Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What's Funfetti Cake?

So I get home today to find another flier in my door. This time though its not for self defense ( thank God, since I totally sucked at that) It's dessert night tomorrow. There will be brownies, funfetti cake and ice cold milk. Can someone tell me what funfetti cake is? I did a search, all I got were directions on how to make it. Is ice cold milk really a selling point after the age of 8 I mean really. Milk straight up doesn't usually sit well with black folk including myself. So I will pass on the milk but I will be going tomorrow, because it's rent time again and a sista's pocket are low. Since it is the first of the month, and complex is giving out food, I'll probably seen more residents tomorrow. I am a little suspicious about why there is a dessert night but whatever I am still going. According to the flier there's going to be a dessert night "because it will be delicious" (at least they didn't write because we care ) Maybe I will bring some tea, with me.

Airhead this is not a review

Airhead by Meg Cabot. First of all let me say this is not a review. Since I can't add anything I won't even try. So if you looking for a review of Airhead checkout or teenbookreview or livsbookreviews (sorry for no links) I finished Airhead today, and like the reviewer's above really enjoyed it. Since Meg Cabot is a bestselling author she probably doesn't hear no a lot when suggesting a new book idea. Though I can imagine when Cabot told her powers to the idea for Airhead she probably got a couple Are you serious? and a few you're going to do what? Whether or not you like Airhead, I think you must respect Cabot for taking a chance. Also I love the fact Cabot trusted her fans would get what she was trying to do. For me what Cabot did worked, really well. I look forward to reading more books in this series. Lulu Rocks Airhead is on sale now

Monday, April 28, 2008

I help Lisa, a Puller decide

Today I went back to our children's section and found a puller in action
( puller -a customer who pulls every book of slight interest off the shelf) The girl a 6th grader, had 3 stacks going with about ten books each,and more in her hand. For the sake of this story I'll give the puller a name, Lisa. In my head I was thinking WTF why the hell did you pull all of those books. I ask Lisa, if she is looking at all of them. Yes, her dad is going to help narrow it down. In my head I am thinking maybe her dad is Brad Pitt or has Brad Pitt money. Who knows maybe Lisa is on a book shopping spree. So I walk away hoping this is the case. I return to work, but a few seconds later I am back over by Lisa. She is still pulling books. I know I can't let this continue because I will be the one who must clean it up. So I ask Lisa where is her dad? The cafe, on his laptop. ( I guess he had too much work to do, to help his daughter, someone should read Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters) In my head I am thinking WTF how are you going to leave your daughter who is a puller alone. ( A parent knows when their child is a puller because they haven't taught them not to) I was tempted to go get Lisa's dad from the cafe but I didn't. I stopped myself because she wasn't a mean puller, and meant no harm. Lisa was a puller but she was also a 6th grade girl who liked to read and was indecisive with no one to help her. So I decided to help Lisa narrow down her choices.

Lisa is getting two books. In my head I am thinking WTF two books you pulled close to thirty books guess I won't be meeting Brad Pitt today. On the outside though I held my cool. I sat down on the carpet started putting away the Nancy Drew and Goosebumps books. (about 5 each) I explain very nicely that when choosing a book in a series, you only need to look at one. If you like the one you will probably enjoy the others. I then asked what type of reading mood was she in. Mystery. I tried to sell her on Gilda Joyce which was in her pile. Also I showed her Coraline (proof that I was nice, I pulled a book for a puller) Though she had already read it. I then suggested Skeleton Man since she liked Coraline but it did nothing for her. So I went back to saying Gilda Joyce is the way to go. I don't know if she got it but Gilda Joyce was in the final stack of five. In the end I am happy I decided to help Lisa. I hope she is at home now enjoying her books.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Seekers- Erin Hunter

Seekers by Erin Hunter

This is the new series by bestselling author Erin Hunter. I just did a search, two authors Cherith Baldry and Kate Cary are Erin Hunter. (I am probably the last one to know ) This is the first book I've read by Erin Hunter, a few pages in I could definitely see the appeal.

Seekers is the story of three different bear cubs. Kallik the polar bear, Lusa the black bear, and Toklo the grizzly bear. The author gives us just what the title states, the beginning of a quest. The writing will draw the reader in. I was able to quickly lose myself in the bears stories. The chapters switch back and forth, beginning with Kallik. The reader learns about the history and legend of each bear.

