The Horn Book » Out of the Box http://www.hbook.com Publications about books for children and young adults Mon, 24 Nov 2014 18:11:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.5 #HBWhoSaidIt? quotes http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/blogs/out-of-the-box/whosaidit-quotes/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/blogs/out-of-the-box/whosaidit-quotes/#respond Mon, 24 Nov 2014 15:30:08 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=42764 Every day in November we’re tweeting (from @HornBook) a quote about the creative process, by a children’s author or illustrator. Can you guess who said it? Click the hashtag #HBWhoSaidIt? for the latest tweets. See all “Who Said It?” quotes and their sources below. 11/3: “When I’m not writing well, I can barely remember what […]

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Every day in November we’re tweeting (from @HornBook) a quote about the creative process, by a children’s author or illustrator. Can you guess who said it? Click the hashtag #HBWhoSaidIt? for the latest tweets. See all “Who Said It?” quotes and their sources below.

11/3: “When I’m not writing well, I can barely remember what it feels like to write well. When that happens, I read.” Answer here.

11/4: “I kept a comics journal [as a kid]. I used to draw a comic about my day, pretty much every day.” Answer here.

11/5: “Writing is, like any athletics, a learned skill refined only by consistent and strenuous workouts over time.” Answer here.

11/6: “For genre to work best…you must have basilisk stories and jealous ex-husband stories and cancer stories.” Answer here.

11/7: “I do my research the same way for every book I write. I start with books; I do the reading.” Answer here.

11/10: “PLEASE! Oh, PLEASE! Make us a book that reflects the powerful, determined, articulate, smart men we are.” Answer here.

11/11: “Illustrators are notoriously good at giving speeches.” Answer here.

11/12: “It’s always a bit of a shock to get pulled out from behind my lonely drawing desk and plopped down in front of people, let alone a crowd.” Answer here.

11/13: “I would be a hermit in the Catskills who wrote textbooks.” Answer here.

11/14: “Writing this book, from the darkest place in my heart…made my heart less dark. That pain isn’t there for me to go back to.” Answer here.

11/17: “Now you see what we picture book authors are reduced to: ‘Come back to my place so I can show you Jon Klassen’s etchings.’” Answer here.

11/18: “It just hit me, that image. That’s where it started. And I thought, ‘There they are. Those are my characters.’” Answer here.

11/19: “I’ve published some sixty books covering a span of history from Confucius to Martha Graham. I’ve learned a lot. My views have evolved. I’m still practicing my craft.” Answer here.

11/20: “Sometimes you have to do an awful lot of writing to figure out exactly what it is you have to say, to find the story you want to tell and the path that works best for the telling.” Answer here.

11/21: “Children, architects, artists, and writers all know that play and work are one. This project allowed a wide space for my play.” Answer here.

11/24: “As Scott McCloud says in Making Comics, ‘There are no rules.’ When it comes to comics, there is no The Way.” Answer here.

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OMG http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/blogs/out-of-the-box/omg/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/blogs/out-of-the-box/omg/#respond Fri, 21 Nov 2014 16:30:11 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=43219 Here are two new YA books about the Rapture, starring teen girls. “It’s the end of the world as we know it / And Vivian Apple and Abigail feel fiiiine.”   

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Here are two new YA books about the Rapture, starring teen girls.

“It’s the end of the world as we know it / And Vivian Apple and Abigail feel fiiiine.”

coyle vivianapple OMG   bliss noparking OMG

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Jump See Farm app review http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/jump-see-farm-app-review/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/jump-see-farm-app-review/#respond Thu, 20 Nov 2014 21:45:48 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=43357 New educational app Jump See Farm (JUMPSEEWOW, October 2014) introduces preschool and primary-age kids to life on several independent rural farms as well as an urban apiary (Best Bees, right here in Boston!). From the main menu, tap on an icon to explore one of six subjects: pig, sheep, dairy cow, chicken, tractor, and bees. […]

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 Jump See Farm app reviewNew educational app Jump See Farm (JUMPSEEWOW, October 2014) introduces preschool and primary-age kids to life on several independent rural farms as well as an urban apiary (Best Bees, right here in Boston!).

From the main menu, tap on an icon to explore one of six subjects: pig, sheep, dairy cow, chicken, tractor, and bees. Each subject has its own “landing page” featuring a friendly, naive-style illustration with a couple of interactive animations.

