Author of the Week -Anne Spencer Lindbergh

Anne Spencer Lindbergh was the daughter of the famous aviator Charles Lindbergh and author Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Anne was one of six children born to her famous parents, born almost eight years (1940) after the notorious kidnapping and killing of her brother Charles A. Lindbergh Jr. She grew up in Connecticut. After studying at Radcliffe College for three years, Anne decided to move to Paris to finish her education. While there she met and married a fellow student Julien Feydy, who became a political scientist and university professor. Their marriage did not last though. She later met and married Jerzy Sapieyevski, a composer and conductor who moved back to the states with her, but their marriage was also not to be. She started writing books just like her mother, almost all of them for children. In her career she wrote 14 books including The People of Pineapple Place, The Shadow on the Dial, Three Lives to Live, and Bailey's Window. She was the recipient of several honors for her works, including an award for the International Reading Association. Many of her books were set in places that she had lived with scenic backgrounds. Anne moved to Vermont in 1987, and the next year married Mr. Perrin, a writer and professor of environmental studies at Dartmouth. Anne continued to teach for several more years until she developed cancer. Many of Anne's books are still in print today, but the one I remember the best was Three Lives to Live, a fascinating time travel tale that will make your head swim in all the fun ways.

Illustrator of the Week - Neil Gaiman

Does Neil Gaiman really need an introduction? I am currently reading The Graveyard Bookand am absolutely in love with the way the illustrations and spacing and text all work so well together. But before anyone gets upset, Gaiman is not an illustrator. He has collaborated for years with various artists. So today's artists vary, but they have one thing in common--Neil Gaiman.

Dave McKean - Coraline, Wolves in the Walls, The Graveyard Book, The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, Crazy Hair

Charles Vess - Sandman, Instructions, Blueberry Girl

Brett Helquist - Odd and the Frost Giant

Teddy Kristiansen - M is for Magic

Gris Grimly - The Dangerous Alphabet

Michael Zulli - The Facets in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch

Book of the Week - A Whole Nother Story

A Whole Nother Story by Dr. Cuthbert Soup

This book proves that the mania for the Lemony Snickett/Mysterious Benedict Society genre isn't dead. A Whole Nother Story is clearly keeping the world of unfortunate events alive. It is a very entertaining book full of intrigue, unusual and sometimes silly characters. A fortuneteller with short term memory loss, a tightrope walker who has vertigo, a cowboy poet, a hairless dog who can warn the family of danger approaching no matter the distance, and a one eyed sock puppet who has a mind of his own.

All these people are the everyday life of the Cheesemans who are on the run from greedy corporate gangsters, government men in suits and an international spy with a chimpanzee for a partner. The reason they are on the run is because Mr Cheeseman has or may have a time machine otherwise known as the LVR, if he can get it working, that is highly sought after by...well...everyone. As is often the case with this genre, however, the amusement is interesting but short-loved. Soon you will find yourself pining for something with a purpose or at least a meaning and that is nowhere to be found within the pages of this book. However, the younger reader will probably be entertained throughout. The writing is witty enough to hold the reader throughout, although maybe not good enough for me to read the second installment that is sure to come.

Author of the Week - Laurence Yep

Laurence Yep was born in 1948 in San Francisco. He was named by his older brother, Thomas who had studied a particular saint hat had died from a gruesome death. Yep's family owned a grocery store outside of Chinatown. Growing up, he says he felt torn between his Chinese and American cultures, and this shows through in many of his books. Many of his characters show a good deal of characters feeling alienated or not fitting into their environment. Yep said once, "I was too American to fit into Chinatown, and too Chinese to fit in anywhere else." But Yep found his place in the world of writing. While in Catholic high school, a teacher encouraged his students to write a paper good enough to be published by a magazine. Yep did, and the writing bug stuck. He went on to college, eventually getting his Ph.D in English.

