Monday, November 23, 2015

A Bumpers Thanksgiving

What's the best part of Thanksgiving? The food, of course! The creamy mashed potatoes, the savory crescent rolls, and not to mention the delicious golden turkey! At least, that's what I thought growing up. When I got older, I began to realize how the holiday brought loved ones together, and I was reminded the importance of spending time with family. Luckily, Charlie Bumper learns this important life lesson much earlier than I did, but his adventure toward this discovery is one crazy ride!

In Charlie Bumpers vs. the Perfect Little Turkey—the fourth installment of Bill Harley's Charlie Bumpers series—middle-schooler Charlie should be spending his Thanksgiving break without a care in the world, watching superheroes on TV. Instead, Charlie has to deal with not only his stubborn big brother and his bothersome little sister, aka the Squid, but also the 10 people invited to dinner, including his annoying “turkey” of a cousin, Chip. On top of that, he has homework to do: a paper about his definition of family. But this Thanksgiving, Charlie gets into all sorts of trouble while ultimately learning how cool it is to have your family by your side.

Want to see what mess Charlie gets into this Thanksgiving? Check out Charlie Bumpers vs. the Perfect Little Turkey at your local libraryindie bookstore, or Barnes & Noble. It's a book the whole family will enjoy!

Speaking of family, Charlie and his family recommend creating these awesome crafts and crazy cool experiments together this Thanksgiving.

The Hand Print Turkey
*Squid Approved*

You can't let this Thanksgiving pass without making the classic turkey craft. All you need is colorful construction paper, empty toilet paper rolls, scissors, and some glue. With these ingredients, you can make some creative and unique place settings for your dinner table. You can find the step by step guide at Liz on Call.

The DIY Bottle Rocket Launcher
*Charlie Approved*

This experiment will make your family fun time rocket sky high! With parental supervision, kids can build their rocket out of a soda bottle and some cardboard, and use a pump to create water pressure, just like Charlie, Chip, and Uncle Ron. The water pressure will send the rocket soaring! To get the complete directions and learn the science behind it all, head on over to Science Sparks.

The Indoor Bottle Rocket
*Mom Approved*

To avoid a similar fiasco like Charlie Bumpers', this indoor rocket can get anyone’s imagination fired up, without destroying the living room or your Thanksgiving feast. Using a soda bottle, paint, and a few other items you can find around the house, building this rocket is all about creativity, and it's a creation you are going to want to keep for years to come. Find everything you need at Sainsberry’s Live Well For Less.

What’s your favorite part about Thanksgiving? Do you have any special crafts you like to do with the family over the holiday? We can’t wait to hear! 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Anatomy of a Picture Book

There is something universal about the magic of a picture book. As soon as fingers come in contact with the cover, children of all ages become entranced by the story and illustrations within the pages. But what gives a picture book that kind of power? How is that sense of wonder captured in a simple book? Well, we will let you in on a little secret... it's all in the anatomy. From Jacket to Back Matter, we want to share with you a list of key terms of a picture book’s anatomy that, when all combined, generate the life and magic that can be found with each turn of a page.


Jacket of Little Red
Jacket— Short for dust jacket, the paper wrapping around a hardcover book to help protect the actual cover. Originally made of fabric and intended to keep the book clean, today the jacket is highly designed and styled to catch the eye of a reader via interesting art and type. 

Front and Back Flaps

The front and back flaps of the jacket
for P. Zonka Lays an egg
Front and Back Flaps— Extension of the jacket beyond the width of the cover that folds around the front and back covers of the book. The front flap text gives a brief description of the book’s content; the back flap contains a biography and often a photo of the author and artist.


The jacket and book cover of Little Red
Cover— An outer wrapper of a hard cover or paperback book that protects the pages. The material can be almost anything that is flexible—such as cloth, paper, or plastic. A cover is not a jacket, and can actually have a completely different image than the jacket.


The spines of Little Red, Little One,
Stay! A Top Dog Story, Poet, and P. Zonka Lays and Egg
Spine— The center panel of a book’s binding that connects the front and back cover to the pages. This is the outside part of the book that shows when the book is on a shelf.


Top: Hard cover binding of Rodeo Red
Bottom: Paperback binding of About Rodents
Binding— The materials that hold a book together. A trade hard cover binding contains pages that are usually sewn and glued along the spine with covers made of stiff chipboard. A library binding is more durable, with cloth reinforcement along the spine and a stronger sewing method. A paperback is usually only glued along the spine and covered with heavyweight paper.


Endpaper of Toad Weather
Endpapers— The glued pages that appear at the beginning and end of hard cover books. There are 4 pages, usually made of a different, stronger paper than the text pages. Endpapers can be plain, colored, or printed and are used to help attach the book pages to the case.  Often, they feature elements from the story but just as often they are a single color that complements the illustrations.
Endpaper of A Place for Frogs, revised edition
that shows geographical locations of certain frog species
Sometimes the endpapers can feature elements that supplement the story inside the book; 
Endpaper of Sound of All Things that shows 1930's Brooklyn
sometimes they are breathtaking landscapes that can act as extra illustrations.

Half-Title Page

Half-title page of About Insects
Half-Title Page— A page in the front of the book, usually on page 1, that repeats just the book’s title. 

Copyright Page

Copyright page of Poet
Copyright Page— A page at the front or back of a book with information about the publisher and year of publication; number of printings; about who owns (holds the copyright to) the text, photos or pictures, maps or charts, and any other specific images; about Cataloging-In-Publication data registered with the U.S. Library of Congress.

Title Page

Title page of Stanley the Mailman
Title Page— A page following the half title containing the title, author(s) and illustrator bylines, and the publisher’s logo or imprint.


Examples of vignettes in Claude in the Spotlight
Vignettes—Small illustrations alongside the text that are used together to move the narrative forward, and allows the illustrator to make use of blank space to tell the story.


Example of panels in Stay! A Top Dog Story
Panels—Like vignettes, panels are another tool illustrators use to move the narrative in a particular direction

Full Spread

Full Spread in Little One
Full spread—Two facing pages that carry a large picture.


Example of a gutter in Little One
Gutter—The head-to-foot center fold line between two pages of a book. If a designer or illustrator doesn’t plan ahead for the gutter, illustrations can “disappear” into the gutter. 

Back Matter

Example of back matter from About Habitats: Polar Regions
Back Matter— Supplementary material in the back of a book, such as a glossary, a recommended reading list, references, an index, an author’s note or biography, or information about the book.

Board Book

Little Rabbit Lost as a board book
Board Book— A specific type of simple picture book of only a few pages, usually intended for infants and toddlers, in which the printed pages are glued to the front and back of thick cardboard for extra strength and durability. Especially useful for teething; publishers need to be sure all materials are nontoxic.


F&G of A Friend for Mole
Folded-and-gathered (F&G)— A sheet or sheets from a book’s print run that are folded, gathered into a complete set of pages, and trimmed, but not stitched, glued, or bound. F&Gs are often used as review copies for picture books, sent to key buyers, publishers’ representatives, and media reviewers.

Like any of the titles you see? Little Red; A Place for Frogs (revised); The Sound of All Things; Stanley the Mailman; Little One; and A Friend for Mole will be published in the upcoming Spring 2016 season, so be on the lookout! The rest of the titles can be found at your local library, indie bookstore, or Barnes & Noble!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Teacher Tuesday with Finder, Coal Mine Dog

Finder, a sweet, tawny-colored dog, becomes the hero of the coal mines when he helps to warn miners of the impending danger. This book is action-packed and will help your students learn about a lesser-known piece of history while staying engaged. Try this creative activity with your class so that they may gain a greater appreciation for what conditions in the coal mines were like in the early 1900s.
  • After reading Finder, Coal Mine Dog together, tell your class that they are to imagine that they have to work in the coal mines for a day, and that they are only allowed to take one animal with them.
  • This animal can be a pet they already have, or an imaginary pet/creature that they would like to accompany them.
  • Ask your students to write a journal entry on a piece of paper describing a day working in the mines (for extra fun and imagination, you can try burning the edges of Manila paper before providing one sheet to each student. This can be accomplished by holding the edge of the paper near a lighter or candle flame so the heat crumbles the edges of the paper. Do this over a sink at home and be sure to have this completed before letting the students write on the paper).
  • Ask the students to write about what they and their animal companion would do in the event of a mine disaster.
  • Once everyone is finished, display your class’ new journal entries on the wall to enjoy!

Click here for the full summary of Finder, Coal Mine Dog

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Teacher Tuesday with Marching with Aunt Susan

Bessie, a young girl growing up in the 1890s, doesn’t understand why she can’t go hiking with her brothers and her dad. It is not until Susan B. Anthony comes to town that Bessie realizes she has the power to stand up for what she believes in, even if it only inspires a small change.

There is a moment in the book where Bessie says, “I wondered if an eclipse were coming over me.” This poetic thought provides an opportunity to discuss how human emotions can be portrayed by events in nature. Try this activity with your class for further understanding:
  • Ask your students to write a poem about an event in nature that they have observed (a bird fluttering around a flower, a sunset, a rainstorm, a wave crashing against the shore, anything!).
  • In the poem, students should write about the setting and event.
  • Encourage your students to connect their chosen event with an emotion or feeling.
  • After, discuss what Bessie means when she says, “I wondered if an eclipse were coming over me,” (Possible answer: She wonders if she might become sad inside for a time).

Click here for the full summary on Marching with Aunt Susan and here for the complete teacher’s guide.