In total, eleven authors contributed to the book:
Catherine Johnson, Lynn Kelley, Yvette Carol, Suzy Levinson, Vivian Kirkfield, Ellen Warach Leventhal, Hope Lim, Theresa Milstein, Cheryl Secomb, Erik Weibel and Robyn Campbell.
In total, eleven authors contributed to the book:
Catherine Johnson, Lynn Kelley, Yvette Carol, Suzy Levinson, Vivian Kirkfield, Ellen Warach Leventhal, Hope Lim, Theresa Milstein, Cheryl Secomb, Erik Weibel and Robyn Campbell.
Today I am going to tell you about a great experience I had at the annual Lititz Literature festival but first I have a small announcement.
I have been selected as a 2015-2016 Scholastic News Kid Reporter! WOO!
For those of you who know me, journalism is one of my interests and I am very excited and humbled by this opportunity. To check out all the awesome kids reporters for this year, visit the Scholastic Kid Reporter’s Notebook HERE!
Now on to why you are all really here – LITERATURE FESTIVAL!!!
NOTE* This article is NOT a Scholastic News report – it’s just me doing my thing. :)
For the past five years, I’ve convinced my mom and dad to drive me the two and a half hours (each way) to attend the annual Lititz Kid Literature festival. Each year the festival is organized and presented by Aaron’s Books, a fantastic book store in the heart of Lititz. Side note – if you’ve never been to Lititz, the town is worth the drive. It’s very cool. Every year the festival has an awesome line up of authors and great workshops for kids. The workshop topics range from writing to illustrations to research and best of all, they are taught by authors and illustrators! This year the event was especially wonderful because of a new venue. Aaron’s Books bookstore partnered with the Warwick Education Foundation and through this partnership the festival was held in the Lititz Elementary school.
I had a chance to interview Mr. Kurt Gardner, who is a board member of the Warwick Education Foundation and was the Literature Festival’s chair. Mr. Gardner said that Aaron’s Books approached the Foundation, and asked to partner with them. The Foundation agreed, as they saw it would coincide with their mission to advance education. They also thought that it would help the festival get more visitors and visibility. Well, it worked! Todd Dickinson, owner of Aaron’s books told me that this year’s festival drew over 600 people. “In past years it was difficult to reach 200,” Dickinson said.
Although there were triple the people at the festival this year, I thought the festival ran as smoothly as past years and all of the workshops and lectures did not disappoint.
Gordon Korman was the featured author at the event. During his festival-opening talk, he said that he started writing in 7th grade, when his gym teacher had to take over English Class (and he was NOT equipped to do so). He pretty much had half a school year to do one project, and he decided to write a book. I need to thank his ex-gym/English teacher because the book he wrote is one of my favorites – “This can’t be happening at Macdonald hall” (plus it’s pretty cool his 7th grade project got published).
I really liked the part of his talk where he compared fingerprints to character’s dialogue. He pointed out how dialogue can be very unique and how you have a character say something gives them a unique identity. I personally never thought about it like that, but am going to now!
Mr. Korman said that “What if…” is the most important question to ask yourself, and that he had gotten many ideas from that “question.” After his talk I was able to ask Mr. Korman a few questions of my own. I asked if he got any story ideas being in the small rural town of Lititz PA. He told me that being in Lancaster county, with Amish communities alongside cities and towns, had already given him a few scenes/ideas for books.
I asked him if his kids realized how cool their dad really is, to which he laughed and said that his kids read his books, but they usually went through a phase. “It’s usually around 5th grade” he said, and explained that his older kids didn’t really read his books anymore, unless if it’s on their summer reading list. ;)
Mr. Korman has finished the second Masterminds book, and is waiting for it to get published (see my review of the first in the Mastermind series HERE). He has also written a stand-alone novel to come out in the summer of 2016, called “Slacker”. He is also coming out with a holiday follow-up of the popular Swindle series (an awesome series) called “Jingle,” set to release in the fall-winter of 2016.
MORE HIGHLIGHTS FROM LITITZ –
I got to hang out with some literary titans – the Pokey Little Puppy and Corduroy – and I got to pretend to be Olivia.
I kicked off the workshop sessions by attending a writing workshop instructed by Corey Ann Haydu, author of Rules for Stealing Stars. I always love the writing workshops at this festival. I learn so much.
I sat in on A.S. King’s Teen Talk workshop on what books teens read, why they read and how they see themselves portrayed in books. A.S. King is a constant supporter of the Lititz festival and I always look forward to hearing her speak and just saying Hi to her. She insists I keep getting taller – I think she’s getting shorter. ;)
One of my favorite sessions was the Reading Adventure Panel – A discussion about writing exciting books for reluctant readers. The panel included (from left to right in the picture) Matt London, David Potter, Gordon Korman and Mark Tatulli.
