Selected chapter books we’ve read in the last year

Wednesday, December 1, 2010.

After a 14-month hiatus, we dust off Just One More Book to participate in the Canadian National Day of Podcasting, a virtual event intended to bring stale shows out of retirement for one-day in a festival-like reunion of online content creators.

In this episode, we highlight some of the chapter books we’ve read since parking JOMB last year.

Andrea’s picks

Mark’s picks

Soup du Jour: Unwavering Self-Worth Inside and Outside the Box

Friday, October 2, 2009.

Today we look at a clump of four books about independent thinkers who, without fanfare or animosity, disregard the judgements of others and are simply happy being who they are.

Ingredients (books discussed):

Jump into Today’s Soup (feedback):

Join the conversation by clicking the Comments link below or sending an email to justonemorebook@gmail.com.

Second Helpings (transcript of podcast):

In a society where the media, schools and, sadly, even parents often expect us to conform to prescribed,cookie-cutter ways of being, a common challenge for adults and children alike is to understand and appreciate out-of-the-box thinking or behavior in ourselves and others. With so much emphasis on conforming, being or even befriending a person who is viewed as different can be a scary and isolating experience.It’s not surprising, then, that we sometimes go to great lengths to reject or hide our unique selves — and to avoid those who don’t.

Many children’s books and, to a greater extent, movies attempt to reduce the social stigma against being different through boisterous victory-of-the-underdog themed stories in which the independent thinker saves the day and, to the rousing cheers of once-distant peers, instantly becomes the poster child of popularity. There is no denying that such victories feel great but I believe stories which present quiet appreciation, improved understanding or simply congenial co-existence go further to help children deal with different ways of being.

Before looking at the books, let me explain that I like to read to my two daughters in clumps. That is, I like to read in one sitting several books that are completely parallel in certain ways — offering similar characters, situations, or themes — but are different enough to make the clumped reading interesting. I clump by activity (riding a bike, say), by storyline (several variations on the Frog Prince story, for example) or, as in the case today, by explorations of a similar type of character (a girl that is viewed as being different). There are many books that deal with differences in, what I believe are, very constructive ways. Today we look at a clump of four books about independent thinkers who, without fanfare or animosity, disregard the judgements of others and are simply happy being who they are.

Odd VelvetOdd Velvet (Mary Whitcomb Illustrated by Tara Calahan King; 1998 Chronicle Books) tells the story of a happily independent school girl who has bypassed the consumer mentality of her peers and finds beauty and entertainment in the world around her. What I love about this story is that Violet’s unimposing enjoyment of life remains steadfast throughout… her self esteem easily withstands the taunts of her classmates and she remains true to her nature as she gradually gains the respect of her peers. Violet’s self worth is clearly not tied to her judgment by others.
The Recess Queen The Recess Queen (Alexis O’Neill Illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith; 2002 Scholastic Press) relays, in snappy, what is it? Hip hop beat? the story of a school yard bully effortlessly felled by the teeny tiny independently minded Katie Sue, a kid you might scare with a jump and a boo!. Here again, the beauty of the story — for me — is in Katie Sue’s unwavering sense of self worth regardless of her noticeably different approach to life and in the fact that she takes in stride both the bullying and her offhanded deflation of the bully.
Suki's Kimono Suki’s Kimono (Chieri Uegaki Illustrated by Stephane Jorisch; 2003 Kids Can Press) is a refreshing celebration of individuality and joie de vivre. This first-day-of-school story contrasts the uninhibited and happily independent six year old Suki with her self-conscious, stiff and validation-seeking sisters — and their complete embarrassment that their little sister is wearing a kimono to school. Although I think Suki could do without the applause of her classmates, Suki’s sunny self-assurance remains constant throughout and she gains no satisfaction from the fact that her sisters’ preparation and preening brought them nothing but exasperation.
Annie Bizzanni Annie Bizzanni (Frances Halle Illustrated by Fil et Julie; 2006 Bayard Canada Books) introduces us to a creative, multi-tasking and impulsive free-spirit who lives life in large slices which she feels no pressure to complete. Although her friends are obviously amused, inconvenienced and, sometimes, scared by Annie’s quirky behavior what I love about this book is that Annie’s way of being is simply portrayed as being different — not better or worse — than that of her peers, that her friends love her for who she is and that she is very happy being herself.

Although society may expect it, we’re not cookie cutouts and we all fall inside and outside various different boxes. We might as well enjoy ourselves!

