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To infinity… and beyond! May 30, 2008

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From Cynopsis Kids:

Buzz Lightyear has a big weekend coming up as he, actually a 12-inch Buzz action figure, heads for the Space Station aboard NASA’s Space Shuttle Discovery, which is set to liftoff from Kennedy Space Center this Saturday, May 31 at 5:02p. Buzz’s adventure is part of the Space Ranger Education series, which in turn is part of NASA’s Toys in Space initiative. So, while Buzz is on his “to infinity and beyond” trip, he will help introduce facts from space to kids in science and math classes nationwide. The toys in Space program builds on NASA’s effort to encourage kids to study science, technology and math subjects. Developed by Disney and NASA, Toys in Space includes downloadable materials for educators to use in class as well as online, educational games linked to each key component of the mission. The series can be accessed via www.nasa.gov , and will be available throughout 2008. Ah, yes, the mission also coincides with the official opening of the Toy Story Mania! attraction at Walt Disney World this Saturday and on June 17 at Disneyland Resorts California.

Capitalize on this kooky NASA initiative by giving juvenile books on space, science, technology and math deserve their own space in the sun.


World Refugee Day, June 20 May 29, 2008

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The UN adopted June 20 as World Refugee Day to bring attention to the plight of the millions of people around the world who have been displaced from their homes by persecution, war, natural disaster, scarcity, and other reasons.

The refugee challenge in the 21st century is changing rapidly. People are forced to flee their homes for increasingly complicated and interlinked reasons. Some 40 million people worldwide are already uprooted by violence and persecution, and it is likely that the future will see more people on the run as a growing number of push factors compound one another to create conditions for further forced displacement.

Today people do not just flee persecution and war but also injustice, exclusion, environmental pressures, competition for scarce resources and all the miserable human consequences of dysfunctional states.

The task facing the international community in this new environment is to find ways to unlock the potential of refugees who have so much to offer if they are given the opportunity to regain control over their lives.

A display on natural disasters, recent conflicts (i.e. Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Tibet), and the countries recently affected by catastrophic events (Myanmar, China, Sri Lanka, Indonesia) would be a great way to commemorate this day.

Local Events: The Creative Alliance hosts Somalia on these Shores Friday June 20 and Saturday June 21 at 8pm.

Someone’s in the kitchen with the kids May 22, 2008

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The other day, The New York Times noticed that kids are interested in cooking, and that people publish cookbooks aimed at kids. Really?!

When was the last time you did a kids’ cookbook display?

Here are a few new(ish) kid cookbooks and a few golden oldies to consider for a spring display:

Kitchen playdates : easy ideas for entertaining that include the kids, 70 delicious recipes, plus menus, activities, and 10 playdates / by Lauren Bank Deen. 642.4 D

Holy guacamole! : and other scrumptious snacks / by Nick Fauchald ; illustrated by Rick Peterson 641.53 F

Yum-O! : the family cookbook / by Rachael Ray. 641.555 R

Cool lunches to make & take : easy recipes for kids to cook / Lisa Wagner. 641.53 W

Cool foods for fun fiestas : easy recipes for kids to cook / Lisa Wagner. 641.5972 W

The Spatulatta Cookbook by Isabella and Olivia Gerasole. 641.5123 G

Pretend Soup and Salad People by Mollie Katzen



2008 Beyond Margins Award Winners May 22, 2008

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The PEN/Beyond Margins Award celebrates outstanding books by writers of color published in the United States during the previous year. 

This year’s winners are:

Chris Abani, Song for Night
Amiri Baraka, Tales of the Out and the Gone
Frances Hwang, Transparency
Naeem Murr, The Perfect Man
Joseph M. Marshall III, The Day The World Ended at Little Big Horn

Previous Beyond Margins winners when you click “more”.


Edgar Awards announced May 8, 2008

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NEW YORK, May 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Mystery Writers of America is proud to announce its Winners for the Edgar Allan Poe Awards 2008, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction, television and film published or produced in 2007.

