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Finders Keepers? not in this book

  • Posted on February 29, 2012 at 10:42 PM

Finders Keepers? A True Story in India written by Robert Arnett and illustrated by Smita Turakhia was sent to most of the elementary schools in Nashville, Tennessee. Thanks to the donation by Dr. C. K. Hiranya Gowda and Mrs. Saraswathi Devi Gowda through the Indian American Education Foundation, my school received a copy of this Atman Press title. © 2003 ISBN: 978-0965290029

A letter accompanied the donation from the Indian American Education Foundation which is dedicated to promoting mutual understanding and appreciation through education between the Indian American community and mainstream America. I was pleased to receive this title which had received these awards:

  • The National Parenting Center Seal of Approval
  • Mom’s Choice Award: Best Educational Picture Book
  • Benjamin Franklin Silver Award: Best Multicultural Book of the Year
  • Independent Publisher Book Awards: Ten Outstanding Books of the Year and Most Inspirational to Youth Book Award

I confess, I hadn’t heard of this title or this publisher, but I immediately could picture several students who would benefit from reading Finders Keepers? The letter suggested we write a letter to thank the donors, but I decided it would be even better to blog about and review Finders Keepers? so that others could order their own copy.

Robert Arnett is the author of India Unveiled, a travelogue with award winning photography. Finders Keepers? is a true story based upon an incident during travel when Arnett lost his wallet. When it was returned to him by a child, Arnett could not understand the child’s view that he did not deserve a reward for returning what was not his. That incident comes late in the story as the beginning short chapters introduce us to the uniqueness of India. While this book conveys a message, it’s strength lies in its simply describing Indian culture and the people.

Smita Turakhia brings Finders Keepers? to life through her colorful paintings. As a review in SLJ states these are “sumptuous jewel-toned paintings with Indian motifs.” The illustrations’ beauty lies not just in their accuracy but in the respectful way Indian culture is embraced. I have read many titles set in India which have overwhelming artwork with thousands of details. Smita Turakhia’s paintings balance beauty with the simplicity of the message. The faces are individual yet distinct and remind me of several different Indian families I have met in Nashville. It is obvious Smita Turakhia brings a love of her native Indian culture to her work for children.

I am grateful to the donors and author Robert Arnett. I believe this title is a beautiful addition to any school library collection. I’m interested in finding out more about how this title has ended up in 6,000 school libraries so far so I’m off to email the authors.

Finders Keepers? A True Story in India

  • 32 pages, 11 1/8″ x 9″, Hardcover
  • Includes Glossary, Pronunciation Chart, Self-help Guide, and Index
  • 34 Original Colored Illustrations
  • Ages 5-12 years
  • ISBN: 978-0965290029
  • Join their Facebook Page. Have you received a copy? I am interested in who has and who hasn’t.

    Women's History to the 31st power

    • Posted on February 29, 2012 at 12:01 AM

    What else would you call 31 posts by KidLit bloggers this month as we celebrate National Women’s History Month? These aren’t stand alone blog posts that add up to 31, but an intentional building of our ferver for the theme that will  multiply our results.

    The theme for 2012 is Women’s Education – Women’s Empowerment. Below is the schedule of bloggers participating. I haven’t set my blog topic yet as I do not want to duplicate a title to be reviewed this month and because I want to be sure I have let publishers and authors know that I’m seeking the best titles to share. I’ll be posting on the 28th, but making sure to remind you throughout the month.

    March 1:  Shelf Employed
    March 2:  Jeanette Winter
    March 3:  Selina Alko
    March 4:  Fourth Musketeer
    March 5:  Marty Figley
    March 6:  Shana Corey
    March 7:  Fuse #8
    March 8:  Miss Rumphius Effect
    March 9:  March Aronson
    March 10:  Trina Robbins
    March 11:  Monica Kulling
    March 12:  Claire Rudoph Murphy
    March 13:  Vicky Alvear
    March 14:  Sylvia Carol Branzei-Velasquez
    March 15:  Jen Bryant
    March 16:  Karen Blumenthal
    March 17:  Peaceful Reader
    March 18:  Michaela Macoll
    March 19:  Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
    March 20:  Gina Capaldi
    March 21:  Jim Weiss
    March 22:  Elizabeth Rusch
    March 23:  Margarita Engle
    March 24:  Ruth Feldman
    March 25:  Andrea Pinkney
    March 26:  Shirin Bridges
    March 27:  Ann Malaspina
    March 28:  Practically Paradise
    March 29:  Donna Jo Napoli
    March 30:  Twenty by Jenny
    March 31:  Nonfiction Detectives

    Easter Engines – a Thomas and Friends Step into Reading 2 with a Giveaway

    • Posted on February 26, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    Easter Engines – a Thomas & Friends Step into Reading 2. New preschoolers and kindergartners relate to trains and to Thomas the Tank Engine. For students who may have never had an adult read to them, finding Thomas & Friends books in their school library gives them something to relate.

