Friday, July 30, 2010

A Child's Garden of Verses


Poetry is a tricky thing. Sometimes it can be life-changing and wonderful, and other times it can be devastatingly dull and awful. I've spent a lot of time in the company of wannabe poets, and I've read my fair share of decent pieces and verses that made me want to tear my hair out.

Today I was on my way to work and made my usual Starbucks stop before heading into the subway for my morning commute. I was listening to my iPod and a song I really liked had just finished playing. I was feeling good. I was still coasting on my positive energy when I ordered my iced coffee. The guy who usually takes my order was a lot friendlier, and even commented, "You know, this is the first time I've ever seen you smile! You're always so...frown-y." I guess my happiness was obvious. Good music can put you in a really good place!

I love a good song. I love a good tune, but most importantly, I love good lyrics that can capture a moment or feeling with a sharp accuracy that a story can't convey. Good lyrics are, in essence, excellent poetry.

A Child's Garden of Verses will introduce children to the incredible world of such poetry. Children can discover the delightful effect of words with this amazing book that is both necessary as an introductory volume and a library staple. Robert Louis Stevenson's rhymes come to life with the aid of Brian Wildsmith's enchanting illustrations that will have children returning to read again and again. It's really a must-have!

A Child's Garden of Verses is available in hardcover and paperback editions.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Aminal


Every child is familiar with the game of "Telephone." It's a timeless classic that has kept kids in stitches for decades. We're all familiar with the drill - sitting in a circle with your friends, whispering a phrase from person to person until the last child finally says aloud the completely convoluted version he heard. It's been played since I was a kid, since my parents were kids, since my grandparents were kids...it's an internationally popular game that will never go out of style, no matter what new technology pops up (I mean, honestly - there's not a whole lot of fun to be had in playing "Text Message" or "Twitter" or "Facebook", now is there?). No, "Telephone" has been an endless source of amusement for years and looks like it's got the lasting power to stay that way for a while.

But seasoned veterans of the game also know that phrases can quickly develop into completely unexpected and unrelated things, and not necessarily in a good way. In the Aminal, little Patrick's simple mispronunciation of a word sets of a chain reaction of embellishments and new plot twists to his story that sends the neighborhood children into a frenzy! The story picks up more frightening edges as it's passed on from friend to friend, and by the time everyone's heard about it, they think they have to save Patrick from a giant green "aminal" that's going to eat him!

Children will thoroughly enjoy reading this book. The silly mistakes the characters make are easily identifiable and bring the story to life. Readers will laugh and appreciate the surprise ending. It'll also teach a valuable lesson in communication!

Pick up your copy today!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Humbug Rabbit


On this day in 1866, Helen Beatrix Potter was born in London, England. Potter wrote and illustrated numerous children's books about animals, and her best-known and most loved work is the famous Tale of Peter Rabbit. Inspired by the pet that kept her company during her relatively lonely adolescence and young adult life, Peter is a mischievous young bunny who decides not to listen to his mother and ends up in a world of trouble. Internationally, Potter's stories and Peter Rabbit have become an established part of children's literature and have earned a special place in the hearts of children (and the young at heart) everywhere.

In Humbug Rabbit, we are introduced to Granny, Gracie and Otto the chickens, Mother and Father Rabbit (and all their children!), and Barnaby, a devilish cat. Easter is around the bend, and Granny has an egg hunt planned for when her grandchildren arrive! But that devilish cat Barnaby is set on making a mix-up. After he pushes the colored eggs into the Rabbit burrow, Easter is filled with unexpected surprises for everyone!

Like Potter's beloved tales, Humbut Rabbit is instantly engaging and fun to read. Children will fall in love immediately with Lorna Balian's humorous narrative and colorful illustrations. Sweet and refreshingly classic, Humbug Rabbit is a book that can be enjoyed year-round by children and the adults in their lives.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Kitten's Adventure


I am very, very allergic to cats. Five minutes in the company of one will reduce me to a blubbering mess of running nose, watery eyes, relentless sneezing, and congested chest. It's not my most flattering look.

