Virginia Johnson

12/26/2016 - 2:54am
Cover to Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt

All they want is a Homecoming.

Dicey Tillerman is the 13-year-old big sister, and it’s up to her to look after the younger kids—a situation that becomes a lot more complicated when their mentally ill mother abandons them in the parking lot of a shopping mall.

Their mother said they were going on a trip to see their rich Aunt Cilla. Maybe their mother got confused, the way she does. Maybe she is already at Aunt Cilla’s waiting for them. Maybe not.

04/06/2017 - 9:36am

Vera Baker was born in Los Angeles, California, on January 28, 1927. She and her family moved to New York City when she was quite young. Luckily for Vera, they lived near a studio space called Bronx House where she learned painting, writing, acting, and dance. When she was nine-years-old, one of her paintings, called "Yentas," was put on exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art. She was filmed there explaining to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt the meaning behind her work. The Movietone film reel ran before the regular features at the movies. This, Vera recalled, made her quite a big shot in the neighborhood!

Fast Facts:
Born: January 28, 1927, in Los Angeles, California
Parents: Albert Baker and Rebecca (Porringer) Baker, Jewish immigrants
Attended: the High School of Music and Arts in Manhattan; bachelor's degree in graphic arts from Black Mountain College in North Carolina
Married: Paul Williams (divorced in 1970)
Children: Sarah, Jennifer, and Merce 
First book (illustrated): Hooray for Me! with text by Remy Charlip and Lilian Moore; First Book (written and illustrated): It's a Gingerbread House: Bake It, Build It, Eat It
Selected Awards: Caldecott Honors for "More More More" Said the Baby and A Chair for My Mother; Parents' Choice Award (illustration) for Three Days on a River in a Red CanoeJane Addams Honor for Amber Was Brave, Essie Was Smart; Regina Medal of the Catholic Library Association for her body of work; NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature for her body of work
Arrested at a women's anti-war protest at the Pentagon in 1981 and served a month at a federal prison camp in Alderson, West Virginia.

12/13/2016 - 2:46am
Cover to Speaking American: How Y’all, Youse, and You Guys Talk—A Visual Guide by Josh Katz

It’s said England and America are two nations separated by a common language. Aye or yeah, it may be more pronounced on the other side of the pond, but Americans certainly have their regional dialects, too. In 2013, Josh Katz was curious about which words and phrases were used where and how the same words might be pronounced differently in different places. So, he did a survey.

This project could have been really dry, but Mr. Katz has a gift for language, and some of his results spread on the Internet like wildfire or bushfire or a forest fire…. Well, you get the idea. The results are laid out attractively with maps and commentary in his Speaking American: How Y’all, Youse, and You Guys Talk.

12/12/2016 - 1:48pm

Why not learn to juggle? It’s a fun way to impress your friends even if you are just a beginner. Like sports? Juggling is said to increase your hand-eye reflexes and your coordination. Like to be in the spotlight? It’s a great way to show off in a talent show, andk if you get really good at it, you can do it professionally at festivals or parties.

12/13/2016 - 12:53pm

Slow, sleepy winter days find many animals curled up in their dens. They sleep warmly through winter, awakening in spring ready to enjoy the renewed Earth. This unusual, deep sleep is called hibernation.

What Is Hibernation?

True hibernation is a very deep sleep. The animal's body temperature drops, its breathing slows, and it is very difficult to awaken. But some animals, such as most bears, do not really hibernate.

12/08/2016 - 2:42am
Cover to Best in Snow

April Pulley Sayre’s Best in Snow can be enjoyed by both younger and older children. The crisp, composed, and glowing photographs envelop readers and listeners very much as a nature walk in the snow would do. With only a word or a few to a page, listeners can be caught up in the Zen of a perfect wintry moment.

12/06/2016 - 10:40am

From a Scottish port to colonial Fredericksburg to the royal courts of France and Russia, the little man who famously refused to give up the fight was perfectly at home in both cottages and elegant salons, but he was always eager to set sail for adventure and glory.

12/05/2016 - 11:23am
The Apple Tart of Hope by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

Oscar Dunleavy is an unusual and wonderful young man. At fourteen, his gentleness and good humor have made him many friends in his small, Irish coastal village. His best friend—since they were little kids, really—is his next-door-neighbor Meg. But something went terribly wrong for Oscar.

02/02/2017 - 9:50am
When the Holidays Aren’t So Merry and Bright…

Whether you’re a younger person who has recently lost a parent or grandparent, someone missing the comforting presence of a life partner or child, or, yes, one of those missing dear pets, the holidays can be hard. Something—someone is missing. There’s a hole in your heart. You know why. Oh, you know why. You don’t hear the sparkling music at all, or you do and find it forced and irritating. The smoke of memory casts a pall on this year’s festivities. It is not the same. It will never be the same. It can be good eventually, but, for right now, you do need to take time for yourself.

11/30/2016 - 2:37am
I’m Dreaming of a Chocolate Christmas by Marcel Desaulniers

Going to college in Williamsburg in the mid-80s meant the occasional treat at Marcel Desaulnier’s legendary restaurant The Trellis. Its fine dining was a little out of our league except occasionally, but they had a special service for dessert and drinks in the evening on the patio, which was an easier indulgence for a date night. Being the 80s, the White Chocolate-Raspberry Balloon (white chocolate ice cream with a delectable fruit sauce) was a hit, as was its most famous dessert, Death by Chocolate, and its more modest cousin, Chocolate Temptation.

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