Down River by John Hart (St. Martin’s Minotaur)

In the Woods by Tana French (Penguin Group – Viking)

Queenpin by Megan Abbott (Simon & Schuster)

Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy by Vincent Bugliosi (W.W. Norton and Company)

Arthur Conan Doyle: A Life in Letters by Jon Lellenberg, Daniel Stashower and Charles Foley (The Penguin Press)

“The Golden Gopher” – Los Angeles Noir by Susan Straight (Akashic Books)

The Night Tourist by Katherine Marsh (Hyperion Books for Young Readers)

Rat Life by Tedd Arnold (Penguin – Dial Books for Young Readers)

Panic by Joseph Goodrich (International Mystery Writers’ Festival)

“Pilot” – Burn Notice, Teleplay by Matt Nix (USA Network/Fox Television Studios)

Michael Clayton, Screenplay by Tony Gilroy (Warner Bros. Pictures)

“The Catch” – Still Waters by Mark Ammons (Level Best Books)

The EDGAR (and logo) are Registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by the Mystery Writers of America, Inc.

Children’s Book Week, May 12-18 May 8, 2008

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Check out the Children’s Book Week page on the Children’s Book Council website for information about the Children’s Choice Book Awards and other programs that put the words “Children’s” and “Books” in close proximity.

There are word searches and puzzles to print out, story starters and book lists.

I helped my mom… @ the library! April 24, 2008

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Help a mom save money on Mother’s Day. The Social Security Administration is asking libraries to publicize the extra help that is available under Medicare Part D. This year’s message is “I helped my mom save $3,600 on prescription drugs. You Can Too!” 

Libraries can help in this effort by referring to this Social Security page in your newsletters, blogs, or websites.

Social Security also has a Mother’s Day pamphlet available upon request in packets of 100, free of charge, for display and distribution at libraries. Contact Maria Artista-Cuchna with your name, mailing address, phone number, and quantity you need.

Loch Ness literature April 19, 2008

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New on DVD this week: The Water Horse, a family movie featuring the Loch Ness Monster, based on a book by Dick King-Smith.

You might take this opportunity to pull a selection of Dick King-Smith’s books (including Babe, the Gallant Pig, the basis for the movie Babe)… or a selection of books about cryptozoology – the study of mythical(?) creatures such as the yeti, Sasquatch, the Loch Ness Monster, mokele-mbembe, etc.

A CARL search on “loch ness,” cryptozoology, or monsters will bring up plenty. Don’t forget Roland Smith’s Cryptid Hunters and Alice Flaherty’s fun picture book The Luck of the Loch Ness Monster.

Go green! April 8, 2008

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Columbine about to unfurl

Spring is a great time to be outside, to enjoy the gifts of Mother Nature, and to try to give back a little something. That’s what Baltimore Green Week (PDF) is all about:

Baltimore Green Week – April 25th to May 2nd – is a weeklong program comprised of community events, forums, lectures, hands-on activities and the EcoFestival – all which focus on greening and the value of a sustainable lifestyle. Through our events we seek to increase awareness about how local residents can make the Baltimore region environmentally friendly for all who live and work here. Our mission is to further the voice of organizations that promote a healthy living environment. This year marks the fifth year of Baltimore Green Week (BGW). In 2007, over 5000 people attended BGW events. Started by regional volunteers, Baltimore Green Week remains a
volunteer-driven event.

Gardening books, ecology books, books about conservation and pollution, plus beautiful books of landscape photography might make for a glowing green display in support of this regional program.

Baby elephant walk March 31, 2008

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Congratulations to mother and zoo on the recent birth of the first pachyderm born in Baltimore since the last ice age! Despite much-publicized financial problems, the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore was able to care for the mother, 24-year-old Felix, sufficiently well during her 22 months of pregnancy, that delivery of the 290 pound calf was relatively smooth.

