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August 2011

Garden Reads: "Growing Good Kids" Book Awards, 2011

With all the interest in school and community gardens these days, the list of  "Growing Good Kids" book awards is a wonderful resource. The latest winners, announced last weekend, are as follows. (Don't miss the roster of classics, too.)

Amazon_title Water, Weed and Wait, written by Edith Hope Fine and Angela Demos Halpin; illustrated by Colleen Madden (Tricycle Press, 2010)

Nibbles: A Green Tale, by Charlotte Middleton (Marshall Cavendish, 2010)

In the Garden with Dr. Carver, written by Susan Grigsby and illustrated by Nicole Tadgell (Albert Whitman & Company, 2010)

A description from the American Horticultural Society:

The Junior Master Gardener Program and the American Horticultural Society honor engaging, inspiring works of plant, garden and ecology-themed children's literature through the new "Growing Good Kids—Excellence in Children's Literature Awards" Program.

This award recognizes a select group of children's books that are especially effective at promoting an understanding of and appreciation for gardening and the environment.

You'll find additional children's book titles about gardening today at A Year of Reading. That post inspired this one. Thanks, Franki and Mary Lee.

Summer in the Field

Junior is now a rising 7th grader. How did that happen? I could have sworn that he just finished kindergarten.

This summer, when he's not app-surfing, he wants to read more Scientists in the Field books. That's the great series from Houghton Mifflin. Some that he has not gotten to yet are Diving to a Deep Sea Volcano; Saving the Ghost of the Mountain; and Wildlife Detectives. Along with many others, he's re-reading Harry Potter, too.

What are your kids reading these days? 

Wayward Thoughts

"I like to think about things," [Isabel] said airly. "I like to let my mind wander. Our minds can come up with the most entertaining possibilities, if we let them. But most of the time, we keep them under far too close a check."

from The Careful Use of Compliments, by Alexander McCall Smith (Pantheon Books, 2007)

Less edgy than Barbara Pym's novels and a bit more sophisticated than Jan Karon's Mitford books, McCall Smith's Isabel Dalhousie series is a delight. After my mother lent me The Sunday Philosophy Club (thanks, Mom!), I've gone on to read three more, and have the next waiting on the book shelf. Set in Edinburgh, the short novels, which make the most of their Scottish setting, feature a fortysomething philosopher, who really does think about lots of things and occasionally meddles in situations, if not exactly mysteries, where she shouldn't.  

Talking About "The Latte Rebellion" & Directions to the Blog Blast Tour

At Chasing Ray, Colleen Mondor talks to Sarah Stevenson, who wrote The Latte Rebellion (Flux, 2011). Stevenson's young adult novel features characters of mixed race. The author says, 

From the beginning I wanted to make this a fun story with a healthy dose of humor, not just an "issue book." Not that the issues it covers aren't important to me, but I feel very strongly that there need to be more books that have race/ethnicity/culture as a theme but which are not pigeonholed into being "ethnic books" or even problem novels...

The interview is part of the Summer Blog Blast Tour, a top-notch annual series focusing on books for children and teens. The entire schedule is here.

From English to Catalan to English

All this time, I couldn't help but wonder what my problem with English had been. It took me more than a long while to work out that English was not my language at all: British English was. A language in which syntax, vocabulary, slang and the odd turn of phrase involuntarily delineate the class origins of either the author or – should there be one – the fictional narrator. 

Matthew Tree,  "Finding My Voice in Spain," The Telegraph, 6 July 2011

The above is from a really interesting piece in which the author, a native Englishman living in Spain, talks about finding his voice in English after years of writing in Catalan. Tree's latest book is Barcelona, Catalonia: A View from the Inside. I've always wanted to visit Barcelona, and since summer is a good time to travel, if only by reading, I'm going to hunt down a copy.

Link via The Book Bench