Wednesday, 25 January 2017

“The Girl Who Drank the Moon” wins Newbery Medal

Kelly Barnhill’s “The Girl Who Drank the Moon” and Ashley Bryan’s “Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves,Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life” have won the Newbery Medal and the Newbery Honor Award, respectively.

The awards, which are given away in recognition of excellence in children’s books, were announced at the American Library Association’s winter meeting held in Atlanta. While the Newbery Honor Award is the highest honor given to a children’s book, the Newbery Medal is the runner-up.

Honor awards were also bestowed on books such as Adam Gidwitz’s “The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog” and Lauren Wolk’s “Wolf Hollow.”

“Freedom Over Me” has also bagged a couple of Coretta Scott King Book Award honor medals. Bryan, who has been working on his book for the past several years, completed it only last year. He started writing it when he bought slave records at a Maine auction. These records bore the names, ages, and prices of a number of slaves, and Bryan imagined these slaves as free people and wrote their stories. Bryan’s book has also emerged as a finalist for the Kirkus Prize.

Bryan, who is now 93 years old, has authored over 50 children’s books. Most of them are on the traditions and lifestyle of African Americans. He has won the Maine Library Association’s Lupine Award and several Coretta Scott King awards.

The full list of award winners can be viewed here

Friday, 13 January 2017

Mother/daughter team publish Hailey & Holly’s Maryland Adventure Week

Rebecca McClay, writer of children’s books, and Laura McClay, her illustrator mother, recently returned to Severna Park to present a copy of “Hailey & Holly’s Maryland Adventure Week,” their new children’s book, to Maria Kontokostas, the manager of the park.

For a long time, Rebecca and Laura had considered writing a children’s book together, but they had put it off. Finally, a visit from Brianna McClay, Rebecca’s 11-year-old niece, encouraged them to start working on the book.

Rebecca said that she invited her niece to help them to write a book on her sightseeing adventures, and this led to the birth of “Hailey and Holly’s Maryland Adventure Week.” The book tells the story of the family’s sightseeing trips through a couple of hedgehogs called Hailey and Holly. It begins with the moment Brianna arrived at Severna Park, the home of her Uncle Tim and Aunt Laura.

According to Laura, the characters were selected by Brianna. While Hailey represented Brianna, Holly represented Rebecca. Laura focused on illustrating the story. Since she did not know much about hedgehogs, she had to actually look them up before she could draw them.

The charm of the book lies in the fact that it tells a story told by a child and features a child’s hand-painted illustrations. The hedgehogs begin their adventures at the Naval Academy in Annapolis and the State House of Maryland. They have lunch at Mission BBQ and watch A. L. Goodies General Store making fudge. Hailey and Holly also had a cruise on Harbor Queen and viewed cargo ships and sailboats from Sandy Point. They then went to Eastport, had crab at Davis Pub and then went on to explore the Annapolis Maritime Museum.

When they returned to Severna Park, they played miniature golf, ate pink doughnuts at Donut Shack, and picked crabs at Pasadena’s Arundel Seafood. This was followed by a trip to the Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of Natural History and ended with a baseball game at Baltimore.
The book was self-published at Amazon’s CreateSpace. To use CreateSpace, Rebecca had to create a PDF copy of the book and upload it. They had to do all this, including the illustration, in just one week before it was time for Brianna to go home.

The mother and daughter are now marketing their new book, along with its audible version, through Amazon, social media, and word of mouth. Copies of the book are also available at the Anne Arundel County Library system. 

The book is available at Amazon.

Buy now from

Buy now from 

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Book Review

Since "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," written and illustrated by Eric Carle, was first published in 1969, you might have read it as a child. 

This interesting picture book is all about a caterpillar that eats a lot of fruits and leaves before finally building a pupa around himself and later emerging from the pupa as a beautiful butterfly. The recipient of multiple literary awards and one significant award for graphic design, "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," is said to be "one of the greatest childhood classics of all time." Ever since it was first published, as many as 30 million copies of it have been sold all over the world.

The illustrations are collage style with pages riddled with holes. It tells the tale of the hungry caterpillar in very simple words. It teaches young readers how to count, the names of various fruits, the names of days of the week, and the life cycle of a butterfly.

Although caterpillars don't really eat the type of food mentioned in the book, it does give children a very good idea of the various stages in the life cycle of a butterfly. Owing to this, it bears the endorsement of the Royal Entomological Society.

