Tag Archives: Children’s Books

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?

Literary Halloween: When Imagination Meets Reality

28 Oct

 

A Bad Case of the Stripes

Halloween is a time for goblins, witches, and black cats—but it’s also a time for Harry, Matilda, (Fancy) Nancy, Katniss, and the Frizz.

Do you and your kids or students plan to participate? Let us know which characters you think will be popular this year, and which ones you hope to see. (Pictures of your favorite costumes or innovators are welcome…they’ll help provide inspiration!)

Personally, I’m thinking I’ll be “Mouse” from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie…that way, I can carry around chocolate cookies (my favorite!) all night long.

What about my fellow Book Talkers?

Trevor: I wouldn’t dress up as this character, but it would be cool to see someone go as Ms. Frizzle.

Preeti:  I’m going to be Paddington Bear!

 

Remember, share your pictures with us to let us know how your students/kids are dressing up. Feel free to submit them after the big day!  

Comics in the Classroom

13 Oct

Call them what you will—comic books, graphic novels, illustrated guides—but these formats are permeating the mainstream. On Monday, we posted a mini picture post from our adventures at New York Comic Con this past weekend, and you guys had plenty to say! The comments covered everything from comic books being just like TV and video games to comic books being a great gateway into reading. Just like any other medium, comics are both these things and many others.

We were lucky enough to attend a lecture given by Scott Westerfeld on Sunday. He spent a few minutes talking about how he decided to write a series of novels (the Leviathan trilogy) with illustrations, and reminded us that, historically, most novels were once illustrated. On the right, you’ll see illustrations from a late 18thcentury edition of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. He noted an edition of The War of the Worlds that heralded the illustrator’s name far larger than that of H.G. Wells! Illustrations are beginning to regain the reputation they lost for being just as legitimate as the words themselves.

Comic books aren’t comic books because of their content—they are comic books because of the heavy use of illustrations to denote action that interacts with the text. They can contain any type of story or information: Comic books can be about superheroes or space aliens, but they can also be about history (as with the Maus graphic novels) or science (as with The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook)! For some children, sequential art makes difficult concepts easier to grasp.

Elephant & Piggie, a series of beginning readers by award-winning illustrator Mo Willems, feature common comic-book styles while still using the repetitive text and illustrations classically used in the genre. Compare these illustrations below: On the top, you have Elephant & Piggie and underneath, you have a strip from Scholastic’s own middle-grade graphic novel series, Amulet. Both use sequential art and speech balloons while also containing positive themes that students can relate to…but one is a reader and one is a comic.

Books for older children are also embracing traditional comic-book characteristics. Did you know that Jeff Kinney actually started the ever-successful Diary of a Wimpy Kid as a Web comic? Now the very same series has kids thrilled about reading! It also deals with issues kids face every day: bullying, growing up, friendship—look how excited these kids were to get their copies of the fourth book, Dog Days.

Graphic novels, illustrated guides, comic books—however you want to refer to them—have evolved into an excellent reading tool. Many of them cover complex issues and concepts in an accessible design. Some of you noted that this format has aided students with learning disabilities, others mentioned that these books were a great way to get kids interested in reading. After reading your comments, we decided to put together a list of classroom-appropriate graphic novels that cover a variety of subjects. If you have any suggestions, definitely leave a comment! We’d love to see what books you use!

Ghostopolis | Tab October
Bone | October
Amulet | Teens September
Resistance | Teens September
Maus | Teens September
Diary of a Wimpy Kid | Pre-order #5
Calvin and Hobbes | Fall
Dork Diaries | Arrow October
Popularity Papers | Arrow September
Adventures of Ook and Gluk | Lucky September
Elephant & Piggie Pack | SeeSaw October

A Little More Muggle…

7 Oct

My life is a little more magical and Muggle-filled than it was last week. I have finished the first two books in the Harry Potter series and boy, are they good. My Book Talk cohort Preeti interviewed me about reading the first two books and it went a little long, so the video below is just some of the highlights of that interview. I will say here that one of my favorite things about the series thus far is the world that J.K. Rowling has created. It’s enthralling. The characters are great as well, but I found myself just captivated by everything from Hogwarts to the different landscapes to Diagon Alley. My other favorite aspect of the series is the beginning of Sorceror’s Stone, when we meet the Dursleys and Harry. The Dursleys, for me, were very Roald Dahl-esque. I immediately recognized who these awful people were just as if they were relatives of the Wormwoods (Matilda) or Spiker and Sponge (James and the Giant Peach). Rowling does a masterful job of establishing a framework for escapism in these novels. I can only imagine my 12-year-old self reading this. It would have blown my 12-year-old mind, and I would have applied to Hogwarts—literally, I would have written Albus Dumbledore and begged and pleaded for him to accept me as a student.

Anyway, those are just some of my thoughts. I am really enjoying the series and can’t wait to see what happens in Books 3 and 4. To find out my favorite characters, teachers, and what my owl’s name would be, check out the video below:

Don’t forget—you can find the whole series on November’s Holiday Gift Books catalog or find each book in Club Shop on our online ordering site.

Goldilicious and More Favorites!

19 Aug

When I was younger, I loved reading about characters I could connect with and look up to – more often than not, these characters were little girls just like me… if a little more precocious. There was Olivia and Eloise, not to mention Madeline!

Now, there’s exciting news about one of today’s favorite girls (drum roll, please!) Goldilicious is finally out in paperback! In the third installment of Victoria Kann’s best selling series, we meet Pinkalicious’ unicorn, Goldilicious. Goldilicious high jumps, roller skates, and is always there for Pinkalicious – especially when she has to fend off her little brother Peter’s evil magic! You can find it on Firefly this September!

There are so many great characters for girls to read about and admire! In honor of Goldlicious’ paperback debut, here’s a list of Book Talk’s top five girl characters, in no particular order as we could never really choose 🙂

Pinkalicious

Pinkalicious has to be on the list, she’s just so cute! And who doesn’t want a unicorn for a best friend?

Fancy Nancy

This lovely fancy lady is an intelligent, sassy, and very imaginative girl. Nancy is très jolie, and très drôle. Did I mention she’s a great way to pick up some French lingo?

Ramona

Well, you all already know that we here at Book Talk adore Ramona. She’s the classic every girl, though sometimes she’s brave enough to say what some of us could only think – and that’s why we love her!

Ladybug Girl

Ladybug Girl is always on a mission with her loyal sidekick, a basset hound named Bingo. Whether it’s playing in the forest, forming The Bug Squad, or conquering the ocean, Ladybug Girl can always make the most of any situation!

Ginny Fry

A bit newer to the list than the others, Ginny is an adorable first grader with a penchant for excitement. You can meet her in SeeSaw this September!

What would yours be?

The Real Deal: Editors David and Abby Preview Fall Titles

9 Aug

It’s back-to-school season, all right.  The squeak-squeak songs of new sneakers in the crowded hallways, the tap-tap dance of new lunchboxes on young knees, and the grind-grind of sharpened pencils wafts from the classrooms-school’s back (or will be soon!), and we’re looking forward to sharing in the enthusiasm of a new year.

We’re bursting at the seams here at Book Clubs, especially our editors, who think that this is the BEST year yet for children’s books in Clubs.  But with so many options, we know it can be hard to find the books that are just right for your child (or student). Will they be age appropriate?  Will they hold your child’s interest? Will they be the right reading level?  And this is where we love to help.  Our editors have worked tirelessly to hand-select the best new books of the year that will not only keep them interested, but will boost their reading levels and success in school.

Make sure you check out this video featuring two of our resident experts/all-stars/children’s book gurus, Editors David and Abby, to learn a little more about some of their favorite September titles.  In David’s words, “We’ve spared no effort to provide you with the very,very finest books that can be found on planet Earth in  Scholastic Book Clubs.”

Do you agree? Open up your Book Clubs September flyers (in print or online) and just bask in the wonder, the joy, and the genius of children’s books.  We have found an awesome selection of just-right books for kids across America, and we hope you think so too!

Meet Book Clubs: Editorial Part 1

21 Jul

We all remember circling our favorite books on Scholastic Book Club fliers to take home and beg and plead and hope that our parents would let us get them ALL.  Maybe you have recently had this experience with your student or child? There are so many great books, aren’t there? How do you choose?

There are a lot of people involved in getting Scholastic Book Clubs from our minds to your schools, and every week we’re going to introduce you to a different part of Scholastic Book Clubs.

Today, it’s all about Book Clubs editorial, where we spend long hours reading and searching through thousands of books to find the best ones for kids everywhere.