Support the zoo by fanning the flames of interest in our new Marylander with a display of elephantine materials. Scour the 599’s, pull books about Africa from 960 and 916, and highlight Alexander McCall Smith’s Akimbo and the Elephant.

PrintableBaby elephant coloring pages available here and here.

Orioles Opening Day March 31, 2008

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It may seem difficult to get worked up about the Orioles’ home opener today, after ten losing seasons and in the wake of tragedy at the ballpark. Plus it’s raining.

What this day needs is a bright shiny display of optimistic baseball books. Grab whatever looks good from the 796‘s, add in some Dan Gutman novels, a little Rich Wallace, and a couple of biographies of baseball heroes like Jackie Robinson and Babe Ruth, and you’ve got yourself a display! (Putting out the Cal Ripken books might actually just rub salt in the wounds, but that’s your call!)

Children’s Choice Book Awards March 25, 2008

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Vote early! Vote often! Wait, no, only if you’re a kid.

These are the Children’s Choice Book Awards, awarded in honor of Children’s Book Week (May 18-12). INNTERESTING nominees. There is series nonfiction in there, graphic novels, and one of the seemingly endless number of recent Beowulf adaptations.

“Favorite Author” seems a little more predictable, putting J.K. Rowling up against Jeff Kinney and Erin Hunter. “Favorite Illustrator” pits Jan Brett against Mo Willems and Brian Selznick, among others, heavyweights all.

Stay tuned for the exciting results! 

It ain’t easy being green March 22, 2008

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El Mariachi

Here’s a cute idea courtesy The YA YA YAS, a trio of Young Adult librarians in Hawaii. For March, Gayle made a green-themed display, with books on money, veggies, the environment, and other subjects associated with the color green.

Does it work for other colors?

Blue: blues music, depression, the tropics, the moon

Yellow: the sun? cowardice? bananas? Ok, it doesn’t work for yellow.

Red: Communism, Chinese history, Russian history, the Red Baron, apples, various sports teams, anger, volcanoes, fire

Orange: Florida, citrus fruits… doesn’t really work for orange either.

Purple: royalty, grapes, wine, mountains

Finding yourself in the world February 20, 2008

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London during the Great Exhibition of 1851 by George Shove. ca. 1851; printed map on leather. The National Archives, U.K.

This spring, the Walters Art Museum presents four exhibitions about maps and mapping. Including such fascinating oddities as a map of London on a kid glove (above) and such technological marvels as maps of the universe taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, these exhibitions are in conjunction with Baltimore’s Festival of Maps, a citywide celebration organized by the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance to encourage Baltimore residents and visitors to explore museums, theaters, galleries and educational institutions. There’s even a downloadable GoogleEarth layer showing where on earth the

The Festival of Maps runs from March 16 through June 30, 2008.

Take this opportunity to put out a display of atlases and maps, books of exploration, and movies and fiction with plots involving maps.

She’s a super-cool exploradora February 20, 2008

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And she reads! Dora the Explorer has signed on to help ALSC and REFORMA in celebrating El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day). Día’s mission is to spread “bookjoy” by linking children of all cultures with books. Celebrate! Celebremos! The celebration is held on April 30 each year.

Teen Tech Week, March 2-8 January 24, 2008

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Madison_HighSchool image from Nancy Sullivan. Originally uploaded by yalsa50

Get ready for Teen Tech Week with these display suggestions from YALSA, get inspired by pictures of displays from last year, and consider ordering this year’s signature graphics, which, you must admit, are actually cool this time around! Mmmm, and they’ve put together a really nice book list too!

Wooden ships on the water May 31, 2007

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The Pride of Baltimore II, a reproduction of a 1812-era Baltimore clipper ship, docks at the Inner Harbor this weekend (free deck tours 10-3 Saturday June 2), then makes a stop in Annapolis on its way to the ASTA Tall Ship festival in Virginia.