Today, Yep has written over fifty-four books both fiction and non-fiction as well a a handful of plays. He received the Newbery Honor two of his books, Dragon's Gate and Dragonwings. Later Dragonwings was adapted into a play. Other notable book his Dragon series and The Chinatown Mysteries. In addition, Child of the Owl won the Boston Glob/Horn Book award in 1977 and The Rainbow People, Yep's collection of short stories based on Chinese folktales and legends. His newest book City of Fire just came out a few months ago.

Illustrator of the Week - Mary Sullivan

Mary Sullivan spent her formative years drawing. She received her BFA from the University of Texas at Austin, but she considers herself a self taught illustrator despite this. She has shown her work in galleries and coffee shops, has been featured in Highlights, study aids for children, games, and Phonics Comics.

Children's Books Being Made Into Films in 2010

Also Coming Soon:

Ramona and Beezus - July 23, 2010

Prince Caspian and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader - December 10, 2010

Gulliver's Travels - December 22, 2010

The Adventures of Tintin - December 23, 2010

Harry Potter and Twilight are obvious, but I refuse to put their trailers on here.

Book Trailers

I have heard varying opinions on book trailers. I for one find them an interesting way to connect with this young generation who is oh so visual. Here are some of my favorites, but honestly, sometimes the fan made trailers are even more awesome. If you watch any of these videos, watch the last one. It's amazing.

Author of the Week - Sharon Draper

This week my bookstore was given permission to start anAfrican-American children's section. A section that in this humble bookseller's opinion was much needed. The first name I put on the list of author's books that we needed more of...Sharon Draper.

Sharon Draper was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1952. the oldest child of Victor Mills, a hotel maitre'd, and Catherine Mills, who worked as a classified advertising manager for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Books filled the Draper home and Sharon inhaled them. Sharon became a straight A student, reading every book in her school libraries.

For thirty years Sharon Draper was an English teacher in the Cincinnati, Ohio, public school system, instilling her love of reading and writing in generations of children, and inspiring them to reach for their greatest dreams. Draper earned a reputation as a no-nonsense educator who challenged her students. One of Draper's writing assignments, in particular, became legendary. As part of their final grade, seniors at Walnut Hills High School were asked to produce a well-researched term paper. Draper's expectations were so high that the task was eventually dubbed "The Draper Paper." T-shirts were even designed and given only to those students who successfully met the challenge. Their shirts proudly boasted: "I Survived the Draper Paper." In 1997 she received the highest honor an educator can be given when President Bill Clinton named her the U.S. Teacher of the Year. As a result Draper became a spokesperson for the teaching profession, crisscrossing the globe to talk about the importance of excellence in the classroom.

Her writing career began in 1990 on a whim. Draper had always encouraged her students to submit stories and poems to writing contests. One day, Draper explains on her Web site, a bold young man handed her a crumpled application form and said, "You think you so bad— why don't you write something! Enter this contest!" Draper accepted his challenge and submitted a short story to Ebony magazine's annual Gertrude Johnson Williams Literary Competition. In 1994 the dedicated teacher released her first children's book, Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs.

Many of Draper's novels deal with topics that may be controversial, but that are a very real part of everyday life for some people. For example, 1999's Romiette and Julio takes on interracial dating and gang life, and Double Dutch, published in 2002, tackles illiteracy and child abandonment. When asked why she explores such tough subjects, Draper told David Marc Fischer, "Perhaps reading about the difficulties of others will act like an armor and protect my readers from the personal tragedies of their own lives." Today, Sharon has published over two dozen books including Copper Sun, Teaching From the Heart, Just Another Hero, Out

of My Mind, and Forged By Fire. She has won Five Coretta Scot King Literary Awards, the YWCA Career Woman of Achievement Award, Three ALA Best Book for Children, the Children's Choice Award, and the Buckeye Book Award.

Sharon says about her writing, "I learned to dream through reading, learned to create dreams through writing, and learned to develop dreamers through teaching. I shall always be a dreamer. Come dream with me.”

