Ick! Fran’s Tick!

What comes to mind when you read this title? If you're a child, well, it's obvious, right? Ew!     But if you're a poet like Michael Odom, it's secret code, a play on words, for ekphrastic. Odom explains that ekphrastic is "a very big, very cool word that will impress a teacher and probably … Continue reading Ick! Fran’s Tick!

She Made a Monster – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Frankenstein was not a "must read" for those of us becoming engineers in the early 1980s. I'd heard of the monster, but had no idea of the story behind it. Now, it appears to be required reading for those capable of creating any sort of biological or technological monster, intentional or otherwise. Many consider this … Continue reading She Made a Monster – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Everybody’s Favorite Book – Perfect Picture Book Friday

And now it's time for— I know what you're thinking: that's a pretty tall order, isn't it? Everybody's Favorite Book! Just how does one achieve this level of perfection? By giving the customer everything they want, in succession, of course! And in sometimes over-the-top silliness that is sure to leave those tykes rolling on the … Continue reading Everybody’s Favorite Book – Perfect Picture Book Friday

The Girl Who Drew Butterflies – Perfect (Older, Nonfiction) Picture Book Friday

I don't often feature long nonfiction books, but I was smitten and gobsmacked (I love both of those words) by "The Girl Who Drew Butterflies," a new 148-page picture book by the poet, Joyce Sidman. Maria Merian was born in Germany in the mid 1600s. If you haven't heard of her, you're not alone. She's … Continue reading The Girl Who Drew Butterflies – Perfect (Older, Nonfiction) Picture Book Friday

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

It appears that novels in verse are now the rage (at least for me), and it's a good rage (as opposed to the other rage I've been feeling lately.) I just finished the dazzling debut YA novel: by Elizabeth Acevedo, longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award for Young People's Literature. In another life, Ms. … Continue reading The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Iver & Ellsworth – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Every once in awhile, a picture book comes along that falls into the deep well of classic reader response literature. A "quiet" book that reverberates for miles underground like the subtlest of seismic tremors. And it does this through the perfect marriage of evocative text and art. The story begins immediately, as the illustrator makes … Continue reading Iver & Ellsworth – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Who Are You? Gender Bias – #KidLitWomen

In 2015, I sat in a darkened auditorium in a hotel in Los Angeles, wanting to throw up. I had word poisoning. What was the source? The messenger's message. In that dark room, Shannon Hale, a keynote speaker at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Conference, was turning the spotlight on gender bias. … Continue reading Who Are You? Gender Bias – #KidLitWomen

Serendipity Strikes (AKR Moment)

Have you ever had an Amy Krouse Rosenthal (AKR) moment? Yesterday, I casually bought Terry Tempest Williams' book, "When Women Were Birds: Fifty-Four Variations on Voice." I read the title and decided to buy it. I didn't look inside. It just seemed like something I needed to read. When I opened it this morning, I … Continue reading Serendipity Strikes (AKR Moment)

Reading Gender Into It – Children’s Books and Beyond

There's an ongoing discussion in the kid lit world about why boys don't want to read "girl books," meaning books that star female protagonists or feature fairies or princesses on the cover or in the title. Is this "preference" intrinsic, or are they steered away from such interests, starting at a very young age? Shannon … Continue reading Reading Gender Into It – Children’s Books and Beyond

Lucky Boy – Shanthi Sekaran

In a nation overtaken by arguments about immigration and the building of walls, Shanthi Sekaran's new novel underscores the complexity of the situation. But immigration issues are more than a decorative backdrop in Sekaran's novel. They provide the disturbing context for its premise: two women fighting for the right to raise one child, one of … Continue reading Lucky Boy – Shanthi Sekaran