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The Art of Reading: Great Children's Illustrators Re-Imagine Their Favorite Childhood Books
Reading Is Fundamental
August 2005
From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 3 Up–Forty well-known, well-loved children's book illustrators share memories of a book (and even a comic book) seminal to their development as readers and artists, and offer accompanying pieces of art–re-imagined from those books. From its cozy cover image (created by the late Fred Marcellino) of a cat and mouse companionably enthralled by the open book on which they perch, to the satisfying thumbnail biographies appended, this is a lovingly conceived, cohesive, and distinctively designed treasure. Each spread is dedicated to one of the contributors; half of it is occupied by an art piece, and half by the illustrator's reminiscence, a sidebar featuring a cameo photo-portrait of the artist, and a vividly reproduced image of the cover of the book (or, in Peter Sis's case, of...

How to Read Literature Like a Professor
Thomas C. Foster
Mar 2003
Book Description

What does it mean when a fictional hero takes a journey?. Shares a meal? Gets drenched in a sudden rain shower? Often, there is much more going on in a novel or poem than is readily visible on the surface -- a symbol, maybe, that remains elusive, or an unexpected twist on a character -- and there's that sneaking suspicion that the deeper meaning of a literary text keeps escaping you.

In this practical and amusing guide to literature, Thomas C. Foster shows how easy and gratifying it is to unlock those hidden truths, and to discover a world where a road leads to a quest; a shared meal may signify a communion; and rain, whether cleansing or destructive, is never just rain. Ranging from major themes to literary models, narrative devices, and form, How to Read Literature Like a Professor is the perfect...

Elie Wiesel
January 2006
In Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel's memoir Night, a scholarly, pious teenager is wracked with guilt at having survived the horror of the Holocaust and the genocidal campaign that consumed his family. His memories of the nightmare world of the death camps present him with an intolerable question: how can the God he once so fervently believed in have allowed these monstrous events to occur? There are no easy answers in this harrowing book, which probes life's essential riddles with the lucid anguish only great literature achieves. It marks the crucial first step in Wiesel's lifelong project to bear witness for those who died.

The New York Times
"A slim volume of terrifying power"

See all Editorial Reviews

The Time Traveler's Wife
Audrey Niffenegger
July 2004
From Publishers Weekly
This clever and inventive tale works on three levels: as an intriguing science fiction concept, a realistic character study and a touching love story. Henry De Tamble is a Chicago librarian with "Chrono Displacement" disorder; at random times, he suddenly disappears without warning and finds himself in the past or future, usually at a time or place of importance in his life. This leads to some wonderful paradoxes. From his point of view, he first met his wife, Clare, when he was 28 and she was 20. She ran up to him exclaiming that she'd known him all her life. He, however, had never seen her before. But when he reaches his 40s, already married to Clare, he suddenly finds himself time travelling to Clare's childhood and meeting her as a six-year-old. The book alternates between Henry and Clare's points of view, and so does the...

The Reading Teacher's Book of Lists
Edward Bernard Fry
May 2000
Book Description
Newly revised and ready for instant use, this latest edition of a top-seller provides over 190 up-to-date lists for developing instructional materials and planning lessons that might otherwise take years and much effort to acquire. Organized into 15 convenient sections brimming with practical examples, key words, teaching ideas, and activities that can be used as is or adapted to meet the students' needs, these lists are ready to be photocopied as many times as needed for individual, small group, or class use.  Included are completely new lists on:

Teaching with newspapers
Reading tips for parents
Search engines for educators
Web sites for reading, writing, and literature
Activities for tutors

Also included is an all-new section on the Internet designed for novice and expert...

The Book Thief
Markus Zusak
March 2006
From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 9 Up–Zusak has created a work that deserves the attention of sophisticated teen and adult readers. Death himself narrates the World War II-era story of Liesel Meminger from the time she is taken, at age nine, to live in Molching, Germany, with a foster family in a working-class neighborhood of tough kids, acid-tongued mothers, and loving fathers who earn their living by the work of their hands. The child arrives having just stolen her first book–although she has not yet learned how to read–and her foster father uses it, The Gravediggers Handbook, to lull her to sleep when shes roused by regular nightmares about her younger brothers death. Across the ensuing years of the late 1930s and into the 1940s, Liesel collects more stolen books as well as a peculiar set of...

