skip to Main Content

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty

THE MISCALCULATIONS OF LIGHTNING GIRL

Written by Stacy McAnulty

(Random House BYR; $16.99, Ages 8-12)

Cover image from The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty

 

Until now, Stacy McAnulty has been best known for her picture books. (EXCELLENT ED is one of my favorites.) But her middle grade debut, THE MISCALCULATIONS OF LIGHTNING GIRL, puts her squarely in the category of must-read middle grade author, as well.

12-year-old Lucy Callahan narrates the book. Thanks to a chance meeting with a bolt of lightning, Lucy is a math genius. She’s been homeschooled for the four years since the accident and, technically, she should be going to college. Lucy’s grandma just has one requirement before sending her young charge off to university: “Go to middle school for 1 year. Make 1 friend. Join 1 activity. And read 1 book (that’s not a math textbook!).” The mysteries of calculus, algebra, and geometry are easy for Lucy to solve. But the mystery of how to survive middle school? It’s an impossible equation—especially for Lucy.

Lucy’s not very good at making friends. And, though she’d prefer to blend into the background, a case of obsessive-compulsive disorder (another result of the lightning strike) makes her stand out. For example, she can’t just sit down. She needs to sit, stand, sit, stand, sit (otherwise she incessantly recites the numbers of pi in her head). And a germ phobia means she goes through a good number of Clorox wipes during the school day. (Lucy would want me to give you an exact here, but I can’t.) However, in spite of this, Lucy is comfortable with herself and I love that. In fact, McAnulty never gives the impression that the things that make Lucy so unique (and make middle school so difficult for her) are problems to be solved. They’re just part of Lucy—for better or worse. There are other problems too. Lucy’s mom is dead; her dad is absent; and her grandmother struggles to make ends meet. But these are all just part of Lucy’s life. McAnulty doesn’t let them become the focus of the book, which is just as it should be.

I don’t want to ruin the fun of reading this book by giving too much away. I will just say that I thoroughly enjoyed experiencing the world through Lucy’s eyes. You don’t need to love (or even understand) math to love THE MISCALCULATIONS OF LIGHTNING GIRL. It’s a book for anyone who has ever felt out of place, vulnerable, or just plain weird. And I’m pretty sure that’s all of us.

Starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews, Publisher’s Weekly, and School Library Journal.

Interview with Author Stacy McAnulty at Librarian’s Quest

Author website

  • Reviewed by Colleen Paeff
    Read another review by Colleen Paeff
    here.

Charlotte S. Huck Children’s Literature Festival 2017

LOVE KIDLIT?

It’s time for the 21st Annual

March 3 & 4, 2017
at The University of Redlands,
Redlands, CA

 

I’m thrilled to share details about this year’s Charlotte S. Huck Children’s Literature Festival. I attended last year and it was absolutely an inspiring and rewarding two days! Register now and join the celebration of high-quality, award-winning children’s book creators working in a variety of genres—fiction, nonfiction, poetry, picture books, and novels. Meet People as passionate about children’s books as you are! Attend one day or both days, your choice. For updated information about the Festival and breakout sessions visit Charlotte Huck Festival online here

But, before you attend, take a look at who’s coming and how the best in kidlit is being celebrated!

Featured speakers: Brian Floca, Yuyi Morales, George Ella Lyon, J. Patrick Lewis, Pam Muñoz Ryan, Rebecca Davis, Lisa Von Drasek and David M. Schwartz – award winning innovative children’s book creators from all over the nation. Check their websites for more information about them and their books.

 

Breakout sessions offer attendees a mix of styles and views–something for everyone in each time slot. 


→Join George Ella Lyon and Festival Poet Laureate Kristine O’Connell George and explore “Where I’m From”– the importance of place and how it colors and informs our writing and our lives. They invite you to bring pictures or mementos that spark your own unique memories of place.


→In a Q & A titled “Ask Me (Almost) Anything” Tony Johnston, the award-winning author of more than 100 beloved children’s books, shares her writing and her books with a few secrets thrown in.

→Redlands author Diane Adams will lead a small group titled “Love Is… Writing for Children” and sign her books including the 2017 Love Is…

→California authors Carrie Arcos, Elana K. Arnold, Jeff Gottesfeld, Lois V. Harris, Henry Herz, Katherine Kottaras, Sarah Lariviere and Elizabeth Wong will lead small group sessions and sign their books.

→Booking Agent and author Carmen Oliver will lead a small group titled “Raising a Reader: Empowering Children Through the Magic of Books and Author Visits” and sign her book Bears Make the Best Reading Buddies.

→California author Diane White will sign her Beach Lane Book Blue on Blue.

→In place of their 2017 Spring Workshop, Children’s Literature Council of Southern California brings “Fighting Words”– one of their Youth Lit Salons–to the Festival on Saturday, March 4. This workshop for teachers, librarians, writers, parents and booksellers will cover two breakout session time slots.

Lisa Silverman and Annette Goldsmith welcome you to the world of IBBY– the International Board on Books for Young People“The Best Books You’ve Never Heard of from Around the Word addresses how we stay informed about excellent books from other countries.”

And there’s lots more so don’t miss out! 

