The Wash Rag, Summer 2007

The Reading Tub Newsletter, Issue 16, Summer 2007

Summer’s here, school is out, and life shifts to lay-back-and-relax mode. There is more time to be together, travel, and (last but not least) kick back with a book we have been waiting months to read!

Speaking of books to read … If you haven’t checked out the May/June 2007 book bag, you might want to do that. It is probably the biggest collection of “favorites” we’ve ever had! I can’t remember a month having as tough a time selecting “a few” favorites.

Just in time for summer reading, we have also upgraded the search engine on the site. Now, you can search the whole Web site or just the book bag. When you search the book bag (title, author, keyword), you’re return is a list of books, sorted by age group, and the ability to print the book list and take it to your local library or bookstore. When you search the site, you still get the books, although there is no sort, but you can also get a return on other pages (like interviews and articles).

Before we jump into the Summer Author Showcase, I want to introduce you to Read Aloud Virginia (RAV). It is a non-profit educational literacy organization based in Richmond, VA. In 2008 RAV will celebrate it’s tenth year of helping children learn to read! The organization’s mission is to “promote healthy, successful children through reading aloud, and it is committed to encouraging parents, teachers, caregivers, and other adults to assume responsibility for children’s literacy by reading to them for 20 minutes a day.” When you visit the Read Aloud Virginia Website, you will find LOTS of information with tips for reading with kids, why reading aloud is important, and great books for reading with your kids. In October 2007, RAV is sponsoring a seminar (actually two) with Jim Trelease, whom many of you know as THE expert on reading with children. Click here to learn more about the seminar.

Now on with the show. Every quarter, I try to pull together an introduction that tells you a little bit about the individuals who comprise the Author Showcase. Most of the time, I discover a theme that I didn’t realize was there. This time, I don’t have to think that hard. I only need one word: passionate. In each of their interviews, our guests talk about how a personal passion became the catalyst for their work. Think I’m exaggerating? See for yourself. I’m betting that you will feel the energy as you read the interviews.

What could be better than books on tape? Listening to Andrea and Mark talk about great children’s books for reading out loud. Or, even better, chatting with the individuals who crafted the stories. In July 2006, Andrea & Mark Blevis created Just One More Book! It is a website where you can access and/or download podcasts of great children’s books. Their passion for sharing great books is evident in everything they do … and it leaps from the virtual pages of our interview, too. We will be truly surprised if you don’t get a great tip for bringing more reading time into your family’s day! Click here to meet Andrea and Mark.

Jennifer Bouani is an entrepreneur. She has been fascinated by business her entire life, and has put that energy into helping other kids that have that entrepreneurial spirit. Jennifer created the Future Business Leaders’ Series™ books. The first title in the series, Tyler & His Solve-a-matic Machine. Jennifer’s book, recently won an iParenting Media Award: The 2007 Excellent Products Call in Children’s Books. To read our interview with Jennifer, click here.

Laura Dunn-Dern is touching kids and parents around the world. To say that Lisa understands the media is a HUGE understatement. She is using traditional and emerging media to help children (and their families) build successful, happy relationships. You can see her on television, you can hear her on a monthly Internet radio show she co-hosts with her daughter, and you can read her blog. Lisa has just released Dr. Duncan, Dog on Duty, the second title in her semi-biographical picture book series; and she is producing and hosting a children’s television show for Ethiopian Television (eTV). Click here to catch up with Lisa Dunn-Dern

Who will we meet next? As lazy as the days of summer may be, Autumn will be here in a flash. We are happy to report that the upcoming Author Showcase is bursting at the seams. Although we normally limit the showcase to three featured guests, because we have some new releases for the upcoming holiday season, we thought it best to expand our offerings.

Sherri Chessen, author of The Gorp’s Gift and Gorp’s Dream: A Tale of Diversity, Tolerance and Love in Pumpernickel Park.

T. K. Garrison, author of The Collin Chronicles, Book 1: Magic, Bones, and Catacombs.

Robyn Gioia, author of America’s Real First Thanksgiving: St. Augustine, Florida, September 8, 1565.