I loved that the authors said that they don’t like the term reluctant readers and that adventure books don’t always just appeal to boys.
I picked up Mr. Potter’s book The Left Behinds: The iPhone that Saved George Washington at the festival. I don’t know how this one got past my radar. It’s right up my alley – dystopian historical fiction! Oh yeah! That is definitely on my TBR list. He said there’s another coming out early next year.
Another series I can’t believe I missed is the 8th Continent by Matt London (one of the panelists).
It is a series about two kids who want to transform the Great Pacific Garbage Patch into an eighth continent so they can live there with their family under their own rules. Sounds like an awesome premise to me. I get a chance to catch up on the series (there are 3 books so far) before the final book in the series is released early next year.
Of course I was geeking out that I got to hear Mark Tatulli, author of one of my favorite comic characters – Lio. I missed Mr. Tatulli’s workshop on making stories come alive because we had to leave before he did it. :( Hope he comes back again. He has a new Desmond Pucket book coming out in February 2016 that I’ve added to my need to have list. It’s Desmond Pucket and the Cloverfield Junior High Carnival of Horrors –
Some other highlights were –
Getting a signed copy of Wolfie the Bunny – meeting Ame Dyckman and getting an awesome squishy carrot from her. :)
Seeing Lititz perennial favorite Courtney Sheinmel and getting her fantastic new middle grade book Zacktastic! Ms. Sheinmel is the author of the Stella Batts series and has penned this new book with a boy main character because her nephew Zack wanted a boy main character – now that’s service! Zack (the character not the nephew) just found out he is a genie and has to go on his first assignment without any training. I added this one to my TBR list!
I also picked up a copy of Click Clack Ho! Ho! Ho! to review in December and was able to meet and get it signed by illustrator Betsy Lewin. I know, I know, I am 13 but I still LOVE picture books. ;)
In addition to the workshops, lectures and book signings, there were crafts, read-alouds, a local author corner and therapy dogs you could relax and read with. :)
There was so much to do and it is such a great time at this festival. There were more authors at the event that I just didn’t get a chance to get to, but would have love to hear speak. I think I will have to work on that cloning project for next year. My recommendation – just go ahead and mark your calendars for next year and make the trek out to Lititz – it’s worth it!
Hi folks! It’s that time of year again!
Here’s the rules (From Ms. Hill’s site):
“The Contest: write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words), using the words costume, dark, and haunt. Your story can be scary, funny or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!) Get it? Halloweensie – because it’s not very long and it’s for little people :) (And yes, I know 100 words is short but that’s part of the fun and the challenge! We got over 130 fantastic entries last year so I know you can do it!) Also, you may use the words in any form – e.g. haunt, haunts, haunted, darkness, darkening, costumed, whathaveyou :) No illustration notes please!”
Oh – and there’s prizes! :)
To check out all the rules, prizes and other great entries, click HERE to go to Ms. Hill’s blog.
So without further ado, here is my entry!
A Perfect Halloween Night (87 words)
By Erik Weibel
Dark and chilly.
Crisp and windy.
A perfect Halloween night.
Bag in hand.
Bring two more – just in case.
House by house.
And always say ‘Thank you’.
One house left.
No lights on.
A truly deserted place.
Ring the bell.
Ghosts must haunt these grounds.
Door hinge creaks.
Bony hand reaches out.
Fear-struck on the door step.
“Happy Halloween, young man.”
A perfect Halloween night.
Written by Buzz Aldrin with Marianne J. Dyson
90 pages – ages 8+
Published by National Geographic Children’s Books on September 1st, 2015
Synopsis- Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live on Mars? If you have, you probably dismissed it as impossible. How would you like to hear that it may be possible to live on Mars? Within a few years, it may very well be imaginable to be setting up a colony on Mars. It is something that must be thought of, and will be a necessity for our survival as a species.
What I Thought- When I think of Mars habitation, I normally end up thinking of space-age technology bordering on Sci-Fi. When I read this book, I realized that the technology is closer than you might think. Much like the advanced technology that Jules Verne predicted and wrote about in the 1800s that is reality today, Buzz Aldrin bring future possibilities to us in this book. Aldrin theorizes about the time it will take for us to get to Mars and start a permanent colony. The text also tell the reader a lot about the red planet. In an easy to understand way, Mr. Aldrin helps explain how we would get to Mars, and tells us about Mars now, and what we would do while colonizing. Reading the book was very thought-provoking – it’s an interesting thought, moving to Mars. There are fun activities for kids reading the book to help teach them about the relationship between Earth and Mars such as Earth’s rotation vs. Mars’. There are cool illustrations, plus pictures of the planned living quarters on Mars. I think that this would be a fun class topic/project. You can discuss it with your students and even have them do activities about Mars exploration. Maybe I’ll do a school project on Mars-living!
