Holiday Shopping For Kids Books? Check Out These Titles.

If you are looking for some great picture books for kids this holiday season, check out some of these titles:

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FIRST SNOW by Nancy Viau

 

DON’T CALL ME FUZZYBUTT by Robin Newmanfuzzybutt

 

 

 

 

 

DINO PAJAMA PARTY by  Laurie  Wallmark                                  

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THE STORY OF ZIPPY CHIPPY: THE LITTLE HORSE THAT COULDN’T  by Artie Bennett

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SCURRY: THE TRUTH ABOUT SPIDERS by Annette Whipple

For more great picture books check out The KidLIt Authors Club where you’ll find award-winning books for kids of all ages. Check back here next week for some titles for middle grade and young adult.

 

 

 

https://kidlitauthorsclub.com/?fbclid=IwAR3Q0HRVSmT6YPa3-tnU2pLLuHkKZenQ4GCnJNBLQ7QRR0HQZElm3sC64SM

 

And The Winners Are…

Today I am happy to announce the winners of two recent picture book give-aways.

Rosi Hollenbeck wins a copy of either DEAR MR. DICKENS,  or A QUEEN TO THE RESCUE by Nancy Churnin (You get to choose and I will let Nancy know).

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Joanne Benson wins a copy of A BRIEF HISTORY OF UNDERPANTS by Christine Van Zandt.

Cover, A Brief History of Underpants by Christine Van Zandt

Please send me your address in a separate email an I will notify the authors. Congratulations Rosi and Joanne. Thanks to all who commented.

1, 2, 3, 5, 8…It’s Fibonacci Day! Here are Some Books to Help Celebrate.

Have you heard of the Fibonacci Sequence? It’s a number sequence that is based on adding the number that appears before it to get the next number in the sequence. 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21…You probably already knew that. Did you know that there are  numerous examples of this sequence in nature? Today is Fibonacci Day and here are some kid-friendly books that honor the boy who discovered this sequence: Leonardo Fibonacci

BLOCKHEAD by Joseph D’Agnese

blockhead fibonacci cover

As a young boy in medieval Italy, Leonardo Fibonacci thought about numbers day and night. He was such a daydreamer that people called him a blockhead.

When Leonardo grew up and traveled the world, he was inspired by the numbers used in different countries. Then he realized that many things in nature, from the number of petals on a flower to the spiral of a nautilus shell, seem to follow a certain pattern. 

The boy who was once teased for being a blockhead had discovered what came to be known as the Fibonacci Sequence!
Blockhead is a 2011 Bank Street College — Best Children’s Book of the Year.

Blockhead has been translated into Japanese, Korean, Spanish and Catalan.  

 WILD FIBONACCI: Nature’s Secret Code Revealed: by Joy N Hulme illustrated by Carol Schwartz

wild Fibonacci cover

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34. . Look carefully. Do you see the pattern? Each number above is the sum of the two numbers before it. Though most of us are unfamiliar with it, this numerical series, called the Fibonacci sequence, is part of a code that can be found everywhere in nature. Count the petals on a flower or the peas in a peapod. The numbers are all part of the Fibonacci sequence.

In Wild Fibonacci, readers will discover this mysterious code in a special shape called an equiangular spiral. Why so special? It mysteriously appears in the natural world: a sundial shell curves to fit the spiral. So does a parrot’s beak. . . a hawk’s talon. . . a ram’s horn. . . even our own human teeth! Joy Hulme provides a clear and accessible introduction to the Fibonacci sequence and its presence in the animal world.

GROWING PATTERNS  by Sarah C Campbell (Author) Richard P Campbell (photographer)

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An ALSC Notable Children’s Book

A wonderful introduction to one of the most beautiful connections between mathematics and the natural world–the Fibonacci sequence–through a series of stunning nature photographs.

Discover the biggest mathematical mystery in nature—Fibonacci numbers! Named after a famous mathematician, the number pattern is simple and starts with: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13. Each number in the sequence comes from adding the two numbers before it. What’s the mystery? The pattern crops up in the most unexpected places. You’ll find it in the disk of a sunflower, the skin of a pineapple, and the spiral of a nautilus shell.

This book brings math alive, celebrates science, and will inspire kids to see nature through new eyes.

