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Jack Gantos and Roni Schotter New Releases!

September 30th, 2014

Don’t Miss These New Releases!







The fifth and final book in the groundbreaking Joey Pigza series brings the beloved chronicle of this wired, wacky, and wonderful boy to a crescendo of chaos and craziness, as everything goes topsy-turvy for Joey just as he starts to get his feet on the ground. With his dad MIA in the wake of appearance-altering plastic surgery, Joey must give up school to look after his new baby brother and fill in for his mom, who hospitalizes herself to deal with a bad case of postpartum blues. As his challenges mount, Joey discovers a key that could unlock the secrets to his father’s whereabouts, a mystery that must be solved before Joey can even hope that his broken family might somehow come back together—if only it doesn’t pull him apart first. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)





HANUKKAH! By Roni Schotter

Winner of the National Jewish Book Award, Hanukkah! follows one family’s celebration of the holiday, from eating latkes and spinning the dreidel, to singing prayers and lighting the menorah. With sweet rhyming text and warm illustrations, this is the perfect way to celebrate the festival of lights. (Little, brown Books For Young Readers)


Fall 2014 Newly Released Books

September 24th, 2014

Hooray! Newly Released Books (or to be released before 1/2015

David Adler

Danny’s Doodles: The Squirting Donuts (Sourcebooks) Something is amiss in Danny and Calvin’s fourth grade class when their loud, rule enforcing teacher Mrs. Cakel suddenly transforms into a whole new person. Danny and Calvin decide the only way to find out what’s really going on is to spy on their personality switching teacher. But spying soon leads to a greater mystery filled with dog chasing, jelly injected donuts, peanut butter induced experiments, riddle mania, and more!

Tedd Arnold

A Pet For Fly Guy (Scholastic) In the first zany, hilarious Fly Guy picture book, Buzz tries to help Fly Guy find the right pet. It seems that everyone else at the park has a pet, so Fly Guy wants one, too. A dog licked Fly Guy. A frog chased Fly Guy. A cricket was too jumpy. Who will be the best pet for Fly Guy.

Fly Guy #14 Fly Guy’s Amazing Tricks (Scholastic) Fly Guy puts on a show with all the new tricks that Buzz taught him. But when Fly Guy shows off The Backstroke, The Dizzy Doozie, and The Big Booger at dinner-time, Buzz tells Fly Guy only to do the tricks on command. The tricks come in handy when an annoying kid starts picking on Buzz and Fly Guy–and by the time Fly Guy pulls off The Big Booger, he runs away.

Nick Bruel

Bad Kitty: Puppy’s Big Day (MacMillan) Publication date-1/6/15 “This eighth book in the popular Bad Kitty series features a day in the life of Kitty’s ever-slobbering foe, Puppy”

Alyssa Satin Capucilli

Katy Duck Goes To Work (Simon and Schuster) Katy Duck is so excited to go to work with her dad. She chooses her best tutu, finds a beautiful crown, and dons her boa. At the office, Katy Duck types, she colors, she gets water from the water cooler, and, of course, she dances. But as she’s dancing, Katy Duck knocks over a huge stack of papers! Katy learns that sometimes she must be a bit more careful…but she also learns that going to work with her dad is so much fun! Tra-la-la. Quack! Quack!

Katy Duck Happy Halloween (Simon and Schuster)”Tra-la-la. Quack! Quack! I will be a magical dancing unicorn!” Katy galloped. She twirled.”No one will have a costume like this,” she said. And no one does have a costume like hers, but when Katy sees Alice Duck dressed up in a shimmery, glimmery outfit, Katy wishes she was shimmery and glimmery, too! Suddenly, trick-or-treating doesn’t sound so fun. But with a little help from Alice and Ralph, Katy realizes that her costume is still very special. And besides, she can be shimmery and glimmery next year!

Katy Duck and the Secret Valentine (Simon and Schuster)When Katy Duck receives a secret valentine filled with sparkly stars, she wonders who it could be from! With a little help from her friend Ralph, Katy makes the perfect card for her secret valentine…and discovers who it is!

 Dan Gutman

Willie and Me 
(Harper Collins) Stosh thought he was finished traveling back in time. But then Ralph Branca shows up in his room one night, begging for Stosh’s help. In 1951, Branca pitched a ball to Bobby Thomson that would become the “Shot Heard Round the World,” a home run that won the National League pennant for the New York Giants and changed the lives of Branca and Thomson forever. Branca says the Giants were cheating, and he needs Stosh to use his power with baseball cards to go back in time and set things right. With wisdom from all the players he has helped before-plus the surprise return of some familiar faces-Stosh uses his power to travel in time using baseball cards one last time in a fabulous finale to the adventure of a lifetime.

Genuis Files #5 License To Thrill (Harper Collins) The wackiest road trip in history comes to an action-packed conclusion in book five of the New York Times bestselling Genius Files series.When we last left our heroes, twins Coke and Pepsi McDonald were in Roswell, New Mexico, and they had just seen a strange beam of light. Now their cross-country road trip is about to take a detour that’s out of this world-literally! Once the twins get their feet back on the ground, they embark on the final leg of their trip, which will take them from the Hoover Dam all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Cheryl Harness

Flags Over America (Albert Whitman and Company) Cheryl Harness brings to life a picture book history of flags focusing on the United States’ revolutionary beginnings, from liberty poles to the legendary “Star-Spangled Banner” that flew over Fort McHenry in 1814. Includes a glossary of flag terminology and an American flag timeline.

