Monday, December 14, 2015

Janet's Four Favorite Gift Ideas and One Book, of Course

Traditional Japanese Origami by Nick Robinson (Rockpoint, $15.99)
This set includes seventy pieces of exceptional origami paper and an instruction book housed in a beautiful cover. (A variety of other origami sets are also available at the store.)

The Saggy Baggy Elephant by Yottoy ($14.99) with The Saggy Baggy Elephant by K & B Jackson (Golden Books, $3.99)
Classic children's books accompanied by plush main characters often bring the story alive for young and older readers. Our collection of plush ranges from classics to modern favorites.

Left Right Ergonomic Crayons (International Arrivals, $7.95)
Perfect for little grips with either hand, this crayon set is non-toxic, erasable, and eco- friendly. This year, we have a large variety of drawing, coloring and painting sets along with both children's and adult coloring books.

Feathers Gilded Journal by Margaret Berg (Blink, $14.99)
From the whimsical to the simple and practical, journals make a great gift for the writer, the artist, the scribbler in all of us.

Dusk by Uri Shulevitz (Farrar Straus Girooux, $17.99)
One storybook that points the reader to all the lights of the winter festival.

Janet Elfant, December 2015

Sunday, December 13, 2015

A Staff Pick List Meta-List for December 2015

Searching for a recommendation? We've been compiling staff pick lists, in print and on the blog, for nearly 5 years! The print copies are all collected in binders at the store -- feel free to peruse whenever you're in and looking for inspiration.

Here, meanwhile, is a sampling of our lists online -- Apologies for not getting it out until the seventh day of Chanukah... Check them out, and feel free to comment, particularly if you have a book you'd love to recommend that fits the theme!

First, some general links (including some labels available in the sidebar):

- All of the Staff Pick Lists
- Picks by (or on behalf of) our kids
- Great QUILTBAG* (Queer, etc.) Books for Kids and Teens
- Celebrating Multiracial Families and Friendships: A List of Books for Kids and Teens
- The 2011 Staff Pick List Meta-List
- Posts labeled "gifts"

Our Current Staff:

- Elliott's Five Poets That Will Make You Gasp for the Beauty of It All
- Five Books That Were Even Better Than Elliott Thought They'd Be
- Celebrating Translators -- Elliott's Five Favorites You Don't Know You Already Know
- All of Elliott's Picks



- Janet's Five Ways to Feel Grateful
- Janet's Five Selections of Hope through Music
- Janet's Five Picks That Speak to the Obsessive in All of Us
- All of Janet's Picks


- Jen’s Five Books Not Just for Parents
- Ten Authors of Series Jen Loves to Reread: Part I
- Jen’s Five Kids’ Books Demonstrating That Vehicles Are Not Just for Boys
- All of Jen's Picks


- Mariga's Five Picks to Sweep You Away to Imperial Russia
- Mariga's Five Favorite Books Featuring Ducks
- Mariga's Five New Books Featuring Classic Literary Characters
- All of Mariga's Picks


- Micah's Favorite Books That Break the 4th Wall (according to Nif, his mum)
- Nif and Jen’s Five Books for Potty-Training
- Nif's Five Books That Make Micah (age 19m) Go "Moo!" (which means "More, more!")
- All of Nif's Picks



- Sarah's Five Favorite Feminist Books of the Year (So Far)
- Sarah's Five Favorite Children's Read-Aloud Stories
- Sarah's Phive Phavorite Philly-Related Books
- All of Sarah's Picks


- Sheila’s Five Books of Adventure for Warrior Girls...and Boys
- Sheila’s Five Series for When I Want My Books to Be Candy
- Five Jewish-y Books that Sheila Likes a Lot, for Many Ages
- All of Sheila's Picks

- Raw Writers 2015 -- Tiara's Four Picks by African American Authors
- Big Blue Marble's Picks for Children's Book Week (May 4-10, 2015)
- All of Tiara's Picks

Our Writers-in-Residence:

