Max, Ruby, Timothy, and of course Yoko, are just some of the best loved characters from acclaimed author/illustrator Rosemary Wells, who has created more than 50 books for children. You can also enjoy her animated characters on PBS Kids.
Her newest title, Yoko Learns to Read, is another adventure for little Yoko, an adorable striped gray kitten. Yoko and her Japanese-born mama are acclimating to a new culture, learning new ways, foods, and language.
Yoko’s mama prepares school lunches of sushi and reads wonderful books with Yoko in Japanese. But Yoko wants to keep up with her classmates and learn to read more books in English to earn more “book leaves” to add to the classroom tree. Mama wants to help Yoko, but Japanese letters and words are very different from English.
At the suggestion of her teacher, Yoko and her mama put on their best kimonos and make a trip to the library. With a new library card in hand, Yoko checks out more books, learning new words and the key to reading, and in the process helps teach her mama to read a new language too.
Relatable, universal situations, multicultural experiences, adorable animal characters, bright colors, and beautiful origami paper prints are the hallmarks of these oil pastel and collage design illustrations, which include examples of Japanese calligraphy and the difference between the Eastern style of reading from right to left and the Western style of reading from left to right.
Visit www.rosemarywells.com to learn more about Yoko and her friends.
Hope has always been rooted in the future. Each generation hopes that the ones who come after them will safeguard humanity and make things even better. So what happens to hope when there is no next generation?
In Partials, Dan Wells shows us a future in which hope is dying. In the aftermath of war, there is a virus that infects every newborn at birth, and none survive more than a few days. What remains of the government is a group called the Senate, and they have created The Hope Act, which requires all females age 18 or above to become pregnant in order to try and save the human race. But more babies are not the answer…finding a cure is. 16 year-old Kira is a trained medic who works on the maternity floor of the hospital. She sees babies die every day and watches young mothers grieve loss after loss. When her best friend becomes pregnant, Kira decides to try something radical—to capture and study one of the “partials.” Partials are genetically engineered beings that were created to protect and serve humans but later rebelled, launched a war, and attacked with the virus. Partials are the enemy, and the Senate officials will not condone such a mission; therefore Kira and a select group decide to strike out in secret. What Kira finds outside of the boundaries of East Meadow is not what she expected, and she learns that truth depends entirely upon who you ask.
Wells is the author of the thrilling John Cleaver series (I am not a Serial Killer, Mr. Monster.) He has been nominated for both the Hugo and the Campbell Award. Great writing seems to run in the family, as his younger brother Robison Wells is the author of the teen chiller Variant. Dan Wells’ first teen novel, Partials, is a smart post-apocalyptic thriller with great teen/adult crossover potential that will appeal to fans of medical thrillers, and dystopian and science fiction.
Tori Spelling, Beverly Hills resident on-screen and off, offers up her fabulous party planning advice in her beautifully photographed, informational CelebraTORI: Unleashing Your Inner Party Planner to Entertain Friends and Family. Don’t dismiss Spelling as merely an actress or child of the rich and famous, for she has years of experience in the party planning business. Her first event was her 8th birthday party, featuring a roller skating theme and a hot pink/turquoise color scheme. Since that early occasion, she has had great success planning parties for herself and her friends. Here she shares the best tips gleaned from these experiences. She has also unfortunately hosted a few train wrecks, but treats them here as learning tools, giving the reader ideas on avoiding similar glitches.
Tori covers all the basics, starting with the concept, which could include discovering all new reasons to celebrate. She shares tips on decorating, flower arranging, food, and of course desserts. All of the suggestions (which include recipes) are DIY, for those of us not on a Beverly Hills budget. If there’s an inner party planner in you, CelebraTORI will help unlock it.
Spelling has been a public figure for most of her life and most recently has found huge popularity in the world of reality television. Her most recent series, Tori & Dean: sTORIbook Weddings, airs on the Oxygen Channel and highlights her passion for wedding planning. Spelling has penned three autobiographical titles, including 2010’s Uncharted TerriTORI, but this is her first book on party planning. She scores a 10!
Kate Alcott (pseudonym for Patricia O’Brien) puts a fresh spin on the story of the Titanic by focusing on the aftermath of its sinking in The Dressmaker. The novel is told from the perspective of Tess Collins, a seamstress, who is hired right before boarding to be personal maid to high society fashion designer Lucile Duff Gordon. Tess is determined to use her seamstress skills to elevate her position in society, but both Tess and Lucile’s futures are irrevocably changed by events that occur while they are passengers on the luxury liner and as survivors in New York. By page 37 the Titanic has sunk and Alcott transitions from the frigid sea to the mean streets of New York and the ensuing investigation. A senator wants to prove negligence on the part of the White Star Line but New York Times reporter, Sarah “Pinky” Wade smells richer storylines and digs deep to investigate the rumors of on-board bribery and murder which implicate Lucile’s husband.