You and your kids can also celebrate the day by sorting coins, buttons, cheerios, macaroni, or other small objects into piles using the sequence. How far can you go?

Author Christine Van Zandt Presents: A Brief History of Underpants + A Giveaway…of a Signed Copy, Not Underpants!

Today it is my pleasure to feature a fascinating picture book by author CHRISTINE VAN ZANDT (Illustrator Harry Briggs) about something we all use, and rarely think much about until we run out…underpants!

How did you decide to write about “unmentionables”?

While volunteering at our elementary school’s annual Book Fair, kids told me they thought nonfiction picture books were boring. Set out to prove them wrong, I brainstormed for a topic. Our (then) third grader came up with underwear.

After researching what had been published, there seemed to be room in the marketplace, so I wrote the funny nonfiction picture book, A Brief History of Underpants, then connected with a publisher via the Twitter event, #PitMad.

Cover, A Brief History of Underpants by Christine Van Zandt

What was the research process like?

Researching was crazy because the pandemic had closed down libraries and bookstores right when I most needed them. I ended up buying a lot of reference books online and using reputable e-sources to uncover underwear info from all of the continents back to the beginning of time.

Finding underpants facts in general is harder than you’d think—I guess there’s a reason they’re called “unmentionables”!

What is the funniest thing that happened since the book’s been out?

Since my book’s about all the things we’ve historically worn “down under,” I think it’s funny that my book’s quite popular Down Under with high sales numbers in Australia to bookstores, libraries, and readers.

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The illustrations are so much fun and add another layer of laughs to the book. Did you have any input into the illustrations?

I enjoy Harry Briggs’s art; his iconic comic-style worked well with this book. His illustrations for A Brief History of Underpants had to be somewhat realistic so I communicated links with images of historical underwear for his reference. H took it from there. I good example of this is the Ötzi the Iceman spread. The clothing scraps echo the real items Ötzi was found wearing; everything else is just Harry’s fabulous imagination!

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What is your favorite fact from the book?

There are so many, it’s hard to choose. While I’m fascinated that King Tut was buried with 145 loincloths (and wish I knew why!), I have to vote for the Medieval fact that ashes mixed with pee help remove stains, brighten colors, and degrease spots. That’s kind of gross to our modern sensibilities, yet I appreciate how it’s practical and natural to reuse things that would otherwise be thrown out. I’m not saying we should do this exactly, but finding another use for garbage seems like a great idea.

What’s next for your writing?

I have a number of completed picture books. One I would like to see take wings is a lyrical narrative nonfiction picture book about the challenges faced by monarch butterflies, from egg through metamorphosis. This manuscript has won a few prestigious awards, such as through SCBWI. I hope the story connects with a publisher so I can share this amazing creature’s struggle to survive and how actions such as growing pesticide-free flowers and milkweed can make a difference in this butterfly’s survival.

Here’s my review of this delightful and entertaining book: “A humorous and entertaining walk through the history of underpants. Ever wonder what astronauts in space or explorers in Antarctica do with dirty undies? Want to dress like a samurai? Ever wonder who invented underwear to begin with? All these questions and many more are answered in an informative, pun-filled way. The playful and funny illustrations add another layer of enjoyment to a subject kids will be drawn to. Everyone needs underwear…and you will need this book for the classroom and beyond.”

Christine Van Zandt with her book, A BRIEF HISTORY OF UNDERPANTS

 

Christine Van Zandt hasn’t found fossilized underwear (yet!), but loves digging up ideas that make great books for kids. She’s a literary editor and lives in Los Angeles, California, with her family and a monarch butterfly sanctuary.

Visit her online at  christinevanzandt.com.

Author photo by Marlena Van Zandt             Book images courtesy of becker&mayer! kids

GIVEAWAY:   Christine has agreed to mail a signed copy of the book to a US address randomly chosen from those who leave a comment below. If you share this post on social media, I will give you a second chance to win.

Nancy Churnin Presents: Two New Picture Books That Celebrate Speaking Up and Righting Wrongs + Enter to Win a Copy of One.

