Saturday, January 24, 2015

Book Signing

I usually blog about words, books, and kids and lately I've been reviewing a lot of books for kids. But today I want to share something about myself.

On Friday, January 30th I'll be participating in a group book signing up in Nevada City, CA.

A group of authors will be at the main County Library signing and selling our books from 1:00 until 4:00 p.m. We'll also be reading sections of our books.

I'll be reading from my newest book, A Shadow of Fear.

I hope we all sell a lot of copies, but the event will be fun even if we don't. It's always a pleasure to be with other writers and people who love to read.

As my bumper sticker says, "Bookaholics Unite."

I hope some of the people who read this blog will be able to attend.

See you there!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Green Gooey Goop

Kids will love this amusing book by Anna C. Morrison. It's about a kid whose mother makes a "healthy" drink by combining green vegetables and plants into a slimy mixture.

The kid spills it on the floor and the dog licks it up. What do you think happens to the dog?

Any child who is encouraged to eat healthy food will appreciate the ingredients in the goop, which keep getting more disgusting as the story progresses.

And parents will want to assure their kids that the real fruits and vegetables they offer won't be anything like the combination in the story. Sharing this funny book would be a good way to start a discussion the importance of eating real foods that are healthy.

Alexander Morris did a great job of showing the story in his illustrations.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Her Pink Hair

Jill Dana has written a helpful and enjoyable book for kids who know someone dealing with cancer. Her Pink Hair doesn't go into any of the unpleasant details, but it's told from the point of view of a young girl whose friend, Stephanie, is dealing with that disease.

Dana manages to make the book comforting in spite of the usually unpleasant topic. Stephanie looses her hair, as often happens with people undergoing cancer treatments, and when it starts to grow back her mother dyes it pink.

Although her friend's death is never specifically mentioned, the protagonist imagines Stephanie now has hair that's both pink and long.

The author also did the illustrations, which are photos of cute, charming figures made of clay.

This book will be a wonderful help to children who know someone dealing with cancer. The suggested age group is for kids from five to eight years old, but some younger children might find the book helpful if their parents think they're mature enough to cope with the subject.

The author will donate part of the proceeds of the book to a charity. She doesn't specify which one, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's one that helps cancer patients or research.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Survival Secrets of Turkey Vultures

This book is suggested for kids up to eleven years old, but I think it would be of interest to anyone who cares about natural science and ecology even if they're adults. I found it fascinating.

Vultures have a bad reputation but, as the book explains, turkey vultures aren't dangerous to anyone and they do a lot to help the environment. And, as the multiple photos show, they do slightly resemble turkeys although they're not especially related to those birds.

Frankly, I think every science classroom should have a copy of this book and kids interested in the natural sciences will enjoy it. Well, since some of the birds' habits are a bit disgusting to humans, most boys would probably like it more than many girls would. But anyone who reads it and isn't already an ornithologist will learn a lot. Debra Toor has done a great job.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Jeremiah Lucky and the Guardian Angel

I appreciate the author's dedication in Jeremiah Lucky and the Guardian Angel  to all children being raised by a single parent because I was once a child like that. When I was a kid my father died and my mother had to work. Fortunately my grandfather was able to care for me after school every day. But I can identify with Jeremiah, the main character in this book who is only in third grade, but sometimes comes home to an empty house. And I'm sure lots of kids today can also identify with him.

This is a realistic portrayal of his everyday life at home and school with the expected problems, but then Angus McDermit appears.

Angus reminds me of a leprechaun, and in the illustrations by Eric Hammond he sort of resembles one, but he's actually the guardian angel who helps Jeremiah each time he has a problem.

And eventually Jeremiah doesn't have to be home alone anymore.

Jane Ellen Freeman has written a book lots of kids will enjoy.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Bear and the Three Goldilocks

I always enjoy books that take something familiar and make it into something completely different. In Bear and the Three Goldilocks Kevin McNamee has certainly done that.

This cute picture book isn't just a reverse of the familiar Goldilocks and the Three Bears story, though it does have certain similarities to that one. It also incorporates things from another familiar story about the Three Little Pigs, although there are no pigs in the story.

Have I confused you?

If so, that's good. And I didn't even mention the burritos.

While this book incorporates features of the familiar stories, it's quite different and I think kids familiar with the traditional tales will enjoy it a lot.

The art by Robert Lee Beers illustrates the story perfectly.

I'm sure lots of kids will want to hear this story read to them at bedtime over and over again. It's definitely a good one and might even become a classic itself.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Wise Guys

In a few days the twelve days of Christmas will be over. Many churches will be talking about the wise men who came to see baby Jesus this week.

Actually, the Bible says the wise men came to see Jesus in a house when he was a young child, not an infant. They never saw him in a manger. And, while they brought three kinds of gifts we have no idea how many of them came.

They were magi, or astrologers who had seen a star in the sign of the "house of David "and assumed that meant a new heir to the throne was born. Today astronomers say that was a configuration of several planets so close together they looked like an extremely bright star. And the constellation, Pisces, was supposed to be a sign representing the royal line, or house, of King David.

Pisces is the Latin word for fish, and it's interesting that early Christians used the fish as a symbol of their faith.

But if the the magi followed the star didn't it move across the sky? Well, maybe the magi thought it must be moving since they could always see at night it no matter how many miles they traveled each day.

This was thousands of years ago and those men were the closest thing to scientists around back then.  That's why they were considered wise.