But that didn't stop me from wanting a kitten. I wanted one so badly! Kittens were the most adorable things in the universe to me. So I took up cat sitting, with the ridiculous notion that somehow overexposure to cat dander and fur would help me build up an immunity of sorts.

Worst idea ever.

By the end of each day my nose was raw and itchy from nonstop nose-blowing. My eyes were bloodshot and sore from being rubbed to ease the itchiness. I was wheezing and hacking my way home, relieved when I could finally toss aside the hair-covered garments I was wearing and rinse away the extremely irritating remnants of scent-marking the furry little pest was inevitably determined to leave behind. I don't think it's possible for me to think of any time in my life I've been so miserably uncomfortable.

But even with my severe allergic reaction, I still loved cats. I still do, to this day. There's something so charming and lovable about their feisty independent spirit, their knack for mischief and adventure, and their ability to get up to absolutely no good and yet look so forgivably adorable while at it.

Kitten's Adventure manages to adeptly capture the characteristic liveliness and fun-loving attitude of kittens in this instantly lovable and entertaining early reader. Kitten decides to go off on a day-long exploration, and Michele Coxon's preciously detailed illustrations are engaging and will be instant favorites of children and adults alike.

Pick up your copy today!

Available in paperback and hardcover editions, and in Portuguese/English, Spanish/English, and Vietnamese/English bilingual editions.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Baby, Come Out!


I was recently going through old photo albums with a friend of mine. I had just discovered a treasure trove of family photographs in a trunk that had been stowed away in a closet, and was reveling in the excitement of what was revealed: my mother wore zebra print pants in the eighties, my dad had more than a slight fixation with silk paisley-print shirts during his college days, and various extended family members rocked ridiculous updos, facial hair, and makeup. I also found a number of photographs of my brother and I as very young children - me wearing printed stirrup pants, him in neon windbreakers. We were very much children of the nineties. It was marvelous.

Then I came across the few photos that had been taken on the day of my brother's birth. He had decided to arrive on the day of his baby shower. It's one of the few early memories of my life that I still have: I vividly recall repeatedly asking when I could eat some of the cake and being told that I had to wait until my mother had the first slice - and then she went into labor, and I never got any cake. It was pure mayhem. I was shoveled aside as people ran around, calling a cab, packing her bags, and grabbing the flowers and unopened gifts for the hospital. At one point someone remembered that there was actually a first child in the picture and I was carried off to stay at the home of a friend of a friend of a friend's until my new sibling arrived. Needless to say, I was more than a little grumpy - I was used to being the center of attention, and was not only mad that I was going to have to share the spotlight, but also that I still hadn't had any cake. I blamed my brother entirely. Before I even met him, I pegged him as a drama queen who had waited until the best moment to snag all the attention.

In Baby, Come Out!, a baby refuses to leave his mother's belly. She likes living the simple, easy life inside. Nobody can convince her to leave - not her mother, not her grandparents, and not even her siblings. But when Baby can't get any kisses, she decides that it's time to finally join everyone outside!

Baby, Come Out! is a charming read and a precious book. It is timeless and sweet, and children and adults will both fall in love with the story immediately.

My brother, who waited until the opportune moment to arrive, was very much like Baby to me. He lounged around in my mother's belly until he realized he was missing out on things in the outside world - love, affection, and attention. So while I may resent him a little for making me share everything, I guess I can understand. I still snag an extra piece of his birthday cake every year, though - hey, I need to compensate somehow!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Too Many Pears!


Pamela the cow loves pears.

Who doesn't?

But Pamela is obsessed with pears. She eats everyone's pears: at picnics, at lunch, all the time! She likes plain pears, stewed pears with ice cream, and pear pie with whipped cream. Pamela eats so many pears, little Amy decides it's time to intervene. But nothing seems to work - building a fence around the pear trees, tying Pamela to a tree, and picking pears before she gets to them all fail miserably as Pamela finds a way around each tactic. So finally Amy formulates a plan to get Pamela to leave pears alone, once and for all.

