What I’ve Been Reading…

The weather has been warming up in the Boston area which means it’s finally time to enjoy lots of reading time out on my porch. It’s my favorite spot to cozy up with a book–add an iced coffee and you’ve got the best way to spend nap time.

Here are a few of the books I’ve been enjoying lately…

 

I’m Fine And Neither Are You

by Camille Pagán

I have to thank Laura Vanderkam (author of Juliet’s School of Possibilities) for this recommendation. I know a book is good when this nervous flyer is completely absorbed at the airport and all through the flight. Fans of What Alice Forgot will enjoy reading about Jenny’s journey as she tries to make some big changes in her life and marriage.

“Wife. Mother. Breadwinner. Penelope Ruiz-Kar is doing it all—and barely keeping it together. Meanwhile, her best friend, Jenny Sweet, appears to be sailing through life. As close as the two women are, Jenny’s passionate marriage, pristine house, and ultra-polite child stand in stark contrast to Penelope’s underemployed husband, Sanjay, their unruly brood, and the daily grind she calls a career.

Then a shocking tragedy reveals that Jenny’s life is far from perfect. Reeling, Penelope vows to stop keeping the peace and finally deal with the issues in her relationship. So she and Sanjay agree to a radical proposal: both will write a list of changes they want each other to make—then commit to complete and total honesty.

What seems like a smart idea quickly spirals out of control, revealing new rifts and even deeper secrets. As Penelope stares down the possible implosion of her marriage, she must ask herself: When it comes to love, is honesty really the best policy?”

 

 

Tiny Hot Dogs: A Memoir in Small Bites

by Mary Giuliani

Sometimes you’re just in the mood to sink into a good memoir. If you’re lucky, you have one on hand that’s equal doses funny and inspiring. (Bonus points if food is involved). That’s certainly the case with Tiny Hot Dogs  and I’m really looking forward to getting to chat with Mary Giuliani soon for an episode of A Bookish Home, the podcast.

“From awkward schoolgirl to Caterer to the Stars, Mary Giuliani weaves together a collection of hilarious memories, from professional growing pains to her long journey to motherhood, never losing her sense of humor and her love for everyone’s favorite party food, pigs in a blanket.

Mary’s utterly unremarkable childhood was everything she didn’t want: hailing from a deeply loving yet overprotective Italian family in an all-Jewish enclave on Long Island. All she wanted was to fit in (be Jewish) and become famous (specifically a cast member on Saturday Night Live). With an easy, natural storytelling sensibility, Mary shares her journey from a cosseted childhood home to the stage and finally to the party, accidentally landing what she now refers to as “the breakthrough role of a lifetime” catering to a glittery list of stars she once hoped to be part of herself.

Fresh, personal, and full of Mary’s humorous, self-deprecating, and can-do attitude against all odds, you’ll want to see where each shiny silver tray of hors d’oeuvres takes her next. You never know when the humble hot dog will be a crucial ingredient in the recipe for success, in building a business or simply making life more delicious.”

 

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New Kid

by Jerry Craft

I’m always looking for great graphic novels to add to my TBR list. I know in my school library we could hardly shelve a graphic novel before it was eagerly picked up by another student. This school story will hook kids that don’t normally gravitate toward graphic novels as well, but who love engaging, funny realistic fiction. A thought-provoking book that would lead to great discussions in classrooms or book clubs–New Kid is also a must-read for parents and teachers. Stay tuned for an upcoming episode of A Bookish Home, the podcast with author Jerry Craft.

“Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.

As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?”

Poetree 

written by Shauna LaVoy Reynolds, illustrated by Shahrzad Maydani

In this perfect book for spring, a young girl shares her love of poetry with a tree. Poetree (love this title!) would make a wonderful classroom read aloud during a poetry unit or a sweet bedtime story to share with your little one. The soft pastel illustrations will make you want to slow down and savor this one.

“A girl writes a poem to a tree, but then is surprised when the tree writes back in this wondrous and warm picture book about friendship, nature, and the power of poetry.

The snow has melted, the buttercups are blooming, and Sylvia celebrates winter’s end by writing a poem. She ties her poem to a birch tree, hoping that it doesn’t count as littering if it makes the world more beautiful. But when she returns, a new poem is waiting for her. Could the tree really be writing back? Sylvia decides to test her theory, and so begins a heartwarming poetic correspondence…as well as an unexpected new friendship.

Lyrical and sweetly satisfying, Poetree is about finding beauty in the world around you, and new friends in unlikely places.”

 

 

 

I Am Sam-I-Am

based on Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham

Do you have a young Dr. Seuss fan in your home? My toddler can’t get enough Seuss–we even had a Dr. Seuss themed party recently for her 2nd birthday. In particular, Green Eggs and Ham is a favorite. This board book (which tells the story from Sam perspective) was one of her gifts and it’s a hit. We’re hearing a lot of “More Sam-I-Am please!” around our house.

In this sweet, sturdy board book, Sam-I-Am shares the story of how he persuades his friend to try green eggs and ham. (What’s Sam’s secret? He never stops trying, of course!) Written in rhymed verse, this funny board book is an ideal introduction to the story for toddlers and preschoolers too young for the classic Beginner Book. Now everyone in the family–even pre-readers–can share in the fun and learn a valuable life lesson about trying new things!

