Lisa C.'s blog

Get Reading, Get Moving!

Whew! Looks like Spring has finally arrived! What a great time of the year to get outside and Get Moving!

Whether you like to hop, jump, skip, kick a ball, ride a bike, or do some yoga, there are a lot of ways to exercise for fun - and we have a lot of books with great tips on how to keep your body fit and strong. Did you know that in addition to keeping your heart and muscles strong physical activity can also keep your brain strong?

Frogs - Where are You??

There is nothing that heralds the arrival of Spring like the sound of the spring peepers. I enjoyed listening to their chorus when it was warm enough a couple weeks ago to open the windows and hear them singing in the evening from the creek in the backyard. But frogs are often hard to see - especially now that the weather has turned cold again!

To get a wonderful close up peek at spring peepers and other frogs, take a look at Nic Bishop's book Frogs. It's filled with beautiful color photographs of a variety of frogs and fascinating facts about them, too.

Forge - Historical Thriller

If you thought this winter in Bloomington was a fierce one, you may feel it was downright balmy after reading about the winter the Revolutionary War soldiers experienced at Valley Forge in 1777-1778.

In Forge, Laurie Halse Anderson continues the compelling story she started in her award-winning novel Chains which describes the involvement of African American slaves in the Revolutionary War. Chains was told from the perspective of Isabel, a slave who spies for the rebels during the start of the war. She meets Curzon, a slave whose owner required him to enlist as a soldier and fight in the war in his place, with the promise that Curzon would become free when the enlistment time expired.

Ruth and the Green Book

When I got my first car, I couldn't wait to take a road trip of my own. I'd spent plenty of time in the "wayback" of the family station wagon as a kid attempting to read while my Dad switched the radio back and forth from baseball broadcasts to classical music stations. Now I'd be in the driver's seat and could choose what to listen to and when and where to stop for a rest break! The road atlas was my guide as I set off on my own from Chicago to visit my brother in Pennsylvania.

When Ruth and her family set off in the early 1950s on a road trip from Chicago to Alabama, they needed something in addition to a road map to guide their trip. They needed "The Green Book." "The Green Book," author Calvin Alexander Ramsey explains in his picturebook Ruth and the Green Book was developed in 1936 by a postman named Victor H. Green to help black people who were traveling. The book listed by city all the restaurants, hotels, gas stations and businesses that would serve African Americans during the era of "Jim Crow" laws when many establishments, especially in the South, refused to admit blacks.

Tomie dePaola Wins ALA Award!

So many wonderful books received awards from the American Library Association earlier this week. You can view the complete list of ALA's Youth Media Awards online. But I wanted to give a big HURRAH! to one of my favorite author/illustrators who received special recognition from ALA for his body of work: Tomie dePaola. DePaola received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, "honoring an author or illustrator, published in the United States, whose books have made a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children."

There are so many reasons to love Tomie: his sense of humor, his appreciation of a child's perspective, his beautiful artwork, his versatility. He writes, he illustrates. He works with both fiction and nonfiction, folktales and nursery rhymes, bible stories and poetry. I think I became particularly fond of Tomie when I discovered he shares my Irish/Italian heritage - which he describes in his autobiography 26 Fairmount Avenue, a 2000 Newbery Honor winner.

A Splendid Friend, Indeed

Well, it doesn't generate quite the excitement that Oscar night might bring. And we won't be wearing our sleeveless ball gowns to the library on Monday (at least I won't be!)... Nevertheless, we are eagerly anticipating the announcement on Monday, January 10, of the American Library Association's Youth Media Awards for 2011.

These awards include the esteemed Newbery Medal, awarded for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children in the past year, and the Caldecott Medal which recognizes the most distinguished American picture book for children. See the ALA's Youth Media Awards for a complete listing of the different types of literature honored annually.

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