Resources for Inexpensive Children's Books

On The Core Knowledge Blog, Robert Pondiscio cited a newspaper column bemoaning the disappearance of the Little Golden Books and other inexpensive children's fare; that columnist noted that the books are available in some places, mostly online. While I don't agree with the premise—I have seen The Poky Little Puppy, etc.,  in Walmart, for one—the blog did get me to thinking about affordable books for little ones.

The public library, of course, is the biggest bargain; library cards are free.

Here is a version of what I wrote in the comments at Core Knowledge:

Goodwill and other thrift stores are excellent places to buy inexpensive books for children, as are library sales. Tag sales and garage sales are other good places to look, not to mention online resources like Freecycle lists and Paperback Swap. Almost all libraries offer free Internet access, so one does not have to own a computer to have accounts or join email lists.

My local Goodwill sells children’s paperbacks for something like 50 cents. The various Scholastic clubs also offer at least some inexpensive books in almost every catalogue. (A tip: just avoid the books that come with the cheap tchotchkes. Breakage=heartbreak.)

Any other ideas? I hope you'll add them in the comments. I'd be happy to make the suggestions into a flyer.

From My State to Yours: Happy Holidays


What a lovely lot of trees, don't you think? And it's so special, so heartwarming, so seasonal that they're grown here in the Nutmeg State, too. Ah, smell the scents of evergreens and "O Tanenbaum" wafting through the air. Want to buy one of these beauties?


Perhaps, then, we'd better go with a sunset.


At least it has some color.

Happy Holidays from all of us here at Chicken Spaghetti!

"It's a Narnia Christmas" at the NY Times

Evergreen Laura Miller, author of  The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia, writes an op-ed piece today, which begins,

Every Christmas, I re-read C .S. Lewis’s novel “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” The holiday seems like the ideal time for an excursion into my imaginative past, and so I return to the paperback boxed set of “The Chronicles of Narnia” that my parents gave me for Christmas when I was 10. For me, Narnia is intimately linked with the season.

Read the whole essay here.

Meanwhile, 'tis the season here at Chicken Spaghetti of The Best of the Best: Kids' Books '08, a collection of links to many year-end lists. From the Abilene Reporter News's Top Ten Texas reads to the Washington Post's audio-book recommendations, you'll find lots. One terrific new addition is from Good Comics for Kids, a new School Library Journal blog.

4th Carnival of Children's Lit at Bonny Glen

The fourth Carnival of Children's Literature is whirling and twirling at Here in the Bonny Glen. All carloads are getting in for free. Grab a candy apple and head over.

A blog carnival is a roundup of links to posts on a particular topic; in this case, it's children's books. How fun is that?

A round of applause goes  to Melissa, Bonny Glen's proprietor, who 1. has a new baby; 2. home-schools her other children; 3. is about to launch a Club Mom blog; 4. writes books (oh, yeah, that little thing); and 5. keeps her blog lively and up-to-date as ever. (Was there Wi-Fi in the hospital?) Take a bow, Melissa!

Previous kid lit carnivals to indulge in are
#1 at Here in the Bonny Glen
#2 right here at Chicken Spaghetti
#3 at Semicolon

Carnival #5 takes place at Big A little a.

LA Is a Great Big Book Place

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books takes over the town this weekend. With so many choices, I had a hard time deciding which panels to attend (if I could click my heels and magically transport myself to LA, that is), but a few caught my eye. Panels are free, but you have to sign up in advance. Children's activities and many more literary happenings are also on the bill. Go see the whole roster over at the Festival web site.

Saturday, April 29th

2:30 PM - Creating New Worlds: Young Adult Fantasy Writing
Fowler Museum Lenart Auditorium PANEL 1064
Moderator Ms. Denise Hamilton
Ms. Cornelia Funke
Mr. Adam Gopnik
Ms. Margo Lanagan

2:30 PM - Taylor Branch in Conversation with Tavis Smiley
Moore 100 PANEL 1104
Interviewer Mr. Tavis Smiley
Mr. Taylor Branch

Sunday, April 29th

10:00 AM - First Fiction: Finding A Voice
            Moore 100 PANEL 2101
            Moderator Mr. Mark Rozzo
            Ms. Lisa Fugard
            Mr. Marlon James
            Ms. Laila Lalami [MoorishGirl!]
            Ms. Adrienne Sharp

3:00 PM - Fiction: L.A. Lit
Fowler Museum Lenart Auditorium PANEL 2064
Moderator Ms. Janet Fitch
Mr. Chris Abani
Mr. Steve Erickson
Ms. Michelle Huneven [Have you read Jamesland? Very good book.]
Mr. Jim Krusoe

3:00 PM - Sarah Vowell & David Rakoff in Conversation     with Tod Goldberg
    Royce Hall PANEL 2053
    Interviewer Mr. Tod Goldberg
    Mr. David Rakoff
    Ms. Sarah Vowell

3:00 PM - Young Minds, Young Eyes: The Picture Book
    Young Hall CS 24 PANEL 2084
    Moderator Ms. Mary Ellen Walker
    Mr. Eric Drachman
    Ms. Rachel Victoria Rodriguez
    Ms. Paula Yoo   

Weekend Reading 3/23/06

Remember how in college the weekend started on Thursday? Tomorrow will be a blogging holiday at Chicken Spaghetti, so here is the weekend reading a bit early. Pour yourself a cup of coffee, and dive in! Don't worry about the splash...

  • Enough with the "mommy wars" already, at the Forward
  • No reading 'til 2nd grade? An emphasis on art and nature? A Waldorf School profiled, in the Newtown (CT) Bee
  • Caldecott winner The Hello, Goodbye Window elbows Fancy Nancy aside for #1 spot on picture-book list, at Publishers Weekly
  • Coyote chase in Central Park, in The New York Times
  • A  profile of "most challenged" kids' books  author Robie H. Harris, courtesy of the Scripps-Howard News Service
  • Free printable book plates by famous UK illustrators, at My Home Library
  • A musical "Sarah Plain and Tall," plus travelling productions, at TheatreworksUSA
  • The movie "Curious George" reviewed, at The Horn Book
  • 2005 publishing trends, at the Cooperative Children's Book Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Includes "picture book lows and highs."
  • A science teacher who is not permitted to use the "e" word (evolution) and is not permitted to tell his students how old rocks are, at the Arkansas Times