    How many of you have had students request “a train” book week after week? You usually run out of titles very quickly. I prefer to purchase copies of the early reading titles like the Step into Reading series. One new title I’ve received is Easter Engines which falls at Step 2. Step 2 titles are for reading with help for preschool through first grade. These have basic vocabulary sight words, short sentences, and simple stories. New words can be sounded out with help.

    Easter Engines deals with Thomas cheerfully helping out by collecting a huge Easter Egg, even though it means he goes from leading a parade to being the very last train in the parade. When Sir Topham Hatt opens the egg, they find Easter baskets for all the children.

    Random House Children’s Books is launching an all-new website for their hugely popular Thomas & Friends brand.

    The new website  http://www.randomhouse.com/kids/thomas is the new home for all of their Thomas & Friends titles.

    The new site allows readers to easily search for their favorite type of Thomas title, including hardcover, Paperback, Board Book, E book, Coloring & Activity, Novelty, Step Into Reading, Little Golden Book or Movie / DVD tie-in.

    Other new features include a rich library of Thomas & Friends printables, a video section with trailers of the Thomas movies, and a “What’s New” page that allows readers to quickly discover the latest Thomas titles.

    Here in Practically Paradise, we are hosting a Thomas & Friends giveaway in celebration of the new site. We’ll give away one title to six different winners. To enter simply email me at dianerchen at gmail dot com. Here is a selection of Random House’s  most recent Thomas titles:

    Easter Engines (Step into Reading) Thomas is rolling down the Easter rails in this step 2 leveled reader that will introduce children to reading—and the exciting world of Thomas & Friends! (Mentioned above)

    Making Tracks! (Activity Book) Help the engines of Sodor be really useful by fixing tracks with Thomas, making deliveries with Harold, and much, much more. With three chunky double-sided crayons, a die-cut handle, and sturdy write-on/wipe-off pages, this interactive board book is a must-have for little boys ages 3-7 who love Thomas & Friends.

    Misty Island Rescue (Golden Book) In the new direct-to-DVD movie Misty Island Rescue, the engines of Sodor are building a new Search and Rescue Center—and finding Thomas the Tank Engine is their first rescue mission! Boys, ages three to six, will enjoy this handsome jacketed-hardcover storybook, which captures all of the fun, mystery, and thrills of Thomas’ newest adventure.

    Search and Rescue! (Novelty) Special deliveries, railway repairs, and daring rescues—it’s all in a day’s work for Thomas the Tank Engine, and this 8×8 storybook with flaps lets little boys ages 3-7 join in the adventures.

    Off the Rails! (Coloring and Activity Book) Thomas is rolling full speed ahead and off the page in this new coloring and activity book! Little boys ages 3-7 will come face to face with their favorite Thomas & Friends characters as they color the 3-D images and then view them with a pair of 3-D glasses.

    Day of the Diesels (Little Golden Book) The devious diesels of Sodor are up to no good, and Thomas must set things right! The successful Thomas & Friends movie Day of the Diesels is retold in the classic Little Golden Book format that young boys ages 2-5 will love.

    Be sure to check out this month’s I Can Read Feast which is being hosted & compiled at Katie Ahearn’s Secrets & Sharing Soda blog http://sharingsoda.blogspot.com

    Don't say "Gay" bill

    • Posted on February 19, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    My views do not represent my school, my employer, any organization to which I belong, my family, my church, the organization that promotes this blog, etc. My views come from my heart and from my experiences as a teacher/librarian since the mid 1980’s. I am invoking my right to Free Speech.

    • I want the legislators to stop telling me every word I can and cannot say.
    • I want families/parents to be able to educate their own children.
    • I want all children to feel valued.
    • I do not want legislators to muzzle my mouth.
    • I want to be able to decide during the teachable moment what is the most appropriate way to handle a situation that occurs.

    Let me give you an example. While I am reading to a group of students reminding them to talk to their own families about a topic (any topic), if a child yells out, “I can’t tell my mom and dad, I have to tell my dad and my two mom’s”, I want to be able to simply state, “There are many types of families. Be sure to talk to the important people in your family.”

