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The Trumpets of the Sky: Week 5 of Robert's Snow

The final week of Blogging for a Cure starts today. Blogging for a Cure supports Robert's Snow for Cancer's Cure, the online charity auction of wooden snowflake ornaments decorated by children's book illustrators. Proceeds go to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and the effort by the children's book bloggers was launched to drive as much traffic as possible to the Robert's Snow web site. There you'll find all the information about how to bid on these unique pieces of art. The first round of auctions begins Monday, November 19th. Buying a snowflake will fund cancer research. That's what it's all about.

Do stop by these woods on a snowy evening for a visit with artists Maggie Swanson on Wednesday and Joan Waites on Saturday.

This week's schedule and the source of this post's title come after the jump.

Continue reading "The Trumpets of the Sky: Week 5 of Robert's Snow" »

Technical Glitch, plus a dino-book giveaway!

There is a glitch with comments here over the last couple of days, with some not showing up. Typepad, the blog host, is on the case, and I hope this will be remedied soon.

Meanwhile, I have a book to give away! Do you know a dinosaur-loving kid? Via media mail, I will mail out Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages, by Dr. Thoms R. Holtz, Jr. Color illustrations abound.

Readers who plan to give the book to a child should email me at c_spaghettiATyahooDOTcom; replace the AT and DOT with the real thing. Priority goes to the kid whose day is going to be made by receiving a 428-page book on T. Rex and company.

Update: the dino book has found a home. Thanks for responding so quickly!

Poetry Friday: Tree Traffic

Yesterday I was driving down one of the feeder highways to I-95. Traffic moved very slowly. Ahead of me I could see the reason: a huge truck going about 40 miles an hour, followed by a smaller vehicle with a "Caution: Wide Load" sign. The load was indeed wide: the bigger truck was taking up the better part of two lanes and continued to do so even when we merged onto the very busy I-95 South.

The long flatbed of the truck carried a lot of greenery, and I wondered if a nursery was taking a bunch of evergreens somewhere. Then I realized it was all one tree. The tree. The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree! Sure enough, when I pulled up beside the procession, that's what it was. A gigantic red banner proclaimed 75 Years... of something—I couldn't read the rest without causing a wreck. Like a little kid, I bounced up and down in the seat, honking and waving at the driver.

We always go into New York to see the tree and be festive during the holidays. Spotting it on the beginning of its trip to the city made my day. So, for Poetry Friday, how could I not go with Kristine O'Connell George's "Tree Traffic"? She writes not about the interstate but a "treeway" that's "heavily squirreled." The poem comes from the collection Old Elm Speaks, a 1998 picture book.

The Poetry Friday roundup takes place at A Wrung Sponge today. 

Happy Diwali! A Review of Indian Tales: A Barefoot Collection

Happy Diwali! A Review of Indian Tales: A Barefoot Collection
  A Guest Column by Pooja Makhijani

As I said last year, in this very space, I don't have to wait until December for the holidays. On Friday, November 9, I will be opening gifts, eating gulab jamuns, dressing up in a brand new sari, and placing tiny clay lamps along our walkway and driveway so that Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, can find her way to our home.

o o o o o

Diwali celebrates the victory of good over evil, although the deities, rituals, and stories that are associated with the holiday are different in different parts of India. One of the stories associated with this exuberant holiday—"Hanuman's Adventures"—can be found in a delightful new picture book anthology, Indian Tales: A Barefoot Collection by Shenaaz Nanji and illustrated by Christopher Corr (Barefoot Books, 2007).

"Hanuman's Adventures" tells the tale of the monkey-god Hanuman. Hanuman aided Rama, the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu, in rescuing his abducted wife, Sita, and slaying the ten-headed ruler of Lanka, Ravana. Nanji draws heavily from the source text—the fifth chapter of the Ramayana, one Hinduism's central texts—and gives young readers an action-packed story to read over and over again.

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Reading with a Third Grader, 11.7.07

Img_0418 Junior has never been one to divulge a lot of details about school. Days are usually "fine" or "okay," and that's that. We asked him what he reads for silent reading time at school and were told, "Mysteries." When asked to elaborate, he said, "I read my mysteries." We have no idea what he's talking about. Try and pursue the line of conversation and you get, "I read my mysteries. I told you that!" (No doubt the parent-teacher conference will shed some light on the matter.) We do know that the teacher is reading Sewer Soup aloud to the class and that Junior thinks it's "good."

The third graders are required to read for 25 minutes each night, and Junior likes this part of his homework. He's fond of picture books and the comics genre in particular: Calvin & Hobbes, Babymouse, Owly, Garfield, the Sardine series. Although a capable reader, he avoids chapter books at home—which is why we asked him about what he reads at school. In order to encourage a little exploration in that area, I've been borrowing audiobooks from the public library, so he can read along with the narration.

