Monday, February 20, 2017

Nonfiction Monday

FIZZING PHYSICS by Steve Parker provides aspiring young scientists with an opportunity to explore machines, light, sound, electricity, and magnets in a fun and easily accessible format. 

Each section includes hands-on activities to demonstrate basic concepts through the use of everyday materials. The five main subjects are broken down into subtopics as in the case of Machines: simple machines, wheels, friction and so on. 

A colorful mix of carton style illustrations and photographs create eye-catching visuals.  

Monday, February 13, 2017

Nonfiction Monday

Presidents of the United States, a new release from Time For Kids, offers a one or two page spread on each president complete with a sidebar that provides an illustration and essential facts.  A timeline along the bottom of the pages highlights important events during each president’s time in office. 

In addition the book opens with background information about the nature of the presidency, a helpful overview of the three branches of government and insight into the concept of a multiple political party system.  Following the newly elected 45th president, there are discussions of the basic steps in organizing a campaign, highlights from the 2016 election,  an inside look at the White House, and a brief discussion of several of the familiar First Ladies. 

The compact eighty-page volume captures American political life in a nutshell and gives young readers a basic overview of our leaders past and present and the government in which they operate.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Writers Wednesday

Ryann Ford’s photographic treasure, The Last Stop: Vanishing Rest Stops of the American Roadside  is a visually stunning celebration of America’s early love affair with touring on the open road. Memories abound in this one-of-a-kind collection.  The book was inspired by a road trip Ford took from California to Texas where she discovered the unique, sometimes quirky, and occasionally exotic rest stops that were so much a part of the historic roadside landscape. With her curiosity aroused, she researched the subject and discovered that these iconic bits of Americana were rapidly disappearing.

The Last Stop is the culmination of several years spent locating and photographing these monuments to a bygone era. The pictures are starkly beautiful with the architecture set against desolate landscapes. One of the most striking features is the absence of cars and people at sites that were once a center of road-weary travelers and dusty vehicles. Each image engages the eyes, the mind, and the imagination and though there is reluctance to leave the scene, the reader is compelled to turn the page and discover what next awaits. The text that accompanies each photograph is merely a thumbnail map paired with the name of the location, highway, and latitude and longitude lest it distract from the strong reality of each photograph.

A forward by Joe Ely titled Lord of the Highway sets a thoughtful tone for the book. A Brief History of Rest Stops by cultural historian Joanna M. Dowling, a leading authority on the subject, provides context for the photographs that follow. However, it is Ford’s extraordinary gift for capturing the lonely beauty of her various subjects that is spellbinding.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Nonfiction Monday

Camilla de la Bedoyere opens her book EGG TO BEE by comparing and contrasting some of the physical traits different types of bees share and how they differ.  A clearly labeled series of photographs follow the development of a bee through the stages of egg, larve, pupa, and adult.  Life in the hive is gives readers a deeper understanding of the complex social life of this amazing insect and provides a deeper glimpse into bee development.

Bedoyere also takes readers through the busy life of a bee and introduces readers to the important work of beekeepers.

True to the series concept, the text is readily accessible for children and accented with illustrations featuring crisp, up-close photographs, and clearly labeled diagrams. Notes for parents and teachers provide related activities for further exploration. A glossary and index complete the 24 page paperback book.

An excellent addition to home and school libraries.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Writers Wednesday

Inman's debut sci-fi/fantasy novel AGELESS asks the question -- If you could live forever, would you? 

Alessandra Sartori wasn't given that choice as a child, but she is forced to live with the consequences. Inman follows her struggles across the decades from 1943 to 2025 as she endeavors to evade the sinister forces arrayed against her when her secret becomes known. Brisk pacing keeps the reader engaged. The author’s willingness to delve into the darker aspects of mortality creates an undercurrent of menace and the unexpected ending provides a chilling climax.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Nonfiction Monday

Lynn Sanders’ story, DANCING WITH TEX, is based on the special relationship between George Archibald and Tex, an endangered Whooping Crane.  Sanders traces Tex’s life from hatching through years of study at the International Crane Foundation in Wisconsin where she was cared for by George. His understanding of crane behavior inspired him to “dance” with Tex in imitation of crane bonding rituals and his success, paired with the skills of crane biologists, eventually led to Tex successfully producing an offspring. That chick went on to father many others and aided in protecting the Whooping Crane for future generations.

Woven through the story of Tex is a subtle reminder that everyone has the power to make a difference and create a world that is a better place simply by making the choice to help.
Clear, concise language, simple sentences, and vocabulary augmented with a helpful glossary for unfamiliar terms makes the story accessible for young readers. Colorful illustrations provide beautiful visuals to further highlight the important story points.

An Author’s note, Questions and Answers, and Discussion Guide provide additional support for readers.

Friday, January 13, 2017


Saturday, February 18th! Save the Date. This is a truly fun event for a very worthy cause. Tickets are now available. I'm looking forward to meeting readers and sharing thoughts. Hope to see you there.

The Gingerbread Cowboy Book Trailer