Welcome her back with a display of books about sailing ships and the War of 1812. Call numbers 387, 623, 910, and 973.52 are good places to look… and don’t miss the recent Mutiny on the Bounty by local author Patrick O’Brien (J 910.45 O) and The Mayflower Compact by Dennis Brindell Fradin (J 974.4 F).

Here’s a coloring page of a tall ship.

Nancy Drew, girl sleuth May 10, 2007

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Nancy Drew hits the big screen June 15. This Nancy is updated, though still sweet, and Bess, George and Ned are still along for the ride.

This is one movie we can merchandize the heck out of without too much fear that we’ll run out of books. Why not try something clever, like leaving clues that lead to the books?

Poetry on Mother’s Day May 10, 2007

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Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins will read his poetry and sign books at Shriver Hall on the Johns Hopkins University’s Homewood campus May 13.

The even begins at 4:30pm, and Collins will autograph books after the reading. Reservations are required (call 410-735-4103).

Lucha libre! May 10, 2007

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Oh quit pretending: you know you love professional wrestling!

Superstars of the “sport” such as Undertaker, Batista, and Kane will be at the 1st Mariner Arena May 15 for an event called WWE Presents SmackDown and ECW. Try as we might, we’re unable to discover what ECW stands for, but you can bet half the ten-year-olds who come through your branch know! 

Stage a grudge match on a display unit between bios of Stone Cold Steve Austin, Trevon Jenifer, and Mick Foley, and books from 796.812.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month May 3, 2007

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May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Created to “promote awareness and increase understanding of the Asian/Pacific American culture and its diversity through education and celebration,” it is celebrated in May to commemorate the arrival of the first Japanese immigrant to the U.S. (1843) and the completion of the transcontinental railroad (May 10, 1869).

Promote Asian American cultural awareness in your library with a display of biographies, cookbooks, art and craft books, and travel guides. Or highlight novels by Asian American and Pacific American novelists:

  • Gish Jen
  • Ha Jin
  • Haruki Murakami
  • Dai Sijie
  • Lisa See
  • Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Amy Tan
  • Banana Yoshimoto
  • Bharati Mukerjee

More resources and booklists from the Asian Pacific American Heritage Association, InfoPlease, and the San Mateo County Library.

Mothers Day books for mothers May 2, 2007

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Harry Houdini with his mother Cecilia Steiner Weiss, Rochester, New York, 1907 or 1908. From the McManus-Young Collection at the Library of Congress. LC number LC-USZ62-112427 DLC

Stay-at-home moms, working moms, single moms. Spiritual moms, slacker moms, funny moms, famous moms, rocker moms and activist moms, mom memoirs, memoirs of moms, and one mom who’s “too sexy for her Volvo”: there’s something here for every mother who walks in the door from now ’til Mothers Day! Enjoy our list of new books and don’t forget the kids books and coloring pages.


Horsing around May 2, 2007

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Snowchief winning the Preakness, 1987. Carol Sauceda.

Two jewels in horse racing’s Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby (May 5) and the Preakness Stakes (May 19), are coming up soon.

How about a Juvenile display of everybody’s favorite horse authors:

  • Walter Farley
  • Marguerite Henry
  • Anna Sewell
  • Jessie Haas
  • Enid Bagnold
  • Nancy Springer
  • Elissa Haden Guest
  • Kathleen Duey

Plus one-offs such as:

  • Horse Tales. J H
  • My Friend Flicka by Mary O’Hara
  • Chico by Sandra Day O’Connor

Don’t forget the 798.24‘s!

Wonderful horsey coloring pages from Windt im Wald horse farm. More here and here.

Mama’s gonna buy you a mockingbird April 26, 2007

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Recent Easy books that will make you say “Awwwww!”:

  • Mama Outside, Mama Inside / Dianna Hutts Aston ; illustrated by Susan Gaber.
  • Five little ducks / illustrated by Ivan Bates.
  • Bubble & Squeak / by Louise Bonnett-Rampersaud ; illustrated by Susan Banta.
  • Mommy, carry me please! / Jane Cabrera.
  • Gakky Two-Feet / by Micky Dolenz ; illustrated by David Clark.
  • Llama, llama red pajama / written and illustrated by Anna Dewdney.