Today it is my pleasure to feature one of my favorite non-fiction picture book authors Nancy Churnin, who has two new books out. I asked Nancy to tell us about these stories and the connecting themes between them. Here’s Nancy:

Thank you so much, Darlene, for the opportunity to share my journey with A Queen to the Rescue, the Story of Henrietta Szold, Founder of Hadassah, illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg (Creston Books) and Dear Mr. Dickens, illustrated by Bethany Stancliffe (Albert Whitman & Company)

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As a lifetime member of Hadassah, the Jewish women’s charitable organization, I was familiar with the name, Henrietta Szold, as the founder, but my knowledge didn’t go much beyond that. When I was accepted to the PJ Library’s TENT program at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts in 2019, I looked forward to fulfilling a commitment to working on a book about a Jewish subject. I researched Henrietta Szold and the more I learned about her, the more amazed I was and the more determined I was to tell her story in the book that became A QUEEN TO THE RESCUE.

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Here Henrietta was, a woman growing up in Baltimore in the 1800s, a child during the Civil War, a young woman without the right to vote, limited in opportunities, and yet, when she saw a need, nothing could stop her from pouring her formidable energy and organizational skills into solving that problem. Immigrants having trouble finding jobs or supporting their families because they didn’t how to speak English or what the customs of their new country? She created the first night school in America so they can work during the day and learn what they need to know to succeed at night. People in need of medical care in Palestine? She founded Hadassah, the first charitable organization established run by women. Children at risk in Nazi Germany? She expanded an existing program, Youth Aliyah, and raised money with the help of the women of Hadassah, to save, relocate and educate 11,000 children.

When asked the secret to her success, she said, in an interview cited by the Jewish Women’s Archive, “a strong constitution, a devotion to duty and a big conscience,” together with “a flair for organization” and “a pretty big capacity for righteous indignation.”

I hope her story shows and inspires a new generation that you don’t have to be rich or famous to make a difference. If you care about doing the right thing, if you’re willing to work hard and team up with others who share your goals, you can help heal the world. That’s why I created a project to do with this book, Heal the World, in the hope that it would encourage kids to team up to help others.

https://www.nancychurnin.com/a-queen-to-the-rescue

I discovered Eliza Davis, the heroine of DEAR MR. DICKENS by accident, but the minute I found her, I became obsessed with telling her story.

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I have been a fan of Charles Dickens as long as I remember. But, I also had been troubled and hurt by the way he wrote about Jewish people – my people – particularly in Oliver Twist when he referred to the wicked Fagin over and over again as “the Jew.” How could someone as noble and great-hearted as Charles Dickens have no heart for the Jewish people, I wondered. I had gone to the library to do research on another topic, when my mind drifted to Dickens and I started browsing articles about him. That’s when I found two lines that leapt out at me – lines about a Jewish woman, Eliza Davis, who had written him a letter about the very thing that had upset me – his portrayal of Fagin!

I read with wonder as the article went on to say that following their correspondence he had created the kindly Mr. Riah, his first sympathetic Jewish character in Our Mutual Friend, because of her letters. What? I had to find those letters! With the help of my wonderful librarians at my local library in Plano, Texas, I was able to locate a book in the rare book collection of the University of North Texas library in Denton, Texas, donated by Professor Don Vann (to whom the book is dedicated along with his late, lovely wife, Dolores Vann), that contained the full correspondence.

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I learned from careful reading and rereading how persistent Eliza Davis had been. Charles Dickens’s response to her first letter had been dismissive, but Eliza didn’t give up. She wrote again, trying to explain her feelings in a more persuasive way.

What I learned from my research and journey with this story was that an ordinary person like Eliza Davis – or you and me – can have an impact on people who are powerful and famous – like Charles Dickens – simply by speaking up.

Before I told her story, many people may not have known that this ordinary person whose name few people outside her family and community knew was the reason his heart changed and he became more inclusive in his world view – a change that would affect how England, going forward, would treat her Jewish population. In the same way, we may not know the long term good any of us do by speaking up. But we have to trust, like Eliza Davis, that speaking up matters and may help bend the arc of the moral universe toward justice more than we realize. That’s why I created a project to do with this book, Dear…, in the hope that it will encourage kids to write letters to people in positions of influence, asking them to do better. https://www.nancychurnin.com/dearmrdickens

Nancy has generously agreed to give away a copy of one of these wonderful books…winner gets to choose! To be in the running, leave a comment telling us about a time when speaking up made a difference in your life or someone you know. One winner will be randomly drawn from all entered. If you share this post on social media, I will give you a second chance to win.

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Pick a Peck of Pickled Peppers…It’s International Tongue Twisters Day!

Betty Battle bought some butter to make her batter better…

Theophilous Thistledown the thistle-sifter, sifted a sieve of unsifted thistles…

A tutor who tooted a flute tried to teach two young tooters to toot…

Who doesn’t love a good tongue twister?  I’m sure we all have our favorites from childhood. How about sharing some with those you love to celebrate INTERNATIONAL TONGUE TWISTER DAY...which happens to be today! Believe it or not, tongue twisters are often used as exercises for public speaking and at parties and social gatherings to break the ice and put people at ease.

Here are a couple of books to exercise your tongue twister muscles:

Three hundred and Thirty Three Twisted Tongue Twisters: A wacky twist on the modern tongue twister by Byron L Reeder

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Original and unique tongue twisters created for warming up the mouth muscles, just plain fun and overall ease of speaking. Note: This book will actually show how to use these tongue twisters in a game setting also. Parties and social gatherings are just a few of the perfect opportunities for testing your skills. So go challenge your family and friends to see who can be the first to say these fabulous tongue twisters the fastest without getting flustered!

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National Geographic Kids Just Joking: 300 Hilarious Jokes, Tricky Tongue Twisters, and Ridiculous Riddles by National Kids

Packed with the silly jokes that kids love, including knock-knocks, tongue twisters, riddles, traditional question and answer jokes, and more, Just Joking will be presented in National Geographic Kids’ colorful, photo-driven style. Laughing animals, funny people, and other colorful photos are paired with each joke, adding an extra laugh on each page. National Geographic Kids’ signature square trim size and candy-colored palette make this fun-filled book perfect for tossing into a backpack to share with friends at school or camp.

Got a favorite tongue twister you’d like to share?

 

Tour U.S. Museums Virtually With the Kids by Marilyn Ostermiller

(Second in a two-part series on how to accompany the children in your life on virtual visits to a variety of museums.)

With the advent of virtual visits to many museums across America, families can time travel throughout history without leaving home. Access is free so it won’t put a dent the budget. But, it’s important to set the stage and manage expectations for the kids before the visit begins. Preparations could begin by reading museum-related books such as these:

The Met: Lost in the Museum” is a seek-and-find adventure that takes place in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. met photo

The story follows a young girl as she moves through the museum’s galleries of Greek and Roman art, Ancient Egypt and Modern Art searching for specific treasures. Reading age: 7-9 years. It was written by Will Mabbit and illustrated by Aaron Cushley.

Seek & Find — Art Through the Ages” written by Frederic Furon and illustrated by Fabien Laurent. Youngsters will learn of a search for a medieval illuminator at a cathedral under construction and visit Impressionists as they paint by the seaside.

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Among the museums in the United States with virtual visiting options and a focus on what interests kids:

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

http://www.metmuseum.org

MetKids provides an online experience that features a time machine to uncover objects and artwork from the museum’s rooms. Virtual visitors can explore inventions, fashion and battles through videos and an interactive museum map. van gogh

For example, kids discuss famous paintings, including Washington Crossing the Delaware, with one of the museum’s curators.

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Washington D.C.

https://naturalhistory.si.edu/exhibits

Virtual visitors glide through the museum led by a guide from one exhibit to another. Subject range from natural history, the ocean, and human origins. An ongoing series of live webcasts for families demonstrate topics such as how the museum’s technicians remove fossils from rock, repair broken bones, and reconstruct missing pieces to create the dinosaur skeletons on display in the museum. elephant for ostermiller post

National Children’s Museum, Washington D.C.

http://www.nationalchildrensmuseum.org

This kid-friendly museum features more than 75 STEAMwork video programs, including a detailed demonstration of how to build a zip line for toys in the house. There are monthly podcasts where children interview STEAM innovators from across the country and virtual field trips that usher them into the museum for free field trips.

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, Calif.

https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams

Live web cams and prerecorded videos of penguins at feeding time, are accompanied by a chat about what they eat, how they eat it and why. Other sea creatures introduced in their natural habitat include jelly fish, leopard sharks, and sea otters.

fish for ostrrmiller blog 2one of the online exhibits at the aquarium.

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Marilyn Ostermiller is a long-time journalist who seeks out family-friendly activities.