Before I get to today’s post, I get to announce that LAUREN has won the Diva and Flea Prize pack generously donated by Disney Publishing! Congratulations! I will be emailing you to get the address you will like your prize sent to. If you missed my review of this great book by Mo Willems and illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi – click HERE to check it out.
On Saturday, October 10th, there was a convergence of the force in Bloomsburg Pennsylvania. This epic event was centered at the Columbia County Traveling Library’s home base. The reason: Star Wars Reads Day!
You may recognize the Sith Apprentice to the left of Lord Vader. ;) Besides being a HUGE bibliophile, I am also a HUGE Star Wars fan so this event is something I look forward to each year. I am a member of the Galactic Academy, the junior Star Wars costuming club for fans (you have to be 18 to join the 501st Legion – the world-wide Star Wars costuming club).
The library asked me to do story time at Star Wars Reads Day this year. I was very excited about it. I chose to read the Epic Yarn books by Jack and Holman Wang.
Things went pretty well, but the Jawa kept stealing my light saber and was plotting to nab Boba Fett’s blaster. I think she was selling them on the galactic black market. The Imperial Guard kept startling the head librarian but at least he kept the Jawa in line. Here is a secret – the Jawa is my little sister Josie. She is a member of the Galactic Academy too. ;)
Besides story time, the library had crafts, a trivia game, cookies (the dark side always loves cookies) and BOOKS!
A great time was had by all!
To learn more about Star Wars Reads Day, visit the official Facebook page HERE.
To learn more about the Columbia County Traveling Library, visit their page HERE.
When I saw these books, I was amazed. They are board books with only one word per page (meant for the youngest of readers – but WOW – one word per page and the photo illustrations tell the entire Star Wars story in 24 pages per book. What is even more amazing is that the photo illustrations are of felt figures staged on mini movie sets, all created by twin brothers Jack and Holman Wang.
To learn more about the process of creating these figures and the sets that go along with them, Chronicle Books has a very interesting blog post about it, click HERE to go THERE! The three books tell the tale of the original trilogy.
Publisher’s Summary – Share your love of Star Wars with your baby! In twelve needle-felted scenes and twelve child-friendly words, rediscover the iconic moments you know and love. Simple words, sturdy pages, and an epic story make these books the perfect vehicle for early learning at lightspeed. Jedi apprentices and little princesses alike will delight in this (heart)felt retelling of the Star Wars trilogy made just for them!
What I thought – This was an amazing book series – I never knew one word could tell so much! When I read them to the group of kids at Star Wars Reads Day, we had a discussion about each page and what is happening in the photo illustration. It was a lot of fun. Probably my favorite scene is where it shows Vader leaning over the bridge-thing in Cloud City, and the one word is “Father”, because it summed up one of the biggest plot twists in movie history (I may be a bit biased) with just one word. The felt figures are extremely detailed, and make it seem like you are watching clips from the movie. Mr. & Mr. Wang have created a boardbook masterpiece! It belongs in the home of any parent or child who loves Star Wars.
I am a huge fan of Brandon Mull’s Fablehaven series and I jumped at the chance to review this companion guide. I am very excited to tell you about it!
By Brandon Mull
Illustrated by Brandon Dorman
128 pages – ages 8+
Published by Shadow Mountain Publishing October 13, 2015
Synopsis (from the publisher) –
This guidebook to the Fablehaven magical preserve is filled with everything a new Caretaker might need to know in order to survive. There are entries detailing important information about artifacts large and small, a complete bestiary of creatures (from fairies to trolls to satyrs), a guide to identifying demons, dragons, and wizards as well as valuable insights into the other magical preserves.
Immerse yourself into the secret knowledge that has been handed down through the generations by reading the updates and notes written in the margins by the former Caretakers of Fablehaven, including Grandpa Sorenson, Kendra, and Seth. Fully-illustrated, this unique encyclopedia has gathered the world of Fablehaven into one volume.
Scattered throughout the book are colorful fairies that also mark some of the characters, artifacts, and creatures that will be featured in the upcoming sequel series, Dragonwatch.
What I thought –
If you’ve never read the Fablehaven series, I urge you to give it a try. It is an epic fantasy series about a secret preserve for mythical creatures. Rules must be followed and keepers in Fablehaven are charged with watching over their realms. Each of the 5 books in the series are just as good as the next and Mull’s writing is compelling and smooth with a touch of humor.
As you can imaging I was very excited to crack this book open. Not only was I not disappointed, I was also pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t any run of the mill “extra” book with a dry list of creatures and places. Mull’s writing skills spills over into the guide making it an experience not just a reference book. There is the list of objects, people, places, etc., put in an informing way, but also has little “hand-written” corrections, or notes, from some of the characters about whatever is being talked about. It really makes it an enjoyable time, sort of like you know the characters.
I love the ending paragraph to the introduction – it sets the mood for the book.
“As caretaker you have accepted a most noble assignment. Keep your eyes open. Obey with exactness. Take risks only as the last resort and you will have a better chance at seeing another sunrise. Welcome to Fablehaven.”
The illustrations are beyond words, and bring the characters to life and reality to the objects. They really top off this book. Even the presentation – some script writing, notes, end pages – the book is really awesome.
The guide is being published 5 years after the last Fablehaven book was published. The series continues to have a huge following and (much to my excitement) there will be a continuation of the story with a new series entitled DRAGONWATCH which will be published in the fall of 2016 (Shadow Mountain Publishing).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brandon Mull, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Fablehaven and Beyonders series, travels the country visiting schools, promoting literacy, and sharing his message that “Imagination Can Take You Places.”
ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR
Brandon Dorman is the illustrator of the New York Times bestseller The Wizard. His work has appeared in childrens books and on numerous covers, including the Fablehaven series and The Candy Shop War series.
Hi Blogosphere! Guess what day it is?
That’s right! It’s INTERNATIONAL DOT DAY!!!!
Okay, well it’s actually September 15th-ish and I already had a post scheduled yesterday so I am taking advantage of the “ish” part. ;)
As Thedotclub.org (via Peter H. Reynolds, author of “The Dot”) states: “
Imagine the power and potential of millions of people around the world connecting, collaborating, creating and celebrating all that creativity inspires and invites. I hope you will join the growing global community of creativity champions using their talents, gifts and energy to move the world to a better place.”
Dot Day is a day celebrating creativity. It was created for the purpose of bringing people together. So, on that theme, and I was feeling a bit mathematical today, I give you my dot.
Thank you for reading my post! For more information, visit the official website HERE!
Co-Written by Jessica Haight and Stephanie Robinson
Illustrated by Roman Muradov
272 pages – ages 9+
Will be published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on December 1, 2015
Synopsis- Fairday Morrow and her family are moving into a new house, even if Fairday doesn’t like it. It doesn’t help that their house is a supposedly haunted Victorian mansion, called the Begonia House. Apparently, there was controversy about what happened to some of the original residents. They say that the house’s builder’s daughter still haunts the house to this day. Fairday doesn’t believe. But she is curious about the mysterious red-haired lady in some old photographs. But wait – was that some mysterious person in the mirror? Fairday just shrugs it off. Next came the bagpipes. Fairday hears bagpipes playing in a room, and follows the noise, and finds… a ripped up bagpipe that couldn’t make a sound. Fairday will get to the bottom of what is going on in the Begonia House?
What I Thought- I really enjoyed this book. It was a marvelously done, debut, thriller novel. Ms. Robinson and Ms. Haight are great authors that really pull you into their story. I couldn’t get out until that final sentence. And, by then I wanted more. To say I want a second book is an understatement. The writing style is compelling, and makes me feel as if I was there with Fairday and her friends. I really like the illustrations in the book. They are like the ribbon on a present, or the icing on the cake. It adds another dimension to the story. I couldn’t put the book down, which may have been a not-so-smart idea, because this book is a horror-thriller kind of book, and I end up reading at night… Yeah, I may or may not have thought I heard bagpipes playing in the night… ;) This was a well-written book! It has enough thriller elements that, while it isn’t Goosebumps, it is creepy in its own way. I was trying to guess what would be happening next, but then another clue would be tossed in, and it would shake my logical reasoning all around, and the story kept me guessing. All over a great read!
I ran across this fun interview over at Sue Morris’ blog, Kid-Lit-Reviews. It is with a potential 2016 candidate – MONSTER! Forget Hillary and Donald, MONSTER NEEDS YOUR VOTE! Check out the whole interview and Monster’s new book by clicking on the link below.
Originally posted on Kid Lit Reviews:
Today I am honored to have two wonderful guests from the Monster & Me series, including the recently released Monster Needs Your Vote (reviewed here). You might remember them from another interview (read it here). There is no better way to get at the story than from the view point of the characters.
