Sunday, July 5, 2015

What Fun Bob and I Had With Authors, Illustrators, and A Songwriter At ALA This Year....Especially When We Get To Share It With Hagan

Hagan and I had the best time tonight looking through all of the new books that I brought home from the American Library Association Annual Conference in San Francisco last week.  We do this every time I attend an ALA event.

We read all of the picture books aloud, find interesting facts to learn in the nonfiction, and decide which book we will read together first.  I also get several for my sister Heather, who is a teacher librarian too, and others in our family.

Reading, collecting, and sharing books with my family is one of my favorite things to do.  And the ALA conferences are the perfect place to do this because a lot of times the ones who create these are there too.
My dear friend Bob Forbes and I have a tradition too.  We like to cruise the vendor floor together at ALA while stopping in to see the new books and visit with all of the stars in the literary world.  This year we did this on Friday evening when the vendor floor opened since I was only going to be there until Saturday morning.

We were very happy to find lots so many to visit on the opening night.  Just look who was there!
Our friend Cece Bell was signing El Deafo, who won a Newbery Honor this year.  When I watched the awards ceremony in January from my house I cheered when Cece won an award for this beautiful story...One of the best graphic novels ever!  
This is the book that I just can't wait to start reading with Hagan next week as we travel to see his sister Brianna in North Carolina.  I know he will love it as much as me.
And to make it even better....It is by his friend Cece, who just happens to be married to another one of Hagan's favorites.....
Tom Angleberger who was at ALA too.   

Tom was singing McToad Mows Tiny Island, along with the illustrator John Hendrix.  I hadn't seen their new picture book yet, so I was excited to see them there.  And just to see my friend Tom. 
Next we found our amazing friend Katherine Applegate, who is the author of one of our favorites The One and Only Ivan. We had the honor of seeing her give her Newbery Metal acceptance speech a few years ago....It was such a special event.  You can watch it here too
Last year Katherine wrote another book about Ivan....Ivan, The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla.  Bob and I were thrilled she was signing this beautiful book. 
If you haven't read this one yet, please do.  It is such a moving book and captures all that we love about Ivan.
Hagan and I loved reading the story....and in the back of the book there are several pages that give more detail about Ivan's life.
Dan Santat was the big winner in the Caldecott category.....He won the Caldecott Metal for Beekle, The Unimaginary Friend. 
I have loved Beekle from the moment I picked it up....And loved hearing that it won on the day the awards were announced at ALA Midwinter last January.  It made me smile to see what Dan's reaction was too.  

Bob and I couldn't believe how lucky we were to see another one of our favorites....and this is one that I had to pick up both books he was signing.
And Hagan sure did love it too......With his very own Beekle inside of the cover.  
 You can read Dan's acceptance speech from last week here.
While I was waiting for Bob as he talked to Dan, I started talking to a young woman singing with her guitar in his booth.  Within minutes I knew she was going to be a new friend.

It was Emily Arrow, who writes and sings lit-based songs for kids. Her work is the best!  You can read all about our visit with Emily here. 
As we walked around the exhibit hall, Bob and I were lucky to meet a few more inspiring authors.

Candace Fleming, was signing The Family Romanov, Murder Rebellion and the Fall of the Imperial Russia in the Mackin Educational Resources booth.  It was very interesting speaking with Candace about her new novel for young people.
Floyd Cooper, who wrote Juneteenth for Mazie, was published by Capstone Young Readers was signing in the Capstone booth.
If you haven't read Floyd's moving book, please do....It is the beautiful story of Mazie....

Mazie is ready to celebrate liberty. She is ready to celebrate freedom. She is ready to celebrate a great day in American history — the day her ancestors were no longer slaves. Mazie remembers the struggles and the triumph, as she gets ready to celebrate Juneteenth. This beautiful story by award-winning author and illustrator Floyd Cooper will captivate both children and adults.
And last but not least, we met Dian Curtis Regan who was signing her fun book Space Boy and His (Sister) Dog. This picture book is a great read aloud as Space Boy, along with his dog and sister, go a little trip through space.  Another one that Hagan enjoyed too....especially the banter between Space Boy and his sister.
Another one of my favorite traditions about ALA is having dinner with these two.....Thank you friends.  You always make this annual event so very special to me.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The PopUp Library Is Open.....A Very Special Place To Read From Our Friends At StarWalk Kids Media

I have some exciting news to share!  It is that time of year that our friends at StarWalk KidsMedia have opened up their eBooks collection in the PopUp Library
                          
For the month of July, we all have free access to 500 eBooks.  This is one of the best places for our young people to go and read during the summer months anywhere they have access to a device or computer.  
By going to the PopUp Library page on the StarWalk KidsMedia website, you can browse all of the books that they have in their amazing database of wonderful nonfiction and fiction eBooks.
This is one of the best collections of eBooks that is available to our readers, teachers, school communities, and families.

And as you can see.... from so many terrific authors!
When Hagan and I were looking through all of the eBooks within StarWalk KidsMedia today, we used a few of the eBooks trailers to give us ideas.  These videos are so much fun to watch and are a great introduction to over 80 eBooks within their collection.

A big thank you to everyone at StarWalk KidsMedia for supporting literacy, children's literature, and especially our young people and families by bringing us all of these special books and reading experiences.  

Friday, July 3, 2015

You Will Love To Sing Along To Our Favorite Children's Books With Songwriter Emily Arrow

One of the most special moments of this years ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco was meeting songwriter Emily Arrow

When my friend Bob Forbes and I were walking around meeting authors and illustrators on Friday evening, we stopped into see Dan Santat.  He was signing Beekle, his beautiful and sweet Caldecott award winner

Emily was sitting by his table with her guitar just singing away.  She just made us smile from the start.  We had to know more.  
Emily writes lit-based songs for kids. She has a passion and talent for taking the children's books we all love and creating lyrics and music for them.
Just look at the song she created for Peter Brown's, Curious Garden...
and Everybody Sings by Freckles and Emily.  Just the best way to teach our little ones all about music and books.
The song she wrote that we were super excited about was The Dot Song that celebrates one of our favorite celebrations each year, Dot Day!  
Emily even gave us a copy and you can also find it on Vimeo at the link above....I can't wait to share that with so many on September 15th....the day we all celebrate Dot Day together throughout the world.
You can follow Emily on Twitter at @helloemilyarrow...
and on Facebook at Emily Arrow too!

Make sure you check out her blog here.....She shares lots of fun stories of her work and the books she has the honor of turning into musical fun!