Friday, April 27, 2012

Exploring the Verse Novel with Cordelia

Thanhha Lai's verse novel Inside Out & Back Again won the National Book Award in 2011 and Karen Hesse's Out of the Dust won the Newbery in 1998. There's a wide controversy concerning how exactly to define a verse novel . . .some poets believe that verse novels betray the poetic form, some novelists think you can't create a powerful story writing in verse, others ask why bother, others say the verse novel is one of the oldest forms of literature. What do you think? Here are five critically-acclaimed verse novels for children and teens to get you thinking about this popular genre.

Street Love by Walter Dean Myers (Amistad, $7.99)

Keesha's House by Helen Frost (Farrar, Strauz & Giroux, $9.99)

Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson (Speak-Penguin, $7.99)

Heartbeat by Sharon Creech (HarperCollins, $5.99)

Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate (Squarefish, $6.99)

Cordelia Jensen, April 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Nina’s Five Luminaries for National Poetry Month

Talented poets with a stellar cast, in some cases literally. From top to bottom, Condoleezza's workouts, Captain Ahab's Writing Advice, the Universe's Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Zeus' goth club jaunt and the most surreal yet pragmatic fatherly advice you'd ever get.

Head Off & Split by Nikky Finney (Northwestern University Press, $15.95)

The Republic of Poetry by Martin Espada (W.W. Norton, $13.95)

Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith (Graywolf, $15)

T-Bone Series by Quincy Scott Jones (Whirlwind Press, $12)

Father Said by Hal Sirowitz (Soft Skull Press, $23)

Nina Jones, April 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Janet's Five Answers to the Four Questions

New American Haggadah, edited by Jonathan Safran Foer (Hachette, $29.99)

A Passover Haggadah by Elie Wiesel (Simon and Schuster, $16.99)

What am I? by Anne Margaret Lewis (Albert Whitman and Company, $9.99)

Miriam's Cup by Fran Manushkin (Scholastic, $6.99)

and of course...
Sammy Spider's First Passover and Sammy Spider's First Haggadah by Sylvia Rouss (Kar-Ben Publishing, $7.95, $5.95)

In the interest of those cleaning kitchen, house, car, garage, shower curtains, and long neglected closets, I am forgoing descriptive paragraphs.

Janet Elfant, April 2012

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Erica’s Five for the Fest (Mt. Airy Kids’ Literary Festival, that is)

I’m not sure how the Mt. Airy Kids’ Lit Fest started six years ago. I suspect that some exceptionally bright five year old—reading at a tenth grade level, of course—stomped his feet and held his breath until some beleaguered staff person broke down and said, “Alright already, Kid! Cool your jets! We’ll get all of our favorite children’s authors and illustrators together for a weekend of free readings, signings, and crafts! There will be music classes and puppet shows! There will be door prizes and giveaways! There will be food! Did I mention that all of this will be FREE?” And then, that genius kid, whoever he was, dried his crocodile tears and popped the snot bubble that had crusted over his left nostril and walked off into the sunset. And lo, a festival was born.

Here are five books by five authors you can see in person at our sixth annual Kids’ Lit Festival, April 13th – 15th!

The Popularity Papers, Book Four: The Rocky Road Trip of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang by Amy Ignatow (Abrams, $15.95)
Mt. Airy’s own Amy Ignatow kicks off our festival with a reading and pizza party on Friday, April 13th at 7:00pm.

Stop Snoring, Bernard! by Zachariah OHora (Henry Holt, $16.99)
This is Zach’s first children’s book and it was chosen as the PA One Book selection for 2012. He’s taking time out of his busy tour schedule criscrossing the state of PA to read us the tale of Bernard, an otter whose LOUD snoring keeps everyone awake at naptime. Saturday, April 14th at 11:00am.

Seriously Just Go to Sleep by Adam Mansbach. Illustrated by Ricardo Cortes (Akashic, $15.95)
You probably know the adult version of this book, New York Times bestseller Go the F*** to Sleep. Not to worry. Ricardo will stop by to read the brand new G-rated version of the story with a slide show of his illustrations on Saturday, April 14th at noon.

Sasquatch’s Big Hairy Drawing Book by Chris McDonnell (Chronicle, $12.95)
Chris has worked as an illustrator and animator on shows like Yo Gabba Gabba! for Nickelodeon and Tim and Eric Awesome Show for Cartoon Network. He’ll be leading a drawing free-for-all on Sunday, April 15th at noon.

Little Dog Lost: The True Story of a Brave Dog Named Baltic by Monica Carnesi (Penguin, $15.99)
Monica is a local artist, illustrator and librarian who was inspired by the story of a curious dog who wandered out onto a frozen river and ended up lost at sea. She’ll tell us all about his daring rescue on Sunday, April 15th at 1:00pm.

Erica David, April 2012