Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Author Sarah Weeks

Sarah Weeks is the amazing author of our April book, So B. It. She has written many books for children including the Guy series (Regular Guy, Guy Time, Guy Wire and My Guy) and Oggie Cooder. She lives in New York City and has a fantastic website with lots of information which I encourage you all to visit!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

April Book Selection: So B. It

The April book club book selection will be So B. It by Sarah Weeks. We will meet to discuss this book on Monday, April 20th at 3:30pm in the Children's Program Room. At the meeting will be conducting a speakerphone interview with Sarah Weeks so start thinking of some great author questions now and feel free to post your ideas as comments to the blog!

Although she lives an unconventional lifestyle with her mentally disabled mother and their doting neighbor, Bernadette, Heidi has a lucky streak that has a way of pointing her in the right direction. When a mysterious word in her mother's vocabulary begins to haunt her, Heidi's thirst for the truth leads her on a cross-country journey in search of the secrets of her past.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Meeting Wrap-Up: Nancy Drew & The Hardy Boys

The Book Buddies Book Club met yesterday to discuss graphic novels, specifically the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries. It was a great meeting and we had our biggest group yet - 11 kids!

We began by discussion graphic novels and what distinguishes graphic novels from comic books. We talked about what graphic novels we've read (favorites included Spiderman and Spidergirl, Babymouse, Magic Pickle and Bone) and how reading graphic novels is different from reading regular narrative books. A lot of club members prefer reading graphic novels; others like both equally. Some of the things we didn't like about reading graphic novels are that it's easy to get confused about which panel to read next and you can accidentally skip ahead in the story. One club member also mentioned that sometimes the fonts can be hard to read. We all agreed that Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys were stories that translated well to the graphic novel format. We were divided about whether or not anything could be made into a graphic novel. We thought about all of our past book club books and decided that some of them would not make good graphic novels (Me and the Pumpkin especially) and that the best graphic novels are ones with a lot of action.

Following that, we individually discussed the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries, The Demon of River Heights and The Ocean of Osyria. Overall, we liked the Hardy Boys mystery better than the Nancy Drew mystery because some members were confused as to what exactly the mystery was in The Demon of River Heights. We talked about plot in both books and the artistic style - Hardy Boys is drawn in the manga style (japanese animation characterized by exaggerated eyes, simplified features and simple outlines). Most club members like the manga style and felt it worked well for the Hardy Boys.

For our craft, we worked on creating our own graphic novels. Everyone had a lot of great ideas - there is a ton of creativity in our book club! I found blank comic pages online at the Enchanted Learning website. I've linked it up so you can print the pages and make your own graphic novel as well!

It was a great meeting and I want to thank so many club members for coming! We had a really interesting discussion and I'm looking forward to next month!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Meeting Reminder

Just a reminder that the Book Buddies Book Club will meet this coming Monday, March 23rd at 3:30pm in the Children's Program Room. We will be discussing graphic novels, specifically the two we read for this month: Nancy Drew Girl Detective: The Demon of River Heights and Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers: The Ocean of Osyria. Snacks will be provided.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at the library.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys...a Little History

Our March books are Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys graphic novels. These graphic versions are new for these old characters who've been around for years. The Hardy Boys came first in 1927 and was written by many different authors over the years but the most well known author, Franklin W. Dixon, was actually the pen name of Leslie McFarlane, who wrote more than 20 Hardy Boys books. The graphic novel Undercover Brothers series has been around since 2005. There are 17 books in that series so far.

Nancy Drew was created in 1930 as a response to the popularity of The Hardy Boys. The books are published under the collective pseudonym Carolyn Keene. There are now many series featuring Nancy Drew including the popular Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, Nancy Drew Files, Nancy Drew Girl Detective and the Girl Detective graphic novels, just to name a few. There are 16 books in the Girl Detective graphic novel series so far.

Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys have also worked together solving mysteries in series like Nancy Drew & Hardy Boys Super Mystery and Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys Be a Detective Mystery.

