Several years ago at a BookExpo convention, I noticed two people dressed in khakis, navigating the aisles to deliver a magnificent Mayan king figure to their elaborate, jungled booth. They turned out to be a couple from Vermont, Jon and Pam Voelkel, promoting their new book, Middleworld. Now, nine years later, they have four books in the Jaguar Stones series and give one of the liveliest, most fun and informative author presentations on the circuit, jam-packed with information about Mayan culture and enthusiasm for their subject.
Admittedly, it’s pretty easy to be enthusiastic about the Mayans. Except for their mealworm snacks. When the Voelkels visited a local school this week, one of the students’ highlights at their visit was to see their teacher, Dana, down a mealworm just like the Mayans. Well, maybe not exactly like the Mayans. These mealworms are dried (and I think roasted) in a snack pack from California. Yes, I’m talking about the ever-popular lunch-box favorite, Larvets, The Original Worm Snax. Continue reading
It’s a bookstore anniversary year for your ShelfTalker bloggers. Josie noted here in January that she and Elizabeth were preparing assiduously for the Flying Pig’s 20th anniversary. DDG will be 25 this year and we are in planning mode ourselves. One idea I had was to pick one book of the year for each of our 25 years, from 1991-2015. It’s a difficult process and I decided to talk theory with the world’s greatest expert on this sort of selection, The Librarian of Years, who has been gracious enough to speak with us here before.
Kenny: Thanks so much for helping out again!
Librarian of Years: Absolutely!
Kenny: First of all, is the selection of a single Book of the Year something you do personally?
Librarian of Years: Oh yes, we have an entire Library wing dedicated to displaying them!
Kenny: Great! My main question involves selection philosophy. For example, in 1991 I have good memories of both Griffin and Sabine, which was such a big book that year, but also of Possession, which came out in paperback that year, and is the first new release I remember handselling with abandon.
It’s been happening more and more: customers are snapping pictures of books at the bookstore. I know some of these photos are purely for memory. We’ve all done that. Sometimes taking a photo is easier than writing down a title. And sometimes, taking a picture of a book is an easy way to go home and order it on Amazon. Customers who use bricks and mortar stores as a showroom for Amazon are doing a disservice to everyone. And there’s seemingly nothing I can do about it. Continue reading
We often talk about reading as something we share with children. Reading a book to a child is always a lovely moment. I’ve noticed that sometimes, as kids get older, usually five and up, they want to share reading with a parent, or even a stuffed animal. Can these kids read yet? Most likely, no, but that’s not the point. These kids have grasped the real power of books: they are for sharing. This weekend I was struck by several kids who wanted to share their books.
A bookseller first wandering into what a reading specialist described to me recently as the dark underworld of early leveled readers is bound to feel that he or she has wandered into the wrong trade show. Upon closer inspection, however, it becomes apparent that it is not so much the wrong trade show but rather that one’s trade publisher colleagues, who ought to be there, are not.
The Reading Recovery program, which is the core in school resource for struggling emergent readers, is a 20-step stairway constructed for the roughly 15% of lower elementary schools students who are struggling to read. The stairway exits into the multidimensional world of written words, that marvelous place which average and proficient readers reach by walking or running up an adjacent slope.
Movie versions of kids’ books are iffy. A few are great; many are mediocre or worse. I always encourage children to read the book before seeing the movie, because the book is almost always better. That said, there are some books based on real events that could be fantastic movies. For instance: