Monday, August 30, 2010

As the last weeks of summer come and go, and the onset of Labour Day marks the last days of holiday for kids the length and breadth of America, Star Bright Books is continuing its blogging theme of 'Back to School.'

For many kids going to school is a daunting experience. Whether it be attending school for the very first time, or making the step up to either middle school or high school, kids become exposed to many new experiences and new people. Such experiences all serve to create great and inquisitive kids that will go on, hopefully, to become the future great generations of Americans. And to be American means to be part of a nation that is culturally and ethically diverse, a cosmopolitan nation set up to embrace all races and cultures in the melting pot. This helps Americans to be tuned into other world cultures and helps our kids understand the world around them.

In Layla's Head Scarf by Miriam Cohen, Layla is the new girl in school. She is hesitant on her first experiences of first grade as she feels out of place because of her head scarf. At the same time, her fellow first graders are curious and hesitant around her as they want to learn about her culture and about her head scarf. The story is one of growing friendship and compassion, as the first graders embrace Layla and each one learns something about the other. This makes everyone feel comfortable and shows how friendships are based on learning from one another.

Part of the We Love First Grade Series by Cohen, Layla's Head Scarf adds to the necessity to teach kids emotional learning skills to help them succeed in school. It also helps them to engage in issues that form a part of todays current global expansion as more and more places become culturally diverse.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rainy Summer Days

Morning Readers

Wherever you are in the world today I hope that it is much brighter and warmer than it is here in the hustle and bustle of The Big Apple. The weather over the past few days, since the weekend, has been nothing but wind and rain, and then more wind and rain. It feels more like Fall rather than Summer. And to think last weekend New York City was bathed in sunshine and a heat wave. How times change.

In such circumstances it makes it really difficult to find things to do outside. No one wants to get wet. Believe me. I walked into Star Bright Books this morning with my umbrella, but even that couldn't stop the rain from getting me all wet. It is days like today when all we need is a little bit of escapism. Something to take our mind away from the drizzle. A good book is just the thing that could do that, for both adults and kids alike.

Professor Noah's Spaceship is just one of those books. Brian Wildsmith takes the biblical story of Noah and his ark, and updates it for a 21st Century issue. As with the biblical account, every human and every animal and every creature lived happily in the environment, but in this account pollution has begun to destroy the food supply and the animals habitat. Fortunately Professor Noah (yes, he is a wise old man with a PhD now), has built a spaceship, and invites the animals to take off with him to find another world. For forty days and forty nights they roam space, until the guidance system goes into reverse. The intrepid travelers end up going back in time to Earth just after the Biblical Noah's flood, with Earth back to its pristine form. Capturing it all with his stunning illustrations, Brian Wildsmith's Professor Noah's Spaceship allows the imagination to escape for a moment, and addresses a very pressing issue in our time in a manner fit for children and adults alike.

Take Care


Monday, August 23, 2010

Friends At School

Dear Fellow Bloggers

In light of the recent departure of En-Szu back to college after all of her fabulous work, as a fellow intern I will be taking up the responsibility of keeping you informed of Star Bright's activities for the coming weeks and months.

So as it is getting close for many children to either return or maybe even start school for the first time, it may be of interest to you that Star Bright Books has a selection of books that may help children with first day nerves.

Friends At School by Rochelle Bunnett is a picture book for children that details the real life stories of 8 school children, as well as their class Guinea Pig called Mocha, and a pair of tortoises called Sam and Sara. It goes on to display the activities that they get up to together inside and outside of the classroom.

The real photographs taken by Matt Brown help capture the children and the fun things they get up to. From feeding Mocha carrots, to playing with jigsaw puzzles, to enjoying recess. Friends At School is the kind of book that parents can enjoy reading with their children, especially if they are worried about starting school for the first time

So check it out, it may prove a real treat for that nervy first timer. Or maybe even the odd anxious parent!

All the best


Friday, August 20, 2010


Dear Avid Blog Readers,

It is with great sadness that I inform you all that today is my last day as a summer intern here at Star Bright Books. It's been a fantastic summer - I've had so much fun getting acquainted with the ins and outs of publishing, as well as being introduced to the phenomenal books Star Bright publishes and getting to share them with you, my friends!

So as my farewell post (for now - you'll be hearing from me this fall and winter, I assure you!), I decided to treat you all to a special sneak peek - our upcoming title, Goodnight, Little Sea Otter!

Goodnight, Little Sea Otter is definitely my new favorite. A little otter and his mother say goodnight to the wonderful variety of underwater creatures who live in the sea: sea lions, sea snails, seagulls, seals, and sea urchins alike all say goodnight to the little otter and his momma. Wish Williams' illustrations are simply stunning and will wow grown-ups and children alike! And the story is sure to charm even the toughest little critic.

Goodnight, Little Sea Otter is due out September 30th.

And so I bid you all a fond farewell. Until next time, fellow book lovers!



Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Trosclair and the Alligator

Fact: kids do not like doing what they are told.

Second fact: kids will hear you tell them to do one thing, and gladly do the opposite. Usually, this ends disastrously.

In Trosclair and the Alligator, young Trosclair is told by everyone to avoid Bee Island Swamp. A giant alligator named Gargantua has been roaming about and he is notoriously ferocious. But Trosclair really wants to visit the swamp...and it's only some quick-footed thinking that saves Trosclair and his poor dog, Ollie, from becoming dinner!

Trosclair and the Alligator is a fun read for the young and old alike. Everyone understands childhood curiosity and mischief - whether you're from the big city or Louisiana Bayou, kids get in all sorts of sticky situations from not listening. Hopefully this tale of a close call will teach your little one a valuable lesson!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Kissing Skunks

People in love can be so silly.

