bites by Patrick Ryan
Huntress by Malinda Lo
I Am J by Cris Beam
Pink by Lili Wilkinson
Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy by Bil Wright

--The launch of the seventh Diary of a Wimpy Kid book by Jeff Kinney has been announced for November 13, 2012, marking the first global launch with seven countries involved.

--The Hunger Games, the film based on the novel of the same name by Suzanne Collins, has already broken pre-sale records for the midnight Friday debut.  Meanwhile, the film's soundtrack is topping the sales charts at iTunes.  Investors are happy.  So is North Carolina.

via Shelf Awareness.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Greg doesn't have any friends.  Earl's not his friend; they just make movies together.  Rachel's not his friend; his mom's just making him spend time with her because she's dying.  But when Rachel finds out about Earl and the movies, Greg's entire life changes, and suddenly he's not so unattached anymore.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews is my 2012 Debut Author Challenge book for March.

Look at the first paragraph of this review.  Now forget everything it makes you think this book is about.  This book is nothing you expect it to be.  It is smart.  It is funny.  It is platitude-free.  Most of all, it is very real.  Nothing about this feels contrived, and Greg is one of the most painfully flawed narrators I've seen in a while.  I say painfully because I doubt many readers won't be able to recognize a piece of themselves in him.  However, rather than making you feel bad about not living up to a heroic ideal, he drives home just how human an ignoble reaction to death and dying is.  But don't go thinking it's too serious.  "You'll laugh; you'll cry" has become such a cliche, but this book literally had me laughing out loud involuntarily and literally had tears of deep genuine sadness rolling down my cheeks.  At the same time.  How often does that happen?  The only reason not to like this book is if you're sensitive to profanity.  If you are, you'll hate this book, and you'll especially hate Earl.  Otherwise, this is an awesome book, and totally deserving of that fantastic cover.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is published by Harry N. Abrams and retails for $16.95 (hardcover).  I got my advance readers copy from the publisher (although this review was not solicited or otherwise compensated).  You can get yours at Left Bank Books today!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mrs. Harkness and the Panda

In 1936, the first panda was brought to the U.S., not in a cage, but in the arms of Ruth Harkness.  After her husband died in China on a mission to bring back the elusive species, Mrs. Harkness took on the goal herself, and contrary to the doubts of others who thought a woman could never make the journey, introduced America to Su Lin.

Mrs. Harkness and the Panda by Alicia Potter, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, is my Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2012 book for March.

This is a story that will be new to most readers, and it is told here in simple terms.  The details included are of the type that will catch kids' imaginations (Harkness traded in her hiking boots for rope sandals and sometimes rode on a bier-like contraption) while skipping the minutia.  Focus is given to those who doubted a woman's ability to complete the panda-finding mission as well as Harkness's handily showing them all.  In an author's note, there is discussion of the fact that the practice of removing a baby panda from the wild would be frowned upon nowadays while acknowledging the positive impact it had at the time.  The illustrations mimic the feel of a travel journal, with lots of quick sketches and pressed objects accompanying the more detailed illustrations.

Mrs. Harkness and the Panda is publishing by Knopf Books for Young Readers and retails for $16.99 (hardcover).  I read my copy by picking it up from the shelves for a few minutes.  You can get yours at Left Bank Books today!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Book Journey with a children's version at Teach Mentor Texts.

This week I started with My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf, on the recommendation of Eric, our sales rep from Fujii Associates.  This isn't a children's book, so I won't be reviewing it, but it is truly amazing.  Do yourself a favor and check it out.  Even if you don't think you'll like it, give it a chance.  I followed that up with The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie and Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, both in preparation for World Book Night.  I'm currently in the middle of Scorpions by Walter Dean Myers in an attempt to be better read on the Newbery list.