Click “more” for more, plus coloring pages links.


Mayday! Mayday! April 26, 2007

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Flood at Mt. Holyoke College library. Photo: Fred LeBlanc

This year, cultural institutions such as libraries, archives and museums are using May Day, May 1, to promote emergency preparedness.

Much attention has been paid to the devastation suffered by museums and libraries in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the damage and theft that occurred during and immediately after U.S. forces entered Baghdad. 

The Heritage Emergency National Task Force urges cultural institutions across the country to observe MayDay by taking at least one step to prepare to respond to a disaster.

Here are some useful links:

The Heritage Emergency Task Force

ALA’s Field Guide to Emergency Response

National Trust for Historic Preservation – Preservation Month

Earth Day, April 22 April 19, 2007

Posted by sneaks in adult, coloring pages, display topics, E, fiction, J fiction, J is for Juvenile, J non-fiction, nonfiction, Picture Books, spring.
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hosta crop

Environmentalism, once the province of school children and hippies, has entered our national consciousness in a big way. Environmental policies are part and parcel of many current issues, such as catastrophic weather, childhood obesity, cancer, global justice, and more.

In addition to institutionalized recycling (in Western countries), cutting-edge venture capitalists are sinking money into wind farms, solar thermal energy, and biodiesel, and major automakers are developing electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles, in response mainly to consumer demand.

Such noted personalities as Prince Charles and Al Gore are stepping up to be the poster boys for an expanded personal awareness of our environment, popularizing such concepts as our carbon footprint and global warming.

Farmers markets, eating local, organic farming, and Community Supported Agriculture are becoming popular concepts as consumers become more aware of industrial farming practices and their effects on the environment.

So move beyond Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots (although definitely, include it!) and make an Earth Day display full of new technologies and cautionary tales.

Book list and coloring pages when you click “more”…


Support Teen Literature Day, April 19 April 12, 2007

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From YALSA‘s MySpace page (yes, YALSA is on MySpace):

Join YALSA in celebrating the first ever Support Teen Literature Day, April 19, 2007!

Librarians and teens all across the country are encouraged to participate in Support Teen Literature Day to help raise awareness among the general public that young adult literature is a vibrant, growing genre with much to offer today’s teens.

For ways to participate in Support Teen Literature Day, check out YALSA’s display ideas, activities, drawing and contests.

In the meantime, be sure to tell everyone your favorite recent books on YALSA’s MySpace!

Though the year is young, don’t forget to nominate your favorites for the YALSA’s 2008 booklists and book awards!

Recent publicity has highlighted the high-quality books that teens have to choose from nowadays, and there’s a new edition of ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults coming soon.

Octavian Nothing, the Montmorency books, Impulse, The Book Thief, Joker, and American Born Chinese are just a few of the titles that leap to mind when we think of recent young adult books that are both appealing and thought-provoking. Bring out your best teen lit for this event!

Step up to the plate! April 12, 2007

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ALA has announced the second year of Step Up to the Plate@Your Library!

Concurrent with National Library Week, it’s a cute promotion, and it goes like this:

  1. Kid (aged 9 to 18) reads baseball book
  2. Kid describes a character in the book and tells why the character inspires him/her (250 to 750 words, in English or Spanish)
  3. Kid submits essay online or through the mail by September 1

Kid could win a trip to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum!

Register here for free promotional materials, and ALA even provides a fairly up-to-date list of baseball books. (See also our recent post on celebrity sports books)

Play Ball!

(Baseball coloring pages here and here and Orioles Bird coloring pages here.)

Teen Read Week nominations April 12, 2007

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Support Teen Literature by encouraging YA readers to read the books nominated for Teens’ Top Ten, to be announced during Teen Read Week, October 14-20.

