105 Ways to Give a Book

105 Ways to Give a Book

For all of your holiday shopping needs, here are 105 Ways to Give a Book — now updated and grouped by (approximate) age. Within categories, the books are generally in order, with newer books first. Sometimes I pick up the paperback version in that calculation, and sometimes not. Keeps it interesting. Will I be doing more book matches? I doubt that I’ll be able to resist.

Multi-Age
  1. Give an experience like a trip to a zoo, aquarium, museum, aviary, arena, or city. Put the passes, tickets, or homemade gift certificate with a relevant book to make it feel more tangible.
  2. Take a road trip to a state or national park with Could You? Would You? or Ask Me so you can use the driving time to ask each other the interesting questions from the book.
  3. Give a book with a movie theater gift card to see the upcoming film.
  4. Give a book with a gift card to rent the movie. Include a box of microwave popcorn.
  5. Give One Hen — How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference with a loan to Kiva or a donation to Heifer International to buy chicks. For more charity and book matches, look to this list from Abby the Librarian.
  6. Pair any book with another book from the bargain section, maybe something silly or crafty or gimmicky.
  7. Pair a detective book with a magnifying glass.
  8. Match poetry books with poetry beads or magnetic poetry.
  9. Pair a picture book with a related stuffed animal.
  10. Give an interesting, insightful book with a restaurant gift card and a date to discuss the book together over a meal.
Preschool
  1. Give Jeremy Draws a Monster with a pack of fat crayons and a stack of copy paper from an office supply store.
  2. Pair The Curious Garden with gardening tools and seeds.
  3. What else can go with Monkey With A Tool Belt and the newer Monkey With A Tool Belt and the Noisy Problem but a tool belt?
  4. Pair Princess Hyacinth (The Surprising Tale of the Girl Who Floated) with a kite.
  5. Give Mighty Casey with a bat and ball. You can throw in a coupon book for practice sessions.
  6. Take a bedtime book like The Sleepy Little Alphabet or At Night and add a personalized pillow.
  7. Pair Bubble Trouble with touchable bubbles.
  8. Give little superheroes SuperHero ABC along with a superhero cape.
  9. Pair Monsters on Machines or Building with Dad with toy construction vehicles.
  10. Who can resist that match-up of Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek with Lincoln Logs?
  11. Give your little dragon-lover Hush Little Dragon or Guess What I Found in Dragon Wood with the cutest dragon ever.
  12. Is there a doctor in the house? There will be with picture book Doctor Ted along with a doctor kit.
  13. Future firefighter instead? Give Firefighter Ted along with Firefighters A to Z and firefighter gear.
  14. Pair picture book stunner How I Learned Geography with an inflatable globe.
  15. What else can go with Lester Fizz, Bubble Gum Artist other than gum — and perhaps an early apology to the parents.
  16. Cat lovers can enjoy picture books Grumpy Cat, Katie Loves the Kittens, and Wabi Sabi with a cat card game.
  17. Inspire young builders with Iggy Peck, Architect and a building set.
  18. Nature lovers will enjoy Birdsongs along with a guidebook like Backyard Birds and some binoculars.
  19. For more nature, pair Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly with a butterfly garden kit.
  20. Give your favorite girly-girl Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy with dress-up jewelry and/or a fancy poodle.
  21. Give your rough little boy Pirates Don’t Change Diapers along with genuine pirate gear.
  22. Take sweet picture book Lissy’s Friends and pair it with an origami kit.
  23. Picture books The Zoo or Pssst! would be perfect with a zoo animal collection or game.
  24. Taking a Bath with the Dog and Other Things That Make Me Happy is a book that deserves its own bathrobe and/or bubble bath.
  25. Looking for something a little different? Maybe Cowboy and Octopus with a cowboy hat or an octopus.
  26. Take a special book, like Wow! It Sure is Good to Be You (which is about an aunt loving her far-away niece), and make a CD recording of you reading it.
