Posts Tagged ‘books’

I Spill My Coffee, You Get a Giveaway!

NOTE: Giveaway ENDS TODAY 12/8/11 at Midnight EST. So get your entries in! Winner will be notified tomorrow and posted as soon as they confirm.

As I was writing up my review of Gray Wolf Throne I spilled my coffee. A tragedy, I’m sure you agree. It got all over everything on my desk with the thankful exception of my laptop. It did however stain the tops of a few pages of  The Gray Wolf Throne.

This unspeakable horror has prompted me to do something that I had actually thought about doing when I realized that I’m in love with these books and want to keep them forever. And that thing is to invest in hard backs of all three of the books that are out so far (the fourth and final book is out in the fall of 2012…so far away!).

Which means you, my dear readers, will have a chance to win my paperback (and slightly coffee stained hardback) copies of The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, and The Gray Wolf Throne.

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‘Save a Teacher, Plant a Library’ Book and Supply Drive

I went to a poor elementary school,  I was in one of those multi-grade classrooms that included third and fifth grade students as well as my fellow fourth graders. It was a big class, like all of the classes in my school, between 25-30 kids. Most of the teachers were barely squeaking by with their sanity.

I met one of those teachers (who I never had, but who every child in the school agreed was a big-mean-ogre) many years later, retired and still volunteering to help under-privileged children. She is a sweet, quiet, competent woman who I now understand was vastly outnumbered, overworked, and underpaid.

My teacher was different. At least to my untrained eyes. Endlessly patient, endlessly energized and motivated to teach. She wanted us to learn, she craved our understanding, her desire to see us grow and absorb new concepts was readily apparent. And she had a library.

A Library. In her classroom.

She had converted a supply closet, with its precious and rare storage space, into a classroom library from which she doled out Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume and Alice in Wonderland. Number the Stars and a plethora of other Newberry medalists were there, with their  gold-foil circles gleaming out at us. We were breathless and a little baffled, children being trusted with books.

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Books as Gifts: Recommendations for Kids Ages 10-13

Note: All the books on this gift list are at a 6th-8th grade reading level, but are so good they can be enjoyed by teens and even adults. I tried to include books for kids with all different interests including reluctant readers.

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Books as Gifts: Recommendations for Kids Ages 4-8

Tis the season for gifting amazing books.

With the overwhelming selection you find in most store’s children’s sections it can be difficult to know what books are good and what are, well, really not. Here are some ideas for 4-8 year olds. This may seem like a large age range in terms of skill level. Keep in mind that the great books that children enjoy hearing read to them at 4 can be the very ones that are amazing for them to read to you (or whoever) at 7 and 8.

Level One character books (you’ve seen these, a lot of cartoons like Dora and Blue’s Clues are featured, with very simple language. They can be called level one, beginning reader, or ‘I can read’ books, depending on the publisher) are great for K-1st children learning to read full sentences and comprehend what they’ve read. You can get a whole set here and they really are very useful. They help children learn sentence structure and basic words, they go up several levels, it’s all very special. The truth is, you should buy some when your child is learning to read. The other truth is, they’re typically not that quality in terms of storytelling. Let’s be honest, they’re a very small step up from ‘See Spot Run’. Most children are going to tire of them quickly, the stories, while great for learning to read, just aren’t all that engaging. (Not all of them are bad, but a lot are.)

So, by all means buy a handful of Level 1’s (and 2’s, after that abandon all levels). But if you’re going to invest more than $10 in your child’s book collection (and I hope you are) please buy them some quality reads. Dynamic storytelling and engaging illustrations go a long way toward making children enjoy books.

My recommendations (with a small attempt at ordering them by difficulty):

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Give Thanks for Good Books

Beth Revis (Author of Across the Universe and overall great person) is doing an amazing giveaway. I’m not going to lie, I’m dying to win (19 books!), but it also made me stop and think, what book Am I most thankful for?

I’ve been a reader all my life, since before I really understood the words and just imagined my own stories to go along with the illustrations. There are a lot of books that I can say with all honesty that I love. Adore even. Books that have touched me, made me think, or feel, or examine the world in a new way.But there is only one book that I’ve come back to year after year, since I was 10 years old, that still speaks to me just as much, maybe more, than it did back then.


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