Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Favorite Books 2008: Fiction

Here are some of my favorite fiction titles of 2008. As a librarian, I would love to read every book that comes across my desk, but sadly there is never enough time. I do my best to read lots of books and this list represents just some of what I enjoyed this year (in no particular order)...

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd
Shooting the Moon by Frances O'Roark Dowell
Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale
Alvin Ho Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look
Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech
The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan: An Enola Holmes Mystery by Nancy Springer
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart
Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris by R.L. LaFevers
Masterpiece by Elise Broach
The Calder Game by Blue Balliett
Lost and Found by Andrew Clements
My One Hundred Adventures by Polly Horvath
Savvy by Ingrid Law
Keeping Score by Linda Sue Park
Bird Lake Moon by Kevin Henkes
The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Favorite Books 2008: Non-fiction

Here is my top 12 list of favorite non-fiction titles for 2008. There were MANY to choose from but these were ones I especially enjoyed reading...

Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out
Elephants and Golden Thrones: Inside China's Forbidden City by Trish Marx
Independent Dames: What You Never Knew About the Women and Girls of the American Revolution by Laurie Halse Anderson
Fireside Stories: Tales for a Winter's Eve by Caitlin Matthews and Helen Cann
Frogs by Nic Bishop
What To Do About Alice? by Barbara Kerley
Women Daredevils: Thrills, Chills, and Frills by Julie Cummins
We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson
This is Your Life Cycle: with Special Guest Dahlia the Dragonfly by Heather Lynn Miller
One Voice, Please by Sam McBratney
The Raucous Royals by Carlyn Beccia
The Toddler Cookbook by Annabel Karmel

Friday, December 26, 2008

Favorite Books 2008: Picture Books

Around this time of year, everyone comes out with a "Best Books" list and this year I decided I would put together one of my own. I'm going to do this in 3 parts: Picture Books, Fiction and Non-Fiction. Different people use different criteria but the books I've chosen were ones that crossed my desk this year that I particularly enjoyed. They are funny, touching and beautifully illustrated books that I encourage you all to check out.

Here are my top 18 picture books for 2008 (in no particular order):

Engelbert Sneem and His Dream Vacuum Machine by Daniel Postgate
Artful Reading by Chris Raczka
Jake Stays Awake by Michael Wright
Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts
When Dinosaurs Came with Everything by Elise Broach
A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee
Violet the Pilot by Steve Breen
A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker
Big Plans by Bob Shea
In a Blue Room by Jim Averbeck
Madam President by Lane Smith
The Retired Kid by Jon Agee
Thump, Quack, Moo: a Whacky Adventure by Doreen Cronin
Bats at the Library by Brian Lies
Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin
Baron Von Baddie and the Icy Ray Incident by George McClements
Christmas Farm by Mary Lyn Ray
I See Santa Everywhere by Glenn McCoy

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

January Book Selection: The Case of the Missing Marquess

Just a reminder that our January book will be The Case of the Missing Marquess: An Enola Holmes Mystery by Nancy Springer. We will meet to discuss the book at 3:30pm on Monday, January 26, 2009 in the Children's Program Room.

When Enola Holmes, much younger sister of detective Sherlock Holmes, discovers her mother has disappeared - and on her fourteenth birthday, to make matters worse - she knows she alone can find her. Disguising herself as a grieving widow, Enola sets out to the heart of London to uncover her mother's whereabouts - but not even the last name Holmes can prepare her for what awaits.

Suddenly involved in the kidnapping of the young Marquess of Basilwether, Enola must escape murderous villains, free the spoiled *Marquess, and perhaps hardest of all, elude her shrewd older brother - all while collecting clues to her mother's disappearance.

*Marquess - a European nobleman

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

December Meeting Wrap-Up: Love That Dog

The Book Buddies Book Club met yesterday afternoon to discuss Love That Dog by Sharon Creech. All of our members really liked the book and the fact that it is a novel in verse. Our club members are all interested in poetry and enjoy writing poetry of their own, especially poems about animals, seasons, life and holidays! Everyone felt that the book really stood out from other books because of the way it was written. One member found it a little bit hard at the beginning but once she got the hang of it she felt like she knew what was going on. Some of our club members had read novels in verse before and for others, this was their first experience.