Florrie Binford Kichler, publisher Patria Press, LLC and the Young Patriot Series. Titles in this series of historical fiction novels include stories about John Audubon, George Rogers Clark, Abner Doubleday; Fredrick Douglass, Amelia Earhart, John Hancock, William Henry Harrison, Mahalia Jackson, Juliette Low, Eddie Rickenbacker, James Whitcomb Riley, Lew Wallace, and Phillis Wheatley,

James Rives, author of Where are My Christmas Presents?

The Reading Tub, Inc. has two pieces of news worth splashing about.

First, we are thrilled to announce that thanks to the generous support of Exit Studio, the Arlington, Virginia-based multi-media publisher, we will be able to start moving forward with our One Letter at a Time project. Exit Studio has donated twenty copies of its award-nominated book En Esta Hermosa Isla (On This Beautiful Island). The book is a Finalist for 2006 Book of the Year by Foreword Magazine, and has received critical acclaim from Criticas (Publisher’s Weekly review publication for books in Spanish). We will pair the books with a Reading Guide (being developed) in our effort to create a positive reading experience for all families, not just those where English is spoken at home. If you’d like to learn more about this project, just follow this link.

Second, the Reading Tub® is honored to be selected as one of two recipients of funds raised through the China Dreamblogue Project. Reading Tub, Inc. Director Lonnie Hodge, who teaches in China, is collaborating with another teacher on this project. Here is what he has to say about the effort:

“Our dream is to travel in 2007 to every mainland province in China, beginning with Tibet. During this journey, we intend to chronicle the everyday lives of ordinary Chinese citizens. Our motivation for the trip came from a group of cancer survivors known as the League of Extraordinary Chinese Women, a group of five women who naturally and courageously combated their disease (advanced-stage HER2 breast cancer) with friendship, enthusiasm, meditation, and what medical care they could afford. Because of their courage, we decided that we should find a way to live out our dreams and help others to live out theirs. Our search led to The China Dreamblogue [].

“The Dreamblogue is a cyber-activism website that will have videocasts, podcasts, a China picture contest (to be turned into a coffee table book), a weekly Chinese horoscope, weekly Chinese recipes (also to be a book), and most importantly, the daily dreams of people from around the world. In all, the Dreamblogue has been created to be a tool of understanding and a place where dreams can be spoken into reality.”

Please go to the Dreamblogue site for more details and to see how you can help. No financial commitment is expected only your visits to the site. Visitors will have a chance to win one of two donated trips to China for either blogging their dream or just commenting.

As I mentioned above, we are happy to have the “problem” of trying to select just a few titles from among the large collection of books we are reading. The list below identifies some of the some of the books that arrived this past quarter and which look particularly interesting at first glance.

Dangerous Places by Caroline Hardy (recommended ages: 3 to 6). This is a lift-the-flap book designed to help children learn to make safe choices. (Mercury Books, 2006)

Monsters and Water Beasts by Karen Hokanson Miller (recommended ages: 9 to 12). This is a collection of non-fiction stories about mythical creatures and monsters. (Henry Holt & Company, 2007)

Oma finds a Miracle by Patrick Mader (recommended ages: 4 to 8). In this story, the children are searching for a cow born out in the snow. This is the second title in this picture-book series about life on a farm in the Midwest. (Beaver’s Pond Press, 2007)

The Old Man and the C by Carole Jean Tremblay (recommended ages: 6 to 10). This picture book is a fish-tale with lessons for kids. (Pineapple Press, 2006)

Tales of Tokoloshe by Pieter Scholtz (recommended ages: 8 to 12). This is a short-story collection, with tales drawn from southern African folklore. (Struik Publishers, 2004)

Tell Me a Story: Timeless Folktales from Around the World (recommended ages: 5 to 12). This is an E-Book collection of European, Japanese and Indian folktales from the newspaper column “Tell me a Story.” These stories, read by award-winning actors, range from just under five minutes to thirteen minutes in length. (Universal Press Syndicate, 2006)

Welcome Home, Forever Child by Christine Mitchell (recommended age: 4 to 9). This is a book celebrating families for children adopted as toddlers, preschoolers, or elementary-aged children. (AuthorHouse, 2006)

Thankfully, the pace of new books has slowed a little bit for summer. It will help us get a handle on the stacks of books that have been waiting patiently to be shared with a family. I am happy to report that we have just under 200 books to read and more volunteers to help us. My goal is to be down to 100 books by the end of the summer.

Happy reading!