Event: CT Children’s Book Fair 2017

This past weekend I had the great pleasure of attending the Connecticut Children’s Book Fair at the University of Connecticut. I love this fair because it is not only an opportunity to buy more books and pick up holiday gifts, it is an opportunity to meet some of the authors. I attended several presentations and all were wonderful. However, I would especially like to share some information I learned during the presentation given by Rosemary Wells. I feel the information she shared with attendees is just too important not to pass on.

I am sure many of you know Rosemary Wells. She has had a forty-five year career as an author/illustrator with 145 books published, including such classics as the Max and Ruby and McDuff series.

To start off her presentation, Ms. Wells showed an exciting new video of an MRI showing the connections a child’s brain makes when a mother or father reads to their baby. When the parent reads to the baby, the neural connections simply light up everywhere! And what this even more important is that these connections are permanent; the brain actually makes permanent growth. Now here is the scary part. After the age of six, this type of growth is not possible. The child’s brain NEVER develops to full capacity if you start reading to them after the age of six. (If you haven’t been reading to them earlier, you should still start. It does mean, however, that they won’t reach what their full potential might have been.) These studies show that reading to your child is “singly the most important thing a parent can do.” This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep right on reading after age six. Of course you should – for as long as they will listen. But the earlier you start, the better.

After that exciting video and news, she showed a presentation that she often gives for school audiences: How I Put Together a Book. It was a very interesting presentation, but once again she shared some news that I felt should be passed on to readers. Today’s children have very low fine motor skills. She attributed this to the fact that children have too many screens in their lives. Although this was not scientifically proven, she is probably right. Additionally, she shared an exercise that she does every morning. For ten minutes she colors in a piece of artwork making sure to get it perfect (a coloring book would suit for young artists). She works with a steady hand and a sharp eye, focusing quietly and completely on the work. “When I can draw a straight line without a ruler, I know I have a steady hand and sharp eye.”  What a wonderful activity! It gives practice, helps focus and develops discipline. Perhaps this is the way everyone should start their day.

Two BookWorms Blog Celebrates Halloween!

If you’d visited the Two BookWorms Blog household this Halloween, you might have gotten an extra treat this year!

Halloween

Giveaway Reminder: The World’s Greatest Adventure Machine

Adventure MachineDon’t forget this week’s contest! Enter for a chance to win a copy of The World’s Greatest Adventure Machine by Frank L. Cole!

Just follow Two BookWorms Blog and leave a comment on any of this week’s posts. For an extra entry, share a post! Winner to be announced 9/22/17.

Good luck!

Review: The World’s Greatest Adventure Machine (and Giveaway!)

Adventure MachineReview:

The World’s Greatest Adventure Machine

Author: Frank L. Cole

Publisher: Delacorte Press, 2017

Doug Castle of Castle Corp. from Beyond (Beyond, California, that is) has held a contest. Winners will get the chance of a lifetime: a new type of roller coaster ride – the Adventure Machine – which promises plenty of thrills and chills.

And the winners are…. (drum roll, please):

  1. Trevor Isaacs, a thirteen-year old who is frequently in trouble
  2. Cameron Kiffling, world’s smartest eleven-year old who is just a bit hyper (well, maybe more than a bit)
  3. Devin Drobbs, an obnoxious thirteen-year old gaming genius with an equally obnoxious, photo-snapping father
  4. Nika Pushkin – a milk-shake-drinking Russian girl with a way overprotective grandfather (who happens to be very, very rich)

This ride is much more than it seems because the Adventure Machine taps into its riders’ minds to have a thrilling – and entirely out-of-mind – experience. The prime attraction of this ride is the Terrorarium, a name which gives just a hint of what is to come. And any number of deadly things – black holes, saber-toothed tigers, and miniature moose (???) – are lying in wait for the unsuspecting contestants.

What the winners and their parents don’t realize is that the Adventure Machine ride has a secret. And to make this story even more of a page-turner, each of the riders has a secret, too. (I’d love to tell, but no spoilers!)

With four unique children, one dangerous and scary ride, and a few unexpected characters thrown into the mix, this story gives just what the ride promises: plenty of thrills and not overly grisly chills to keep readers racing for the end.

Here is my own little surprise: another contest! Win a copy of The World’s Greatest Adventure Machine. Simply follow Two BookWorms Blog and leave a comment to be entered into a drawing. Share this post for an extra entry! The winner will be announced on Friday, September 22. Good luck to all who enter!

 

Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 

Review: Odd Dog Out (And Kevin Giveaway Winner!)

Odd Dog OutReview:

Odd Dog Out

Author/Illustrator: Rob Biddulph

Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books, 2017

Source: ARC

In Odd Dog Out all the dogs are just the same except for one. She marches to the beat of a different drummer. While the others seem all prim and proper, she’s unique with a funky cap and colorful ribbons twisting around her body. However, the fact that she is different makes her sad. Shouldn’t she be someplace where she fits in?