For updated information about the Festival and breakout sessions
visit them online at www.redlands.edu/charlottehuckfestival
M
ention Good Reads With Ronna when you register for an extension through Saturday!

In addition to their Facebook page, find them on Twitter and Instagram @huckfestival 

Don’t forget to use their hashtag #huckfestival when you’re there experiencing the best in children’s literature!

Tots, Tweens, and Teens Book Festival in Pasadena

 

The first Tots, Tweens, and Teens Book Festival will take place on Saturday, May 14, 2016 at Pasadena High School in Pasadena, CA. This event is FREE and open to the public.

Please RSVP on Facebook OR Eventbrite

When: Saturday, May 14, 2016 from 12 pm to 6 pm

Where: Pasadena High School, 2925 E Sierra Madre Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107

Arrive at noon for a special live musical performance by Emily Arrow

Food will be available for purchase at the festival, so be hungry!
11am – 3 pm The Deli Doctor food truck
12 pm – 3 pm Pie ‘n’ Burger food truck
12 pm – until sold out Cake Girl (gluten-free treats)
1 pm – 3 pm Rita’s Ice of North Hollywood

TotsTweensTeenBookFest

PICTURE BOOK STAGE

Ashlyn Anstee
Bethany Barton
James Burks
Vincent X. Kirsch
Carson Kügler
Tina Kügler
Michelle Markel
Ken Min
Jennifer Gray Olson
LeUyen Pham
Lee Wardlaw
Marcie Wessels
Brian Won
Keika Yamaguchi
with moderator Carter Higgins

MIDDLE GRADE STAGE

Elana K. Arnold
Pseudonymous Bosch
Barbara Brauner
James Burks
Cecil Castellucci
Andrew S. Chilton
Tina Kügler
Leslie Margolis
James Iver Mattson
Lin Oliver

YOUNG ADULT STAGE

Elana K. Arnold
Julie Berry
Aaron Hartzler
E. Katherine Kottaras
Michelle Levy
Jessica Love
Nicole Maggi
Gretchen McNeil
Cindy Pon
Amy Spalding
Ann Redisch Stampler
Ingrid Sundberg
Henry Turner
and introducing Jessica Cluess

More info at totstweensandteens.org
Hashtag #3Tbookfest on Twitter and Instagram

PRAESA RECEIVES ALMA AWARD 2015

 

PRAESA accepts the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award
at the Stockholm Concert Hall

It was an emotional moment when, this past Monday, June 1st, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) was presented to PRAESA of South Africa by Swedish Minister for Culture and Democracy Alice Bah Kuhnke. PRAESA (Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa), is the first laureate ever from the African continent.

NtoyapiMahobeBloch.jpg

Malusi Ntoyapi, Ntombizanele Mahobe and Carole Bloch from PRAESA. Skeppsholmen May 25, 2015 [Source:Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award]

PRAESA, an organization working to promote reading and literature for children and young people in South Africa since 1992, is based in Cape Town. It was founded by the political activist Neville Alexander who was imprisoned on Robben Island during South African apartheid era as a fellow- prisoner of Nelson Mandela. The organization emerged from Neville Alexander’s struggle against the apartheid education, intending to document alternatives that had been tried out that could inform the new education process.

At the Stockholm Concert Hall PRAESA was represented by Director Carole Bloch, Training Coordinator Ntombizanele Mahobe and Programmes Support Officer Malusi Ntoyapi. In her speech, Carole Bloch emphasized how stories actually can change children’s and young people’s lives:

CaroleBloch.jpg

Carole Bloch, Director at PRAESA. Skeppsholmen May 25, 2015 [Source:Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award]

“We believe that the stories we tell, write and read can change lives. Sharing stories inspire us all to struggle against becoming overwhelmed by the challenges we meet each day in our fractured and profoundly unequal society. This is also the impetus behind the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign PRAESA runs.”

The Minister for Culture and Democracy, Alice Bah Kuhnke, underlined the importance of culture for democracy:

“For me as a minister of both culture and democracy it is very encouraging to see PRAESA’s successful work using culture to strengthen democracy. A wide range of culture, arts and literature that reaches both adults and children is a prerequisite for democratic development and for preserving democracy.”

Artist Kristina Amparo performed her own songs during the evening, and Swedish rap artist Petter performed his own text Fäller en tår. The program also included a street dance performance inspired by the South African Kwaito music style. Host for the evening was Ingemar Fasth, Head of Literature and Libraries at Kulturhuset Stadsteatern.

PRAESA1.jpg

PRAESA

The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) is the world’s largest prize for children’s and young adult literature. The award, which amounts to SEK 5,000,000 (or U.S. $602,177.50), is awarded annually to a single recipient or to several. Authors, illustrators, oral storytellers and those active in reading promotion may be rewarded. The award is designed to promote interest in children’s and young adult literature, and in children’s rights, globally. An expert jury selects the winners from candidates nominated by institutions and organizations worldwide. The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award is administered by the Swedish Arts Council. Last year’s winner was Barbro Lindgren.