Kallik is traveling with her mother Nisa and brother Taggig. The ice is melting for the changing season. The polar bears must get to land.
Lusa is born and lives in captivity. In the beginning she is content with zoo life. Things begin to change including Lusa climbing to the top of the tallest tree and seeing more. Suddenly she feels restless and trapped. While reading I couldn't stop thinking about how or when Lusa would escape from the zoo. The anticipation of an escape, and the escape its self whether man or beast is always an exciting read.

Toklo is with his mom Oka and brother Tobi. They are searching for a good food source. The changing climate is affecting all the bears making survival more difficult. One way or another each of these bear cubs ends up alone. Erin Hunter's writing makes the reader care about what happens to the cubs. The story has action as well. The cubs hunt for prey and are faced with unfamiliar situations alone.

I now know why fans of the Warriors series are always so desperate for the next book. The ending is a serious cliffhanger. When I finished, was reminded of my Soap Opera watching days and it felt like Friday. I was like nooooo it can't end now its getting really good. I am glad I read Seekers and will definitely recommend it.
Release Date 5/27/08

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Kids Kick

I am in a serious kids kick right now. I think it started last week. I am in the reading zone and its a nice place to be. I finished two books today Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass and The Opposite of Invisible by Liz Gallagher. Yesterday I read Eleven by Lauren Myracle. I do enjoy a good kids kick. There are some downsides though, if a book doesn't catch my attention quickly I have to put it down. Also once out of my kick I can't even think about reading another MG or YA book for at least 2-3 weeks. When I am in the middle of one, I don't think about that stuff. I focus on the words and the thrill of the read. In the past the kick's haven't lasted too long. This time I have a plan, to balance out my reading. Going back and forth between MG and YA and reading various genres. I should be able to keep it going longer. Hopefully I will feel more comfortable with reviewing and talk about a few of these books.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

YA Lit Jeopardy

So I started playing YA Lit Jeopardy on Shelfari in the YA books that adults should read group. This last questions has me stumped

The title of this young adult novel is shorthand for "parasite positive", a designation that refers to people carrying a form of vampirism that has broken out in modern day new york.

I checked the shelf of the person who posed the question didn't see the answer on it. Will just have to wait for someone else to answer

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Please Pronouns

I can't stand when I am helping a customer, and they say my name over and over again like its a sight word. The other day I almost lost it.

Dear Mr/Ms Customer

No matter how many times you say my name. You will never own it. Its mines but I am glad you like it.

Yes I get it. You know my name so if I fuck up or your unhappy with me you're going to tell. I am not intimated or impressed by your passive aggressive tactic to receive good customer service. If I tape my employee of the month certificates all over my body would that be enough proof that I give good service. Would you, could you then use a pronoun or two.

We are not friends. We could never be friends. If we were friends, I'd call you out on using my name too damn much.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Wish You Were Here - Catherine Clark

Wish You Were Here by Catherine Clark

This was the first book I've read by Catherine Clark. I was pleasantly surprised by how many times I laughed out loud. 16yr old Ariel Flack is going on summer vacation with her mother and younger sister Zena. Ariel thinks they will do a cross country car trip but her mother has booked them on a bus tour. She believes this would be a good way for the family to bond. Also on the bus are Ariel's grandparents and uncle Jeff. I really enjoyed her grands, especially the grandfather. The grandmother was a quiet type of cool. Uncle Jeff was interesting, fun with a serious fear of squirrels. Seniors made up of the rest of Leisure-Lee bus tour. (which by the way is the most perfect name for the bus tour). The Leisure Lee guides Jenny and Lenny are a fun duo. Also the bus tours namesake Lee makes an appearance. Throughout the trip Ariel sends postcards to her boyfriend, best friend, father and cat. The postcards made for a fun read, I especially liked the tops of them. I will share one of my favorites

The Rainbow Lanes and Motor Lodge. Where every morning is a good morning! Sleep on our deluxe full size mattressses. Enjoy in-room shower and iron

Luckily for Ariel, Andre a boy about her age is on the bus tour with his mother. The two spend a lot of time together. I really enjoyed their back and forth (sarcasm and a quick wit are a necessity when you're on a bus tour with family and seniors.) Though Ariel does make time for family. Along the way she spends quality time with the grands and uncle Jeff. What I love about her family is that they don't pressure Ariel to open up. They just seem happy to have her around. For Ariel's part she is not standoffish to her families openness. That made her a more likeable character to me. Even though Ariel is still coming to terms with her fathers betrayal of the family, she doesn't close up.

Wish You Were Here was a very fun read with a lot of laugh out loud moments. A co worker read this before me. She liked it but wished it was longer. I can understand wanting to spend more time with characters you like. This time though I was more then happy with the amount of time I got to spend with Ariel Flack, her family and the rest of the Leisure Lee crew.
I also love that the main character is 16 yrs old, and the book is appropriate for an 11 yr old. I get a lot of parents who are looking for YA suggestions for their preteen girls. Wish You Were Here is perfect. So I am totally adding it to my preteen repertoire

Saturday, April 19, 2008

International Reading Association

The International Reading Association Conference will be held in Atlanta, GA this year, where I happen to live. So more than a few children's author will be in Atlanta between May 4- 8. If any one can persuade an author to stop by the bookstore where I work, it will be greatly appreciated it. What can I offer you, for being so kind? The joy of knowing you made a bookseller very happy. I am putting this out there in the blog universe, hoping for the best. If any librarians or teachers are in town for the conference and want to stop by, please do. I enjoy talking about children's literature with adults. (Warning I will try and sell you alot) I can't help myself, librarians and teachers come in and I want to show them all the good stuff, I don't get to show everyday. If there are any takers on this, send me an email.

Today on the Train

Today on the train. Well technically yesterday its 12:50 am
Reading (on ride home) Wish You Were Here by Catherine Clark, enjoy it a lot. Its very funny. At the bottom of the down escalator I am pretty sure I saw what looked like human feces. I didn't even think about looking back once I passed it. I am not that dedicated to this blog, I will just assume that it was human feces because it makes for a better story, plus I am about 95% sure.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Today was a good day

I open my locker to find a package from Random House. The last time the RH rep stopped by, I asked her about the Opposite of Invisible by Liz Gallagher. I didn't really think I would get it because publisher reps keep really busy schedules but it really came. Whenever I open up a manila envelope from a publishing house it feels like opening a present. The goodness continues, at lunch a package comes for me from scholastic. I had no idea what it could be. I open it and inside is Meg Cabot's new book Airhead. I emailed for that a few weeks back, again thinking I wouldn't get it but why not try and it really came. The goodness continues a customer was shopping for her son. She had about 5 or 6 titles written down, including the new Percy Jackson, an Artemis Fowl bk and the new Ranger Apprentice. She got everything on her list except of course the new Percy Jackson. She then said the magic words, Any new books you think he might like? So I gave her Airman by Colfer, 100 Cupboards by Wilson, Viking Warriors by Roberts and Found by Haddix (she then got four more Haddix's books) There is nothing like seeing a customer leave the children's section with a basketfull of books. Everything else in between was just as good.

So at work on Tuesday, I am at customer service requesting summer reading titles. I feel a customer come up behind me, though I don't turn around right away was hoping a coworker would come over to help them no such luck. So I face the man, and ask can I help you? He says no, I am just watching you? In my head I am thinking aw shit here we go this MF crazy. Now I am going to play a card I normally don't, I never feel the need to, and I've run across people who use it like a trump card, for this story I think its worth using. I am from NY so I have a lot of experience with creepy + crazy, plus I've been riding public transportation since way back when so I have no problem reading it. He seemed harmless enough like a new world order conspiracy type and not a what's your name so I can call the store looking for you everyday, stalker type. I have thankfully never run into the stalker type. Once I pegged him for a conspiracy guy I refused to give him a reaction. So I put on my creepy + crazy poker face (this includes a lot of one word mean sounding answers and closed off body language) and since I was at work I had on my retail poker face. If wearing faces was a game, on Tuesday I would've been at the championship table. So after I established that he was crazy I go back to ordering titles and he stands there staring at me, it felt like 10 seconds but it was probably only 5. I hate to be intimated or pushed around, so I held my ground, and went on working. He finally caught on I was just ignoring him, so he tries to draw me in with a question? How is the store doing in this economy? My response, we haven't closed yet. That's the one thing about when a creepy crazy person asks you a question at work, you can be as flippant as you want. After my answer he walks away, though comes back again but not for long.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