  27. Give picture book The Moon with a flashlight and a promise for a nighttime walk or two.
  28. Pair Duck and Goose with a bright spotted ball (fans will know why).
  29. The funny wordless book Once Upon a Banana is a perfect fit with a stuffed monkey — but show your sense of humor by throwing a banana into the gift bag.
  30. Give The Snow Globe Family with a snow globe.
  31. Pair Lilly’s Big Day with dress-up clothes.
  32. Pair Bubble Bath Pirates or Beasty Bath with a cool rubber duck, even a huge rubber duck.
  33. Give the wonderful The Day the Babies Crawled Away with a baby doll.
  34. Everyone needs Mo Willems’ book Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, maybe adding a toy bus and a cargo truck.
  35. Pair classic A Bargain For Frances with a tea set.
Early Elementary
  1. Pair a nonfiction book about dinosaurs, like Boy! Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs, with a bunch of plastic ones.
  2. Expand the idea of giving with Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival and a Pawsitively New Orleans T-shirt, and throw in some Mardi Gras beads.
  3. Pair silly beginning reader book The Monster in the Backpack with a cute backpack (monster additional).
  4. Give beginning reader books Amazing Sharks! and Chomp! A Book About Sharks for beginning readers and throw in a shark on a stick.
  5. Take to the ice with book choices Katie Kazoo, On Thin Ice and passes to the local ice-skating rink.
  6. Pair Toys Go Out with a red bouncy ball, or a stuffed stingray or buffalo.
  7. Pair Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs with a kazoo.
  8. Give early chapter book series books Ella the Rose Fairy or Rose and the Delicious Secret with a lovely Rose Fairy.
  9. Blooming fashionistas will appreciate Paper Fashions (Klutz) (all thirty-five Amazon reviews gave five stars!) along with Fashion Kitty and the Unlikely Hero.
  10. Combine sweet Jenny and the Cat Club with a red scarf (don’t worry if it’s too long — so is Jenny’s) and a black cat.
Elementary
  1. Pair Operation YES! with green army men.
  2. Be a hero and give Percy Jackson and the Olympians Boxed Set with Heros, Gods, and Monsters of the Greek Myths.
  3. Pair fantasy book Savvy with with an assortment of temporary or henna tattoos.
  4. Give What the World Eats with a promise for an international dinner out or in.
  5. Pair Every Soul a Star with The Kids Book of the Night Sky and plan a date to look at the stars together.
  6. You can’t go wrong with the funny poems and outstanding art in Frankenstein Takes the Cake along with a cake-baking session, followed by reading the book together. As a matter of fact, throw in Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich and make a whole day — and a meal — of it.
  7. Speaking of the amazing Adam Rex, give the hilarious book The True Meaning of Smekday with a the related T-shirt Regarding Stickyfish Teams, I Favor the Bigfield Fighting Koobish.
  8. For business-minded kids, pair The Lemonade War with a coin counter bank.
  9. All the elementary school kids will love The Invention of Hugo Cabret, but you can pair it with tin wind-up toys for extra flair.
  10. Give Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little with um, Stuart Little.
  11. Give Kimchi & Calamari with a promise for a dinner out Korean style, or Italian style, or both.
  12. Wrap up A Crooked Kind of Perfect with excellent socks like those on the cover.
  13. Perhaps Fabulous Hair with a collection of hair accessories will make someone smile.
  14. Pair a diary-format book like Lucy Rose: Big on Plans (3rd/4th grade), Amelia’s Notebook (4th/5th grade), or The Princess Diaries (6th/7th grade) with a journal with fun pens.
  15. For a boy, how about Diary of a Wimpy Kid with a the Do It Yourself Journal?
  16. Or maybe Here Be Monsters! with a Nightmare Snatcher Journal.
  17. Have fun with Clarice Bean Spells Trouble and a game of Scrabble.
  18. Pair Phineas MacGuire... Erupts! with a science kit, or the next book in the series, Phineas MacGuire... Gets Slimed! with the slime science kit.
  19. Look to fantastic nonfiction, giving Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon with a homemade coupon for a visit to the Air and Space Museum (okay, this might only work around Washington, DC) or astronaut ice cream.