You know how it is. You see it all the time: holding hands, nauseatingly cute nicknames, the goo-goo eyes and goofy smiles. They do things like buy ice cream cones and go for walks in the park, buy ridiculous trinkets for each other, call or text each other night and day for no reason whatsoever, and generally sicken everyone around them. But it's endearing, for the most part, because you either remember a time when you were also like that, or it gives you hope for having that someday for yourself.

In Kissing Skunks, a married skunk couple display such nonsensical affection for one another that it begins to border on the absurd. It is a funny and touching story that will appeal to kids and grown-ups of all ages (unless your child was like me, and thinks that boys and girls are full of cooties). Kissing Skunks captures the sweetness and adorable nature of two people in love, and you will most definitely find it impossible to read the book without smiling.

Most people think that books that deal with love are only suitable for Valentine's Day, but that simply isn't true - love happens year-round, not just on one day in February! Pick up your copy of Kissing Skunks today!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Jim's Dog, Muffins

Dealing with grief at a young age is difficult. When someone you hold dear passes away, it is hard to grapple with the wide range of extreme emotions. And while it is especially challenging for a young person who has lost someone, it is also hard for peers to understand exactly what kind of feelings their fellow classmate or friend is being subjected to.

In Jim's Dog, Muffins, Jim is very sad after his dog is killed in an accident. He does not want to participate in any of the classroom activities. He doesn't want to talk to anyone, and he just wants to be alone. Some of his classmates don't understand. They think he is being mean, antisocial, and rude. But the first grade teacher understands what Jim is going through, and tells the children that "Maybe Jim needs time to be sad." And Jim is really sad, until Paul finally finds a way to get him to open up.

Jim's Dog, Muffins is a moving and necessary read for everyone. It teaches a touching and valuable lesson on grief and understanding. Highly recommended for audiences both young and old. Get your copy today!

Jim's Dog, Muffins is available in hardcover and paperback editions.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Seaweed Book

Though I mentioned in my last post that summer's almost over, I'm well aware of the fact that now is a better time than ever to catch the last of the easy-breezy vacation days and make the most of them. If you haven't yet, head out to the beach! There is absolutely nothing in this world more fantastic than sprawling out under the sun (make sure to slather on that SPF!) with a good book, listening to the ocean waves crashing in the background as seagulls circle overhead. There's also nothing that beats finding sand in all your stuff for weeks afterwards, a persistent (and, admittedly, slightly irritating) reminder of the relaxing and fun times spent on the shore.

Rose Treat found another way to have a reminder of her days on the beach. After her first trip to the ocean shore, she became fascinated with the beauty of the seaweeds floating the water. What started as fascination quickly developed into a full-time passion, and in no time she became an avid studier and collector of seaweed. In The Seaweed Book, Treat shares how to recognize and identify different seaweeds, as well as presenting a myriad of delightful activities and uses for seaweed. Children and adults can learn how to make pictures, decorate cards, or create other gifts.

So while summer is fading fast, there's still plenty of time to make some lasting memories - and why not make some memories with seaweed? In late fall or winter, you'll have something to enjoy that will remind you of balmy weather and lazier days...and who doesn't want that? It sure beats shoveling snow off the driveway.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

When Someone Is Afraid

We all have different ways of dealing with fears. If I wake up from a particularly terrifying night terror at 3 AM, my surefire cure is putting on an animated film and listening to Kylie Minogue until I fall asleep again. It's really weird, but it does the trick. Some people turn on all the lights, others bury themselves under a mountain of blankets, still others turn to comfort foods or books. The methods vary, but the goal is the same - to ease the troubling memories out of our minds and make ourselves feel safe again.

In When Someone Is Afraid, readers are introduced to the various ways different animals deal with fear. Frogs dive into a pond, ostriches bury their heads, turtles retreat into their shell...and a young boy calls on his mother. A sweet and fun read for children and adults alike, it'll be a sure way to ease nighttime fears and remind children how special having a caring adult in their life is. Read When Someone Is Afraid to let your little one know that you'll always be there for them!

Whether you listen to dancefloor anthem queens or gorge on chocolate cake to quell your fears, it's important to have a way to handle situations in which one is afraid. Talk to your child about ways in which they can resolve their fears and get a good night's rest.

When Someone is Afraid is written by Valeri Gorbachev and illustrated by Kostya Gorbachev. It is available in hardcover edition.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Will I Have A Friend?

It's hard to believe, but it's August already! And while the month is still new, people are already feeling the end-of-summer vibes. No more picnics. The backyard grill will be covered up. The pool will be drained. The sunblock will be tossed out, sundresses put in storage, and sandals packed away. No more neons and pastels - hello camel, tweed, and burgundy. No more greenery - it's time for orange and yellow leaves.

Autumn also signals the start of the school year. And for kids just starting school, it can be a very scary and intimidating time! The prospect of starting a new and very important chapter of your life can reduce even the most confident kid to a bag of nerves. There's a lot to worry about: what outfit to wear on the first day, what backpack to choose, what lunch to pack. But the most important and nerve-wracking question is much larger than what the overall style and appearance should be.

In Will I Have a Friend?, Jim is very anxious on his first day of school. He is worried that he won't have any friends. His dad tells him everything will be okay, but Jim finds himself nervously alone...until Paul shares his toy truck.

Will I Have a Friend? is heartwarming and a necessary read for all children just starting school or starting the academic year at a new school. It is straightforward and children will find that they can easily relate to Jim's concerns and experience. Even for children returning to school, Will I Have a Friend? has much to offer: it will remind them of how scared they were on their first day, and encourage them to make new children feel welcome.

So while it's not quite that time of year just yet, start getting prepared for fall! Get your copy of Will I Have a Friend? today!

Will I Have a Friend? is part of the We Love First Grade! series written by Miriam Cohen and illustrated by Ronald Himler.