 

 

 

Give Out Comics Not Candy on Halloween – Free Comics Oct. 25 on Halloween ComicFest

Celebrate All Hallows’ Eve With Comics:
Get free comic books & purchase mini-comics
to hand out instead of candy.HCF14 Poly bag Comics_group

In homes across America, families are preparing for Halloween. Many are looking for a candy substitute, something to offer as a treat. Is there something sugar-free that will still bring a smile to kids’ faces? Consider this great idea – comic books!

HalloweenComicFes400x400Take note parents! On Saturday, October 25th, participating comic book shops will be handing out FREE comics to anyone who comes to their stores in celebration of Halloween ComicFest in addition to hosting special Halloween activities in communities across the US, Canada and internationally. There are 19 free comics available to choose from that are great for readers of all ages with titles that include, Scooby Doo and Batman Team Up, Marvel Secret Wars, My Little Pony, Afterlife with Archie, Angry Birds, Plants vs. Zombies, and more!

Also, it’s a great time to consider giving out comics instead of candy. So, while getting your free comics, pick up Halloween ComicFest Mini-Comic Packs because they’re “just as sweet and last a lot longer than candy!”

Each pack contains 20 mini-comics and are only available to purchase at comic book shops for just $4.99 per pack. Such a delicious deal that won’t get stuck in your teeth! There are seven titles to choose from which include Angry Birds, Betty and Veronica, Plants vs. Zombies, BOOM! Studios Fright Fest, LBX Little Battlers, Mermin and Vamplets. The Mini-Comic packs are a healthy alternative to candy, promote literacy, provide entertainment for families to enjoy, can be used as prizes for Halloween games or prizes used in the classroom.

Click here to find participating comic shops in your community.

MiniComicPacks“Our BOOM! Studios Halloween Fright Fest mini-comic, featuring stories from Adventure Time, Peanuts, and Fraggle Rock, is sooooo sweet that you don’t need to eat any candy! Plus, you won’t get any cavities from reading it either. Because it’s comics!” – BOOM! Studios publisher.

“The LBX Halloween Comic-Fest sampler is better than candy because super-strong cardboard robots that battle each other on command are pretty much better than anything, right? And this new manga series is actually about super-strong cardboard robots who battle each other on command!

Kids will love LBX because it’s about kids who do tournament battles with super-strong cardboard robots that battle each other on command (which is, of course, better than candy…or most anything). It’s a kid-safe comic starring an actual kid trying to save the world with his paper robot. What’s not to love, really.

Handing out the LBX mini-comic will make even the dullest, apple-giving, toothbrush house the most popular because you can win anyone over with manga, even the most super-strong cardboard robot-hating neighbor kid. Only, since there aren’t any kids who hate super-strong cardboard robots (especially if they can battle each other on command), you don’t have to worry about that. Can’t help you with the toothbrushes, though.” – Joel Enos, editor of the Little Battlers comic from VIZ Media.

www.freecomicbookday.com
www.halloweencomicfest.com

 

 

 

Mix It Up! by Hervé Tullet, A Review, Interview & Giveaway

MIX IT UP! FUN FOR EVERYONE

9780811879545_largeGood Reads With Ronna recently interviewed notable Parisian artist and author Hervé Tullet via email before his upcoming trip to Los Angeles. Tullet, the creative force behind the best-selling Press Here, and his latest, Mix It Up!, will be at both MOCA & LACMA this weekend conducting mural workshops for children using his books as inspiration. Both books are published by Chronicle Books, cost $15.99 each, and are recommended for ages 3-5.

REVIEW
Mix It Up!
is an interactive board book of the coolest kind. It’s the type of book children will reach for frequently, and each time engage with it in a new and exciting way. Picking up where Press Here left off – although each book stands on its own – Mix It Up! requires no battery or password. In fact it’s better than any app because youngsters get to hold the book in their hands and take a journey through color under Tullet’s expert tutelage. Note: Insert fab French accent here, “Tap that gray spot. Just a little, to see what happens.”

Written in the second person, Mix It Up! invites kids to place their hands on the page, close their eyes, and count to five then MIX IT UP! They can tap, rub, smudge and smoosh to their hearts’ content without getting a drop of paint on them. I couldn’t wait to turn each page to see what Tullet had in store. This book got me away from the computer and onto my feet, moving, tilting and turning pages to and fro, but really, it’s okay to read it seated as well!  The best part is finding out what happens when various colors come together on the page. Tullet’s text will make each youngster interacting with Mix It Up! feel satisfied, successful and ready to smoosh some colors on their own. – Ronna Mandel

INTERVIEW
Good Reads With Ronna:  At what age would you recommend parents begin introducing art to their children to look at? To engage in?

Hervé Tullet: Babies don’t know anything, which is why I think they know everything. With their eyes they experience everything as new and interpret everything without any prior experience. This is imagination. They are the artists, our real artists, that’s why I think that museums are the perfect place to feed them with colors and shapes and sensations without any restrictions (except maybe at feeding time!)

GRWR: Were you stirred and moved by art as young as age three – five like the age of the kids your books are geared to?

TULLET: It was a different time, and people didn’t raise children the way they do now. During my childhood, I learned a lot from being alone, from being bored, from not knowing. When I was a teenager, books and museum became my way out, my breath, my salvation

GRWR: Your new book is just so kid-friendly. Why do you think no one has thought of your brilliant idea for a book like Mix It Up! sooner?