  20. Give a drawing book like Draw 50 Airplanes, Aircrafts, and Spaceships or Draw 50 Cats with a couple of nice sketch pads.
  21. Pair a spy-themed book like Harriet the Spy (chapter book) or The Real Spy’s Guide to Becoming a Spy (nonfiction) with rear-view sunglasses and/or a fingerprint kit.
  22. Bigger girls like stuffed animals too. How about Hoot with an owl, The World According to Humphrey with a hamster, or Room With a Zoo with a puppy?
  23. Select a magic book and fun magic tricks.
  24. Pair The Crafty Diva’s D. I. Y. Stylebook: A Grrrl’s Guide to Cool Creations You Can Make, Show Off, and Share with a gift card to a local craft store, and maybe some shopping and crafting time together.
  25. Match the book and the movie, like The Spiderwick Chronicles with the DVD.
  26. Pair a theme book like Katie and the Mustang with a horse charm and a satin cord from a craft store.
  27. Or maybe Fairy Realm with a charm bracelet.
  28. Give the first books of The Series of Unfortunate Events with a brass telescope.
  29. Pair The Art Book for Children with watercolor paints or an art set.
  30. Give Poetry Speaks to Children with hot chocolate, a mug, and a gift certificate for time to read it together.
Teen
  1. Give the new book Goth Girl Rising with the first book, The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl , and maybe throw in How to Draw Comic Book Heroes and Villains.
  2. Pair a book that you and a teen can enjoy with a gift card to Starbucks and a promise to talk about the book over coffee. Some suggestions? Liar, Candor, or The Adoration of Jenna Fox have interesting issues. Geektastic could open up conversations about your inner geek.
  3. Give Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer and Faeries of Dreamdark: Silksinger with a fairy diary.
  4. Rock out with Beige along with a mix CD of the songs in the chapter titles (or an iTunes gift card).
  5. Buy a teen My Life the Musical or Dramarama along with tickets to a show.
  6. Pair House of Dance with ballroom dance lessons.
  7. Give delicious book A La Carte with personal cooking lessons.
  8. Match casino gambling themed Drop with a deck of cards and a family game of penny poker or blackjack.
  9. Pair King Dork with a CD of The Mr. T Experience.
  10. Treat a tween to Middle School is Worse Than Meatloaf along with pink nail polish, lipstick, post-it notes, and special bubble bath, as mentioned in the book.
  11. Pair Knitgrrl: Learn to Knit With 15 Fun And Funky Projects and/or Chicks with Sticks: It’s a Purl Thing with yarn, knitting needles, and a promise for some lessons.
  12. Give Ductigami: The Art of Tape with... well, rolls of duct tape.
Adult
  1. Give nonfiction book Fruitless Fall with real honey from a whole foods store.
  2. Buy two copies of The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World  — one for you, one for a friend — and make a lunch date to talk about the book and one’s personal quest for happiness.
  3. Pair Life is Sweet with chocolate, any kind.
  4. Give This I Believe II with the first book This I Believe and a journal to capture great revelations of inner truth.
  5. Recapture that exciting election year with Dreams From My Father and The Audacity of Hope or Life’s The American Journey of Barack Obama and throw in an Obama finger puppet just for fun.
  6. Match travel memoir-themed books with the... um, drink of the region. Like In a Sunburned County with Yellow Tail wine from Australia or The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific with coconut rum. (Adults only for this gift, obviously.)
  7. Colbert fans and soon-to-be converts need I Am America (And So Can You) along with the greatest gift of all, the DVD A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All.
  8. Give The Devil Wears Prada, Bitter Is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass, or Why You Should Never Carry a Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office, and This Little Piggy Went to Prada in a Prada bag (from eBay! C’mon, a girl can dream...)
Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post are affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