Too Many Pears! is simply delightful. Children and adults will both find the story and illustrations hilarious and charming. It's my personal favorite!

All this reading about pears definitely gets me hungry, too. So I decided to do a little research and dig up recipes involving pears. What I discovered was a gold mine! If you visit www.usapears.com, you'll find instructions on how to make anything from balsamic-glazed pear and goat cheese crostini to pear smoothies to bacon and bleu cheese sliders with pear ketchup to hot fudge pear sundaes to vidalia and pear honey soup...and that's just the beginning. If you aren't drooling yet, you should definitely check out the website and take a peek at the photographs. Our dear Pamela would probably faint.

Too Many Pears! is a great book to read to your child, as it will encourage not only eating healthy fruit but inspire them to get creative with how they consume healthy foods. Who says that fruit has to be boring? Spice things up with a smoothie or by adding some frozen yogurt! Throw it in salads or on top of oatmeal! Bake them with a dallop of butter and some cinnamon! The possibilities are endless.

Now that I'm ravenously hungry, I'm writing out my grocery list for a ginger pear cake I'll bake tonight. Hopefully you'll be inspired to also make something fun with pears - and pick up a copy of Too Many Pears!

Too Many Pears! is available in hardcover and paperback editions. It is also available in Portuguese/English, Spanish/English, and Japanese/English editions.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

That's Like Me!


In That’s Like Me!, different people (both young and old) share their stories of living with a learning difference. But each story does more than just give a brief account of each person’s life – it serves to emphasize the central theme of the book as a whole: the incredible power of encouragement. Each individual initially faced seemingly overwhelming amounts of negativity from a society unwilling to understand children with learning differences. They encountered isolation, mockery, and even punishment because they were unable to learn the same way as their peers. The frustration of being singled out often forced them into silence. Not being “normal” like other children caused them to lose faith in themselves and see no hope in the future ahead. However, each person discovered that once they found even just one person who saw their talents and passions as gifts, their entire world changed. Readers will meet people who pushed through the odds to do what they really love: a firefighter, a trapeze artist, a veterinarian, a racecar driver, and more. By the time children and adults come to the end of the book, they will feel encouraged to concentrate on pursuing their gifts. Readers will have a better understanding not only of people with learning differences, but of what they can do to create a more accepting and understanding world so that more children with L.D. can realize their dreams.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Have You Fed the Cat?


My favorite after school activity when I was in elementary school was paying a visit to the pet shop a few blocks down from my school. I loved to press my face to the glass and watch the little puppies prance and play or even just nap. I really, really wanted one. They were so adorable and so full of energy!

My dad knew better, though. A veteran pet owner for the ages, he knew that after about a week my promises to clean up after the dog, walk it every day, remember to feed it, and otherwise care for it would be a thing of the past. The poor animal would have to fend for itself, pine for attention, and otherwise lead a boring and uneventful life. The neglect it would inevitably endure was too painful to think of, so every time I would whine and beg for a cute little puppy dog, my dad firmly said "No way."


Years later I finally understand my dad's logic, but at the time I thought he was being cruel and unreasonable. In truth, the dog would have probably suffered enormously under my care (if the treatment of my Barbies was any indication of my caretaking abilities), and would be much better off in a more loving environment.

Tragically, however, many pets find themselves initially surrounded by love and gradually ignored as time passes. They become a part of the furniture, or worse - a nuisance.

In Have You Fed the Cat?, Michele Coxon tells the tale of Sam the cat who was the center of attention as a kitten but is mostly left on his own now. The only time he is even noticed is when he wants food. And since everyone is feeding him, Sam starts to become a very large cat...

It is sad how easily pets are ignored by their homes. Have You Fed the Cat? will remind readers, children and adults alike, that a pet is still very much a part of the family it belongs to and wants to be loved and cared for. It's a valuable lesson for children to learn, and one their pets will definitely appreciate!