 Jump See Farm app review

Tap on select objects or animals in the illustration to access brief documentary videos (up to four on each subject, for a total of more than 30 minutes), narrated by a mix of farm-working adults, kids, and teen 4-H members. These videos detail the animals’ jobs on the farm, their care and feeding, attributes of the specific breeds being raised, and how milk, cheese, honey, etc., are produced, all with cheery bluegrass music (composed for the app by Tomas Murmis) in the background.  Jump See Farm app review

The videos also highlight the different species’ personalities. According to one teen girl, Tamworth pigs (a “heritage” breed) “act like dogs. My pig last year would come up to me and she would sleep on me. I just like them because they’re really social and they’re really loving.” Dairy cows, apparently, are curious but “mellow creatures.”

While it’s obvious that these are working animals valuable for their usefulness, their human caretakers clearly do feel plenty of affection for them. One young girl says, “I have a lot of favorite things about chickens, but one of my favorite things is when they take dirt baths.” A teen gives her pig a pat and tells him she loves him. Occasionally the narration gets a little cutesy — as when a beekeeper points out a brand-new bee emerging from her cell in the honeycomb and exclaims, “It’s her birthday!… How special is this?” But kids likely won’t mind, and the information communicated with this warmth and enthusiasm will intrigue them. A list of recommended resources on farm animals and farm living is available at JUMPSEEWOW’s website.

Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (requires iOS 6.0 or later) and for the Kindle Fire; $2.99. Recommended for preschool and primary users.

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Steampunk queen: An interview with Gail Carriger http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/authors-illustrators/interviews/steampunk-queen-interview-gail-carriger/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/authors-illustrators/interviews/steampunk-queen-interview-gail-carriger/#respond Tue, 18 Nov 2014 15:00:22 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=43195 Gail Carriger introduced readers to her alternate Victorian London — chock-full of steampunk technology and supernatural characters — in 2009 with Soulless, the first volume of her five-book adult series The Parasol Protectorate. The Finishing School series, a YA prequel series set in the same world, soon followed, beginning with Curtsies & Conspiracies. Espionage lessons, […]

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gail brookline parasol Steampunk queen: An interview with Gail Carriger

Tea time! Photo: Elissa Gershowitz

Gail Carriger introduced readers to her alternate Victorian London — chock-full of steampunk technology and supernatural characters — in 2009 with Soulless, the first volume of her five-book adult series The Parasol Protectorate. The Finishing School series, a YA prequel series set in the same world, soon followed, beginning with Curtsies & Conspiracies. Espionage lessons, a dirigible boarding school, a girl inventor, vampires and werewolves, witty banter: what more could a steampunk fantasy fan ask for? Gail is currently working on another companion YA series, The Custard Protocol, which will kick off with Prudence in spring 2015.

brooklineinvite Steampunk queen: An interview with Gail Carriger

You’re invited… Photo: Elissa Gershowitz

My beloved local Brookline Public Library (hi Robin!) hosted Gail on November 10th for a lovely evening tea party — cucumber sandwiches and all! — and Q&A event to celebrate the release of Waistcoats & Weaponry, the third book in the Finishing School series. I spoke with her over tea just before the event. In addition to being a prolific and (ahem) fantastic author, Gail is also an archaeologist by training, Elissa’s college roomie (Oberlin represent!), and a lady of impeccable style — she told me she had a different Waistcoats & Weaponry–cover coordinated ensemble for each stop on the book tour.

The Parasol Protectorate books are adult books and The Finishing School series is YA — although there’s been a lot of crossover, with the YA books being read by adults and the adult books being read by teens. Have you found that there are things you can do in adult books that you can’t do in YA, or vice versa?

For me, YA has to be — and this is what I like about it — it has to be very clean and sharp. As a writer, it requires me to do a lot more editing because it needs to be very sparse. You don’t sacrifice details, but you sacrifice a certain amount of waffling. In adult books you’re allowed to put in extra little bits and distract the readers with pretty description for a while. In young adult, you just can’t do that. You have to be very structured and paced. Pacing is always really important to me, but I think in YA it’s even more important. That’s one of the biggest differences. And I allow myself to be a little more racy when I’m writing the adult stuff.

carriger waistcoats and weaponry Steampunk queen: An interview with Gail CarrigerYour Finishing School protagonist Sophoronia Temminnick has quite the name. Do you have other favorite Victorian-era names that you’ve come across in your research (or that you’ve come up with yourself)?