So self defense requires some sort of coordination. If I ever get attacked I am so screwed. I will just have to go James Brown crazy on em or remember to SING like Sandra Bullock's character Gracie Hart did in Miss Congeniality. No one was dressed up in an attacker suit. They had store brand chips and no cheese cubes but still it was interesting. I got to practice some moves, and have the instructor tell me no the other foot. I preferred being the attacker

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

So I get home today, and I see a flier sticking out of my apartment door. Fliers in my door always make me groan. They are never good news, ever, its not always bad but its never good. My first thought is always did I remember to pay my rent. I've never forgotten but there's a first time for everything. I always feel better when my neighbors have the flier, it means I wasn't singled out. Though this one was far from good.

Self Defense Class

Eat Chips and dip

Meet Your Neighbors

Learn Self Defense Strategies

WTF Self Defense Class, that can't be good.
I don't think they will do me any good, my body is programmed to the flight mechanism. Though I think I will go, was going to gym anyway so I will be dressed to defend. I hope they have a man dressed up in one of those attacker suits.
I went to one of these meet and greets once just to see who would show. I was it me, the leasing and maintenance crew, very sad but there were name brand chips and dip. I hope they have a good cheese selection. Cheese cubes are tasty.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I've grown as a reader

Growing up I didn't read any sci fi or fantasy. I was turned off early on when I was required to read The War of the Worlds by H.G Wells. I never did finish that novel. I never gave sci fi or fantasy another look until a few years go. As popular as children's sci fi and fantasy books are I couldn't ignore them any longer. So I started to slowly step out of my reading comfort zone. The last three years I've read books and authors I wouldn't have given a second glance before. I've enjoyed all the books I've finished. Before I was dismissing books based off of the cover alone. Yes I know this is bad, and no I can't stop, but at least now I am able to get beyond the cover and read a few pages. I am starting to get the appeal of losing oneself in another world. Today I actually had the urge to check out a fantasy book so I started 13th Reality by Dashner. I've been reading MG and YA fantasy titles for awhile now but this is the first time I've actually wanted to read one because I was in the mood for it. This may seem like a small thing but for me it signifies some serious growth. I won't be reading The Hobbit anytime soon but maybe in a few years I'll surprise myself.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Your PCness Offends me

I absolutely hate when I read a MG or YA title, and a character is described as African American. "Nicole is my African American neighbor" Ok so that example sucks, but why can't Nicole just be black. As long as she isn't colored or the N word I am cool. I go completely ballistic if a few pages later another character is described as white. If Nicole's African American then Kelly's Caucasian. Black is to White what African American is to Caucasian. I didn't make this rule I only follow it. When an author goes with a more formal census approach to their character description. I make a few assumption.
1. I assume the author believes that their black readers will be offended if African American is not used. Ironically I become offended because I assume the author assumes I will be easily offended. (hopefully that made sense)
2 I assume that the author rarely has black characters in their work, because they find it necessary to use the more formal coding. (making the inclusion of an African American character seem forced)
3 I assume the author doesn't have many black friends. If they did could ask if should Nicole be describe as African American or is black okay ?
Though this last assumption is the biggest one of all because I am assuming other black people are annoyed by this as well and are cool with Nicole being a black neighbor( I am finished with that example, promise) and I have no idea I've never done any poles.
Black or African American its such a little thing but really its not, race is never easy even in fiction. Though I want black characters to blend easily into a story with no preferential coding treatment. I want black characters to be remembered for who they were, what they did and said, rather then being described as African American. I always think about this when I read a novel that does what I know is possible, it makes me a very happy reader. I just finished Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen, (loved it by the way, Dessen totally threw down) anyhow there's a black character, Olivia in this novel. Olivia is a side character with some substance who I enjoyed fully. Also a few weeks ago I read Absolute Brightness by James Lecesne. Phoebe, one of the main characters best friend is black. Actually I loved their friendship, it had everything a good friendship needed and best of all race didn't matter, though it was not ignored. One of the reasons why I loved Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli is that its does this so beautifully. There's a black and white side of town. Spinelli didn't feel the need to use census bureau pretenses.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Any tips to selling BabyMouse

I love BabyMouse but I can't seem to sell them. Every once in a while a customer will get one, but most of the time they will go with something else. I believe in BabyMouse but not in my ability to sell it. I am pretty sure customers can smell fear, so they don't bite when I talk up this series. What's not working BabyMouse Rocks, I love BabyMouse, or have you ever seen that show Scrubs ( though I've actually stopped using that last one.) A few customers are turned off that its a graphic novel, and I don't know how to win them over?