We talked about what types of people write poetry. We came up with a number of different adjectives to describe poets including funny, calm, smart, nice, fun and busy!

We discussed the ways in which Jack changes over the course of the story. In the beginning, Jack doesn't like poetry, in fact he believes that boys don't write poetry - girls do. But by the end Jack is inspired by many poems and enjoys writing his own. In addition, Jack's poetry improves over the course of the story and he becomes willing to share it with others without remaining anonymous. Finally, Jack's poetry gives him an outlet for his grief over his dog Sky's death.

Everyone agreed that they would recommend this book to a friend or family member and most are excited about reading the sequel, Hate That Cat!

In addition to our book discussion, we also had special holiday cookies and made poetry snowmen for our craft project. Everyone chose different lines of poetry (either their own or from poetry books) and wrote them on snowman ornaments. We had a lot of fun talking about poetry and creating our snowmen!
It was a terrific meeting and a great way to end 2008! I wish everyone a wonderful winter vacation, very happy holidays and a spectacular new year!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Book Club Meeting Monday!

Just a reminder that the Book Buddies Book Club will be meeting this Monday, December 22nd at 3:30pm in the Children's Program Room. We will be discussing Love That Dog by Sharon Creech, having some delicious holiday snacks and doing a craft project. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Novels in Verse

Love That Dog is one example of a novel in verse. Wikipedia defines a novel in verse as a type of "narrative poetry" in which a story is told using poetry instead of prose (traditional storytelling that we are all more familiar with). I've noticed recently that novels in verse seem to be on the rise and that they are particularly popular in young adult literature. Do teenagers respond better to storytelling through poetry rather than through a more traditional narrative? It's an interesting question. There are many wonderful novels in verse and here are just a few you can find in our children's department:

Grow: a Novel in Verse by Juanita Havill (2008)

Two misfit children and other members of a Minneapolis, Minnesota, neighborhood are brought together by a woman creating a community garden.

Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate (2007, a Rhode Island Children's Book Award 2009 nominee)

Kek, an African refugee, is confronted by many strange things at the Minneapolis home of his aunt and cousin, as well as in his fifth grade classroom, and longs for his missing mother, but finds comfort in the company of a cow and her owner.

Hugging the Rock by Susan Taylor Brown (2006)

Through a series of poems, Rachel expresses her feelings about her parents' divorce, living without her mother, and her changing attitude towards her father.

Where I Live by Eileen Spinelli (2007)

In a series of poems, Diana writes about her life, both before and after her father loses his job and she and her family move far away to live with Grandpa Joe.

Heartbeat by Sharon Creech (2004)

Twelve-year-old Annie ponders the many rhythms of life the year that her mother becomes pregnant, her grandfather begins faltering, and her best friend (and running partner) becomes distant.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Tiger! Tiger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
could frame thy fearful symmetry?
"The Tiger" (first stanza)
-William Blake

Love That Dog is all about the magic of poetry and how anyone can write a poem - you just have to try. At the start, Jack doesn't want anything to do with writing poetry because he doesn't believe he can do it and he thinks it's just something girls do, but over time he realizes that he can and also that he just might have something to say after all.

Jack is inspired by all of the poems Miss Stretchberry reads to his class and especially by the poetry of Walter Dean Myers. Miss Stretchberry reads poems by Robert Frost, William Blake and Valerie Worth among many others. Have you ever been inspired by a poem? What was it and who wrote it? My favorite poets include Shel Silverstein, Douglas Florian, Naomi Shihab Nye and Maya Angelou. Check out these posts from last April (National Poetry Month) and October (new Children's Poet Laureate announced) about some of my favorite poets and poetry.

I encourage all of you to read a lot of poetry and try writing your own poems. Poetry should be celebrated all year long, not just during National Poetry Month (April). If anyone would like to share something they've written, feel free to send it in as a comment to this post.

Walter Dean Myers

Walter Dean Myers is the amazing writer and poet who inspires Jack in Love That Dog to try writing some poetry of his own. His poem "Love That Boy" is the basis for Jack's poem about his dog, Sky, "Love That Dog." Mr. Myers has written many books of poetry for children including:


I hear the call of the cornet
I hear the swingin clarinet
They're playing hot jazz in the heat
Of old New Orleans...