Have a look at the list of nominated books: there are a few surprises and some seemingly notable omissions. These books were picked by members of teen book groups in school and public libraries across the country.

Find your inner forester April 12, 2007

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tree done fell over

From BCPL’s Home and Garden Info Center:

Baltimore County’s 12th Truckload Compost Bin Sale will be held on Saturday, April 14, 2007, from 9am to 3pm at the Carver Center for Arts and Technology in Towson.

Baltimore County’s Growing Home Campaign web site provides tree planting and maintenance information and guidance to homeowners for adding trees to their property and offers a $10 coupon toward the purchase of a qualifying tree from participating retailers.

If you have a stack of Baltimore County’s Growing Home Campaign brochures, why not display them with these shiny new tree books (click “more” for the list) and a stack of coloring pages.


Indie Comics April 12, 2007

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UPDATE: Check out page 22-23 of this week’s City Paper for an interview with Miriam Desharnais about Cockeysville’s zine collection!

Here’s a program to promote to your younger adult (as opposed to Young Adult) patrons: Indie Comics A-Go-Go! at Cockeysville April 12. Cartoonists Emily Flake, Brian Ralph and Mark Burrier will be talking about how they got started and what they are working on now.

Cockeysville has the only library collection of zines in Maryland, and BCPL as a whole has plenty of graphic novels by “indie” artists. These books are easy to identify: no superheroes, no girls with giant eyes. Often published by Drawn & Quarterly or Fantagraphics. And the title? Put it this way: if it references insomnia, depression, OCD, or uses big words, it’s indie. Also if it’s called “This will all end in tears”? Indie.

A small, disenfranchised, nonconformist group of these books might set off the poster for this event and underline the fact that all our branches have the edgy stuff. Book and author list when you click “more”.


Meet the Illustrators April 10, 2007

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Meet the Robinsons is this season’s big popular kid movie. BCPL doesn’t have a lot of copies of the book it’s based on, A Day With Wilbur Robinson, by William Joyce, but that doesn’t stop you from showcasing other books by William Joyce.

Similar illustrators of far-out picture books include Daniel Kirk, Eric Rohman, Kevin Hawkes (Paul Fleischman’s Weslandia leaps to mind), David Catrow (Plantzilla et al), Mark Buehner, and Timothy Bush (My Dad’s Job and Benjamin McFadden and the Robot Babysitter).

The Alex Awards: Adult books with YA appeal April 10, 2007

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The Alex Awards, administered by YALSA and cosponsored by Booklist and the Margaret A. Edwards Trust, honor the top 10 adult books, published during the previous year, with appeal to readers between the ages of 12 and 18.

Support Teen Literature Day is April 19 (more on that later, watch this space). You might ramp up for it with a display of this year’s Alex Award winners, along with some read-alikes suggested by Gillian Engberg of Booklist online. (Original article here)

“From the Japanese internment camps of World War II depicted in John Hideyo Hamamura’s Color of the Sea to the wildness of the big-top circus tents in Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, the settings in this year’s list of Alex winners will transport teens to diverse, wholly realized worlds, in which young readers may be surprised to find their own urgent questions explored.”

You might use this list as a good starting point for short attention span adult readers too, or for family read-togethers, or audio books for family road trips.

Click “more” for award winners and read-alikes from Booklist.


“Joey Pigza” comes to Towson April 7, 2007

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Support this fantastic author visit (April 16) with a display of books by Jack Gantos. Round out your display with other humorous books by authors such as Louis Sachar, Gregory Maguire, Andrew Clements, Gordon Korman, E.L. Konigsburg, Richard Peck, Jerry Spinelli, Dav Pilkey and Daniel Pinkwater.

Furry friends for picture books March 30, 2007

Posted by sneaks in board books, display topics, J is for Juvenile, Picture Books, props and drapes, spring.
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03 23 07 010

Take your cue from the inviting windows of The Children’s Bookstore in Baltimore, and augment a display of farm friends picture books with stuffed farm friends.