Available in paperback and hardcover editions. Also available in Spanish/English.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Transforming Lives


It's easy to complain about the little things. Your latte was prepared incorrectly this morning. The tickets to a show you really wanted to see are sold out. Your dog ruined your new shoes. You lost your lucky pair of underpants. The list could go on and on.

But for some people, these mishaps are little blips that would barely register on their radar. In Uganda, life is a lot harder than it is over here in the States. Children are brutally robbed of their youth and innocence and forced into situations that are seemingly impossible to ever fully recover from.

There are many things we take for granted. After reading Transforming Lives, I realized that my overall outlook on life definitely needed a fresh perspective. It isn't difficult to whine and grumble about having a paper to write or having to get up early after a long night, but for the people of Uganda, education is a luxury few can afford and hard labor from before sunrise to late into the evening is not uncommon in the least. With no healthcare or even welfare system, a family left crippled by civil war and/or HIV/AIDS could find the very prospect of survival nearly impossible. Children are orphaned, subjected to grueling labor for very little pay, and have little to no hope for their future. Many bear witness to the atrocities of rebel soldier brutalities, and some 20,000 young children have been abducted and forced into fighting for the rebel army. These children saw things that no one should ever have to see and were forced to do things that continue to plague them with night terrors and guilt.

That's where L.E.A.D. Uganda steps in. Armed with the belief that education is the key to making a change, L.E.A.D. puts emphasis on developing future leaders for the country. It sends children who show the potential to really flourish in an academically challenging environment to the top schools in the nation and the continent of Africa. These children had no hope before the intervention - they were staring down a future of hardship, poverty, and despair. L.E.A.D. Uganda gave them the means to start dreaming again, regardless of what they had been through before. Through the program, these children have hope. Reading their personal stories is both heartbreaking and utterly world-changing.

Transforming Lives isn't about soliciting donations or peddling out testimonies for pity. It's about showing the empowering transformation that comes with giving a child who had nothing to look forward to the will to hope again. It's about showing the boundless optimism and love of their country that each individual possesses. It's about giving them a voice to share their visions for the future of Uganda, and how they can now see themselves as playing a critical role in changing their home country for the better. Says Ntege, a former child laborer now enrolled in one of Africa's top boarding schools, "I want to be the change I want to see in Africa." Hilda, the eldest child of a widowed mother with HIV, says that since she is now enrolled at a prestigious school and earning top marks she is free to pursue her dream of becoming a neurosurgeon. "I will come back...and use my skills to help reduce suffering in my country," she says. Her goal of returning to rebuild the war-torn nation is one that resonates in the stories of all these children. They seek not only a better future for themselves, but one for everyone in their country.

"I am healing," says Ojok, a former child soldier. With the help of L.E.A.D., this is something more and more children are able to say. Pick up a copy of Transforming Lives today and have your own world transformed by the amazing stories of these children. They are truly a testimony to the endurance of the human spirit, despite earth-shattering obstacles. Be a part of the change these children have dreamed of and are working to make a reality!

For more information on L.E.A.D. Uganda and how you can get involved, please visit www.leaduganda.org.

Transforming Lives was a 2010 Benjamin Franklin Award finalist.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

My Big Brother


When I was three years old, I started going to nursery school. I loved playing with other kids! I loved all the games we played and all the great adventures we invented. I loved running around in the park after school, or going ice skating in the winter. It was fantastic! I only wished that I had a friend with me all the time. My mom and dad were okay, I guess, but they weren't nearly as much fun as the kids I played with. So I told my dad one day, plainly, that I wanted one of three things: a pony, a puppy, or a sister. Simple request, I thought.

But what did I get?

A brother.

Of course, in retrospect, I realize that at the time my mother must have already been pretty pregnant. My kid brother popped out only a few months later. I remember being enormously disappointed. Not only was he a boy, he was small and couldn't play any games. I was far from thrilled.