She decides to leave and go to another town (Doggywood) where the other dogs are more like her. In fact, they are just like her. She thinks that this must be the ideal place for her. That is, until she meets someone who is also different – and his opinion of his dissimilarity gives our doggy friend a new perspective.

And now the moment we’ve all been waiting for: I am excited to announce this week’s giveaway winner. Congratulations to Susan at Susan Loves Books! You’ll receive a full set of all of Rob Biddulph’s books, including Kevin!

Well, that’s the end of the Rob Biddulph book reviews (for now – I certainly hope to enjoy more of his work!)

 

*Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. All opnions are my own.

Reminder: Kevin Giveaway!

Kevin coverRemember: today is your last chance to enter the giveaway to win your own set of books by Rob Biddulph! All you need to do is follow Two BookWorms Blog and like one of this week’s posts for a chance to win.

I’ll be announcing the winner tomorrow – best of luck! 🙂

And don’t forget to share YOUR imaginary friend drawings to celebrate the new release of Biddulph’s latest book, Kevin! I loved this drawing below – how fancy!

 

Cherry Lou - Gwen

Giveaway: Kevin!

imaginary friendIn yesterday’s review, I shared a new book by Rob Biddulph called Kevin. Today, I’m challenging you to draw your own imaginary friend! Share your drawings on social media (Instagram @twobookwormsblog, Twitter @2bookwormsblog) and I’ll be reposting my favorites!

I’m also hosting a giveaway for you to win your very own set of Rob’s book! All you need to do is follow Two BookWorms Blog and like this post. I’ll be announcing the winner on Friday, September 1st (9/1/2017). Good luck to all who enter!

Check back throughout this week for more reviews of Rob’s books!

 

 

 

Summer Reading 2017

It’s that time of year again – time to delve (willingly or otherwise) into summer reading. Schools are handing out their lists. Libraries are offering all sorts of wonderful programs to give our youngsters an incentive to read. I’d like to share a couple more resources with readers.

First, there is the 2017 Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge. http://www.scholastic.com/ups/campaigns/src-2017

This site is one to definitely check, for not only does Scholastic offer plenty of wonderful books and advice for parents and educators, you can find out locations where the Scholastic bus will be visiting this summer. Hopefully, there will be one near you!

If you are struggling to come up with ideas for books your kids might like or feel you need advice, then check out the website for Reading Rockets, http://www.readingrockets.org/books/summer/2017.

This website has so, so much! There is advice for parents, advice for educators, tons of book suggestions listed by themes. Don’t miss the “Fun Stuff” section. For young authors in the crowd, the site gives details of contests you can enter.

My personal favorite part of the Reading Rockets website is this article: http://www.readingrockets.org/article/10-weeks-summer-reading-adventures-you-and-your-kids. It’s ten whole weeks of reading and reading-related activities for you and your kids! This is especially good when one or two weeks into summer, your kids are already whining “I’m bored” and your brain simply freezes when it comes to thinking up yet another thing for them to do. (Whatever happened to the days when you simply let your kids out of the house and they came up with their own ideas?)

Another summer reading initiative by Reading Rockets is Start with a Book, http://www.startwithabook.org/summer-reading-learning.

I love the books they offer and I love the activities. I used an activity on camouflage: http://www.anapsid.org/pdf/camoflage.pdf It was easy to use/teach and also fun.

Looking for still more inspiration? I have one last site to recommend. Check out this site: https://www.thoughtco.com/summer-reading-lists-for-kids-and-teens-627024

I love the categories they offer and every time I have taken their suggestion of a book, I have not been disappointed.

What will you be readings to kick off your summer reading? Let me know in the comments below!

Harry Potter Book Tag

I was tagged by Sophie at Blame Chocolate to do the Harry Potter Book Tag – thanks, Sophie!

The Harry Potter Book Tag was created by Trang and Lashaan at Bookidote. All the graphics used below belong to them.

flagrate

arabian-nightsA book you found interesting, but you’d like to rewrite it

Earlier this year I reviewed a National Geographic book, Tales of the Arabian Nights by Donna Jo Napoli. I liked the book, but what I really want is a modern-day version. OK, I’ll admit that no one could probably go killing a wife every night and get away with it; however, I like the idea of a series of stories which can each stand alone and yet are linked together by an overarching story. It’s kind of like a story quilt. Each little piece is unique, interesting, colorful and together these pieces make up a satisfying whole.

