Thursday, August 27, 2009

Suzanne Collins fans, take note!

If you enjoyed Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games, here is your opportunity for a sneak peek at a chapter of the second book in the trilogy, Catching Fire, scheduled to be published on September 1st!

The Hunger Games, in case you haven't read it, is a gripping dystopian novel for middle and high schoolers set in a post-apocalyptic world in which reality television takes on a deadly new twist... Among upper elementary readers, Collins is popular for her series that begins with Gregor the Overlander.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The last books of summer

I recently read an article in the New York Times about choosing your last big read of the summer. Until that point, I think I'd been in a bit of denial about summer coming to an end! However, teachers and staff will be back at school full-time as of next Monday, and students will be back just over a week later - hard though that may be to believe!

I'm looking forward to hearing about everyone's summer vacations including, of course, what great books you've been enjoying. Right now I'm listening to a wonderful audio version of King of the Cloud Forests by former British children's laureate Michael Morpurgo. It's an absorbing work of historical fiction with a highly imaginative twist: while fleeing China as the threat of Japanese invasion looms, our young protagonist is separated from his Tibetan caregiver and rescued by a group of yeti. Fans of Roland Smith's Sasquatch as well as wilderness survival stories will enjoy this tale of an extraordinary encounter in the Himalayas.

I've also just started reading Deep and Dark and Dangerous, a deliciously creepy ghost story by Mary Downing Hahn, master of spooky fiction, which is one of this year's Sasquatch Award nominees. My daughter loves scary books, but I'm much less brave than she is and need to avoid reading these kinds of stories too close to bedtime!

Remember to check out my Goodreads profile for more recommended books! I look forward to seeing you back at school very soon!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Children's books about Ramadan & Islam in general

With the holiday of Ramadan beginning next weekend, I wanted to share a few sites that have reading lists with Muslim religious and cultural themes. As yet there are relatively few titles available in English, but fortunately the list is growing with new publications coming out every year.

Also check out the online index for Book Links, a great publication for parents, teachers and librarians that offers reading lists for K-12 on a wide range of subjects. Search this site by keyword (e.g. Muslim, Islam) and then pick up the relevant issue at your local public library. If you have Book Links in your life, you will never wonder what to read next!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Photos of Forks & some great end-of-summer-vacation reading lists!

I'm just back from a fun vacation on the Olympic Peninsula - and of course no trip to that part of the world would be complete without a visit to Forks! Famous as the setting of Stephenie Meyers's Twilight books, you will find the friendly guides at the visitors' bureau ready with a map showing highlights around town. I've pasted in a few photos below - but do go see for yourself if you can! The beaches and forests around Forks are full of atmosphere, making it easy to see how Meyers was inspired to set her vampire and werewolf adventures in that gorgeous part of the world.

Meanwhile, as we contemplate returning to school in just a few weeks, there is still time to enjoy some relaxing time with a good book that you are reading purely for the fun of it. Right now I'm in the middle of a great young adult novel, perfect for grades 7-12 or so, called King of the Screwups by K.L. Going. It's about a boy who, no matter how hard he tries, just never seems to get things right. After his latest debacle, his father kicks him out one week before the start of his senior year of high school and he finds himself living in a trailer with an uncle he barely knows. Liam is an engaging character and the book is surprisingly full of humor considering the basic premise!

Below are two great websites where you can find reading suggestions. We'll be voting for books nominated for these awards at school next spring, so start reading now and you'll be eligible to choose your favorites!

Of course even if you live elsewhere, you can still enjoy browsing these lists and finding some great books chosen by school librarians for literary merit and appeal to young people!

Dr. Cullen's reserved parking spot at the Forks Hospital!

The home of the Swan family: Bella and her father.

My daughter and my best friend from high school in front of the Twilight display case put together by Forks city hall employees. It is located in the police station/city hall building.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Meet Hena Khan & Julie Paschkis!

Night of the Moon: A Muslim Holiday Story is a gorgeous picture book by Hena Khan, the friend of a dear friend of mine. I'm excited to announce that Khan (a Maryland resident) and local illustrator Julie Paschkis will be appearing at the Ballard branch of Seattle Public Library from 2-3pm on Saturday, August 15th. You can hear them read their book, learn about Ramadan, and ask them any questions you might have.

Author and illustrator events are always great fun as you get to peek behind the scenes and learn more about the process of creating books. Mark your calendars and maybe I will see you there!