    I do not want to shudder and gasp and make being part of a same-sex family a stigma to these elementary children. They did not decide their family’s make-up. They deal with what they have. I will not react negatively so as to stigmatize this child just because some of the other students have “more traditional heterosexual families” and different values.

    Unfortunately if you follow the news, there are lawmakers who are very concerned that any discussion of human sexuality, except for natural human reproduction science, occurs before ninth grade. Here are some links to the so-called “Don’t say gay bill”:

    Librarians and teachers should be concerned with legislation like this. February 29th is a day to focus on anti-bullying behavior, yet we allow legislation that promotes bullying to be considered?

    What type of society are we becoming when I have to pretend homosexuality does not exist when some of my students live daily in same-sex families?

    Will I face persecution by educational officials again for stating my own views? Will someone attempt to send me to the classroom again? Will some of my colleagues suggest that I just be quiet about this so I don’t get in to trouble? These are questions in my mind. What are on yours?

    HB 0229 by *Hensley ( *SB 0049 by *Campfield) Education, Curriculum – As introduced, prohibits the teaching of or furnishing of materials on human sexuality other than heterosexuality in public school grades K-8. – Amends TCA Title 49, Chapter 6, Part 10.

    Since I do believe in providing teaching materials to educators and librarians, here are Patricia A. Sarles’ latest updates on her blog Gay-Themed Picture Books for Children: Picture books for children about the experience of knowing or having a gay parent, family member or friend.

    If you haven’t joined NEA’s Bully Free: It Starts With Me campaign, you can still sign the pledge.

    Fandango Stew and "Why you should go up and down every row of exhibit halls"

    • Posted on February 19, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    The placement of an Exhibit hall booth is a science. Those vendors with the best placement are probably paying the most money and have an established exhibit hall history. But there are other factors that determine where booths of vendors are located. Sometimes there are special rows that are intended to highlight special interests like colleges, international vendors with languages other than English, newby authors, etc. Do those placements help or hurt the vendor? Do they draw more attention to the rows or do they enable conference goer’s to simply pass up going down a row because they think the titles overhead have no interest to them?

    I wonder this each conference I attend and I do my very best to wander the far fringes of exhibit halls. I make sure to thank first-time exhibitors and to chat with vendors who seem “lonely”. (Okay, I hear the snickers of my friends who know I will chat with anyone) I can imagine what it would be like to be an author sitting in a booth and hoping that someone would stop by to ask about my book.

    I don’t know what booth I visited to find this book Fandango Stew by David Davis and illustrated by Ben Galbraith. It is published by Sterling Publishing so I wonder if they had the booth or if it was a regional Texas find. Regardless of how I discovered it, I am so glad that I paused to pick up this title and have it autographed.

    Fandango Stew is a Western version of Stone Soup. When David Davis autographed it for me, he said to make sure that I sang the ditty when I read:

    Chili’s good, so is barbecue, but nothing’s finer than Fandango Stew!”

    The vocabulary is rich in this title and there is humor for adults as well as students. I was able to drawl the story and have a great time teaching the students to sing on demand. Students  in kindergarten through second grade still sing the ditty each time they see me in the hallway so I know it was a success.

    If I listened to the voice of adults, I might not have tried this with children. One teacher said, “It’s so long.” Another said, “It has some sophisticated vocabulary and too many words.”

    I say to those teachers, “PHOOEY!”

    Fandango Stew was a great read. It may have been a little longer than some titles, but the students enjoyed it. They caught the gist of the story. All levels of readers were able to extract meaning while listening. They were able to recall the extensive list of stew ingredients and they were able to relate it to prior studies of Stone Soup that had occurred in every first grade classroom. They loved the different characters in the town and the voices they could use.

    I guess my message today is this: go explore every row and try out new titles with students themselves. Let them be the judge of what’s good. We want students to grow, not simply be stagnant.

    There are several places on the web with blogs and reviews of Fandango Stew, but the fact remains that if I hadn’t moseyed on down through the exhibit hall fringes, I’d never have found this delicious title.

    http://wakingbraincells.com/2011/07/08/book-review-fandango-stew-by-david-davis/

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704364004576132421078653928.html

    http://picturebookday.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/fandango-stew/

    https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/david-davis/fandango-stew/

    http://librarianistaalex.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/fandango-stew/

    http://storyteller91.blogspot.com/2011/05/group-goulash-fandango-stew-by-david.html

    http://www.nextchapterbookshop.com/book/9781402765278

    If you hit a Bad Day?