 

alohamoraThe first book in a series that got you hooked

 Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. I just was so into this story when it first came out. The movies rather spoiled this series for me.

accioA book you wish you could have right now

 One book I would love to own is Caraval by Stephanie Garber. BUT I want a copy with one of the special covers under the jacket. I have been searching but have been disappointed so far!

avada kedavraA killer book

One of the required reading books at the school where I work is Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd. Dreadful in every way imaginable.

confundoA book you found to be confusing

His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman. I found this series had so many twists and turns that I simply lost interest long before the conclusion. It contained battle scenes, which I personally don’t like to read. I also find lying to be a particularly unpleasant trait, and Lyra is such a liar that I simply cannot find her as likeable as many people do.

expecto patronumYour Spirit Animal book

One book that has given me guidance throughout my life is Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery. Actually, I could say this of most of her novels. They are packed with a wisdom that simply speaks to me. I especially love her insight into character. Some examples: “…and  it suddenly occurred to her that that simple little prayer (Now I lay me down to sleep) was entirely unsuited to this freckled witch of a girl who knew and cared nothing about God’s love, since she had never had it translated to her through the medium of human love.” Or this one (when Anne breaks her slate over Gilbert’s head): “Avonlea school always enjoyed a scene. This was an especially enjoyable one. Everybody said, “Oh” in horrified delight.” If that doesn’t exactly sum up every classroom I’ve ever been in, I don’t know what does!

sectumsempraA dark, twisted book

I read Lord Loss, first in the Demonata series by Darren Shan. I didn’t continue with the series because it was so dark and disturbing. It’s well-done if you can tolerate this kind of writing. I happen to be partial to sleeping at night.

apareciumA book that surprised you in a great way; it reveals to be more than it is

When I first read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, I was so surprised and so entranced by the whole book. It’s wildly imaginative (I just want this circus to be real!). On the surface it seems like a story about a very special circus, yet the deeper you go into the story, the more th7at is revealed. “Secrets have power” (pg. 226). This book is filled with powerful secrets.

 

I’ve decided not to tag anyone specifically for this awesome book tag. Instead, I’m inviting anyone who might want to participate to try it for themselves. No need to wait to be tagged this time around! Can’t want to see YOUR book selections for these questions!

Two BookWorms Blog’s Dream Author Panel

What avid reader doesn’t have their favorite authors? For many of us, the problem is which ones to choose! And with no limits, the possibilities are endless! So in today’s post, I’m putting together my dream author panel of authors I’d love to meet and hear talk about their books!

After mulling over many options, I finally decided to focus on a particular genre: horror. Why? I made this selection because scary stories – or at least those with dark overtones – are so universally popular. Not matter what age or gender, people like a good scary story. However, in narrowing down my choices, I decided to match up some authors perfect for a YA audience.

Vincent Price

    Vincent Price     Photo Credit

First of all, I’d like to introduce my moderator. I chose Vincent Price, master actor of the creepy and macabre in film. For many people, when they think of horror flicks, V.P. is the first actor to come to mind. He played wonderfully villainous roles and has been called “the father of horror movies.”  Who better to question a panel of horror writers?

Now for my panel. I tried to include variety here with two men and two women. Two are writers from the past; two are present-day writers. All achieve excellent results in the spine-tingling, put-your-head-under-under-the-covers department.

  1. Daphne du Maurier – Best known for her novel Rebecca, du Maurier wrote several other novels of a dark, paranormal nature. She also wrote short stories and two in particular were made into great horror films. “Don’t Look Now” and “The Birds” still scare me!
  1. Edgar Allan Poe – Poe is known primarily for his tales of mystery and horror. Many were produced as movies – starring our moderator, of course – and remain popular today. “The Raven,” “The Masque of the Red Death,” and “The Pit and the Pendulum” are just a few of the favorites.
  1. Holly Black – I had to include Holly Black as one of my choices. She is such a versatile writer, with YA and middle grade novels galore, graphic novels, short stories and poetry. She is perhaps most well-known for the Spiderwick series, but check out The Darkest Part of the Forest or some of her short stories.
  1. Tim Burton – Although he is mainly considered a filmmaker, I had to include him on my panel. He has done such wonderfully creepy adaptations of great stories and added many new movie stories. My favorites include Frankenweenie (author: Burton) and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (author: Riggs). I’ve also had the opportunity to see his artwork in New York. Wonderful!

With my panel assembled, I took some time to develop my – excuse me, Mr. Price’s – questions, too.

Q: Why do you think that the horror genre is so popular?

Q: Atmosphere is so important in a good horror story. What are some of the ways you create this sense of mood in your own stories?

Q: Characters are equally important. What makes a great villain?

Q: In terms of horror, what type of media do you think is more powerful: written or visual?

Q: Where do you find your inspiration?

For more awesome author panels, be sure to check out other participants in this “dream author panel” project, hosted by Eventbrite! For those of you who are not familiar with Eventbrite, they help event organizers create memorable events of all kinds. Learn more at https://www.eventbrite.com/l/registration-online/.

Who would be on YOUR dream author panel?! Let me know in the comments below!