Transferring this familiar story to early 20th century New York gives readers a new way to approach this epic disaster. Alcott’s well-drawn characters add richness to her story which is strong in setting and historical detail. As Tess' personal dramas unfold, the ugly wake left by this oceanic catastrophe and the roles passengers and crew members played are revealed by the disturbing official investigation, which Alcott has taken from the transcripts of the U.S. Senate hearings. Titanic buffs and fans of historical fiction will enjoy this tale of tragedy and triumph.
Two Titanic Tidbits: Julian Fellowes’ (Downton Abbey) two-night miniseries Titanic debuted April 14th on ABC. If you didn’t catch it or love it enough to watch again – place your hold now in the library’s catalog! Follow events @TitanicRealTime on Twitter where The History Press has set up an account to send real-time (+100 years) updates on the progress of the ship and its only voyage. Start following now to get the whole story as it happened.
Have you wondered what it would be like to live in the advertising world depicted on AMC’s award-winning drama series Mad Men? Former copywriter Andrew Cracknell gives us an inside look with The Real Mad Men: The Renegades of Madison Avenue and the Golden Age of Advertising.
Written from firsthand experience and featuring beautiful photographs from the era, this book explores the history of modern American advertising, the movers and shakers of the industry, and how the “golden age” business culture of the 1960s treated women and minorities. This title has great appeal for fans of Mad Men, as well as anyone with an interest in advertising.
For a more psychological take on the show, try Mad Men on the Couch: Analyzing the Minds of the Men and Women of the Hit TV Show. Author Dr. Stephanie Newman delves into the minds of each main character and discusses issues like sexism, identity, parenting, and homophobia through a modern lens. And don’t worry about psychological jargon – Newman employs a light and accessible tone. This highly recommended title is as informative as it is entertaining and makes each character come to life.
And just for fun, check out The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook: Inside the Kitchens, Bars and Restaurants of Mad Men by Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin. This fully illustrated book highlights many of the meals and cocktails seen on the first four seasons of the show, along with brief episode summaries that place each recipe in its historical context. The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook is a must-read for any serious Mad Men fan.
What is a psychopath? What does he look like? Is he a monster with glowing red eyes and long sharp teeth, or is he an attractive man who appears in front of you in a time of weakness? What if you are in love with him? Little Girl Gone explores the mind of a criminal from a new perspective--the woman who loves him.
Willis rescued Madora from a life of drugs and depravity, and now they live alone in an isolated home in California. Willis dreams of becoming a doctor, but a dishonorable discharge from the military has left him disgraced and bitter. Madora loves him and wants to help him achieve his goal, believing that they can then marry and have a family of their own. In the meantime, Willis works as a home health aide, stealing from his elderly clients.
In need of more money in order to pay for medical school in Antigua, Willis abducts Linda, a pregnant teen. He holds her prisoner, with a secret plan to sell the baby. Madora wants to believe that Willis is saving Linda from a life on the streets, but she begins to have doubts when Willis starts spending more time with Linda than he does with her. Everything changes when a boy named Django finds their house while exploring on his bike.
Drusilla Campbell writes complex female characters who often do not know how strong they are until they are pushed to the brink. Madora’s self-realization is a fascinating journey, and Campbell’s supporting characters add interest and emotion to her story. Little Girl Gone is recommended for readers intrigued by abduction stories, such as A Stolen Life: a Memoir, by Jaycee Dugard, or the critically acclaimed novel Room by Emma Donoghue.
Graphic novels depicting actual events can be incredibly successful or dismal failures. In the case of The Silence of Our Friends, happily, the former is true. This semi-autobiographical story of the race tensions and riots in 1968 Houston deals with events largely unknown or forgotten. In the months before the demonstrations in and around Texas Southern University began, co-author Mark Long’s father had moved his family from San Antonio to Houston. Jack Long’s career was that of an on-the-scene reporter for a local TV station’s news department. To get a more accurate perspective of the situation, Jack Long befriended an African-American man, Larry Thompson and both families tentatively got to know each other. As the movement grew more heated, a deadly riot broke out on campus and both Jack Long and Larry Thompson found themselves in the middle of a murder trial. A well-known quote of Martin Luther King, Jr. is the source of the work’s title: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
A great benefit to the format of the graphic novel is retelling a story of this nature in a new, evocative manner. Eisner-Award winner Nate Powell’s flowing line drawings capture the era, and add to the storyline. In particular, Long’s recollections of his family’s internal issues are captured in the images if not directly confronted in the text. The words pull no punches with the overt racist attitudes of the day, including uncomfortable language. This book is highly recommended to readers interested in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s and those who are looking to better understand the value of the graphic format.
Remember learning your colors? Madly scribbling with crayons, dabbing with a paintbrush, or smearing finger paints, while discovering new color combinations through happy accidents? That was one of the many things we learned as kids. Check out these three books and experience the fun of colors, with a dash of playful wisdom, all over again!
An enthusiastic chicken makes a splash in this new title, Blue Chicken by Deborah Freedman. The story comes alive from the pages of an almost-finished illustration of a barnyard scene. Seen from the perspective of the artist’s desk, Chicken decides to help, but instead accidentally knocks over a jar of blue paint. Mayhem ensues, as the “sincerely sorry” once-white Chicken turns yellow ducklings green and the barnyard blue. Simple text and lively images draw the reader through the story, as Chicken tries to fix her messy mistake. Will Chicken ever find a solution and clean up the barnyard?
A favorite at story time, Pete the Cat – I love My White Shoes, may just become another color classic. Author Eric Litwin (aka Mr. Eric) and illustrator James Dean create a silly, easy to follow day-in-the-life of Pete, who happens to be one cool blue cat, sporting white high top shoes. And Pete really loves his white shoes. Using repetition and crazy, cartoonish illustrations, readers follow Pete as his white shoes change color each time he encounters a new situation. Does Pete cry? No way! He keeps walking along and singing his own special song, while thinking his cool-cat thoughts. Kids love Pete’s adventures and mellow way of rolling with it. Want to sing along with Pete? Readers can download Pete the Cat’s shoe song for free at www.harpercollinschildren.com/petethecat.
Hard to believe, but Leo Lionni’s colorful, classic story, little blue and little yellow, has been delighting generations of kids for 53 years! Lionni created this renowned tale in 1959 while keeping his young grandchildren, Pippo and Ann, occupied on a train trip from Greenwich, CT to New York City. Tearing up little pieces of colored paper, he told an incredibly imaginative, insightful story of two friends. The illustrations may seem nothing more than ragged blobs of color on a white page, but combined with the sweet, simple story they each take on a character of their own. As blue and yellow happily hug one day, they suddenly become one - and green! After an eventful day of play, they go home to find their families don’t recognize them. Understanding blossoms and everyone, adults and kids, learn something new.
From new to classic, these titles are great ways for kids to make the rainbow connection of color, optimism, perseverance, flexibility, and fun!
The answer to that and other tricky posers used by Google in interviews can be found in William Poundstone’s Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?: Trick Questions, Zen-like Riddles, Insanely Difficult Puzzles, and Other Devious Interviewing Techniques You Need to Know to Get a Job Anywhere in the New Economy. Since its first recruiting campaign in 2004, Google has been notorious for conducting some of the toughest job interviews. They include brainteasers and other open-ended mental challenges, along with the standard behavioral questions to identify the candidates most capable of creative problem solving. In adopting this approach, Google is looking to better predict employee performance, seeing where candidates run out of ideas. The questions are designed to measure mental flexibility, entrepreneurial potential, and the ability to innovate.
Google is a cutting-edge company where Human Resources is called People Operations (People Ops) and every job candidate is the subject of a 50-page package. In addition to the usual academic, professional and social history, this report also critiques the potential employee’s overall “Googliness.” The perks associated with working at the Google campus are legendary and include free food, coin-free laundry facilities, and an annual ski trip.
Other employers have taken notice, and today, along with passing social network checks and displaying above-average intelligence, candidates must sit through more interviews than ever before and pass questions that try to screen for a particular personality. Poundstone offers strategies for making the best of these nerve-racking situations, identifies interviewers’ hidden agendas, and offers tips for saving a failing interview. This informative title will appeal to job seekers looking for inside information and interview strategy. Those safely employed will enjoy the compelling writing and puzzles and be glad they don’t have to face such an ordeal.
Try your hand at the Google interview at http://www.csmonitor.com/Books/2012/0208/Would-Google-hire-you-10-test-questions-to-find-out/A-plane-flight. And just so you don’t have to swim in syrup, the surprising answer to the question above is that there is no difference in speed!
A naked Vietnamese girl crying and running, JFK saluting at his father’s funeral, an anguished scream over a prostrate body at Kent State; these iconic photos capture moments which illustrate the turbulence of the mid-twentieth century. Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock by David Margolick explores another seminal photograph taken on September 4, 1957 as black Elizabeth Eckford attempts to enter, and integrate, Little Rock, Arkansas’ heretofore all white Central High. In this instantly recognizable image, petite Elizabeth, dressed in crisp white with a binder clutched to her chest, is followed by fellow student, white Hazel Bryan. Hazel is rigid with anger, mouth open, teeth bared.
Elizabeth was part of the Little Rock Nine; she was one of nine black teens carefully chosen to integrate the high school as a result of Brown v. Board of Education. Margolick relates the backstory of the girls in the picture but he also writes of the women those girls became and the ripple effect of the photograph and events surrounding it on the pair. As adults, Hazel reaches out to Elizabeth to apologize for her actions memorialized on film and the two woman forge a tentative friendship. Each finds her life forever impacted by the photograph, despite Hazel’s assertion that “life is more than a moment.”
Margolick’s writing style allows history and the women’s stories to take center stage in this book. Not surprisingly, Elizabeth’s recollections are particularly poignant; in one, she relates thinking the National Guard had been called out to protect her as she walked to school rather than to barr her entrance as they’d been ordered to do. Elizabeth and Hazel goes beyond the confines of a picture to bring a personal look at two woman, the civil rights struggle and the fragility of forgiveness and reconciliation. For additional reading in a similar vein, try Norma Watkins’ memoir The Last Resort: Taking the Mississippi Cure.