Friday, February 29, 2008

Author Liz Kessler

Liz Kessler (pictured at right) is the amazing British author of the Emily Windsnap books (and the soon to be released new Philippa Fisher series) and she has a fantastic and very informative website. There is a very lengthy Frequently Asked Questions page that answers every question I think you'd ever want to know! She also has a really interesting gallery that includes this image of the Japanese cover of The Tail of Emily Windsnap! It's so interesting to see what other countries do with book covers.

There's also this explanation of how The Tail of Emily Windsnap came to be:
"My first book actually started out as a poem. One day, I was sitting at home staring into space (a very important part of any writer’s life) and a couple of lines came into my head, which I quickly scribbled down…
Mary Penelope lived on a boat,
Which was all very well, but it didn’t quite float…
I worked on the poem for a few weeks and sent it to a good friend and very special writing-buddy, Lee Weatherly, who liked it very much. She sent it to her editor, David Fickling, and he suggested I try turning it into a novel instead of a poem. So I thought about it, scratched my head, went ‘hmmm’ for a bit…and then got to work! And that’s how The Tail of Emily Windsnap came about!"

Pictures from Mondays meeting...

As promised, here are a couple of pictures from Monday's meeting of the book club:
This is a shot of the table in the program room with our snacks and craft supplies - notice the pizza! We always have great snacks....

And these are the crafts that we made: a doorknob hanger in the shape of a key (every one was different; this one was mine) and a ribbon bookmark with a heart and a key. Obviously these crafts were inspired by Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key and we had a fun time making them!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

March Book Selection

We have a new book! Our March reading selection is The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler. We will meet for snacks and a book discussion on Monday, March 24th at 3:30pm in the Children's Program Room. I have extra copies at the Children's Desk if anyone needs one. Read and enjoy!

Everybody has a secret. Mine's a little different, though. I didn't even know about it until the first day of swim class in seventh grade. You see, I'd never been allowed to go in the water before. As it turns out, swimming comes naturally to me. Very naturally. In fact, so naturally that you might even say...well, it's true. Here's my secret:

I figured out that I'm a mermaid.

February Meeting

Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key =

Isabelle: 5 Stars
Shannon: 3 Stars
Brona, Andrea, Kambria, Zoe: 2 Stars

The Book Buddies Book Club met yesterday to discuss Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key. We had a great time with snacks (including pizza!) and a couple of different craft projects. For the most part, Joey Pigza was not a favorite among club members which is absolutely okay. We're not going to like every book we read and by not liking a book there is often a lot more to talk about in our discussion. Most people agreed that they didn't "get it." Only one club member really liked the book and is currently reading the sequel, Joey Pigza Loses Control. Because of the difference of opinion we decided that instead of having one rating, each member would rate the book on their own (see above).

For our crafts, we made key shaped doorknob hangers and ribbon bookmarks and everyone had a great time designing their own.

In other book news, a couple of club members are excited about the book Double Identity by Margaret Peterson Haddix (which is available at the Newport Public Library in the Young Adult department) and others have been enjoying the Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black (available in the Children's Department) especially since the release of the movie.

It was a great meeting - check back for pictures of the crafts!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Book Club meeting Monday!

Hi everyone,

Just a reminder that the Book Buddies Book Club is meeting this Monday, February 25th at 3:30pm in the Children's Program Room to discuss Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos. We'll have snacks, talk about the book and do a craft project.
Hope you all enjoyed it! Looking forward to seeing you then!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Grace Lin Interview!

Hello everyone! I've just heard back from Grace Lin! And as promised, here are the Book Buddies questions and her responses:

Do you write and/or draw everyday?

I try to write and draw everyday. But sometimes I get busy with other things, like visiting students in schools, and am not able to.

Do you have a favorite place to write/draw?

I like to write and draw in my studio at home, but sometimes my best writing is done when I'm on an airplane or waiting in line somewhere.

Are you working on anything right now? Some of us have also read and enjoyed The Year of the Rat. Will there be a third novel about Pacy/Grace?

I am working on a third novel, but it is not about Pacy/Grace - it is kind of a Chinese folktale/fairytale. But I might do another "Year of" book, I'm not sure yet!

At what age did you decide you wanted to be an author/illustrator? Do you have any advice for "finding your talent?"

I think I decided I wanted to be an author/illustrator when I was in 4th or 5th grade. My advice for "finding your talent" is to think not about what you are good at, but what you love to do - that's where your true talent will be.

The Year of the Dog is part fiction/part memoir. How did you decide that the book would be this way? Did you have any reservations about revealing so much about yourself?

I began writing The Year of the Dog as a sequel to my picturebook The Ugly Vegetables...but it kept growing and growing and would not fit into a picturebook format. So I let it become a novel. I didn't have too many reservations about revealing so much about myself, though I did worry that Lissy (my older sister) might not like how I portrayed her!