The Story

"The Very Hungry Caterpillar" is about a caterpillar that has just hatched from an egg and is feeling very hungry. He eats fruits in increasing order during the next five days. But on Saturday, he gets a stomach ache and decides to eat only leaves when he recovers. He then builds a cocoon around himself and remains in it for a fortnight. He then emerges from the cocoon as a large, beautiful butterfly with multi-colored wings.

An Award Winner

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar” is the recipient of several awards.
·         An award from the American Institute of Graphic Arts in 1970
·         The French Selection du Grand Prix des Treize in 1972
·         The Japanese Nakamori Reader's Prize in 1975
·         In 1969, the New York Times placed it in the list of "Ten Best Picture Books of the Year."
·         It got the 199th place in a poll of 2003 called Big Read, which the BBC had conducted to identify UK's most read books.
·         An online poll of 2007 conducted by the National Education Association placed it in the list of "Teacher's Top 100 Books for Children."
·         A survey conducted by the School Library Journal identified it as the second best picture books for children, the top book being "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak.

"The Very Hungry Caterpillar" has been translated into 40 languages. Librarians, teachers, and parents have extensively used it as a teaching aid.  Over the years, different editions of the book have been published, incorporating additional features such as games, cards, and activities. "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" has also given rise to several educational resources and toys and has found its way into television shows and commercials.

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar” is available at Amazon as a hardcover, a paperback, and a board book. 

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Nick Jr. Books – Nickelodeon launches new reading app for children

Nickelodeon, the children’s television network, already has Noggin, a streaming service, and 40 apps for preschoolers. Now it has made a foray into e-books by launching a brand new reading app for children, presenting interactive stories based on Nick characters. It is an iOS app that can be downloaded free of charge at iTunes.  

Nickelodeon’s new reading app is called Nick Jr. Books and provides access to an impressive selection of stories. Adults can read these stories aloud to their children or children can read the stories on their own. The app features an auto-read mode, in which the pages will turn automatically, and two read aloud modes, in which the words will be highlighted as soon as they are read. It also has an offline mode so that children can continue reading even if the Internet connection is lost.

Children can tap on the animations and interactive elements in which the stories abound. If the young readers make any progress, the app rewards them with badges and stars.

Although there are several similar apps in the market, this app stands in a class of its own because it is powered by the Nickelodeon brand. Children will love the app as they are already familiar with characters such as SpongeBob, Dora, Blue’s Clues, PAW Patrol, and Bubble Guppies, to mention just a few. Added advantages are a design that makes the app look like a game and cheerful music that is capable of encouraging children to read more.

The app is compatible with Apple Watch, where it can receive useful tips for parents on how the stories should be read.

When you download the app, you will receive three free books: Paw Patrol: Pup, Pup, and Away; Team Umizoomi - Carnival; and Blaze: Blaze of Glory. In addition, you can purchase 49 more books in-app, which will turn out to be cheaper than purchasing hardbound versions of the same books.

And if you are not into apps, you might like this "Nickelodeon 5-Minute Stories Collection" for Nickelodeon fans aged between three and seven. The stories feature Dora and Friends, PAW Patrol, Shimmer and Shine, and Blaze and the Monster Machines. Each story can be read in just five minutes. The book is available at Amazon. 

Buy at

Buy at 

Monday, 9 January 2017

World Book Fair 2017 focuses on children’s books

Children’s books were the most sought after at the World Book Fair, which is currently being held at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi.

This weekend saw huge crowds of young book lovers seeking their favorite books such as Amar Chitra Katha and Wimpy Kid. A large number of stalls had specially focused on children’s books, much to the delight of young bibliophiles who wandered from stall to stall in the company of their parents, relatives, and caregivers.

Many of them come to the World Book Fair every year because they not only love the company of books, but also want to find books that are not available online. Young readers were looking for not just fiction, but also painting books, art books, craft books, and books on modeling. However, the hot favorites appeared to the Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney, Game of Thrones, and books written by Geronimo Stilton, John Grisham, and Enid Blyton, along with the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling.