But now, all these years later, my brother and I are pretty close. Sure, he still does things that gross me out (I mean, hey - he's a sixteen-year-old boy), but I've learned to appreciate our special bond, especially now that we live about 3000 miles apart most of the year. My brother calls me up for advice all the time, and he knows he can always call if he's having a bad day and that I'll help him sort things out. I never realized how much he relied on me!

In My Big Brother, a young boy idolizes his older brother. He's smart, thoughtful and polite, athletic, and the epitome of everything the young narrator admires. So when his big brother leaves to join the army, the narrator does his very best to be a great older brother for his younger brother.

A must-have for all children with siblings, older or younger, this book captures a heartwarming and heartbreaking portrait of familial love. Emotionally compelling, especially now, with so many big brothers going off to war, this book is guaranteed to touch anyone who reads it. Get your copy today!

My Big Brother is available in both hardcover and paperback editions, as well as in a Spanish/English bilingual print.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Termites on a Stick


A lot of interesting things happened on this day in history. In 1789, during the French Revolution, Parisian citizens stormed the Bastille and released the prisoners. Gustav Klimt, the Austrian painter, was born in 1862. William H. Bonney Jr., more commonly known as Billy the Kid, was killed in 1881. And on July 14th, 1960, the amazing Jane Goodall, British primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and UN Messenger of Peace, set foot in the Gombe Stream National Park of Tanzania. It was the start of extraordinary scientific discoveries in chimpanzee behavior. Today, fifty years later, the Gombe research is one of the longest running studies of animals in the wild. Its results have radically changed the way we understand all living things, inspired a generation of scientists around the world, and changed the world of ethology.

One of the most revolutionary discoveries Jane made during that first trip to Tanzania occurred several weeks into her stay. She observed two chimpanzees taking sticks and stripping them of branches before poking them into termite colonies. After removing the sticks, the chimps snacked on their catches: juicy termites fished out of the ground.

This was no insignificant observation. Up until that point, tool-making was identified as a defining trait of mankind. Jane’s discovery was about to change how we understood not only chimpanzees, but all living creatures - and, most importantly, the place and role of human beings in the ecological structure of the world.


In Termites on a Stick, a young chimpanzee observes his mother enjoying her favorite snack, termites. The young chimp wants to have some for himself, but his mother wants him to learn how to fish for termites on his own. After trial and error, the young chimpanzee finally earns his delectable treat!

Children are going to fall in love with this book. Michele Coxon’s illustrations bring the liveliness and endearing nature of chimpanzees to life. Like Goodall, young children will be awed by the parallels they find between their own lives and the everyday life of chimpanzees.

Goodall’s discoveries changed the world. She cites her first inspiration as a stuffed toy chimpanzee she received as a child. Who knew that it would eventually lead to such exciting accomplishments? Your child could very well be the next little Jane. Open his or her eyes to the wonderful world of wildlife with Termites on a Stick!

Also:

For more information on Jane Goodall, and to find out how to get involved in the work of the Jane Goodall Institute, visit www.janegoodall.org

Monday, July 12, 2010

Fool of the World and the Flying Ship


Fairytales and folk tales teach children to let their imagination run wild. Drawn into the spectacular world of magic and wonder, children let their creativity expand to fantastic heights. A little imagination can transform any simple object into an instrument central to a great adventure, or a room into a world of unexpected possibilities. As a child, I was an avid reader of fairytales of all kinds – from Grimm’s collected works to Greco-Roman mythology to Celtic and Middle Eastern folklore, I was an absorbant little sponge, soaking in every word and reworking what I had read into my everyday imaginative play. In the playground I was a knight on a noble quest to slay a dragon. On the sidewalk I was a lost explorer who discovered a new universe in space. At home I was a queen with the ability to turn dolls into living people. And the museum was the ultimate location to really let loose – I was a jungle hunter who befriended animals who could talk, I was a deep sea diver who found a lost underwater civilization, and I was a time traveler who befriended cave artists. I could be a hero, a villain, or a side character. Fairytales gave me a starting point to create my own mysteries, romances, and thrilling adventures.

