Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ferdinand the Bull Takes to the Stage

 This Saturday we welcomed Taryn Noelle to our weekly 10:00 am Cub Capers story time to share the classic children's book The Story of Ferdinand.

Ferdinand's story will be providing the framework for a theater camp happening February 24th - 28th at Lost Nation Theater. Sessions will take place from 9 am to Noon as the campers create a Ferdinand play for public performance on March 1st.

Taryn has led similar theater workshops for children before, but this is the first time with Lost Nation Theater. Her workshop is offers a new element in Lost Nation's education programs through its emphasis on movement. Taryn's experience as a choreographer helps her lead children in exercises and games that build a story around Ferdinand.

Listening to Ferdinand read out loud this Saturday, it was easy to see the potential for movement in telling this story. Bulls sit peacefully in the flowers, bulls leap and snort and butt and jump to show off their fighting skills, the hero sits on a bee, the humans parade through the streets and into the bull fighting arena with great fanfare.  . . and the hero stops to smell the flowers to create a happy ending. Plenty of activity to practice new theater skills.

There are still a few spaces left if you have children age 9 and up who might be interested. Details on the program and the March 1st public performance at 1pm can be found on the Lost Nation Theater website.

Listening to Taryn talk about turning books into theater got us thinking about picture book recommendations from past events for what other stories might be put to a similar use. There are plenty out there! 
Have you turned a picture book into a play? Do you know theater games that work well with children? Any recommendations for books about involving children in theater? We'd love to hear your suggestions - leave them in the comments section! 

The Story of Ferdinand

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Writing Workshop with Kate Messner & Jo Knowles - March 8th, 11:00 am

We're excited to be welcoming Kate Messner and Jo Knowles back to the store for a writers' workshop for teachers, librarians, and parents. Whether your interest is in fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, Jo and Kate will share a toolbox full of strategies and prompts to use on your own and share with young writers.

The workshop will take place March 8th from 11:00 am to noon in the Children's Room at Bear Pond Books.

There will be writing in the workshop, so please bring things to write with! Also, we're trying to keep track of how many people are attending, so if you can please take a moment to RSVP by e-mailing or stopping in to see Jane in the Children's Room. This workshop is free and open to the public. Snacks are served, books are for sale.

Jo and Kate are both talented writers and talented writing teachers. If you want to learn more about their approach, check out some of these resources:

Kate Messner: Kate has several picture books and novels under her belt. One of our favorite (and bestselling) picture books is Over and Under the Snow --a New York Times Notable Book. Her most recent book is Marty McGuire Has Too Many Pets, the third in a series about a young, resourceful anthropologist. Kate has also written Real Revision, drawing on her experience in the classroom and as a writer. This is an essential guide to fine tuning any work in progress and includes reproducible "mentor author" pages and related classroom ready activities from dozens of published authors.

Jo Knowles: Jo has five published novels, her most recent being Living With Jackie Chan, which is on YALSA's Best Fiction for 2014 list. See You At Harry's is on the current Dorothy Canfield Fisher list, and she will be the keynote speaker at this year's DCF conference in May. You can also find her on her blog where she regularly posts her Monday Morning Warm-ups (aka writing prompts) and you can also distract yourself during your writer's block by checking out the latest Things We Put On Fred post. (trust me, cat lovers, and see for yourself)

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

    Youth Media for Grown Ups- A Top Picks List

    Last week, the American Library Association gave out the Big Awards in Children's Literature - things like the Caldecott (Locomotive, illustrated by Brian Floca) and the Newbery (Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo). We've posted all the ALA Youth Media Award winners on this Pinterest Board - click twice on the images to go to our website for more details on each book.

    One award that caught our attention was the Alex Awards, given to books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults. That's great - but what about vice versa? Books written for young adults that adult readers will also enjoy? We all know there's abundant creativity, skillful prose, and unique, engaging characters throughout children's literature - and that's relevant to readers of any age.

    So, Jane in the Children's Room looked back over the books of 2013 that have come her way and selected her top picks for cross over appeal, listed below. What would be your choices? Let us know in the comments section!

    2013 Top Young Adult / Childrens' Books for Older Readers 

     Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
    "Rich in historical detail and intrigue, Code Name Verity is a vivid reminder of what makes historical fiction so compelling. In exchange for a temporary stay of execution and lesser forms of torture, a young female spy captured in Nazi-occupied France writes a confession of her activities in the Resistance. Her story is that of two women who should never have crossed paths, yet were destined to become the best of friends and embark upon the covert mission that would determine which of them would live or die. Courage born of friendship, fierce hope, and surprising ironies abound in this spell-binding novel."

    Winger by Andrew Smith
    "A reader looking to pigeonhole Winger into a traditional genre category may be in for a surprise. It’s a laugh-out-loud funny sports story set at a boarding school, but it’s also a serious look at the many different forms of love—and a subtle meta-narrative about the process of telling a story. Winger packs a punch that will leave readers rethinking their assumptions about humor, friendship and the nature of storytelling—and about the broad range of emotions of which teenage boys are capable."

    Reality Boy by A.S. King
    "A fearless portrayal of a boy on the edge, King explores the desperate reality of a former child "star" struggling to break free of his anger. King writes with raw honesty in a compulsively readable first-person narrative."

    Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff
    "Mila, 12, a keen observer of people and events, accompanies her translator father, Gil, on a journey from London to upstate New York in search of Gil’s lifelong friend, who’s disappeared. Rosoff respects her young character, portraying her as a complete person capable of recognizing that there are things she may not yet know but aware that life is a sometimes-painful sequence of clues to be put together, leading to adulthood."

    Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick (2012)
    "Based on the true story of Cambodian advocate Arn Chorn-Pond, and authentically told from his point of view as a young boy, this is an achingly raw and powerful historical novel about a child of war who becomes a man of peace."

    Far, Far Away by Tom McNeal
    "Jeremy Johnson Johnson (yes, Johnson Johnson) hears voices. Or, specifically, one voice: the ghost of Jacob Grimm, one half of the Brothers Grimm. Jacob watches over Jeremy, protecting him from an unknown dark evil whispered about in the space between this world and the next. McNeal has crafted a young adult novel at once grim(m) and hopeful, full of twists, and perfect for fans of contemporary fairy tales."

    Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang
    "Yang’s ambitious two-volume graphic novel follows the intertwined lives of two young people on opposite sides of the turn-of-the-20th-century Boxer Rebellion. This tour de force fearlessly asks big questions about culture, faith, and identity and refuses to offer simple answers."