Monster and Boy cut to the chase as they answer a few of my hard-hitting questions. Of course, you’d expect nothing less from an interview with a political candidate. Monster is vying for President! Yep, he doesn’t play around folks (well, not much), and aims for the top! Monster’s long-time friend goes along on the campaign trail, giving guidance and help as only Boy can. (NOTE: Kids, any Boy—or Girl—and any Monster can aspire to this relationship, as enviable as it is.)
HOLD ON, HERE WE GO!
Welcome Monster and Boy. Your new book
View original 1,605 more words
I study three different martial arts. I enjoy the physical and mental exercise you get from them. Meditation can be great for focusing your mind, not just for martial arts, but in all parts of your life. I was happy to find that Bucks county author Betsy Thomson has written a book about meditating for children. It is called “Meditation, My Friend.” It is a picture book written to introduce meditation to children and teach parents and kids how to get started.
Erik: How did you discover meditation, and how has it made you a better author?
Ms. Thomson: I discovered and began meditating about 1993. I met an opera singer from Germany one night at LIMBO Café in NYC. The subject of meditation during our conversation. She told me about Vipassana meditation and where I could go to learn. I went soon after that for an official 10 day meditation retreat. I have been going yearly ever since.
Meditation has helped me in all aspects of my life. I definitely see how as a creative person and writer. I rarely deal with writers block. Because of meditating I see where the basis of it lies so I do not get upset or worried about it. I have developed great patience with the writing and creative process. Meditation also helps me focus when I am writing and really opens my mind creatively. It also helps me a great deal with the turning off of the inner critic who can get in the way of the writing process.
Erik: It’s amazing how helpful meditation can be! How do you hope children will be helped by by your book?
Ms. Thomson: I hope this book will teach children (as well as any adults) how to be kinder, more caring and loving to themselves in a really fun non conventional way. So many kids I have taught suffer from such stress and anxiety due to a multiple of reasons now a days. When our minds become our best friend and ally we achieve inner peace and happiness. Even kids can learn this with ease. Meditation is one of the best tools to help teach this.
Erik: The illustrations in the book are a cool mix of photographs and illustration. Where did this style come from? Where did you get the Mitchell puppet/doll used in the photos?
Ms. Thomson: The style of the book using illustration and photos was my idea. I could not draw some of the images or the cover so I had a wonderful designer and illustrator do them. The drawings move the story along and makes it more believable as a kids book report. I have been a photographer for over 30 years. I love the messages photos can convey.
Mitchell Hoffsteader (I also do his voice) is my own creation. I made the original puppet Mitch in 1978. He was on 4 inches big. Over the years he has morphed into what you see in the book! He has been photographed all over place and in different circumstances. Throughout Europe, NYC and DC. etc. I love doing photos with him. He becomes 3-D and more human like and believable.
Erik: When do you think the best times to meditate are?
Ms. Thomson: Oh you can meditate anytime really. Whatever works best for you and your schedule. My best mediation are in the evening or super early in the am. around 4:00-5:00. Like that is happening all the time, ha ha….but they are if i get up that early. One of the main reasons to do mindfulness meditation is to learn how to train the mind to stay anchored in the present moment. Just being aware of what you are doing with a peaceful mind at any given can be considered meditation. When you are walking, working on the computer etc. Also being aware of your moods and thoughts. It is all considered a form of mindfulness meditation. You do not always have to be sitting down to meditate. But, you can have a official meditation sit during the day. That is important. You select a time that is only devoted to meditating and nothing else. That way you really get to work with your mind and develop inner peace, calm. During that time you try to keep anchoring the mind to whatever point of focus you choose. Normally I do that 1-2 hours a day. On days when I have less time I take breaks during the day to do five minutes here and there or so. Think of it like musician practicing and instrument or an athlete practicing a sport. You select a time and devote all attention to the practice. To really benefit from meditation this is necessary.
Thank you very much, Ms. Thomson!
Betsy Thomson is an award winning singer-songwriter, author and media artist. Betsy’s has performed and has had airplay nationally and internationally. In 2004 her song “Missions of the Mind” was number one on Europe’s Radio Fedra.
Betsy a certified Reiki master-teacher-practitioner, Integral Yoga Instructor and professional psychic has worked in the healing arts over twenty years. In 2002 she was nominated as New Yorker of the Week for work she did with members of the FDNY after 9/11 as a stress therapist.
Find Betsy at Meditationmyfriend.com
For more on books and reading, visit Thiskidreviewsbooks.com