Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Book Beat Celebrates

The Book Beat, in Oak Park, Michigan, celebrated 30 years in business on August 19, with live music, cake, tacos, and lots of visitors. Congratulations to owners Cary Loren (above) and Colleen Kammer for reaching this milestone! Some of the authors and illustrators who signed books:

Shutta Crum and Newbery medalist Christopher Paul Curtis show off Shutta's hit book Mine!

Denise Crittendon, Denise Brennan-Nelson, and Cyd Moore (from left to right) are happy to display their books.

Here's Kathryn Madeline Allen with her brand-new book, A Kiss Means I Love You.

Jean Alicia Elster, shown below, is ready to sign her Library of Michigan Michigan Notable Book, Who's Jim Hines? and other books.

I was there with Sheep in a Jeep books and my new Elena's Story. It was great to see old friends. And if you look closely at Cary's picture, you'll see he's holding a catalog from the recent Bordeaux art show by his Destroy All Monsters bandmate (and my brother) Jim Shaw. The Book Beat has specialties in art and children's books, and in a sense of community.
Happy Birthday, Book Beat!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Reading Aloud

Jim Trelease's The Read-Aloud Handbook has long been a staple for families who want practical advice about why and how to read together, and it has  terrific lists of books for kids of all ages.

For detailed practical pointers on reading with young children, Susan Marx and Barbara Kasok have written Help Me Get Ready to Read. They describe about 275 titles that work particularly well with kids in their first five years. They also highlight six books with activities that model getting into stories: Blue Goose, Hooray for Fish!, One Duck Stuck, The Snowy Day, Sheep in a Jeep, and Puffins Climb, Penguins Rhyme.

For Sheep in a Jeep, they suggest you first talk about the title, then read the book aloud, pausing to talk about action words. You can ask kids to make predictions about the story, and listen for rhyming words. "Say and clap the rhyming words with me--leap, jeep. (2 claps)." You can point to where the words are on the page, and pause to have them point to where sentences begin and end. You can have kids chant, "J is for Jeep /j//j//j/."

For "Follow-Up Fun," kids can pretend to ride in a jeep, sing "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep," make a sign, and read more books about animals--including Sheep Take a Hike. And for the kids' responses, Kasok and Marx offer "Positive Parenting Praise!": "Good job telling about the jeep." See readaloudguide.com for information on the book and the workshops they offer.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Happy Birthday, Book Beat!

The Book Beat, in Oak Park, Michigan, will be 30 years old this month. Its expertise in art books and books for young people have helped it stand out, and this year it received the Pannell Award at Book Expo America. The independent store will have a party on Sunday, August 19, and you're invited. I'll be signing my new book, Elena's Story, as well as sheep stories. Michigan authors Jean Alicia Elster, Shutta Crum, Tracy GallupDavid Small, and many more will be there signing books. There'll be food and music, too. Look here for details.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Elena's Page

Elena's Story has just been released. My husband, our patient friend Janet, and I put our heads together to compose a page of information about life in Guatemala, especially the highlands of Quetzaltenango (ket-sahl-tuh-NAHNG-goh), where the story takes place. Kristina Rodanas's picture of Elena gives a sample of the book's art. The background was made from a piece of weaving from the area, decorated by a colorful strip of embroidery, as it would be for a huipil (wee-PEEL), the traditional blouse worn by Maya girls and women. 
Thanks to Scott and Janet, and to author-illustrators Ruth McNally Barshaw and Deb Pilutti, for their much-appreciated consulting on web matters.