15 poems about the different styles of jazz, from ragtime to swing to be-bop to fusion.


They took to the road in Waycross, Georgia
Skipped over the tracks in East St. Louis
Took the bus from Holly Springs
Hitched a ride from Gee's Bend
Took the long way through Memphis
The third deck down from Trinidad
A wrench of heart from Goree Island
A wrench of heart from Goree Island
To a place called Harlem...

Blues, blues, blues,
blues, what you mean to me?
Blues, blues, blues,
blues, what you mean to me?
Are you my pain and misery,
or my sweet, sweet company?

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Few Holiday Reading Recommendations...

As the Fall semester winds down and we prepare for winter vacation, I thought I'd pass along a few holiday reading recommendations to make your season brighter...

On Christmas Eve by Ann M. Martin

Eight-year-old Tess is convinced that if she believes and stays aware of the magic around her, she will meet Santa Claus on Christmas Eve of 1958, when she will thank him for his gifts and ask him to use his magic to cure her best friend's father of cancer.

The Greek Who Stole Christmas: A Diamond Brothers Mystery by Anthony Horowitz

Fourteen-year-old Nick and his brother, an ineffectual private detective, try to prevent the threatened murder of an international pop star in London at Christmas time.

Stink wants snow for the holidays but it hasn't snowed on Christmas in Virginia in more than a hundred years. Will the new mailman, Mr. Jack Frost, be able to make his wish come true?

December Secrets by Patricia Reilly Giff

Each student in Ms. Rooney's room celebrates the December holidays by being a secret pal to a classmate.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Hate That Cat!

Sharon Creech has just released a wonderful new sequel to Love That Dog called Hate That Cat!
Newport's copy is on order but additional copies are available through the Ocean State Libraries Catalog.

Author Sharon Creech

Sharon Creech is the amazing author of Love That Dog. She has written many books for children including Heartbeat, Ruby Holler, Walk Two Moons and Chasing Redbird. She has a detailed website with lots of interesting information that I encourage you to visit.

And be sure to check out her Love That Dog page!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Breaking with tradition...

Okay, so because so many of you have told me that you are ALREADY done with Love That Dog, I'm going to go ahead and tell you what the January book will be. That way you can get started now and not have to wait. I usually like to keep it a surprise until the day of the book club meeting, but this time I'll tell you ahead. This will also be good because our January book is slightly longer and maybe just slightly more difficult. But I know you are going to love it!

In keeping with our decision to branch out into different genres, our January book is a mystery/historical fiction. It is The Case of the Missing Marquess: An Enola Holmes Mystery by Nancy Springer. I read this book a couple of years ago and LOVED it. Enola is an awesome main character. The book is set in Victorian London and Enola is the younger sister of Sherlock Holmes. She sets out to find her missing mother and stay two steps ahead of her older brothers who want to send her away to school. It's a great mystery with a fantastic setting....

I'm in the process of requesting copies of the book and I have a couple already so feel free to stop by the Children's Desk and pick one up. Remember if you check one out early, you'll need to renew it in order to have it at the January meeting. If you want to request a copy on your own you can do so by going to the Ocean State Libraries Catalog and typing in your library card number.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. Be safe if you are traveling and enjoy the day off tomorrow! Also, a reminder that the library will be closing early tonight at 6pm and we'll be closed all day on Thanksgiving.
See you on Friday!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Nancy Drew

Hi everyone,

At the last Book Buddies meeting we discussed what types of books we might want to read in 2009. We've read a lot of realistic fiction and in November we read our first fantasy novel. Club members expressed interest in reading other types of fiction including mystery and historical fiction in the coming months. A number of people mentioned that they'd like to read a Nancy Drew book. There are a lot of different Nancy Drew series out there right now so I'd like to get an idea of what type of Nancy Drew you might want to read. I've created a poll on the right hand side of this blog asking for your input. Would you like to read a classic Nancy Drew, one of the new Nancy Drew, Girl Detective graphic novels or a Nancy Drew & Hardy Boys mystery? Vote now through the end of December for what type of Nancy you think we should read!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

December Book: Love That Dog

Our December book selection is Love That Dog by Sharon Creech. We will meet on Monday, December 22nd at 3:30pm in the Children's Program Room for book discussion, snacks and a craft or related activity.

Room 105 - Miss Stretchberry

I don't want to
because boys
don't write poetry.

Girls do.

September 21

I tried.
Can't do it.
Brain's empty.

This is the story of Jack
who finds his voice
with the help of

November Meeting Wrap-Up

We had a really fun meeting on Monday and a great discussion of The Spoon in the Bathroom Wall! Since it was our first fantasy novel we spent some time discussing what fantasy is and what elements of Spoon make it a fantasy. We all agreed that fantasy fiction is characterized by "stuff that can't happen" in real life as well as dragons and princesses and "fairytale stuff." Fantastical elements we identified in Spoon include the talking spoon, the griffin, and the dancing eggs. Other fantasy books that club members have read and enjoyed include the Emily Windsnap books by Liz Kessler, Stuart Little by E.B. White and the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling.

We all liked Martha especially the way she stood up for the other students at the Bloggins school. One club member liked Rufus, the school bully, because she felt he made the story exciting. We unanimously agreed that it was wrong for Martha to steal Mrs. Ferlin's eggs, even though she did it to protect her father. Some thought she should have secretly told Mrs. Ferlin what Rufus wanted her to do and maybe Mrs. Ferlin could have switched the eggs or come up with some other way for Martha to deal with Rufus.

We had snacks and for our craft we all made special souvenir spoons. We painted them silver and blue and added special gems. Everyone designed their spoon in a different way and they all came out great!

I also put together a display of other fantasy books our club members might enjoy, as well as books about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, The Sword in the Stone, other books by Tony Johnston and books about Langston Hughes whose poem, "Dreams", was such a source of inspiration for Martha and her father.

Overall we really liked The Spoon in the Bathroom Wall and would recommend it to our friends. Club members also expressed interest in exploring other fiction genres including historical fiction, science fiction and mystery. So stay tuned for future book selections! You never know what we might read next!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Book Club Meeting Monday!

Just a reminder that the Book Buddies Book Club is meeting this Monday, November 17th at 3:30pm in the Children's Program Room to discuss the book The Spoon in the Bathroom Wall by Tony Johnston. We will have snacks and do a fun craft project.

See you Monday!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Sword in the Stone

The Spoon in the Bathroom Wall is a spoof of The Sword in the Stone by T.H. White, a book "about a young boy named Wart who befriends a magician named Merlyn. As we suspect all along, but only find out for sure at the end, Wart is actually the future King Arthur. The title refers to a sword that was magically embedded in a stone so that only the future, true-born king of England would be able to remove it." (Wikipedia article "The Sword in the Stone") Disney made an animated movie version in 1963 which is loosely based on the originally story. The sword is called Excalibur but in The Spoon in the Bathroom Wall, the spoon which Martha (Marthur) pulls from the wall thereby making her the king of Horace E. Bloggins school has been renamed X-Cauliflower.

The stories of King Arthur, Excalibur and The Sword in the Stone are fascinating - come in to the library and check them out. It will make your reading of The Spoon in the Bathroom Wall that much more enjoyable!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fantasy Literature for Kids

Hello! I hope you are all enjoying our November book, The Spoon in the Bathroom Wall. So far I've heard from a few of you and it seems to be a hit! Spoon is our first adventure into the world of fantasy literature (a type of fiction where magic and the supernatural are important to the plot) so I thought I would take this opportunity to recommend some other fantasies you might like. There are LOTS and LOTS of great fantasy books out there right now (Harry Potter, Eragon, Inkheart, Chronicles of Narnia, just to name a few) but here are a few that are similar to Spoon that you should try...

Golden & Grey by Louise Arnold (art by Brett Helquist - we know all about him!)

When a downhearted ghost becomes the "invisible friend" of an eleven-year-old boy who is an outcast in his new school, the two help each other find their place in their respective worlds.