I got through a few random picture books this week, too:
Freedom: Miss Annie #1 by Frank Le Gall, illustrated by Flore Balthazar, coloring by Robin Doo
The Happy Hocky Family by Lane Smith
Mrs. Harkness and the Panda by Alicia Potter, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

And some order prep for Fujii:
Lucy Goes to the Market by Imogen Clare and Sanchia Oppenheimer
The Princess and the Sleep Stealer by Elissa Elwick
Animal Pants! by Brian Moses and Anja Boretzki
Never Shake a Rattlesnake by Michaela Morgan and Nick Sharratt
Cactus Annie by Melanie Williamson
Marcello Mouse and the Masked Ball by Julie Monks
One World by Michael Foreman
The Hill and the Rock by David McKee
The Hunter by Paul Geraghty
Rollo and Ruff and the Little Fluffy Bird by Mike Inkpen
This Is My Book by Mike Inkpen
Emily Brown and the Thing by Cressida Cowell and Neal Layton
Boy by James Mayhew
Bumping Buffalo by Mwenye Hadithi and Adrienne Kennaway
Rhino? What Rhino? by Caryl Hart and Sarah Horne
Tons of Trucks by Sue Fliess and Betsy Snyder
Gossie and Friends Sticker Fun by Olivier Dunrea
Because Your Mommy Loves You by Andrew Clements, illustrated by R.W. Alley
Dinosoaring by Deb Lund, illustrated by Howard Fine
All for Me and None for All by Helen Lester, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
More by I.C. Springman, illustrated by Brian Lies
Ballywhinney Girl by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully
Tallulah's Solo by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
A Meal of the Stars: Poems Up and Down by Dana Jensen, illustrated by Tricia Tusa
Brothers at Bat: the True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Steven Salerno
Laundry Day by Maurie J. Manning
The Beetle Book by Steve Jenkins
Martin de Porres: The Rose in the Desert by Gary D. Schmidt, illustrated by David Diaz
The Superheroes Employment Agency by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Noah Z. Jones
Poem Runs: Baseball Poems and Paintings by Douglas Florian
Edgar Allen Poe's Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems by J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Michael Slack
Magritte's Marvelous Hat by D.B. Johnson

And Random House:
Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night? by Brianna Caplan Sayres, illustrated by Christian Slade
Rocket Writes a Story by Tad Hills
Cecil the Pet Glacier by Matthea Harvey and Giselle Potter

This coming week, I will finish Scorpions, then move on the Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, in preparation for Current Affairs reading group's April meeting.

What are you reading?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday News Round-Up

News from the store:


--Friday, March 16, Kadir Nelson will be at the St. Louis County Library, 1640 S. Lindbergh, 63131, as part of their Black History Celebration to speak and sign copies of Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans (previously reviewed) along with his other books, starting at 7:00 p.m.


News from the Publishing World:

--Pottermore Insider announced that the Harry Potter ebook and audiobook site will open to the general public in early April.  Elsewhere, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter opens March 31, but there's a preview now.

--Hunger Games fans will soon be able to play The Hunger Games Adventures on Facebook.  Elsewhere, a new clip from the film was released.  Also, the film premiered too.

--The Little Refugee by Ahn Do and Suzanne Do, illustrated by Bruce Whatley, won the Australian Independent Bookseller's Indie Award 2012 in the Children's division.

--The shortlist was announced for the Hans Christian Andersen Award, awarded by the International Board on Books for Young People to living authors and illustrators whose canon has made a lasting contribution to children's literature.  The finalists are:
Authors
Maria Teresa Andruetto from Argentina
Paul Fleischman from the U.S.
Bart Moeyaert from Belgium
Jean-Claude Mourievat from France
Bianca Pitzorno from Italy
Illustrators
Mohammad Ali Beniasadi from Iran
John Burningham from the U.K.
Roger Mello from Brazil
Peter Sis from the Czech Republic (lives in the U.S.)
Javier Zabala from Spain

--Matt Piedmont was named to direct King Dork, based on the novel of the same name by Frank Portman.  Shooting begins in June.

--Consortium Book Sales & Distribution has added Independent Thinking Press, which publishes educational and leadership titles, along with seven others.