A Chair for My Mother
Vera B. Williams
Aug 1984
Los Angeles Times
A Chair for My Mother was a Caldecott Honor book. Author/ illustrator Vera B. Williams tells of a young girl who, along with her waitress mother, saves coins in a jar. They want to buy a big, new, comfortable chair for their apartment, after losing all their furniture in a fire. A story of love and caring, accented with full-color illustrations with a pleasant, almost primitive quality.

Booklist, 11/82
A young girl tells how she, her mother, and her grandmother save up all of their spare coins in a big glass jar toward the day when they will buy a much-needed easy chair. (Their old furniture and their possessions were destroyed in a fire.) If the plot is scant-after the jar fills up, mother, daughter, and grandmother buy the chair and bring it home-the atmosphere of...

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books
Azar Nafisi
December 2003
Book Review
An inspired blend of memoir and literary criticism, Reading Lolita in Tehran is a moving testament to the power of art and its ability to change and improve people's lives. In 1995, after resigning from her job as a professor at a university in Tehran due to repressive policies, Azar Nafisi invited seven of her best female students to attend a weekly study of great Western literature in her home. Since the books they read were officially banned by the government, the women were forced to meet in secret, often sharing photocopied pages of the illegal novels. For two years they met to talk, share, and "shed their mandatory veils and robes and burst into color." Though most of the women were shy and intimidated at first, they soon became emboldened by the forum and used the meetings as a springboard for debating the social,...

The Night Before Kindergarten
Natasha Wing
July 2001
Book Description
'Twas the night before kindergarten, and as they prepared,
kids were excited,
and a little bit scared.

It's the first day of school! Join the kids as they prepare for kindergarten, packing school supplies, posing for pictures, and the hardest part of all-saying goodbye to Mom and Dad. But maybe it won't be so hard once they discover just how much fun kindergarten really is! Colorful illustrations illuminate this uplifting takeoff on the classic Clement C. Moore Christmas poem.

Card catalog description
When a group of children prepares for and experiences the first day of kindergarten, the parents are the ones who have trouble adjusting.

To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee
November 1988
Mass Market Paperback
Book Review
"When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.... When enough years had gone by to enable us to look back on them, we sometimes discussed the events leading to his accident. I maintain that the Ewells started it all, but Jem, who was four years my senior, said it started long before that. He said it began the summer Dill came to us, when Dill first gave us the idea of making Boo Radley come out."

Set in the small Southern town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the Depression, To Kill a Mockingbird follows three years in the life of 8-year-old Scout Finch, her brother, Jem, and their father, Atticus--three years punctuated by the arrest and eventual trial of a young black man accused of raping a white woman. Though her story explores big themes, Harper Lee chooses to tell it through the eyes...

A River Ran Wild
Lynne Cherry
Apr 2002
From Publishers Weekly
Cherry traces the ecological evolution of New England's Nashua River--how it was respected by generations of Indians, polluted and ultimately deadened in the wake of the industrial revolution and restored in recent years through the efforts of concerned citizens. She delivers this message with a heavier hand than she used in The Great Kapok Tree ; her writing is more complex and ponderous, and less accessible and inviting, than in the earlier work. While this book provides a solid history, it does little to bring the issues or pivotal figures to life. The colorless account of the citizens' battle to clean up the river, for example, reflects little of the passions and energy involved. Though not her best work, Cherry's illustrations tell the story more effectively. (One allegorical painting of an Indian chief's...

Little Red Book of Selling: The 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness: How to Make Sales Forever
Jeffrey H. Gitomer
September 2004
From Publishers Weekly
If salespeople are worried about how to sell, Gitomer (The Sales Bible) believes they are missing out on the more important aspect of sales: why people buy. This, he says, is "all that matters," and his latest book aims to demystify buying principles for salespeople. From the red cloth cover to the small trim size to the amusing (but not cloying) cartoons on almost every page, this is an appealing and accessible book. The author is obviously enthusiastic, if not manic, about sales, and though some of his mantras verge on hokey, much of his prose is straightforward and realistic. Each chapter includes a mini table of contents, pull quotes and takeaway sound bites, examples of typical whines from salespeople (e.g., "the client said they spent their whole budget") paired with a positive response (e.g., "Decision...