    • Posted on February 19, 2012 at 10:12 AM

    If you write a blog, participate in Social Media, tweet, skype, or chat on facebook, your life is public. When things are going well, everyone can celebrate with you. When things don’t go as smoothly, you have choices how you can react.

    1. You can share it all openly. This could result in several scenarios:
      • Others commiserate and help you get through it.
      • Others empathize and suffer along with you.
      • Others rejoice in your difficulties and make it worse.
      • Others just don’t care and wait for you to move on.
      • Things get better and you get embarrassed that you shared.
    2. You can hide what’s happening and pretend everything is “better”.
    3. You can ignore it and work even harder than ever to prove nothing is wrong.
    4. You can focus on developing a plan to make sure things improve and stay that way.

    Those choices seem easy, but we librarians seldom take the easy road. Instead we develop a wide array of coping mechanisms. How do you deal?

    Here are some situations that I am aware of occurring that give opportunities for coping:

    • Librarians losing their jobs
    • Budgets being cut
    • Librarians treated as babysitters, not teachers
    • Librarians being sent to classrooms
    • Books being removed
    • Qualified, eager librarians seeking positions and not getting interviewed
    • Librarians having huge numbers of extra duties added to their workload
    • IT personnel overseeing and overfiltering library patron activities
    • Ebooks being acquired without the benefit of the librarian’s expertise in collection development
    • Legislators passing oppressive laws and not providing funds to enable success
    • Teachers struggling and needing extra support
    • Librarians facing intellectual freedom challenges that threaten their jobs
    • Legislators considering passing the “Don’t say Gay” bill to forbid mention of homosexuality before high school
    • your suggestions?

    What would you add to this list?

    Scholastic's 100 best children's books

    • Posted on February 17, 2012 at 4:40 AM

    Scholastic put together a list of the 100 best children’s books (and the top 10 as well). We don’t have to agree, but  the list is interesting: http://tinyurl.com/87865qx I think the list is too broad, but I’d love your opinion. Would you have split the list?

    Two years ago I asked for your picks for the top 100 teen books. It has come to my attention that the posts of the top two never appeared live on this blog. Oops! What happened?  Guess, I will go back and re-post those if I don’t find them on my external hard-drive. I wonder if your picks would change now? I’m sure there would be some changes.

    Have you used collection analysis online tools like Bound to Stay Bound’s, Follett’s, Capstone’s, and other’s? I like to look at Opening Day collection lists. Since I feel my current collection of picture and fiction books is terribly neglected, worn out, not-replaced, and just underbudgeted, I appreciate every vendor out there with collection development tools. My BTST rep Janet was on her way to our school today to help me work with the BTST list. Guess I can wait another couple weeks before drawing up a new plan for shaping the collection. Maybe I’ll take the opening day list and see how many of those titles I have to compare.

    NJASL and CISSL's study on benefits of school libraries

    • Posted on February 16, 2012 at 4:00 AM

    I’ve been waiting for information on this study so appreciate Patricia Sarles sharing notice of publication on the AASL forum: Three-year study asserts benefits of school libraries on student learning.

    An executive summary and the full report, “The New Jersey Study of School Libraries: One Common Goal — Student Learning,” are available online at www.njasl.org.

    Take a look at the report and tell me if there is anything there that actually surprises you. Some of those conclusions seem like “no-brainers” for those of us working with school libraries. Now how will we use this information.

    Robert Sabuda – winner of Sydney Taylor Book Award visits Practically Paradise

    • Posted on February 8, 2012 at 5:25 AM


    Artist Robert Sabuda joins us in Practically Paradise today. Robert Sabuda and Michael J. Rosen’s pop-up creation extraordinaire (AKA book) Chanukah Lights is the 2012 Winner of the Sydney Taylor Book Awards, Younger Readers category. Have you had a chance to hold this book in your hands? If not, be sure to view this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2SKhAIh7J8&feature=colike

    The Sydney Taylor Book Awards were announced at the mid-winter meeting of the School, Synagogue and Community Center Division of the Association

    of Jewish Libraries.  The Sydney Taylor Book Award honors new books for children and teens that exemplify the highest literary standards while authentically portraying the Jewish experience. The award memorializes Sydney Taylor, author of the classic All- of-a-Kind Family series. The winners will receive their awards at the Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Pasadena, California this June.