This works for any elevated display in the children’s area, but you might also make a sweet display of spring picture books and stuffed toys near the checkout. It will distract the kids as they wait in line and bring the books to the parents attention.

National Poetry Month March 29, 2007

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surface tension

There’s no money in poetry, but there’s no poetry in money either.—Robert Graves, poet

Sylvia Vardell’s Poetry Aloud Here!, published by ALA Editions, “shows how librarians, teachers, and others can introduce children, ages 5 to 12, to the world of poetry in a way that’s meaningful, participatory, and fun.”

Excerpted from the ALA Editions blog, here are some of her ways to promote poetry to kids (or those who feel like kids):

  • Set up a coffeehouse-style poetry reading in your classroom or library. (Do not forget the refreshments.)
  • Write poems on postcards or letters and mail them to friends and neighbors.
  • Contact radio stations about hosting a live, on-air poetry reading at either the school, the library, or the radio station.
  • Record a poem on your answering machine at home or school or as a cell phone message.
  • Send a poem to your state or local representative or other government official.
  • Make National Poetry Month buttons. Inscribe them with haiku, short poems, or favorite lines of poetry. Wear the buttons the whole month of April.

When pulling poetry for display, don’t forget rhyming Easies (Jamberry!) and song books. Look for these recent titles in particular, with jazzy covers and wide-ranging appeal:


You’re an All Star: get your game on, go play! March 24, 2007

Posted by sneaks in display topics, J is for Juvenile, Picture Books, spring.
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Have you noticed the recent proliferation of children’s books by celebrities? It may feel like Madonna started the trend (as usual), with her book The English Roses, but actually it goes back to Fred Gwynne (Herman Munster) and Julie Andrews, both of whom wrote books for children since the ’70’s.

This spring there’s a fresh crop, and it seems like they’re all writing about sports. Click “more” for a list of recent sports-themed picture books by celebs…


They’re on the loose! March 22, 2007

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Harper’s Ferry, a good day trip from Baltimore County.

Spring Break for Baltimore County Public Schools is April 6-15. It’s always a good idea to have extra coloring pages and activities on hand when you’re likely to get extra kids. But also, be sure to load up your displays of juvenile fiction, and take advantage of seasonal interest in baseball and basketball to push the sports books.

And don’t forget the grownups! Many families try to get away for Spring Break, or at least take day trips. Pull out a few travel guides to the Mid-Atlantic, and maybe a couple of trail guides for Maryland and the Appalachian Trail. People who are staying home will also be looking for family-friendly activities – a selection of coaching manuals might be just the thing for parents trying to coax their kids outside.

Celebrate Japan March 22, 2007

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Sakura Matsuri, aka Cherry Blossom Festival, is just about upon us. In Washington, D.C., it runs from March 31 through April 14, with a parade on April 14.

In Japan, early spring is graduation time. It’s a very important rite of passage in Japan, and so the first flush of blooms on the cherry trees signals a time of nostalgia and sentimentality. People visit their old schools and picnic under the cherry trees. The cherry blossoms are also considered the symbol of a life lived fully, no matter how short.

You can participate in this gorgeous natural display online by visiting the blossom maps at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden or the National Park Service. Or make the drive down to D.C. to experience the magic in person. Go early – because of our warm weather in February, the trees are expected to blossom 1-2 weeks earlier than in the average year.

In your library, it’s a good time to celebrate all things Japanese, as well as books on Asian gardens and flowering trees.

Here are cherry blossom coloring pages:

in just spring March 15, 2007

Posted by sneaks in adult, display topics, nonfiction, spring.
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They say that Spring will arrive. Any minute now. Just after the sleet. That we’re having. In March. Sigh.

Be ready when it (finally) gets here with a big beautiful green display of brand-new gardening books – books about landscape architecture, choosing plants for color, organic methods, container gardening, you name it, as long as it’s pretty and shiny!

Click “more” for a list of new books.