Complete histories of The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew can be found at Wikipedia. It is really comprehensive, so if you are interested in the histories of these characters, I highly recommend you check it out!

For more about Nancy Drew online visit Nancy Drew Sleuth and for The Hardy Boys visit Thrilling Detective.com.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Graphic Novels

Both of our March books are graphic novels so I thought it was time for a graphic novel post. First, for those of you who may be new to the graphic novel scene, a graphic novel is similar to a comic book except that it is usually longer and the story is more complex. There is a fantastic website called No Flying, No Tights that really explains the difference between a graphic novel and a comic. It also contains a wealth of information about graphic novels and the people who create them. I've linked to the "Sidekicks" portion of the site, since that is the section for children.

Anime (Japanese animation) and Manga (Japanese comics) are often associated with graphic novels. Check out The Black Moon's Glossary of Anime and Manga terms to expand your knowledge.

I know many of you are super artistic and are interested in creating your own graphic novels. We have two books in the library that you will want to check out. First, Create Your Own Graphic Novel Using Digital Techniques by Mike Chinn and Chris McLoughlin is a wonderful resource that explains how to take your ideas and use the computer to realize them.

Second is Write Your Own Graphic Novel by Natalie Rosinsky. It is a great book that will help you figure out how to get your ideas on paper.

Or perhaps you'd rather create online? Visit Comic Creator or play around with Garfield's Comic Creator. Both sites instruct you in creating your comics online.

Finally, I just want to mention that the children's department has an entire section devoted to graphic novels. There are many wonderful titles out there for kids from Babymouse to Alison Dare. As we know from our March books, there are also lots of classic stories that have been turned into graphic novels, including Black Beauty and Treasure Island. There is even graphic non-fiction including graphic biographies of people like Jackie Robinson. If you've never read one, come in and browse or ask a librarian and we'll help you find one that's right for you today!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Interview with Author Bonny Becker

A couple of months ago I was invited to particpate in author Bonny Becker's blog tour. A blog tour is a way for authors to promote their books and be interviewed without actually having to travel to different places. Various bloggers around the country each had the opportunity to talk with Ms. Becker and post the interviews on their blogs. Ms. Becker's blog tour was February 22 - 28, 2009 and although it's a bit late, I'm pleased to finally post my interview with her!

Bonny Becker is the author of many books for children including An Ant's Day Off, Holbrook: A Lizard's Tale and A Visitor for Bear.

Q: Do you write everyday?
A: I have to confess that I don't. I know it's an excellent practice, but my own style is to write in spurts. I do work with writing everyday - things like research, marketing, teaching, freelance critiquing...once in awhile I even get a chance to read!

Q: Do you have a favorite place to write?
A: Most of the time I write at my desk. For years my office was half of our bedroom, but this year I have a lovely room of my own.

Q: What were your favorite children's books as a child?
A: I loved the Oz books. My mother and father would bring a new one back each time they went to the "big city" - Seattle. And I would devour them. Also: Mary Poppins, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, Edward Eager books, Narnia, the Little House books, Wind in the Willows (my father read that to us), Little Women, the Freddy the Detective books...It's hard to narrow it down. I used to go to the library every Saturday and come home with an armload of books.

Q: Who are your favorite children's authors now?
A: Boy, that's a tough question. I can tell you whose books I'm waiting for: Kathleen Duey's sequel to Skin Hunger. I really liked The Graveyard Book and need to get up to speed on Neil Gaiman's books. I want to get my hands on White Sands, Red Menace by Ellen Klages. I'm eager to see my friend Kirby Larson's next book. Can't wait to see what Nancy Werlin does next. David Small has an autobiographical graphic novel coming out called Stitches that I hear is amazing. There's just too many good writers out there!

Q: What are you reading write now?
A: A book I just finished and absolutely loved is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I'm re-reading Ursula LeGuin's The Left Hand of Darkness and The Natural History of Make-Believe by John Goldthwaite. (I'm teaching a literature class on fantasy fiction this Fall.)

Q: Are you currently working on a new book?
A: Yes, it's a fantasy novel for a slightly older reader than my usual. I mostly write picture books and mid-grade novels for kids around 8 to 10. This new book will be aimed at the 10 to 14 year old age range.

