Book Buzz Blog

Snow Day Fun

What's the best thing about a snow day? Is it the thought of building the biggest, best snowman ever, taking a run down a sledding hill, or just spending a day away from school? Some people just enjoy how quiet nature seems to be under a blanket of winter white. Others can't wait to get out and get moving, even if it means shoveling the walk first!

The Secret Life of Dolls

The African-American dolls on display at the Headquarters Library in Fredericksburg include a ballerina, Raggedy Ann and Andy, and an African queen.  Collector Myra Dicks even has a Jackie Robinson action figure in its original box.  Kids who are fascinated by the dolls will enjoy meeting Miss Hickory, Tottie, Traction Man and other great doll characters from children’s books.   

Re-enacting turns real

    Stonewall Hinkleman is a typical twelve-year-old boy whose parents are ardent Civil War re-enactors.  This means that every weekend he’s dragged (his word) to another Civil War battle site.  His father reveres an ancestor, Cyrus Hinkleman, who fought and died in the war, despite the fact that, as Stonewall puts it, “He was shot in the butt… Which can only mean one thing.  He was running away when he was shot.”  Dressed in a scratchy wool uniform and dragging a bugle that he barely knows how to play, Stonewall sulks around wishing he could play his Game Boy.

The Timeless Stories of Jane Yolen

She's been compared to Hans Christian Andersen and that clever fable maker Aesop. For children (and adults!) in today's world, her carefully crafted stories sing with a timeless rhythm and an honest truth. Her family's Russian-Jewish roots have given her the jumping-off place for many a tale (And Twelve Chinese Acrobats, Firebird, and Baba Yaga), but some stories seem to drawn from the heart of the world itself.

Jane Yolen, born in New York City on February 11, 1939, showed a talent for writing early on when she wrote and composed the words and music to her grade school pageant, starring as the lead carrot. She seems to have never slowed down during her years in high school: news editor of the school paper, Spanish club vice president, singing with the a capella choir, and captain of the varsity basketball team. Summers spent at a Vermont camp run by Quakers influenced her deeply. Several of her later books (The Gift of Sarah Barker and Friend: The Story of George Fox and the Quakers) relate to this period of spiritual growth.

Newbery Medal Winner: "When You Reach Me" by Rebecca Stead

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead has won the 2010 Newbery Medal!

When You Reach Me, set in 1979, is about a twelve-year-old New York City girl who is in the midst of reading A Wrinkle in Time when she begins to receive a series of mysterious notes from an anonymous source that seem to defy the laws of time and space.

Rebecca Stead is also author of First Light, about New York City boy who accompanies his parents on a research trip to Greenland where he meets a mysterious 14 year-old girl named Thea who lives below the ice.

See the other award-winning children's books!

And the REAL winners are...

I'm here in blustery, snowy Boston with about a thousand librarians and publishers gathered in the convention center to find out what books have won the prestigious awards for young people's literature.  There’s a buzz of speculation as people ask each other, “What do you think will win?” or “What is the book you gave your heart to this year?” 

New booklist: Amazing Adventure Books

The action-packed books in the new Amazing Adventure Books list are perfect for a snowy winter afternoon. These stories are guaranteed to keep you glued to your seat as you experience the perils of crash landing in an icy wilderness, battling with pirates over treasure, or speaking with lions as you try to find your kidnapped parents. Browse the list and check out a new adventure today.

Picture Books to Give

The youngest people on your holiday giving list would appreciate a copy of Chris Gall’s “Dinotrux,” a proven hit with little boys (and girls, too, I’m sure).  According to Gall, many millions of years ago, dinotrux ruled the earth.  Part dinosaur and part truck, creatures like Semisaur and Garbageadon terrorized the cave men for millennia, until finally rusting away.  The trucks we see today are merely their tame descendants.

Minfong Ho: Living in Three Languages

When Minfong Ho was a small girl, she listened. She listened to her parents who taught her all those necessary things that parents do. Their words were Chinese, and their words went straight into her heart, giving her wisdom and strength.

When Minfong became a little older, she played in the streets, marketplaces, and temple fairs of Bangkok. All around her, she heard life being experienced: the shouting, the playing, the prayer, the love, and the daily work. It was time to grow, a time to learn how to do the practical things. Minfong came to think of Bangkok’s Thai language as the language of doing; the language of her hands.

First Night Fun!

New Year's Eve is a time for renewal and new beginnings. It is an opportunity for the community to look ahead collectively with hope and optimism and appreciate their common bonds. Harriet Zieferts book "First Night" captures the excitment of New Years Eve through the eyes of a child as Amada Dade leads her town through the last few seconds of the old year and into the new during the local First Night parade.