The Secret Order of the Gumm Street Girls by Elise Primavera

In order to save the town of Sherbet, four girls with very little in common become involved with some people and events that seem to bear a resemblance to "The Wizard of Oz."

May Bird and the Ever After by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Lonely and shy, ten-year-old May Ellen Bird has no idea what awaits her when she falls into the lake and enters The Ever After, home of ghosts and the Bogeyman.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Artist Brett Helquist

Brett Helquist is the amazing illustrator who did the cover art for The Spoon in the Bathroom Wall. He has illustrated many popular children's books including Chasing Vermeer, The Calder Game, Golden & Grey, A Series of Unfortunate Events and James Howe's Tales from the House of Bunnicula among many others.

Check out his BookPage interview as well as his How I Draw feature on the Scholastic website.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Author Tony Johnston

Tony Johnston is the fantastic author of our November book, The Spoon in the Bathroom Wall. She has written many books for children including Any Small Goodness and the Mole and Troll books. She lives in Southern California. For more about her, visit Penguin Publishers.

Also check out this Harcourt Publishers interview with Tony Johnston in which she talks about writing The Spoon in the Bathroom Wall and her life an an author.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

November Book: The Spoon in the Bathroom Wall

Our November book selection is The Spoon in the Bathroom Wall by Tony Johnston. We will be meeting a week early this month because of the Thanksgiving holiday. Our November meeting will be Monday, November 17th at 3:30pm in the Children's Program Room. Copies of The Spoon in the Bathroom Wall are available at the Children's Desk or through the Ocean State Library Catalog. If you are new and want to join our club, please send me an email so I can get you registered. I like to know how many people are coming so that I can prepare enough snacks and craft supplies. My email is cantonio@newportlibraryri.org.

Things have taken a bizarre turn at Bloggins School: misbeahving dragons, dastardly principals, dancing eggs (with shoes - and attitude). Then there's the giant glowing tongue (or could it possibly be a...spoon?) that appears one day, stuck in the wall of the bathroom. What could a spoon (or is it a...tongue?) in the bathroom wall mean?

Splat in the middle of the hullabaloo is Martha Snapdragon, the boiler room-dwelling, bacon-eating, bully-tolerating daughter of the loopy but lovable janitor. Not that Martha has a clue of what to do about the all-around weirdness. She can't even get that rotten bully to stop calling her - ugh - Marthur. Surely she has not chance of thwarting the disaster that is bounding toward Bloggins.

Or does she?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Author Interview: Marlane Kennedy

The Book Buddies Book Club had the unbelievable priviledge of speaking with the author of our October book, Marlane Kennedy. We called her at her home in Ohio and had about 15 minutes to ask all of our questions about her wonderful book, Me and the Pumpkin Queen, and her life as a full-time author. The book club members came up with some fabulous questions and Ms. Kennedy was so kind and gave us very thoughtful responses.

The club members wanted to know if she writes everyday and where she does her writing. She writes on her couch with her laptop and she doesn't write every day. Some days she has a harder time feeling inspired to write and other days she can't stop! Her favorite part of being an author is hearing from her readers. It makes her feel good to know she has written something that someone else has enjoyed. She has a degree in teaching but never taught as a career and now she is enjoying visiting classrooms and having the opportunity to speak with her readers.

We wanted to know if she's anything like Mildred and she told us that part of her is a lot like Mildred - she was shy and loved animals growing up - but she had her mother with her and did enjoy things like clothes and shopping.

One of our club members wanted to know if she had ever grown a giant pumpkin of her own and up until this past summer she hadn't! But this year she decided to try and although it was a lot of work her family helped and she grew a 250 pound pumpkin which is sitting on her front porch and which she will carve into a jack-o-lantern for Halloween.

We all wanted to know if there would be future books about Mildred and at the moment she does have some ideas but nothing is definite. She told us a very interesting story about how when her publisher, Greenwillow Books, bought the manuscript for Me and the Pumpkin Queen, she originally had an epilogue as the ending where Mildred was age 16! Her editor didn't like the idea of Mildred at age 16 and asked her to change it. And now she is thrilled that she did because if she had left Mildred at age 16 there wouldn't be any need for another book!