Anne’s Alphabet and Anne’s Feelings Board Books

by Kelly Hill

I’m in love with this series and was excited to see two new additions! The embroidered illustrations are so beautiful and detailed and how can Anne of Green Gables fans not love pages like “P is for puffed sleeves” and “Anne is in the depths of despair”? Perfect for little kindred spirits–my toddler asks to read them over and over again.

I’m looking forward to having Kelly Hill on the podcast to chat about these lovely board books. Stay tuned for that episode.

 

What have you been reading? Leave a note in the comments or let me know on your favorite social media @ABookishHome.

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Happy Reading!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

Affiliate links are used in this post. At no extra cost to you, we may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. Thanks for supporting A Bookish Home!

 

 

Build Excitement With Book Trailers

Looking to create some bookish enthusiasm in your home? Grab the popcorn and watch some book trailers!

Book trailers are similar to movie trailers. They offer a short snippet of the book’s plot and get you excited to read it for yourself. I loved using book trailers in my school library and I think they are great for elementary school age kids.

Because book trailers are usually very short, often less than a minute, you could watch 10 or 15 together to preview a range of books. You could look at them on your computer, pull them up with something like Apple TV and watch them on the big screen.

Have your kids sit with a notebook and pen so that they can write down the books they are interested in reading. That way, afterwards, you could request some of them from the local library or use the list to buy the books.

You can search for book trailers online. Here are 10 to get you started:

Picture Books:

1. The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Adam Rex

2. The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

3. A Different Pond by Bay Phi

4. A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin

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Chapter Books/Middle Grade:

5. Ivy and Bean series by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall

6. Notebook of Doom series by Troy Cummings

7. Front Desk by Kelly Yang

8. The School for Good and Evil by Woman Chainini

9. Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

10. Last Kids on Earth series by Max Brallier

 

If you try showing book trailers to your kids, I’d love to hear about it! Leave me a note in the comments or let me know on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook @ABookishHome.

Happy Reading!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

Affiliate links are used in this post. At no extra cost to you, we may receive a small commission if you purchase something through the links provided. Thanks for supporting A Bookish Home!

10 Author Events Coming to the Boston Area in May

 

Are you in the Boston area and looking for a bookish event to add to your calendar?

Here are some of the authors coming to bookstores and libraries in the Boston area this month.

Be sure to check your local library and bookstore’s event calendar to see what author events are coming to your community.

Not in the Boston area? This list is still a great way to find a book to add to your TBR list!

An Evening With Author Martha Hall Kelly

Lost Roses

Lost Roses

Pico Iyer

Image result for autumn light book

From one of our most astute observers of human nature, a far-reaching exploration of Japanese history and culture and a moving meditation on impermanence, mortality, and grief. Iyer leads us through the year following his father-in-law’s death, and as the maple leaves begin to redden and the heat begins to soften, Iyer offers us a singular view of Japan, in the season that reminds us to take nothing for granted.

For more information visit the event website.

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Lynda Mullaly Hunt

An Unlikely Story invites readers to a book party for the new release from Lynda Mullaly Hunt, author of the New York Times bestseller, FISH IN A TREE! In a celebration with the author herself, there will be activity booths and raffles, and Lynda will speak about her new book, SHOUTING AT THE RAIN. A soft and sweet story, SHOUTING AT THE RAIN tells of weather-loving Delsie’s adventures around Cape Cod with a new friend as she discovers the true meaning of family and friendship.

For more information and to order tickets visit the event website.

So You Want to Write a Children’s Book?

 

 

Join the Boston Authors Club and authors Nancy Tupper Ling, Padma Venkatraman, Susan Lynn Meyer and host Peter H. Reynolds for a lively and informative discussion on writing and publishing children’s literature of all genres! Located at The Blue Bunny Bookstore. Free and open to all!

For more information visit the event website.

 

Hayley Barrett

As the weather is warming up, our Saturday Morning Story Time is the perfect destination for a family morning walk! Hayley Barrett will be reading her debut picture book, Babymoon.

Inside the cozy house, a baby has arrived! The world is eager to meet the newcomer, but there will be time enough for that later. Right now, the family is on its babymoon: cocooning, connecting, learning, and muddling through each new concern.
While the term “babymoon” is often used to refer to a parents’ getaway before the birth of a child, it was originally coined by midwives to describe days like these: at home with a newborn, with the world held at bay and the wonder of a new family constellation unfolding. Paired with warm and winsome illustrations by Juana Martinez-Neal, Hayley Barrett’s lyrical ode to these tender first days will resonate with new families everywhere.

Hayley Barrett says that fond memories of her own days spent nesting and cocooning with her husband and each of their newborns inspired her to write Babymoon. She lives in eastern Massachusetts

For more information visit the event website.

Toni Buzzeo

From a very young age, Sue Hendrickson was meant to find things: lost coins, perfume bottles, even hidden treasure. Her endless curiosity eventually led to her career in diving and paleontology, where she would continue to find things big and small. In 1990, at a dig in South Dakota, Sue made her biggest discovery to date: Sue the T. rex, the largest and most complete T. rex skeleton ever unearthed. Named in Sue’s honor, Sue the T. rex would be placed on permanent exhibition at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. When Sue Found Sue inspires readers to take a closer look at the world around them and to never lose their brave, adventurous spirits. 

Toni Buzzeo is the author of the Caldecott Honor Book and New York Times bestseller One Cool Friend and many other books for children. She lives in Arlington, Massachusetts.

For more information visit the event website.

 

Jeffrey S. Cramer

Solid Seasons: The Friendship of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson Cover ImagePlease join us on Sunday, May 19 at 3pm, when local author Jeffrey S. Cramer returns to the Bookshop with his new book, Solid Seasons: The Friendship of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Jeffrey S. Cramer is the editor of Walden: A Fully Annotated Edition, winner of a 2004 National Outdoor Book Award, and The Quotable Thoreau, recipient of an Umhoefer Prize for Achievement in Humanities. In 2017, Cramer was the historical consultant for the Ken Burns–produced documentary Walden, created for the Walden Pond State Reservation during the Thoreau Bicentennial. Cramer is the curator of collections at the Walden Woods Project’s Thoreau Institute Library. He lives in Maynard.

 

Ep. 29: Laura Vanderkam, Author of Juliet’s School of Possibilities

One of my favorite authors, Laura Vanderkam, returns to the podcast this week to discuss her new book, Juliet’s School of Possibilities, which is a time management fable. Laura is the author of several other time management and productivity books, including Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done as well as I Know How She Does It, What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, and 168 Hours. Laura’s work has appeared in publications including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, and Fortune. She is the host of the podcast Before Breakfast and the co-host, with Sarah Hart-Unger, of the podcast Best of Both Worlds. She lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and four children, and blogs at LauraVanderkam.com.

Juliet's School of Possibilities: A Little Story About the Power of Priorities by [Vanderkam, Laura]

I am always on board for a new title by Laura Vanderkam. Her books have completely changed the way I approach managing my time and I can’t recommend them highly enough. When I heard that her next book was a fable, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but it completely exceeded my expectations. Juliet’s School of Possibilities has the feel of a novel, while also imparting key aspects of Vanderkam’s time management philosophy.

Since it is a quick, enjoyable read, this is a perfect book to dip your toe into Vanderkam’s work and finish feeling motivated to make some changes. It would also be perfect to read as a staff and then discuss.

You can also listen to this episode on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

Shownotes:

You can visit Laura Vanderkam’s website at lauravanderkam.com.

Juliet’s School of Possibilities 

I highly recommend Laura Vanderkam’s podcasts:  Best of Both Worlds and Before Breakfast.

Other Laura Vanderkam Titles:

Off the Clock

I Know How She Does It

168 Hours

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Laura’s Recommended Read:

I’m Fine And Neither Are You

If you’re enjoying the podcast, be sure to subscribe and rate and review on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. Are you reading a book mentioned on the blog or podcast? I’d love to hear. Tag me on Twitter or Instagram @ABookishHome.

Happy Reading and Listening!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

Note: Affiliate links are used in this post. At no extra cost to you, we may receive a small commission if you purchase something through the links provided. Thanks for supporting A Bookish Home!

 

Celebrate Poetry Month

In honor of National Poetry Month, this week I’m sharing a post from last April:

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April is Poetry Month! Celebrate by reading poetry with the children in your life or by picking up an adult collection. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Children’s Collections:

For collections that celebrate poetry and reading, try Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poetry by Kwame Alexander and Book Speak!: Poems About Books by Laurie Purdie Salas:

 

 

 

 If you’re looking for a funny poetry book, try A Light in the Attic or anything else by Shel Silverstein, Laugh-eteria by Douglas Florian, and I’m Just No Good At Rhyming And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-ups by Chris Harris.

 

 

 

Travel the world, celebrate sports, and explore animal life in these collections: The National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry Edited by J. Patrick Lewis, Amazing Places with poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, and Good Sports: Rhymes About Running, Jumping, Throwing, and More by Jack Prelutsky.

 

 

For fun, creative pairs of poems that can be read in reverse I recommend Mirror Mirror, Follow Follow, or Echo Echo, which are all by Marilyn Singer and are based on fairy tales and greek myths.

 

 

 

You could also celebrate Poetry Month by reading a novel in verse. These also make fantastic choices for listening to as audiobooks.

Novels In Verse:

From Kwame Alexander’s Crossover (Plus Booked and Rebound), to Sharon Creech’s Moo and Another Day As Emily there is great kids’ realistic fiction in verse! (Bonus for Poetry Month: Another Day As Emily’s Susie decides to try living like poet Emily Dickinson).

 

 

For a historical read in verse try Inside Out & Back Again by Thanha Lai or Jacqueline Woodson’s incredible memoir Brown Girl Dreaming.

 

 

 

 

For a beginning chapter book in verse read Gone Fishing (Also Gone Camping) or the sweet, funny series of books beginning with Like Pickle Juice On A Cookie by Julie Steinberg.

 

 

I also adore “A Child’s Garden of Poetry” which HBO created with the Poetry Foundation. You can watch video clips of some of the poems on The Poetry Foundation’s website. 

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Check out “Hope” is the thing with feathers by Emily Dickinson, read by Claire Danes and also shared with sign language. It’s one of my favorites.

 

Poetry for Adults

I usually spend so much time sharing children’s poetry during April, that I haven’t made enough time for adult poets! This year, I picked up two collections from my local public library, Yeats’s When You Are Old: Early, Poems, Plays, And Fairy Tales And Maya Angelou’s The Complete Poetry:

 

 

 

What books are you reading and sharing during Poetry Month? Leave me a note in the comments or let me know on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook @ABookishHome.

Happy Reading!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

 

 

 

Start a Parent/Child Book Club

Are you looking for a fun way to connect with your child over books? Start a parent/child book club! 

As a school librarian, I helped host a 4th and 5th grade parent/child book club and was always so moved by the conversations and insights shared at these events. Books can be a wonderful way for kids to open up about problems they are facing or feelings they are having, that they may not have shared otherwise. It is also valuable for kids to see their peers as well as adults reading and chatting about books in a meaningful way.

I think upper elementary school is a great time to begin this sort of book club. Invite some of your child’s friends and their parents to join. You could meet monthly or bimonthly, taking turns hosting. Food always makes a book club more enjoyable. Keep it simple and order some pizzas or do a pot-luck.

Use these middle grade book suggestions to help get your parent/child book club started. As time goes on, you could have the kids bring ideas and vote for what they want to read next.

Reading Suggestions for Your Parent/Child Book Club

1.  Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

2. Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff

3. Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper

 

4. You Go First by Erin Entrada Kelly

 

5. Wonderby R.J. Palacio

 

6. Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

 

7. It Ain’t So Awful Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas

 

8. Operation Redwood by S. Terrell French

9. Front Deskby Kelly Yang

10. The Losers Club by Andrew Clements

11. The Benefits of Being An Octopus by Ann Braden

 

12. The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

 

What middle-grade books have you enjoyed reading with the kids in your life? I’d love to hear. Leave me a note in the comments or let me know on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook @ABookishHome.

Happy Reading!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

Affiliate links are used in this post. At no extra cost to you, we may receive a small commission if you purchase something through the links provided. Thanks for supporting A Bookish Home!

April Showers and Reads with May Flowers

On this rainy Tuesday, I’m throwing it back to a post from last spring. Here are books with plenty of flowers to get you through all those showers. Enjoy!

 

 

perennials

I know I’m not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but luckily in this case, Perennials’ gorgeous design did not disappoint. I completely fell into the story of Lovey Sutherland, who is called back to her family’s farm in Oxford, Mississippi and finds it might be time to try to make peace with the past. Compelling and heartfelt, I think this novel is perfect for fans of Taylor Jenkins Reid and Jojo Moyes. Julie Cantrell also brings this lush setting to life and the descriptions of the flower gardens central to this story will make you want to go start planting immediately–a perfect choice for spring. Bonus: Mississippi authors Eudora Welty and William Faulkner are weaved into the story. Highly recommended and I already have my library holds in for more books by Julie Cantrell!

 

Image result for floret farm cut flower garden

 

 

As I was soaking up all of the beautiful flower descriptions in Perennials, I kept thinking back to the book I pored over last spring: Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden: Grow, Harvest & Arrange Stunning Seasonal BloomsThis is not your typical gardening book. The photos in here are absolutely stunning and you will you want to start digging up your yard immediately

 

 

 

Here’s a peek at Floret Farm from when owner and Cut Flower Garden author Erin Benzakein was interviewed after winning Martha Stewart’s “American Made”:

 

Last year I discovered I don’t exactly have the greenest thumb (I’m really better at the planning and research phase!), but I’m going to try again and this year I want to involve my toddler in the flower garden. She did just receive her own set of gardening tools from a family member, so my little helper will be all set to help water and play in the dirt!

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If you have an older child, they could look at Cut Flower Garden or another gardening book with you and help choose what you’re going to plant. Reading a gardening book together would also be a great example for kids of a “How To” book, which I know students at my elementary school practice writing. Check out the gardening section of your local library and bring home a stack!

There are also so many wonderful picture book read alouds with gardening inspiration for this time of year that you can read together:

 

mygarden.jpeg

I adore My Garden by Kevin Henkes and for fans of Perennials, this is the perfect children’s book pairing! A child likes to help her mother in the garden, but also dreams of her own magic garden where things like jelly beans, chocolate, and seashells would grow. When I read this book to my students and ask them what would grow in their own magical garden their imaginations run wild–book trees, candy flowers and more! The illustrations in this book are also so bright and colorful. Highly recommended.

 

MissRumphius Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney is a recent favorite that I received from another librarian as a baby shower gift. As a child listening to her grandfather’s stories, Miss Rumphius says, “When I grow up, I too will go to faraway places, and when I grow old, I too will live beside the sea.” And she does–traveling the world and having many adventures before settling in Maine and deciding it’s time to “make the world more beautiful” with the simple act of planting many, many lupines. A lovely, inspiring read.

 

thegardener

Set in the 1930s, this historical fiction picture book by Sarah Stewart is told in a series of letters. The Gardener is a Caldecott Honor winner that tells the story of Lydia Grace, who is sent to go live with her uncle in the city after her father loses his job. She uses her gardening skills, a passion of hers, to help brighten the world around her and hopefully cheer up her curmudgeonly uncle.

 

 

Do you have a favorite read with “May flowers”? Share it in the comments or let me know on Instagram or Twitter @ABookishHome.

Happy Reading!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

 

Boston Author Event Roundup: April

 

Are you looking for a bookish event to add to your calendar?

Here are some of the authors coming to bookstores and libraries in the Boston area this month.

Be sure to check your local library and bookstore’s event calendar to see what author events are coming to your community.

Not in the Boston area? This list is still a great way to find a book to add to your TBR list!

Kwame Alexander presents The Undefeated,

joined by Lamar Giles, Raul the Third, and Kip Wilson

Image result for undefeated kwame

“Harvard Book Store welcomes Newbery Medal–winning author KWAME ALEXANDER for a celebration of the launch of his new Houghton Mifflin Harcourt imprint, Versify, and the release of his new picture book The Undefeated.

He will be joined by Versify authors LAMAR GILES, RAÚL THE THIRD, and KIP WILSON, who will be presenting their respective new children’s books The Last Last-Day-of-Summer, ¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market, and White Rose. The event will be a special 45-minute program focused on spreading the word about how books can empower young people to imagine and create a better world. It will be followed by audience Q&A and a signing with all four authors.”

For more information and to purchase tickets visit the event website.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019 – 7:00pm at Trident Books, Boston

First Draft with Sarah Enni Live: In Conversation With Sara Farizan and Katie Cotugno

“Join us for an in-conversation event with local authors Sarah Enni, author of TELL ME EVERYTHING, Sara Farizan, author of HERE TO STAY and IF YOU COULD BE MINE, and Katie Cotugno, author of HOW TO LOVE, 99 DAYS. This will be a lively chat including discussions of the themes connecting all of their books, writing young adult fiction, and an audience Q&A. This event will also be recorded and released as a bonus episode of the First Draft podcast.”

Thursday, April 4, 2019 – 7:00pm at Silver Unicorn Books, Acton

Julie Berry, Lovely War

“We are extremely excited to welcome Printz Honor author Julie Berry to share her newest YA novel, Lovely War.

They are Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Colette. A classical pianist from London, a British would-be architect-turned-soldier, a Harlem-born ragtime genius in the U.S. Army, and a Belgian orphan with a gorgeous voice and a devastating past. Their story, as told by goddess Aphrodite, who must spin the tale or face judgment on Mount Olympus, is filled with hope and heartbreak, prejudice and passion, and reveals that, though War is a formidable force, it’s no match for the transcendent power of Love.

Author Julie Berry’s critically-acclaimed writing has been called “haunting and unforgettable” by New York Times bestselling author of Salt to the Sea Ruta Sepetys and “utterly original and instantly engrossing” by Publishers Weekly.

Julie Berry is the author of the 2017 Printz Honor and Los Angeles Times Book Prize shortlisted novel The Passion of Dolssa, the Carnegie and Edgar shortlistedAll the Truth That’s in Me, and many other acclaimed middle grade novels and picture books. She holds a BS from Rensselaer in communication and an MFA from Vermont College. She lives in Southern California with her family.”

For more information visit the event website.

– 11am at Blue Bunny Books

Hayley Barrett, Babymoon

“The Blue Bunny welcomes Hayley Barrett to share her forthcoming picture book, Babymoon. Hayley’s debut picture book encourages growing families to take time together to rest and fall in love. In a perfect gift for new and expectant parents (and siblings), a gentle story pays tribute to the wonder and emotion of a family’s first quiet days with a newborn. Once an aspiring nurse-midwife, Hayley honors the arrival of any child, whether newborn or older, by birth or by adoption, as a momentous event.”

For more information visit the event website.

 

 at Blue Bunny Books, Dedham

Book Release Party with Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple,

A Kite for the Moon

“Meet the New York Times bestselling mother-daughter author team of Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple for a special event marking the release of their new picture book, A Kite for Moon.

The book tells a heartfelt story about a young boy’s fascination and unlikely friendship with the moon. With whimsical illustrations by award-winning artist Matt Phelan, the story begins when the little boy, who is flying his kite, notices a sad Moon. He sends up kites to her, even writing notes to Moon promising he will come see her someday. This promise propels him through years and years of studying, learning, and training to be an astronaut!

Dedicated to Neil Armstrong, this is the perfect children’s book to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first United States moon landing.”

For more information visit the event website.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 – 7:00pm at Trident Books, Boston

Steven Rowley in Conversation with William Kuhn,

The Editor

“In 2016, Steven Rowley’s smash debut, Lily and the Octopus, was a publishing phenomenon. The magical tale of grief and friendship sent shock waves through the literary world and was heralded on both sides of the Atlantic. Sold in translation in nineteen languages, Rowley’s remarkable book made The Washington Post’s list of Notable Fiction for 2016 and is currently in development as an Amazon Studios feature film.

Rowley now delivers on the soaring promise of that debut with The Editor, a stunning exploration of the complicated bond forged within families and a tribute to the serendipitous relationships that shape and define us—perfect for admirers of Less and The Nix.”

 

Saturday April 13th- 11:00AM at Silver Unicorn Books, Acton

Saturday Morning Story Time:

Andrea Wang, Magic Ramen

“This Saturday morning we explore the origins of ramen noodle soup and the story of Momofuku Ando.  Andrea Wang will read from her new picture book,Magic Ramen: The Story of Momofuku Ando.

Inspiration struck when Momofuku Ando spotted the long lines for a simple bowl of ramen following World War II.
Every day, Momofuku Ando would retire to his lab–a little shed in his backyard. For years, he’d dreamed about making a new kind of ramen noodle soup that was quick, convenient, and tasty for the hungry people he’d seen in line for a bowl on the black market following World War II. Peace follows from a full stomach, he believed.

Day after day, Ando experimented. Night after night, he failed. But Ando kept experimenting.

With persistence, creativity, and a little inspiration, Ando succeeded.”

For more information visit the event website.

 

Performance ergobaby carriers are great for warmer climates and outdoor activities

 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 – 7:00pm at Belmont Books

Louis Bayard, Courting Mr. Lincoln

“When Mary Todd meets Abraham Lincoln in Springfield in the winter of 1840, he is on no one’s shortlist to be president. Rough and reticent, he’s a country lawyer lacking money and manners, living above a dry goods shop, but with a gift for oratory. Mary, a quick, self-possessed debutante with a tireless interest in debates and elections, at first finds him an enigma. “I can only hope,” she tells his roommate, the handsome, charming Joshua Speed, “that his waters being so very still, they also run deep.”

It’s not long, though, before she sees the Lincoln that Speed knows: a man who, despite his awkwardness, is amiable and profound, with a gentle wit to match his genius and a respect for her keen political mind. But as her relationship with Lincoln deepens, she must confront his inseparable friendship with Speed, who has taught his roommate how to dance, dress, and navigate the polite society of Springfield.

Told in the alternating voices of Mary Todd and Joshua Speed, and rich with historical detail, Courting Mr. Lincoln creates a sympathetic and complex portrait of Mary unlike any that has come before; a moving portrayal of the deep and very real connection between the two men; and most of all, an evocation of the unformed man who would grow into one of the nation’s most beloved presidents.

Louis Bayard, a master storyteller at the height of his powers, delivers here a page-turning tale of love, longing, and forbidden possibilities.”

 

50% Off First 3 Months Bluprint Subscription at mybluprint.com through 4/7/19.

For more information visit the event website.
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Ten Steps to Get the Most Out of Your Local Library

Today I’m sharing a post from last winter that I hope you’ll find useful! Check out some of my tips for making the most of your public library card.

 

 

Are you a library user? It’s time to take advantage of all modern libraries have to offer!

I first fell in love with libraries as a college student, which is probably a bit late for a librarian.

It wasn’t the camaraderie of late-night study sessions or the peace and quiet that could be found in my college’s libraries, though that was nice too.

What actually began my devotion to libraries was a lesson in frugality from an unlikely source–the University of Oxford in England. I was lucky enough to be spending a year studying abroad there and instead of spending hundreds of dollars buying books for my courses (as I was used to stateside), I was provided with a list of books each week and told to request them through Oxford’s library system.

Photo Credit: Tejvan Pettinger

Wait, I can get all the books I need and want for free? I was hooked.

In the decade or so since, I’ve sought out my local library in all the cities and towns I’ve lived in (right now I’m an avid user of The Chelmsford Public Library) and in my job as an elementary school librarian I’m able to share this library joy with kids every day. (You get a book, you get a book…everybody gets a book!)

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Listening to “The Good House” by Ann Leary from the library

I still think it’s incredible that a library card can get you any book you want, no matter the state of your bank account.

What libraries can offer also seems to get better and better all the time (let’s hear it for free ebooks and audiobooks on your devices!).

However, I’ve found that people don’t always know how much their library can do for them. Do you?

How to Become a Savvy Library Patron:

Step 1: Find your local library and sign up for a library card.

If you haven’t already, it’s time to pay your library a visit and get your library card. Make sure to bring proof of your address–your license or a utility bill will work. Don’t forget a tote bag (or two!) to fill up with your first check-outs!

 

Step 2: While you’re there, browse the new releases.

Library card in hand, it’s time to look around for some great reads to bring home. I like to start in the “New Books” section at my library. It’s a smaller sampling of what the library offers, which makes it a good place to browse. If you’re having trouble spotting a good pick, the Indie Bestsellers list would be a good place to peruse new titles.

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Don’t forget to look at the array of new nonfiction titles your library offers, from cookbooks and gardening, to business and biography–give one a try, they’re free!

 

Step 3: Choose a magazine or dvd.

Is your tote bag getting full? Time for some lighter entertainment. Most libraries have a wide range of magazines you can choose from. I like to stock up on Boston MagazineCooking Light, “O”, Real Simple, and more.

 

 

Looking for a free movie night? You can also borrow one of the library’s DVDs. Some libraries charge to borrow one (maybe $1), but happily mine does not.

 

Step 4: Bring your little ones into the children’s room.

The children’s room is a great place to play, explore, and of course choose books. We’ll meet friends for a playdate in the children’s room or bring our daughter there for a change of scenery and some new toys to play with.

We also love choosing new children’s books to bring home and read together. Give your child their own tote bag and invite them to go “book shopping” and fill it up with any books they want to borrow.

If you’re having trouble choosing, you could check out my previous posts about recent award winners, diverse children’s books, or titles with a bookish theme–perfect for a library trip!

 

Depending on when you’ve stopped by, there might even be a storytime or craft you can take part in. More on that next.

 

Step 5: Grab a copy of your library’s event calendar or check it out online.

The library is a fantastic source of free activities for you and your family. Take a look at your library’s events calendar, usually available at the front desk or online. This week alone my library’s event calendar has story times, yoga for babies or preschoolers, a YA author event, stuffed animal sleepover, writers group and multiple book clubs.

 

Step 6: Login to your online library account and place your first book requests.

Login to your library account online. Usually you’ll just need your library card number and a pin they’ll assign you. You can do this when you get home, or if you think you might want some assistance, ask one of the librarians to help show you on your phone or other device. Worried about bothering them? Don’t be. They’ll be happy to help!

Being able to request books through my online library account has made a big difference in my reading life. As soon as I hear about a book I think I might want to read, I search for it in my library’s online catalog and request a copy. If my library doesn’t have it, they’ll have it sent from another library within the network. When the book is ready, I get an email alerting me to pick it up at my library’s circulation desk. Magic!

When people say they don’t want to use the library because they’re too impatient to wait for books, my response is to start placing book requests. My “To Be Read” pile (which is pretty much stacks of books all over the house) never runs out because book requests I’ve placed at various times are always becoming available. I can’t wait to pick up my next two!

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If you haven’t subscribed to the blog yet, you can sign up to get an email when there is a new post. This is a great way to start adding to your “to be read” list and library holds.

 

Step 7: Reserve a Museum pass.

You can get free or discounted museum passes through your library. Ask for a brochure at the circulation desk or check out the list online. It’s a good idea to book the pass at least a few weeks in advance, especially if you’re trying to go to a popular museum or zoo. It takes a little planning ahead but this is a big cost saver.

 

Step 8: Download an ebook or audiobook.

Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 9.34.01 AM.pngI’ve been using the Overdrive app on my phone to listen to audiobooks and also to send ebooks to my Kindle. I was excited to see they have a new app called Libby, which I found very user friendly in terms of setting up your account and linking your library card.

You can download Libby in the App store or you can use the app your library recommends. Then search for ebooks/audiobooks in the app and download them. Again, you can have your librarians walk you through this on your device if you have trouble with this step.

I mostly download Kindle books to read on trips. In my everyday life, audiobooks have been a game changer for getting reading in while I commute, clean up the house, or go on a walk.

You can check out these audiobook recommendations for a few ideas.

 

Step 9: Continue to build your library “To Be Read” list.

Whenever you hear about a new book you want to read, request it from the library. Think about the format you prefer when you place the hold. Do you want a hardcover to read before bed? Is this a book you’d like to listen to in the car? Or is this the beach read you’ll want as an ebook for an upcoming trip? It can take some experimenting to figure out what kinds of books you like to read at different times.

 

Step 10: Wait for the delightful emails that your books are now available.

Pick up your print books at the library or download your ebooks/audiobooks. Read and repeat!

What do you like best about your local library? Leave a comment or let me know on Instagram or Twitter @ABookishhome

Happy Reading!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

Boston Author Event Roundup–January

Are you looking for a bookish event to add to your calendar?

Here are some of the authors coming to bookstores and libraries in the Boston area this month.

Be sure to check your local library and bookstore’s event calendar to see what author events are coming to your community.

Not in the Boston area? This list is still a great way to find a book to add to your TBR list!

 

 

Tuesday, January 8th – 7pm at Belmont Books

YA Panel: EmPOWERment

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“Gaining confidence is something many struggle with in their teen years. How does that affect our writing and reading of characters going through the same challenges? Erin Cashman, Sara Farizan, and Adrienne Kisner will be tackling this question and talking about their writing process.

Erin Cashman is a Young Adult author living in Massachusetts. Her debut YA fantasy, The Exceptionals (Holiday House) was named a Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book of 2013. She is also the workshop coordinator and a mentor at the 1st 5 Pages Writing Workshop through the blog Adventures in YA Publishing.

Sara Farizan is an Iranian American writer and ardent basketball fan who was born in and lives near Boston. The award-winning author of If You Could Be Mine and Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel, she has an MFA from Lesley University and a BA in film and media studies from American University. Here to Stay is her third novel.

Adrienne Kisner has master’s and doctorate degrees in theology from Boston University and was inspired by her work with high school and college students to write Dear Rachel Maddow. She is also a graduate of Vermont College of Fine Arts with an MFA in writing for children and young adults. Dear Rachel Maddow is her debut.”

For more information you can visit the event website.

 

Tuesday, January 8th – 7pm at Brookline Booksmith

Ha Jin, The Banished Immortal: A Life of Li Bai

“With the instincts of a master novelist, Ha Jin draws on a wide range of historical and literary sources to weave the life story of Li Bai (701-762), whose poems–shaped by Daoist thought and characterized by their passion, romance, and lust for life–rang throughout the Tang Dynasty. Jin follows Li Bai from his birth on China’s western frontier through his travels as a young man seeking a place among the empire’s civil servants, his wanderings allowing him to hone his poetic craft, share his verses, and win him friends and admirers along the way. In his later years he is swept up in a military rebellion that alters the course of China, and his death is shrouded in speculation and legend to this day. The Banished Immortal is an extraordinary portrait of a poet who both transcended his time and was shaped by it, and whose ability to live, love, and mourn without reservation produced some of the most enduring verses in the world.”

For more information you can visit the event website.

 

Thursday, January 10th – 7pm at Harvard Bookstore

Chigozie Obioma, An Orchestra of Minorities

An Orchestra of Minorities

“Harvard Book Store welcomes acclaimed writer CHIGOZIE OBIOMA—author of The Fishermen, a finalist for the Man Booker Prize—for a discussion of his latest novel, An Orchestra of Minorities.

You can find more event information here.

 

 

Friday, January 11th – 6:30pm at The Lenox Hotel, Boston

An Evening with Author Elin Hilderbrand

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“Join New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand at The Lenox and get transported to the stunning beaches of St. John as she launches her thrilling new book “Winter in Paradise”.”

To find out more about this $50 ticketed event visit the event website. I would imagine this will sell out quickly, so be sure to look into this soon if you hope to attend.

 

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Friday, January 11th – 7pm at Brookline Booksmith

Lincoln Peirce, Max and the Midnights

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“Max wants to be a knight! Too bad that dream is about as likely as finding a friendly dragon. But when Max’s uncle Budrick is kidnapped by the cruel King Gastley, Max has to act…and fast! Joined by a band of brave adventurers–the Midknights–Max sets out on a thrilling quest: to save Uncle Budrick and restore the realm of Byjovia to its former high spirits! Magic and (mis)adventures abound in this hilarious illustrated novel from the New York Times bestselling creator of the Big Nate series, Lincoln Peirce.”

For more information visit the event website.

Thursday, January 17th – 7pm at Belmont Books

Ann Hood, Kitchen Yarns

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“From her Italian American childhood through singlehood, raising and feeding a growing family, divorce, and a new marriage to food writer Michael Ruhlman, Ann Hood has long appreciated the power of a good meal. Growing up, she tasted love in her grandmother’s tomato sauce and dreamed of her mother’s special-occasion Fancy Lady Sandwiches. Later, the kitchen became the heart of Hood’s own home. She cooked pork roast to warm her first apartment, used two cups of dried basil for her first attempt at making pesto, taught her children how to make their favorite potatoes, found hope in her daughter’s omelet after a divorce, and fell in love again–with both her husband and his foolproof chicken stock.”

You can find more information on the event website.

Saturday, January 19th – 5pm at Silver Unicorn Bookstore, Acton

Karen M. McManus, Two Can Keep A Secret,in conversation with Sara Farizan

We are so excited to welcome New York Times bestselling author Karen M. McManus to celebrate her new release, Two Can Keep A Secret, with fellow YA author Sara Farizan. Karen’s new YA thriller takes us to the small town of Echo Ridge, Vt., where secrets are everywhere. After hearing of missing teenagers and  a recent homecoming tragedy, Ellery now has to move there to live with her grandmother. Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she’s in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something. The thing is, secrets are dangerous—and most people aren’t good at keeping them. Which is why in Echo Ridge, it’s safest to keep your secrets to yourself.

Karen M. McManus is the author of the young adult thriller One of Us Is Lying, which spent more than a year on the New York Times bestseller list and has been translated into 38 languages worldwide.  She lives in Massachusetts and holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northeastern University, which she uses to draft fake news stories for her novels.

Sara Farizan is an award-winning author of three YA novels, most recently Here to Stay. She is also one of the store’s absolute favorite people, and it will be a joy to welcome her back!

You can find more information on the event website.

Sunday, January 20th – 3pm at Silver Unicorn Bookstore, Acton

Book Launch Party: Sarah Brannen’s Bear Needs Help

Join us to we celebrate local author Sarah S. Brannen’s new release, Bear Needs Help.  

A lumbering little polar bear has one shoe untied, and he needs some help! Sadly for him, though, the other animals are all too scared of him: the lemmings, rabbits, and seals all run away as he approaches them for assistance. What’s Bear going to do? Luckily, two plucky birds are more than happy to help out and offer advice — though probably not quite in the way that readers anticipate. In this sweet and funny book about asking for help (and receiving it), expectations are flipped in a simple but clever way.

“Laced with humor and…decipherable in more ways than one.”—Kirkus Reviews

Sarah S. Brannen is the award-winning illustrator of 20 books for children, including one of our store’s favorite books, Feathers: Not Just For Flying, by Melissa Stewart.  She is the author and the illustrator of Madame Martine, Madame Martine Breaks the Rules, and Uncle Bobby’s Wedding. In addition, Sarah as a journalist and photographer, and has two books scheduled for release following Bear Needs Help! Join us to help launch this amazing new wintry book from an accomplished and awesome local author!

You can find more information on the event website.

Wednesday, January 23rd – 7pm at Brookline Booksmith

Dani Shapiro, Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love

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Inheritance is a book about secrets–secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness; secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. It is the story of a woman’s urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, a story that has been scrupulously hidden from her for more than fifty years, years she had spent writing brilliantly, and compulsively, on themes of identity and family history. It is a book about the extraordinary moment we live in–a moment in which science and technology have outpaced not only medical ethics but also the capacities of the human heart to contend with the consequences of what we discover.”

For more information visit the event website.

 

Thursday, January 31st – 7pm at Harvard Bookstore

Daisy Johnson, Everything Under, in conversation with Margot Livesey

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“Harvard Book Store welcomes award-winning writer DAISY JOHNSON for a discussion of her debut novel, Everything Under, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. She will be joined in conversation by bestselling author MARGOT LIVESEY.”

For more information visit the event website.

 

 

What bookish events are you attending this month?

Leave a note in the comments or tag me on Instagram or Twitter @ABookishHome.

Happy Reading!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

 ABookishHome.com

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