--Winners of the National Jewish Book Awards were announced, including Deadly: How Do You Catch an Invisible Killer by Julie Chibbaro in the Children's and Young Adult Literature category and The Golem's Latkes adapted by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Aaron Jasinski.

--Polls are open for the Children's Choice Book Awards.  Children and teens can vote online.  The finalists are:
Kindergarten to Second Grade Book of the Year
Bailey by Harry Bliss
Dot by Patricia Intriago
Pirates Don't Take Baths by John Segal
Three Hens and a Peacock by Lester L. Laminack, illustrated by Henry Cole
Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Scott Campbell
Third to Fourth Grade Book of the Year
Bad Kitty Meets the Baby by Nick Bruel
A Funeral in the Bathroom: And Other School Bathroom Poems by Kalli Dakos, illustrated by Mark Beech
A Monstrous Book of Monsters by Libby Hamilton, illustrated by Jonny Duddle
Sidekicks by Dan Santat
Super Amoeba: Squish #1 by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Fifth the Sixth Grade Book of the Year
Bad Island by Doug TenNapel
How to Survive Anything by Rachel Buchholz, illustrated by Chris Philpot
Lost and Found by Shaun Tan
Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt
Racing in the Rain: My Life as a Dog by Garth Stein
Teen Book of the Year
Clockwork Prince: The Infernal Devices #2 by Cassandra Clare
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Liani Taylor
Divergent by Veronica Roth (previously reviewed)
Passion: A Fallen Novel by Lauren Kate
Perfect by Ellen Hopkins
Author of the Year
Jeff Kinney for Cabin Fever: Diary of a Wimpy Kid #6
Christopher Paolini for Inheritance
James Patterson for Middle School, the Worst Years of My Life
Rick Riordan for The Son of Neptune
Rachel Renee Russell for Tales from a Not-So-Talented Pop Star: Dork Diaries #3
Illustrator of the Year
Felicia Bond for If You Give a Dog a Donut
Eric Carle for The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse (previously reviewed)
Anna Dewdney for Llama Llama Home with Mama
Victoria Kann for Silverlicious
Brian Selznick for Wonderstruck

via Shelf Awareness

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Because of Winn-Dixie

When Opal moves to a new town with her preacher father, she is lonelier than ever.  Being separated from her friends makes the pain of being abandoned by her mother all the worse.  But one day she adopts a stray dog who has a knack for making friends, and it looks like life in this new town might not be so bad after all.

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo is one of this year's picks for World Book Night.

While this endearing little novel deals with some weighty subjects (abandonment, incarceration, death of siblings) the simple and straightforward narrative keeps things from getting too heavy.  Things are what they are and it is up to us to find the best way through them...perhaps with a four-legged friend to guide the way.  The real message here is that people need to depend on one-another and that friends can be found in the unlikeliest of places, if we only open our minds.  The added bonus of a dog is sure to attract readers.

Because of Winn-Dixie is published by Candlewick and retails for $6.99 (paperback).  I bought my used copy with my very own money.  You can get yours at Left Bank Books today!

Monday, March 12, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Book Journey with a children's department edition at Teach Mentor Texts.

This has been a very productive reading week.  I started with No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson with artwork by R. Gregory Christie.  As promised, it was a must-read for booksellers.  I then read Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews to review for the 2012 Debut Author Challenge.  After that came Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo, one of the picks for World Book Night this year.  I threw in another of DiCamillo's books, this one written with Alison McGhee and illustrated by Tony Fucile, Bink and Gollie: Two for One.  That was followed by Sloppy Firsts: A Jessica Darling Novel by Megan McCafferty for Forever Young Adult's book club (which I might actually get to this month).  Then I finally picked up Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World by Bryan Lee O'Malley since they've been sitting around unread for far too long (and the movie was on the other day).

On the order prep front, I previewed the following picture books from IPG/Trafalgar Square:


Guess What? by Guido Van Genechten
Guess Where? by Guido Van Genechten
Happy Easter! by Liesbet Slegers
Surprise! by Liesbet Slegers
Move! by Liesbet Slegers
Baby's First Christmas by Christina Goodings, illustrated by Stephen Barker
The Big Woods Orchestra by Guido Van Genechten
Number Pops: Subtraction by Simon Abbott
Number Pops: Addition by Simon Abbott
Bouncy Garden by Emily Bolam
Busy Farm by Rebecca Finn
Dinosaur Hunt: Hide and Slide by Beth Harwood, illustrated by Michelle Todd
Go Wild with...Opposites by Neal Layton
My Very Little Christmas Story by Lois Rock, illustrated by Alex Ayliffe
Rumble, Roar, Dinosaur! by Tony Mitton and Lynne Chapman
Let's Look at Dinosaurs: Torch Light by Donald Grant, Gallimard Jeunesse and Claude Delafosse
The Impressionists by Jean-Phillippe Chabot
Little Ghost by Jenny Arthur
The Beasties by Jenny Nimmo and Gwen Millward
Night Monkey Day Monkey by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Lucy Richards
Daisy Plays Hide-and-Seek by Ellie Sandall
Beatrice and Vanessa by John Yeoman and Quentin Blake
Sixes and Sevens by John Yeoman and Quentin Blake
Dr Xargle's Book of Earthlets by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross
In the Attic by Hiawyn Oram and Satoshi Kitamura
Comic Adventures of Boots by Satoshi Kitamura

Over the next week, I will be reading My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf on the recommendation of Eric, our sales rep from Fujii Associates.  Since that surely won't take me all week, I'll then be starting on either Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson in preparation for the Current Affairs book group's April meeting or The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie in preparation for World Book Night.

What are you reading?

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans

The history of America is also the history of African Americans, from the time of slavery to the election of the first black president.  Many a family can tell the story of our country's most significant events by telling the story of their ancestors.

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson is the winner of the Coretta Scott King Author Award and a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book for 2012.

This trip through the bullet points of United States history is told by unnamed narrator about her family dating back to slavery, while she has lived to vote for Barack Obama.  The conversational tone of the narrative keeps things accessible through the massive amount of material covered.  While there are intriguing details sprinkled throughout the story, nothing gets to in-depth (for obvious reasons), but this is an excellent introduction to the major events of our country's development for young readers.  There is much more text than a traditional picture book, but the one- to two-page spreads are as lush and emotional as any others you will find, making this a great gift book for all ages.

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans is published by Balzer + Bray and retails for $19.99 (hardcover).  I bought my copy with my very own money.  You can get yours at Left Bank Books today!

Kadir Nelson will be appearing as part of the Black History Celebration at St. Louis County Library, 1640 S. Lindbergh, 63131, on Friday, March 16, at 7:00 p.m.  If you can't join us at the event, call the store at 314-367-6731 to find out how you can get a personalized signed copy of this or one of his other books.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday News Round-Up

News from the store:
--Join us for a talk and book signing with Cal Ripken, Jr. tonight, March 9, at 6:00 at the St. Louis County Library, 1640 S. Lindbergh, 63131.  Ripken will be discussing his newest book Super-Sized Slugger (previously reviewed), but several of his titles will be available.  You can also call the store at 314-367-6731 to get a signed copy if you are unable to attend the event.

--Join us for a ribbon-cutting ceremony commemorating the 45th anniversary of Yeatman-Liddell Middle School, 4265 Athlone, 63115, on Saturday between 10:30 a.m. and noon.  While there, you'll be able to see the renovations to the library and purchase books to donate to the school.

News from the blog:
--I've added an archive of reviews on the right sidebar, sorted by genre, for easier browsing.

News from the publishing world:
--Royal Shakespeare Company has announced plans to take its production of Matilda: The Musical, based on Matilda by Roald Dahl, to Broadway next year.

--Brian Percival has been hired to direct Fox 2000's film adaptation of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (previously reviewed).  Production will start this summer.

--Winners were announced for the Golden Kite Awards, which is sponsored by Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrated.
Fiction
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Honor Book: Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy
Nonfiction
Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart by Candace Fleming
Honor Book: Mysterious Bones: The Story of Kennewick Man by Katherine Kirkpatrick, illustrated by Emma Stevenson
Picture Book Text
Over and Under Snow by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
Honor Book: These Hands by Margaret H. Mason, illustrated by Floyd Cooper
Picture Book Illustration
Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade by Melissa Sweet
Honor Book: Follow Me by Tricia Tusa
Sid Fleischman Award for Humor
The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander

--The Blue Peter Book of the Year, a prize voted on by U.K. schoolchildren, was awarded to The Considine Curse by Gareth P. Jones.  Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney was voted Blue Peter's Best Children's Book of the Last 10 Years.

--In Hunger Games news, a new clip from the impending film was released, this one showcasing Katniss's archery skills.  We also got to hear another song from the soundtrack, The Arcade Fire's Abraham's Daughter.  The stars of the film kicked off a mall tour of the U.S. as Suzanne Collins, the series's author, weighed in with her opinions on the finished product.

--Finalists for the 2012 Indie Choice and E.B. White Book Awards were announced by the American Booksellers Association.  They include:
Book of the Year--Young Adult
Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Legend by Marie Lu
A Monster Calls: Inspired by an Idea from Siobhan Dowd by Patrick Ness, illustrated by Jim Kay
Shine by Lauren Myracle
Steampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories edited by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant
E.B. White Read-Aloud Award--Middle Reader
The Apothecary by Maile Meloy, illustrated by Ian Schenherr (previously reviewed)
Bluefish by Pat Schmatz
The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale by Carmen Agra Deedy and Randall Wright, illustrated by Barry Moser
The Flint Heart by Katherine Paterson and John Paterson, illustrated by John Rocco
Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver, illustrated by Kei Acedera
Wildwood by Colin Meloy, illustrated by Carson Ellis
E.B. White Read-Aloud Award--Picture Book
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen (previously reviewed)
King Hugo's Huge Ego by Chris Van Dusen
Press Here by Herve Tullet
Stars by Mary Lyn Ray, illustrated by Marla Frazee
Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
Picture Book Hall of Fame
Bread and Jam for Frances by Russel Hoban, illustrated by Lillian Hoban
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault, illustrated by Lois Ehlert
Curious George by H.A. Rey
Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
The Napping House by Audrey Wood, illustrated by Don Wood
Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola
Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith
Most Engaging Author
M.T. Anderson
John Green
Walter Mosley
Brian Selznick

--Scholastic released an expanded beta version of its Storia eReading App.

Links via Shelf Awareness.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Super-Sized Slugger

Moving to a new school is hard enough without being overweight.  Still, Cody's a baseball whiz, and that should help him fit in.  If only the class bully wasn't trying out for the same position.  And when a rash of thefts strikes his school, the trouble might only be beginning for Cody.

Super-Sized Slugger by Cal Ripken, Jr. with Kevin Cowherd is the second book in the Cal Ripken, Jr.'s All-Stars series.

It's no surprise that young baseball fans should enjoy this book.  There are plenty of high-stakes situations on the field with enough technical jargon to please those in the know while still keeping the action clear for those who aren't.  While the language can occasionally ring false, the plots found off the field offer plenty of tension as well.  Cody's efforts to make friends and avoid bullies will be familiar to many kids while the larceny subplot adds some more exotic drama.  This is technically the second book in a series, but there is no reason it can't be enjoyed on its own.

Super-Sized Slugger is published by Hyperion and retails for $16.99 (hardcover).  I received my complementary copy from the publisher (although this review was not solicited or otherwise compensated).  You can get yours at Left Bank Books today!

Cal Ripken, Jr. will be appearing at St. Louis County Library, 1640 S. Lindbergh, 63131, Friday, March 9, at 6:00 p.m. to speak and sign copies of Super-Sized Slugger and his other books.  Please join us, or call the store at 314-367-6731 to find out how you can get a book signed in absentia.