Parents and caregivers were of the opinion that the World Book Fair enables children to not only develop the love of reading, but also improve their knowledge. Book fairs, they felt, serve the purpose of dragging children away from smartphones, computers, and television sets and exposing them to books. When children see their peers turning over the pages of books, purchasing them, and even reading them, they feel motivated to buy and read books.

Children could be seen poring over copies of Vikram Betal, Chacha Chaudury, tales of Akbar and Birbal, and Amar Chitra Katha. Distributors were even offering these books at discounted rates in a bid to revive their popularity. Children’s books also received special attention at stalls set up by distributors from Spain, Germany, France, and other countries.

One of the major attractions of World Book Fair 2017 was the Children’s Pavilion, where a wide range of activities such as storytelling, drawing contests, author meets, skits, and discussions were held. The Children’s Pavilion also showcased some of the latest children’s books from all over India.
Over 800 Indian and foreign publishers took part in the fair, which will be held till Jan 15.

About World Book Fair

One of the most important annual events in the world of publishing, the New Delhi World Book Fair (NDWBF) was established 44 years ago. The NDWBF 2017 was launched on Jan 7 and will be held till Jan 15 at New Delhi’s Pragati Maidan.

The organizer of the fair is National Book Trust of India, which is an autonomous organization the forms part of the Ministry of Human Resource Development of the Government of India. Its aim is to promote the habit of reading throughout India. The co-organizer of this fair is India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO) under the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India.

The NDWBF gives all participants the opportunity to be part of India’s fast growing publishing industry. It is an excellent venue to promote books and strike publication deals. A number of publishing and literary conferences and programs are scheduled to be organized as part of this fair, which attracts major publishers from different parts of the world. 

Friday, 6 January 2017

Personalized Storybooks – Benefits of Personalized Storybooks for Children

Everybody loves seeing his/her name or photo in print, and children are no exception to this rule. A child will be overwhelmed with delight and excitement if she sees herself in a story, and this is the reason personalized story books for babies, toddlers, young children, and even adults are selling like hot cakes these days.

In other words, kids love personalized books! 

Choose with Care

Choose your personalized storybooks with care. Some companies just insert a child’s name into a story and add no more personal touches. This is the simplest variety of personalized storybook and is not that desirable.

You want a personalized storybook that is truly personalized. Personalization is not just inserting a child’s name into a chunk of text. The child should be made the hero or heroine of the story and the illustrations should feature your child.
The best personalized storybooks for children have brilliant and impressive illustrations. They tell stories that are truly amazing. For example, they can tell the story of how animals bring each letter of your child’s name and create rhymes with it. Or a story may lead your child into a fairy palace where she sees a portrait of herself hanging on the wall in the princess’s bedchamber.

While choosing a personalized storybook for your child, consider factors such as age, interests, and gender. Remember that a good personalized storybook features not only the child, but also her parents, family members, friends, and pets. It is also set in the child’s hometown, school, or home.

Benefits of Personalized Storybooks

So what are the differences between a personalized storybook and an ordinary storybook? Both are capable of making children happy, but the former quickly earns a special place in the child’s heart.

·         Personalized storybooks boost children’s self-esteem and make them feel special, loved, and wanted.
·         Giving your child a personalized storybook helps him recognize the letters of his name and even read and spell it.
·         They can make your child fall in love with books.
·         A personalized storybook can turn out to be the most cherished book in your child’s library, one that he will keep for years and years.
·         They are great for children with short attention spans as they can capture a child’s attention as no other type of storybook can.
·         They can take your child into a different world, where they can let their imagination go wild. This in turn improves their analytical and creative thinking abilities.
·         When she sees herself accomplish great feats in the book, she will develop a positive opinion of herself.

So you really don’t have to think twice about creating a library of personalized storybooks for your child.

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Thursday, 5 January 2017

How to choose books for babies and read to them

Babies and toddlers love books although they cannot actually read them. They enjoy tearing the pages, slapping books with their palms, drooling on them, turning over their pages, exclaiming over them, or using them as teethers. And this is exactly how the love of books, reading, and learning begins. So introduce books to your child right from age zero.

