Tuesday, December 23, 2014

My Christmas Greeting

Somehow it is the festive time of year once more, and I want to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year.  I also want to thank you for all the support you have shown me and this blog.

In this season of love and good will, it is, I believe, important to pause a moment and reflect on our blessings and the important people in our lives.  I am so very grateful for my husband, and sons and their families, and faithful friends, and good health.  And the list could go on.

It is my hope that everyone who reads these words may do the same in his or her own way.  Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate the holiday.  The sentiment applies to those of you who do not.

I wish the very best wishes to you all during this time of renewal, rebirth, and rejoicing.  A Happy Holiday to you all!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cookie Monster in a New 'Night Before Christmas' Book

Twas the Night Before Christmas on Sesame Street!" By Lillian Jaine and illustrated by Joe Mathieu (Sourcebooks,$10.99) may be one of the cutest new books for Christmas around this year.

slmw1210art.jpgThe child who believes Santa is on the way and who adores Cookie Monster will love this offering.  As one would expect, it's Christmas Eve and Cookie Monster is getting ready for the big day. He's dreaming about cookies and awakes with a start:

" 'Santa!' he cried. Me thinks this is great! "But me wish me not eat what was on Santa's plate!"

Frantic, in that kooky Muppet way, Cookie bustles into the kitchen and decides to make a full batch of cookies from scratch. Luckily, the gang shows up to help.

"Elmo started to mix, then measure and splatter. (And though Bert was the baker, Ernie tasted some batter.) The clock ticked away, and when the bell sounded, They opened the oven, pleased and astounded!"

Since it's a Sesame Street book about Christmas, all is guaranteed to end well. The cookies should be terrific, Santa should have some and Elmo, Oscar, the Count and Abby should share every cookie down to the last crumb!

Friday, December 12, 2014

New Holiday Books for Kids

"Blizzard" byJohn Rocco Disney-Hyperion. Hardcover, picture book. $17.99.
“Blizzard” by John Rocco 
 Disney-Hyperion. Hardcover, picture book. 40 pages. $17.99.When a blizzard blankets his town and buries his home, a young boy experiences joy (no school! snow tunnels!) that slowly turns to alarm (no snowplows, no food). But having read his Arctic survival guide, he knows that he has what it takes to help the neighborhood survive the storm. Caldecott honoree John Rocco’s lovely illustrations contain nostalgia, whimsy, warmth and light, and the boy finds both fun and meaning in doing for others. “I couldn’t think about myself. I was on a mission."

“Merry Moosey Christmas” by Lynn Plourde, illustrated by Russ Cox
Islandport Press. Hardcover, picture book. 32 pages. $17.95.
“Merry Moosey Christmas” by Lynn Plourde, illustrated by Russ Cox 
 Islandport Press. Hardcover, picture book. 32 pages. $17.95.
Another Christmas Eve is coming, and Rudolph wants, just this once, to take the night off. He wants to know what it feels like to have that giddy sense of anticipation, to hear reindeer hooves on the roof, to wake up to presents under a tree. So he convinces Santa to accept a substitute, and off they go to find a worthy replacement. Their search leads them to a willing moose, and the training begins. This lighthearted tale, by Maine author Lynn Plourde with illustrations by Maine artist Russ Cox, shows that resourcefulness goes a long way. Moosey might not be able to make his nose glow, or fly, but he knows how to solve a problem.

“Winter Candle” by Jeron Ashford, illustrated by Stacey Schuett
“Winter Candle” by Jeron Ashford, illustrated by Stacey Schuett 
 Creston Books. Hardcover, picture book. 32 pages. $16.95.Creston Books. Hardcover, Picture Book. 32 pages. $16.95.
It’s Thanksgiving in an apartment building in the city, and Nana Clover has forgotten to get a candle for her traditional centerpiece. The only thing the building superintendent can come up with is an ugly lumpy stump of a thing, but it’ll do. And so the candle’s journey begins, from one apartment to the next, from one seasonal celebration to another. This could easily get bogged down in sentimentality, but Ashford gracefully describes the little candle’s power to shine through a Jewish family’s havdalah ceremony, to gleam on a Scandinavian Saint Lucia crown, to dance on a kinara holder during Kwanzaa, and to glitter enough to welcome and guide a new family to the building during a storm.
Schuett’s gorgeously rich and textured illustrations glow with shadows and stars.

“My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories,” edited by Stephanie Perkins
St. Martin’s Griffin. Hardcover, YA Fiction. 321 pages. $18.99.
“My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories,” edited by Stephanie Perkins 
 St. Martin’s Griffin. Hardcover, young adult fiction. 321 pages. $18.99.These 12 holiday tales charm and delight. Some of the best and bestselling young adult writers of the day, including Rainbow Rowell (“Eleanor and Park”), Laini Taylor (“Daughter of Smoke and Bone” series), Gayle Forman (“If I Stay” series), and Holly Black (“Doll Bones”), spin yarns of winter romance from the contemporary to the magical to the all-out fantastical.
Love and hope cross all borders here: rich-poor, black-white, city-country, human-mythological, even human-elf. Standouts include Kiersten White’s “Welcome to Christmas, CA,” where a young chef divines the foods and tastes that connect people to happier times, and Stephanie Perkins’ “It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown.” It’s about a girl who ends up kissing the boy selling Christmas trees in the parking lot, but it’s really a story about the gifts – the kind you can’t buy – that matter most.

Melissa Kim is senior editor for children’s books at Islandport Press.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Children's Classic UK Ladybird Publishing Drops Gender Branding

Children's publisher Ladybird BG will be dropping gender branding from its books after almost 100 years and will not publish anymore books labelled for girls or boys.  It does not want to be seen "limiting children" in any way.
Ladybird Books will now make gender-neutral children booksIts current gendered titles include Favourite Fairy Tales for Girls, which has the tales of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, and Favourite Stories for Boys, which has the stories of Jack and the Beanstalk and the Three Little Pigs.
It is the seventh publisher to commit to the Let Books Be Books campaign which is urging 'boys' and 'girls' labels to be removed to enable youngsters to choose freely what kinds of stories and activity books interest them.
Ladybird, which is part of the Penguin Random House Children’s division, said it had been in discussions with campaigners as part of its decision.
The campaign group, which believes gender titling is "limiting and restrictive", has gathered thousands of signatures on a petition to challenge publishers to remove their labelling.
It says that titles like "The Beautiful Girls' Book of Colouring" or "Illustrated Classics for Boys" sends the message that certain books are off-limits for girls or for boys, and promote limiting gender stereotypes.
Children’s publishing should always aim to open up new worlds for children. But telling children which stories and activities are 'for them' based on their gender closes down whole worlds of interest.
In March publisher Parragon confirmed it would support the campaign.
In response to the petition, it posted on Twitter: "Feedback on gender-specific titles is important to us. We have no plans to create new titles referring to boy/girl in the UK."
It has received support from publishers Miles Kelly, Chad Valley, Usborne, Waterstones and Dorling Kindersley.
The former UK children's laureate Anne Fine has described gender labelling as "exasperating."