ABC Storytime: I is for...

So not in the mood for blogging — or much of anything for that matter. Lots of little problems cropping up as we close in on the long weekend. I’m ready to start the holiday break right about now. But first...

The Letter I

Book: Ish, by Peter H. Reynolds

Book: Incredible Me! by Kathi Appelt

Book: My Name Is Not Isabella, by Jennifer Fosberry

Book: An Island in the Sun, by Stella Blackstone

Song: “The Waves on the Island” (This is the only perfect song for the letter I, other than ones about “me, myself, and I.”)
(to the tune of “The Wheels On the Bus”)

The waves on the island go up and down
Up and down, up and down
The waves on the island go up and down
All day long.

The crabs on the island crawl back and forth...
The clams on the island will open and shut...
the lobsters on the island go snap, snap, snap...

(Hand motions can follow the directions of the song.)
Alternate Books: Iggy Peck, Architect, by Andrea Beaty; Isla, by Arthur Doros; and Ice Cream Bear, by Jez Alborough.

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

Nonfiction Monday: Buying Nonfiction for the Holidays

Next Monday, I’ll unveil a single-page, reorganized version of my 105 Ways to Give a Book. I believe I’ll be boosting that number to 125 or more using 2009 books. If you can’t wait until Monday to start your book shopping, you’ll find that the link takes you to the original five posts with vetted books along with toys and other gift suggestions for children, teens, and adults. For Nonfiction Monday, I’m listing some of the nonfiction selections. Kind of like a teaser. (And quicker than writing a review, as it turns out.)
  1. Pair a drawing book like Draw 50 Airplanes, Aircrafts, and Spaceships or Draw 50 Cats with a couple of nice sketch pads.

  2. Pair The Crafty Diva’s D. I. Y. Stylebook: A Grrrl’s Guide to Cool Creations You Can Make, Show Off, and Share with a gift card to a local craft store, and maybe some shopping and crafting time together.

  3. Pair Knitgrrl: Learn to Knit With 15 Fun And Funky Projects and/or Chicks with Sticks: It’s a Purl Thing with yarn, knitting needles, and a promise for some lessons.

  4. Pair Ductigami: The Art of Tape with... well, rolls of duct tape.

  5. Pair Fabulous Hair with a hair accessory kit.

  6. Expand the idea of giving with Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival and a Pawsitively New Orleans T-shirt, and throw in some Mardi Gras beads.

  7. In the same vein give One Hen — How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference with a loan to Kiva or a donation to Heifer International to buy chicks.

  8. Give Life is Sweet with chocolate, any kind.

  9. Buy two copies of The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World  — one for you, one for a friend — and make a lunch date to talk about the book and one’s personal quest for happiness.

  10. Give This I Believe II with the first book This I Believe and a journal to capture great revelations of inner truth.

Nonfiction Monday is hosted today at Practically Paradise

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

“To Lie About Why Your Child Is Absent, Press 1”

Apparently, this is a real answering machine message for a school in Australia. Even if it’s not authentic, the concept itself makes it funny enough to share. Enjoy.



Hilarious School Answering Machine
Watch more funny videos at Break


Edited to add: Definitely not true, according to Snopes, but I’ll bet a lot of teachers wish it were true. Still funny, though.

Winter Blog Blast Tour: Pam Bachorz

CandorI’ll admit that I read Candor because the author is in my DC Kid Lit Book Club. I didn’t really think that the sci-fi, mind-control theme was going to be up my alley. So wrong! Once I started, I couldn’t put the book down. The storyline is gripping, the characters are compelling, and the town of Candor is so perfectly conceived. Plus the book made me think. And not teen angst stuff like girl trouble or rotten parents or a dead brother — though all of those elements are included — but about the constitution of an individual, the obligations of a parent, the nature of man. As I read this book about a town where the teens are controlled by subliminal messages that make them behave perfectly, I was questioning the role that our mistakes, hardships, and choices have in making us individuals. That’s a good book.

For the Winter Blog Blast Tour, I am excited to ask author Pam Bachorz questions about her first novel and her writing life.



As a parent of a teen, I have to admit that there was a part of me that was intrigued by the idea of a society that could give me a kid who’d do her chores, study for tests, and not kiss boys. How did you find your instincts of parental protection rearing up in writing this “ideal” society?

I will admit that there’s some temptation there, even as a mother of a pre-schooler! Being a parent made me understand how parents could end up moving their families to a place like Candor, Florida. You just want to give your child everything you can — and some people go overboard. In the case of Candor, that would be way overboard! But I think my biggest “mama moments” in writing this story were in portraying the relationship that Oscar had with his mother, and the longing he still has for her. I know I wouldn’t have written it that way if I didn’t have a son.

The kids who listen to the messages in the town of Candor lose their individuality and become, as Oscar suggests, “like robots.” In pulling together the brainwashing concept, how did you consider the various roles that losing their painful pasts, not being able to learn from mistakes, and not actively making choices play in forming the “Stepford Wives” results?

Since these kids can’t grow from their own mistakes or make their own decisions about how to behave, they’re left with a default: whatever the Messages tell them to do. I think that’s true even without brainwashing: If you don’t let kids live their own lives and make their own mistakes, they’re left with behaving like the people around them (which sometimes isn’t the best thing...!).

There are a lot of interesting ideas and messages in the book, but it’s not preachy. What did you do as a writer to keep from crossing that line?

Ugh, I hate preachy stories (don’t really like hanging around preachy people either!). And I hate being told what to do — just ask my mother. So for me, it’s a simple sniff test. If I write anything that makes my toes curl, it’s got to come out. It also comes from motive, I think. If you’re writing a story to “teach kids a lesson,” that’s how it will come out. I like to write stories that entertain and introduce readers to new worlds, so hopefully that’s what I end up doing.

In essence, Oscar controls whether he’ll lose the one person who might make his existence in Candor tolerable. Can you interpret this as a sort of final exam in free choice for the character? How about for the reader?

Yes. The final few chapters of Candor are a crucible for Oscar. He’s grown since he met Nia, and he’s made some decisions about what — and who — is most important to him. But is he brave enough to follow through on those revelations, no matter what the consequences are? I don’t want to spoil the ending for those who haven’t read it, so I will stop there! For the reader, sure, I hope that they’re asking themselves, “What would I do?” throughout. And when you consider Oscar’s family ties, and loyalty, you see that there’s no easy answer for him.

What did you use of your own experiences in writing Candor?

Candor was inspired by the time my family lived in a planned community in central Florida; anyone who’s visited that spot is sure to find some areas that helped to inspire my settings — like the boardwalks, the lake with rocking chairs, the ice cream shop. But of course my real-life neighbors hadn’t been brainwashed (or maybe that is just what I’m supposed to say!). There are lots of small parts of my life that found their way into my story, of course... like my father’s penchant for pointing up in the sky and shouting, “Look! A dead bird!”

Generally, I think I used my personal experiences in feeling like a “hidden outsider”: someone that everybody thinks fits in, but actually feels very much on the outside. That’s how the main character in Candor feels, too. I’d bet that most people have felt that way at some point in their lives.

Why did you feel the need to write this book?

I have loved the idea of writing about brainwashing since I first thought of it, and I am just too stubborn to quit something once I start... no matter how many times I threaten to! I hadn’t read anything quite like this, and I hadn’t encountered a character quite like Oscar or with his problems. So I figured it was worth it: The idea fascinated me and it wasn’t going to be like a dozen other books already out there.

When did you start writing?

I dictated my first picture book, featuring Winnie the Pooh, to my mother when I was four. I wrote my first novel on my father’s old electric typewriter when I was in middle school. It was hunderds of pages long and had something to do with mermaids and mazes. Mercifully, it is lost. Although I hear mermaids are the next hot thing in YA. *head smack*

Where do you do your best thinking?

I do most thinking in my study; I am lucky enough to have my very own workspace (complete with door and lock!) and a desk that I can devote just to my writing. But I find that my biggest breakthroughs happen when I am not at all thinking about writing. The trick is to truly drop it from my mind. I can’t count how many breakthrough ideas I’ve had while I’m watching the opening credits for movies. My brain must really relax then, I suppose.

Who inspires you personally or professionally?

My grandfather, Charles Hockford, is a big inspiration to me. He played piano almost every Friday and Saturday night, in clubs and restaurants, into his eighties. But he also raised a family with my grandma Grace and held down a full-time job. He found a way to balance family, art and paycheck. Of course my grandmother deserves huge credit for keeping things running smoothly... just like my husband, who I like to call The Patron of The Arts (POTA)! I am also inspired to see my other grandmother, Carolyn, pursuing her painting even in her nineties.

How do you balance novel writing and social media needs?

Ha! Very good question. Well, I schedule my novel writing every week: I commit to my writing time on a calendar and post it on my study door. And that is solid writing time; no e-mail, no Internet, nothing. On the other hand, social media is something I fit in “whenever,” and usually that means when I have two minutes to spare. It helps to have a blackberry with the Twitter and Facebook apps installed so I can catch up with social media while I’m at the post office, etc. If I drop off the social media planet it’s probably because I am totally absorbed by writing and too exhausted to do the fun extra stuff.

As a bonus, here’s the answer for the question that I forgot to ask — what’s next? Pam is working on another Young Adult book for Egmont’s Fall 2010 list.