We've been getting a lot of very nice picture books lately. Night of the Veggie Monster by George McClements is stand out to me. As soon as I saw it in the stock room I had to read it. McClements illustration reminds me of the Knuffle Bunny books by Mo Willems. If anyone knows what this illustration is called, I'd love to know. In Night of the Veggie Monster, Its dinner time and the little boy as a serious dislike and distrust of veggies. So his parents only place three peas on his plate. As the little boy tries the peas his parents share a moment at the table wondering what his reaction will be. Their conversation are written in bubbles, so the reader can enjoy the humor of the situation right along with them. I've showed this books twice and am 2 for 2.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Samantha Who?

I try not to fall in love with TV shows any more because if I do they get canceled Wonderfalls and Arrested Development just to name two. Though sometimes it can't be help, and I am falling in love with ABC's new show Samantha Who? When I first watched it I was reminded of Gabrielle Zevin's Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac. Christina Applegate's character Samantha Newly has Amnesia. Yes its a small connection but its enough for me especially since I loved Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac and Samantha Who? is turning out to be a great show. It also helps that the Samantha Who's cast is filled with actors I really like, this of course includes Christina Applegate
Jean Smart plays Samantha's mom. I've seen her pull of comedy and drama, doing both well.
Jennifer Esposito plays Samantha's friend. I've been a fan since Spin City, she was also in the movie Crash
Melissa McCarthy plays the old friend/neighbor. She was the chef from Gilmore Girls I will admit to watching the first season of that.
So as much as I try not to fall for TV shows anymore, Samantha Who? is making be break that rule. At least it isn't on Fox.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Summer Reading

We are only a few months away from summer reading. It gets holiday busy, especially on the weekends. We'll have several customers in the kids section at once usually shopping for more then one child. Everyone is trying to get all the books they need which is about 3 or 4 books per child. So I get to play one of my favorite games - How many books can I find without using the computer? With that many customers the computer just slows me down. I'll be on a roll then a customer will throw me a curve ball giving me a list filled with out of print books. Unfortunately there are some schools that do not update their reading list. While others require their students to read a specific ISBN but they haven't checked to make sure that it's still available. Both of these problems are very annoying. I mean how hard is it to make sure all the titles on your reading list are imprint. I also wish schools would make sure the required book, is available in paperback. Some parents can't afford to buy hardcover. Also its summer vacation paperbacks are easier to travel with. I don't even read hardcovers on vacation. So has much as I loved Brian Selznick's The Invention of Hugo Cabret, I hope I only see it on reading lists as a title students can select but are not required to read. Some schools have some really nice titles/authors their students can choose to read. Like novels by Sarah Dessen, Sharon Flake, Patricia Mccormick, and Markus Zusak (last year I am the Messenger, showed up on a reading list) I hope Nancy Werlin's Rules of Survival and Coe Booth's Tyrell will show up on a few lists this year. I enjoy the rush of the summer reading season

Balancing My Kids Reading

Since I am the primary kidseller at my bookstore I have three To Be Read Lists.

The first list are books I read Just because they look good to me. This includes single YA titles I have little chance of selling. As well as my favorite authors and series.

The second list are books that have been getting good reviews online, magazine, etc.

The third list are books we have many copies of. This includes award winners, bestsellers and books that will be turned into movies. I have yet to read City of Ember but since its being turned into a movie its now on my radar. I try limit the amount of bestsellers I have to fake the funk on. If I have to do it too much, the customers may catch on.

A short fake the funk skit
Customer - So what do you think of these Warriors series
Doret - Well I haven't read any but its a bestselling series. The kids really
enjoy it (Yes I know that's redundant but I have little to work with) Its a fantasy series about cats. So if your child likes animal and fantasy books you may want to give it a try.