Ms. Kennedy shared that it took her about a year to write Me and the Pumpkin Queen and that besides wanting to be an author (which she decided in 4th grade) her other career aspiration was to be a jockey because she loves horses!

Finally, we wanted to know what inspired Me and the Pumpkin Queen. Ms. Kennedy grew up in Pickaway County, Ohio and went to a lot of pumpkin shows. But the idea came to her out of the blue one day. She thought of a 5th grader and she started asking herself questions like, why is she growing pumpkins and what are her problems? This all eventually turned into Mildred's story.

We had such a great time talking with Ms. Kennedy. She was so nice and we so appreciated having the opportunity to ask our questions. Thank you to Ms. Kennedy for her time and her willingness to be involved with our book club. Authors are the best!

October Meeting Wrap-Up

The Book Buddies Book Club met yesterday to discuss Me and the Pumpkin Queen by Marlane Kennedy. It was a jam-packed meeting and lots of fun! We had special Halloween cupcakes as well as our regular snacks and we made foam pumpkins for our craft project. The highlight of the meeting was our phone call with the author, Marlane Kennedy! But more on that in the next post....

We had a wonderful discussion of Me and the Pumpkin Queen. Everyone really liked the book and all agreed that they would recommend it to a friend. We started by talking about our own hobbies (Mildred is obsessed with growing pumpkins and I wanted to find out what our club members were interested in) Our club member's hobbies include swimming, cooking, reading, arts and crafts and animals and all of our members agreed that their families are supportive of their hobbies (unlike Mildred's Aunt Arlene). We talked about why Aunt Arlene was not supportive of Mildred's pumpkin growing and decided it was because she wanted Mildred to be like her and to be more interested in clothes and shopping.
I asked the group why it was so important for Mildred to grow the pumpkin on her own and we decided it was because she wanted to prove she could do it and also it was her personal connection with her mom.

Mildred isn't at all concerned with fitting in at school and our club members felt that that was okay, because everyone has to be different and it's more important to be yourself than to fit in with others.

Our favorite parts of the story were when Mildred won the pumpkin growing contest and when she met her cousin Amanda. Our least favorite parts were when Grover started spreading the rumor that Mildred hadn't grown the pumpkin on her own and when Aunt Arlene forced her to do things she didn't want to do, like go shopping and go on vacation to West Virginia.

Overall we really liked this book. The author, Marlane Kennedy, sent us autographed bookmarks and real Atlantic Giant pumpkin seeds so that we can try to growing our own giant pumpkins! I'll keep you posted if any of us have success!

It was a fantastic meeting and a BIG thank you to Marlane Kennedy for sending us the seeds and the bookmarks and for talking with us on the phone. More on the phone interview in the next post.....

Friday, October 24, 2008

Book Club Meeting Monday!

Hi everyone,

Just a reminder that the Book Buddies Book Club is meeting this coming Monday, October 27th at 3:30pm in the Children's Program Room to discuss our October book, Me and the Pumpkin Queen by Marlane Kennedy. We will have snacks, make a pumkpin craft and discuss the book. We will also be calling the author for a brief phone interview! So come ready to discuss the book and with some great questions for Ms. Kennedy.

I can't wait for our meeting - it's going to be jam-packed and lots of fun! I also have a special surprise for the book club members, sent to us by Ms. Kennedy! You'll just have to wait until Monday to find out what it is!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wimpy Kid Comic Contest

Have you read the very popular and funny Diary of a Wimpy Kid books? They combine text and comics to tell the very humorous story of Greg Heffley and his experiences in middle school.

Have you ever tried to draw your own comics?

Diary of a Wimpy Kid is having a Do-It-Yourself Comics Contest. All you have to do is create an original comic on one side of an 8/12 x 11 piece of white paper. The contest is open to children ages 6 - 16 and ends January 31, 2009. The grand prize winner will receive one vist by Jeff Kinney to the winner's school, one framed original comic by Jeff Kinney and one signed copy of Diary of a Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book by Jeff Kinney. 30 Runners up will receive a signed copy of the book.

Visit the Children's Desk at the Newport Public Library for the official Comics Contest flyer and where to send your entry!

Good Luck!