Lately he and I have been listening to Avi's Poppy, which is about a deer-mouse family who lives under the rule of one Mr. Ocax, an owl and a "big meanie." Just yesterday we were visiting a local nature center, and one of the resident (and caged) owls started to clatter his beak at us, just like Mr. Ocax does when he's hungry. Spooky! Much to Junior's delight, we also saw plenty of owl pellets, the regurgitated parts of meals that owls cannot digest; Poppy is particularly appalled when she spots these near Mr. Ocax's perch. So, along with the good story line, Junior is picking up a bit of owl lore too. I enjoy seeing him make these connections. No mystery there.

Adoption in The New York Times

Speaking of National Adoption Awareness Month, one of the New York Times' Opinion blogs is currently devoted to "Relative Choices: Adoption and the American Family." With two finely written entries so far, this promising series features perspectives from adopted children, birth parents, and adoptive parents. One of the upcoming writers is Tama Janowitz. Remember her from the Slaves of New York days?

From Katy Robinson's "Tracing My Roots Back to Korea," the blog's November 6th post:

Returning to Korea for the first time since my adoption was a defining moment in my life. It took 20 years to muster the courage to confront the most basic of questions: Who am I? Where did I come from?

These were questions that I did not allow myself to ask while growing up in Salt Lake City, Utah. To broach these topics, it appeared to me, was to point out that I was different from everyone else in my family. I was afraid to seem ungrateful for the amazing new life I had been given, or to hurt my adoptive mother’s feelings by mentioning the mother who gave me birth. It wasn’t as if I was forbidden to talk about my Korean family; it just seemed disloyal.

Monday morning you look so fine: Nov. 5

Today marks the launch of the Winter Blog Blast Tour, a series of interviews with such authors as Sherman Alexie, Judy Blume, and Jon Scieszka. The tour's road manger, Colleen Mondor, posts the complete schedule at her blog, Chasing Ray. Hit the highway and read.

Gertrude Stein wrote a picture book for children? Yup, and Crooked House read it.

A short story from the anthology When I Was a Loser: True Stories of (Barely) Surviving High School has been banned at a Rhode Island high school. Story at the Pawtucket Times. (via Maud Newton)

Debbie Reese, who blogs at American Indians in Children's Literature, takes a look at the National Education Association's Native American booklist.

The author Mitali Perkins writes about illustrators and cross-cultural authenticity at her blog, Mitali's Fire Escape, and relays some information from a recent meeting of PEN's young adult and children's book committee.

Snowflakes on the Loose: Week 4 of Robert's Snow for Cancer's Cure

Following all the Robert's Snow posts in the blogosphere has become a great way to learn more about illustration and the way artists work. To explain a bit for those new to the endeavor, Robert's Snow is an online charity auction to raise funds for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. More than 200 children's book illustrators have decorated wooden snowflakes that are being auctioned off.

In support, a number of children's book blogs are featuring individual artists involved in the project. Masterminded by the indefatigable Julie Danielson at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, Blogging for a Cure started in mid-October, and continues for the next several weeks. To see all the snowflakes in one place and to find out how to bid, visit the official site of Robert's Snow for Cancer's Cure.

This week's schedule of blog features follows after the jump. Many thanks to Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect and Jen of Jen Robinson's Book Page for providing the links.

Continue reading "Snowflakes on the Loose: Week 4 of Robert's Snow for Cancer's Cure" »

Adoption Books for Children

November is National Adoption Awareness month, and I compiled a list of some good adoption books for children. These are for all kids, not just the ones who were adopted; sharing a book together is an excellent way to begin talking about the different ways families are formed.

Picture Books

  • Bringing Asha Home, by Uma Krishnaswami, pictures by Ruth Jeyaveeran. Told from the viewpoint of a big brother, the story of a biracial family who adopts a baby in India.
  • A Mother for Choco, by Keiko Kasza. Choco the bird needs a mom, and finds one in Mrs. Bear.
  • Horace, by Holly Keller. A leopard in a family of tigers wearies of being the only leopard around.
  • Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born, by Jamie Lee Curtis; pictures by Laura Cornell. A celebrity book but a good one.
  • And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell; pictures by Henri Cole. Two male penguins hatch an egg together.
  • Let's Talk About It: Adoption, by Fred Rogers. Mr. Rogers' matter-of-fact, pitch-perfect book for younger children.

Middle Grade

  • Kimchi & Calamari, by Rose Kent. Novel about adoption, identity, and the perils of the eighth grade. The appealing, funny boy narrator was born in Korea and adopted by an Italian-American family.

You'll find even more suggestions at Spence-Chapin's Book Nook file (PDF). (Spence-Chapin is an adoption and social services agency in New York.) Also, the Tapestry Books catalogue specializes in adoption.

Poetry Friday 11.02.07

The Poetry Friday roundup today takes place at the edublog Mentor Texts, Read Alouds & More. Also, don't miss author Susan Taylor Brown's post at her blog, in which she lists all the weekly roundups over the last two years. Very handy. Thanks, Susan.

For an explanation of the friendly and welcoming Poetry Friday tradition in the kidlitosphere, read this post. Join in!

Time is going to prevent a poetry post of my own today, but you'll find plenty of good reading in those links in the first paragraph.