Thanks for listening. I’m Andrea Ross from the Just One More Book!! Podcast and we’ve been Swimming in Literary Soup.

Wondering Why to Read: Amadi’s Snowman

Wednesday, September 2, 2009.

Amadi's SnowmanAuthor: Katia Novet Saint-Lot (on JOMB)
Illustrator: Dimitrea Tokunbo (on JOMB)
Published: 2008 Tilbury House (on JOMB)
ISBN: 9780884482987

Earth toned images of bustling Nigerian swelter contrast with the book-bound allure of a world of frost and snow in this tale of a young boy pondering the pros and cons of literacy.

More books and reading on JOMB:

HOTLINE VOICES: Author/Illustrator, Mark Mitchell, describes the beauty of the book Tsunami! (by Kimiko Kajikawa and Ed Young).

We’d love to hear your thoughts on a favourite children’s book. Leave a voice message on our JOMB listener hotline, +1-206-350-6487, so we can include your audio in our show.

Product Jingles: The Best Of Times (Math Strategies that Multiply)

Friday, June 12, 2009.

The Best Of Times (Math Strategies that Multiply)Author: Gregory Tang (on JOMB)
Illustrator: Harry Briggs (on JOMB)
Published: 2002 Scholastic (on JOMB)
ISBN: 0439210445

Catchy, four-line rhymes and an energetic animal cast aim to take the sting out of multiplication long before the onset of Times Table Torture.

More math on JOMB:

Pop over to Critique de Mr. Chompchomp for today’s full menu of poetry offerings. Poetry Fridays are brought to us by Kelly Herold of Big A, Little A.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on a favourite children’s book. Leave a voice message on our JOMB listener hotline, +1-206-350-6487, so we can include your audio in our show

A Canine Cure: Dr. White

Wednesday, February 25, 2009.

Dr. WhiteAuthor: Jane Goodall (on JOMB)
Illustrator: Julie Litty (on JOMB)
Published: 1999 North-South Books (on JOMB)
ISBN: 0735818681

Chapters.ca Amazon.com

Gentle, realistic illustrations and intriguing text tell the true tale of an adorable stray dog that restored health to critically ill children in a London hospital and hope to those who cared for them.

You can take a closer look at our long awaited (and long resisted) new family member, Phaedra, here.

Working dogs on JOMB:

More dogs on JOMB:

You can listen to our to vain attempt get our doggie dose through children’s books here.

HOTLINE VOICES: Katrina Morse of FamilyReading.com explains how one of her favourite books, the 1948 classic Blueberries for Sal (by Robert McCloskey), shows that children can have more common sense than grown-ups.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on a favourite children’s book. Leave a voice message on our JOMB listener hotline, +1-206-350-6487.

2008-09 Cybils Winner: Nic Bishop’s Frogs

Wednesday, February 18, 2009.

Nic Bishop's FrogsAuthor: Nic Bishop (on JOMB)
Illustrator: Nic Bishop
Published: 2008 Scholastic (on JOMB)
ISBN: 0439877555

Chapters.ca Amazon.com

Don’t judge this Cybils 2008-2009 NonFiction Picture Book category winner by its cover.

This gorgeously photographed and casually narrated ramble through the often mindboggling traits, anatomy, actions, stats and abilities of the humble frog family will change your view of frogs forever.

Be sure to check out the complete list of 2008-09 Cybils winners in all nine categories.

HOTLINE VOICES: Librarian Peggy Northcraft believes that part of who she is as an adult, today, is because of the Anne of Green Gables series (by Lucy Maud Montgomery).  Be sure to listen to our documentary, Before Green Gables and the 100th anniversary of Anne Shirley.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on a favourite children’s book. Leave a voice message on our JOMB listener hotline, +1-206-350-6487.

Marryin’ into Money: Smoky Mountain Rose (An Appalachian Cinderella)

Friday, February 13, 2009.

Smoky Mountain Rose (An Appalachian Cinderella)Author: Alan Schroeder (on JOMB)
Illustrator: Brad Sneed (on JOMB)
Published: 1997 Penguin (on JOMB)
ISBN: 0140566732

Chapters.ca Amazon.com

Fierce, phonetically written slang and softly stretched, fish-eye illustrations make this twangin’ twist on the traditional tale a thrill for listeners and read-aloud hams alike — rump-blisterin’ and all!

Other books mentioned:

You can find more Appalachian children’s books here.

HOTLINE VOICES: Melitsa Avila captures the essence of a book that both she and her son love, Too Many Toys (by David Shannon).

