Monday, September 29, 2014

The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming

In preparation for our Materials Review for Educators happening October 3rd starting at 9:00 am at Bear Pond Books, we're highlighting some of our favorites from our stack of 100 nonfiction books of 2014.

Candace Fleming, the award winning author of The Lincolns, Amelia Lost, and The Great and Only Barnum, shifts her gaze from United States history to Imperial Russia in her thoughtful, entertaining and scrupulously researched  book, The Family Romanov - Murder, Rebellion, and the Downfall of Imperial Russia.   

Opening in 1903 at St. Petersburg's Winter Palace, where the reclusive Czar Nicholas and the Empress Alexandra are hosting an opulent costume ball, the reader is lead through an increasingly hostile landscape as the discrepancy between the peasant and working class becomes exposed. Fleming weaves in the colorful stories of Lenin and Rasputin, detailing how they contributed to the inevitable fall of the royal family and all they represented.  

Fleming juxtaposes details of royal life with photographs and firsthand accounts from peasants and workers. Diaries and letters support the most moving storyline “Beyond the Palace Gates,” in which relevant accounts by starving peasants and exhausted workers stand in stark contrast to the cloistered experience of the Romanov family. 

There is an extensive bibliography and recommended online resources, including this collection of Royal Russia articles, photographs, and videos, and the Nicholas and Alexandra site, which includes a virtual tour of the Last Imperial Family of Tsarist Russia exhibition. There is a lot to explore in this book and beyond.

While intended for ages 12 and up, this will certainly appeal to adults as well.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

100 Books and Counting. . .Materials Review October 3rd, 9:00am

Revolutions! Gila Monsters! Baseball! Migrations! Insects Changing History! Johnny Cash! Orangutans! Bathing Machines! . . . More!

Those are super short summaries of some of the 100 books we're reading in preparation for our October 3rd Materials Review. The list covers new non-fiction on all sorts of topics for grades K-8. We'll have books to look at, books and supplies for door prize giveaways, coffee, coffeecake, time for conversation and a run down of what we're excited about in 2014. Our reviewing panel will be Jane, Carrie, Helen, and Scholastic Book rep Nikki Mutch.

A Sneak Peak - books we'll be discussing include:
We're also featuring some favorites leading up to the event:
. . .plus more, from history's biggest, loudest peace concert to animal classifications via poetry. Join us from 9:00 (panel starts at 9:30) to 11:00 am on Friday, October 3rd in the Children's Room. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Events in the Fall

We have many events this fall that might be of interest to educators. . . not all of them part of the "official" educators series. See below for the full list! Ones marked with ** are part of the educators series, which means there will be resources and articles related to the event posted here afterwards. 

**Friday, October 3rd, 9:00 - 11:00 am. Materials review. Coffee at 9, review starts at 9:30. Previews, reviews of new releases, and conversation about nonfiction children’s titles. There will be book and supply giveaways, and a chance to browse all the latest titles at the store. Covers grades k-9.

**Saturday, October 18th, 11:00 and 1:00 - Sarah Stewart Taylor Writing Workshops (Two different workshops) S.S. Taylor, author of the acclaimed Expeditioners books, conducts two creative writing workshops. The first, from 11:00 - noon will be for educators interested in their own writing as well as teaching techniques. The second, from 1:00 - 2:00 pm will be for young writers (recommended for ages 11+). Because there is limited space, we do request RSVPs for these workshops (e-mail  

Tuesday, October 21st, 7pm Ben Hewitt speaks about his latest book Home Grown. This book tells the story of his family's approach to education based on discovery and learning on their Vermont farm and in the natural world and everyday decisions found there.  

Tuesday, October 28th, 7pm Garret Keizer reads from and speaks about his memoir Getting Schooled, which reflects on a year spent teaching in a rural Vermont high school after several decades away from the classroom.

**Saturday, November 15th, 11:00 am Jason Chin and Deirdre Gill, Picture Books in Nature  - Picture book authors and illustrators Jason Chin and Deirdre Gill discuss how they tell stories that are inspired by their love of nature, using both text and pictures. Includes both their process and ideas for activities with students.

Tuesday, November 18th, 7:00 pm Author Katherine Paterson (Bridge to Terabithia, The Great Gilly Hopkins, Jacob Have I Loved) comes to the store as part of our regular authors series to share her new memoir Stories of My Life.

For a list of all Bear Pond Books events, visit our main website

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Back from Summer Vacation. . . .

A lot has happened over the summer and we're ramping up to share news, resources, and original articles this year on the Educators' blog. 

For the first time, we're offering a Materials Review session, which will take place on Friday, October 3rd from 9:00 - 11:00 am and we will review new and upcoming nonfiction titles, with a focus on grades K-9. We've had requests to offer these reviews in both fall and spring. We'll make a decision on future reviews based on the October event and what the Department of Libraries decides to offer upon the hiring of a new Youth Services Consultant. A heartfelt goodbye was said by many, many admirers of Grace Greene upon her retirement last May.

We've got a wonderful roster of authors signed up for our Author-Educator talks. Authors joining us will include:
  • S.S. Taylor (The Expeditioners)
  • Jason Chin (Gravity)
  • Deirdre Gill (Outside)
  • Katherine Roy (Sharks in the Neighborhood)
  • Laurel Neme (Orangutan Houdini)
We'll post the final schedule as soon as we get firm dates for the spring events.

Many of the authors who spoke in previous Author-Educator events have books coming out this year, which we will feature on this website.

This is the year that Jane starts serving as a member of the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Committee for selecting the long list of DCF books, which she will share with us this spring.

We're also making plans to bring educator-focused activities to Bear Pond Books' participation in two important community events: Art Walk and April Poetry Month.

In other words. . . it's a busy year ahead, and we're looking forward to it! If you haven't signed up for our Educators' Newsletter to receive twice-monthly announcements about events and a round-up of relevant posts, you can do so at the Bear Pond Books Newsletters page. You can see the most recent edition of the newsletter here.