    Candlewick Press, 2011. Ages: 4-8 (and up!) ISBN: 978-0763655334 Publisher’s description:

    From a pop-up master and an acclaimed poet and author comes a glorious celebration of the true spirit of Chanukah.  Inspired by Michael J. Rosen’s reverent poem, Robert Sabuda’s striking pop-ups depict each night’s menorah in a different scene, using imagery such as desert tents, pushcart lanterns, olive trees, and a final panorama of skyscrapers. Sure to be a treasured family heirloom, this stunning collaboration showcases the spirit and resilience of a people in search of home.

    In the press release Barbara Bietz, Chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee, said: “From the shtetl to skyscrapers, the white pop-up scenes against a background of deep rainbow colors illuminate Jewish life for the eight nights of Chanukah. Together, children and adults will marvel at the stunning scenes that magically unfold with each turn of the page.”

    More information about the Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour can be found at  The People of the Books blog (the Association of Jewish Libraries blog).  Today, Michael Rosen is being interviewed by Liz Burns. In the interview with Michael Rosen, the comment is made that “in no uncertain terms Robert told me that he was not designing a pop-up of a family standing around candles, or opening presents.”

    Diane:  Tell us what messages you did want to send families as they shared this book.  Historically you researched “place” for Chanukah Lights, what’s the backstory in your selection of scenes?

    RS:   I’ve always loved history, so any book that uses history to excite, explore or educate makes me happy!  Hopefully the readers of Chanukah Lights, both young and grown-up will agree.  The selection of scenes was a fluid, thoughtful process that took place over a period of months with the author Michael J. Rosen.  I’ve known Michael for a long time and we are very attuned to each other’s creative processes.  He would suggest some “places” to explore and then I would expand on them.  I remember him mentioning Jews in search of new homes crossing the ocean and immediately realized that a “place” could be the ship carrying them.

    Diane: Pop-ups are not the only technique you’ve used to illustrate. In 2007, I wrote about your illustrative techniques of stained glass in your version of Arthur and the Sword; however, you have been called the Prince of Pop-Up’s and the master of all Paper Engineers. Could you explain to readers how your design team works together to create the visual experience of your pop-ups?

    RS:  Of course any book for young readers begins with the story or manuscript and it’s the same for a pop-up book.  But unlike a picture book, with a pop-up book I never sketch out what the pop-ups will look like.  I have to start designing them right away in 3-dimensions.  I dive right in!   Cutting and folding the paper to try and create a visually exciting experience.

    Diane:  How many people do you involve in your research?

    RS:  For a book like Chanukah Lights my main research came from the author Michael J. Rosen!   Since I’m not Jewish, Michael made me aware of the subtleties, complexities and joy of one of the world’s oldest religious faiths.  It was very important to him that the book be about the joy of a community spreading it’s wings and taking flight around the world and establishing roots.   The visual work is (usually) not too difficult for me, but I wanted to make sure that I got the historical essence right.

    Diane: How do you decide what project interests you?

    RS:  That is the $64,000 question!  Sometimes I have an idea that’s been percolating for a very long time and who knows if I’ll ever get around to it?  Then other times the stars seem to align, like with this book, and everything falls in place.  I know the author, the subject is exciting and the publisher is willing to try something new for a very traditional subject.

    Diane: Each of your pop-up books has a page that moves uniquely and captures readers so dramatically, that they gasp with surprise and delight. The ship emerging from the pages of Chanukah Lights is one such page. Do you find yourself favoring one page over another while you are creating?

    RS:  Not really.  Some pages just seem to naturally develop the way I envision them (since I have been doing this for a long time) but then others are very challenging.   I never really know which pop-ups will be easy to create and which ones will be troublesome!

    Diane: Do you envision one such page first and develop the rest of your pages around this?

    RS:  No, I tend to envision designing the book like it’s a movie.  I want to create a strong beginning, some powerful moments in the middle and then a big ending.  All within 8 pages!  My mother was a dance teacher when I was a boy so I think that has influenced my working process.  Sometimes I feel like the pages are a stage and it’s my job to create a fantastic show on it!

    Diane: How much does the “wow” factor matter?

    RS:  In a pop-up book the “wow” factor matters a lot.  I don’t have 32 pages, like in a picture book, to transport my reader to a new place.  I have to get it done a lot quicker with so few pages.  A pop-up book is really a book filled with magic.  The tricks don’t have to be big, but they do need to make you say “wow!”