The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship is a traditional Ukrainian folk tale, retold and illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev. In this exciting story, a young man whom everyone calls the Fool of the World sets out on a quest to marry the Tsar’s daughter, the Tsarevna. The catch is that the only way to marry her is by bringing the Tsar a flying ship. On his adventure to bring the Tsar a flying ship, the Fool of the World meets a colorful and hilarious cast of characters. As the Tsar’s list of requests grows wilder and more extravagant, so does the Fool of the World’s quest.

This story is very entertaining and sure to capture the heart of all audiences. The traditional, tried-and-true story will please both children and grown adults alike.

Pick up your copy today!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Layla's Head Scarf


Fitting in at school is a very big deal to children. From ages four to teenager, it's extremely common for a kid to value nothing more than being accepted by his or her peers (of course, some children are intensely anti-conformist, which is a whole different story). It's painful, almost, to find yourself an outcast because something about you sets you apart from the general pack.

It's kind of like the time I broke my toe the day before my family went to Sea World. I was eleven. I cried hysterically - not only because my toe hurt a whole lot, but because I would have to use crutches all day - and I was horribly embarrassed. I felt like everyone was staring at me.

But when it came time to see Shamu, the world-famous celebrity killer whale, I completely forgot about everyone around me. I was so thrilled to get splashed on by the giant orca! And once I forgot that crutches were something I considered to be harshing my mellow, so to speak, I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the day. If anyone was looking at me, I didn't notice.

Kids can be strange. They are desperate to not only fit in, but to ostracize others in an effort to prove exactly how much they themselves belong. Thus, finding yourself on the outside of the "in crowd" can be devastating more or less because of awareness at what's going on on the other end of the mockery. Yet it is rare to find a child who sympathizes with the subject of cruel jokes, exclusion, and sometimes even mean-spirited pranks.

In Layla's Head Scarf, Layla is a new student in the first grade. She is very shy, and stands out because she always wears a scarf on her head. Some children try to make her feel comfortable, but a lot of them are not used to the scarf and don't understand why Layla wears it. Layla feels more and more excluded from her classmates, until it is time for the class to do paintings of their families. When the children realize that each student's family stands out for different reasons, they finally begin to understand Layla's head scarf.

Layla's Head Scarf is an essential read in this day and age. More than simply a lesson on inclusion, it's a book about realizing that we are technically ALL different. Kids will do nearly anything to fit in - when I was in elementary school, it was all about dyeing your hair blue, wearing slip-on sneakers, and collecting those stretchy choker necklaces - but if they realize that there really is no "normal" or "regular," it'll save them a lot of headache and heartache. They'll be free to be themselves, something so precious when you only have one childhood in a lifetime.

Layla's Head Scarf is part of the We Love First Grade™ series, and was nominated for a 2010 Benjamin Franklin Award.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My Mother's Pearls


When I was a young teenager, a sudden interest in family history led me to nearly turn the house upside down in search of photographs and relics that would somehow clue me in to the complex and fascinating story that had somehow ended with me, aged fifteen, living in New York. What I managed to unearth was a riveting story full of adventure, romance, mystery, and a whole lot of loose ends. Nonetheless, I was thrilled to have captured the essence of the wonderful story that was only a prelude to my birth. I couldn't wait to go out into the world and also have fantastic adventures, close encounters, and a bounty of stories to tell. I guess knowing more about my past, and using my imagination to fill in the blank spaces, is what ultimately pushed me to pursue creative arts and literature studies. It also opened my eyes to the endless
possibilities for writing my own chapter in my family history, making my personal mark on the space where my mother's side and my father's side collided, and leaving a legacy for whoever would come next.