- Exploring the Verse Novel with Cordelia
- Cordelia's Five Books That Feature Creative Talent as a Major Theme
- Cordelia’s Five Newbery Honor/Medal Winners Featuring Female Main Characters Who Overcome Parental Loss and Conflict in Unusual Ways
- All of Cordelia's Picks



- Minter's Four Memoir Pairs
- Minter’s Five Recommended Books About Writing
- Minter’s Five Writers’ Journals That Illuminate the Writing Process
- All of Minter's Picks

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Jen's Five Gifts of Cheer and Edification

Most, but not all, courtesy of the Unemployed Philosophers Guild.

Famous People Magnetic Finger Puppets!
Haven't you always wanted Frida Kahlo on your fridge, or near to hand? Rosa Parks? Betsy Ross? Get several at a time, and stage fantastic conversations: poets Walt Whitman and Rumi and Sylvia Plath, Sappho and Pete Seeger (with their stringed instruments), Che Guevara and Emma Goldman, Darwin and Einstein, or Zora Neale Hurston and Joan of Arc (points if you know why). Also, check out our supply of Schrödinger's cat puppets! But hurry -- until you look, you won't know whether we still have them...or not.

Heat Changing TARDIS mug
With the addition of only a hot cup of tea (or other liquid), this amazing Police Call Box will dematerialize and then rematerialize all the way on the other side of the mug! We also have mugs of banned books, Yiddish proverbs, Shakespearean insults, and heat-activated constellations.

Jews Glasses
When Micah was 3, and Passover came around, we sat at dinner and told him about the
holiday. We talked about slavery, and his Jewish ancestors, and his African American ancestors, and I told a brief version of the story of the Jews' escape from Egypt. He listened patiently, and at the end he asked, "So what happened to the red stuff?" Red stuff? We hadn't talked about the plagues...or named the sea... "You know," he prompted, "the juice!" Oh, the juice. The juice who escaped from slavery. Oops.
So here are some juice glasses covered with the names and images of famous Jews. Drink up!

Totes Adorbs
From manatees sharing tea (or octopi serving pie) to "Books, Not Bombs," to the little "Read to Me" and "Future Author" versions, we have charming, literary, useful canvas tote bags for your every book-carrying need. (Oh, and it turns out they can carry other things, too.)

Encouragemints and Empowermints
These are tiny peppermints in tiny tins featuring the images of, respectively, Mr. Fred Rogers and Rosie the Riveter. Give yourself a boost!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Raw Writers 2015 -- Tiara's Four Picks by African American Authors

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Anchor Books, $15.95)
I really appreciate the humorous characters that Adichie creates. They are gritty and unabashedly honest about the customs of their home, Nigeria, in juxtaposition with what they experienced while trying to assimilate in America. However, this story transcends any cultural barriers and is ultimately about a love the endures both distance and time.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Anchor Books, $7.95)
Adapted from a TED Talk conference, We Should All Be Feminists delves into how and why the word "feminist" has developed a negative and extremist connotation. In this short essay, Adichie deconstructs some the ostensibly basic double standards in society and reveals the complexities of the modern feminist. As a person who would avoid the use of the word "feminist" in the past, this essay is a part the reason I now think of myself as a proud feminist.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Spiegel and Grau, $24.00)
I was genuinely brought to tears by Coates' personal account of maturing as a black man in America. He writes to end the disillusionment on racism that has plagued society for generations. As a letter to his son who was heartbroken and confused about the recent case of Michael Brown, Coates makes no attempt to comfort or disguise the harsh reality of prejudice and injustice. Both sobering and eloquent. I recommend that every person read Between the World and Me.

God Help the Child by Toni Morrison (Knopf, $24.95)
I usually shy away from stories told from multiple point of views however, Morrison does a exceptional job of intertwining the lives of the protagonists who have suffered from grief and unspeakable tragedies. The smooth sentences and seductive tone of this book made it difficult to put down even as these characters are stripped down and forced to face their demons.

Tiara Richardson, December 2015