For more Winter Blog Blast Tour:

Lisa Schroeder at Writing & Ruminating
Alan DeNiro at Shaken & Stirred
Joan Holub at Bildungsroman
Pam Bachorz at MotherReader
Sheba Karim at Finding Wonderland
R.L. LaFevers at HipWriterMama

(Note: Post updated to reflect complete schedule.)
Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

Giving Books, Booklights, NBA, and WBBT

The holiday shopping has already begun in earnest, so let me point you to my suggestions for 105 Ways to Give a Book with updated shopping links. You'll find vetted books along with toys and other gift suggestions for children, teens, and adults. I'm working on new additions for 2009 and looking at making one huge list to make it easier to promote across the blogosphere. Stay tuned.

I'm talking turkey at Booklights today with Thanksgiving picture books. I went with my old favorites, so I'd love newer titles that you'd recommend. Head over to make suggestions in the comments.

Raise your hand if you were following the National Book Awards on Twitter last night. Me too. Well, at least for the Young People's Literature award. I was rooting for Laini Taylor as a friend and fellow KidLitospherer, but hold no grudges for the winner, Phillip Hoose for Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice. I am still happy for Laini for being nominated - a great honor - and for being able to attend the weekend's festivities as a guest of honor. We're all stinking proud of you, girl.

Speaking of Laini, her interview is up today at Shelf Elf as part of the Winter Blog Blast Tour. Here's the schedule for today. Go. Read. Comment.

Sy Montgomery (Part 2) at Chasing Ray
Laini Taylor at Shelf Elf
Jim DiBartolo at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
Amanda Marrone at Writing & Ruminating
Thomas Randall at Bildungsroman
Michael Hague at Fuse #8

Tomorrow I'll have an interview with Pam Bachorz of the new, hot book Candor. Sure, I could link to the book, but I'd rather show you the gift she got from her friends - a purse made from the book. You can browse the craftperson's Rebound Designs catalog, or special order a title. I like the ones with great covers - like this Illustrated Treasury of Children's Literature - but I'm also partial to my favorite book, The Hobbit. What I need is The Hobbit with an illustrated cover. Bam! said the lady.


Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

Winter Blog Blast Tour 2009

Today’s Winter Blog Blast Tour interviews:
And yesterday’s, since I forgot to post them:

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

Bargain Books for Holiday Shopping (or for You)

So with a million things to do last night, I turned to an old time-waster — hunting for bargain books at Amazon. You can browse — and buy — for hours. How so? From the Amazon Books department, choose the tab at the right that says Bargain Books. Then in the Browse Bargain Books list to the left, select Children’s Books (or whatever you want, I suppose). You’ll get an amazing amount of stuff that also includes anything from resellers. I’ve found that you can eliminate most of these by selecting — in the left-hand column — Shipping Option: Free Super Saver Option. Now you can browse by bestselling, publication date, or cost until you get sick of it. Or you can further narrow your search by choosing age range, price, rating, and subject.

Or you can skip the whole thing and rely on some of my suggestions of books I’ve heard good things about or have enjoyed myself. Buy quickly though, because they don’t always stay on discount for long. They aren’t always closeouts, because often the books will come back to the listings later at full price. I don’t know what that’s about, but I’ve seen it happen often enough.
I’ve also updated my links in 105 Ways to Give a Book, for those of you ready to start your holiday shopping. The list includes books along with toy or other gift suggestions to go with the titles. I’ll be reposting them soon — along with a new list or two for 2009.

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

Literacy Projects for the Win

With more than five hundred dollars raised with the charity raffle at KidlitCon, we gave two projects at Donors Choose a huge boost. Now with additional contributors, both DC school literacy projects have been fully funded! Here are the teachers’ notes to us:
Dear KidlitCon09,

I am most grateful for your generosity. My students will continue to develop their love of reading and curiosity with your gift. The picture dictionaries and thesauri will be a tremendous help in developing students’ vocabulary. The Washington D.C. books are going to provide additional support in teaching the third grade social studies standards whose focus is on our nation’s capitol.

Our library is in desperate need of additional books. The books will be a fantastic addition! We are looking forward to starting the new year with our book club with the Harry Potter series that you have provided.

With gratitude,
Ms. S.
That project, Literacy is Fun-damental, purchased Spanish language materials for a mostly immigrant classroom population.
Dear KidlitCon09,

There are few words that I can say that would be better than THANK YOU!, but I will try. I began teaching in Brooklyn, New York, after being a loan officer for a bank for eight years. My education process was so fulfilling that I wanted every student to have the opportunity that I have had. The first thing that I learned as a classroom teacher is that “IT ALL BEGINS WITH READING!” I have taught in many classrooms and the first question that I ask is, “What are we going to read?”

I was very disheartened when I learned that my current classroom had no library provided for it by the school system. I tried to provide books on my own and it became very expensive. One of my fraternity brothers has donated 75 books to my classroom, but we are still in need of more materials.

This donation of books will allow my students to begin to have the opportunities that I want for my students. I cannot thank you enough! My students will benefit from your generosity, and gain valuable learning experiences. I am sure we will keep in touch through the program and maybe even after. On behalf of my students, and myself, THANKS A LOT!

With gratitude,
Mr. S.
That project, It All Starts With Reading, funded a classroom library for a middle school in a high need area.

If you are inspired to continue giving, Adam Rex is currently running a mustache... thing for Donors Choose. You can also use the search feature at the site to find a project of interest or a school near you. Maybe you could include this charity in your holiday giving this year with a book for a friend, along with a donation to buy books for a classroom. Trust me, it’s a much better present than a gift basket from Meat N’ Things.

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

Nonfiction Monday: Zero Is the Leaves on the Tree

Zero is the Leaves on the TreeI’d seen the book Zero Is the Leaves on the Tree mentioned elsewhere, so when I saw a copy at my library I had to see what the fuss was about. Let me say that there is some well-earned fuss. Taking the reader through the seasons, zero is represented in many ways, including the number of sleds on a slushy hillside or the kites in a windless sky. The beautiful and slight wording on each two-page spread makes the book close kin to poetry.
Zero is...
the leaves on the bare,
brown arms of the oak tree.
I can’t think of another book that gently and beautifully tackles math, seasons, and poetry. Heck, through the lovely illustrations, the book even includes a story of sorts about a diverse groups of four friends going through the school year together. Honestly, it’s such a perfect book that it should not be missed. (Nonfiction Monday is hosted today at Tales from the Rushmore Kid.)

The Winter Blog Blast Tour begins today with some awesome authors appearing at:
Check Chasing Ray for the full week’s schedule.

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Poetry Friday: Home (Again)

How’s 2009 working out for you? Not great, huh? You’re not alone.

I’ve had some nice things happen in this year, but for the most part it’s been a bumpy road. Things that have should have been easy had obstacles, things that looked like luck faded away. Everything seems to be a struggle.

What’s odd to me is that everyone I talk to seems to be in the same kind of muck. Family members with health issues, new jobs that are hard adjustments, school schedules that stink, projects that are overwhelming. I can’t think of anyone I’ve chatted with in the last few months who hasn’t given at least these last few months of 2009 an unqualified “Meh.”

Certainly the economy is a factor in a bad feeling. In my case, I haven’t talked to people who’ve lost a job — though many of them worry about their employment. Swine flu has taken down some friends and family, but not enough to make the impact I’m seeing around me. The anger and anxiety in political matters may be taking a toll, though no one has mentioned it specifically as they talk — nicely, gently — about being ready for this year to just be over.

It’s in that feeling of malaise that I’m bringing today’s stretch of a Poetry Friday entry. See, in July my fifth grader did a performance for a summer theatre program and knocked it out of the park. She’s going to sing the same song at tonight’s Girl Scout talent show and was chosen to close the show — a big honor when you consider that there are high school students performing as well.

In thinking about how this song hits everyone who hears it — including even the high school girls who choose the order of the show — I suddenly saw how well it captures this... thing I’ve noticed around. This feeling of being trapped by circumstance, of being unlucky, or being far from comfort. And in the song, the sense of hope in impossible situations. Watch it all, if you will, for the full impact or notice the lyrics and performance at the 2:30 mark:

HOME

Is this home?
Am I here for a day or forever?
Shut away
From the world until who knows when.
Oh, but then
As my life has been altered
Once, it can change again
Build higher walls around me.
Change every lock and key.
Nothing lasts,
nothing holds
All of me.
My heart’s far
Far away,
Home and
Free.
If you are having the kind of months or year I talked about, than let me remind you that nothing lasts, and nothing holds all of you.

Poetry Friday is hosted today at Gotta Book.

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.