Charise Mericle Harper

Superlove (Disney-Hyperion)Today I am Superlove! There will be love, a wedding, and happily ever after.”So begins the day of one young girl who decides to stage a wedding between her stuffed animal, Mr. Mittens, and Pinky-her cat. Pinky is less than thrilled with the idea, even when Superlove dresses up as the flower girl and arranges some practice weddings between her other stuffed animals. Will Superlove get Pinky out of the tree in time to be the blushing bride? Or will she come up with another way to save the day?

Princess Patty Meets Her Match (Disney-Hyperion) One day your prince will come . . .. . . or so Princess Patty was told. But he’s taking too long, and she’s tired of waiting; so with Miss Loverpuff (her pet starfish) in tow, Patty sets off to find her own happily-ever-after. Along the way, she meets a prince who places leftover peas under the bed, and another who can’t tell the difference between catching dragons and dragonflies! Will she ever meet the right Prince Charming?

Susan Hood

Tickly Toes (Kids Can Press)This rhyming read-aloud celebrates baby’s first playthings-his toes!-and baby’s first accomplishment-discovering to his great delight that he can grab hold of those “runaway, fun-all-day tickly toes.”

Steven Kellogg

Pinkerton Behave (revised and re-illustrated 35th edition) (Penguin)The impossibly foolish but irresistibly sweet Pinkerton has been a picture book favorite for thirty-five years. Now Steven Kellogg has created this exuberant updated version, with an edited text and completely new illustrations, so that future generations of children can enjoy the Great Dane’s timeless silliness.

Kate Klise

The Circus Goes To Sea ( Algonquin) For many years, Sir Sidney’s Circus has traveled by train. But one day a letter arrives from Miss Flora Endora Eliza LaBuena LaPasta, inviting the circus to travel aboard the SSSpaghetti. Who can resist? The Spaghetti is a floating palace of elegance and entertainment. There’s only one problem: Miss LaPasta doesn’t want Barnabas Brambles to come aboard because she’s heard he’s the meanest man alive. Lucky for Barnabas Brambles, his boss is Sir Sidney, the nicest man alive. Sir Sidney
insists the entire circus, including Barnabas Brambles, accept the invitation. But Leo doesn’t like water. Elsa’s never been swimming. The Famous Flying Banana Brothers have no idea where they’ll put their trapeze. And, oh dear, what’s that large object up ahead in the water?

Gordon Korman

Flashpoint (Scholastic) The final book in the UNSTOPPABLE series. This time, the Cahills are facing their greatest adversary yet, J. Rutherford Pierce, billionaire media tycoon and all-around psychopath. Pierce has managed to replicate Gideon Cahill’s serum to create an unstoppable army of supermen. FLASHPOINT is the story of the final confrontation, Amy and Dan’s last chance to throw a monkey wrench into Pierce’s plans for nothing less than world domination.

Memory Maze (Scholastic) Book 2 of The Hypnotists-12-year-old Jackson Opus, the world’s most powerful natural mind-bender, is back. Jax and his family have escaped New York City, but are they really any safer in hiding? Strange things are happening, starting with an unbelievable invitation from one of the richest men on earth. Back in New York, hypnotists are mysteriously disappearing. Could it be the work of Dr. Elias Mako and his Sentia Institute? Or is something entirely different going on?

Unleashed (Scholastic) The SWINDLE team is coming back. Luthor is unleashed! The ex-guard dog has a dangerous new hobby – chasing cars. And no amount of dog-whispering from Savannah can do anything to stop it. Meanwhile, Cedarville Middle School has joined Invent-a-Palooza, a national competition for young inventors. As the son of a real professional inventor, Griffin is expected to ace the contest. But he faces stiff competition from Darren Vader, and even from one of his own best friends. The big story becomes mutiny on the SWINDLE team – until the front-running invention mysteriously disappears.

Jarrett Krosoczka and Eric Wight (contributor)

Comics Squad ( Random House) A bust-your-gut-laughing graphic-novel anthology with original contributions from the most beloved names in the genre! * Jennifer Holm & Matthew Holm * Jarrett J. Krosoczka * Dav Pilkey * Dan Santat * Raina Telgemeier * Dave Roman * Ursula Vernon * Eric Wight * Gene Yang * This all-star tribute to classic Sunday comics includes eight sidesplitting, action-packed stories about every kid’s favorite subject-RECESS! With popular characters from Babymouse and Lunch Lady and brand-new soon-to-be favorite characters from superstars including Dav Pilkey! Raina Telgemeier! Gene Yang! and many more!

Donna Jo Napoli

Hands & Hearts
(Abrams) This mother-daughter beach outing features an added layer: Throughout the day, they use American Sign Language to communicate.Looking deeper, children will notice hands embracing, fingers touching, hands and fingers shaping words. In addition, one word in each passage appears in red type. This word is then featured in a sidebar illustrating the sign. When done, readers will have learned how to sign 15 words.

Storm (Simon and Schuster) A sixteen-year old stowaway discovers her destiny on Noah’s Ark in this riveting reimagining. The rain starts suddenly, hard and fast. After days of downpour, her family lost, Sebah takes shelter in a tree, eating pine cones and the raw meat of animals that float by. With each passing day, her companion, a boy named Aban, grows weaker. When their tree is struck by lightning, Sebah is tempted just to die in the flames rather than succumb to a slow, watery death. Instead, she and Aban build a raft. What they find on the stormy seas is beyond imagining: a gigantic ark. But Sebah does not know what she’ll find on board, and Aban is too weak to leave their raft.

