Saturday, April 16, 2011

Oldies, but Goldie's (Where are we heading now?)

Picture Books
  1. Wild About Books- This picture book is written by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Marc Brown. It won the E.B White Read Aloud Award in 2005. It was published by Alfred A. Knopf in August 2004. It is a great book to read aloud both in the classroom and at bed time. What happens when librarian Molly McGrew by mistake drove her bookmobile into the zoo. All the animals end up having fun borrowing her books. The illustrations are wonderful and the story brings your child into a world where animals read books and the adventures they have doing so. The animals also discover reading. This is probably one of my favorite books. It will be a great read for any child or adult. I highly recommend it to be available in any school library. 
  2. Flotsam- This book was illustrated by David Wiesner. It won the Caldecott Medal in 2007. It was published by Clarion Books in 2006. This book uses only illustrations to tell a wonderful story. The main character is a boy spending time on a beach. The boy's story is told through pictures that flow smoothly. He discovers an old camera with film in it. It seems the pictures had traveled in the ocean for a very long time. It is a great book for children because each illustration tells its own story. It also proofs that picture books do not necessary need words to tell a wonderful story. 
  3. MoonPowder- This book was written and illustrated by John Rocco a very good friend of mine. It was published by Hyperion Books for Children. It came out in 2008. This book is the story about Eli Treebuckler who is known for fixing everything. Then one day the Moonpowder factory is on the blink and he is the only that can fix it. The question is will he get there on time. This book is full of wonderful illustrations and a fantastic story. This is a great book to read to your child at bedtime. It covers topics like dreams and nightmares. It also takes Eli on a amazing journey to save the Moonpowder factory. I believe it will also take your children there.          
Middle Readers
  1. Charmed Life- This book was written by Diana Wynne Jones. It was published by Macmillian Children's Books in 1977. This is the story about two siblings a boy named Eric who has no talent with magic and Gwendolyn   who is a gifted witch with astonishing powers, it suits her enormously when she is taken to live in Chrestomanci Castle. This is the home of a great enchanter. However, life with his family is not what either of the children expects and sparks start to fly. This is a charming story that is probably like the Harry Potter of it's day. Even though it came out over thirty years ago it can still be viewed in our day. It has a great story that any middle grader interested in magic and fantasy  could enjoy. I highly recommend this book for them. 
  2. Over Sea, Under Stone- This book was written by Susan Cooper. It was published in 1965 by Simon and Schuster and came out again in 2000 from Aladdin paperback. This book is the first in the Dark is Rising Sequence. When three siblings go on holiday to Cornwall they find an ancient manuscript which sends them on a dangerous quest for a grail that would reveal the true story of King Arthur and entraps them in a battle between the forces of light and darkness. The Dark is rising group of a books are classics in there own way. They can be a great and fun read for fantasy lovers. I think that both children and adults would like these group of books. I will review the others as I update my blog. 
  3. The Witches- This book was written by Roald Dahl. It was first published in Great Britten in 1983 by Jonathen Cape Ltd. It then went through several printings and was sold and translated in several countries. It is a true classic by a well known writer. It has been assigned in several classrooms as well. When a little boy loses his parents in car accident his Grandma takes him in to live with her. To make the boy feel better she tells him scary and amazing stories about witches. The boy's life changes when he actually encounters the Grand High Witch herself. In this book Dahl looks at the possibility of what if witches excised and lived among us. He is a wonderful story teller that both scares and makes his readers laugh. This book in particular has been overlooked. His most well known books are: "James and the Giant Peach." and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." I believe that any child or adult could enjoy this book. If you have never heard of Dahl I highly recommend you look him up and read his classic books.             

Young Adult books

  1. The Outsiders- This book was written by S.E. Hinton. It was first published by The Viking Press in 1967. It went through several printings and the copyright was renewed by the author in 1995. This book started it all for the YA genre. In this story Ponyboy can count on his friends and brothers but not on much else beside troubles with the Socs, a vicious gang of rich children. This book looks at  a gang war that takes place in a city setting between the poor and rich. It is required reading in most schools. This book is highly recommended for every young adult. It is a classic story that can be understood by youth today who grew up in urban setting. I especially love this book because I also was raised in a city that had a gang war going on. I will tell everyone more about it in a future post.
  2. East- This book was written by Edith Pattou. It was published by Harcourt books in 2003. This book is the story about a girl named Rose. Since the day Rose was born it was clear she had a special fate. Rose ends up journeying to a distant castle on the back of a great white bear. He was the victim of a cruel enchantment that only Rose can break. When I read this book I loved it very much. It is an epic fairy tale that is full of amazing landscape, wonderful living characters and a great story. I read the book in less then a week. It was an extra special experience for me because I grew up around fairy tales all my live and on several levels. You teen ager would love this wonderful book.  

Where are we heading now?

     This question has been bugging me a very long time and it involves our whole world and what around us. I have had deep discussions on this topic in conferences, on yahoo groups and other places. Where can I start? Since this is a children book blog I will begin by looking at POD (Publishing on Demand). This was an especially hot topic on CW (Children Writer) a yahoo group I once was a member of, but the administrator did not like me and treated me poorly so I left. I have no desire to go back again. Just be warned if you decide to join. You might get good discussions, but be careful of who runs it.
     POD is a process that has started to get very popular it is used in both traditional publishing, vanity presses and Self publishing. Instead of getting many books published and the books filling warehouses and not selling POD has one copy of your book on a computer and when it is ordered a book is printed. This way of publishing tells us how truly depended we are on computers. The question is what if the sun spots or other physical objects take out communication totally by crashing into our satellites and destroying them. What would happen to us then.
    I believe that our world is heading in the wrong direction, technology is getting more life like every day. Computers can now show emotions and do other strange things. Where does it leave mankind? Who is now in charge of society is it man or machine.
      This idea is a very scary concept that develops and grows stronger and more realistic every day. Who knows maybe one day people will be copied and cloned like the famous book "A Brave new world talks about. Scientist are getting closer and closer to this reality. Where are we heading now? In my view it is in the wrong direction. What happened to person to person communication? Instead of this people are plugged into social networking. What happened to playing outside and doing all kinds of sports? Instead individuals consider playing a video game a sport. What happened to the concept of just walking outside? Now many people drive everywhere even if it is just a five or ten minute walk.
        I believe the old way of living are fading fast. Their is lots of evidence to support my view. Look at the jump in obesity happening all over the country, look at the electronic book, look at Kindle, Sony reader and the nook. Take a look at the smart phones that are mini computers. This is found everywhere? Are people a lazy animal? We are meant to walk instead of drive. We are meant to socialize with others instead of  tweeting, face book or e-mail. In my view we are heading in the wrong direction and we must find a balance between man and machine. 

(Note- In my next update in about a month, I will be adding a reviews section for self published writers, vanity presses and some POD books. The first book I will review is called "Lost on Spirit River. It is written by Tommy Batchelor and illustrated by Kim Reale.  I urge you if you want your books reviewed on my blog e-mail me at I will review one book per update.)   



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