    Diane: Which page is your wow page in Chanukah Lights?

    RS:  I don’t like to pick out individual pages in my books.  It’s almost like saying a parent saying they have a favorite child!  But there are times when I’m so happy that a pop-up I’ve worked on for a long time actually functions, to me that IS magic.  In Chanukah Lights that would be the ship which was extremely difficult to design.

    Diane:  Years ago at the Tennessee Association of School Librarians conference, you shared about people in Ecuador (I believe) assembling your pop-up’s. I was impressed with the need for every pop-up page to close and the amount of testing or engineering of the design. We sat  in the hotel lounge (taking medicinal cognac for my sore throat) and chatting about your pop-up collection and the beauty and simplicity of a single white paper being folded and used for pop-ups. I shared how my youngest son created his own pop-up books and marionettes based upon the the way he saw your books move.

    I still love your book Cookie Count and share it with my students. Your gingerbread house and the twirling cookies still excite me every year when I open to read and count. My students cannot afford to collect pop-up books, so I bring in my collection. Do you have any suggestions for librarians who want to share pop-up books with students?

    RS:  When I first started making pop-up books librarians would come to my book signing and tell me how much they enjoyed my books but that they could not circulate them in their own collections.  It made me sad at the time but things have changed since then.  Many librarians started using my books at story time, especially Cookie Count, and decided that they would find a way to make them accessible to their readers.  Some keep them behind their desks for specific readers they know will enjoy them and some actually just circulate them knowing (thankfully) that if the book gets loved to tears they can justify getting a new one.

    Diane: Interviews with Robert Sabuda can be found all over the internet.* If fact, there is so much openly shared, what new secrets can we uncover about your vision, creative drive, and hopes for the future?

    RS:  Wow, my vision?  I’m just putting one creative foot in front of the other and hoping that each book works out!  I don’t have a grand plan, really.  I’m just so grateful to be able to create something I love and have it shared with the rest of the world.  I don’t think I could ever stop being a book maker even when I’m really old.

    Diane:  What are you working on now?

    RS:  I’ve just finished Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid which will be published in October 2012.   And I’m off to India in May (for the second time) for the India Book Festival!


    I read in Hadassah Magazine that  “Chanukah Lights is created with 201 pieces of paper, 647 folds, and 392 dots of glue—in 187 minutes! ” AMAZING!

    Thank you for participating. Chanukah Lights is a beautiful heirloom title and I’m happy that I can share in the Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour to tell others about it.

    Interviews and Internet Links:

    These two questions were thought of after I’d emailed Robert again on Tuesday. I’ll update answers if I get a response. Thanks. Diane

    Diane: Do you ever participate in SKYPE sessions to schools?

    RS: Unfortunately my schedule only allows me to do conferences or large scale book events.

    Diane:  The FAQ on the RobertSabuda.com website mentions you are too busy to accept ideas of pop-up books. I wonder if you know of any Asian artists who might create a pop-up book conveying the movement and excitement of the Asian festivals like Dragon Boat Racing, Chinese New Year, Diwali, etc.? Have you ever experienced Chinese New Year and the lion dance? Unfortunately I can’t visualize a way to convey the smoke arising from the thousands of firecrackers, but it would be fun.

    RS: As far as an Asian paper engineer goes, Sam Ida is your man!  You can easily do a quick google search on him.

    Science Fiction loses author John Christopher

    • Posted on February 6, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    Rest In Peace John Christopher (Christopher Samuel Youd). Christopher’s series, The Tripods, was a popular pick for me to put in students’ hands for three decades to introduce them to science fiction. My students loved his work. Although the Tripods trilogy was released in the 60’s, I didn’t discover the series until the prequel was released in 1988.

    As a new school librarian, in 1989 I faced my first challenge when 5th grade teacher Carl asked me to pull a number of science-fiction titles to introduce to his students. He mentioned to me that these might turn his students into avid readers of science-fiction, or might cement in their minds that reading was boring. What pressure?!  As I searched, I discovered the prequel and the trilogy. Success! I remember students writing to me years later about their love of reading, especially science fiction and fantasy.

    Sheila Ruth has reposted her reviews of John Christopher’s books on her blog Wands and Worlds: Fantasy and Science Fiction for Children and Teens http://www.WandsAndWorlds.com

    Here’s the Tor obituary: http://www.tor.com/blogs/2012/02/john-christopher-1922-2012

    Gail Gauthier’s tribute to John Christopher can be found at http://blog.gailgauthier.com