Herve Tullet_standing with paint_HiRes.jpgTULLET: On the one hand, hand I think that ideas are in the air and everybody can catch them. That’s what happens when you find one; it looks like it came out of the blue. On the other hand, I think that it is a long process of maturation and that I spent lot of time on, nearly obsessed, to find, to  think, to search, go on thinking again, erase, cut and at last find  the ideas.

Press Here and Mix it Up! are the result of this long process, the high point of 20 years of exploration and work.

GRWR: By having kids get down on their hands and knees with some color and a paintbrush (at your workshops), while you’re out there motivating them, what are the things you’d like to achieve?

TULLET: I’m motivated by having a great time all together and making great memories. And maybe, from this experience, it will create a desire to have another one, or it will be a seed that will flourish later on, out of the blue. Or, maybe not exactly out of the blue.

GRWR: What do kids say to you after they’ve worked on the enormous mural?

Mix-It-Up-cvr.jpgTULLET: A look, a smile, a word, a hand shake, a kiss, a sign, a thank you. All these are so deep, so sincere, so true, to me that I accept all of them as true gifts.

Here’s some advice Tullet offers attendees to this weekend’s artsy workshops: “… one thing, please listen to my prompts very carefully. That’s it! That’s all what you have to do! Except the babies of course, they’re going to do whatever they’re going to do!”

Don’t miss Tullet’s L.A. appearances this weekend at MOCA & LACMA on Saturday, 10/11 and Sunday, 10/12. Head to L.A. Parent to get more details by clicking here. In that article, you can also read Tullet’s reply to my question: Is there anything you’d like to say to the families of L.A. and Southern California who will be attending your events?  I’m sure you’ll get a kick out of his warm and welcoming response.

To purchase Press Here and Mix It Up! head to your local independent bookseller.

GIVEAWAY
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Children’s Book Week 95th Anniversary & Giveaway!

BE A READER AND BE A WINNER!
ENTER OUR PEACHTREE PUBLISHERS
GIVEAWAY TODAY!

CBW_Poster-small

We’re celebrating Children’s Book Week,
“the longest-running children’s literacy
initiative in the country” with a wonderful
picture book giveaway courtesy of
Peachtree Publishers. To find out more
about Children’s Book Week, please
visit their website here.

Here’s the beautiful poster that
FANCY NANCY illustrator,
Robin Preiss Glasser, designed
for the 2014 Children’s Book Week.

Today, May 12th, is the last day to enter your vote for favorite book, author and illustrator. Visit the voting page for the Children’s Choice Book Awards and the Teen Choice Book Awards to make your voice heard. Click here to vote.

WIN THREE FABULOUS PICTURE BOOKS!

Here’s a list of the three terrific picture books (worth a total of $49.50) from Peachtree Publishers that we’ll be giving away to one lucky winner. We’ve reviewed two of the three books on the blog so you’re likely to be familiar with the stories.

1. First, to be eligible, all entrants must first LIKE Good Reads With Ronna on either Facebook or Twitter.
2. Use the COMMENT box below to send your email entry privately.
3. Please include your contact info. No P.O. Boxes, and U.S. only. Good luck!

NOTE: This giveaway ends at midnight on Monday, May 26, 2014. One winner will be selected by Random.org and notified on Tuesday, May 27th.

cover-2Lost for Words
Written & Illustrated by Natalie Russell
Age 4-8
Hardcover: $16.95

 

 

 

 

 

 

cover-3Churchill’s Tale of Tales
Written & Illustrated by Anca Sandu
Age 4-8
Hardcover: $16.95

 

 

 

 

 

TJ61-9-2013 JKT 175L CTP_Layout 1The Grudge Keeper
Written by Mara Rockliff
Illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
Age 4-8
Hardcover: $16.95

 

THE “LEGENDS OF OZ EXPRESS” IS COMING TO HOLLYWOOD!

 THE “LEGENDS OF OZ EXPRESS” IS COMING TO HOLLYWOOD!

We don’t often cover films on the blog, but when a family-friendly book drive (see details below) is thrown into the Oz-some mix, we just couldn’t resist!

WHAT: Good Reads With Ronna readers, why not join Dorothy, Toto, and their new friend, Wiser the Owl, from the upcoming 3D animated feature, LEGENDS OF OZ: DOROTHY’S RETURN, as they bring the magical world of Oz to kids across the U.S. on the “Legends of Oz Express”!

WHEN: This coming Sunday, April 13, head to Hollywood & Highland and join Oz characters from 1:00p.m. until 6:00p.m.on a part of a nine city tour before it heads back over the rainbow on May 9, 2014, the opening day of LEGENDS OF OZ: DOROTHY’S RETURN in theaters.

ACTIVITIES: Families will follow their hearts at the Tin Man’s Friendship Club by making friendship pins, test their brains in the Scarecrow’s Workshop with arts and crafts, and show their courage by performing on the Lion’s “Mane” stage. They will also hang out in cozy “Candy County” and hear the story that inspired the film, Dorothy of Oz, written by celebrated children’s author Roger Stanton Baum. Kids will virtually follow the yellow brick road in the “Legends of Oz World” iPad gaming stations, and Dorothy and her friends will be there for pictures, prizes and fun!