Q: How long does it take you to write a picture book?
A: It's taken me anywhere from 10 years to 10 months. Although I can often get the basic story down on paper within a few hours - it takes many drafts, feedback from fellow writers, polishing and just plain down time to fully develop it.

Q: Do you get to choose the illustrators for your books?
A: No. You can often offer suggestions to the editor, but really it's their decision. That used to bother me, but I've been so lucky in my illustrators including David Small, Nina Laden, Jack E. Davis and the fabulous Kady MacDonald Denton for my Bear books that I can't complain!

Q: Will you tell us a little about Bear's next adventure, A Birthday for Bear?
A: In A Birthday for Bear, Bear is his fastidious, grumpy self on his birthday - even denying that it is his birthday. Mouse disguises himself as various deliverymen, etc. trying to get Bear to admit it's his birthday and enjoy the day. Birthday will be out this Fall in the form of an early reader.

Q: Will there be more books about Bear and Mouse?
A: Yes. In fact, Kady is working on the art for A Bedtime for Bear which will come out in 2010. Bedtime will first be issued as a picture book and then will come out in an early reader format. Candlewick (the publisher) is interested in developing a picture book and an early reader line for these characters and I'm working on several new stories for Bear and Mouse.

Q: You have a new novel coming out in September 2009 called The Magical Ms. Plum. Will you tell us what it's about?
A: The Magical Ms. Plum is a middle-grade chapter book about a teacher with a magical classroom - more specifically a classroom with a magic supply closet. Any kid who goes in there to get something for Ms. Plum ends up finding a magical, miniature animal and has an adventure. It's episodic - each chapter features a different child, a different animal and a different experience. I sometimes describe it as Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle meets Wayside School. Which reminds me, I should add Louis Sachar to my list of favorite current kids authors.

Q: Do you prefer to write picture books or middle-grade novels?
A: Truly, I love them both. And I love that I can do both. When I run out of steam on one manuscript I can turn to another and it's nice that they are each such different experiences.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
A: My sisters and I are on a fitness kick so we do a lot of hiking and biking. We try out new things, just for the experience. Last year we did some rock climbing and snowshoeing. I'm getting into opera - it's all just melodrama in song. Reading, of course. I'm hooked on watching Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Movies. You can now download movies from Netflix to watch instantly and I'm gorging myself on English historical dramas.

Q: Do you have any advice for young writers?
A: Know that writing is hard and there's nothing wrong with you if it takes a long time to get published. Think of it as you would any skill. To be a doctor you'd expect to study for four to eight years beyond college, go through an internship; build your skills up over years of practice. That's how you should approach writing, too. Be prepared to invest in yourself through classes and conferences and allow yourself time to learn.

For more information about Bonny Becker, visit her website.
Thanks again to Bonny Becker for appearing, courtesy of Provato Marketing. For other stops on the tour please check http://www.provatoevents.com/.

Monday, March 9, 2009

RICBA 2010!

The nominated books for the Rhode Island Children's Book Award for 2010 have been announced and there are some wonderful books on the list! First, I'm sure you'll all recognize our good friend Alvin Ho by Lenore Look. Others that I've read and enjoyed are Shooting the Moon by Francis O'Roark Dowell and Eleven by Patricia Reilly Giff. I've also just started The Seer of Shadows by Avi - I'll let you know what I think when I'm finished! Check out the complete list here.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

2009 Rhode Island Children's Book Award...the Results Are In!

The results of the 2009 Rhode Island Children's Book Award have been announced. And the winner with 1,020 votes is....Deep and Dark and Dangerous by Mary Downing Hahn!

Here are the top 5 vote getters:
  • Deep and Dark and Dangerous by Mary Downing Hahn - 1,020 votes
  • How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O'Connor - 898 votes
  • The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies - 784 votes
  • Beowulf: A Hero's Tale Retold by James Rumford - 424 votes
  • Surfer of the Century by Ellie Crowe - 372 votes