Keep the following points in mind while choosing a book for children aged 0 – 3:

  • Young children love books with brilliantly colored pictures of objects they are familiar with.
  • Young children are not readers, but they are great listeners and budding storytellers.
  • If you read rhymes and simple words and short sentences loudly, they will respond with great enthusiasm.
  • Word free books that are loaded with pictures of familiar objects serve as a great source of mental and visual stimulation for babies and toddlers.
  • Books with plenty of brilliantly colored pictures encourage young children to create and tell their own tales.
  • Cloth books and board books are excellent for young children as they are created to withstand rough treatment and cannot be destroyed.
  • Gift your child an alphabet book and he will soon learn to recognize the letters.
  • Introduce your 2 – 3 year old to books that deal with simple tasks such as brushing teeth, washing hands, and other daily activities. You child will soon express interest in doing these things on her own.
Now here are three tips that will make reading with your little one a real pleasure:

  1. Let your child talk about the book and tell his own stories.
Reading to your child encourages him to tell his own stories and improves his communication skills. He will start using the pictures and words in the book to weave his own tales. This is when you will have to simply stop reading and just listen to his stories. Encourage him by asking questions and responding dramatically. Discuss the pictures, situations, and characters in the book with your toddler. He will develop not only storytelling skills, but also the love of reading on his own, without you having to force it on him.

  1. Read the same story to your child over and over again.
You may feel bored reading the same story over and over again, but your toddler won’t feel bored listening to you. In fact, she wants to hear the same story a hundred times more. Whenever you re-read a story to her, she will discover something new and exciting. Soon, you will be pleasantly surprised to notice that she has memorized words, phrases, sentences, and rhymes and has started reading along with you.

  1. Read to your child even if she is not paying attention.  
You may feel that your toddler isn’t interested, but this just isn’t true. Your toddler is actually enjoying the sound of your voice as she does something else. Let her play with her favorite toy or experiment with crayons and sheets of paper while you read to her. Soon, she will start peeping into the book and ask questions about it.

ü  Boost her confidence
ü  Encourage him to tell his own stories and thus improve his communication skills
ü  Familiarize her with the alphabet
ü  Give her a vocabulary of new words

ü  Bond with him in a very special way 

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Stepping Stones founder releases first book in Henry Whiskers series

On Jan 2, 2017, “The Adventures of Henry Whiskers,” Gigi Priebe’s first children’s book was released. She had never planned to write a children’s book. She said that she is “new to this whole thing.”

The book, which is published by Simon and Schuster, is meant for children in the age group of 7 to 10. It deals with the adventures of a mouse called Henry Whiskers who lives in Queen Mary’s Doll House, one of the most popular exhibits at Windsor Castle. When the dollhouse is taken down for repairs, Henry and his family has to flee and Henry’s sister disappears. Now Henry and his friends have to find her, and in the process, they face an evil feline, terrifying enemy rats, and a scary car ride. The book’s illustrator is Daniel Duncan.

The idea of writing a story about a mouse family residing in a dollhouse struck Priebe when she was living near Windsor Castle, which she frequently visited. She noticed the dollhouse, which was gifted to the museum by Queen Mary somewhere in the twenties. 

The three-foot tall dollhouse has four floors, electricity, hot and cold water taps, two elevators, toilets with flush system, a grandfather clock, a garage full of luxury cars, a library full of books written by noted authors, and portraits of King George V and Queen Mary. Obviously, the dollhouse was made neither for children nor dolls.

Priebe has already signed a contract for two books with Simon and Schuster’s. She has already completed the second Henry Whiskers book and has started working on the third book of the series. She took eight full years to complete the first book, but the terms of the contract forced her to finish the second book in nine months. She is planning to visit a quiet place to work undisturbed on the third book.

Priebe is the founder of Stepping Stones Museum of Norwalk. It was inaugurated 17 years ago with the aim of helping children learn something about their environment in a fun way. She plans to return to the museum on January 21 for the official book launch and signing event. 

Those who attend the event can not only buy the books, but donate to a Connecticut-based nonprofit organization called Circle of Care, which helps families of children suffering from cancer.

Robert Townes, the community advocacy director of Stepping Stones, said that their mission is to serve children in the age group of 0 to ten, but they are trying to reach out to older children who feel that the museum is meant only for infants and toddlers. The book release could help achieve this purpose.

Meanwhile, “The Adventures of Henry Whiskers” can be purchased online.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Download Free Children’s Books at Free Kids Books

You don’t always have to buy books for your children as there are plenty of free books that are just waiting to be downloaded on the Internet.