I tend to use them if I come across them. I love the name “Euphrenia”; I don’t know if I’ve leaked it into the books yet, but it’s one of my favorite ultra-Victorian names. I really like first names that are traditionally Victorian but are not used anymore. That’s one of the reasons I chose “Sophronia.” It’s still a pretty name, and sort of like “Sophia,” but just old-fashioned enough for you to know immediately, the minute that you read her name, that she’s not of our time. “Dimity” was another actual name from the time period. Alexia [from the Parasol Protectorate books] only got named “Alexia” because she was one of those characters that announced herself as being named that. Sometimes characters just enter your head and they’re like, “This is my name!” “Soap” is one of those as well. “Pillover” is another one — it’s not a real name; I just made that one up completely. But “Sophronia” and “Dimity” I picked.

Is there a mythological creature that you’ve been wanting to introduce into this world that you haven’t gotten to yet?

I’m pretty strict with myself with world-building. I’m sticking to motifs of vampires, shape-shifters, and ghosts, probably because almost every ancient culture has some version of them, like the kitsune in Japan. But I excavated in Peru for a while and there is a legend in the Peruvian highlands of a creature called a pishtaco (which is fantastically ridiculous-sounding, first of all). It’s essentially a fat-sucking vampire rather than a blood-sucking vampire — which is comedy gold. I’m dying to get [Custard Protocol protagonist] Prudence to the New World at some point so that she can meet one of these creatures and I can write all about them.

gail standing brookline Steampunk queen: An interview with Gail Carriger

Ensemble #1 at the Brookline Public Library. Photo: Elissa Gershowitz

Are we going to see more mechanimals like Bumbersnoot in the Finishing School books? (Or do you say “mech-animals”?)

I say “mechanimals,” like “mechanicals” but with an “animal” at the end. You will see more of them, but you’re not going to see a named little friend like Bumbersnoot. There’s quite a few in the last book but that’s all I’m going to say.

If you were going to have a mechanimal pet yourself, what kind of animal would you pick?

Probably something like a hedgehog. I would like a round, roly-poly, friendly sort of critter. I have a very demanding cat who’s svelte and overdramatic, so I think I’d like a calm, rodentia-style, chubby little creature. Something in the porcupine, hedgehog arena. The cat would probably be very upset with it.

What would your dream teatime guest list and menu look like?

Oh, goodness. Do I get to pick fantastic characters? Or historical people?

Sure. Living, dead, fictional — anyone you want.

There’s part of me that has to be true to my archaeological roots and pick Nefertiti, Hatshepsut, Boadicea… I’m attracted to super-powerful female historical figures, the queens and mistresses, so I’d probably concoct a party that was all these fantastic women from history. The problem, of course, would be interpretation, but it’s my fantasy so everyone would speak English. I’m an adventurous eater, and I’d like to cater to the guests, so I’d have foods from all of the different places and times they came from. One of my favorite things is cooking ancient food, sourcing the ingredients and re-creating it myself. I think if you can taste the flavor of the past, you can get a better impression of it. I’d try to do that so everybody got to try everybody else’s dishes.

What’s your specialty, your pet era as an archaeologist?

I’m not an area specialist; I’m a materials specialist. My focus was on ceramics. To this day I have a propensity to pick up a piece of pottery and flip it over to look at the back side — which can be terribly embarrassing if I’ve forgotten that there’s food on the front side — to look for the maker’s mark.

gail cambridge Steampunk queen: An interview with Gail Carriger

Ensemble #2 at Cambridge’s Pandemonium Books and Games store. Photo: Elissa Gershowitz

Are there other historical eras that you’d like to write about?

The series I’m writing now [The Custard Protocol] is set in the 1890s, which is basically the dawn of female emancipation. Mostly because of trousers — women gained a great deal of autonomy due to education and to the bicycle. The two combined started the New Woman movement, these educated young ladies with self-motivation and autonomy. I’m excited to move closer to the turn of the twentieth century and to have a bit more realism behind my super-strong female characters, because they’re not quite realistic to their time. There’s certainly other time periods I’d love to write in. I’d love to set an ancient story in some of the places I’ve visited.

What would be the most useful gadget for a Finishing School student to have on her person in the case of an espionage emergency? (This is a very difficultly worded question!)

It sounds like something I’ve written! The voice-acting talent [for my audiobooks] is always calling and complaining because I love tongue-twisters. I don’t even realize I’ve written them until somebody’s like, “Why did you write that?!” “I didn’t think about you guys reading it out loud.”

“Handiest gadget?” is the short version!

I love Sophronia’s fan, but I think it’s really handy for her. She becomes comfortable with it and adapts to it, but it’s not necessarily something that would be useful for everybody. In the final book, the chatelaine really comes to the fore. The girls keep going to balls, and they keep having to have chatelaines on them. A chatelaine is like the base for a Swiss Army Knife; it hangs off your belt and there’s a bunch of little chains and clips so you can hang multiple little things off it. Customarily you’d have a bit of perfume and a dance card, maybe keys or a little sewing kit. But of course Geraldine’s girls have a whole different set of things dangling! I love the idea that you could just attach something that has everything useful hanging off of it. Why can’t we still do that?

