Archive | December, 2010

Book Clubs Sends Narnia Fan on a Magical Trip!

8 Dec

A few months ago, we gushed about how much we love The Chronicles of Narnia series—and how excited we were to send one lucky Book Club reader to the world premiere of the new Narnia movie! Well, the big day has come and gone, and it was every bit as magical as the enchanted land itself.

In the Arrow October catalog, we asked kids to answer the trivia question, “Prince Caspian’s ship is named the Dawn Treader. What creature is it shaped like?” Ten-year-old Lauren Moss provided the correct answer—a dragon. And on November 30 (her 11th birthday!), she and her father received an all-expenses paid trip from her Orange County, California, home to London, England, to attend the royal world premiere of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. In Lauren’s words: “It was so fun! I think my favorite part of the whole trip was meeting the cast and then following the red carpet in the snow into the theater. Once we were seated, it was amazing that we could look up and see the Queen of England in the balcony above us! I love to read and I especially like The Chronicles of Narnia. I’m pretty sure I’ll never have another birthday like this one!”

Contest Winner Lauren Moss & Cast Members (from left to right) Will Poulter, Skandar Keynes, Georgie Henley.

I agree; the event was amazing. The actors were welcoming and kind. The movie was fun and energetic (with very impressive 3-D effects). But as I fell asleep that night, I couldn’t help thinking “book vs. movie.” How much was left out of the film? What was added? What changed? Surely I couldn’t rely on my memory (I read the series when I was a kid—over 20 years ago!). So my first day back in the New York office, I got my hands on the original novel by C.S. Lewis and eagerly waited for the sea painting to sweep me away….

So the voyage follows a different order; so Eustace breathes fire for a little while longer in the movie. Almost all of the magic, all of the warmth, and all of the adventure makes it to the big screen. To be honest, it was just so fun noticing (OK, catching!) the differences, I would recommend this activity to anyone and everyone. READ IT, SEE IT, READ IT AGAIN!!

This post was brought to you by guest blogger Carmela, who feels a special kinship to the Brits after her exciting trip to London!

Scholastic Reps, Carmela and Ann Marie with Lauren on the red carpet!

Look for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and the complete Chronicles of Narnia series in December and January Book Clubs!

Movie opens in the U.S. on December 10, 2010.

Wayside Stories in Real-Life Situations

7 Dec

Maybe we all teach at Wayside School. Maybe we all have a Maurecia, who only eats ice cream (and Todd-flavored ice cream at that!); a Paul (who only sees two things: Pigtail 1 and Pigtail 2); and a Joy (who has the biggest mouth at school) in our classroom.

Maybe we’ve all had teachers at Wayside School. Maybe we’ve been served lunch by a Miss Much (a lunch lady), a Mrs. Gorf (the meanest teacher in the school), or a Mrs. Jewls (a teacher who believes her students are monkeys).

In any case, we want to know: What’s the most “sideways” experience you’ve had as a student, a teacher, or a parent in the classroom?

If you want to learn more about these crazy students and teachers, check out Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar, available for only $1 in Arrow December.

Sweet Dreams for You!

6 Dec

One of our favorite subjects for our little readers (and their parents!) is bedtime. And we’ve got quite a few bedtime books for you this winter, so there’s sure to be something for every kind of sleeper!

Twinkle, Twinkle, Time for Bed

A twist on the classic lullaby, this version of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” shows that even toys need to be tucked into bed. With its adorable illustrations and story-time tips for parents, this bedtime book is perfect for reading and being read to! You can find it on Honeybee this December.

I Love You, Stinky Face

While settling down to bed, Stinky Face has just a few questions for his mom. No matter who he is, whether he’s an alligator or a gross, smelly skunk, Stinky Face’s mommy will always love him. I Love You, Stinky Face is available on Honeybee December.

Little Critter: Just Go to Bed

We all know and love Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter. He’s just as precocious as ever in this great installment of the series. Little Critter does not want to go to bed, and he will do anything to get out of it! Just Go to Bed is on Honeybee December.

Bedtime for Little Bears!

Enjoy the season and bedtime by saying good night to all sorts of arctic animals in this adorable picture book. Bedtime for Little Bears! is on Firefly’s cover this December!

If Animals Kissed Good Night

Here’s the perfect book for you if you want to say good night to the rest of the animal kingdom! Told in rhyme, If Animals Kissed Good Night shows us all the different ways that animals say good night. Find it on Firefly December!

Happy Hanukkah, Everyone…and Happy Reading!