If you try searching for free children's books online, Free Kids Books is one website that you cannot miss. You will be amazed at the large collection of free children's books on this site, and they are all excellent books written by talented authors. You can either read them online or download them as PDF files.

And once you have downloaded the books in PDF, you can do any of the following with them:

1. Print them and either staple the pages together or store them in a folder.
2. Read them on your e-reader or tablet.
3. Print the pages and ask your child to color them.
4. Purchase a hard copy if your child likes it a lot. Hard copies of most of the free books are available for purchase.

Free Kids Books brings together parents and writers of children’s books, thereby benefiting both parties. You can either download a free book for your children or submit your own children’s book to the site.

Download Free Children’s Books

Free Kids Books has arranged their free books in separate categories for toddlers, children, and young adults (under 12). The toddlers’ books have plenty of pictures and very few words. The children’s books have plenty of words and few pictures. The young adults’ books hardly have any pictures and are divided into chapters. Since young adults’ books are meant for children below 12, they are free of objectionable content.

And the books are really free. There is absolutely no catch involved. If you like a book you have downloaded, you can leave your feedback under the review tab to let the author know that you have enjoyed his/her book. You can also like Free Kids Books on Facebook or tell your friends about it.

Submit Your Children’s Book

Free Kids Books is not only a useful site for parents, but also for writers and illustrators of children's books. Authors of children's books can submit a book to Free Kids Books.

If you want to do so, send them an email with the subject "FREE KIDS BOOK SUBMISSION" and include in the body of your email your website address, a PDF copy of your book or the download link if it is too large, a brief description of your book, quotes from any reviews of your book, and anything else of interest.

They usually respond in a couple of weeks. In case you don't get a response, you can leave them a message either on their main website Red Sky Ventures or on their Facebook Page.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Children’s books that will be released in 2017

The year 2017 has in store several great books for children of different age groups.

You can expect another picture book from Helen Oxenbury and Julia Donaldson, along with Dave Rudden’s second book in the series of fantasy adventure books titled “Knights of the Borrowed Dark.”

Several books are going to be rolled out for mid graders or children aged nine and above. You can choose from Jack Cheng’s “See You in the Cosmos,” a tale of an eleven-year-old who wants to communicate with aliens through an iPod, and Chloe Daykin’s “Fish Boy,” the tale of a lonely boy with a passion for swimming.

Katherine Webber’s “Wing Jones,” a novel dealing with family and identity for children aged 12 and above, is going to hit the shelves in January, along with Lissa Evan’s “Wed Rabbit,” a book about 10-year-old Fidge and Grahame, her spoilt cousin.

Lucy Cousins is going to launch a colorful picture book titled “A Busy Day for Birds” for younger children. Children aged 7 and above can look forward to Erika McGann’s “Cass and the Bubble Street Gang: The Clubhouse Mystery.” And Jane Mitchell’s “A Dangerous Crossing,” a story of a Syrian boy fleeing from his country, will make a great read for children aged 11 and above.

You can also look forward to Judi Curtin’s “Fast Forward” for children aged 8 and above, Meg Grehan’s “The Space Between” for teenagers, and Michael Fewer’s “Naturama Nature Journal” for children who are fond of nature.

The above-mentioned second book in Dave Rudden’s fantasy adventure series “Knights of the Borrowed Dark,” titled “The Forever Court,” will appear in April.

Auggie, a beloved character from the novel “Wonder,” will return in R. J. Palacio’s “We’re All Wonders” in April. More than five million copies of “Wonder” have been sold all over the world. A movie based on “Wonder” is expected to appear in 2017 too, so the book is definitely something to look forward to.

In April, you can also look forward to a new picture book titled “The Giant Jumperee,” written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury.

In May, Paula Leyden’s “Keepsake,” a heartwarming story of two children trying to save Storm, their horse, is going to hit the shelves. This book promises to be excellent for children aged 8 and above.

In June, you can read Moira Fowley-Doyle’s “Spellbook of the Lost and Found,” the tale of six teenagers who find a strange book. In August, Robin Stevens’ “The Guggenheim Mystery,” the sequel to the late Siobham Dowd’s “The London Eye Mystery,” will be released.

If you have been reading E. R. Murray’s “Nine Lives,” you must be waiting for the last book in this trilogy. It is scheduled for release in September and readers will finally be able to find out what happens to Eboy Smart, the spirited heroine.