BOOK DONATION INFO: To help even more children experience the magic of books, imagination, and the wonder of Oz, guests are encouraged to bring a new book to be donated to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Literally Healing at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is an innovative reading program dedicated to advocating literacy and its importance to children’s success. The program gives children more than 30,000 books annually. To learn more about the program and the types of new books needed, please visit www.chla.org/books.

STAY IN TOUCH: Keep up with the Express at LegendsOfOzMovie.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/LegendsOfOz and on Twitter at @LegendsOfOz, and dive into the interactive World of Oz at www.legendsofozworld.com.

FILM SUMMARY:
Dorothy’s only just returned home from her first incredible journey to Oz, but she’s already being called back for another adventure! After waking to post-tornado Kansas, Dorothy (Lea Michele) and Toto are whisked to Oz on a magical rainbow mover sent by their old friends the Scarecrow (Dan Aykroyd), the Lion (Jim Belushi) and the Tin Man (Kelsey Grammer). Time in Oz has passed much faster than back in Kansas, and Dorothy discovers that the Jester (Martin Short) – the devious brother of the Wicked Witch of the West – is taking Oz over one region at a time, holding their leaders captive and casting a pall of darkness over the beloved land. Even Glinda (Bernadette Peters) is unable to combat the Jester’s evil powers, making Dorothy their only hope.

When she arrives in Oz, Dorothy’s plan is to travel to the Emerald City to reunite with her old friends and join forces with them to stop the Jester. However, the yellow brick road isn’t quite as easy to follow this time around, especially with the Jester planting tricky detours to lead her astray, so she enlists the help of Wiser the owl (Oliver Platt), Marshal Mallow (Hugh Dancy), China Princess (Megan Hilty) and Tugg the tugboat (Patrick Stewart) to help find her way.

Dorothy is grateful for the support of her new friends, but when she realizes that having them by her side means putting them all in grave danger, she has to decide whether to continue to accept their assistance or forge the road alone. But with the future of Oz at stake, it’s going to take as much heart, brain and courage as they can collectively muster to defeat the Jester and return order and happiness to the Emerald City.

Clarius Entertainment presents a Summertime Entertainment production: “Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return.” The film is directed by Daniel St. Pierre and Will Finn, and the executive producers are Neil L. Kaufman, Rene Torres and Greg Centineo. The film is produced by Bonne Radford, Ryan Carroll and Roland Carroll and is based the book Dorothy of Oz by Roger Stanton Baum. The screenplay is written by Randi Barnes and Adam Balsam.

LEGENDS OF OZ: DOROTHY’S RETURN is in theaters, Friday, May 9, 2014

 

 

Happy Read Across America Day 2014!

 Good Reads With Ronna and Oceanhouse Media
Celebrate the 17th Annual
Read Across America Day 2014

We’re happy to share some wonderful opportunities with you from Oceanhouse Media on the occasion of NEA’s Read Across America Day!

10001449_10153876392635529_1197665319_n

In honor of Dr. Seuss’s Birthday and Read Across America Day, Oceanhouse Media has created this fantastic offering that we’re certain will mean smiles around!
-More than 60 Dr. Seuss apps are on sale for iOS and Android through March 6th, starting at just $.99. Find all the deals here.
-Find a Facebook contest & Instagram contest where Oceanhouse Media is giving away a 10-pack of Dr. Seuss apps.
-On Monday, March 3rd (Read Across America Day) Oceanhouse Media will have hourly promo code giveaways on their Facebook page from 12pm-5pm PST.

Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day

SESAME STREET AND ITS PARTNER,image002

THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY CHARITABLE FOUNDATION,

 LAUNCH NEW LITERACY INITIATIVE: 

“EVERY DAY IS A READING AND WRITING DAY” 

image003Yesterday I attended a launch event for an exciting new early literacy program, “Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day,” at the spacious Children’s Bureau in Los Angeles. This initiative is a partnership between Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street,  and the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF).

Sesame Street's Walkabout Cookie Monster shared hugs with Ronna at EVERY DAY IS A READING AND WRITING DAY event.

Sesame Street’s Walkabout Cookie Monster shared hugs with Ronna at EVERY DAY IS A READING AND WRITING DAY event.

Sesame Street’s Walkabout Cookie Monster showed up, stealing both the show and lots of little hearts (yes, and mine, too!). The event featured interactive reading/writing activities for the more than 100 children and parents who attended. There were volunteers from several insurance companies on hand in addition to the caring Children’s Bureau staff, all there to help youngsters make books, color pictures and design bookmarks.

Every day is a Reading and Writing Day event attendees having fun.

Every day is a Reading and Writing Day event attendees having fun.

The interest in Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day was evident in the smiling faces filling the room. Dads sat with babies and toddlers on their laps as they tried out interactive computer games, moms encouraged pre-schoolers to participate in preparing the books made from those versatile brown school lunch bags, and volunteers helped explain how everything worked.