In My Mother's Pearls, a young girl tells the story of a special pearl necklace that has been passed on from generation to generation of women in her mother's family. Starting in 1998 and working backwards all the way to 1788, the young narrator tells of how each woman had a special relationship to the pearls: from her mother Marianne all the way to her great-great-great-great-great-great-Grandmother Susanna, women wore the pearls while playing dress-up, on special occasions, even traveling across the sea!

Young children will love reading My Mother's Pearls over and over again. It's also a great starting point for opening a discussion on your own family's story. Pick up your copy today!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Carry Me




Different cultures have different cuisines, different folktales, different traditions, and different games. They have different ways of showing gratitude, contempt, and sadness. They have different ways of mourning, celebrating, and observing holidays. It's the differences in universally practiced things that make each culture unique and special.

In Carry Me, babies will be introduced to babies from around the world and the ways in which they are carried by adults. Babies from China, Russia, Scotland, Kenya, India, Ecuador, and the USA are all carried different ways. Babies will love getting acquainted with their global neighbors through this book!

Raising kids prepared to interact with others from different backgrounds is imperative in this day and age. Start your little one early with Carry Me!

Don't forget to look for our other Babies Everywhere™ titles, Families and Eating the Rainbow!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Madison's Patriotic Project


July 4th is a time of celebration here in the States. As such, children commonly associate the holiday with picnics, water sports, backyard grill sessions, outdoor games with friends, delicious food, family, and - of course - fireworks. It's the celebration that really kick-starts a fantastic summer season, and no vacation is complete without a full-out July 4th jubilee.

But how many kids are familiar with the real reason for the holiday?

In Madison's Patriotic Project, young Madison is excited to put together the best scrapbook ever and win her class's patriotic project contest. But she gets so wrapped up in making the winning entry that she doesn't pay attention to all the facts of American history she's learning along the way. In fact, she barely notices how great her final product is because she's so hung up on whether or not she takes home the prize.

It's easy to get distracted from what's meaningful when a tantalizing prize seems to dangle just out of reach. Our goals can get mixed up and confused easily, and we can miss out on something really important in the process. While the Fourth of July has passed, the opportunity to teach your kids about the meaning behind the celebration, and all holiday celebrations, is available year round. Act on it! And don't forget to pick up your copy of Madison's Patriotic Project today!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Hidden Letters Interview with Deborah Slier & Ian Shine

The video below is an interview conducted during the 2010 ALA Midwinter Conference in Boston, MA. Kathy O'Hehir sat down with the authors of Hidden Letters to find out more about the book and the process of putting it together.



See our post on Hidden Letters here.

Urban Animals



The city can be an exciting and adventurous place for a child (see The Girl on the Yellow Giraffe!), and now that summertime is in full swing, it's time to get out there and explore!

Growing up in New York was always such an awesome thing to me as a kid. My mother was an avid architecture lover and would point out all the historical buildings, as well as things I wouldn't have noticed about them - the detailing around the extravagant bay windows of Fifth Avenue apartment buildings, the gothic patterns banding around buildings down in Herald Square, the gargoyles howling at the sky around Central park. It was all so fascinating to me as a child.

Isabel Hill also shares a love for these hidden treasures of the city. In her book Urban Animals, Hill points out different animals integrated into the magnificent architecture of New York. It could serve as a fun guide for a day's adventure. So slather on that SPF 50, lace up your walking shoes, and hit the streets!

Urban Animals, available in both paperback and hardcover editions, was a finalist in the 2010 Benjamin Franklin Awards.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

2010 Benjamin Franklin Award Finalists!

This year, three of our books were selected as finalists for the prestigious Benjamin Franklin award!
Blog posts on the individual titles coming soon.



Click here for more information on Urban Animals.



Click here for more information on Layla's Head Scarf.



Click here for more information on Transforming Lives.

ALA Annual Conference

Hey, everyone! It was great to see so many new and familiar faces at the ALA Annual Conference last weekend. We had a fantastic time meeting so many people! If you missed out on the fun, here are some photos. Be sure to visit our website, StarBrightBooks.org, and check out all of our titles!