More fabulous photos at the Brookline Public Library Teen Room Tumblr.

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Roxie’s Puzzle Adventure app review http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/roxies-puzzle-adventure/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/roxies-puzzle-adventure/#respond Fri, 14 Nov 2014 17:06:43 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=33750 Roxie Munro was a featured artists in KidLit TV’s premiere StoryMakers episode earlier this week — and with good reason. Not only has she written and illustrated more than thirty children’s books (including Hatch!, Busy Builders, and Mazeways), she’s also created a series of “Kids Interactive Walk-in Story Books” with affiliated apps and three stand-alone […]

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roxies puzzle adventure menu Roxies Puzzle Adventure app reviewRoxie Munro was a featured artists in KidLit TV’s premiere StoryMakers episode earlier this week — and with good reason. Not only has she written and illustrated more than thirty children’s books (including Hatch!, Busy Builders, and Mazeways), she’s also created a series of “Kids Interactive Walk-in Story Books” with affiliated apps and three stand-alone apps. We’ve previously reviewed two of these stand-alone apps, Roxie’s A-MAZE-ing Vacation Adventure and Roxie’s Doors; here I take a look at Roxie’s Puzzle Adventure (OCG Studios, September 2013).

Puzzle returns users to the lavishly detailed, frequently whimsical world of A-MAZE-ing Vacation. After creating a profile (the app saves up to five individual players’ games), you enter a main screen showing the entire intricate landscape, shrouded in mist. Intriguing details such as the top of a roller coaster, a ski lift, and a hot-air balloon peek out. As you make your way through the sixteen interconnected puzzles, solving one and unlocking the next, the mist clears to show your progress.

roxies puzzle adventure screen Roxies Puzzle Adventure app review

Before beginning each puzzle, a sliding scale allows you to select how many pieces you’d like to brave, from six pieces up to 130 on the iPhone or 260 on the iPad. Revisit any puzzle at any time to attempt a different difficulty level. Another choose-your-own-challenge option: decide whether you’d like the pieces to automatically orient in the correct direction when you select them, or be scattered every which way. If you’re a puzzle purist (a.k.a. masochist) who selects the latter option, simply tap a piece to rotate it a quarter turn.

The image you’ll be re-creating is briefly shown, then the pieces scatter — you work on a mat at the center of the screen, with a wood-plank-style background where you can sort your pieces for later. Pinch two fingers together or spread them apart to zoom out and in, increasing or decreasing your work space. The pieces snap into their correct places with a satisfying click; you can also fit together several pieces and then move them as a unit. Once completed, the jigsaw lines disappear from the scene, allowing you to pore over its details: hidden numbers and letters, various modes of transportation, animals (including a sea monster), and other humorous surprises (a grand piano–shaped building).

roxies puzzle adventure screen 2 Roxies Puzzle Adventure app review

An icon on the left side of each puzzle screen accesses options to re-center the puzzle on the screen, receive a hint (viewing only edge pieces or seeing the full image), turn the cheery music on/off, and return to the full map.

Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (requires iOS 5.1 or later); $1.99.

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November Notes is here! http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/blogs/out-of-the-box/november-notes/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/blogs/out-of-the-box/november-notes/#respond Wed, 12 Nov 2014 20:17:56 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=43078 In November’s Notes from the Horn Book, K. T. Horning chats with Sharon G. Flake about her new middle-grade mystery Unstoppable Octobia May. In this issue, you’ll also find more wacky middle-grade adventures pals in new picture books books around the world for primary and intermediate readers YA nonfiction about social justice Read the issue […]

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In November’s Notes from the Horn Book, K. T. Horning chats with Sharon G. Flake about her new middle-grade mystery Unstoppable Octobia May. In this issue, you’ll also find

  • more wacky middle-grade adventures
  • pals in new picture books
  • books around the world for primary and intermediate readers
  • YA nonfiction about social justice

nov 14 notes November Notes is here!

Read the issue online or subscribe to receive the monthly Notes from the Horn Book newsletter — and its supplement Nonfiction Notes — in your inbox. For more recommended books and interviews, check out the newsletter archives.