I hate having to do this but I also know I can't read everything.

If I am lucky the book I am reading is on two of the three lists. Balancing my reading ensures that I will continue to enjoy kidslit.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Kids Sports Books & What's Missing

So baseball season officially started last week. I was watching a game last night. While I couldn't sleep last night (caught some bug) I was thinking about kids stories with or about sports that I enjoyed. I love watching sports has much as I enjoy reading. So when I read sports books I am all about the authenticity of the sport. I want to be able to see the field and for the lingo to feel natural and unforced.

Heart of a Champion by Carl Deuker - This is the best middle grade book about baseball I've read. Deuker is definitely a sports fan

Travel Team by Mike Lupica - I love this book. Lupica does a great job of describing the basketball games on the court. (w/female athlete) I have also read Heat by Lupica I did like it but not as much as Travel Team (w/female athlete)

Raiders Night by Robert Lipsyte - This is a little more serious than the others. It deals with steroids and initiations. At no time do I a doubt this is coming from the point of view of a 17 yr old. There is no preaching about how steroids are bad for you, it just a realistic take on what's happening in some H.S. and the pressures to be a star athlete. I know a little about football, but some of the plays went over my head.

Yellow Flag by Robert Lipsyte Raiders Night is a hard book to follow, but Yellow flag did an okay job. Anytime I can learn more about a sport I am happy. (w female in the pit crew)

Jackie & Me (Baseball Card Adventures) by Dan Gutman - I love this series simply because it helps introduce a child to baseballs history. Baseball is nothing without its past.
Toby Wheeler: Eighth-Grade Benchwarmer by Thatcher Heldring - This one was a nice light fun read. Also it shows that everyone plays an important role on the team even the benchwarmer
Hoops by Walter Dean Myers All of Myers sports books are great. He allows you into the mind of the athlete w/nice sports lingo.
Last Shot: Four Mystery (Final Four Mysteries) by John Feinstein - What I liked about this one is I got to learn more about College basketball. I've heard from customers that his other two novels are even better. (w female sports fan/reporter)
Peak by Roland Smith- This was a great fast paced read. Smith describes the mountain climbs so climbers and non climbers can both enjoy
Crash by Jerry Spinelli - Crash is a serious jock, this book was a lot of fun
Deadline by Chris Crutcher- The story of teenager who has terminal cancer, decides to go out for football. This was just a great book period, but when Ben catches that touchdown, I was one happy sports fan/reader (w/female athlete)
The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt - This was a lovely story, and the parts abort baseball came from a sport lovers heart
We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson - A book that teaches about the Negro leagues and illustrated its Kadir Nelson, I got nothing but love for it.
What's missing are books featuring female athlete/sport fans. So I am forced to use w( ), to show books that include female athletes. Though I am very happy that these authors have recognized that girls do play sports, where are the sports series starring girls. Its 2008, Title IV was passed in 1972 (thank you wikipedia) I am not even asking for anything risque like boxing or wrestling. There are a lot of quote unquote female appropriate sports to choose from, here are a few softball, soccer, field hockey, baseball, track&field, basketball and volleyball. When female athletes in MG and YA books are reduced to a girl who plays on the boys teams or the female athlete girlfriend it gives the impression that female athletes are an anomaly (that word may be a little strong but I looked it up so I am using it) Though really more girls have been playing sports than ever before. (hence the pink glove, target has a whole display of pink sport gear) Also dad's and mom's do take their daughters to games. I hate when I have to tell a parent and daughter, (who is still in their soccer gear) that we don't have a girls soccer series.
Another thing missing from this list are books starring extreme sports athletes
The Winter X Games are the leading winter action sports competition and tour in the whole world, and the Games growth is well documented by ESPN (2008). The ratings, attendance, and participation have continued to grow over the years. In the Gamesfirst year, 1997, the actual attendance of the event was about 38,000 people. In 1998 the attendance dropped to about 25,000 people with the Games move to Crested Butte, but new sports were introduced including free skiing, SnoCross, and SkiBoarding. Womens Free Skiing was introduced a year later and attendance showed an increase at its second stay at Crested Butte. A year later, the Games moved to the east coast for the first time and recorded a record attendance of 83,500 people in Vermont. Also in 2000, the Games added the Snowboard SuperPipe event. Again in Vermont in 2001, the Games posted another great fan turnout along with the addition of the Moto X Big Air event (thanks again wikipedia)