This totally free program, both in English and Spanish, targets kids from birth to age five with an emphasis on getting parents to start the conversation at home to get youngsters interested in reading and writing. “Just by taking little incremental steps,” said Alex Ben Morales, L.C.S.W., President & CEO, Children’s Bureau-Southern California, “parents can start their children on the path to becoming well-rounded individuals by the time they begin Kindergarten.”

Enjoying the coloring activities!

Enjoying the coloring activities!

William E. Ross, CEO of IICF spoke about how important early literacy was in children’s development and stressed the need to read to them every day. The idea to partner with Sesame Workshop arose out of the need for business and community to come together Ross said. Since both organizations believe our children are the future, their commitment to bringing these types of opportunities to those underserved in L.A. and other major U.S. cities is commendable. The initiative first launched in New York on October 11 with Los Angeles being the first regional launch. Chicago and Dallas are next in line.

About Sesame Workshop

Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, the landmark television program that reaches millions of children every day in more than 150 countries. The Workshop’s mission is to use the educational power of media to help children everywhere reach their highest potential. Delivered through a variety of platforms, Sesame Workshop develops research-based content – including television programs, books, games, mobile apps and community engagement initiatives – that supports early childhood learning, helps prepare children for school, and addresses developmental needs. The Workshop’s programs are tailored to the needs of specific regions and focus on topics that help young children and families develop critical skills for lifelong learning. For more information, visit us at www.sesameworkshop.org.

About the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF)

The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation was established in 1994 and is completely directed and funded by the insurance industry. The foundation helps communities and enriches lives by uniting the collective strengths of the industry to provide grants, volunteer service and leadership. Since its inception in 1994, IICF has contributed more than $20 million in grants to charities and 166,000 volunteer hours to hundreds of community nonprofit organizations. IICF is a registered not-for-profit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code. Learn more at about the IICF at www.iicf.org.

 

™/© 2013 Sesame Workshop. All Rights Reserved.

 

School Lunch Superhero Day

School Lunches and Lunch Lady:
Packed With Power

LUNCH LADY AND THE VIDEO GAME VILLAINToday, May 3rd, together with Lunch Lady author Jarrett Krosoczka and the School Nutrition Association, Random House Children’s Books is celebrating School Lunch Superhero Day! This is a day for students, teachers, and school staff to give thanks to the school nutrition professionals that feed over 31 million students each day.

WIN WITH IMAGINATION: Tell us what you imagine your lunch lady does when she’s not serving meals and you may win a copy of LUNCH LADY AND THE VIDEO GAME VILLAIN! Scroll down for entry rules.

index~~element25About School Nutrition Association
School Nutrition Association is a national, non-profit professional organization representing 55,000 school nutrition professionals across the country. Founded in 1946, SNA and its members are dedicated to making healthy school meals and nutrition education available to all students. School Lunch Superhero Day will kick off SNA’s annual School Nutrition Employee Week (May 6-10, 2013), recognizing the many contributions of school nutrition professionals. To find out more about today’s school meals, visit www.TrayTalk.org.
logo
INSPIRATION: Jarrett’s very own School Lunch Superhero, Jean Cariglia, inspired his Lunch Lady series. When Jarrett visited his school after the first book was published, he was astounded to see how much this recognition meant to Jean. This, and other acts of kindness he has seen while touring for the series, planted the seed for School Lunch Superhero Day.
9780375867309.jpg.0x130_q85

9780375870354.jpg.0x130_q85

WAYS TO CELEBRATE: The SchoolLunchSuperheroDay.com website has all kinds of activities to help schools celebrate – games, activities, valentines, you name it!

TED: Besides creating a really innovative take on superheroes, Jarrett is also a really amazing individual. Last fall, he was invited to present a TED talk. His talk has over 500,000 combined views and is really inspirational. See the video here.

NEW LUNCH LADY: LUNCH LADY AND THE VIDEO GAME VILLAIN is on sale now. This is an action-packed graphic novel series with fun food-related gadgets. The series is great for beginning readers, and the latest title is reviewed here by Ronna Mandel.

BOOK REVIEW:

I first fell for the Lunch Lady series exactly three years ago (to see my first review click here) and back then there were only three books out. Now your beginning and/or reluctant reader can devour all nine and at just $6.99 each, it’s an affordable collection to own. Lunch Lady and The Video Game Villain, (Alfred A. Knopf/Random House Children’s Books, ages 7-10), is yet another Jarrett Krosoczka treat so hungry fans will not be disappointed with this latest serving. It packs the usual puns and punch in addition to the comical graphic illustrations at which Krosoczka excels. Hector’s friends have decided he’d make a great class president, but guess who he’s up against? None other than #15, Milmoe the menace! So does Hector even stand a chance? Plus, lots of electronic items are going missing and Lunch Lady and her cohort, Betty, decide to investigate. Will the culprit be the school janitor, Mr. Kalowski, Milmoe, or maybe the mystery man who prints his posters? Then of course, there’s poor, overworked Gavin Computo, the tech teacher. Could he possibly be involved in illegal gadget garnering? Throw in an upcoming visit from new school superintendent, Dr. Van Grindheimer, to inspect the cafeteria and the hallowed halls of Thompson Brook may be anything but … While I do recommend kids begin with the first book in the series, those eager to take a bite out of the newest installment will certainly find it satisfying.