Hidden (Simon and Schuster) Lost at sea when her sister is taken captive on a marauding slave ship, Brigid is far removed from the only life she knew as a princess and the pampered daughter of an Irish king. Now Brigid has few choices. Alone and abandoned, she disguises herself as a boy and vows to find her innocent sister taken into slavery. Through her search many years pass and she grows from being a child to a woman, tough Brigid does not give up. She lives from the land, meets friend and foe along the way, and gains a reputation as a woman thought to be fierce enough to conquer men. It is not fierceness that guides her but the love of her sister and the longing for her family to be united. One day she finds her way, knowing that her only real power comes from within herself.

Patricia Polacco

Fiona’s Lace (Penguin) An Irish family stays together with the help of Fiona’s talent for making one-of-a-kind lace in this heartwarming immigration story. Many years ago, times were hard in all of Ireland, so when passage to America becomes available, Fiona and her family travel to Chicago. They find work in domestic service to pay back their passage, and at night Fiona turns tangles of thread into a fine, glorious lace. Then when the family is separated, it is the lace that Fiona’s parents follow to find her and her sister and bring the family back together.

Mr. Wayne’s Masterpiece (Penguin) In this story, Patricia Polacco recalls overcoming a paralyzing fear of speaking in public. Young Patricia has memorized the entire school play, and she’s comfortable in her role as prompter, but when the lead actress moves away, someone must step in. “Patricia, you have to, you just have to,” the cast members plead. Horrified at the thought, she allows herself to be coached by the charismatic theater teacher, Mr. Wayne.

James Preller

Scary Tales #4 Nightmareland (MacMillan) Welcome. Have a seat. The wolves will wait. Let us tell you a story. But be warned. Nightmareland isn’t just any tale. This is a Scary Tale. Meet Aaron Wheeler, who just got a strange, new video game. A game that sucks Aaron right in. All alone, caught in a snowstorm, a howl comes from the nearby woods. And there is no way out….

Scary Tales #5 One-Eyed Doll (MacMillan) Welcome. Have a seat. The doll will move if you ask nicely. She’s got a story to tell. But be warned. One-Eyed Doll isn’t just any tale. This is a Scary Tale. Meet Malick Rice and his sister, Tiana. Two kids who love to hunt for hidden treasure and are about to make their biggest find yet. A small box, locked tight, buried behind a deserted house. A box meant to stay buried forever…

Tish Rabe

Love You, Hug You, Read to You (Tish Rabe Books LLC) Studies have shown that talking about what’s happening in a book helps children master pre-reading skills much faster than if they just sit and listen to a story. This book will show you how to use the “5W’s” to ask your child questions that begin with “Who? What? Where? When? Why?” Rabe has written some for you and you can make up your own.

Pat Schories

Pants For Chuck (Holiday House) Big Chuck, a woodchuck, is having fun with Rabbit, Raccoon, Chipmunk and the mice brothers when he spots a pair of blue pants. Chuck must have the pants. He holds up the game while he struggles to put them on. “You are too big and the pants are too small,” his friends tell him, but Chuck thinks he looks spiffy. Sidesplitting illustrations show a determined Chuck, stuffed into his much-too-tiny blue pants trying in vain to keep up. Comfort and fun finally trump fashion as Chuck sheds the pants and joins the gang for a game of hide and seek.

Bob Shea

Kid Sheriff and The Terrible Toads (Roaring Brook Press) Drywater Gulch has a toad problem. Not the hop-down-your-britches, croaking-all-night toad kind of problem. The thievin’, hootin’ and hollerin’, steal-your-gold never-say-thank-you outlaw toad kind of problem. Then hope rides into town. Sheriff Ryan might only be seven years old, and he might not know much about shooting and roping. But he knows a lot about dinosaurs. Yes, dinosaurs. And it turns out that knowing a thing or two about paleontology can come in handy when it comes to hoodwinking and rounding up a few no-good bandits.

Charles R. Smith Jr.

28 Days (Roaring Brook)1/3/2015

Janet Tashjian

Einstein The Class Hamster and The Very Real Game Show ( Henry Holt) In Einstein the Class Hamster and the Very Real Game Show, the companion to Janet and Jake Tashjian’s Einstein the Class Hamster, we follow Ms. Moreno’s class as they face off against the students of Crackerjack Elementary on the hit game show Kids Know Stuff. But when Principal Decker sneaks Twinkles the python into the studio, there’s widespread panic; the show’s host is afraid of snakes and walks off the set. Now is Einstein’s chance to shine! With the assistance of a sound engineer who can also hear Einstein, Ned and Marlon help Einstein get ready to host the show and save the day. But something goes wrong. Does Einstein have . . . STAGE FRIGHT? Oh no! Ned and Marlon must find a way to help Einstein and win the game show.


The Big 50 Power Pack by Charles R. Smith Jr. Inspires Young Poets!

March 8th, 2013

With Poetry Month being right around the corner, now is the perfect time for Charles R. Smith Jr to announce his latest project, The Big 50 Power Pack.  Sold for $20.00 you can energize your poetry and creative writing instruction with The Big 50 Power Pack powerpoint CD. The 15 photo and 35 writing prompts can be used throughout the year to expand vocabulary, improve confidence and inject fun into the writing process.

What exactly is The Big 50 Power Pack?

The Big 50 is a Powerpoint CD that includes 50 writing exercises. Many of the Common CoreStandards are covered and all of the exercises can be adapted for grades 3-12.  The excerises were developed by Charles from his  twelve years of experience doing writing workshops across the country. All grade levels, teaching college students, and veteran teachers have all participated in the workshops and provided valuable feedback.