More non readers could be turned into readers if only more books reflected who they were and what they like to do.
After writing this I am moving

The Comeback Season by Jennifer E. Smith and Go Big or Go Home by Will Hobbs up on tbr list. I will be going to Shelfari now and make it official.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Not Norman - Kelly Bennett - Noah Z. Jones

Not Norman by Kelly Bennett, illus. by Noah Z. Jones
I love this book and was happy to see that it was being released in paperback. It reminds me of My Penguin Osbert by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel. Both are stories about boys who want a pet. After getting a pet the boys have interesting decision to make. In the case of Not Norman its whether or not to keep the fish. The boy (he has no name, so I'll call him Norman's friend) .Norman's friend is not happy about his birthday goldfish. This is where the fun starts. The text is great.

When I got Norman I didn't want to keep him.
I wanted a different kind of pet
Not Norman
I wanted a pet who could run and catch.
One who could climb trees and chase strings.
A soft furry pet to sleep on my bed at night.
Not Norman.

In the beginning Norman's friend is determined to get a better pet. Though of course as the story goes on he realizes Norman's not so bad. Its natural realization, that doesn't seem forced or preachy.
Noah Z. Jones beautiful and warm color illustrations always pulls me in. Not Norman's fishical expressions are a very nice touch

Not Norman makes a great read aloud.

Why not this book?

I love Karen Katz's board books. The faces are always big and bright, making them very appealing to little ones. When I show a Karen Katz book 8 out of 10 times the customer will get the book especially if its a lift flap . What Does Baby Say?: A Lift-the-Flap Book by Karen Katz. So I am always disappointed but not surprised when customers choose I'm a Big Brother by Joanna Cole over Best ever Big Brother. Same holds true for Big Sister version. Both have a black family on cover. Inside the books feature different families. I think Katz's Big Brother/Big Sister books (they're lift flap) are as cute as her other board books that customers decide to buy 8 out of 10 times. It makes me think that some customers decide against these books because its not a white family on the cover. Its okay if there is a black family inside the book, but not the cover. When a customer decides to go with something else, I always want to ask is it because the cover family is black? Like I said before this disappoints me though I can totally understand. Its nice to see yourself reflected in the books you read, and you want to pass this on to your children. It helps foster high self esteem (I haven't done any research on that point, but it sounds right). However, We (black folks) don't have this luxury. We (black folks) have accepted that white faces will fill a lot of our picture books. We (black folks) stopped expecting picture book diversity along time ago. I am not talking about shopping @ a black bookstore or online. I am talking about US (black folks) being able to go to our area bookstore and see beautiful brown babies on board books and pictures books and it be no big deal. When I was thinking about this earlier today I thought of a John Travolta movie I saw years ago. All I remembered was that his daughter really wanted the black doll, it was the coveted doll. This world doesn't appeal to me either, its too extreme. All I want is a little book equality.

Beautiful Brown Babies

Who's That Baby by Sharon Creech illus by David Diaz . When I first saw this a few years back, I gave a very high pitched squeal. Sharon Creech & David Diaz together is definitely squeal worthy. I have been a fan of David Diaz illus. since Wilma Unlimited David Diaz. Then I found the books he did with Eve Bunting and I knew I loved me some Diaz. Sharon Creech is Sharon Creech, her badnezz should never be questioned.
Love That Dog by Sharon Creech . If you're like who is Sharon Creech ? Well then Who's That Baby is a great introduction. The poems are beautiful and with the illustrations, you can't help but say ahhh look at the beautiful brown babies making this book irresistible. It would be a nice addition to any library. However it would be a perfect shower or new baby gift for a black, latino or interracial couple. No gift receipt required.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Joe Sherlock - Dave Keane

Joe Sherlock by Dave Keane - I am always on the look out for fun new early chapter books. Joe Sherlock is some serious fun. The book is as good as the cover. Light, funny and silly. Joe Sherlock goes just by Sherlock. He has a teenage sister and smarter younger sister. Sherlock is a master detective using his wits and instincts to solve neighborhood mysteries. Sherlock rocks and the illustrations are perfect fit.