Giveaway Rules:

One winner, chosen at random (at Random.org) from comments on our Facebook page, will receive a copy of Lunch Lady and The Video Game Villain by Jarrett Krosoczka worth ($6.99). You must LIKE us on Facebook to be eligible. All comments must be made by midnight, Friday, May 10th and a winner will be selected and notified on Saturday, May 11th.

Debbie Glade’s Indiegogo Project

The Travel Adventures of Lilly P. Badilly: Costa Rica

20130423060916-Image_5 debbieglade1-150x150It’s not every day that I can help out my blog partner, Debbie Glade (that’s obviously not Debbie to the left but her poodle, Darwin! She’s the lady to the right). She is a tireless supporter of literacy, science and geography for children. Now she’s found a terrific way to get her book, The Travel Adventures of Lilly P. Badilly: Costa Ricainto the hands of children who can benefit from her experience on these subjects. If it weren’t for her book, she and I would never have met so I am slightly partial to all things  Lilly P. Badilly. Lilly happens to be a strong-willed millipede who, along with her funny family members, stows away on a flight to Costa Rica. Once there, the multi-leggers get caught up in all sorts of adventures sure to entertain youngters.

dsc_00211Just a few days ago Debbie launched an ambitious IndieGoGo crowd sourcing project to raise $18,500 to cover the cost of printing 3,000 (high quality 64-pages) books and CDs. With 47 days to go, Debbie’s goal is to be able to give away every last one of these books to underprivileged elementary school children in south Florida where she lives. After years of visiting schools, libraries and charities to educate children about geography, Costa Rica’s flora and fauna, and naturally, millipedes, Debbie realized so many children who wanted the book were unable to afford to purchase it despite the deep discounts she offered.

Let’s change that and get these books into the hands of eager kids who want to smile, learn and listen to the hysterical CD!

Click here to view the campaign.

GET LIT HOSTS ITS 2nd ANNUAL CLASSIC SLAM

L.A. Citywide Teen Poetry Competition

WATCH AND HEAR WORDS IGNITE

Alhambra High and other teams entering quarterfinals for the Classic Slam   Photo ⓒ Thomas Chen

Alhambra High and other teams entering quarterfinals for the Classic Slam
Photo ⓒ Thomas Chen

 

 

 

Calling all budding poets, poetry fans and supporters. Join students from over 22 L.A. County high schools this Saturday, April 27, 2013, as they face off to “SLAM” the most prolific poems. Prepare to be wowed!!  And get this – it’s a free event, but you must reserve your tickets in advance at: http://getlitclassicslam.org/tickets.php

Diane Luby Lane, Get Lit founder at Wiltern Theater Classic Slam  Photo ⓒ Thomas Chen

Diane Luby Lane, Get Lit founder at Wiltern Theater Classic Slam
Photo ⓒ Thomas Chen

WHAT: Get Lit, a leading non-profit presenter of literary performance, education, and teen poetry programs, is hosting the 2nd Annual CLASSIC SLAM, a citywide teen poetry competition where high school students from more than 22 different L.A. County high school and regions face off in teams to “slam” classic poems by poets like Neruda, Lorca, Hughes, Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, Angelou and more in combination with their own spoken word responses.

Roosevelt Team, Classic Slam  Photo ⓒ Thomas Chen

Roosevelt Team, Classic Slam
Photo ⓒ Thomas Chen

CLASSIC SLAM is held every April during National Poetry Month, judged by some of the top artists and leaders in the community. This year’s judges include author and lecturer Marianne Williamson, American civil-rights attorney Lisa Bloom, actor, director and producer LeVar Burton, American poet and writer Jimmy Santiago Baca, television and film director Seith Mann and poet, musician and artist Jerry Quickley. Rapper and poet George Watsky and poet, playwright and screenwriter Chinaka Hodge will host the event.

Scholarships and a trophy will be awarded to the winning team and teacher.

Photo credit for all images © Thomas Chen.

WHEN: Saturday, April 27th at the Orpheum Theater, 7:30 to 10:00 p.m.

Deanna Torres, Triumph Team poet Photo ⓒ Thomas Chen

Deanna Torres, Triumph Team poet
Photo ⓒ Thomas Chen

WHERE:

Orpheum Theater

842 Broadway

Los Angeles, CA 90014

About Get Lit – Words Ignite

Founded in 2005 in Los Angeles, Get Lit is a leading non-profit presenter of literary performance, education, and teen poetry programs. Get Lit uses the memorization and recitation of classic poetry as a launch pad for teen-created spoken word responses, fusing the two forms of expression into compelling performances, conducted by teens in school, after school, and through the organization’s own select group of Get Lit Players. These poet ambassadors from throughout Los Angeles perform both classic and spoken word poetry, inspiring fellow teens to read, write, participate in the arts, and be leaders in their community. Get Lit has reached over 15,000 at-risk teens in more than 45 high schools, turning students into motivated scholars inspired to stay in school and thrive. To learn more please visit http://getlit.org and http://getlitclassicslam.org.

