Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Great Honor

I have just agreed to a three year term to be on the review board for the Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts. This a yearly list compiled by a seven-member committee selected by the Children’s Literature Assembly, an affiliate of the National Council of Teachers of English. The list identifies 30 exemplary works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry written for children, grades K-8. I will be examining between 800-1,000 books per year.

I'm not sure how it will impact this blog, but I have to think my readers/students will be introduced to a lot of new books for the next three years.

Happy Reading,
Dr. Quinn

Thursday, January 29, 2009

New Valentine Book

It is always a happy day when a new book arrives at my office...especially when it is a gift directly from an author or illustrator. Today I was greeted with Jerry Pallotta's new book, Who Will Be My Valentine This Year? Pallotta and David Biedrzycki team up again to create this fun book. The two have done several similar books together prior to this one: Who Will Guide My Sleigh Tonight?, Who Will Help Santa this Year?, & Who Will Haunt My House on Halloween?

Like the others, Pallotta's humor is clearly present throughout the book. My favorite line is when the protagonist, a pink hippo, asks three pigs to be her valentine.
"Pigs, please, let's be valentines!"
"Burp!, Bad idea. We eat like pigs. You have manners."

Biedrzycki's illustrations are colorful and creative. Make sure you take time to look at all the extras he has added.

The book is just off the Scholastic press. It will be a fun read for many Valentine Days to come.

Thanks Jerry!

Happy Reading,
Dr. Quinn

Monday, January 26, 2009

Newbery & Caldecott

Today the real winners of the Newbery and Caldecott Award were announced:

Newbery Award

The Graveyard Book
By Neil Gaiman

Honor Books: The Underneath, The Surrender Tree, Savvy, & After Tupac & D Foster

Caldecott Award

House in the Night
By Susan Marie Swanson & Ill. by Beth Krommes

Honor Books: A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever, How I Learned Geography, & A River of Words

Congratulations to the winners and the honor books

Happy Reading,
Dr. Quinn

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mock Caldecott Winners (Senior Capstone)

Here is the medal winner and honor books for our Mock Caldecott
(Senior Capstone Class)

Medal Winner

Boycott Blues: How Rosa Parks Inspired a Nation
By Andrea Davis Pinkney & Ill by Brian Pinkney

A sample of posted statements from some of my students prior to the event:

"This was my favorite book not only for the illustrations but also for the plot and the way it was written in verse. I know we are supposed to focus on illustrations but I have to say that the book is amazing and I definitely want to incorporate it into the classroom. It tells the story of Rosa Parks in a powerful way. Most of the power lies within the illustrations. I liked how the endpages were wispy and overlapped the color. I also enjoyed the way the illustrations were abstract and really focused on the use of color to convey meaning. Like Lindsey said, my favorite part of the colors was the dark, deep black that loomed over the capital building or the rest of the picture to display the suppression of the Jim Crow laws. During times of hope when the people were gathered together the scene lightened up and become hues of yellow and orange. Most of the book is shades of blue. I just LOVED the symbolism in the colors. This book was so powerful."

"I loved the way that the story was actually written to the child. I could almost hear a grandparent telling this story to their grandchild. The use of color in this book was incredible. I love how Jim Crow was sumbolized as the black scribbles... you could almost see his wings and talons sticking out. I also really enjoyed the accent colors in the book. The bright colors accented the background and really drew your attention to the object which was usually a beacon of hope in some way. I really liked the scene of all the empty dark buses and all the colorful people walking on the sidewalks."

Honor Books

Friday My Radio Flyer Flew
by Zachary Pullen

We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball
by Kadir Nelson

Silent Music: The Story of Bagdad
By James Rumford

Abe"s Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln
By Doreen Rapaport, & Ill. by Kadir Nelson

Happy Reading,
Dr. Quinn

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Last year I was introduced to Endgame by Nancy Garden. Several students and I decided to use it as a part of our small book club. I was impressed immediately!

This year I decided to assign it to my seniors as a part of their capstone class, the culminating education class at Taylor. After reading the book we did had two hours of discussion (only one hour was planned). It was absolutely amazing to see the emotions that this book evoked in myself and my students. By the time class was over there were tears, heartache, prayer, and a genuine determination to seek out those students that are bullied, different, loners, etc.

If you do not know the book. It is a YA book about a 14 year old boy that is bullied at school and treated unfairly by his father at home. Ultimately he takes the situation in his own hands by taking a loaded gun to school. I'll just leave it at that for now.

I know there are plenty of fantastic books that touch this subject, but I must admit I found this one to be very powerful. I am embarrassed to admit that eyes were opened!


Happy Reading,
Dr. Quinn

Sunday, January 4, 2009

New Friends

While at NCTE's Annual Convention in San Antonio I had the opportunity to meet several children's authors. This is a photo of Roland Smith, Jerry Pallotta, Deb Marciano-Professor at Washington College, Pam Munoz Ryan, & myself outside a wonderful restaurant, Azuca Nuevo Latino Restaurant, where we had some fun and fellowship

Each author was generous enough to give me a signed book. Jerry went out of his way to connect me with Michael Shoulders and a publishing house. Thanks for a great time everyone. Marciano's blog

Happy Reading,
Dr. Quinn

Friday, January 2, 2009

A Taste for Red

I was recently sent a copy of Lewis Harris' new book titled A Taste for Red. I believe this book will be released in June of '09. It is always nice to have an opportunity to read a text prior to the release date...thanks Marjorie.

First of all, I would like to share what a fun read this was for me. I enjoyed listening to the protagonist, Svetlana Grimm, share her story. She kept me engaged, and I was excited to turn the pages.

Svetlana believes that she is a vampire and to confirm this theory she shares her reasons: she likes to sleep under her bed, she has a taste for red foods (red peppers, red potatoes, tomatoes, red velvet cake, etc.), she has ESP, she is fair skinned, and her senses are perfectly attuned after hours. By combining her sharp senses and her ESP, Svetlana discovers that one of her teachers, Ms Larch, is a vampire as well. However, Svetlana has difficulty discerning if her teacher is good or bad. With the help of an unique elderly neighbor, Ms Bones and Svetlana's new friends, a discovery is made that will impact the all their lives.

In this book, Harris integrated the hot topic of vampires with friendships, self identification, and the thrill of suspense to create a engaging mystery for children.


Happy Reading,
Dr. Quinn