Monday, March 5, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday!  What Are You Reading? is hosted by Book Journey, with a children's book version at Teach Mentor Texts.

This week I finished Mockingjay, the third book of the Hunger Games Trilogy, by Suzanne Collins so I could have all three books down before Left Bank's brand-new Teen Reads reading group discusses the first book.  I also read Super-Sized Slugger, the latest installment in the Cal Ripken, Jr.'s All-Stars series, by Cal Ripken, Jr. with Kevin Cowherd in preparation for the former's author visit.  In picture book territory, I read Another Brother by Matthew Cordell on the recommendation of our Central West End Floor Manager, Elizabeth.

Next, I'll be reading No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, with artwork by R. Gregory Christie.  It was recommended to me by John, our sales rep from Abraham Associates, as something all booksellers should read, so I figured I should get through our sample copy so I can pass it on to the rest of the store.

What did you read this week?

Z Is for Moose

All alphabet books are pretty much the same, right?  A: Apple, B: Ball, C: Cat, D: ...Moose?

Z Is for Moose by Kelly Bingham and Paul O. Zelinsky is my current staff pick.

In this behind-the-scenes look at pictorial alphabets, Zebra is directing his cast of characters when the over-eager Moose appears on the D page.  After a gentle correction, his excitement builds as his page approaches...but what's that mouse doing there?  Will the ensuing rampaging tantrum mean Moose is left out completely?  This is a cute and silly way for youngsters who already know a bit of the alphabet to gain confidence by identifying exactly where Moose shouldn't be and who should take his place.  The illustrations break through the usual picture book framework in a simple and creative way.  This is a truly original take on the alphabet that hasn't failed to elicit laughs from anyone I've shown it to.

Z Is for Moose is published by Greenwillow Books and retails for $16.99 (hardcover).  I read my copy by picking it up from the shelves for a few minutes.  You can get yours at Left Bank Books today!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday News Round-Up

News from the publishing world:

--Hugo, the motion picture based on The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (previously reviewed), took home Academy Awards for Art Direction, Cinematography, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects.  The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by Brandon Oldenburg and children's author William Joyce received the award for Animated Short.

--Educational Development Corporation, the publishers of Usborne and Kane Miller books, has stopped selling its products to Amazon and entities that resell to Amazon, citing the company's recent falling out with Independent Publishers Group over e-book sales and support for independent retailers.

--Harry Potter e-book and digital audio book company Pottermore has reached an agreement with Overdrive to bring its products into schools and libraries worldwide.

--The Bank Street Children's Book Committee of Bank Street College honored its award winners for 2012:
Flora Straus Nonfiction Award for older readers:  Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy by Albert Marrin
Flora Straus Nonfiction Award for younger readers:  Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade by Melissa Sweet
Claudia Lewis Poetry Award for older readers:  The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic by Allan Wolf
Claudia Lewis Poetry Award for younger readers:  Emma Dilemma: Big Sister Poems by Kristine O'Connell George, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter
Josette Frank Award for Fiction:  Bluefish by Pat Schmatz

--Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance has announced the long list for the 2012 SIBA Book Awards.  It includes:
Children's
Always Neverland by Zoe Barton
Bigger than a Bread Box by Laurel Snyder
Jelly Bean Finds Her Special Place by Jane Edwards
Liddil Gets Her Light by Tracey M. Cox, illustrated by Eugene Ruble
Wake Up Man by Thomas Rain Crowe
Which Side Are You On?: The Story of a Song by George Ella Lyon, illustrated by Christopher Cardinale
Young Adult
Breath of Angel by Karyn Henley
The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan
Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact by A.J. Hartley
Dead Rules by Randy Russell
The Magnolia League by Katie Crouch
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard
Second Time's a Charm by Mary Flinn
Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley

--University of Nebraska--Lincoln has released a study of Caldecott winners that concludes natural environments depicted in children's books are on the decline.