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Cece Bell on El Deafo http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/authors-illustrators/interviews/cece-bell-el-deafo/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/authors-illustrators/interviews/cece-bell-el-deafo/#respond Wed, 12 Nov 2014 17:10:59 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=43067 In the November/December 2014 Horn Book Magazine, reviewer Deirdre Baker asked Cece Bell about her graphic novel memoir El Deafo — which is told entirely with anthropomorphic bunnies. Read the starred review here; see more grrl-power graphic novels here. Deirdre F. Baker: Why did you choose to tell your autobiography with bunny characters? Cece Bell: […]

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eldeafo Cece Bell on El DeafoIn the November/December 2014 Horn Book Magazine, reviewer Deirdre Baker asked Cece Bell about her graphic novel memoir El Deafo — which is told entirely with anthropomorphic bunnies. Read the starred review here; see more grrl-power graphic novels here.

Deirdre F. Baker: Why did you choose to tell your autobiography with bunny characters?

Cece Bell: As the only deaf kid in my elementary school, I felt very different and isolated from everyone else. Having to wear my awkward hearing aid intensified that feeling. To metaphorically show the magnitude of this, I made all the characters bunnies.

What are bunnies known for? Big ears; excellent hearing. In the book, my bunny ears are just as big as everyone else’s — but they don’t work the same. Plus, I’ve got those funny-looking cords. Embarrassing! It wasn’t easy being a broken-eared bunny. And thankfully, I don’t feel like that now.

From the November/December 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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Little library http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/blogs/out-of-the-box/little-library/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/blogs/out-of-the-box/little-library/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 17:00:47 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=40183 On my way home the other day I saw a Little Free Library in the flesh. So cute! Has anyone else seen, used, or implemented one?

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On my way home the other day I saw a Little Free Library in the flesh. So cute! Has anyone else seen, used, or implemented one?

little library Little library

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Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site app review http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/goodnight-goodnight-construction-site-ebook-review/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/goodnight-goodnight-construction-site-ebook-review/#respond Thu, 06 Nov 2014 17:29:34 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=42882 Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld’s best-selling picture book Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site (Chronicle, 2011) — about some hardworking, tuckered-out trucks callin’ it a night — is newly available in a digital book app edition (Oceanhouse Media, November 2014). One by one, Crane Truck, Cement Mixer, Dump Truck, Bulldozer, and Excavator finish their tasks and settle […]

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goodnight goodnight construction site Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site app reviewSherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld’s best-selling picture book Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site (Chronicle, 2011) about some hardworking, tuckered-out trucks callin’ it a night — is newly available in a digital book app edition (Oceanhouse Media, November 2014).

One by one, Crane Truck, Cement Mixer, Dump Truck, Bulldozer, and Excavator finish their tasks and settle in for some shut-eye. Soothing narration (which can be turned on or off, or you could record your  own) describes, in gentle rhyme, the bedtime routines of each vehicle; for Crane Truck: “Reaching, stretching, lifting high, / He swings the beam into the sky. / He’ll set it down right on its mark, / Then off to bed; it’s almost dark.”

construction site beam Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site app review

Tap any word in the text to hear it read aloud; tapping on the illustrations also IDs many items in the pictures (including potentially unfamiliar ones: “rebar,” “hoist line,” “outrigger”). The trucks all have sounds effects: beeping, yawning, laughing, and — my favorite — Cement Mixer’s jazzy little ditty to go with his “whirly song” in the text. There’s some gentle background motion and zooming in and out of the illustrations, but it’s all fairly subdued, as befitting a bedtime book for truck-loving little ones.

Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (requires iOS 5.1 or later); $3.99. Recommended for preschool users.

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Susan Bonners storytime this Saturday http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/blogs/out-of-the-box/susan-bonners-storytime-saturday/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/11/blogs/out-of-the-box/susan-bonners-storytime-saturday/#respond Wed, 05 Nov 2014 21:34:38 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=42914 Author/illustrator Susan Bonners and friends will read from Ms. Bonners’s books in a special storytime this Saturday, November 8th, from 10 am to noon. As Ms. Bonners is a Roslindale resident, the event will take place in the Community Room of the Roslindale Public Library. Ms. Bonners’s many books include A Penguin Year (1982 National […]

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bonners silver balloon Susan Bonners storytime this SaturdayAuthor/illustrator Susan Bonners and friends will read from Ms. Bonners’s books in a special storytime this Saturday, November 8th, from 10 am to noon. As Ms. Bonners is a Roslindale resident, the event will take place in the Community Room of the Roslindale Public Library.

Ms. Bonners’s many books include A Penguin Year (1982 National Book Award: Nonfiction Children’s Book winner), The Silver Balloon (1997 Christopher Award winner), Edwina Victorious, Making Music, The Wooden Doll, and Why Does the Cat Do That?

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