Free Books on The Performing Arts & Traces Tickets Giveaway

I have just two words for you: free books. Interested? Read on …

Money’s tight not only for families but for school districts all over L.A. Cutbacks mean many of our schools have had to eliminate arts education programs. As parents we must try not let the state’s budget cuts impact our kids because who knows – we may be raising the next Bernadette Peters, Leonard Bernstein or Justin Timberlake?!

Because of that, it’s great to know that The Music Center’s longest-running education program, The Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival, will continue to bring exciting performing arts experiences for free to more than 18,000 fifth grade students from all over LA County from April 23-25 of this year. Students will experience the power of live performing arts as they see a performance from Traces, a modern brand of circus infused with the energy of street performance, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Afterwards, they will dance together, en masse, on The Music Center Plaza, a dance they have rehearsed in advance in their classrooms, incorporating music and movements from the professional performance. Every student who attends the Festival will receive a copy of the book, A Journey Through The Music Center, which introduces them to The Music Center and various aspects of the performing arts.

2013 MC Front cover_V4

And now for the first time, The Music Center is offering parents and guardians an opportunity to get a copy of A Journey Through The Music Center for free; formerly the book has been available only to students who attended the festival. The book is available in limited quantities for a limited period of time. Parents/guardians can visit www.musiccenter.org/festivalbook to request a copy.

This keepsake book makes information about the performing arts very accessible and understandable. Parents and students will especially appreciate the book’s attention to the vocabulary words. What is an oboe? What is a resident company? What does it meant to strike the set? What does a theater house manager do? Students will be able to answer those questions and more as they enjoy the book’s beautiful photographs and illustrations, storylines and special attention to personalizing the experiences associated with the performing arts.

To celebrate the performing arts, Good Reads With Ronna is giving away a $220 four pack of tickets to the Friday, April 26, 2013 performance at 7:30 p.m. of Traces at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Just click here to enter. You must include your name, phone number, email and postal address in the email to be officially entered into the giveaway. Tickets will be available at Will Call on the evening of performance.  Click here for the rules or scroll down below.  The giveaway ends on Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at midnight and the winner will be selected and notified on Wednesday, April 24, 2013. Good luck!

HOW TO ENTER:

  1. Beginning Thursday, April 18 we’re offering one reader the chance to win a family four pack to see TRACES worth a total value of $220 ($55 each)     at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Simply LIKE us on Facebook and also send us your name and contact info in an email to Ronna.L.Mandel@gmail.com by midnight Tuesday, April 23, 2013 and you’ll be entered to win. Remember to write ARTS in the subject line. This winner and three guests will attend the Friday, April 26, 2013 performance at 7:30 p.m. with tickets available at Will Call for collection.
  2. The giveaway opportunity ends at midnight on Tuesday, April 23, 2013 and one winner will be randomly chosen on Wednesday, April 24, 2013. For an additional entry please follow us on Twitter @goodreadsronna too! If you don’t provide an email where you can be contacted your chance to win is forfeited.

Family-friendly BookFest, Downtown L.A.

As part of the March 2013 celebrations for the National Education Association’s Read Across America Day, Grand Park has created Grand Park’s Downtown BookFest, a multi-faceted, multi-generational community event that salutes the enjoyment of reading and the importance of literacy.  Grand Park’s Downtown BookFest takes place on Saturday, March 2, 2013 from 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. at Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles, from Grand Avenue to Hill Street (Blocks One and Two of the park).  Park visitors will enjoy a wide variety of activities inspired by the simple pleasures of reading a good book under the blue sky in an urban green setting.

mail

Designed for families and book lovers of all ages, Grand Park’s Downtown BookFest features readings from independent book stores, children’s story circles, crafts for children, musical performers, food trucks and other activities based on the power of the written word.  In addition, Grand Park will inaugurate four little free lending libraries, which are miniature libraries that operate on the honor system, allowing visitors to “take a book, leave a book.”  The concept, spearheaded by the nonprofit organization, Little Free Library, is a grass roots movement to encourage reading and provide easy access to books.

Activities at Grand Park’s Downtown BookFest include:

• Readings and a pop-up book store presented by The Last Bookstore and Writ Large Press, representing the authors and publications of 25 Los Angeles-based independent publishers;
mail-1• Book sales and literacy information provided by non-profit writing and tutoring center, 826 LA;
• Book swaps and giveaways by Libros Schmibros;
• Children’s crafts presented by the Central Library and Ryman Arts, which provides teens with free access to visual arts education;
• Performances by DJs Phyz Ed and Danny Holloway;
• Performance by bilingual children’s author, educator and recording artist, José Luis-Orozco; and
• Presentation by the first poet laureate of Los Angeles, Eloise Healey, who was named to this newly created position by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in December 2013.  Healey will open the event and read from some of her poetry.

Visitors will also enjoy food provided by three popular food trucks, including The Lobos Truck (American), Mandoline Grill (Vietnamese) and Cool Cow (ice cream).

Current park programs include Lunchtime Yoga retreat (Wednesdays and Fridays) as well as Lunchtime Concerts in Grand Park (Tuesdays).  More information and an event calendar can be found at http://grandparkla.org/

Back To Top
%d bloggers like this: