PBS Parents is debuting a new blog about children's books: Booklights. Go take a look. It's written by several of the kidlitosphere's finest. PBS Parents is an online adjunct to the network's children's television programming.
Shortlists have been announced for the UK's prestigious Carnegie and Greenaway awards for children's books. You can find the rosters at the following links: Carnegie Medal shortlist 2009, and Kate Greenaway Medal shortlist 2009.
The Carnegie honors writing and the Greenaway illustration, much like the Newbery and Caldecott awards here.
Last Friday the Guardian newspaper commented on the "boysy" aspect of the Carnegie shortlist.
Sometimes you just want to read a book that's fun. That was the case with two of my first-grade reading buddies this morning. After practicing words with long a's and short a's in a phonics book, Daniel and Lucie wanted something that would make them laugh.
Daniel knew just the thing; he ran to his desk to retrieve The Animal Boogie, by Debbie Harter. Daniel said the book was too hard for him to read himself, but Lucie was game to try. With a little bit of help from me (with the big words) and from Daniel (with the page-turning), she rocked it.
The Animal Boogie is a repetitious (in a good way) guessing-game book that opens,
Down in the jungle, come if you dare!
What can you see shaking here and there?
With a shaky shake here and a shaky shake there,
What's that creature shaking here and there?
Daniel knew what the creature on the page was, of course, since the book is his. Smiling, he asked excitedly, "Do you know? Do you know? " He turned the page for Lucie, who read,
IT'S A BEAR!
She goes shake, shake, boogie, woogie, oogie!
Shake, shake, boogie, woogie, oogie!
Shake, shake, boogie, woogie, oogie!
That's the way she's shaking here and there.
By the end the three of us were chanting along, and Daniel, too, was reading difficult words like "creature." I appreciated the fact that the illustrations included children of different races and a little girl in a wheelchair, and my two friends, born long after the disco years, thought the phrase "boogie, woogie, oogie" was hilarious. The Animal Boogie originally came with a musical CD, but that was long gone from Daniel's copy. No matter. Just reading was plenty of fun.
Are you ready for today's clue? As part of the blog tour for Eric Berlin's new book, The Potato Chip Puzzles, Chicken Spaghetti is proud to point you in this direction:
"I learned to read English before I could read Russian. My first English friends were four simple souls in my grammar—Ben, Dan, Sam and Ned. There used to be a great deal of fuss about their identities and whereabouts—"Who is Ben?" "He is Dan," "Sam is in bed," and so on. Although it all remained rather stiff and patchy (the compiler was handicapped by having to employ—for the initial lessons, at least—words of not more than three letters), my imagination somehow managed to obtain the necessary data. Wan-faced, big-limbed, silent nitwits, proud in the possession of certain tools ("Ben has an axe"), they drift now with a slow-motioned slouch across the remotest backdrop of memory; and, akin to the mad alphabet of an optician's chart, the grammar-book lettering looms again before me."
Today marks the beginning of author Eric Berlin's blog tour for his new book, The Potato Chip Puzzles. Booklist said of Berlin's first novel, The Puzzling World of Winston Breen: "Readers . . . will surface from this unusual mystery with their hearts pounding and their brains limbered up for more." Crossword aficionados will recognize Eric Berlin as the author of last Sunday's puzzle in the New York Times Magazine.
Put on your detective hats to solve the clues at the following sites, and don't miss Tuesday's clue right here at Chicken Spaghetti. A big prize goes to the champion puzzle solver!
Benjamin Alire Sáenz's novel He Forgot to Say Goodbye and Carmen Tafolla's short-story collection The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans have tied for this year's Tomás Rivera prize for Mexican American children's literature. Both books are for young-adult readers.
As the San Marcos (Texas) Mercury reports,
I don't even remember the last time I learned a poem by heart, but this piece in the New York Times Book Review caught my attention. Jim Holt has memorized a lot of poetry. "It’s all about pleasure. And it’s a cheap pleasure," he writes.