The Bravest Dog Ever
Natalie Standiford
Oct 1989
From School Library Journal
Grade 1-3-- A compelling account, told in easy-to-read format, of Balto, a sled dog who led his team through snow and ice over 53 miles of northern Alaska wilderness to deliver some medicine. The story is based on an actual event that occurred in 1925 during an outbreak of diptheria, when the closest medicine was 800 miles away in Anchorage. When the train bearing the important cargo became buried in the snow still 700 miles from its destination, a dog sled relay was used. Cook's softly colored illustrations are expressive and enhance the drama of the story--a proud and heroic story that young readers are sure to enjoy. --Sharron McElmeel, Cedar Rapids Community Schools, IACopyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

"A compelling account, told in...

Amazing Grace
Mary Hoffman
Sept 1991
From Publishers Weekly
"Grace was a girl who loved stories." Empowered by the strength of her imagination and the love of her mother and Nana, this dramatic, creative girl constantly adopts roles and identities: Joan of Arc, Anansi the Spider, Hiawatha, Mowgli, Aladdin. When her class plans a presentation of Peter Pan , "Grace knew who she wanted to be." She holds fast despite her classmates' demurrals; Nana, meanwhile, reminds her granddaughter that she can do anything she imagines. When Nana takes Grace to see a famous black ballerina--"from back home in Trinidad"--the determined youngster is aroused by the performance, and wins the role of her dreams. Featuring colloquial dialogue and endearing characters, Hoffman's ( My Grandma Has Black Hair ) tale is truly inspiring. First-timer Birch contributes evocative, carefully detailed...

The End: Book the Thirteenth (A Series of Unfortunate Events)
Lemony Snicket
October 13, 2006

Mouse Tales: (I Can Read Book Series: Level 2)
Arnold Lobel
October 1978
Book Description
Seven mouse boys lie awake one night... . . . And they ask their Papa to tell them a story. Papa does better than that -- he tells them seven stories, one for each boy.

About the Author
During his distinguished career Arnold Lobel wrote and/or illustrated over 70 books for children. To his illustrating credit, he had a Caldecott Medal book -- Fables (1981) -- and two Caldecott Honor Books-his own Frog and Toad are Friends (1971) and Hildilid's Night by Cheli Duran Ryan (1972). To his writing credit, he had a Newbery Honor Book -- Frog and Toad Together (1973). But to his greatest credit, he had a following of literally millions of young children with whom he shared the warmth and humor of his unpretentious vision of life. Though he was a born storyteller -- he began making up...

The Library Card
Jerry Spinelli
Sept 1998
Book Review
A library card is a kind of magic ticket: a passport to places distant--unknown--even forbidden. In his latest offering, Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli takes that idea and spins it until the story, its characters, and all of us are dizzy, and offers it as a prize to young readers up for the ride.

The magic library card that turns up in the four separate stories in this book is a ticket to whatever each young character needs most at the time. Each story is imaginative, surprising, and well beyond the "books are good for you" theme one might expect from a tome with this title.

To the reader, it's almost Twilight Zone-y. The 12-ish kids in these stories face varied turning points as they move toward adolescence. They all find their way thanks to a mysterious blue card that seems to have materialized...

Caps for Sale
Esphyr Slobodkina
Oct 1987
Book Review
Subtitled A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business, this absurd and very simple story has become a classic, selling hundreds of thousands of copies since its first publication in 1940. A peddler walks around selling caps from a tall, tottering pile on his head. Unable to sell a single cap one morning, he walks out into the countryside, sits down under a tree, checks that all the caps are in place, and falls asleep. When he wakes up, the caps are gone--and the tree is full of cap-wearing monkeys. His attempts to get the caps back generate the kind of repetitive rhythm that 3- and 4-year-olds will adore. (Preschool and older) --Richard Farr

Book Description
Caps for Sale is a timeless classic, in print for over fifty years, and beloved by generations of...

The Kite Runner
Khaled Hosseini
April 2004
Book Review
In his debut novel, The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini accomplishes what very few contemporary novelists are able to do. He manages to provide an educational and eye-opening account of a country's political turmoil--in this case, Afghanistan--while also developing characters whose heartbreaking struggles and emotional triumphs resonate with readers long after the last page has been turned over. And he does this on his first try.

The Kite Runner follows the story of Amir, the privileged son of a wealthy businessman in Kabul, and Hassan, the son of Amir's father's servant. As children in the relatively stable Afghanistan of the early 1970s, the boys are inseparable. They spend idyllic days running kites and telling stories of mystical places and powerful warriors until an unspeakable event changes the nature of their relationship forever,...

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