Illustrator of the Week - Jeffrey Stewart Timmins

I apologize for last week. I took a bit of a blogging sabatical. One doesn't realize how hard it is to keep up a blog until you are doing it, and three times a week to boot. I hope you, my dear readers, forgive me for my momentary lapse in writing. In the future, or at least this week, I promise fun for all.

This week's Illustrator is Jeffrey Stewart Timmins. Jeffrey is a Canadian author who currently lives in Toronto. He has done cover art and fairy tale comic books including: A Whole Nother Story, Rapunzel: The Graphic Novel, and Play It Loud.

Book Review - Too Much Kissing and other Silly Dilly Songs About Parents by Alan Katz

Too Much Kissing and other Silly Dilly Songs About Parents by Alan Katz. Illustrated by David Catrow.

As a kid I was completely enamored with goofy songs that were a twist on original ones. Like 'This Land is My Land, it Sure Ain't Your Land' and 'Batmobile Lost its Wheel'. So what kid wouldn't love a book full of goofy songs that make fun of their parents? The sequel to I'm Still Here in the Bathtub, Too Much Kissing is full of good humor and great pictures. Most of the tunes I knew, although there were one or two that I was unsure about. For the most part the songs fit in nicely with their appropriate songs, all the beats falling where they were supposed to. There was a song or two that didn't exactly fit. The most obvious one being 'Disgusting Things' to the tune of "My Favorite Things". Perhaps I am just not singing it right though. To give a preview, but not the full songs:

My Mother Just Rushes Through Bedtime
(to the tune of "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean")

My mother just rushes through bedtime.
With stories, she sure cuts them short.
If she keeps this up, you can bet I'm
Taking her to fairy tale court.

Mother, Mother,
I know that down deep you do care, do care.
But, oh brother,
Goldilocks met more than one bear!

Dressed Up Is Messed Up
(To the tune of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic)

My mom says there's a party, and I know just what that means:
I'm gonna have to change out of these soiled, hole-filled jeans.
No question it will lead to one of those annoying scenes.
I hate to wear nice clothes.

They're Full of Beans
(To the tune of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game")

Mom and Dad just drink coffee.
They both live on caffeine.
Each has a pot before starting work,
while at their jobs they are on auto-perk,
and it's brew, brew, brew after dinner.
It's like a java monsoon!
It's no wonder they haven't slept
a wink since June!

Author of the Week - Daisy Ashford

I'm not entirely sure where the line is drawn for child prodigies, but Daisy Ashford was considered just that. Born 1881 in Pertersham, Surrey; Daisy wrote her first story at the tender age of four called The Life of Father McSwiney. She dedicated it to her father. Eventually it was published in 1983. At nine her first book, The Young Visiters, was published. Despite numerous grammatical and spelling errors, the published the story in its original form. Audiences loved it. The book was such a success that within a year another book featuring Daisy's short stories was published. Daisy stopped writing as a teen, later working as a secretary and in a canteen during World War I. Later in life Daisy wrote several other stories, a play, A Woman's Crime, and one other short novel, The Hangman's Daughter, which she considered to be her best work. Daisy quit writing the last decade of her life, although she did begin an autobiography that she quickly destroyed. Daisy's name was sometimes used as a way to criticize adult authors in the 1920's. Surely, if a nine-year-old could write such good fiction, an adult could do better.

I believe many children have this kind of potential to create amazing stories. Perhaps Daisy was a prodigy or perhaps she was doing what children do best, playing.

Illustrator of the Week - Peter Pan

It is no secret that Peter Pan is one of my favorite books. Perhaps my favorite part is collecting various versions of Peter Pan featuring different artists. So the illustrator this week will be a tribute to the many artists who have used Peter Pan as their muse. These are only a few, very few, illustrators, but I wanted to focus on some of the books that I actually own. Yes, I own almost a dozen versions of Peter Pan. It is my one small obsession.

Michael Hague

Al Dempster

Mary Blair

Scott Fischer
Scott Gustafson

Robert Sabuda

F.D. Bedford

Raquel Jaramillo