Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Fifty Feminist Children's Books to Inspire Girls


 More often than not children's books feature boys as the main characters. But, fortunately, more books are coming out each year that highlight girls.

Kristian Wilson on Bustle.com lists fifty feminist books for children, including:
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer! by Shana Corey
Princess Grace by Mary Hoffman
Me . . . Jane by Patrick McDonnell
The Ballad of the Pirate Queens by Jane Yolen
A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams
Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty

Visit Kristian Wilson's article 50 Feminist Book Gifts For Your Nieces and Nephews This Holiday Season  for her complete list of contemporary and classic works that make great reading for the girls in your life. And don't take the headline literally. Of course, these books aren't just for your nieces and nephews and the holiday season. They make great gifts for any child at any time of year.

What are you favorite feminist children's books? Please share your comments below.

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Publishers Weekly Picks Best Children's Books 2015


Take a look at Publishers Weekly (PW) editors' choices of 2015 best books to discover outstanding new titles. The lists include picture books, middle-grade, and young adult books.

The picture books range from well-known authors such as Drew Daywalt (The Day The Crayons Came Home), Dave Eggers (This Bridge Will Not Be Gray) and Mordicai Gerstein (The Night World) to debut authors such as Guojing (The Only Child), who writes about growing up under China's one-child policy.

Middle-grade books include bestselling author Jodi Lynn Anderson (My Diary from the Edge of the World) and the amazing Brian Selznick (The Marvels).

Young adult titles range from a nonfiction title by M. T. Anderson (Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad) to Chicago-area writer Laura Ruby's new novel (Bone Gap). 

For more information visit PW or click on any of the above links.

The Night WorldThe MarvelsThe Only Child

Friday, September 4, 2015

Books Your Kids Will Love: Discover the Most Awaited Children's and YA Books for Fall 2015


 Even if your kids love to read their favorite books over and over, it's almost fall and time to discover some wonderful new titles. Publishers Weekly's choices for most anticipated children's and young adult (YA) books for fall highlight many good reads you and your kids are certain to enjoy.Their picks include new books from the beloved children's authors Dave Kinney, Audrey and Don Wood, Philip and Erin Stead, and Katherine Applegate, to name a few.

I'm looking forward to these new books that they've highlighted:



 Here's What PW Says:

The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt, illus. by Oliver Jeffers (Philomel, Aug.) - Daywalt and Jeffers’s The Day the Crayons Quit has been a stalwart on bestseller lists since it was published in 2013. This very funny follow-up sees the crayons writing postcards to their young owner after being left out of town on vacation, lost within the sofa, or otherwise abused.

The Full Moon at the Napping House by Audrey Wood and Don Wood (HMH, Sept.) - More than 30 years after the publication of bedtime favorite The Napping House, this husband-and-wife team takes readers back to a dwelling, where a certain granny, boy, dog, and cat are having trouble falling asleep under the light of an enormous moon.

Lenny and Lucy by Philip C. Stead and Erin E. Stead (Roaring Brook/Porter, Oct.) - The Steads made a name for themselves with the Caldecott Medal–winning A Sick Day for Amos McGee and have been accumulating accolades ever since. Their latest tells of a boy who creates a pair of protector-companions as he adjusts to his new home.

Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett, illus. by Christian Robinson (Chronicle, Aug.) - Who says ghosts don’t have feelings? Not Barnett and Robinson, whose “ghost story” is alternately funny, sad, and sweet as a lonesome spirit named Leo tries to make a connection that doesn’t leave the other party fleeing in terror.

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate (Feiwel and Friends, Sept.) - Applegate is back with her first middle-grade novel since The One and Only Ivan, which won the 2013 Newbery Medal. In this equally sensitive story, fifth-grader Jackson worries that the reappearance of his childhood imaginary friend portends the return of problems for his family, too.

Visit PW for more listings.  Happy reading!

What are your picks for the most exciting children's books coming this fall? Please share your choices below.

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Funny Tweets on What NOT To Say To A Writer

Entertainment Weekly has gathered some wacky and wild tweets from writers on the maddening things people say to them about writing. Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat, kicked off the trend when her hashtag #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter caused a hilarious uproar on literary Twitterverse, July 28, 2015, with other writers following up with their own funny and awful things they've been told.

A couple of highlights from the Entertainment Weekly article:

S.E. Hinton
I thought you were dead. #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

Harlen Coben
Eye surgeon: I'm thinking of writing a novel!
Me: Cool, I'm thinking of doing eye surgery!
#TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

A couple of funny and sad tweets from famous writers:

Amy Tan
#TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter CUSTOMER HANDING ME 5 BOOKS TO SIGN. "It was great. I got all of them for a dollar! No one else wanted them."

Jodi Picoult
I liked the movie version so much more.  #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

I've been having fun adding my own #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter tweets:

"You really write poetry? Really? No kidding! Does it rhyme?" #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

"Hey, wasn't your short story about the hermaphrodite nun who longed to sing in The Sound of Music really about you?" #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

"It would be so far out to write a novel about Pluto with you."  #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

"You write poetry? Hey, you should read Dr. Seuss." #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

"You still haven't written that novel about the mating habits of orangutans I told you to write?"  #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

"Why don't you just write a book like Harry Potter? How hard could it be!" #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

"Why don't you get a real job?"  #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

Feel free to share your own humorous #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter both on Twitter and in my comments section below.


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Friday, July 10, 2015

The Pros and Cons of Paying to Enter Literary Contests


The Blunt instrumentWriters often shell out lots of money to enter literary contests and submit to magazines, but is it worth the expense? The Blunt Instrument has a very helpful article by Elisa Gabbert on how writers can make the decision whether or not to spend the $25 or more that contests often cost. It also clues writers in on what their options are if they choose to not bother with contests. Stop by Electric Lit to read the article and learn more.



Monday, July 6, 2015

Ruby Needs to Know: Do You Remember Training Bras?

Welcome Ruby Gold, guest blogger. Ruby lives in a small town in Indiana. Lately, she's taken to blogging to try to understand her niece, the universe, and how she can get a good pastrami sandwich in rural Indiana.
When my ten-year-old niece wanted a training bra (she begged for a hot pink strappy thing to cover her breast buds), I shrieked. “A training bra! For Pete's sake, why do your boobies need to be trained? I mean, c'mon! What are they going to do compete in the Olympics to see which ones stay up the highest and the longest? I hope you're not planning to show them someday to Hugh Hefner, heaven forbid!”
She told me I was nuts, which she does at least twice a day, and which I may very well be. Que sera sera!
But, seriously, who ever invented training bras to begin with? And really, please, please, can anyone tell me what is their mission?
Like many other weary aunties, I turned to the modern day Guide for the Perplexed: Google. And I found the aboutparenting web site. Here's what it had to say: “A training bra helps protect the nipple from chafing against clothes. A training bra also helps give the girls a flattering shape.” Protect the nipples from chafing? Tell me, women of the world, who out there has ever suffered from chafed prepubescent nipples?
If you have, I'm very sorry and hope that they've healed.
But, excuse me for pointing out the obvious, men have nipples and most of them aren't wearing bras!
Then, the article goes on to say: “A training bra is necessary when a girl begins to develop, as girls may be teased about their changing bodies.” Ha! That's the clincher, I thought. Women of the world, who has ever been teased about their changing body? I see millions of hands going up around the globe waving, madly.
Okay, that's sad. But the article gets sadder: “A training bra does not train the breasts, rather it helps girls adjust to wearing a bra and it provides a small amount of shaping and protection.” Well, so that's it, huh, we're training girls to be adjusted to the life-long discomfort of bra wearing. Think wires sticking under your boobs. Please don't tell me the wires are more comfortable when they're padded. Or that brassieres are a joy to wear when they have straps digging into your shoulders. Think of all the ways these boob contraptions can drive a woman berserk. Scratchy lace ones. Silly snappy spandex ones. Madonna's cone bra. Thin ones, padded ones, ones to shape, mold, and lift like your breasts are aching to take off and orbit to outer space.
Remember the girdle? Yeah, glad we got rid of those!
Bra burners of the world where have ye gone? So I wrote to Gloria Steinem to see if women were still burning bras. She didn't answer.
But I took my niece's bright pink training bra to the backyard and threw it into a roasting bonfire. It smoked up nicely.
The next day, my niece was despondent when she came home from school. “Auntie, now my nipples are chafing against my T-shirt and the school bully said he could see them. Like he could actually see my nipples!!!! How could you have burned my bra, you Cruella De Vil!”
So, should I back down? Should I buy her another training bra? Years later she'll probably accuse me of starting her on a path of bodily confinement, fleshly tortures, and heaven only knows what else. What's an auntie to do? I want to say don't wrap and strap in the girls until you really need to.
I'd love to hear your two cents on training bras. Does anybody remember wearing them? Please feel free to share your experiences and advice. Ruby Needs to Know!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Top Book Editors Pick their Favorite Children's Books of 2014





With so many wonderful children's books published in 2014, it's hard to know where to begin in making reading choices. One easy way to discover amazing stories is to take a look at Publishers Weekly round-up of top book editors' 2014 picks (only books not published by their own company). They talk about the books they wish they'd snagged before another publisher got to them first, how they learned about the books, and why they love them. Their favorites also include some older classics.
 
The picks include:  The Bunker Diary; The Iridescence of Birds; Grasshopper Jungle; El Deafo; Blue Lily, Lily Blue; The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender; The Winner’s Curse; Half Bad; Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; Brown Girl Dreaming; The Perks of Being a Wallflower; The Glassblower’s Children; Sideways Stories from Wayside School; Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children; The Storm Whale; The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making; Wild Rover No More; The Secret Garden; Egg & Spoon; and Grasshopper Jungle.

A few quotes from the piece:

David Levithan, Scholastic. Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith. "Grasshopper Jungle is a messy, repetitive, horny, ridiculous novel with a main character who will strain your sympathies about as far as they can go. And I love it for all of these qualities, and for the exuberance of its daring."

Nicholas During, New York Review Books. Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrated by Maurice Sendak. "There’s something rather melancholy about the story in combination with Sendak’s illustrations, and, don’t ask why, I find it’s a bit of sadness that makes the best children’s books."

Brittany Pearlman, Macmillan Children's Publishing Group. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Steifvater. "There’s a line in the book where the main character, Blue, reflects about herself and her four male companions (the Raven Boys): “We were all a little bit in love with each other”; and that’s exactly how I feel about every one of the characters. The magical realism and fantasy make the story truly enchanting, but it’s always grounded in character so that you feel completely immersed."

T.S. Ferguson, Harlequin Teen. Half Bad by Sally Green. "Half Bad by Sally Green has obvious comparisons to the world of Harry Potter, but the story unfolds in such a uniquely compelling way that I couldn’t put it down. I loved the themes of racism, genocide, and terrorism as viewed through a fantasy lens."

Liz Herzog, Scholastic. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. "When I brought the book home and read it, I loved the way Riggs had so artfully built a rich and engaging world all from a collection of found photos. It made me think about where stories come from, and how pictures can be a powerful jumping-off point for the imagination."

Megan Barlog, HarperCollins Children’s Books. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente. "This book takes the best elements of fairytale romps like Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz and transforms them into a tale of daring adventure."

Be sure to visit Publishers Weekly for the complete article.

What were your favorite books of 2014 for children?

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