Notes From the Shire

Oldies but goodies...

For around 13 years now, I have been selling children’s books. The last two years have been in a little less traditional manner, but the books stayed the same. Especially those favorites I had as a child. When I’m browsing for something new every so often an old favorite (we will not say how old) appears. Magically, the memories come flooding back: sitting next to my parents having them read to me; me reading to them; hearing the voices I created for the characters in the Get-A-Long-Gang books I used to read to my sister. The memories of a good book never leave you and when you get a chance to reread them the ability for new memories is just as fun.

A few oldies I recently found again were Miss Suzy by Miriam Young and Mama Don’t Allow by Thatcher Hurd. (READ MORE)

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Miss Suzy Cover Image
By Miriam Young, Arnold Lobel (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781930900288
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Purple House Press - July 2004

The Running Dream

Finally we are seeing the roads and sidewalks of our lovely town. While most of us thought we’d never see anything but snow and ice again, others were using the most delightful Vermont winter to grab a cup of hot chocolate and a pile of books. It was during one of these couch-a-thons I picked up the latest gem by Wendelin Van Draanen called Running Dream.

I was never a runner. But I do enjoy a brisk walk to the Northshire Bookstore to pick up a book (or two or ten). Be it by Van Draanen or another of the fantastic authors we carry. But in Running Dream, our heroine, Jessica, does not just run she is a runner. However, when a car accident (that kills one of her friends and fellow team members) causes her to lose one of her legs, Jessica thinks her life is over. The emotional course that Jessica takes (from waking up in the hospital to a very special race) is filled with as many turns as the school track she used to run.  With help from her family, old and new friends and a little belief in herself, Jessica’s journey to recovery will have the readers cheering her on. Van Draanen creates a realistic, accessible and humorous story about what people who are “different” can face and accomplish. (READ MORE)

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The Running Dream Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375866289
Availability: Click Title for IN STOCK Location
Published: Ember - January 10th, 2012

Once Upon a Twist

Once upon a time there was a little girl who loved to read. She grew up into a big girl who loved to read. The end.

Actually, this is just the beginning. Because of this love for reading I have found many books that fall into the magical realm of fairy tales—with a twist. While impossible to name all of them, two that made me twist and shout are Cloaked by Alex Flinn and Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce. Both take a familiar tale or tales and give them a new spin. (READ MORE)

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Cloaked Cover Image
ISBN: 9780060874247
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperTeen - February 14th, 2012

April is for Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month. And there is nothing like reading poems to our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews or students.  From the time I was old enough to write on the bedroom door, words have always fascinated me.  When I learned that there was a world of words called Poetry, I knew that poems were the way to go.  But perhaps what grabs my attention even more than a collection of poems, are a collection of poems that tell a story.

One such collection is There’s No Place like School: Classroom Poems selected by Jack Prelutsky and illustrations by Jane Manning. These poems are done by different poets to tell the story of the school experience. There are many different takes on the same theme: the good (Lunchroom Magic by Charles Ghigna), the bad (It's Today? by Sara Holbrook) and the naughty (The Drinking Fountain by Kenn Nesbitt). Each will have your students, children and grandchildren laughing out loud, sympathizing with the students as tests, naughty water fountains and more are perfectly described. These poets, along with Manning's illustrations, have nailed the world of school flawlessly. Adults will remember their own school days with fond memories and teachers will have their own Why the Frog in Our Class Is Purple moments to be reminded of. (READ MORE)

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There's No Place Like School: Classroom Poems Cover Image
By Jack Prelutsky, Jane Manning (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780060823382
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Greenwillow Books - June 22nd, 2010

Heroes….Starring You

About two weeks ago, I picked up the book Hothouse by a long-time favorite author, Chris Lynch. Thinking it would be another novel to enjoy; I snuggled down in my favorite reading corner and started to dig in.  What started as a “Reading Time” (a time that is always a preferred part of the day….only second to “Chocolate Time”) turned into a thoughtful trip on the meaning of heroes.

Two firefighters, their sons and the community that wanted to claim them as “theirs” is the premise. The result is what happens after.  Before his last year of high school, Russ’ father and another firefighter) are killed in a routine house fire.  This brings Russ to start questioning and remembering many different things: his relationship with his former best friend, DJ (son of the other firefighter and next door neighbor); his place in the Young Fire Fighter Group, and which memories, ideas and feelings he has about his father were real and which were the hopes and wishes of a devoted son. As Russ thinks he has a hold on this, new facts come to light that could tarnish the reputation of the community’s heroes. Just as quickly as they were built up, the town tears them apart. Lynch creates a five-alarm world where you start to understand that heroes can be human, too. (Ages 12 up.)

This led to the novel, Small Acts of Amazing Courage by Gloria Whelan (READ MORE)

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Hothouse: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061673795
Availability: Special Order
Published: HarperTeen - August 24th, 2010

Howl and Other Poems

I was introduced to the Beat writers later than most of my peers, but realized that it does not matter when you find them just that you did. This was because Allen Ginsberg was going to speak at my college. I was going to go to the reading with a friend, but family obligations prevented him from coming. However, I was not going to let this stop me: I had a professor tease me with his stories of the 1960’s and 1970’s; I had a former teacher/friend who had told me of her own Ginsberg adventure (a clothing optional romp in the park) and, of course, I had been On the Road.

The Alexander Twilight Theater (the campus theater/classroom) was intimate, but I still was a distance from the stage as I sat near the back. The only light shone on this balding, bearded man on stage. I tried to get comfortable. Tried not to think about classes or homework. I sat. I listened. I forgot I was uncomfortable. One word: Wow! He probably made mistakes, a false start here or there, but I do not remember. I remember a “little” poem called HOWL that has stayed with me: an acquaintance has sent me a copy in Polish; I’ve a pre-loved copy and recently was introduced to the graphic novel highlighted in the movie HOWL, staring James Franco. (READ MORE)

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Howl and Other Poems (Pocket Poets #4) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780872860179
Availability: Click Title for IN STOCK Location
Published: City Lights Publishers - City Lights Publishe - January 2001


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