Did you know that it is currently Banned Books Week? Every year, during the last week of September, hundreds of libraries and bookstores across the US join together to celebrate the freedom to read and the importance of the first amendment. Since 1982, more than 11.000 books have been challenged for a variety of reasons. Banned Books Week celebrates American’s right to free and open access to information and points out the harms of censorship by looking at both actual and attempted bannings of books across the country. Want to know more? Check out the ALA website and bannedbooksweek.org. In 2010, the 10 most challengedRead More →

Ribbit Rabbit by Candace Ryan, illustrated by Mike Lowery, is the story of two best friends, Frog and Bunny. They do everything together, swimming, eating peanut butter sandwiches, fighting monsters, and playing, but sometimes Frog and Bunny don’t get along. When they are apart, they learn that lots of things are more fun with your friends, so they eventually make their way back to each other, apologizing and playing on. This absolutely adorable picture book is great for young children. Its repetitive text, clever and simple word play, and cute illustrations perfectly depict how little things and big things can make you fight, but itsRead More →

From toolboxforeducation.com: “Raise up to $5000 for your school in minutes. It’s almost that easy when you take advantage of Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grant program. Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation (LCEF) knows how hard you work for your kids and your community and we’re dedicated to helping your parent-teacher group achieve even more for your school. Apply for our Toolbox for Education Grant now and build on your already impressive parent group success with Lowe’s. Now in its 6th year of helping build better schools and communities, the Lowe’s Toolbox for Education program has provided nearly $25 million to more than 5,000 schools acrossRead More →

From National Public Radio (Sept 20., 2011): Fresh Air’s Terry Gross conducted a long interview with Maurice Sendak, on the occasion of his new picture book, Bumble-Ardy, which he called “a combination of the deepest pain and the wondrous feeling of coming into my own.” Read the story and listen to the interview HERERead More →

A stolen baby throws a mother’s life into madness. A young girl yearns for life outside the house she’s virtually imprisoned in.  Beth Kephart’s latest, You Are My Only, is packed with raw emotion: loss, confusion, heart break, fear, love, and hope.  There’s little by way of literary devices, imagery, flowery language or flourish to mask the bare bones of a powerful story of two young women whose lives seem completely beyond their control.  Emma Rae is nineteen and trapped in a loveless marriage.  Baby is the light of her life, her “only”, and when Baby is stolen from the backyard one bright bluemorning, Emma Rae’sRead More →

From Reading Rockets: Small love notes tucked inside a lunch box or book bag can really bring a smile to your child’s face. In addition to reinforcing reading skills, you’re also modeling the power of writing. Click Here to visit the site and get free downloads of ready-to-print note papers, featuring whimsical, colorful artwork by well-known children’s book illustrators. Cori says:  My mom used to leave me little notes all the time (in fact, she still does when I go home to visit) – tucked into my lunch box, in my night bag when I went on a sleepover, and so many other places. It wasRead More →

Can you ever really know someone? Is it possible to understand every side of another person? Do you even really know all the parts of yourself? Evan doesn’t know anymore. He thought he knew his best friend and soul mate, Ariel, but now that’s she’s gone, ripped from his life, he questions if he ever really knew her.  There’s the gaping hole her absence has left and it’s filling up with questions, worries, and desperate loneliness.  All the things he thought he understood about her, about their friendship, and about who he was because of her, have been turned upside down and he’s reeling inRead More →

School Library Journal’s Nell Colburn (9/1/11) reports: Four-year-old Ana peeks out the window and jumps up and down as soon as she sees a special visitor pull up in front of her apartment complex. “Mama, the bags, las bolsas,” she shouts. Mama has the two bright red bags ready. They’re full of children’s books, the only ones in their home. One holds Spanish-English board books for Ana’s baby brother, Tomás. The other has books for Ana: two picture book classics in English, Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar (World, 1969) and Martin Waddell’s Owl Babies (Candlewick, 1993), and two bilingual picture books in Spanish andRead More →