3 Dec

I love Hanukkah. I love the latkes (potato pancakes), the applesauce, the jelly doughnuts, the dreidels (spinning tops), and the gelt (chocolate candy coins). I love lighting the shamash on my menorah and the way my windowsill looks with the soft lights from the candles.

It’s really important to learn about the reasons we all partake in these traditions, as the holiday is about a really important time in Jewish History, one that can be shared by some of my favorite (yes, you guessed it) books.

Here are a few wonderful titles that can help you teach your class or family about these eight candle-latke-dreidel-filled nights:

Eight Wild Nights: A Family Hanukkah Tale. This Lucky November title by Brian P. Cleary showcases the wonders and traditions of the Hanukkah season in an amusing rhythmic text and brought to life with rich, colorful illustrations. This funny holiday read is sure to get each and every member of the family laughing! It even includes a paragraph summarizing the holiday.

Dreidel, Dreidel, Driedel, with pictures by Amy Cartwright, will help young kids sing and read the familiar words to the Hanukkah song. Featuring sparkly (and sturdy) pages and a pop-up dreidel that really spins, this book is an excellent Honeybee November choice for holiday celebrations that is sure to delight!

Hoppy Hanukkah is my new favorite title Hanukkah title. November Firefly showcases the talent of Linda Glaser, who has crafted as story about two little bunnies want to light all the candles and blow them out! But Mama and Papa explain to them how the candles are lit each night and the menorah is placed in the window for all to see. Grandpa and Grandma come over, too, and there are latkes (potato pancakes) to eat, presents to open, and a dreidel (spinning top) to play with.

What’s your favorite part about the holiday season?

Book Talk’n: The Dreamer by Pam Muñoz Ryan

2 Dec

There was exciting news this week for Scholastic: Pam Muñoz Ryan’s The Dreamer was just selected as a 2010 Horn Book Fanfare Book! This distinction is awarded to the best children’s books of the year, and we couldn’t be happier for Pam and her very deserving book.

The Dreamer, beautifully illustrated by Peter Sís, documents a fictional account of Pablo Neruda’s early life as a boy in Chile. The story follows Neftalí Reyes, a little boy with big dreams and a great love of words, nature, and the world around him. Neftalí is shy and creative, and a constant disappointment to his cruel father who wants to toughen his son up. It is Neftalí’s imagination that takes him away from his overbearing father and taunting schoolmates into a world where words dance off the pages of books and where Neftalí is transported to lands he’s only ever read about.

The book is sprinkled with poetry and illustrations that are almost reminiscent of one of my favorite stories, The Little Prince. They complement Ryan’s story so perfectly that you shouldn’t be surprised if you, too, are transported to those distant lands along with Neftalí!

Pam Muñoz Ryan (whom I actually got to meet at the National Council of Teachers of English conference this year!!) is the celebrated author of multicultural titles like the Pura Belpré Medal–winning Esperanza Rising and Riding Freedom.

Don’t miss The Dreamer in the Arrow January catalog, and find the book in Spanish (El soñador) in the Club Leo All School Year 2010–2011 catalog!

Reading for Rosa

1 Dec

Fifty-five years ago today, Rosa Parks kept her seat on a bus and took a stand for civil rights. Inspired by this anniversary, we over here at Book Talk have been thinking about some of the books that can help kids learn about civil rights and the ongoing struggle for equality.

Let’s start with a few absolutely gorgeous picture books that tell the real-life stories of real-life heroes. There’s Henry’s Freedom Box, the story of Henry “Box” Brown, a slave who mailed himself to freedom in a wooden crate. Nikki Giovanni and Bryan Collier’s Rosa tells the story of Rosa Parks, whom we’re honoring today. Then there’s Martin’s Big Words, which is about—you guessed it—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The illustrations in these books are seriously out of this world, and the stories are (of course) incredible, too.

Then, my personal favorite: the novels (I love learning history this way). In these books, the fight for equality is the background against which the fictional story takes place. The now-classic The Watsons Go to Birmingham–1963 is an absolute must-read that follows one family as it moves to Birmingham, Alabama during the violent summer of 1963. For a more recent title and a slightly different angle, we love Jacqueline Woodson’s Feathers, in which a white student joins the narrator’s all-black class.

There are tons of wonderful books to read today in honor of Rosa Parks.  Tell us: what’s on your list?

Note: You can find Henry’s Freedom Box, The Watsons Go to Birmingham, and Feathers online all year long in the “Award Winners” category on Club Shop! Martin’s Big Words is also in Club Shop, under “Nonfiction and Reference.” Rosa is available in Scholastic Book Clubs’ End-of-Year catalog, and don’t miss our special January Voices catalog, which celebrates African American Literature, History and Life! Click here to check them out.