Archive by Author

May the Force Be with You

15 Dec

I’ll say it: I had (and still have) a crush on Han Solo.

Not on Harrison Ford, mind you—Indiana Jones is all right—but on Han Solo himself. And it seems that I’m not alone—another Scholastic blogger made the same confession earlier this week. I guess great minds crush alike.

But this is supposed to be about BOOKS, right?

Well, I’m happy to tell you that the greatness that is Star Wars doesn’t have to stop on the screen. And if I were a Star Wars geek (ahem), I would turn directly to the fifth page of our Holiday Gift Books catalog for a whole slew of books about your (my) favorite characters. There’s the Star Wars® Rebel Force Collection as well as Star Wars® Blueprints: Rebel Edition, where you can examine the ins and outs of some truly awesome starfighters (rebel ships ONLY)!

If you’re not excited enough already, check out this silly video about dads trying to have “the talk” (the Star Wars talk, that is) with their kids. And if anyone knows how to make that Yoda hat, please, please, let me know.

This post was brought to you by Liz, guest blogger and aspiring Jedi Knight.

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.

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?

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.

Are you what you read?

17 Nov

What classic children’s story shaped the lives of an NFL star, a skateboarding legend, a world-renowned artist, a popular TV weatherman, and an Emmy-winning actor?

 Well…did you guess correctly? Continue reading

Who’s Ready For The Snowy Day?

10 Nov

Here in New York City, we’re still weeks away from the first snow (we hope!), but that chill is certainly in the air. I try not to let the nippy weather get me down—instead, I see it as the chance to curl up with a blanket, a mug of hot chocolate, and a copy of Ezra Jack Keats’s 1963 Caldecott Medal–winner, The Snowy Day.

Keats’s gorgeous illustrations and simple, quiet text tell the story of Peter (you remember—he’s wearing that awesome red snowsuit), a boy who wakes up to find the first snowy day of winter. He spends his day adventuring in the snow, making tracks, building snowmen, crafting snow angels. Peter even tries to store a snowball in his pocket for the next day. Oh well—you gotta learn somehow!

On October 7, kids (and adults) all across the country read The Snowy Day to support Jumpstart’s Read for the Record, a campaign dedicated to promoting literacy from an early age. You can read more about the event here. Missed out, or just need some more Peter in your life? Look out for The Snowy Day in the upcoming catalogs and online*, or find it in the “Award Winners” section of Club Shop all year long!

* The Snowy Day is available in SeeSaw December!  Teachers, you can also find The Snowy Day big books and packs in November’s SeeSaw and Firefly.

This post was brought to you by Liz, guest blogger who is not afraid of the cold!

We Listen to You…All of You!

8 Nov

It’s simple, really. We work in our offices in Soho (great neighborhood!) in the lovely New York City, but you are our eyes and ears into the classroom. Scholastic Book Clubs really thinks of parents and teachers as partners—we’re all in it to help children across America find books they can’t wait to read.

So we tout our customer service phone numbers and e-mails on every catalog and online,

AND we even include an e-mail address for our President, Judy Newman, so that you can write to her with any book recommendations or suggestions (judy.newman@scholastic.com). Comments like yours have made changes. No more service fees, unlimited enabling of catalogs online, Bonus Points (for teachers) starting at $1…and so much more.

In fact, I had the privilege of speaking to two teachers on Friday who had called customer service teams earlier in the week. (Yes, we care so much about what you have to say that we review comments and e-mails originally directed to our customer service team.)  These two early childhood directors had said that their parents weren’t ordering online (“jumped on the bandwagon” as one of them put it) and didn’t know why. So I spoke to them about educating parents on online ordering: ways to teach them how to order, how to find what they want, and how to talk about the rewards they would receive just for ordering online. We then talked about the books that their students were gobbling up  …and just kept talking. These two teachers gave me 30 minutes out of their hectic days, and they thought they were receiving help. I beg to differ. I learned so much, and was able to bring it all back to our teams here in NYC.

Thank you to these two teachers (you know who you are!), and to the thousands of teachers and parents who let us know how we can help.

Keep your ideas coming.

1-800-SCHOLASTIC &  bookclubs@scholastic.com