Why did you choose to set the book in the Year of the Dog?

I set the book during the Year of the Dog because it was about the time of my first year of the dog that I realized I wanted to be an author/illustrator. When I looked up the superstitions and traits of what the Year of the Dog means, it fit what I wanted my story about so that is why I used it.

How long did it take you to write The Year of the Dog?

It took me over five years!

Is your book The Ugly Vegetables, the same as the one Pacy wrote and illustrated for the contest in The Year of the Dog?

I didn't really write The Ugly Vegetables until many years later; since Year of the Dog was supposed to be a sequel to The Ugly Vegetables I thought it was fitting that I should put it in. Also The Ugly Vegetables was my very first published book. However, the book I wrote and illustrated for the book contest in real life was what I said was Melody's book - a book about flowers that could talk to each other.

One of our favorite things about the book is all of the family stories, especially the mom stories (Pacy's mom falling asleep in schol, the story about her mom having her hair cut by the teacher). Are any of those stories true?

All the stories about my mother are true - even sleeping in school!

Who are your favorite children's authors? What are you reading right now?

I have a lot of favorite authors - Beverly Cleary, Ruth Chew, Noel Streatfeild, L. M. Montgomery, Carolyn Haywood - and lots more! Right now I am reading "Chinese Fairy Tales and Fantasies" by Moss Roberts; it's to help me with the novel I am writing!

What is the best part about being a famous author? Have you gotten to do anything really special because of your work?

The best part about being an author is hearing from students that they love my books. That is the greatest! I have gotten to do some fun things because of my work - I was on the Today Show once and once a school all the way in Hong Kong had me come visit the students there. I think visiting students is probably the most special part of my work.

Do you have any advice for young writers/illustrators?

My advice is to read! As well as practice writing and drawing, reading books is very important. Even if you read a book you don't like, it is good because then you know how you DON'T want to make a book. And if you DO like it, then it will help your own writing and illustrating. Good Luck!

A BIG THANK YOU to Grace Lin for her thoughtful responses to our questions. It was so generous of her to take the time out of her busy schedule for our book club. We really appreciate it! So now I encourage you again to go and read her books! We have a lot of them here at the Newport Public Library. Come in and get one today!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Jack Gantos

There is a short biography and interesting (but slightly outdated) interview with Jack Gantos at Embracing the Child.

There is another interview with him in the 2007 book How to Write Your Life Story by Ralph Fletcher. We just got this book in at the library. You can find it in the new non-fiction section.

And of course, you can find a detailed profile of Mr. Gantos in volume 169 of the Something About the Author series which is available at the library and located at the end of the children's reference material (next to the new graphic novel section).

Come in and check out these books!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Some February Recommendations....

February vacation is almost upon us and here are some good books to keep you occupied....

Feeling the winter blues? Tired of the short, cold days? Read Summerhouse Time by Eileen Spinelli.

Every year: A rented pink cottage full of family, sand and sun - Summerhouse Time. Morning trips to the donut shop, fish fry dinners, swapping stories - Summerhouse Time. Mom and Dad, dancing on the beach. Sophie and her cousins, riding the waves. Every year: Summerhouse Time.

Up for a trip to 1860's Canada? Try this years Coretta Scott King Award winner Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis.

Eleven-year-old Elijah is the first child born into freedom in Buxton, Canada, a settlement of runaway slaves just over the border from Detroit. He’s best known in his hometown as the boy who made a memorable impression on Frederick Douglass. But things change when a former slave steals money from Elijah’s friend, who has been saving to buy his family out of captivity in the South. Elijah embarks on a dangerous journey to America in pursuit of the thief, and he discovers firsthand the unimaginable horrors of the life his parents fled—a life from which he’ll always be free, if he can find the courage to get back home.

This next book comes very highly recommended by one of the Book Buddies Book Club members. It's Toys Go Out by Emily Jenkins.

In this utterly delightful peek into the secret lives of toys, three beloved playthings participate in a series of small adventures. StingRay is a plush stuffed animal who enjoys acting the know-it-all. Lumphy is a tough little buffalo who doesnt mind the occasional cuddle. And Plastic (whose physical appearance is kept mysterious for quite some time) is a sensible bouncy ball. They are the best friends of a little girl and they deal with the world around them in their own particular manner. (SLJ review)

Finally, if you haven't ventured into the world of graphic novels, now is the time to start! And who better to start with than Babymouse: Queen of the World! by Jennifer and Matthew Holm.

An imaginative mouse dreams of being queen of the world, but will settle for an invitation to the most popular girl's slumber party.

All of these wonderful books are available here at the Newport Public Library. Come in and find something great to read!