Does The Big 50 Covery any of the Common Core Standards? YES!

  1. Reading Foundational Skills
    – Fluency
    – Phonic and word recognition
  2. Writing Skills
    – Use precise language
    -Use sensory details
    – Use descriptive details
    – Timed exercises
  3. Speaking and Listening
    – Comprehension and collaboration
  4. Language
    -Demonstrate understaing of figurative language, word relationships and nuances in word meanings.
    – Interpret figurative language, including similies and metaphos, in context.
    – Expand, combine, and reduce sentences for meaning, reader/listener interest, and styleAlso be on the lookout for….Charles’ new  youtube channel!!!  The channel includes videos of his performances and will soon include informational book talks on many of his publications.

Fairfield County LOOK…

March 8th, 2013

Take a quick glance at the latest children’s books stirring up rave reviews from all!  To view complete descriptions please see Kerri’s article in the Fairfield County LOOK!!

Look Another Book                      Jangles A Big Fish Story                       A Flower In The Snow
 Look! Another Book!                                Jangles a BIG Fish Story                       A Flower in the Snow


The World Is Waiting For You                 The Candy Smash                        True Colors
   The World is Waiting for You                     The Candy Smash                                 True Colors


Big Nath Flips Out                               Seven                         The Tragedy Paper
    Big Nate Flips Out                                              Seven                                                   The Tragedy Paper





New Year, New Books!

March 8th, 2013

Brick by Brick
By Charles R. Smith Jr., $17.99, HarperCollins, ISBN 978-0061920820, Release Date: Buy Now

The president of a new country needs a new home, so many hands work together as one. Black hands, white hands, free hands, slave hands.  In this powerful story of the building of the White House, Coretta Scott King Award winners Charles R. Smith Jr. and Floyd Cooper capture the emotion and toil that created this incredible structure, the home of our president. The White House was created by many hands, several of them slaves’, who will be remembered throughout history for their extraordinary feat. Many slaves were able to purchase their freedom after earning money from learning a trade through this work, which speaks to their unbelievable strength. The title reflects how this towering symbol of America was created by hand, human hands, working toward their freedom, brick by brick. (HarperCollins)


Brave GirlBrave Girl: Clara & the Shirtwaist Makers Strike of 1909
Illustrations by Melissa Sweet, $17.99, HarperCollins, ISBN 9780061804427, Release Date: Buy Now

When Clara Lemlich arrived in America, she couldn’t speak English. She didn’t know that young women had to go to work, that they traded an education for long hours of labor, that she was expected to grow up fast.

But that did not stop Clara.

She went to night school, spent hours studying English, and helped support her family by sewing in a factory.

Clara never quit. And she never accepted that girls should be treated poorly and paid little.

So Clara fought back. Fed up with the mistreatment of her fellow laborers, Clara led the largest walkout of women workers in the country’s history.

Clara had learned a lot from her short time in America. She learned that everyone deserved a fair chance. That you had to stand together and fight for what you wanted. And, most importantly, that you could do anything you put your mind to. (HarperCollins)


Dirty Gert
By Tedd Arnold, $16.95, Holiday House, ISBN 978-0823424047, Release Date: Buy Now

In a comically offbeat story about acceptance from Arnold (the Fly Guy books), a small girl hungers for one thing alone: “Little Gert loved eating dirt./ The worms all idolized her…. Way back when Gert was just a squirt,/ The earth would tantalize her.” As is the case with too much of anything, there are consequences to Gert’s soil-based diet. After getting soaked in a rainstorm, Gert takes root in her yard and sprouts leaves from her already unruly hair, creating a neighborhood ruckus and media frenzy. Arnold’s bug-eyed characters and squiggly textures are just right for a story about a girl who could give Charles Schulz’s Pig-Pen a run for his money.  (Holiday House)


Hollywood 2Hollywood, Dead Ahead

By Kate Klise, $15.95, Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 9780547852836, Release Date: 4/2/13

In this fifth volume from 43 Old Cemetery Road, the trio at Spence Mansion leaves Ghastly for Hollywood, California . . . and for a shot at stardom!

The film producer Moe Block Busters wants to make the 43 Old Cemetery Road story into a movie—and he promises it will be a sure-fire hit! Lured by the lights of Tinseltown, Ignatius B. Grumply, Olive C. Spence, and Seymour Hope pack their suitcases. But when they arrive in Hollywood, Olive has a sure-fire fit when she discovers how quickly fame changes Iggy and Seymour. Even worse, Olive has been written out of the script! “Little old lady ghosts are so yesterday,” says Moe. “What America wants is a terrifying ghost named Evilo.” Well, if it’s Evilo they want, it’s Evilo they’ll get. And Olive knows just the femme fatale to help her scare Hollywood’s most despicable director half to death. (Houghton)


Fly Guy Presents: Sharks
By Tedd Arnold, $3.99, Scholastic, ISBN 978-0545507714, Release Date:  5/1/2013

Fly Guy is buzzzzing on over to the nonfiction genre! Award-winning author/illustrator Tedd Arnold brings nonfiction to life with the help of his very popular main character, Fly Guy! This engaging nonfiction reader combines the kid-friendly humor of Fly Guy with the high-interest topic of sharks! Fly Guy and Buzz introduce young readers to sharks with straightforward fun facts, humorous asides, and full-bleed photographs throughout. (Scholastic)


FLowerKaty Duck, Flower Girl
By Alyssa Satin Capucilli, $3.99, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 9781442472785, Release Date: 5/7/13

Katy Duck dances her way down the aisle at her aunt’s wedding in this cheerful story for beginning readers.

When Katy Duck’s Aunt Ella decides to get married, she asks Katy to be the flower girl! Katy can hardly wait. She practices her “flower girl” moves: swaying like a daffodil in the wind, stretching like a tulip in the sun. But then Katy learns that instead of dancing as a flower, she will be tossing petals at the wedding. So she decides to turn her supporting act into more of a starring role! (Simon & Schuster)


Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty GreatUnicorn
By Bob Shea, $15.99, HarperCollins, ISBN 9781423159520, Release Date: 5/28/13

Ever since Unicorn moved into the neighborhood, Goat has been feeling out of sorts. Goat thought his bike was cool—until he saw that Unicorn could fly to school! Goat made marshmallow squares that almost came out right, but Unicorn made it rain cupcakes! Unicorn is such a show-off, how can Goat compete? When Goat and Unicorn share a piece of pizza, Goat learns that being a unicorn might not be all it’s cracked up to be. And when Unicorn shows his admiration for Goat, it looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship.  (HarperCollins)


DaredevilDaredevil: The Daring Life of Betty Skelton
By Meghan McCarthy , $16.99, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 9781442422629, Release Date: 6/4/13

In the 1930s most girls were happy playing with dolls. But one girl, Betty Skelton, liked playing with airplanes, watching them fly around outside, and even flying airplanes herself! She lived for an adventure—in the air, the water, and on land—and nothing could stop her, especially not being a girl.

When Betty Skelton was young there weren’t many women flying airplanes or racing cars, but she wouldn’t let that stop her. She was always ready to take on a challenge, and she loved to have fun. Beetty rode motorcycles, raced cars, jumped out of planes, and flew jets, helicoptors, gliders, and blimps. And by the time she was an adult, Betty was known in the press as the “First Lady of Firsts!” (Simon)


Adventures of Arnie: Bowling Alley Bandit
By Laurie Keller, $12.99, Henry Holt, ISBNG 978-0805090765, Release Date: 6/4/13

As Mr. Bing’s new pet “doughnut dog,” Arnie couldn’t be happier. When Mr. Bing joins a bowling league, Arnie gets to go along to practices and competitions. But then Mr. Bing starts rolling gutter balls. Someone or something is behind the madness. Arnie, together with his team of goofball friends, must sort through the shenanigans and solve the mystery. Get ready for some sleuthing and even some magic. (Macmillan)



Hot Off the Press! Fall Books!

September 5th, 2012

Bill the Boy Wonder
By Marc Tyler Nobleman, $17.95, Charlesbridge, ISBN 978-1580892896

Every Batman story is marked with the words “Batman created by Bob Kane.” But that isn’t the whole truth. A struggling writer named Bill Finger was involved from the beginning. Bill helped invent Batman, from concept to costume to character. He dreamed up Batman’s haunting origins and his colorful nemeses. He named Gotham. Despite his brilliance, Bill worked in obscurity, his name never appearing on a Batman comic. It was only after his death that fans observed Bill, calling for DC to acknowledge him as co-creator of Batman. Their fight for justice continues on.


True Colors
By Natalie Kinsey-Warnock, $15.99, Random House, ISBN 978-0375860997

 True Colors tells the story of one girl’s journey to find the mother she never had, set against the period backdrop of a small farming town in 1950s Vermont. For her entire life, 10-year-old Blue has never known her mother. On a cold, wintry day in December of 1941, she was found wrapped in a quilt, stuffed in a kettle near the home of Hannah Spooner, an older townswoman known for her generosity and caring. Life with Hannah so far has been simple—mornings spent milking cows, afternoons spent gardening and plowing the fields on their farm. But Blue finds it hard not to daydream about her mother, and over the course of one summer, she resolves to finally find out who she is. That means searching through the back issues of the local newspaper, questioning the local townspeople, and searching for clues wherever she can find them. Her search leads her down a road of self-discovery that will change her life forever.


Puss in Boots
By Jerry Pinkney, $17.99, Penguin, ISBN 978-0803716421

Jerry Pinkney, one of the country’s most celebrated picture book creators, is a master at reimagining classic tales. Now he has turned his talents to Puss in Boots, and he is at his best with this lively, cinematic version.

For generations, children have delighted in the tale of the clever cat who tricks both a king and a sorcerer in order to win a castle and a princess for his penniless master. The humor, the magic, and a lush Renaissance setting are all on glorious display, and a well-placed gatefold adds to the drama. This elegant new edition of Perrault’s fairy tale will quickly join the list of essentials for every child’s library.

Mayor Hubble is in Trouble!
By Dan Gutman, $3.99, HarperCollins, ISBN 978-0062042125

My Weirder School weirder than ever!

Election day is right around the corner, and guess who’s running for class president? A.J. and Andrea! Mayor Hubble is going to teach the kids all the ins and outs of politics, and every vote counts. Who’s going to win? Who’s going to lose? And who’s going to kiss a baby? Ew, gross!


Katy Duck Meets the Babysitter
By Alyssa Satin Capucilli, $15.99, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-1442452428

Dancing diva Katy Duck is none too pleased when her parents inform her that she will be staying home with a babysitter while they attend a party. Boo! Katy knows that parties are much more fun than staying home! But when Mrs. Duncan arrives, she shows Katy that spending time with the babysitter may be much more entertaining than she expected…

With carefully worded, easy-to-read text and bright, friendly illustrations, this Level 1 Ready-to-Read is sure to keep beginning readers laughing!


By Kate Klise, $16.99, MacMillian, ISBN 978-1250008428

Benny’s parents are splitting up. His mom leaves home after a fight about a mysterious splinter that is rumored to be part of an important relic. Benny’s dad has always liked clutter, but now, he begins hoarding everything from pizza boxes to old motorcycle parts.

As his house grows more cluttered and his father grows more distant, Benny tries to sort out whether he can change anything at all. Meanwhile, a local teacher enters their quiet Missouri town in America’s Most Charming Small Town contest, and the pressure is on to clean up the area, especially Benny’s ramshackle of a house, before the out-of-town guests arrive.


Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America
By Andrea Davis Pinkney & Brian Pinkney, $19.99, HarperCollins, ISBN 978-1423142577

HAND IN HAND presents the stories of ten men from different eras in American history, organized chronologically to provide a scope from slavery to the modern day. The stories are accessible, fully-drawn narratives offering the subjects’ childhood influences, the time and place in which they lived, their accomplishments and motivations, and the legacies they left for future generations as links in the “freedom chain.” This book will be the definitive family volume on the subject, punctuated with dynamic full color portraits and spot illustrations by two-time Caldecott Honor winner and multiple Coretta Scott King Book Award recipient Brian Pinkney. Backmatter includes a civil rights timeline, sources, and further reading.

****A feast for readers whose eyes are (or should be) on the prize, in a volume as well-turned-out as the dapper W.E.B. Dubois, who was “more handsome than a fresh-cut paycheck.”  — Kirkus Starred Review


There’s a Fly Guy in My Soup
By Tedd Arnold, $6.99, Scholastic, ISBN 978-0545312844

At a fancy hotel dinner, Fly Guy gets into some trouble–and the restaurant’s soup!

When Buzz and his family have dinner in a fancy hotel’s restaurant, Fly Guy isn’t allowed in. After searching through the hotel’s trash, Fly Guy smells a wonderful aroma coming from the restaurant’s kitchen.

Fly Guy causes some messy mayhem in the restaurant, and in the end, everyone needs a bath!


 Shiver Me Timbers!: Pirate Poems and Paintings
By Douglas Florian, $16.99, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-1442413214

Ahoy mateys—it’s time to hoist up the anchors and set sail with a pack of pesky pirates! In this hilarious collection of nineteen poems, readers will meet scoundrels, scalawags, and scurvy dogs (humanand canine). They’ll partake in battles, treasure hunts, and some pirate-style grub (flounder, anyone?). And all the while, picture book greats Douglas Florian and Robert Neubecker will keep pirate fans laughing from bow to stern with their signature sense of humor.


 Monkey Play
By Alyssa Capucilli, $3.99, Random House, ISBN 978-0375869938

Monkey Plays is an energetic companion to Bear Hugs and Panda Kisses.One by one, monkeys add to the jungle fun—swinging from palm trees, hiding in an Indian market, and playing from sundown to sun-up! This playful Step 1 features a rhyming text with a bouncy rhythm and bright illustrations.


 Helen’s Big World: The Life of Helen Keller
By Doreen Rappaport, $17.99, HarperCollins, ISBN 978-0786808908

This picturebook biography is an excellent and accessible introduction for young readers to learn about one of the world’s most influential luminaries. With her signature style of prose laced with stirring quotes, Doreen Rappaport brings to life Helen Keller’s poignant narrative. Acclaimed illustrator Matt Tavares beautifully captures the dynamism and verve of Helen Keller’s life and legacy, makingHelen’s Big World an unforgettable portrait of a woman whose vision for innovation and progress changed America—and the world—forever.


MANATEE SCIENTISTS (by Peter Lourie) Named one of Oprah Winfrey’s 2012 KIDS’ READING LIST picks

August 21st, 2012

Congratulations to  Peter Lourie!

To see more about this award-winning title and Peter Lourie, please visit



WHAT A LINE UP! Andrea Davis Pinkney and Ted Scheu to Join Weisner, Schmidt, Vanderpool, Krosoczka, Alleys and Litchenfeld at the Plum Creek Children’s Literacy Festival

August 18th, 2012

17th Annual Plum Creek
Children’s Literacy Festival

Early Childhood, Elementary, Secondary & Adult Offerings
Sept. 20-22, 2012

Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012 – Children’s Day for Seward Schools Friday, Sept 21, 2012 – Children’s Day for commuting schools Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012 – Adult Conference Day and David Wiesner luncheon

Featured authors and illustrators for the 2012 festival


Wiesner.jpgDavid Wiesner – author and illustrator

David Wiesner has illustrated more than twenty award-winning books for young readers. Two of the picture books he both wrote and illustrated became instant classics when they won the prestigious Caldecott Medal: Tuesday in 1992 and The Three Pigs in 2002. Two of his other titles, Sector 7 and Free Fall, are Caldecott Honor Books. An exhibit of Wiesner’s original artwork, “Seeing the Story,” toured the United States in 2000 and 2001. Among his many honors, Wiesner holds the Japan Picture Book Award for Tuesday, the Prix Sorcières (the French equivalent of the Caldecott Medal) for The Three Pigs, and a 2004 IBBY Honour Book nomination for illustration, also for The Three Pigs. Flotsam, was a New York Times bestseller and was recently named winner of the 2007 Caldecott Medal, making Wiesner only the second person in the award’s long history to have won three times.

Wiesner lives with his wife and their son and daughter in the Philadelphia area, where he continues to create dreamlike and inventive images for books.



Schmidt.jpgGary Schmidt – author

Gary Schmidt is a professor of English at Calvin College, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  He is the author of twenty or so books for young readers, ranging from picture books to young adult novels.  His Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy won Newbery and Printz Honors, and his Okay for Now was a National Book Award finalist.  He lives on an 1830s farm in Alto, Michigan, where he types out in a shed on a 1953 Royal.  Those with typewriter ribbons to spare would be welcome visitors.



Vanderpool.jpgClare Vanderpool – author

Clare Vanderpool is the award-winning author of Moon Over Manifest, her debut novel which was awarded the prestigious 2011 John Newbery Award. Clare is remarkably the first debut author in thirty years to win the Newbery Medal.

Citing historical fiction as a favorite of hers, Clare set out in writing a historical novel set in the fictional town of Manifest, Kansas, and which is based on the real southeastern Kansas town of Frontenac, where her maternal grandparents lived. Drawing on stories she heard as a child, along with research in town newspapers, yearbooks, and graveyards, Clare found a rich and colorful history for her unforgettable novel.

Clare has just recently begun making appearances at schools, libraries, and conferences, and enjoys meeting children, educators, librarians, and parents who have embraced her and her novel. She resides in Wichita, Kansas with her husband and four children.



Pinkney.jpgAndrea Pinkney – author

Andrea Davis Pinkney is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of many books for children and young adults, including picture books, novels, works of historical fiction and non-fiction.

Andrea’s novels include With the Might of Angels, a book in the Dear America series, and Bird in a Box, hailed by the New York Times as “a powerful middle grade novel” told with “tenderness and verve.”

Andrea’s picture books include Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down, a Parenting Publication Gold Medal winner, winner of the Jane Addams Book Award, the Carter G. Woodson Award for historical works for young people, the Anne Izard Storyteller’s Award, and the Flora G. Stieglitz Strauss Award for Nonfiction; Sojourner Truth’s Step-Stomp Stride, a Jane Addams Honor Book and School Library Journal “Best Book of the Year,”; and Duke Ellington, a Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Honor Book.

In addition to her work as an author, Andrea is Vice President, Executive Editor at Scholastic, where she publishes and edits a robust list of titles.

Andrea was recently named one of the “25 Most Influential Black Women in Business” by The Network Journal, a publication for Black professionals.

Andrea lives in New York City with her husband, award-winning illustrator Brian Pinkney, and their two children.

View the teacher’s discussion guide (PDF) for With the Might of Angels.



AlleyR.jpgR.W. and Zoë Alley – authors and illustrators

Bob has always enjoyed making pictures that illustrate a story rather than hang on a wall. For the last fifteen years Bob has illustrated new and old stories of Paddington Bear by Michael Bond. A new picture book, Paddington Goes for Gold, and a new novel, Paddington Races Ahead, will publish spring 2012 to coincide with the Summer Olympics in London.

Bob received the 2010 Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Award for Pearl and Wager One Funny Day by Kate McMullan.  

AlleyZ.jpgHaving grown-up in a family of “literary grammarians”, Zoë has always been interested in words, recited and written. Zoë received her B.A. from the University of New Hampshire, and her Ed.M. from Boston University. She enjoys writing as a career that allows her to sit on the couch – her office! – in her pajamas and play with a pen and paper!

The Alleys live in Barrington, Rhode Island, and are the parents of Cassandra and Max. They have collaborated on two very large comic book style books: There’s a Wolf at the Door and There’s a Princess in the Palace.

Web:  /


Krosoczka.jpg Jarrett Krosoczka – author and illustrator

Jarrett J. Krosoczka has been passionate about storytelling through words and pictures since he was a kid.  He began his professional career by illustrating educational readers for a national publisher while still an undergraduate at Rhode Island School of Design. Then, just six months after graduation, Jarrett received his first contract for a trade book that he authored. Random House Children’s Books published Good Night, Monkey Boy on June 12, 2001 and Jarrett hasn’t stopped or slowed down since. He currently has authored and illustrated sixteen published books—ten picture books and six graphic novels. He is the two-time winner of the Third to Fourth Grade Book of the Year in the Children’s Choice Book Awards and has seen his work recommended by national publications like Newsweek, The New York Times and USA Today. His Punk Farm and Lunch Lady series are both in development to be feature films. Jarrett is happily living out his childhood dream in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he resides with his wife and daughter and their pug, Ralph Macchio.



Scheu2.jpgTed Scheu – author and poet

Ted Scheu (rhymes with “poetry guy”) is part poet, part teacher, part entertainer, part kid. Ted’s poems are published in over 20 anthologies in the US and England, and in his own four collections, I Froze My Mother, I Tickled My Teachers, I Threw My Brother Out, and his latest, Now I Know My ZBCs. His voice is authentic and unique. His poems share real issues that real kids face—at school, at home, and out in the world—often with a surprising twist. Ted is a former elementary teacher in Vermont, where he happily lives. He visits over 60 schools each year helping kids find their own poetic voices in writing workshops. His greatest honor to date is being invited to this year’s Plum Creek Festival.




Tom Lichtenheld – author and illustrator

Tom Lichtenheld is a children’s book author and illustrator. He doodled his way through school, then worked as a sign painter, set designer, printer and advertising art director. After a successful career in advertising he gradually made the switch to creating children’s books.  His first book, Everything I Know About Pirates, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2000 and was featured in Newsweek as one of the best books of the year. His 2011 book Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, written by Sherri Rinker, was a #1 New York Times Best Seller.

Tom’s books are consistently praised for their humor, expressive characters, and rich – sometimes hidden – detail. He’s known for creating books that appeal to children and adults alike, and his wide portfolio of books offers something for every age.




Friday, Sept. 21

Children’s Day for Surrounding Area Schools

Saturday, Sept. 22

Adult Professional Conference

  • Where: Concordia’s Seward campus
  • Time: Registration and author autographing begins at 7:30. Sessions begin at 9:00.
  • Registration: Register online or download the PDF form for the adult conference and luncheon with David Wiesner.

Summer Must-Have Books!

June 21st, 2012

In the Bag
By Kate Klise, $14.99, Harper Collins, ISBN 978-0062108050

A successful chef and single mother, Daisy Sprinkle is on vacation with her teenage daughter, Coco, who picks up the wrong duffle bag at the airport. That situation is not improved by the note Daisy finds tucked into her carry-on, apparently from the man in 13-C. Daisy is in no mood for secret admirer notes or dinner dates. Or even men, for that matter. Andrew doesn’t know what possessed him to do something like that. Hitting on strange women on airplanes is definitely not his typical style. But there was something about the woman in 6-B that could not be ignored. Of course, now he has no time to think about her, since his son Webb seems to have made off with a budding fashionista’s luggage.

Determined to make the best of a bad situation, Daisy cooks up a plan to calm her daughter’s panic over the lost bag with a week of fabulous food, shopping, and museum hopping. Andrew is busy working on his latest project and hoping Webb finds enough to entertain himself. Little do they know the teens are making their own plan. . . one that will ultimately reunite Ms. 6-B and Mr. 13-C.


Grammy Lamby and the Secret Handshake
By Kate Klise, $16.99, MacMillian, ISBN 9978-0805093131

How embarrassing! Grammy Lamby is coming to visit, but one little lamb is anything but pleased.

Larry is continually rattled by his grandma, what with her secret handshake (which means “I love you”), her flouncy church clothes and loud voice and her extravagant plans for future travel (what if he doesn’t want to go?). Warm and appealing acrylic paintings with just the right amount of detail show Larry’s quiet distress and Grammy’s abundant character as she visits the Lamby home. Grammy is patient and kind despite her eccentricities, and when a summer storm frightens Larry and damages the house, fearless Grammy steps in and helps with comfort and repair. Maybe Grammy isn’t so embarrassing after all! How can Larry show her what he feels? Between a new secret handshake and a surprise that Grammy can open on the train, he is certain to find a way. While providing a nice acknowledgement of Larry’s feelings, this decidedly un-pedantic selection is replete with affection and gentle humor, from the simple text to the beguiling illustrations, and shows how feelings and perspectives can develop and change. Sister team Kate and M. Sarah Klise collaborated here and share some of their own grandma memories on the sleeve in this paean to embarrassing but wonderful grandmothers everywhere.


43 Old Cementary Road: The Phantom of the Post Office
By Kate Klise, $15.99, Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 978-0547519746The letter-loving trio at Spence Mansion has something to grieve about-Ghastly’s post office is about to close, which will cut off their connection to their fans. A new invention called VEXT-mail is threatening to replace not only letters, but books, hair dryers, and even garage door openers! Could the mysterious occupant of P.O. Box 5 and his seemingly sinister plan save the doomed post office?  KidsReads





Ms. Beard is Weird #5
By Dan Gutman, $3.99, HarperCollins, ISBN 978-0062042095

My Weirder School is weirder than ever! A hot  new reality show, The Real Teachers of Ella  Mentry, is filming at school. Everybody wants  to win the TV show’s grand prize! The weird  director, Ms. Beard, tells the teachers and  students to act normal. Yeah, like that’s gonna  happen! 


Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust
By Doreen Rappaport, $22.99, Random House, ISBN 978-0763629762

Under the noses of the military, Georges Loinger smuggles thousands of children out of occupied France into Switzerland. In Belgium, three resisters ambush a train, allowing scores of Jews to flee from the cattle cars. In Poland, four brothers lead more than 1,200 ghetto refugees into the forest to build a guerilla force and self-sufficient village. And twelve-year-old Motele Shlayan entertains German officers with his violin moments before setting off a bomb. Through twenty-one meticulously researched accounts — some chronicled in book form for the first time — Doreen Rappaport illuminates the defiance of tens of thousands of Jews across eleven Nazi-occupied countries during World War II. In answer to the genocidal madness that was Hitler’s Holocaust, the only response they could abide was resistance, and their greatest weapons were courage, ingenuity, the will to survive, and the resolve to save others or to die trying. 


Balloons over Broadway Garners the Sibert Award!

February 1st, 2012

Balloons Over Broadway, the story behind Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and its iconic helium-filled wonders garners the Sibert Award!

The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal is awarded annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished informational book published in the United States in English during the preceding year. The award is named in honor of Robert F. Sibert, the long-time President of Bound to Stay Bound Books, Inc. of Jacksonville, Illinois. ALSC administers the award.

The story of Tony Sarg, the artistic inventor who conceived the huge balloons that float through New York City each Thanksgiving. Beginning at a very young age, his never-ending zeal for play and discovery delighted millions, and likewise, Sweet’s festive words, mixed media illustrations and thorough research, bring their own contagious joy to this celebration of his life’s creative process.

“Sweet’s book rose above all others this year by brilliantly showing and telling the story of one person’s ideas with passion and panache, demonstrating the very best of what an informational book can be,” said Sibert Medal Committee Chair, Andrew Medlar.