We’d love to hear your thoughts on a favourite children’s book. Leave a voice message on our JOMB listener hotline, +1-206-350-6487.

So, what are your favourite renditions of Cinderella? Leave us a message in the comments, below.

Celebrating our 500th Episode: Chapter Book Chatter

Wednesday, December 31, 2008.

To celebrate the 500th episode of our JustOneMoreBook! Children’s Book Podcast, our daughters, Lucy (9) and Bayla (7), share their thoughts on a few of their favourite chapter books.

Books mentioned:

We hope you’ll help us celebrate by sharing some of your favourite chapter book titles in our comments section.

Thank you for making our 500 episodes possible. Looking forward to show #1000.

Andrea & Mark

Be a Rock Star Reader: On Top of Spaghetti

Friday, December 19, 2008.

On Top of SpaghettiAuthor: Paul Brett Johnson and Tom Glazer
Illustrator: Paul Brett Johnson
Published: 2006 Scholastic (on JOMB)
ISBN: 0439749441

Chapters.ca Amazon.com

Not much impresses young listeners more than their reading adult opening up a book and belting out a song. Add an action-packed story, a honky tonk narrator and engaging, humourous illustrations and this campfire standard will make you a storytime rock star.

More sing along favourites on JOMB:

Pop over to Author Amok for today’s full menu of poetry offerings. Poetry Fridays are brought to us by Kelly Herold of Big A, Little A.

HOTLINE VOICES: Regular contributor Kevin Hodgson dares us with his descriptive thoughts on The Man Who Walked Between the Towers (by Mordicai Gerstein) and explains why this is the perfect book for the picture book genre.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on a favourite children’s book. Leave us a voice message on our JOMB listener hotline, +1-206-350-6487.

Both Sides Now: Sourpuss and Sweetie Pie

Wednesday, November 26, 2008.

Sourpuss And Sweetie PieAuthor: Norton Juster (on JOMB)
Illustrator: Chris Raschka (on JOMB)
Published: 2008 Scholastic (on JOMB)
ISBN: 0439929431

Chapters.ca Amazon.com

There was a little girl, who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead. When she was good she was very, very good and when she wasn’t, well, you didn’t know what hit you — and you never saw it coming, and then suddenly she was good again. And, of course, you love her anyway.

This playfully illustrated confession of an all too familiar Jekyll and Hyde youngster invites us to look at, and laugh at, our many-sided selves.

See photos of the 19th annual Children’s Illustration Show:

HOTLINE VOICES: Author Sarah Ackerley (on JOMB) calls in to tell us about The Sea Serpent and Me (by Dashka Slater and Catia Chien).

We’d love to hear your thoughts on a favourite children’s book. Leave us a voice message on our JOMB listener hotline, +1-206-350-6487.

Warmth, Waiting & Woolly Friends: A New Coat for Anna

Friday, November 7, 2008.

A New Coat for AnnaAuthor: Harriet Ziefert (on JOMB)
Illustrator: Anita Lobel (on JOMB)
Published: 1986 Dragonfly Books (on JOMB)
ISBN: 0394898613

Chapters.ca Amazon.com

Soothing images and clear, generous text allow us to follow the year-long creation of an overdue winter coat in this true tale of patience, resourcefulness and the quiet optimism of a community emerging from war.

Other books mentioned:

Looking for a lighter look at lamb-based clothing? Read Amos’s Sweater.

HOTMAIL VOICES: Author, illustrator, designer Peggy Collins shares her enthusiasm for Too Many Toys by David Shannon.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on a favourite children’s book. Leave us a voice message on our JOMB listener hotline, +1-206-350-6487.

Ritual, Respect, Regret & Reflection: The Unknown Soldier

Wednesday, November 5, 2008.

The Unknown SoldierAuthor: Linda Granfield (on JOMB)
Published: 2008 Scholastic Canada (on JOMB)
ISBN: 043993558X

Chapters.ca

Accessible narrative, detailed annotations and a thought-provoking collection of photographs, postcards, pins and poems shed light on the ceremony, symbolism, chronology and controversy commemorating our global family’s losses to war.

More books about war and peace on JOMB:

HOTLINE VOICES: Author Alison McGhee shares the reasons why Swiss Family Robinson (by Johann D. Wyss) is one of her childhood favourites.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on a favourite children’s book. Leave us a voice message on our JOMB listener hotline, +1-206-350-6487.

 
 

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.