Sunday, December 31, 2006

Hard to believe that this is the last day of 2006. I've spent the
morning loading booktalks to my site. I had such good intentions of
doing more reading during my week off. But I have a miserable cold.
As much as I tried to do more reading, I kept falling asleep. I did
get through a few very good books though. Now if only my voice would
come back so I could record some podcasts!

I wish one and all a very peaceful and prosperous new year.

Booktalks :

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Poet Slave of Cuba

Christmas morning was a haze of ribbons and wrapping paper. The grandsons had to be awakened at 7:30 so we could get on with it! I have been up since 6:00 reading the paper and getting things ready. The three year old was really into the presents this year. The 22 month old was happy just to sit on his new bicycle and didn't really care about the rest of the presents. If only they could stay like that!! In the afternoon, children and grandchildren left to visit family and friends leaving me to get the dinner ready. I really didn't mind. After the turkey was in the oven, I put on the fireplace, made a cup of tea and had the rest of the afternoon just to sit and read. It was the best Christmas present I got!!

One book that I had been wanting to read but wanted a quiet chunk of time was Poet Slave of Cuba. I am so glad that I found the right time to read it. It will definitely be going on my best of 2006 list. And now the kids are all out at the after Christmas sales so I again have some quiet time to do more reading. I should be doing so many other things but I am treating myself now. So, off to make a cup of tea, start the fire and curl up with a good book. Ah, life is good!

Engle, Margarita.
New York : Henry Holt, 2006.
IL 5-8, RL 4.8
ISBN 0805077065
Juan Francisco Manzano was a rather remarkable child by any standards. The fact that he was a slave in Cuba during the nineteenth-century adds to the incredible story. Told in verse, this is the story of Juan's life as he lives as a slave to several owners in Cuba. His first mistress treats him as a pet and enjoys showing him off. Juan can memorize poetry and opera and even the works of Homer and recite for the amuzment of those around him. Although his mistress treats him well, he is still a slave. His mistress frees Juan's parents and promises Juan's freedom when she dies. But this does not happen and Juan is taken by a cruel mistress who both loves and despises Juan. Through it all, Juan composes poetry that reflect both the beauty he sees and the horror he endures.

SUBJECTS: Manzano, Juan Francisco, 1797-1854 -- Poetry.
American poetry.
Slaves -- Poetry.
Poets -- Poetry.
Cuba -- Poetry.

Monday, December 25, 2006

The Braid by Helen Frost

This one will definitely be making my best of 2006 list. I love
Helen Frost's work and this is certainly no exception. Having family
in Ireland, I have read much and heard much about the Irish Famine in
the 1850s. I haven't heard as much about the Scottish resettlements
of those days though. After reading this book, I now have to do a
bit of research on that situation. I loved this book!

Frost, Helen.
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006
ISBN 0374309620
We often hear of the potato famine in Ireland and how the people were
forced off their land.
We don't often hear about what was happening in Scotland during the
same time period.
Families were being forced off their land so that wealthy land barons
could use the land for
grazing sheep. Families were often forced onto boats to Canada and
left their homes with little
more than the clothes on their backs. Jeannie and Sarah find
themselves in this situation. Their
family is leaving for Canada and have sold everything in order to
have money for the trip. But
Sarah runs away and hides so she doesn't have to go. Instead she and
her grandmother head out
to a tiny island that was home to her grandparents many years
before. Although life is hard in
Scotland, Jeannie and the rest of the family are in must dire
straights in Cape Breton. Father
and two of the daughters die on the voyage. This leave Jeannie, her
mother and her baby
brother trying to find a home in Canada. They face starvation,
homelessness and scorn from
locals on the way. Through it all, the sisters never stop thinking
about each other.

SUBJECTS: Sisters -- Fiction.
Family life -- Fiction.
Islands -- Fiction.
Mingulay (Scotland) -- History -- 19th
century -- Fiction.
Emigration and immigration -- Fiction.
Cape Breton Island (N.S.) -- History -- 19th
century -- Fiction.
Scotland -- History -- 19th century -- Fiction.
Canada -- History -- 1841-1867 -- Fiction.
Historical fiction.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy Holidays to All

Even though it is warm outside and we have absolutely no chance for
snow before Christmas, I am trying to keep the Christmas spirit! So
to one and all, I wish you the very merriest holiday. And I wish you
time to curl up by the fire and read a really good book!!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Gail Giles does it again!

Giles, Gail.
Boston : Little, Brown, 2006
ISBN 0316166383
Keep calm. Take slow breaths. Keep him talking. I need to do
everything I can to get out of this. Use all my skills. My father
taught me well. He could talk people into anything. And I
need to do some serious talking now. Don't panic. Say the right
things. Focus. Block it out. Stop thinking about where I
am. Stop remembering that I am buried underground with only
Kyle knowing where I am. Stop remembering that Kyle wants me to
suffer. Stop remembering that Kyle wants me to die.

Pick this book up and recommend it to every teen you know. This one
is a sure winner!!

Friday, December 08, 2006

New Hampshire Ladybug Award Announced

The winner of the 2006 New Hampshire Ladybug Picture Book Award is I Ain't Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont and illustrated by David Catrow. What a great choice the kids made!

My new comic hero is George, the star of Being Five. Picture a five-year-old blogger. Give it a look.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Congratulations to Casey Bisson

"Casey Bisson, information architect for Plymouth State University’s Lamson
Library, has received the prestigious Mellon Award for Technology
Collaboration for his ground-breaking software application known as WPopac.
The WPopac software will revolutionize the online search process by
allowing titles and descriptions of library holdings to be found on the

This is so exciting. If you haven't checked out Casey's WPopac, take a
look. I've been putting my personal
library on LibraryThing which has a similar philosophy as Casey. OPACs
don't have to be boring! I am now trying to find a way to put my school
library opac on LibraryThing as well. The times they are achangin'.

mail2web - Check your email from the web at .

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Website updated

I have uploaded the December update to my website. In this month's
updates, you'll find the Pennsylvania award nominees. I love seeing
what other states are nominating for their children's choice
awards. There are some awesome books on the list.

I've also included Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smth's new book. Santa
Knows is a cute book about believing in Santa. I am going to love
sharing this one with kids (and adults).

Michael Sullivan's new book, Escapade Johnson and Mayhem at Mount
Moosilauke, is included this month as well. I've known Michael for
years and it is great to see him publishing his books. This is the
first in a new series geared to upper elementary boys. I'm looking
forward to the next book. Congratulations, Michael!