Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A sad loss to the world of children's books...

I just found out that the beloved French author and illustrator Mario Ramos passed away this week.

See this webpage for more information on his life and art.

Here are just a few of his books that the children at ISB have loved to borrow from the library:

Monday, December 17, 2012

The winter holidays are quickly approaching!  I know that everyone at school will be happy to get this much-needed break.

Here's what I am reading this week:

One of my 5th graders is reading this book, and it looked interesting, so I picked it up too.  It was an amazing read.  Sickness, especially cancer, is a tough topic to deal with in children's literature, but this book made it work.  There were sad scenes that had me tearing up while I was reading on the bus, but there were many funny moments as well. 

I read "The Elephant Scientist" for my librarian/teacher book club, and it was fascinating!  The photographs alone are breathtaking, and they are further enhanced by the story of Dr. Caitlyn O’Connell, a scientist who has spent many years studying elephants in Namibia.  Do you want to know what it's really like to be a scientist in the field?  Then don't miss this book, or the others in the same series!

By the way, did you know that the silver medal on the book cover is called the Sibert Honor Medal?  

What is that, you ask?  Well, this medal is given yearly to the best informational book for children, and every year, there are runner-ups, like "The Elephant Scientist."  Read about other Sibert Medal books here!

Monday, December 10, 2012

This week I picked up a book called "Dark Lord: The Early Years."  The premise is that the enemies of an evil Dark Lord exile him to earth in the form of a 12 year old human boy.  Of course, he is furious, but as a puny human, what can he do about it?  And more importantly, how can he escape his new (sickeningly nice) foster parents and get back to running the universe?

Here's a small taste of the book:

"He looked up at the back of Miss Cloy's head as she walked in front of him, and began to make the movements and gestures required for the casting of various spells, like the Charm of Sudden Baldness, the Cantrip of Uncontrollable Flatulence, and the Hex of Hideous Hives.

Miss Cloy gave him a look over her shoulder.  'Stop that nonsense, Dirk, you look ridiculous!  And hurry up, we haven't got all day.'" (page 38).

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Monday, December 3, 2012

This week I am reading a fantasy book called "The Familiars."  A familiar is a spirit that often takes animal form and is bound to a witch or wizard.  In this story, an alley cat named Aldwyn is trying to escape from an evil bounty hunter, and in the process, winds up in a shop full of animals destined to be familiars.  He ducks into an empty cage, and soon after, is picked to be the familiar of a young wizard, Jack! Even though Aldwyn is worried that his lack of magic will soon be revealed, he still enjoys learning alongside Jack and meeting two other familiars, the blue jay Skylar and the frog Gilbert.  Of course, their idyllic life together can only last so long...

In French, I just finished a beginning reader book called "Le journal secret de Max."  It is a light-hearted story about a young dog with a new baby sister.  He had hoped for a brother to play pirates with, but eventually he realizes that his sister, annoying and loud as she can be sometimes, might be a fun playmate after all.  The simple text (written as short journal entries) is nicely enhanced by the bright, cartoony illustrations.  The style reminded me a bit of the Donald Duck comics I used to read as a kid.