So how do we start? Continue reading

ALA Exposé: Meet Lori Ess, Senior Editor for Book Clubs

20 Jul

In case you missed it on our Facebook page, here is an amazing account of ALA from one of our Senior Editors in Book Clubs, Lori:

I was a pretty different person when I attended my first American Library Association Annual Conference back in 2005. I was about to finish my Masters in Library Science and had gone to Chicago to walk wide-eyed into a world where reading and the reader consumed everyone’s thoughts. I was also looking for a job. After five days of panel discussions, author events, conference sessions, and countless hours scouring the exhibit halls, I was fired up for my new profession. I also had found a job, and it brought me to Queens, New York, where I started my career as a Children’s Librarian. Five years later I was back at ALA, but this time as an editor for Scholastic Book Clubs. But no matter my job title, it was, as it had been five years ago, all about the books.

Each year, ALA holds an annual conference where people from all walks of librarianship, bookselling, publishing, education and technology can come together and discuss, network, and do business. As an editor with Scholastic Book Clubs, my mission was to meet publishers and seek out fabulous titles, most of which happened in the legendary Exhibit Halls. The Exhibit Halls are legendary for two reasons.

Reason #1: Swag. If you’re a book person, Continue reading

Summer Backslide & Our Top 5

20 Jul

A few weeks ago we posted an article from USA Today on our Facebook page about how reading during the summer might be the best way to protect against the summer backslide. It got us thinking here at the Book Talk team, what were our favorite summer reads growing up? That being said, here are our Top 5 summer reads from when we were younger:

Trevor:

The Phantom Tollbooth
The Giver
Max and Me and the Time Machine
Miracle at the Plate
Sideways Stories from Wayside School


Preeti:

A Wrinkle in Time
Lord of the Rings
Anne of Green Gables
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
Alanna: The First Adventure

Erin:

To Kill a Mockingbird
The Midwife’s Apprentice
A Cricket in Times Square
Island of the Blue Dolphins
Redwall


Jen:

Mrs. PiggleWiggle-anything
Strega Nona
Amelia Bedelia-anything
A Wrinkle in Time
Hatchet

Ben:

Watership Down
Redwall
The Little Prince
Island of the Blue Dolphins
Where the Red Fern Grows


Kym:

A Wrinkle in Time
The Secret Garden
My Side of the Mountain
Anne of Green Gables
Matilda

As you can see, we have some repeats but what can we say…A Wrinkle in Time is awesome.

What would your top 5 be?

Let’s Get Book Talk’n

19 Jul

Welcome to Book Talk, the official Scholastic Book Clubs Blog! We are so lucky to do what we love best—read and discuss children’s books! This blog will celebrate books and reading as well as be a resource for parents and teachers. You can look forward to editorial recommendations, previews of upcoming books (and upcoming $1 books—we can hear the oohing and ahhing), exclusive Book Club promotions, reading tips, and some things that we just think are fun, like movie reviews, book trailers, and exciting books that we are talking about in the office. We will have guest posts from book lovers outside of Scholastic (authors, teachers, bloggers, librarians, etc.) in addition to all of the brilliant prose and musings of the Scholastic Book Clubs staff.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get Book Talk’n.

Meet the awesome Book Talk crew:

Erin is a Promotions Manager for Book Clubs who can’t get enough of YA literature. She can usually be found reading, blogging, or finding new uses for sillybands.

Trevor is an Editor for Book Clubs and is currently addicted to steampunk fiction. In addition to working on Book Talk, he tweets on behalf of Book Clubs @scholastic.

Preeti can a read a book faster than you can sneeze – that being said, she is an Editor for the younger level picture books and easy readers. This does not stop her from loving YA novels more than society might like her to.

Ben is the Production Manager for Book Clubs Online. He’s originally from a hyphenated town in Pennsylvania and has a cat named Crouton (although he’s really more of a dog person).

Kym is a Project Manager for Book Clubs Online and thanks Anne of Green Gables for changing her life. She owns more books than clothes, and hopes to have her own library one day.

Jennifer is in Creative and Strategic Direction for Book Clubs and has an obsession with all things fruit (send her some mangos if you ever need to appease her). Her formative Halloween years were spent alternating among the Disney princesses—particularly Snow White, Ariel, Belle, and Jasmine—before she took a turn and dressed up as Scarlet O’Hara.

We can’t wait to start discussing all thing children’s books with you guys. What would you like to see from Book Talk?